Chiapas: The War
II. - The Machinery of Ethnocide


Letter 5.2

November, 1999.

"Night had fallen now and Ramo'n Balam and Domingo Canche' reached the village by way of a shortcut. They had escaped from the massacre the whites had perpetrated against the Indians. Balam had received a machete wound in his back and he was bleeding. Jacinto Canek told them:

The prophecies of Nahua Pech are now being fulfilled, one of the five prophecies of olden times. The whites could not be content with what was theirs, nor with what they had won in war. They also wanted our food to be scarce and our houses to be meager. They raised their hate against us and forced us to take refuge in the mountains and in the isolated places. We shall go then like the ants, after vermin and we shall eat bad things: roots, rooks, crows, rats and locusts of the wind. And the poverty of this food shall fill our hearts with bitterness and war shall come.

The whites shall shout: The Indians have risen up!"
"Canek. History and Legend of a Mayan Hero."
Ermilo Abreu Go'mez

October - November, 1999,
International News Agencies
- The Department of Foreign Relations launched a news campaign via the Internet, in order to publicize the work that the Mexican government is carrying out in order to end poverty in Chiapas. The text that is being distributed, written in Spanish, English, French, Italian and German, says that officials have made great progress in Chiapas, in education, health, agrarian distribution and agricultural development. The document, however, does not mention the armed conflict nor the displaced indigenous.

To: National and International Civil Society
From: SupMarcos

Madame:

A document will be circulating, prepared by the Department of Foreign Relations, concerning the Mexican state of Chiapas, where they will elaborate on government actions in the fields of education, health, agrarian distribution and agricultural development. For the purpose of completing what the Mexican government is "informing" about, the EZLN is launching the following pamphlet, titled "CHIAPAS: THE WAR," which may be fully or partially reproduced, and which may also be made into a paper airplane and thrown in the face of any Mexican ambassador or consul of your choice, or it can be classified in the "horror" category in the "H" of "History." It may also be delivered to any U.N. high commissioner for human rights to whom they want to show rabasa's face.
Sale y vale:

You have the pamphlet in your hands. On the cover you can see the image of a world map that, curiously, has the same geographical shape as the southeastern Mexican state of Chiapas. On top, in "bold" or "black" letters (or "negritas," as they're called), and in capital letters, "CHIAPAS: THE WAR" can be read.

Under the "chiapanized" world map, in smaller letters, it says: "Is this what the last wars of the 20th century are like? Or is this how the wars of the 21st century shall be?"

On the back part, or the back page, the image is a ski-mask, in the space where the eyes should be there is a mirror. Underneath it can be read: "The full or partial reproduction of this pamphlet is not only permitted, it is required, and above all, of that which is silent."

On the first cover, some facts

Country: Mexico
Area: 1,967,183 square kilometers
Population: 91,800,000 (1994)
Indigenous population: 10 million (official figures speak of a little more than 5 million)

State: Chiapas
Area: 74,211 square kilometers
Population: 3,607,128
Indigenous population: More than 1 million persons (the government mentions only 706,000)

The first page begins without palliatives, stating:

If you wish to find "Mexico" on a modern map, you should make haste, because the current governments have set about to destroy it, and, if they are successful, it will soon not be appearing on world maps. First, locate the American continent. Good, now find the one that is called "North America." Now, what appears to the south of the North American states of Texas, Arizona, Colorado and California is not (yet) one more star in the United States flag. Carefully observe that piece of the continent whose west coast is caressed by the Pacific Ocean, an earlier cut that left Baja California like a solitary right arm, and whose belly slims down in order to give a privileged place to the Atlantic Ocean (protected by the thumb of the Yucatan peninsula). What does it look like to you? Yes, you are right, its figure is that of a waiting hand. Good, that is Mexico. Uff! It's good to know it's still there.

Now take note of the facts that appear on the front cover. As you will see as you read this pamphlet, the number of the indigenous population will be decreasing. The Mexican government is carrying out a war whose first step envisages the elimination of almost half a million indigenous (precisely those who were "missing" in their census, those indigenous who reside in the so-called "conflict zone"). Government sources estimate that the number of indigenous who are zapatistas or who sympathize with the EZLN cause, is at least 450,000, ergo, they are "potential zapatistas," that is, "expendable."

