The facts, all the facts


The following are 3 important denuncias from the Ricardo Flores Mago'n Autonomous Municipality. The first is an overview and background to the planning and execution of a series of paramilitary attacks in the community. The second is a minute-by-minute account of the events surrounding the paramilitary attack in Amaytik, which left two autonomous authorities killed, and it stands in stark contradiction to the statements by the state government. The third, equally important, has to do with the facts surrounding the fabrication by the government and media of a "confrontation" in Arroyo Granizo, which received local and national coverage. It is most instructive - irl


[#1]

Ricardo Flores Mago'n Autonomous Municipality in Rebellion
August 28, 2002.

To the People of Mexico
To the Peoples of the World
To National and International Civil Society

Brothers and Sisters:

Today, as yesterday, we are being subjected to threats, militarization, death and persecution, and because of all of that we are denouncing the climate of violence which the bad federal and state governments have been provoking in our lands.

1. - Two months ago, paramilitary groups, organized and coordinated by OPDIC, began an offensive against the Autonomous Municipality, which has included attacks by armed paramilitaries against zapatista support bases, ambushes of autonomous and zapatista authorities, assassination attempts and a campaign of lies, in order to cause division and confusion throughout the area.

2. - Included in this series of attacks have been attacks by paramilitaries from San Antonio Escobar in La Culebra Ejido, attacks on Autonomous Municipality checkpoints, unsuccessful ambushes in the Ejidos of Monte Li'bano, Lacando'n, San Antonio Escobar, Nueva Esperanza, Yaxala, Jardi'n and Santo Domingo. Lastly, the attack by paramilitaries in the Amaytic ranch, in which two authorities of this Autonomous Municipality were assassinated.

3. - Today, the paramilitaries, organized and advised by OPDIC, with the support and protection of the federal Army and Public Security, are feeling strong, and now they are planning an attack of greater magnitude against the Autonomous Municipality and its authorities. The paramilitaries have been holding clandestine meetings over the last few weeks, gathering together people from various ejidos, and they have been making continuous threats against the zapatista autonomous authorities.

4. - Public Security has been accompanying and protecting these paramilitary groups in their different actions, as demonstrated by the attack at Amaytic ranch, where Public Security covered the paramilitaries' withdrawal. Using this as a pretext, Public Security has increased their patrols and harassment of support bases.

5. These paramilitary attacks, the military movements and the police have caused the displacement of many zapatista support base families, who are in refuge today, and who have lost all their belongings. At the present time we do not know how serious this displacement is.

6. The federal and state governments have not done anything to stop these paramilitary attacks or to see that justice is served. On the contrary, these groups continue to benefit from the impunity provided them by the government and from the support they are receiving through different programs.

7. The federal government has taken advantage of the situation of confusion and disinformation which the media has created with the paramilitary attacks, and they have increased the presence of the federal Army throughout the territory of Ricardo Flores Mago'n. They have also reactivated the low overflights of helicopters above the communities in resistance.

8. On August 26, 45 military vehicles entered this autonomous territory, with approximately 1500 federal soldiers, explosives and military materiel. The federal Army informed the media that it was troop replacements, which is completely false, since only 500 troops left this territory, leaving one thousand more troops reinforcing the military barracks at Ocotalito, Monte Li'bano, Taniperlas, San Caralampio and Calvario.

9. This increase in federal soldiers and military movements by the army, in the midst of the paramilitary attacks, has caused greater confusion, and the population fears a paramilitary attack or a military operation against the communities in resistance.

We are denouncing these situations which are causing violence and suffering within our territories, which are dividing communities and creating conditions which could provoke a confrontation. We are noting the bad federal and state governments as being responsible for all of these incidents, and we are denouncing OPDIC as the paramilitary group which they have been supporting, using and protecting in order to cover up their counterinsurgency objectives.

This, Brothers and Sisters, is the reality and the suffering which we, the men, children, old ones and women, are experiencing today, for the simple fact of fighting for dignity, for being real zapatistas and for not surrendering in our just struggle.

Liberty, Justice and Democracy.

Autonomous Council

[Signature and seal]

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[#2]

Ricardo Flores Mago'n Autonomous Municipality in Rebellion

To the People of Mexico
To the Peoples of the World
To National and International Civil Society
To Human Rights Organizations

Brothers and Sisters:

Today we are releasing the facts about the incidents which took place during the paramilitary attack in which two of our companero authorities of this Autonomous Municipality lost their lives. The following are the facts and results of the investigations by the Municipality:

On the 21st of August, the Autonomous Council sent, to the Amaytic ranch, a summons to the families of Herna'ndez Gutie'rrez and Gutie'rrez Espinosa, to seek a resolution to the problem of Juana Cruz' having contracted marriage with Manuel Gutie'rrez Herna'ndez and abandonment of his wife. The authorities set the date of August 25 in the autonomous school of the Amaytic ranch.

