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.
Greenpeace Mexico, Amnesty International and the Tlachinollan Mountain Human Rights Center presented the Sierra Club's Chico Mendes Award to Mexican winners Felipe Arreaga Sanchez, Albertano Peñaloza Dominguez, and Celsa Valdovinos on Aug. 9. Greenpeace Mexico Director Alejandro Calvillo asked the world community to reconsider its willingness to support the tourist industry in Acapulco, given that the international beach resort is in the same state of Guerrero where the winners are being persecuted.
Mexican authorities say they suspect drug traffickers are to blame in the killing of six people in three communities in the conflicted southern state of Chiapas. The first slayings occurred late Aug. 23 on a highway linking Tapachula with Tuxtla Chico on the Pacific coast. Gunmen in a car forced an SUV off the road and opened fire, killing Genaro Cruz, 47, and Julio Cesar Cruz, 21. There were no arrests.
Mexico's Social Development Secretary Josefina Vazquez Mota announced Aug. 19 that the country has lived through a "lost decade" and that poverty levels are slightly worse today than in 1994. In a speech at the National Congress to Combat Poverty 2006-2012, Vazquez Mota, an appointee of President Vicente Fox, talked at length on the depth of the nation's poverty. Many of her comments were contrary to the optimistic reports recently given by the presidential office.
As the paramilitaries in Mexico's southern state of Chiapas are re-asserting their reign of terror, their Zapatista enemies, in contrast, are disavowing a return to arms and trying to draw support for their national political mobilization, announced last month. At an Aug. 6 meeting with Mexican left organizations at the jungle settlement of San Rafael, Subcommander Marcos announced what he called the "Other Campaign," implying an end to armed struggle and a call for dialogue on a national program.
A new wave of paramilitary violence is reported from Mexico's conflicted southern state of Chiapas. Within the last eight weeks, more than 20 Chol Maya families have been displaced from the community of Andres Quintana Roo, in Sabanilla municipality, by threats and attacks from the notorious paramilitary group Paz y Justicia, according to the Chiapas-based Fray Bartolome de Las Casas Human Rights Center (Frayba).
A Nuevo Laredo police officer was killed and the ex-officer she was driving with injured in an attack by unknown gunmen Aug. 10—just two days after the US consulate in Nuevo Laredo re-opened—having closed its doors for a week in protest of ongoing violence in the Mexican border town. Adriana de Leon was the 15th law-enforcement officer to be killed among 110 slayings in Nuevo Laredo so far this year. A city council member was also among the recent vicitims. The town remains occupied by 1,200 federal agents, and a midnight curfew is in effect. The new violence also comes as the city government is offering to bring in tourists from San Antonio for free to convince them the city is safe. (Houston Chronicle, Aug. 11)
A previously unknown armed group, the Fatherland is First Popular Revolutionary Command (Comando Popular Revolucionario La Patria es Primero), has claimed responsibility for the July 6 assassination of former Guerrero state government secretary Ruben Robles Catalan, whose driver was also killed in the attack.