With bullets, bombs, grenades, paramilitaries, forced sterilization, kidnapping and trafficking in infants, deterioration of the environment, cultural obliteration, and, above all, with forgetting, the Mexican indigenous are being annihilated in a war whose intensity in the media rises and falls, but which is constant and inexorable in the quota of death and destruction it claims in the chiapaneco reality.

Good, now concentrate on the southeastern corner of the Mexican map. That dark region, full of mountains, is Chiapas. Yes, "Chiapas," and not "Chapas," as Zedillo pronounces it. Who? Zedillo? Ah! He's the one who's in front, or, better, behind. No, I mean to the side. No, it would be better to say he's under. In sum, some call him "the President of Mexico," but no one takes that statement seriously in this country. Good, let's not become distracted. Take a red pencil and color in that corner, the last one in Mexico. Why red? Well, it means several things: "struggle," "conflict," "alert," "danger," "emergency," "blood," "struggle," "resistance," "halt," "war." Chiapas means all of that, but now we shall only be considering the red as "war."

Yes, there is a war here. Yes, soldiers, planes, helicopters, tanks, machine guns, bombs, injuries, deaths, destruction. The opposing sides? Fine, on one side is the Mexican government; on the other side are the indigenous. Yes, the government against the Indian peoples. What? No, I'm not talking about something that has happened, it's something that is going on right now. Yes, at this end of the 20th century, and when the 21st century is already unpacking its baggage of uncertainty, the Mexican government is making war against the very first inhabitants of this country, the indigenous.

What did you say? That the Mexican government says that it's not a war, but a "conflict?" Fine, let's look at some facts that can be confirmed "on site," through the simple method of observation, looking and listening. The problem is that the Mexican government characterizes the actions indicated by the verbs "look" and "listen" as crimes. Every Mexican citizen, or citizen of the countries of the 5 continents, must be mute and blind, on pain of jail, expulsion, threats, disappearance or death.

But let us suppose that you do not wish to be imprisoned, threatened or disappeared, if you are Mexican, or, if you are of another nationality, to be threatened, harassed and expelled from our country by government officials who despise those who come to confirm the news stories "on site." What can you do? Fine, that's what this pamphlet is for, in it we will tell you only what can be confirmed by simply looking, and not anything that requires an in-depth investigation and "contacts" very high up in the government - the North American government. As moral backing for this information, we will tell you that we have never lied to you, and we have no reason to do so now. But, even so, you still have every right to doubt, and so you can turn to the international and national press, or take a risk by visiting the Indian lands of the Mexican southeast. You will see that there is no doubt that a war is being unleashed under these skies, and that this war is against the Indian peoples.

Good. First fact of the war: the presence of an extraordinarily high number of government armed forces.

According to official figures, there are 30,000 Mexican Army troops stationed in Chiapas. Unofficial calculations state that there are close to 70,000. In response to the uprising of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation on January 1, 1994, the federal government sent - during the first week of January - close to 10,000 soldiers from the Mexican Army to the conflict zone; as well as 200 vehicles (artillery jeeps and tanks, among others) and 40 helicopters. During ten days of conflict, however, the number of troops grew to 17,000. In that same year, the federal government restricted the armed conflict to four municipalities: San Cristo'bal de Las Casas, Las Margaritas, Ocosingo and Altamirano. And then it was extended. In 1999, the Mexican Army widened its radius of action to 66 of the 111 municipalities in Chiapas. Yes, more than half the chiapaneco municipalities are in a state of war. In those municipalities, the maximum authority is military.

For the war in the Mexican southeast, the federal army is organized into the 7th Military Region, which has 5 military zones: the 30th, with headquarters in Villahermosa, the 31st in Rancho Nuevo, the 36th in Tapachula, the 38th in Tenosique and the 39th in Ocosingo. It also has the following Military Air Bases: Tuxtla Gutie'rrez, PEMEX City and Copalar.

Officially, the federal army's first force, the so-called "Rainbow Task Force,: has 11 groups: San Quinti'n, Nuevo Momo'n, Altamirano, Las Tacitas, El Limar, Guadalupe Tepeyac, Monte Li'bano, Ocosingo, Chanal, Bochil and Amatitla'n.