Between the 21st and 25th of August, when the group of PRIs in the community found out that the autonomous authorities would be coming to the community, several extraordinary meetings were held after six in the evening, and several PRIs from that ranch traveled to the communities of Pe~a Limonar and Cuahutemoc where they met with paramilitaries from OPDIC. It was at these meetings where these paramilitaries planned the attack against the autonomous authorities.

On August 25 at 9 AM, the Vocal of the Autonomous Council, Lorenzo Marti'nez Espinosa, reached the Amaytic ranch, and he met in the Autonomous school with the Autonomous Agent for the Amaytic ranch, Jacinto Herna'ndez Gutie'rrez. The family of Juana Herna'ndez Cruz was already there

When the paramilitaries discovered that the authorities had arrived, they began the first movement, and a group of 20 paramilitaries went to the autonomous school, among them being Se~or Domingo Gutie'rrez Espinosa, the father of the husband who had fled, and Santiago Herna'ndez Pe'rez, the PRI Auxiliary Agent. These group began insulting the autonomous authorities, and they demanded that their agent be present in the resolution of the problem. They said that Domingo would not go in to the meeting until it was his turn to speak.

The autonomous authorities became fed up with the insults, and they accepted the demands by the PRIs, so that the problem could be resolved. The group of PRIs stayed outside the school, along with Domingo Gutie'rrez. At that moment, a second paramilitary mobilization began. Warnings began to be given in several houses. The meeting continued for an hour, and Lorenzo left the School in order to ask Domingo to come in and give his part. When Lorenzo came out, the group of 20 paramilitaries grabbed him and began beating him.

A group of 7 support bases who were nearby saw what was going on, and they tried to help Lorenzo, but a new group of 10 paramilitaries appeared. They were armed with clubs and a shotgun, and they joined the group which was already at the school. When the Autonomous Agent came out to help Lorenzo, they grabbed him as well.

Jacinto Herna'ndez Gutie'rrez was held down by Gaspar Herna'ndez Pe'rez and by Jacinto Herna'ndez Pe'rez. Once they had him immobilized, the PRI agent, Santiago Herna'ndez Pe'rez, struck him a blow to his head, which rendered him unconscious and caused his death half an hour later. The beating continued until some support bases managed to take away some sticks, and they struck the paramilitaries in order to take Jacinto's body to his house, where he did not recover.

Lorenzo was unable to get away from the paramilitaries. Camilo Herna'ndez Vallinas, Alfredo Herna'ndez Vallinas and Nicola's Herna'ndez Pe'rez held Lorenzo down, so that Herna'ndez Vallinas, from less than three meters away, could take out his 16 caliber shotgun and fire at Lorenzo's chest, who was killed immediately. The same shot wounded one of the paramilitaries who was holding Lorenzo down.

Once the paramilitaries had carried out their objective, assassinating the autonomous authorities, they left, and they got their families ready to leave the community. Twenty minutes later, the Public Security police stationed at Pe~a Limonar. Arrived. They picked up Lorenzo's body, and covered the paramilitaries' withdrawal, who took refuge in Pe~a Limonar. The same Public Security allowed, and covered, the withdrawal of the wounded paramilitaries to the city of Palenque, so that they could receive medical attention.

In the city of Palenque, these paramilitaries tried to pass themselves off as civil society, even as the Yomblej organization. This group received advisement in Palenque from paramilitaries in OPDIC, through Ricardo Di'az Demesa ( an OPDIC member). These paramilitaries said they were attacked by more than 30 armed zapatistas, and that the same zapatistas had killed their compa~eros. This is all completely false, and the Yomblej Organization itself has refused to recognize these persons, and it is against the assassinations and violent attacks which this paramilitary group has carried out.

Yesterday, August 27, after the bad governments had been pressured to return the body of our compa~ero Lorenzo, Ocosingo Public Security left Lorenzo's body in the Community of Nueva Esperanza. The body was uncovered in the presence of human rights organizations, where it was confirmed that he had been killed by a shotgun wound to the chest. The body was delivered by Public Security in a humiliating condition. An autopsy had been done on our compa~ero, and he was returned in a very mistreated state, nude and putrefying.

The paramilitaries who attacked and assassinated our compa~eros, and who have been currently and fully identified, are:

Jacinto Herna'ndez Vallinas
Santiago Herna'ndez Pe'rez
Alfredo Herna'ndez Vallinas
Gaspar Herna'ndez Vallinas
Jacinto Pe'rez Herna'ndez
Santiago Herna'ndez Vallinas
Camilo Herna'ndez Vallinas
Nicola's Herna'ndez Pe'rez
Nicola's Herna'ndez Espinoza
Simo'n Herna'ndez Gutie'rrez
Nicola's Gutie'rrez Espinoza
Domingo Gutie'rrez Espinoza

[The rest of the paramilitaries who participated in the attack have yet to be identified]

We hold:

1. It was not a confrontation, it was a paramilitary attack against the Autonomous Authorities.

2. It was a premeditated attack, with OPDIC paramilitaries acting as advisors who have been holding meetings for some time with the groups that are against the Autonomous Municipality.

