Re: Mexican Army is Attacking La Realidad

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Posted by rdom on January 04, 1998 at 14:47:04:

In Reply to: Re: Mexican Army is Attacking La Realidad posted by rdom on January 04, 1998 at 14:43:23:

MEXICAN ARMY MOVES ON ZAPATISTAS: Compilation of NCDM Reports for January 3

Below are 6 reports issued today by the U.S. based National Commission for
Democracy in Mexico (NCDM) on recent troop movements in Chiapas aimed at
the Zapatistas. While other reports have emerged today from other sources,
these below are a good sampling and give a sense of how perception of
events developed over the course of the afternoon. What at first appeared
to be an occupation of La Realidad changed as troops apparently returned to
their base. (La Realidad is one of the Zapatista's Centers of Resistance,
the site of numerous public meetings including 1996's First
Intercontinental Encuentro Against Neoliberalism and For Humanity that drew
4,000 people from around the world.)

It is still unclear what these latest troop movement mean. Are they the
first step toward a concerted military strike against the Zapatista high
command? Or are they a further tightening of the noose and continuation of
the policy of low intensity conflict? These troop movements fall on the
heals of the recent Chenalho massacre (Dec. 22) in which 45 indigenous
people (mostly women and children) were massacred by paramilitaries.

This massacre rekindled the global pro-Zapatista movement. There were
demonstrations immediately following. In the United States January 2 was a
National Day of Action. There are plans for actions on January 12 in
Mexico. Barcelona activists have called for protests on January 11. And I
believe, although this is unconfirmed, that the NCDM, in response to these
recent troop movements, has called for there to be actions on Monday,
January 4. In Montreal on January 4 there will be a demonstration.

Now is the time for our collective imagination to unfold.

- Stefan Wray (

PS: Please send me email addresses and fax numbers for Mexican consulates,
embassies, and appropriate government officials inside Mexico.

1. Urgent Release!!!!! 12:21:27 -0800 (PST)
2. Reuters Report 13:37:46 -0800 (PST)
3. FZLN Advisory 15:11:40 -0800 (PST)
4. Urgent Update 16:33:44 -0800 (PST)
5. Report from SPAN 19:08:47 -0800 (PST)
6. AP Report 21:03:58 -0800 (PST)

(1) Date: Sat, 3 Jan 1998 12:21:27 -0800 (PST)


We have just received notice from a reliable source that the federal Army in
Mexico has apparently moved into and taken at least LA REALIDAD and
possibly OVENTIC. The people in
San Cristobal urge everyone to take immediate action to notify as many
people as possible.
Please keep in contact for further information.

(2) Date: Sat, 3 Jan 1998 13:37:46 -0800 (PST)

Mexican army said to occupy key Zapatista territory
03:03 p.m Jan 03, 1998 Eastern

SAN CRISTOBAL DE LAS CASAS, Mexico, Jan 3 (Reuters) - The Mexican army
has occupied key territory held by Zapatista guerrillas in a new sign of
rising tension in the troubled state of Chiapas, a witness and peace
mediators said on Saturday.

The peace negotiating team known as Conai, which is generally seen as
pro-Zapatista, told Reuters the army has occupied La Realidad, the
mountain hideaway of Zapatista leader Subcommander Marcos. One purported
eyewitness, a medical doctor, also told Reuters the army had moved in.

(3) Date: Sat, 3 Jan 1998 15:11:40 -0800 (PST)


Companeros and companeras of all Mexico and the world:
Minutes ago the news was confirmed about the situation in Chiapas and
unfortunately, they are negative :

The federal army has occupied the village of La Realidad in Chiapas through
a deployment supported with airplanes and helicopters. We do not have, for
the moment more information about the actual situation there.

The other news is that 40 indigenous companeros who were transporting
humanitarian aid from Oventic to Polho were detained by a paramilitary group
of the PRI, who stated they would keep them as hostages until those detained
in the massacres of Acteal were released.

These events are the first measures adopted by the government after the
changes made in the presidential cabinet, of which the most outstanding is
the change of Governance Secretary ( and Interior Minister) Emilio Chuayffet
who resigned and was replaced by Francisco Labastida Ochoa. The first
declarations of Labastida Ochoa in regards to Chiapas were that the
resolution would be found when the agreements were fulfilled and all groups
were disarmed: it seems the order chosen by the government is the opposite one.