But the perspective of a bird in flight would be enough to realize that this is false. There are large military garrisons in at least the following places:

The Selva Region: San Caralampio, Calvario, Laguna Suspiro, Tani Perla, Cintalapa, Monte Li'bano, Laguna Ocotalito, Santo Toma's, La Trinidad, Jorda'n, Peni'nsula, Ibarra, Sultana, Patiwitz, Garrucha, Zaquila', San Pedro Betania, Yulomax, Florida, Ucuxil, Temo', Tonina', Chilo'n, Cuxulja', Altamirano, Rancho Mosil, Rancho Nuevo, Chanal, Oxchuc, Rancho el Banco, Teopisca, Comita'n, Las Margaritas, Ri'o Corozal, Santo Toma's, Guadalupe Tepeyac, Vicente Guerrero, Francisco Villa, El Ede'n, Nuevo Momo'n, Maravilla Tenejapa, San Vicente, Rizo de Oro, La Sanbra, Flor de Cafe', Amador Herna'ndez, Soledad, San Quinti'n, Amatitla'n, Ri'o Euseba.

Los Altos Region: Chenalho', Las Limas, Yabteclum, La Libertad, Yaxmel, Puebla, Tanquinucum, Xoyeb, Majomut, Majum, Pepentik, Los Chorros, Acteal, Pextil, Zacalucum, Xumich, Canolal, Tzanen Bolom, Chimix, Quextik, Bajoventik, Pantelho', Zitala', Tenejapa, San Andre's, Santiago, El Pinar, Jolnachoj, El Bosque, Bochil, San Cayetano, Los Pla'tanos, Cate', Simojovel, Nicola's Rui'z, Amatenango del Valle, Venustiano Carranza.

The Northern Region: Huitiupa'n, Sabanilla, Parai'so, Los Moyos, Quintana Roo, Los Naranjos, Jesu's Carranza, Tila, E. Zapata, Limar, Tumbala', Hidalgo Joexil, Yajalo'n, Salto de Agua, Palenque, Chancala' , Roberto Barrios, Playas de Catazaja', Boca Lacantu'n.

This just in the so-called "conflict zone." In order to meet the official figure of "30,000" soldiers in Chiapas, these garrisons would have to have an average of 300 soldiers each, something which is obviously not true. The large barracks exceed that number by ten times. The large barracks at Rancho Nuevo, Ocosingo, Comita'n, Guadalupe Tepeyac and San Quinti'n have between 3000 and 5000 troops each.

According to indigenous and social organizations (distinct and distant from the EZLN), the Mexican Army currently has 266 military positions in Chiapas, which signifies a substantial increase from the 76 positions it held in 1995. In a letter directed to Ernesto Zedillo and to the Secretary of National Defense, Enrique Cervantes Aguirre, those groups with a presence in the Ca~adas of the selva of Chiapas said that 37,000 soldiers are stationed in the municipalities of Ocosingo, Altamirano, Las Margaritas, La Independencia and La Trinitaria alone. In these five municipalities - they added - the population does not reach 300,000, meaning that there is one soldier for every nine residents. Because of this, they note in their document that "the withdrawal of the Mexican Army from our communities is the primary demand of the indigenous peoples of Chiapas, and does not represent merely the interests of a few."

In addition to the "regular" forces classified in the army and air force military forces in Chiapas, the government has:

- 51 Special Forces Air Mobile Groups (GAFE), of which at least 5 are in Chiapas: one in El Sabino, another in Copalar, others in Tera'n, Tapachula and Tonina'. In order to train these GAFE's, the United States earmarked 28 million dollars in 1997 and 20 million in 1998. From 1997 to 1998, some 2500 military personnel were trained in Fort Bragg, North Carolina and in Fort Benning, Georgia, in the United States.

- Also in Chiapas, there is a Rural Defense infantry corps, 6 infantry battalions, 2 motorized cavalry regiments, 3 mortar groups and 3 unclassified companies. There are also 12 unclassified companies in Salto de Agua, Altamirano, Tenejapa and Boca Lacantu'n. There are an average of 145 to 160 soldiers per company, and approximately 500 to 600 per battalion.

- Paramilitaries - There are at least 7 paramilitary groups: Red Mask, Peace and Justice, MIRA, Chinchulines, Degolladores, Pu~ales, Albores of Chiapas. The person responsible for their activation, in 1995, was General Mario Rena'n Castillo, trained at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, in the US, who was, at that time, military chief of the 7th Military Region.

