We denounce the repression unleashed against our rebel and autonomous communities

We Demand the Release of Miguel Hernandez Sanchez, and We Ask that the Safety of Joaquin Hernandez Guzman be Respected

Ricardo Flores Magon Autonomous Municipality in Rebellion

June 3, 1999
Chiapas, Mexico

Brothers and Sisters: Once more we greet your hearts from this corner of the Selva Lacandona, hoping you are well and with strength in order to continue forward in the search for dignity, liberty, justice and democracy for all. Once more we find ourselves obliged to make a call, in order to denounce the repression, harassment and low intensity warfare that is being unleashed against our rebel and autonomous communities of our Ricardo Flores Magon Autonomous Municipality.

A very serious and worrisome case has occurred, with the violent and illegal entrance of Public Security and judicial forces, supported by members of the Federal Army, into the predio and home of Don Joaquin Hernandez Guzman, who was not there (for reasons that we shall explain further along). Once the house was surrounded, they began shouting: Joaquin! Joaquin, leave or we'll kick your ass out of there! Joaquin, however, was not there that day, since he had left to visit one of his sons, who lives in a nearby community. Because of this, no one came out, and they entered the house violently, kicking and hitting his wife, Anita Sanchez Vallinas, with the butts of their rifles, as well as his his daughter, Sara Hernandez Sanchez, and his son, Miguel Hernandez Sanchez, who were asleep inside. The police and judicial forces removed these people from the house without giving any explanation whatsoever about the operation, and beating Miguel to the ground. Sara and Anita protested, and the police grabbed them and slapped them, and then finished off Miguel, kicking him in the ribs and leaving him semi-conscious. The judicial police came into the house, searching through everything, and they took a CB radio and another lateral band one that the family had in cases of emergency or illness, since they are some distance from the communities. Public Security, the Army and the judicial police were accompanied by PRI officials from El Censo Ejido, to whom Joaquin's land belongs. Among these persons were the Municipal Agent, Ignacio Silbano Gutierrez, and his substitute, Pablo Torrez Flores. Amidst blows, confusion and insults, they dragged Miguel to their very little trucks, where they took him prisoner, and ended by threatening the women that they would leave their faces and bodies black and blue.

In the morning, we learned through the news that Miguel was being accused of being a highway robber, of having kidnapped a minor girl of twelve years of age, and other, equally false, charges that had been fabricated by the PRI's from that ejido. It is well known that Joaquin's family has done a good job on their land, they have fine coffee plants and fields, and that they are a hard-working and good family. This family has also been systematically harassed by the police forces and the PRI's there, seriously violating their rights and damaging their belongings. Because of this, in 1995 they moved, in order to live on their land, since they could no longer live in peace in the community of El Censo, as demonstrated by the following incidents:

At the time that the Federal Army entered our indigenous communities, on February 9, 1995, Joaquin's home was essentially harassed, as was his family, until, on July 3 of that year, when Public Security police invaded his land in El Censo Ejido, where they remained for close to a year, until June 16, 1996. Because of this, the family had to take refuge in the mountains, without being able to work during that entire period. When Public Security abandoned the place, the PRI's from the ejido and from other villages, protested over the police's departure, and, on that very day, they entered onto Don Joaquin's plot and into his house, stealing all his belongings and destroying the buildings. For this reason, the family opted to withdraw from the community, and to live on their plot.

Later, in 1998, the violence and harassment against this family intensified once more, following the destruction and repression unleashed by the Federal Army, the Public Security police, the judicial police and the PRI paramilitaries in the MIRA (Anti-Zapatista Indigenous Revolutionary Movement), against this Autonomous Municipality - and especially against the municipal seat of Taniperla, on April 10 of last year. This family was once more harassed by the police and paramilitaries, who patrolled close by their new residence, and who were constantly threatening them. Under the protection of the Army, the paramilitaries began being trained, until, in July, a murder attempt was made against Joaquin. One night, strangers entered his land, just a few meters from his house, and fired several times at the house with a 22-caliber rifle, while the family was sleeping. These incidents were denounced in detail at the time they occurred. Because of this, we are making an urgent call for this case to be investigated, and for an end to the violence that has been unleashed against this family. We also demand an end to the torrent of repression, persecution, harassment and injustice that is being waged against the members who make up this Municipality, as we have been lately, and urgently, denouncing.

We ask that this denuncia please be published, that the whereabouts of Miguel Hernandez Sanchez (as far as we know, he is in the Ocosingo jail) be investigated; and that some statement be made that will end this silent and dirty war being waged against us. Brothers and sisters, our hope is in you.

Ricardo Flores Magon Autonomous Municipality in Rebellion
Autonomous Council - (Municipal seal)

Originally published in Spanish by Enlace Civil A.C.
Translated by irlandesa
Date:   Friday, June 11, 1999
From:   enlacecivil-l@laneta.apc.org

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