Chiapas: army occupies Zapatista communities in “anti-drug” ops

On June 4, a detachment of some 200 Mexican army troops and federal police in a convoy of ten vehicles led by an armored personnel carrier occupied several communities around the Zapatista settlement of La Garrucha, on the edge of the Chiapas rainforest, on an ostensible marijuana eradication mission. The Zapatista Good Government Junta (JBG) “El Camino del Futuro,” based at La Garrucha, said residents mobilized to defend their homes with sticks, machetes and slingshots as troops spread out to the corn fields, taking photographs and “intimidating the population.” The troops found no marijuana, but reportedly warned that they would return in 15 days.

The JBG statement said: “The whole Zapatista zone of La Garrucha and its autonomous authorities bear witness that there do not exist any [marijuana] plantations, only Zapatistas, working their milpas [corn fields] and ready to fight for freedom, justice and democracy.” (La Jornada, June 6; JBG “El Camino del Futuro” communique, June 4)

See our last posts on Mexico and the struggle in Chiapas.

  1. Military harassment of Zapatistas
    This was but the most recent such incident…

    On May 22, a large group of armed men from the PRI (Institutional Revolutionary Party) invaded the Zapatista Caracol (Zapatista regional government seat) of Morelia, cutting off the community’s electricity and attacking people in their homes throughout the night. The gunmen wounded over 20 Zapatista supporters, six of whom were taken to the hospital in serious condition.

    On May 19, federal agents and soldiers, arriving in helicopters and military convoy, entered the community of San Jer贸nimo Tulilj谩, Caracol of La Garrucha, breaking into houses and pushing people around without explanation. (John Gibler via Public Enemy, June 10)

    On June 3, JBG of Caracol 4 announced a group of followers of the PRI-aligned Convergencia, together with employees of the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE) cut the power to Ejido Huaquitepec. (Communique, JBG Coraz贸n del arcoiris de la esperanza, Caracol 4, June 3)

    On May 26, the JBG of Oventic announced an attack by followers of the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) from neighboring Zinacant谩n鈥攊ncluding the abduction of a member of the local Zapatista support base, Manuel Hilario G贸mez. (Communique, JBG Coraz贸n C茅ntrico, May 26)

    On May 25, the JBG of La Garrucha announced an incursion by police and military forces at San Jer贸nimo Tulilj谩, Autonomous Municipality Ricardo Flores Mag贸n. (Communique, JBG Camino del Futuro, May 23)