The equipment for this war is surprising (we are only using figures that are public):

- Purchases in 1994: 4 S70A Black Hawk helicopters from the Sikorsky Company. Others from the Bell and McDonnell-Douglas companies. 7573 grenade launching rifles, 18 M203P1 40 mm. grenade launchers, 500 sniper rifles, 473,000 items for maneuvers, 14,000 sleeping bags, 660,000 rations, 120,000 pistol holsters, 608 laser pointers and 208 pieces of night vision equipment, 500 Belgian anti-tank weapons, 856 HK19 automatic grenade launchers, 192 M2HB machine guns. They are also using RPG-7's and weapons similar to the B-300.

- In 1996, the North American Congress authorized $146,617,738 in sales to Mexico. Ten million in replacement parts for aircraft, 6 million in cartridges. One and a half million dollars in herbicides, 378 grenade launchers, 3 MD-500 helicopters, gas masks, more than 61 million dollars in anti-personnel chemical products.

- In 1997, 10,000 pistols, 1080 AR-15 rifles, 3193 M-16's and replacement parts for tanks and artillery vehicles.

- In 1998, sales of at least 62 million dollars are being forecast.

(The figures are taken from "Mexican Armed Forces at the End of the Millenium. The Military in the Current Climate." Lo'pez y Rivas, Gilberto, Sierra Guzma'n, Jorge Luis, Enrique del Valle, Alberto. PRD Parliamentary Group. Chamber of Deputies. LVII Legislature).

The Mexican Air Force, according to a National Defense Department report, has, over the last 5 years of Ernesto Zedillo's 6-year administration, increased their aerial operations by 37% in comparison with the previous 6-year term. They are now carrying out up to 110 operations a day (versus 87 in the previous 6-year term). The allocation of planes and helicopters grew by 62%. At the beginning of Zedillo's administration, there were 246 aircraft; now there are 398 (without counting the 74 Huey helicopters that were returned to the US).
(Figures from the Mexican Air Force Bulletin and "El Universal")

There is an accident every 29 days, a fatal accident every 105 days and a military aircraft is lost every 86 days. Every 26 days there are "incidents" that can be classified under what is known as "war stress." The "incidents" have increased by more than 43% since the previous 6-year term.

The providers of the aerial machines of death for Mexico are the United States, Switzerland and Russia (figures from the International Airpower Journal, from Lieutenant Colonel Luis F. Fuentes and from the United States Air Force). With their support, 5 counterinsurgency squadrons have been armed. One of the counterinsurgency squadrons (which has 5 Bell 205A-1, five Bell 206 JeRanger and 15 Bell 212 helicopters) is being sent to Chiapas, and its 25 helicopters are artillery.

In the arena of reconnaissance aircraft, of the two aerial photography squadrons (for the drawing up of plans) with 10 Rockwell 500S Commanders that exist, at least 4 of them are operating in the "conflict zone," and the search and rescue unit - which has nine lal-201 Arava aircraft - at least 2 of which are slated for aerial surveillance of the rebel territory.

Regarding helicopters, the new acquisitions of Russian made craft should be noted, as well as the total equipment: 12 Mi-8's, 4 Mi-17's, four Bell 206's, 15 Bell 212's, three Sa-330 Puma aerospace and two Bell UH-60 Black Hawks. The FAM (Mexican Air Force) uses the Lockheed AT-33 as a combat ship, because they are equipped with a variety of armaments, such as Browning M 3 caliber machine guns, as well as two points under the wings to support bomb loads of 500 pounds and/or grenade launchers. According to the official report, the FAM has not used them in the Chiapas conflict
(La Jornada).

The reality is otherwise. There are videos taken on the 5th and 6th of January of 1994, in which Lockheed AT-33 planes were bombing the outskirts of San Cristo'bal de Las Casas, Chiapas. These videos were taken by Amnesty International, and they include photographs of shrapnel and pieces of bombs or "rockets"
("Chiapas 1994," Doctor Steven Czitrom, Mexico, 1999).

