January 6, 2000

Since the first of the year, the Mexican government has dramatically increased its harassment of foreigners in Chiapas. This week, authorities in the state have begun deportation proceedings against over forty people.

The new outbreak of hostility towards foreigners is of grave concern to those who care about human rights in Mexico. The international presence in Chiapas has played a critical role in helping to protect indigenous communities from military repression and human rights violations. The Mexican government&Mac185;s coordinated campaign against foreigners threatens to remove this protection and dangerously escalate the conflict in Chiapas.

The recent rise in tensions in Chenalho, after a pro-government gang harassed a group of 29 Zapatistas supporters, provides just one example of the continued tensions in Chiapas that make an international presence so invaluable.

As we have documented in our report "Foreigners of Conscience" the expulsion campaign also is clearly illegal and violates the civil liberties guaranteed to international citizens under Mexican and international law. Today, we published a letter to the editor in La Jornada (also available on our website) which outlines in detail how the current citations violate Mexican law.

To voice your concern over this recent wave of deportations, please contact the Mexican Ambassador Jesus Reyes Heroles, 202.728.1696, fax 202.833.4320 and the US Embassy in Mexico City, 011.525. 211.0042, fax Urge the Embassy to take action on behalf of the over thirty Americans who were given citations.

Conflict in Chiapas: Understanding the Modern Mayan World
by Worth H. Weller, Ben Weller (Photographer), Julia Weller (Photographer)
$16.95, Paperback, March 1, 2000
Rebellion in Chiapas : An Historical Reader
by John Womack (Editor)
$14.36, Paperback , March 1999
Voices from Exile : Violence and Survival in Modern Maya History
by Victor Montejo
$18.17, Hardcover, October 1999
©Copyright 1997-2000 Jeeni Criscenzo