The federal army has increased their patrols

May 26, 2002.

To the National Press.
To the International Press.
To the Public.

Brothers and Sisters: From the seat of our Primero de Enero Autonomous Municipality in Rebellion, we are denouncing the latest incidents.

We are concerned about the situation that we are experiencing, which began two months ago. The federal army has increased their patrols, and many soldiers are arriving, passing by in large vehicles similar to buses, accompanied by tanks. The soldiers are arriving by the hundreds at the barracks in Ocosingo and Tonina'. What is of most concern is that at that barracks, which is close to the Jerusale'n new town, they have, of late, been firing weapons everyday.

Military personnel and Public Security officers have been entering and leaving in great numbers. The community of Jerusale'n is fearful of all the noise from the shots.

Our towns have asked us to denounce the incidents which are of such concern to all of us, so many military movements passing along the road in a threatening manner.

We have seen more soldiers, more tanks and more painted soldiers equipped with backpacks arriving every day lately. What are they doing? Where are they coming from? Who is giving them orders? These are questions which our people are asking. We are calling on the general public to bear witness to these incidents.

In this same denuncia, we should like to add the violent harassment by ORCAO militants who reside in the community of Sibaca'.

On May 24, 40 ORCAO members came and violently attacked a group of 8 of our companeros who have been collectively working a piece of land for years.

Senores Marcos Sa'nchez Sa'nchez, Marcos Me'ndez Aguilar, Nicola's Me'ndez Aguilar, Marcos Alvarez Me'ndez, Marcos Sa'nchez Me'ndez, Jacinto Me'ndez Maldonado, Juan Me'ndez Sa'nchez, Manuel Gonza'lez Domi'nguez, Marcos Sa'nchez Sa'nchez, Jacinto Domi'nguez, Enrique Me'ndez Maldonado, Enrique Me'ndez Aguilar are the ones, among others, who came violently, with machetes, to stop our companeros' work. They attempted to burn the collective tractor, they slashed its tires with their machetes, and they left one of our companeros injured. His foot was cut with a machete by the above-mentioned persons.

The ones who are organizing and provoking the problems are the same ones who began the problem on April 4 of this year. Among them: Marcos Me'ndez Sa'nchez, the catechists Antonio Jua'rez Rodri'guez and Tiburcio Lo'pez A'lvarez, the pre-deacon Juan Me'ndez Mendaz, the leading catechist Manuel Rodri'guez Jua'rez, and the former parochial representative Juan A'lvaro Gonza'lez. The ORCAO leader, Jose' Pe'rez Go'mez, was also seen several times last night, when he met with ORCAO militants from Sibaca'. They are all organizing the people to provoke violent attacks against us, and they are, therefore, responsible for the incidents which have taken place.

Our companeros did not respond to the physical and verbal violence of the ORCAO people, and they stated that they shall continue working and defending the land. When the attackers are able to, they should pay for the damages which were inflicted, through an arrangement with the Autonomous authorities, since they quickly dispersed from the scene of the incidents after their attack.

What the ORCAO people are learning is to take away the land from us, which has already been worked, and that is not just. They have lost respect, they are stealing or cutting down our harvests, and now they are becoming violent again, with the complicity of their leaders, and their leaders' complicity with the government. They are the ones who are responsible for teaching these things.

We state that, in response to this wave of government harassment, we shall resist as an Autonomous Municipality, and we shall continue to fight, with dignity, for our dignified place.


Primero de Enero Autonomous Municipality in Rebellion.

From: Enlace Civil, A.C. Date: Monday, May 27 2002 13:51:11 -0500

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