As if that were not enough, a group of 17 foreign observers, headed by the United States organization Global Exchange, denounced the existence of pitfall traps built by the military as part of a low intensity war against the EZLN. They explained that these traps consisted of holes dug in the ground, which were covered over with leaves and which had 40 centimeter long stakes at the bottom. They added that the traps were discovered near the community of Amador Herna'ndez. Meanwhile, the observers said that the armaments being provided by the United States to Mexico were not being used to fight drug trafficking, but rather for the war against the indigenous peoples.

After reading, in a little box, that: Mexico refused US aid from 1993-1995, but in 1996-1997 it accepted 7 million dollars from the Pentagon for training and equipment (Nacla Vol. XXXII . #3 November-December, 1998), you will turn the page and find the following subtitle:

THE OTHER BUSINESS OF WAR

All of this gigantic military apparatus has its raison d'etre. Although the government ineffectively insists that it is a "containment" force facing the zapatista rebels, the truth is that it is a war contingent. A war whose objective is the destruction of the rebel Indian peoples first, and, above all, the rest of the indigenous. It is not just about physical elimination, but rather an elimination of a different culture. What is being pursued is the destruction, the annihilation, of all indigenous references of these peoples. The crime is four-fold: they exist (and, for neoliberalism, the existence of difference is a crime), they do not respond to the laws of the market (they do not have credit cards, they do not consider land as merchandise), they live on lands full of natural wealth (See Letter 5.1: "Chiapas: The War. Between the Satellite and the Microscope, the Look of the Other," a presentation by the CCRI-CG of the EZLN to the CCIODH - the International Civil Commission of Human Rights Observers - on November 22, 1999. Soon to be published internationally), and they are rebels.

We shall not expand on this point, given that this pamphlet is only trying to demonstrate the evidence of a warlike military presence and of an active war in the indigenous mountains of the Mexican southeast.

We have mentioned previously that there at least 266 military positions in Chiapas. And now you can count, for each barracks or garrison, a brothel and at least 3 liquor stores. 266 new brothels and at least 798 cantinas. The "administrators" of these brothels and cantinas are generals. They are in collusion with the "polleros" in the trafficking in women from Central America, whose illegal status prevents them from having the most minimal defense against their military "bosses."

In addition to the proliferation of venereal diseases, the arrival of "imported" prostitution has led to the flourishing of the "local." In indigenous communities affiliated with the PRI, it is common for the women to become prostitutes who "work" in the barracks that are occupying their lands. The entrance of alcohol has increased family violence, and the number of women and children being beaten by drunken men has increased.

In addition to the fact that, in locating their units, the army is invading ejidal lands (and violating the law it says it is defending), and that the soldiers' de facto power finds docile accomplices in the municipal presidencies, in the state government and in the local press, - the trafficking in human being reaches its maximum horror: trafficking in infants.

In the hospital in old Guadalupe Tepeyac, Dr. Mari'a de la Luz Cisneros provides the General in command of the local garrison with the newborns she steals. Together they collaborate in a network of trafficking in children. The procedure is very simple: an indigenous woman comes to this "hospital" to give birth. She does so, and the above noted doctor demands that the woman present her identification, because, without it, she cannot give her the child. She terrorizes the woman and gets her to leave without the child. Other times the doctor "communicates" to the woman that the child was born dead, and they are not going to give her the corpse because "she doesn't have papers." The stolen children, with the collaboration of the general in command of the old Guadalupe Tepeyac barracks, are sent to an unknown location. How much is a probably zapatista, indigenous girl or boy worth? How much are their organs worth if they are sold "for parts?" Only Dr. Cisneros and the accomplice with the rank of general can answer these questions.

In addition to trafficking in women and in children (or in parts of children), top military commanders stationed to "contain" the zapatistas, also do a large business in drug trafficking. Up until February 1995, when the zapatistas had complete control of the "conflict zone," drug traffickers found themselves prevented from using the Selva Lacandona as a "springboard" to the United States. And the planting, trafficking and use of narcotics in that area was reduced to zero. But when the army "recovered national sovereignty," the great drug lords of Mexico and South America reached an "understanding" with the generals. In addition, the planting of marijuana and opium have proliferated since then, with the landing strips operating at their maximum under military control. International drug trafficking, thus, has a territory where only their partners, the military, are able to enter. The cut the generals get from this operation is not small.

