Chiapas: paramilitary violence continues

Land conflicts between communities loyal to the Zapatista rebel movement and the state’s traditional political machine continue to generate violence in Chiapas, Mexico. The Zapatista Good Government Junta (JBG) Corazón del Arcoiris de la Esperanza announced that on Nov. 24, the community of Bolom Ajaw, Autonomous Municipality Olga Isabel, was attacked by members of the OPDDIC paramilitary group. The force of some 80 men armed with pistols, rifles, clubs and machetes arrived when the community’s men were working in the fields, with only women, children and elders at home. They briefly held the community hostage, beating one ill resident unconscious with clubs. (La Jornada, Nov, 26)

Sebastián Espinoza Martínez, director of the “Paz y Justicia” peasant organization—named as a paramilitary group by rights obervers—threatened to organize roadblocks in Chiapas if Gov. Juan Sabines does not address the organization’s land claims. (Noticias Palenque, Nov. 17)

Meanwhile, rights activists joined with members of the Emiliano Zapata Campesino Organization (OCEZ) from Venustiano Carranza village in a march on the state capital Tuxtla to protest the “restructuring and reforming of paramilitary groups and White Guards” in the region. (La Jornada, Nov. 20)

Mexico’s Congressional Commission on Pacification (COCOPA), convened ten years ago to broker peace with the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN), has announced that the long-moribund peace process must be revived, and that the Commission will be opening an office in San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas. (Real Jovel, Nov. 20) COCOPA president Martha Cecilia Díaz Gordillo said the question of constitutional reform must be re-opened, and that the issue of indigenous rights represents an “outstanding debt” of the Mexican state. (Proceso, Nov. 27)

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