A sudden surge in violence in the Mexican Pacific resort of Acapulco is baffling authorities. In the last year, nine police officers have been killed in Acapulco, a city of 700,000 in the southern state of Guerrero. Since January alone, there have been 20 execution-style killings, among them the municipal police chief, two Mexican tourists, a prominent disco owner and an investigator for the state attorney general's office.
Three unidentified men armed with two AK-47 assault rifles and a 9-mm pistol shot and killed former political prisoner Miguel Angel Mesino in broad daylight on Sept. 18 in the town center of Atoyac municipality in the southern Mexican state of Guerrero. The killing took place 100 meters from the police headquarters.
Mexico was jolted by revelations this week by Defense Secretary Gen. Ricardo Clemente Vega linking elite Guatemalan commandos to a Mexican drug cartel operating on both sides of the US-Mexico border. In an appearance before the Mexican Senate, Gen. Clemente announced the detention of five Guatemalan nationals in Chiapas state earlier this month on arms and immigration law violations. He said a probe was underway examining possible links between the men — all reputed to be members or ex-members of the Guatemalan army's counterinsurgency unit known as the Kabiles — and Los Zetas, the heavily armed enforcers of Mexico’s Tamaulipas-based Gulf Cartel.
On Sept. 15 a state judge in Zihuatanejo in the southern Mexican state of Guerrero ordered the release of Felipe Arreaga Sanchez, a leader in the campesino environmental movement who had been held in prison since November 2004. Judge Ricardo Salinas Sandoval ruled that there was insufficient evidence for the state's charge that Arreaga was involved in the 1998 killing of Abel Bautista, son of timber boss Bernardino Bautista Valle. Arreaga left the prison in Zihuatanejo a half hour after the ruling. The state had five days to appeal the decision.
Activists from Mexico's east-central indigenous region of La Huasteca held a press conference in the national capital Sept. 21 to protest a growing presence of soldiers and paramilitaries in the the zone, citing a wave of assassinations of peasant leaders. Directors of the Mexican League for the Defense of Human Rights (LIMEDH) and the Human Rights Committee of Las Huastecas and Sierra Oriental (CODHHSO) said the militarization of the region coinicded with growing "struggles by the indigenous to recover lands stolen by the landlords."
In a new two-part communique published in the newsweekly Proceso, southern Mexico's mysterious Popular Revolutionary Army (EPR), both admits to errors and reproaches the rival Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN). The communique, "A little more about the history of the EPR," charges that the group repeatedly sought to participate in the Zapatistas' national strategy meetings, but were always rejected and branded as "ultras" (extremists).
Subcomandante Marcos of the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN) in the southern state of Chiapas announced Sept. 16 he will leave the group's jungle strongholds and embark on a six-month tour of all of Mexico, promising to "shake this country up from below—pick it up and turn it on its head."
From the Arizona Daily Star, Aug. 31, online at Chiapas95:
The North American Free Trade Agreement may have boosted big business, but it has had a disastrous effect on Mexicans, a Chiapas economist said.