It is not just the military that is doing business thanks to this shameful war. The federal and state governments are also enriching themselves through the militarization. The large investments in housing for soldiers and in barracks has a hidden beneficiary, the brother of Ernesto Zedillo Ponce de Leo'n (Name: Rodolfo Zedillo Ponce de Leo'n) (Figures from "Debate. South-Southeast" #2 March, 1999), who is the owner of the building company that is constructing the complex housing, torture centers, warehouses and command posts for the federal army in Chiapas. Ernesto Zedillo's father is in charge of the electrical facilities for these barracks through his "Electric Systems S.A. of C.V." company.

How can the militarization be stopped if this will mean that Zedillo's family would lose an important source of income? The "wellbeing" of Ernesto Zedillo Ponce de Leo'n's "family" is being nurtured with indigenous blood.

The "Croquetas" Albores is not being left behind. According to a denunciation by State PAN Deputy Cal y Mayor, the product ("school breakfasts" they call them) that the Chiapas DIF is distributing to 675,000 children is made with "soy fodder pasta," and it needs additives such as "sodium metabisulfite and sulfur for texturizing." The "Abasto Global S.A. of C .V." company is the one distributing them, and it is the property of Albores Guille'n through false names. The State government paid 1.56 pesos for each breakfast to this company, which was created on February 17, 1998 for "the purchase, sale and commercial representation of agricultural, agro-livestock and industrial products."

If you have not become fed up yet, then turn the page and learn about...

THE PARAMILITARIES

In the Chamber of Deputies, Attorney General Jorge Madrazo Cuellar admitted that there are 15 "probably armed" civil organizations operating in Chiapas: The Chinchulines, Peace and Justice, Abu-Xu', My Brother's Keeper, To'mas Mu'nzer, MIRA, Tzaes, Guaches, Pates, Botes, Xoxepes, Xiles and Los Mecos, all of them from the municipality of Polho', in addition to the Bartolome' de Los Llanos, Armed Forces of the Peoples, House of the People, OCEZ-CNPA, First Force and Red Mask. "Except for references in the press, there is no other kind of proof or evidence regarding the groups called MIRA, To'mas Mu'nzer, First Force and Red Mask."

The history of paramilitaries in Chiapas goes back to 1995. When the federal government offensive of February of that year failed - and seeing the loss of prestige it brought to the government forces - Zedillo opted for activating various paramilitary groups. The person in charge was General Mario Rena'n Castillo, who had already translated into English the North American manual that recommends the use of civilians for fighting insurgent forces. A noted alumnus of the United States school for counterinsurgency, Rena'n Castillo set about selecting a group of military personnel for training, direction and equipping. The Department of Social Development (SEDESOL) put up the money, and the "soldiers" were chiapaneco PRI's.

"Peace and Justice" was the name thought up by these military men for the first of these groups. Their area of operation is the northern part of the state of Chiapas, and their legal impunity is such that they control all movement in that area. Nothing nor anyone enters or leaves that region without the "authorization" of "Peace and Justice." These paramilitaries have not a few "combat trophies": nothing less than the attempted killing of the Bishops Samuel Ruiz Garci'a and Rau'l Vera Lo'pez, dozens of assassinated indigenous, dozens of women raped and thousands of displaced.

But the "achievements" of "Peace and Justice" pale in comparison with those of their younger brother: "Red Mask." Prepared and trained to operate in Los Altos of Chiapas, Red Mask has the trophy of the Acteal killings, on December 22, 1997. The paramilitaries outdid the Guatemalan Kaibils in that "action." "Red Mask's" operations have led to the existence of almost 8000 war displaced in Chenalho' alone.

The success of "Peace and Justice" and "Red Mask" encouraged the army to arm another group, now assigned to the Selva Lacandona: the "Anti-Zapatista Indigenous Revolutionary Movement" (MIRA). The MIRA has had no military successes other than the killing of some indigenous, and their primary function is to lend themselves to the "zapatista deserters" theater mounted by the "Croquetas" Albores Guille'n. The "Croquetas" did not want to be left behind, and he founded the paramilitary group, "Albores of Chiapas," which has very versatile functions: the very rounding up of indigenous for demonstrations in "support of Governor Albores," dislocating campesinos or summarily executing those pointed out by the pezu~a who resides in the government palace in Tuxtla Gutie'rrez.