It is not necessary to emphasize the urgency of the tasks of solidarity. We
must stop the war! Punishment for those responsible for the massacre of
Acteal! Immediate fulfillment of the San Andres Sacam'chen of the Poor,
demilitarization of the indigenous communities. Disarmament and dismantling
of all paramilitary groups.
We will continue to keep you informed
Javier Elorriaga
for the International Commission of the FZLN

(4) Date: Sat, 3 Jan 1998 16:33:44 -0800 (PST)

The NCDM has just received word from Enlace Civil (4:20pm Pacific Time) that
La Realidad is being occupied by the Mexican military and it is beleived
that the Aguascalientes of Morelia and La Garrucha are now occupied as well.
They also reported that all 5 of the Zapatistas' Aguascalientes are
surrounded by the Mexican Federal Army.

Enlace Civil also reported a caravan of reporters are now en route to these
areas in order to confirm these reports and evaluate the situation.

We hope that there will be some type of statement or communique released by
the Zapatistas in the next few hours. We will update you as soon as we
receive more new information.


(5) Date: Sat, 3 Jan 1998 19:08:47 -0800 (PST)


Officials of Mexico and the United States:

International news media and human-rights sources are saying that the
Mexican Army has occupied Las Margaritas, and with helicopters and
airplanes has entered and later withdrew from La Realidad in Chiapas,
Mexico, zone of the general command of the EZLN (Ejercito Zapatista
Liberacion Nacional). They also say that the five Aguascalientes Zones in
Chiapas, inhabited by Zapatista supporters, have also been surrounded by
the Mexican military.

This threatening assault, even if a symbolic action, is contrary to the
conditional amnesty granted to members of the EZLN in 1995 in the pursuit
of peace negotations begun since the indigenous uprising in January 1994.

You all have power in some form or other to demand peaceful rather than
military solutions to the terrible oppressive conditions that the
indigenous people of Chiapas must live under in the presence of the
military and paramilitary assaults, including the Acteal massacre, assaults
known to be supported by the ruling governing party -- the Institutional
Revolutionary Party (PRI).

The military action is also contrary to the statements of the new
Secretario de Gobernacion (Secretary of the Interior), Francisco Labastida
Ochoa, made today that he would seek a peaceful, negotiated solution to the
extraordinary difficulties in Chiapas. Reports also say that some commands
were heard in English in Las Margaritas, which suggests the possibility of
U.S. involvement.

I urge you all to use the power in your command to do all that is possible
to end the military and paramilitary hostilities ongoing in Chiapas and to
continue to course of peaceful negotiations so that terrible conditions of
oppression in Chiapas may be eased and even lifted.

Rev. Wes Rehberg, Ph.D.
SPAN/--Strategic Pastoral Action
& Shoestrings & Grace
Wes Rehberg, Ph.D.
+607-546-2250, phone & fax

(6) Date: Sat, 3 Jan 1998 21:03:58 -0800 (PST)

c The Associated Press

Troops in LaRealidad

LA REALIDAD, Mexico (AP) - Troops in jeeps mounted with machine guns took
up positions on the
outskirts of this rebel stronghold Saturday, in an apparent show of force that
stirred fear among villagers of a possible attack.

Townspeople said it was the military's most formidable display around La
Realidad since the Zapatista National Liberation Army began its rebellion
exactly four years ago, seeking improved living standards for Chiapas state's
largely impoverished Indians.

Frightened villagers packed up their belongings and cooked food in case they
had to flee.

``The people of the community are ready to leave. They already packed their
bags,'' said Mirlenka Montano, 22, a member of a Mexico City University group
helping Indians in the area.

But villagers later decided to remain in La Realidad, considered a base of
support for the rebels and the site frequently used by rebel leaders to make
public pronouncements.

``They (soldiers) have never come so close. They drive through town but they
never stop,'' said Ramon Gutierrez, a 45-year-old farmer. ``We had a meeting
this afternoon because we think the army wants to take the town but we have
decided to stay. If that's what they want they can finish us all off.''

The troops are among thousands posted in Chiapas, Mexico's southernmost and
poorest state, to maintain order since the rebel uprising. Tensions in the
region have heightened since the Dec. 22 massacre of 45 Indians in another
Chiapas community by gunmen allied with the governing Institutional
Revolutionary Party.

Earlier Saturday, soldiers fanned out into the mountains around this jungle
village and searched any farmers they came upon, villagers said.

At one point, several dozen villagers walked to where the soldiers were
stationed. One man said, ``Let's run them out. There are enough of us.'' But
others talked him out of it. The townspeople said they believed the soldiers
would attack in the night.

But the soldiers, aboard 26 vehicles, maintained their posts for several hours
then around nightfall returned to their base, about 10 miles west.

Military officials denied there was any violence in the area.

The military had patrols in the area searching for illegal arms but ``there
was no harassment or confrontation of any sort'' in La Realidad, said a top
government official who spoke on condition of anonymity.

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