August 5, 2002,
To the People of Mexico,
To the Peoples of the World,
To the National and International Press,
To Human Rights Organizations.
Brothers and sisters:
Today we find it necessary to clarify the violent incidents provoked by the paramilitaries from San Antonio Escobar, and to thus refute a series of false accusations against us which have been made public in the media over the last few days:
1. The violent incidents did not take place in the community of San Antonio Escobar. On the contrary, it was paramilitaries from San Antonio Escobar who came, with handguns and machetes, to the community of La Culebra with the clear intent of assassinating the autonomous authorities.
2. The events took place in the following manner: On July 31 at 7:00 AM, 40 paramilitaries from San Antonio Escobar left in two stolen Nissan vehicles. The paramilitaries were carrying handguns and machetes, and they went from their town to the community of Sibal, crossing through 6 de Octubre, Santa Rita and Culebra.
3. During their trip, they attempted to seek more support from official and independent organizations. They did not, however, find any support, because the zapatista support bases and Autonomous Municipality sympathizers coexist with respect and with agreements with the different organizations and groups in the neighboring communities.
4. Even prior to their arrival in the community of Sibal, they attempted to capture one of the autonomous authorities who was in his field, but our compa~ero managed to escape. With courage, and without any help, he continued his return trip until he reached the community of La Culebra. He was once again in his Ejido at 11 AM.
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7. The main paramilitaries from San Antonio Escobar, the ones responsible for these attacks, are:
- Julio Go'mez Lo'pez - Jose' Go'mez Lo'pez - Antonio Pe'rez Lo'pez - Sebastian Pe'rez Go'mez - Nicola's Go'mez Sa'ntiz - Manuel Guzma'n Pe'rez - Jose' Herna'ndez Cruz - Lorenzo Pe'rez Cruz - Sebastia'n Pe'rez Cruz - Fidelino Go'mez Lo'pez.
8. Various media have, on the contrary, been lying, saying that it was autonomous authorities and the EZLN who went, armed, to the San Antonio Escobar Ejido, and who tried to take the Ejidal Commissioner prisoner, and who attacked the populace which was defending him. We absolutely refute and deny these false stories, whose only purpose is to try to confuse, to protect the paramilitary groups and to create pretexts for attacking the Autonomous Municipalities and the EZLN. Pretexts also for taking the authorities and other support bases prisoner, who are truly working for their people.
9. We are making it clear that these paramilitaries from San Antonio Escobar are members of OPDIC, an organization which is harboring paramilitaries and criminals from several communities such as Arroyo Granizo, Monte Li'bano, Lacando'n, Cuahute'moc and others, as we have denounced previously. The leader and founder of this organization is Pedro Cheli'n, who is now a local Deputy. He is, and has been denounced and recognized as, the leader of the paramilitary group MIRA.
10. Official and press reports are saying that this concerns a conflict over land. The truth, however, is that this organization of paramilitaries and criminals has been intensifying their activities and attacks over the last few months in various parts of the autonomous territory. Their purpose is to create problems which will give the federal army and the Public Security and Judicial police an excuse to enter the communities in resistance, in order to divide them and to destroy the autonomous work.
11. These paramilitary groups also have a personal interest in doing away with the autonomous authorities, so that they can then engage freely in their criminal activities, such as buying and selling stolen vehicles, trafficking in weapons and drugs, looting and cutting down precious wood on reserved lands, trafficking in alcohol, highway assault and other crimes. The autonomous authorities have halted and resolved several of these actions and crimes, thanks to the agreements and labors of the Autonomous Municipality.
12. The federal and state governments are well informed about the presence of the paramilitary groups, and they have done nothing to stop them. On the contrary, they are protecting them. On several occasions, Public Security has been seen operating along with the paramilitaries from the Lacando'n Ejido, who have been going about together with high caliber weapons.
13. The media is also lying when it says that we are threatening people from the San Antonio Escobar Ejido. This information is false. Quite the contrary, the paramilitaries from San Antonio Escobar have cut down several trees in order to block the roads, and they have positioned themselves in order to ambush anyone who approaches their town.
14. The municipal authorities are simply clarifying the fact that these violent incidents, attacks and homicide attempts are considered to be serious crimes under federal and state laws, as well as under the Autonomous Municipality's own laws and the revolutionary law.
15. We are also letting it be known that our wounded compa~eros received the necessary medical attention in our autonomous health system, and they are now out of danger.
16. We are making it quite clear that we are not going to permit the entrance of the federal army, of the Public Security police, nor of the Judicial police. The community of La Culebra and the nearby communities of Sibal, Santa Rita and 6 de Octubre, are calm, and there is respect, agreement and calm among all the organizations.
17. Any act by the bad government against these communities and their residents will be viewed as a provocation and as an act of support for the paramilitary groups and one more violation of the collective rights of the indigenous peoples.
Liberty, Justice and Democracy
[Seal and signature]
Originally published in Spanish by Enlace Civil, A.C. *********************************** Translated by irlandesa From: Enlace Civil, A.C. firstname.lastname@example.org Date: Monday, August 5 2002 22:07:54 -0500