The actions by the military and paramilitaries requires the "accompaniment" of other forces. And so, go on to the next section and read...

THE OTHER PERSECUTED

The work of the military and paramilitaries is complemented by the local caciques. In Tuxtla Gutie'rrez, chiapaneco PRI businesspersons presented the substitute Albores with the so-called Social Foundation for Chiapas, A.C. Gasoline businessman Constantino Narva'ez Rinco'n is the President of the Foundation, and the collection campaign coordinator is Mari'a Elena Noriega Malo. This foundation is trying to collect 200 million pesos, between the government of the state of Chiapas and businesspersons in the state and in the country, in order to deal comprehensively with nutrition, education and health of the residents of the 134 highly marginalized communities belonging to the seven newly created municipalities. The businesspersons added that they have experience in similar campaigns in other countries. The allegedly independent organization's program supports the official Redistricting program and the Law for Indigenous Rights and Culture proposed by the substitute, the "Croquetas" Albores Guille'n.

Nonetheless, in an article by Lourdes Galaz, titled "Netwar Against the EZLN," published in La Jornada newspaper, it indicates that the Foundation's objectives derive from "The Advent of Netwar" project (1996), created by analysts from the Institute of Research for National Defense in Santa Monica, California in the United States, John Arquilla and David Rondfeldt.

The article notes that, in some political and academic circles, they are warning that the Zedillo government had already defined a position for confronting the problem of the zapatista guerrillas in Chiapas. The strategy of the netwar is focused on analyzing, containing, isolating, destroying and immobilizing social networks, as well as those of drug traffickers, terrorists and criminal groups. According to this, the strategy should focus, not just on the EZLN, but on all the organizations, fronts and individuals who form part of zapatismo's broad net of support. The analysts recommended that all kinds of actions and tactics should be imposed, from the classical ones of counterinsurgency (harassment, threats, psychological actions, kidnappings, attacks by paramilitary groups, individual executions, etcetera) to campaigns of disinformation, espionage and the creation of NGO's financed by the government in order to counterbalance the independent ones (tied to the net), among others.

Consequently, the ones who are being most closely watched, in this war which refuses to say its name, are not the criminals who swarm about, most especially in the government palace. Those who are being watched most carefully, and whom they are lying in wait for, are human rights defenders. People who are working in the chiapaneco NGO's, in the Mexican Academy of Human Rights, in the Mexican Commission for the Defense and Promotion of Human Rights, A.C., in the Miguel Agusti'n Pro Human Rights Center, and, in general, those who form part of the "All Rights for Everyone" network, are the targets of surveillance, harassment and death threats.

The fact that human rights defenders are considered as a military objective in this war is not an accident. To the Mexican government, the risk in this war is not the death and destruction it causes, but that it be known. And this is the problem with human rights defenders: they do not remain silent in front of injustices and arbitrary acts.

But, if there are threats, persecution and harassment for Mexican human rights defenders, there are lies for international observers.

The Mexican federal army, whose war machinery in Chiapas is obvious, tries, ineffectively, to appear to the public as "social workers." The following are "pearls" captured by an excellent alternative news service
(NUEVO AMANECER PRESS - EUROPA. Darrin Wood, Director. dwood@encomix.es):

"VII MILITARY REGION
Tuxtla Gutie'rrez, Chiapas, September 11, 1999.
WITHIN THE FRAMEWORK OF COADVISEMENT WITH THE STATE OF CHIAPAS, TROOPS STATIONED IN THE VII MILITARY REGION CARRIED OUT THE FOLLOWING ACTIVITIES YESTERDAY...8 HAIRCUTS..."
{Department of National Defense communique']

"VII MILITARY REGION
Tuxtla Gutie'rrez, Chiapas, September 12, 1999.
AS PART OF THE ACTIVITIES CARRIED OUT BY TROOPS IN THE VII MILITARY REGION, IN ORDER TO GUARANTEE WELLBEING AND SECURITY IN DIFFERENT COMMUNITIES IN THE STATE OF CHIAPAS, THE FOLLOWING ACTIVITIES WERE CARRIED OUT YESTERDAY...6 HAIRCUTS..."
{Department of National Defense Communique']

