Mexico: ex-guerillas warn of new “dirty war”

A group of ex-guerillas from the now-dissolved Clandestine Revolutionary Worker’s Party-Union of the People (PROCUP), re-organized as the above-ground Democratic Popular Left (IDP), led by David Caba├▒as Barrientos and Italo Ricardo D├şaz, charged in a statement that there are “clear indications” that the government of Felipe Calder├│n seeks to “open a new chapter in the dirty war” that gripped Mexico in the ’70s, when hundreds of dissidents were “disappeared.” The statement said the “detention-disappearance” of two supposed members of the EPR guerilla organization is a “signal that a hunting season has opened against activists and militants of legal and legitimate organizations with the pretext that they are front organizations.”

The two disappeared men, Edmundo Reyes Amaya and Gabriel Alberto Cruz Sánchez (also identified as Raymundo Rivera Bravo), were detained May 25 in Oaxaca, and rights organizations have since failed to determine their whereabouts or what charges they face. They were said to be members of the political wing of the Popular Revolutionary Army (EPR).

David Caba├▒as is the brother of the late legendary guerilla Lucio Caba├▒as Barrientos. He was arrested in 1990 on charges of having participated in the killing of a security guard at La Jornada newspaper. Although never formally sentenced, he was held until 1998. Italo D├şaz was arrested in 1991 and also served eight years. Their statement read: “We come from this experience of armed struggle and clandestinity, as well as arbitrary detention, torture and the threat of disappearance. We shared ranks with the compa├▒eros [guerillas] in the past. Therefore we feel morally and ethically obliged to speak out… [W]e are not ashamed of our past; we are not detractors from the armed struggle which will in any case continue to exist in Mexico while the conditions that give rise to it persist.” (La Jornada, July 25)

Meanwhile in southern Chiapas state, the Zapatista National Liberation (EZLN) General Command issued a statement denying claims in the Mexican press that Gabriel Alberto Cruz S├ínchez had been a “military adviser” to the Zapatistas. “The EZLN has not had, does not have, and will not have military advisers,” the statement read. The claims, later picked up by Carlos Montemayor in La Jornada and other sources, originated in a column in the local daily Noticias de Oaxaca by Pedro Ansostegui, who wrote that Cruz S├ínchez was a guerilla of “long trajectory,” who after a career as a leader of the student movement in the ’60s had participated “in the formation of the PROCUP-PDLP, and finally the EPR,” and “had been a military adviser to the general command of the EZLN in 1994.” (La Jornada, July 16)

See our last posts on Mexico, the guerilla movement and the dirty war.