Crime, water wars rock Chiapas Highlands

Mexico’s federal Public Security Secretariat (SSP) announced the detention of 13 “delinquents” at Rancho San Isidro, in San AndrĂ©s Larráinzar, a highland municipality in conflicted Chiapas state Jan. 30. The SSP said 45 stolen vehicles were confiscated, as well as two firearms and an “arsenal” of ten home-made bombs. (La Jornada, Jan. 31) Meanwhile, the Good Government Junta “CorazĂłn CĂ©ntrico de los Zapatistas delante del Mundo,” governing body of the Zapatista rebels for the Highland region, issued a statement protesting deprivation of water to Zapatista followers in Zinacantán municipality. Citing lack of action by the state or federal governments, the statement said Zapatista authorities would “directly resolve” the problem and restore water to SokĂłn hamlet. It blamed the caciques (political bosses) of Nachig hamlet for diverting the water, calling them “priĂ­stas-perredistas”—meaning they have collaborated with both parties that have held power in the state and municipality, the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) and Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD). (La Jornada, Jan. 28)

Also Jan. 30, two members of the Zapatista base community were convicted in the February 2002 slaying of two militants of the Organization for the Defense of Indigenous and Campesino Rights (OPDDIC) at Banavil, Ocosingo municipality. Alfredo Hernández PĂ©rez, 48, and Fidelino Ruiz Hernández, 73, both received sentences of eight years. The Center for Political Analysis and Social & Economic Investigation (CAPISE) said the men were serving as “scapegoats” (chivos expiatorios) for internecine violence within the OPDDIC, which is said to be a PRI-linked paramilitary group. (La Jornada, Jan. 30)

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