Detentions, torture and violence in Chiapas

Local schoolteacher Felipe Hernández Yuena was detained Feb. 5 in the municipal government building at Venustiano Carranza, a conflicted town in the southern Mexican state of Chiapas, accused of “sedition and riot.” Showing bruises on his face, arms and abdomen, Hernández Yuena said that while in custody he was beaten and tortured by masked men he believed were from military intelligence, who questioned him about whether recent anti-NAFTA protests in the state capital, Tuxtla, were organized by the clandestine Popular Revolutionary Army (EPR). (La Jornada, Feb. 7)

The Zapatista rebels, whose territorial rights are officially recognized by ceasefire terms, continue to report extra-legal moves against their movement. On Jan. 13, Zapatista supporter Ernesto Hernández Gómez was killed at Ejido Santa Rosalía, Comitán municipality, in a conflict with local caciques (political bosses) over access to woodlands. More Zapatista supporters have been illegally detained and beaten by police in the conflict since then, the local rebel authority reports. (JBG “Corazón del Arcoiris de la Esperanza” communique, Feb. 3)

Workers from the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE) have cut power to the Zapatista community of Ejido La Culebra. The local Zapatista authority, Good Government Junta “El Camino del Futuro” at the settlement of La Garrucha, accuses the CFE of acting at the behest of the OPDDIC peasant organization, which is in a land conflict with the rebels. (La Jornada, Feb. 2)

Local media in Chiapas report that several Zapatista families at Polhó, a principal rebel settlement in the Chiapas Highlands, have left the movement in order to receive government aid under the federal “Oportunidades” program. (Expreso Chiapas, Feb. 7)

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