ppi.008-James Crombie: Local reports re/ May 1 Chiapas atrocity


Richard Moore

      ppi.008-James Crombie: Local reports re/ May 1 Chiapas atrocity
                               - - -

              Local reports re/ May 1 Chiapas atrocity

                    forwarded by James Crombie

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Publisher's note:

Thanks, James Crombie, for acting as investigative journalist on behalf of PPI!

Just imagine, I ask you, what we'd see on our televisions if _Castro were
deploying his army to destroy local communities and terrorize the
inhabitants. We'd get tearful interviews with victims; there's be demonized
images of Castro on our screens; there'd be calls to "Do something about
the atrocities", etc. etc.

But when the perpetrator is Mexico, acting with the collusion of the US
military, we don't hear a peep.  No, it's still _Cuba that the US brands a
`human-rights violator'!  To the world I say... "Wake up and smell the


btw> Note that general-interest postings such as these will be re-directed
to cj if they are sent to renaissance-network.

Date: Sun, 3 May 1998
To: •••@••.•••
From: •••@••.••• (James Crombie)
Subject: Re: PPI-024-Update from Chiapas: May 1 1998

A front-page article in La Jornada of May 2, datelined May 1, Amparo Agua
Tinta, Chis., and signed by Elio Enríquez (Enriquez without accents), gives
information both convergent with and divergent from the dispatch from
PEOPLES PRESS INTERNATIONAL (PPI) distributed via cyberjournal.

The article indicates that not only police but also soldiers participated
in this event.  It gives the number of police + soldiers as 1000 ("mil"),
not 250.

The 46 persons detained are described as natives ("indigenas"), and as
including the members of the autonomous council and seven Guatemalan

The local members of PRI, the governing party in Mexico, are described as
being accused of having asked for and directed the operation -- and as
having thanked the government and asked for the support of the Mexican Army
and the police because they were afraid of being attacked (agredidos) by
the Zapatistas.

        "Los priístas del lugar, quienes son acusados de
        solicitar y encabezar el operativo, agradecieron
        al gobierno y demandaron el apoyo del Ejército
        Mexicano y de la policía porque tienen temor a
        ser agredidos por los simpatizantes zapatistas."

The houses of the PRI members had apparently been marked two weeks previous
to the raid with "siglas" of the party.

The pretext for the raid is described as being to free one of the
Guatemalan refugees (not two, as in the PPI report), identified as Pedro
Gómez Domingo. But the raid had apparently been planned for some time.

Among the detained persons, whose liberation is demanded, is Mario
Hernández León, an elder, who is said to have a broken foot and a broken

The article says that the police and soldiers have withdrawn from the
locality, and that the members of the army (but not the police) remain
camped at a distance of two kilometers, where they have been for some

The address where I read the May 2 issue of La Jornada is
http://serpiente.dgsca.unam.mx/jornada/zapatista.html.  Subsequently to May
2, go to http://serpiente.dgsca.unam.mx/jornada/index.html and click on
"Ejemplares Anteriores" to find the May 2 issue.

Date: Sun, 3 May 1998
To: •••@••.•••
From: •••@••.••• (James Crombie)
Subject: Diario de Monterrey, Diario de Yucatan, May 2- Re: PPI-024-Update
from Chiapas: May 1 1998

El Diario de Monterrey -- a northern city about as far away from Chiapas as
one can get without leaving Mexico -- also gives this story front-page
play. The article, unsigned, gives the number of police who participated in
the "dragnet operation"  ("redada") as "at least 500".  They are described
as having "dismantled" the "pro-Zapatista rebel municipality" of Tierra y
Libertad.  The Diario de Monterrey report makes no mention of the
participation of the army in the operation, nor of the reports of some
residents who claim they heard gunshots (mentioned in La Jornada).

El Diario de Yucatan -- much closer to the scene -- also gives prominence
to the story, giving the dateline AMPARO AGUA TINTA, Chis., 1 de mayo (El
Universal).  El Universal is a Mexico City newspaper...

The article in El Diario de Yucatan describes the participants in the
operations as "a thousand members of various police corps and the Mexican
Army."  According to this report, the operation lasted 5 hours and resulted
in the detention of  "47 natives <indigenas> connected with the civil
structure of the EZLN and <sic!> seven Guatemalans."   The "and" is
probably an error, and should be read as "including."

Here is the translation of the second-to-last paragraph of the article:

"In a communiqué of the <Federal> Secretaria of Gobernacion we are informed
that the purpose of the operation was to free the Guatemalan refugee  Pedro
Gómez Domingo, who was illegally held by the council in rebellion "Tierra y
Libertad."  A bulletin of the <Chiapas> State Procuradia de Justicia notes
that, in addition to the liberation of Gomez, "approximately 71 tenants of
the local commons <"ejidatarios"> of Amparo Agua Tinto had requested the
intervention of the government in order to achieve the dissolution of the
so-called autonomous council in rebellion, to which belong 28 tenants of
the commons."

The Spanish reads:

        "En un comunicado de la Secretaría de
        Gobernación se informó que la operación tuvo
        como finalidad liberar al refugiado guatemalteco
        Pedro Gómez Domingo, quien estaba legalmente
        retenido por el concejo en rebeldía "Tierra y
        Libertad". Un boletín de la Procuraduría de
        Justicia estatal señala que, además de la
        liberación de Gómez, unos 71 ejidatarios de
        Amparo Agua Tinta solicitaron también la
        intervención del gobierno del estado para lograr
        la desintegración del denominado
        concejo autónomo en rebeldía, al cual
        pertenecen 28 ejidatarios".

46 or 47?  The last paragraph of the article in El Diario de Yucatan can be
translated as follows:

"The information provided by the Secretaria de Gobernacion reports only 46
persons being detained and makes no reference to the Guatemalans; the
<Chiapas> state attorney general, Rodolfo Soto Monzon, relates the
detention of 47 Chiapan natives and seven persons from the southern
neighbour <Mexico's southern neighbour>.  On page 12, we offer further
information on this story."

The Spanish text reads:

        "La información de la Secretaría de Gobernación
        sólo reporta 46 detenidos y no hace referencia
        alguna a los guatemaltecos; el procurador
        estatal, Rodolfo Soto Monzón, refirió la
        aprehensión de 47 indígenas chiapanecos y siete
        originarios del vecino del sur.- Ofrecemos en la
        página 12 más información sobre el tema."

The subtitle of the article states:

"One thousand soldiers and police detain 54 persons."

With this sort of confusion, one or more persons could go permanently
missing and it would be hard for outside observers to know...

All for now,
James Crombie


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