"VII MILITARY REGION
Tuxtla Gutie'rrez, Chiapas, September 22, 1999.
CONTINUING WITH ACTIVITIES CARRIED OUT IN ORDER TO GUARANTEE SECURITY AND PROVIDE WELLBEING FOR THE COMMUNITIES OF THE STATE OF CHIAPAS, THE FOLLOWING ACTIONS WERE TAKEN YESTERDAY...6 HAIRCUTS..."
{Department of National Defense communique']

"VII MILITARY REGION
Tuxtla Gutie'rrez, Chiapas, September 23, 1999.
TROOPS STATIONED IN THE VII MILITARY REGION CONTINUED SUPORTING THE GOVERNMENT OF THE STATE OF CHIAPAS AND CARRYING OUT SOCIAL WORK ACTIVITIES IN AID TO THE CIVIL POPULATION IN VARIOUS REGIONS OF THE STATE, CARRYING OUT THE FOLLOWING ACTIVITIES YESTERDAY...5 HAIRCUTS..."
[Department of National Defense communique'].

"VII MILITARY REGION
Tuxtla Gutie'rrez, Chiapas, September 24, 1999.
WITHIN THE FRAMEWORK OF AID TO THE CIVIL POPULATION AND THE SUPPORT IT LENDS TO THE GOVERNMENT OF THE STATE OF CHIAPAS, TROOPS OF THE VII MILITARY REGION YESTERDAY CARRIED OUT, IN DIFFERENT REGIONS IN THE STATE, THE FOLLOWING ACTIVITIES...7 HAIRCUTS..."
[Department of National Defense communique'].

Yes, you read correctly, in five days, the more than 60,000 soldiers quartered in Chiapas carried out the social work ...haircuts! Yes, you are right, they are the most expensive and the bloodiest haircuts in the history of humanity.

This pamphlet ends with this "humanitarian" image of the army in Chiapas. If you are a high commissioner of the UN, and you are visiting our country, do not be surprised that none of this coincides with the deplorable artifice the Mexican government has staged. It so happens that the lie is also a weapon. It remains to be seen whether or not you shall surrender, or, as the indigenous here teach, you will resist the lie.

Everything I have related here is true. It can be confirmed directly or by consulting news reports. Even so, it does not reflect the totality of the horror that this war means.

But what is surprising is not this gigantic war machine destroying, assassinating and persecuting more than a million indigenous. No, what is really extraordinary and marvelous is that it is, and it will be, in vain. Despite of it, the zapatistas not only do not surrender nor are defeated, they even grow and become stronger. As they say in these mountains, the zapatistas have a very powerful and indestructible weapon: the word.

Good, I shall say goodbye now, Madame. That is how things are here. It does not matter what the evil characters swarming about the state departments, embassies and consulates say to you, tell you or show you. This is the truth. But, if you do not believe me, come and confirm it personally. You will know you have arrived if you look towards those of above and you realize that what abounds are tanks, military checkpoints, police interrogation by immigration agents, barracks, liquor stores, the lie.

Do not forget to also look towards those of below, there you will realize that light can also be dark and very short, that there are those who must conceal their faces in order to be seen and who must hide themselves in order to show themselves.

But if any of these facts do not confirm that you have arrived - because there are certainly many corners of history that are painted like that, above and below - we have thought to facilitate your visit. At the entrance you will see a not very large sign, with colored and clumsily written letters, that says: "Welcome to Zapatista Territory, the last corner of rebel dignity." And do not think that the "last corner" is meant historically, or in terms of constancy, because certainly the world guards many corners for their rebel dignity, and they are all constant. When we say we are the "last corner," we only mean that we are the smallest...

Vale.
Salud and, if you come, we will be waiting for you, even when we are no longer here. Travel with caution, because it is very easy to come to these lands, what is difficult is leaving.

From the Mountains of the Mexican Southeast.
For the Clandestine Revolutionary Indigenous Committee
- General Command of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation.

Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos.
La Realidad at War.
Mexico, November of 1999.

P.S. THAT WARNS. - Ah! I forgot. Be very careful when you come to rebel lands. It so happens that, since January 1, 1994, the law of gravity was abolished here, and it often happens that, at some daybreaks, the moon disrobes and shows herself as she really is, that is, one of the apples that defied Newton...


Originally published in Spanish by the EZLN __________________________ Translated by irlandesa

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