It Was a Paramilitary Group Which Attacked Campesinos in Chiapas Municipality

Originally published in Spanish by La Jornada

Translated by irlandesa

Angeles Mariscal, correspondent.

October 26, 2000

Tuxtla Gutierrez, Chiapas: It was an presumed paramilitary group who attacked campesinos from Casa del Pueblo, in the municipality of Venustiano Carranza, leaving one person dead and two others wounded. Because of this, the case has been turned over to the Special Unit for Attention to Crimes Committed by Probably Armed Civilian Groups, reported the State Department of Justice.

The agency noted that shells of varying caliber were found at the site of the attack, from hunting weapons as well as from AK-47's. Hundreds of police officers and military personnel are there in order to protect the area, and to prevent the persons who were attacked from taking the law into their own hands.

State police detained 24 alleged attackers on the same day as the ambush. They were at the site of the incidents, the Parai'so predio, where comuneros from the Casa del Pueblo and PRI campesinos - presumably members of the San Bartolome' de los Llanos Alliance paramilitary group - have been in dispute.

It was confirmed technically that eighteen of those detained had indeed fired shots. They will shortly be charged with the crimes of homicide, injury and the carrying of firearms for the exclusive use of the Army and the Air Force, the Department of Justice said.

Because of this evidence, and the fact that the comuneros had accused the attackers of belonging to a paramilitary group, the Department of Justice turned the investigation over to the special unit for armed groups.

Statements by those attacked - who will be holding a march today, as well as burying their compañero - indicated that members of the San Bartolome de los Llanos Alliance are heavily armed, with equipment provided to them by federal deputies and municipal authorities.

Their objective, they [the comuneros] accuse, is to neutralize their movement, which began in the seventies in order to recover thousands of hectares of land which had been in the control of latifundists who are still living in the area and who occupy important political positions in the state.

Conflict in Chiapas: Understanding the Modern Mayan World
by Worth H. Weller, Ben Weller (Photographer), Julia Weller (Photographer)
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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
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