Chiapas: Acteal massacre commemorated

The bishops of San Cristobal de las Casas, Felipe Arizmendi Esquivel (titular), Enrique Diaz Diaz (auxiliary) and Samuel Ruiz Garcia (emeritus) officiated at a mass in the Chiapas Highland village of Chenalho Dec. 22 in memory of the victims of the Dec. 22, 1997 massacre at Chenalho’s outlying hamlet of Acteal, in which 45 unarmed Tzotzil Maya were slain. In an emotional ceremony that mixed Catholic and Maya rituals, the gathering prayed at the grave of the victims, who belonged to the civil indigenous organization Las Abejas (the Bees).

A statement released by survivors of the massacre protested that the case languished “in official oblivion, while the intellectual authors remain free.” Charging that the author of the attacks was ultimately the Mexican state, the communique read: “The plans for the massacre were designed by the presidente Ernesto Zedillo (1994-2000) and overseen by the then general of the Seventh Military Region, Enrique Cervantes Aguirre… Today…the crimes continue with impunity because those who are investigating are the same who planned the massacre, and the intellectual authors remain free.” (La Jornada, Dec. 23)

Agustin Vazquez Ruiz, president of Las Abejas, added: “During the six years of the administration of Vicente Fox, there has been no advance for justice. There are 27 arrtest orders outstanding against the material authors, and the intellectual authors have never been punished.” (La Jornada, Dec. 22)

Sources archived at Chiapas95

See our last posts on Mexico and Chiapas and the Acteal massacre.