PPI-026-More on Chiapas atrocities & US support


Richard Moore


               More on Chiapas atrocities & US support

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Dear PPI,

What really galls me about this story is the response by James Rubin:
  A Washington reaction came from State Department spokes-person James Rubin.
  "We hope that foreign observers will continue to be authorized to travel,
  live and work in Chiapas," said Rubin. But he emphasized that they should
  conduct their activities in a manner consistent with respect for law and
  Mexicoís sovereignty.

Mexico makes war on its people, and it's the _observers that Rubin warns to
have respect for law!


Date: Sat, 25 Apr 1998
Sender: "m3pv" <•••@••.•••>
Subject: "Atrocities in Chiapas" continued...

....from the Guadalajara Reporter - April 18-24
More Chiapas Expulsions:
Three of 12 are US Citizens
by Jim Tuck

Applying provisions of the Mexican Constitution with increasing severity,
the Interior Ministry expelled 12 foreigners. including three U.S. citizens,
from tension-ridden Chiapas April 12.

The action was taken under Article 33, which forbids non-Mexicans from
involving themselves in the countryís political affairs. The 12 were also
charged with violating Article 115 of the Constitution, which says that only
legislatures of individual states have the authority to establish municipal
units. The foreigners were accused of collaborating with a rebellious
pro-Zapatista town council in the municipality of Ocosingo in an attempt to
set up an "autonomous municipality."

Several government officials emphatically denied any attempt to impose
thought control on foreign visitors. Miguel Covian Perez, judicial director
of the Interior Ministry, and Alejandro Carrillo Castro, director general of
the National Migration Institute, declared they had no wish to persecute
anyone for their political views, not even foreigners who may sympathize
with a given ideological faction in Mexico.

But beliefs are one thing and actions are another. Clearly defining his
position, Sergio Orozco Aceves, director of the Interior Ministryís
governing council, spelled-out the judicial reasons for the expulsions.

"The 12 foreigners were arrested in flagrante, that is to say, when they
were in the act of stirring up local people to defy the constituted
authorities in performance of their duties." Orozco Aceves added that from
the moment the foreigners participated in an illegal defiance of Chiapas
Governor Roberto Albores Guillen, they placed themselves at the mercy of the

Said Mexican Foreign Minister Rosario Green: "It seems to me that they come
to Mexico to carry out experiments that would probably be absolutely
forbidden in their countries. The foreigners were expelled because they
violated Mexican laws."

Of those expelled, Pilar Ana Lopez Castillejeas, Olga Claveria Isanzo, Maria
Sanchez Zaragoza and Julen Cobos Errasti came from Spain; Julie Marquette
and Sarah Mireille Baillargeon from Canada; Charles Marie Lambot Gautier and
Jean Dominique Bergere from Belgium; and Marion Silke Ladich from Germany.
The U.S. contingent included John Michael Savato, Travis Blaize Loller, and
Jeffrey Wright Conant. Conant, a journalist, a former staff reporter for The
News, a Mexico City daily, had been scheduled to begin work on a Mexico City
business publication when he was deported.

Several of the deportees told stories considerably at variance with the
version released by Mexican government sources.

"As far as I can see," said Conant, 30, "we were witnesses to a large-scale
military incursion, and that ís the last thing they wanted us to
see. -Another U.S. citizen, 26-year-old Travis Loller of San Francisco, told
of attempted sexual molestation. She described seeing "hundreds of heavily
armed men in black and blue (police) uniforms jump off trucks."

She claimed one of the officers pushed her to the ground. "He said if I had
sex with him I could go free."

The European and Canadian deportees were equally critical of the security
forces. Said one of the Spanish contingent, Lopez Castillejas: "We could see
how the police and army entered the town ... attacking the Indians, and all
the foreigners were beaten and arrested to avoid our being witnesses to them
(the police) burning the nativesí houses." Canadian Julie Marquette said she
saw 800 Mexican soldiers burn down the town hall of a pro-rebel local

Also allegedly attacked by state police at the Tuxtla Gutierrez airport
where the deportations were taking place were photographers Pascual Gorriz
of The Associated Press and Oriana Elicabe of Agence France Presse. Gorriz
told Reuters he was hit on the head with a rifle butt at the airport.

On arrival in San Francisco, Conant, Loller and a third U.S. citizen,
Michael Sabato, issued a statement to the press saying, "We have been
deported not for the reasons stated but for witnessing an act of war by the
Mexican government against its own people. Our presence as international
observers is a threat to the Mexican government in its campaign to deny
basic human services and human rights to the indigenous people of Chiapas
and the entire Mexican nation."

A Washington reaction came from State Department spokes-person James Rubin.
"We hope that foreign observers will continue to be authorized to travel,
live and work in Chiapas," said Rubin. But he emphasized that they should
conduct their activities in a manner consistent with respect for law and
Mexicoís sovereignty.

>>From Canada, Foreign Minister Lloyd Axworthy said he did not like the way
Mexico handled the issue and would take the matter up at the upcoming
Organization of American States meeting in Santiago, Chile.

In the past two years, some 200 foreigners have been deported from Mexico,
almost all of them on grounds of politically incorrect behavior in Chiapas.


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