|Same Paramilitary Group May Be Responsible for Both Slaughters
Angeles Mariscal, correspondent
La Jornada, June 15, 2000, translation
The Murderers of the Public Security Officers in El Bosque could be the same Paramilitary Group that committed the Massacre in Acteal and Several Other Aggressive Acts, according to Accusations by the Indigenous Maya of Chenalho; Zapatista National Liberation Army Headquarters. (EZLN)
The EZLN has requested that a Ballistic Analysis be performed in order to Determine if the Type of Weapon used in Both Massacres are the Same.
According to the Attorney General of the Republic of Mexico [PGR] the Element that triggered the Massacre at Acteal was the Arrest of Juan Luna, who has been detained for more than a year as Presumed Murderer of Augustin Vasquez Secum.
They also said that the Type of Uniform, the Mode of Operation and the Weapons used in the Ambush at El Bosque are the same as used by some of the Paramilitary Groups operating in the Highland Mountain Region and the Northern part of Chiapas.
Interviewed at the Federal Prison of Cerro Hueco, where he is awaiting Sentencing; Luna explained that prior to the Massacre in Acteal, Members of the Indigenous Group Las Abejas and other EZLN Communities had suffered several attacks by this same group.
"They always use long sleeved Black Uniforms, Black Berets, Ski Masks and Black Jump Boots.The Weapons are always AR-15's or AK-47's.Most Importantly, they always Executed their Victims, acting in Cold Blood" declared Luna.
Before December of 1997, in the Zone of Chenalho, Multiple Attacks took place and in one of these Augustin Vazquez Secum was Killed.
"He was Ambushed by this Paramilitary Group, but because of Conflicts between Our Families, I was Accused of his Murder."
Luna's Attorney, Miguel Angel de los Santos, explained that Court Depositions by his Client's Accusers indicated that a Group of Men carrying High Power Weapons were the Responsible for the Murder of which Juan Luna is Accused.
He added : "The PGR has enough Evidence in their Possession of the existence of the Paramilitaries. However, they chose the Easy Way Out by saying that this was a Case of Personal Veangeance and to Ignore the Evidence that is only now Emerging."
In this Region, the Paramilitary Group having the Strongest Presence is the Anti-Zapatista Revolutionary Indigenous Movement [MIRA] consisting of diverse Elements.
From January to Date, Eight Ambushes have occured in the Area, Four of them in the same Region in which the Police Officers were Massacred last Monday.
On this same day, the Army made an Overflight in El Bosque, taking only Representatives of the Media favorable to the Government, in order to show that only Drug Dealers and Gavilleros operate in this Area. [Gavilleros : Possibly Groups of Illegal Immigrants]
The Commanding General in control of the Military Detachment in El Bosque, Ramon Mejia Ramirez, wanted to reinforce the Idea that the Attackers in this Ambush were Drug Traffickers.
He said that during this Year, they have located and destroyed over 37 Marijuana Plantations.
THURSDAY JUNE 15, 2000
Coordinator for the Dialogue in Chiapas, Emilio Rabasa, yesterday assured Members of the Pacification and Harmony Commission [COCOPA] that there is No Intention on the part of the Federal Government of enforcing an Armed Solution to the problem with the EZLN, neither through Increased Militarization in the Zone of Conflict, and he maintained that, as serious as is the Murder of Seven Police Officers in the Municipality of El Bosque, it won't Aggravate the Situation in this regard.
The Judicial Authorities are investigating several Theories he revealed; among these is the possible participation of a Paramilitary Group.
In addition, he delivered to the Legislators a Document entitled 'The Governmental Strategy for Chiapas', in which it stated that the Federal Government will not increase Repression against the EZLN, neither will it consider Capitulation to their Demands.
Rabasa noted in this Document that since 1998 the two Positions have become Polarized in regards to the Zapatista Rebellion : "On one side, there are those who urge the use of State Force to Suppress the Rebellion; and at the other Extreme, those who wish the Government to Accept the Complete Set of Demands presented by the EZLN in order to Renew the Dialogue; that the Army be withdrawn from Chiapas or at least repositioned, and that they approve the Original Mission of COCOPA."
An Act of Force, would Agravate, instead of resolving the Conflict, " extending through Time and Space, resulting in a Wound that would be Difficult to Heal."
The Second Option, that of Capitulation, would be Equal to an Unconditional Surrender on the part of the Mexican Republic in the Face of an Armed Group."
This would clearly "Throw Open the Doors so that Armed Violence would Prevail in the Country, and not the Dialogue that They [the EZLN] seek."
In a later interview, following a meeting that lasted less than an hour with the members of the COCOPA; Rebasa informed Legislators that according to the Secretary of State, 'No one Foresees, nor is Planning an Act of Violence against the EZLN and their Communities, neither Before nor After the Elections of July 2, 2000."
He also assured that the Attorney General of the Republic continues several lines of Investigation into the Recent Violent Act in El Bosque; among which, could be an Action against the Mayor of El Bosque, in Reaction to the Recent Confiscation by the Mexican Army of Weapons seized in Anti-Narcotic Operations; or an Agressive Act by "Groups of Armed Civilians" [or in other words, Paramilitary Groups]
Surveillance has been increased in the area surrounding El Bosque, but without increasing the numbers of Military Troops or Police Officers in Chiapas. What has been done, he revealed, was to transfer Soldiers and Security Forces from Neighboring Communities, such as Simojovel.
He insisted that the Federal Government would not Commit any Provocation and stated that the Secretary of State has planned to sign an Agreement with the UN in order to apply in Chiapas an Outline of Observation of the Local Elections which would parallel those at the National Level.
He promised that there would be No Restrictions on the 200 Registered International Observors that will assist in the Elections of July 2, and that they would also participate in Chiapas.
The members of the COCOPA, on the other hand, have agreed to meet on July 5, to discuss a New Agenda, as planned beforehand.
The Opposing Political Parties made their Respective Positions clear; the PRD Representatives, [Opposition Party] Carlos Payán Velver and Gilberto López y Rivas advised that COCOPA should accept the Situation as it stands and leave it to Chiapas to resolve.
The PRI Representative, [Ruling Party] Francisco Javier Gil Castañeda stated that the [COCOPA] Commission "is not an Agency of the Public Ministry and therefore, will not be investigating the Murder of the Police Officers."
The Legislators of the Tricolor [PRI] would only consider travelling to the Zone of the Conflict should the EZLN request it, he stated.