The Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Human Rights Center (Frayba), based in the Highlands of Mexico’s conflicted southern Chiapas state, has issued a new report charging that 13 years after an armed uprising in the state, the roots of the conflict still prevail. The report, “Armed Conflict and its Actors in 2006,” finds a resurgence of paramilitary activity, especially attacks on Zapatista communities and attempts to evict them from their lands. The Zapatistas have observed a truce since shortly after their New Years Day 1994 rebellion. Noting that the Zapatistas have concentrated over the past year on an unarmed civil initiative, the “Other Campaign,” the report protests that “Military…actions have intensified against…social protest and…organizations that have opted for the construction of a civil and pacific national movement.” The report finds that a de facto “state of exception” has persisted in Chiapas despite federal administrations in Mexico City coming and going.
The report especially notes the paramilitary group OPDDIC, which it charges in August carried out an illegal eviction of Zapatista families from the Chol Maya community of Tumbalá, in the “official” municipality of Palenque and the Zapatista “autonomous municipality” of Roberto Barrios.
The report finds that OPDDIC is engaged in an “encircling logic,” and “in coordination with the military presence, is closing a circle around the so-called conflict zone.” It calls for a resumption of dialogue, stating: “The demilitarization of territory and politics in Chiapas is imperative.” (APRO, April 26)