3. Public Security was aware of the attack. They covered up the paramilitaries' withdrawal, and they are giving them protection today.

4. This attack is related to those attacks which paramilitary groups from OPDIC have been carrying out, and whose objective is to assassinate the authorities of the Autonomous Municipality and the authorities of the EZLN.

5. We are holding the state and federal governments responsible for using the paramilitary groups as part of a counterinsurgency strategy, and, therefore, as being responsible for these deaths and attacks.

6. We demand that the assassins be delivered into the hands of the autonomous authorities in order that justice may be served.

This is the information we have thus far, and the points which we are making public. We shall continue providing information on these paramilitary actions and attacks which are provoking tension and violence in our lands.

AUTONOMOUS COUNCIL

[Seal and signature]

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[#3]

Ricardo Flores Mago'n Autonomous Municipality in Rebellion
August 29, 2002.
Chiapas, Mexico.

To the People of Mexico.
To the Peoples of the World.
To National and International Civil Society.

Sisters and Brothers:

New campaigns of disinformation and lies against us are being waged in the media. Organizing and creating problems with paramilitary groups is not enough for the federal and state governments, now they are also inventing things.

The state government and the media have been talking about a confrontation between zapatistas and OPDIC in the community of Arroyo Granizo, in which several PRIs were purportedly seriously wounded. We are stating that this information is completely untrue. It is a fabrication by the government and the paramilitaries in order to continue their campaign against the EZLN and the Autonomous Municipality.

The facts which they used as a pretext for fabricating a confrontation, and the manner in which they were fabricated, are the following:

1. Benjami'n Vela'squez Mendoza, a member of OPDIC, has, on several occasions, beaten up a zapatista support base, who is a minor. The autonomous authorities, elected in assembly by an ejidal majority, had not been able to catch him in order to enforce the law, precisely in order to avoid problems with the paramilitaries from OPDIC.

2. On the afternoon of August 25, Benjami'n Vela'squez once again beat up this minor child. The young man's uncle could no longer contain his anger, and he went to complain to Benjamin and ask him why he was beating up his nephew who was a minor. Benjami'n began insulting the uncle, who struck him one single time, rendering him unconscious.

3. The OPDIC PRIs took him to Santo so that he could receive medical attention, and they were unable to obtain treatment. They returned to Arroyo Granizo, where Benjami'n received medical treatment from the health promoter.

4. The blow was not at all serious, it left him unconscious for just a few minutes, and Benjami'n recovered a few hours later with no problems.

5. The minor's uncle was detained by the autonomous authorities themselves, who reprimanded him, fined him, and made him commit to paying for Benjami'n's medical expenses, as well as for the travel costs to Palenque for his medical check-up.

6. The matter had already been resolved, but, on the following day, August 26, OPDIC leaders, along with the Arroyo Granizo radio operator, Alberto Herna'ndez Di'az, came to advise the Granizo PRIs in order to make the problem out to be greater than it was and to fabricate a confrontation.

7. And so these persons did that, and they began calling the state government, saying that there had been a confrontation with the zapatistas, and that there had been serious injuries. In the afternoon, the Secretary of Indian Affairs for the State, Porfirio Encino, arrived in the community, who went and met with the paramilitaries.

8. The paramilitaries, led by Pluricarpio Jime'nez Sa'nchez (false ejidal commissioner) presented Benjami'n, but also Juan Jime'nez Sa'nchez, Jero'nimo Go'mez Luna and Mariano Va'zquez Guzma'n, as having been injured during the false confrontation.

9. The injuries which the latter three persons presented with were, however, the result of the fact that these persons had been participants in the paramilitary group which had attacked the autonomous checkpoint at the Quexil crossroads on August 19. They said, however, that they had received the blows in the false confrontation in Arroyo Granizo on August 25.

10. Porfirio Encino went along with this lie, and he left the community to publish the false confrontation as the official version. The PGR, in addition, has initiated a series of purported investigations in order to unjustly accuse the support bases, while these paramilitaries who participated in the Quexil attacks are now receiving protection and support from the bad government.

Those are the facts, and that is how the bad government protects paramilitaries and assassins, while pursuing autonomistas and zapatistas who are defending our rights and who are the real victims of violations of our rights and of paramilitary attacks. That is how the dishonest media lie.

AUTONOMOUS COUNCIL

[Seal and signature]


Originally published in Spanish by Enlace Civil, A.C. *********************************** Translated by irlandesa   From: Enlace Civil, A.C. enlacecivil@laneta.apc.org Date: Thursday, August 29 2002


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