Trouble in Chiapas

The Zapatistas in the Altos region of Chiapas report problems with the local municipality that have gotten violent, with 35 people being wounded — 18 by firearms and 17 with rocks, sticks, and machetes. The conflict is between the Zapatista autonomous municipality of Los Altos and the nearby municipality of Zinacantan, which is controlled by Mexico’s ‘left’ political party, the Party of the Democratic Revolution, or PRD. 109 families have been displaced by this violence against the Zapatistas, directed, according to them, by the municipal president and the municipal police.

The Zapatista response has been first this communique following the investigation (included below in its entirety), but they promise to investigate further. It is a risky situation and it might be part of a strategy by the establishment to try to escalate the conflict with the Zapatistas, as they have done repeatedly over the years.

Originally published in Spanish by the Rebel Zapatista Autonomous
Translated by irlandesa

Two Statements from the Corazón Céntrico de los Zapatistas Delante del Mundo
Good Government Junta


Corazón Céntrico de los Zapatistas Delante del Mundo Good Government Junta

Snail Tzobombail Yu’un Lekil J’amteletik
Tao’lol Yo’on Zapatista Ta Stukil Sat Yelob Sjunul Balumil.
Los Altos Region of Chiapas, Mexico.

April 15, 2004.

To National and International Civil Society
To the National and International Press

Sisters and brothers:

After calmly investigating the situation, this Good Government Junta is apprising you of the following:

1. – The Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD) has joined in with the war which the bad government is waging against the zapatista Indian peoples. Through its municipal presidents and caciques who are affiliated with their party, the PRD has moved from making threats against our compañeros and compañeras to attacks with firearms. The good of the people does not matter to the PRD. They only want to hold positions in order to make money, and that is why they make friends with the caciques and paramilitaries, in order to exploit the people, just like the PRI and the PAN. The only difference is that the PRDs appear in videos.

2. – The PRD are saying that it is a social, not a political, problem, but that is not true. It is obvious that it is a political problem. It is a problem between those who, like the PRD, see politics as merely a business and whoare willing to commit crimes in order to win and those who truly seek the recognition of Mexican indigenous rights and culture.

3. – It is not a problem of just the Zinacantán PRD, but of the entire national PRD. For some months now the national press has been reporting the human rights violations in Zinacantán, with the cutting off of the water and the threats. The state and national PRD did not say anything, and they continued to support the bad governments and the caciques in their party. The PRD only do something if they have to fix things when a video appears on television or if there are elections, but the people do not, in reality, matter to them.

4. – The work of the Good Government Juntas is not to make money, to engage in business or to violate human rights, but to seek resolution through dialogue when there are problems between zapatistas and non-zapatistas and between the autonomous and the governmental municipalities.

5. – That is why, following the path of respectful dialogue, the Good Government Junta of Los Altos of Chiapas went to great effort, from the inception of the problem, to seek a civil and peaceful agreement with the official authorities of the chiapaneco municipality of Zinacantán. However, the PRD Municipal President of Zinacantán, the first councilperson, the commander of the Municipal Police, the leader of the PRD and members of the Democratic Revolutionary Party refused to reach an agreement, and they continued to harass our compañeros and compañeras, violating their human rights by leaving them without water and threatening them. All of this was because the zapatistas did not want to be part of the PRD’s scams and thefts. The bad PRD governments just laughed every time the Good Government Junta invited them to engage in dialogue.

6. – Seeking at all times to avoid a violent confrontation, on February 12 the Good Government Junta of Los Altos of Chiapas and the zapatistas mobilized in order to bring water to our compañeros. After that it continued to insist on reaching an agreement through dialogue, but the PRD authorities continued to refuse, and they kept up with their threats.

7. – On April 10 of this year more than 4000 EZLN support bases organized a peaceful mobilization in order to deliver 45,000 liters of water to the zapatista families who had been affected, and we demonstrated peacefully in the municipal seat of Zinacantán.

8. – At that point, the PRDs began bothering the zapatistas and displaying pistols. In order to avoid a problem, the event was concluded, and we began withdrawing. It was not possible, however, because the Municipal Police had blocked the road with their patrol cars and with rocks and logs. As we were making our way, we were attacked with firearms, rocks and sticks. There are photographs and videos which show what took place.

9. – As a result of the attack, 35 compañeros were wounded, 18 by firearms and 17 by rocks, sticks and machetes. Two compañeros are still in serious condition. The names of the injured are:

By firearms:

1. – Isidro Ruiz Díaz, with a gunshot wound to the chest.
2. – Guadalupe Díaz Hernández, wounded in the back, legs and hands from a shotgun.
3. – Francisco Javier Cruz Díaz, with a gunshot wound to the left chest.
4. – Lorenzo Pérez Díaz, with pneumothorax injuries due to gunshot wounds.
5. – José Pérez Pérez, with a gunshot wound to the left knee.
6. – Daniel Ruiz Cura, with a gunshot wound to the left thigh and a fractured femur.
7. – Abelardo Gutiérrez Árias, with a gunshot wound to the right leg.
8. – Rulfo Gutiérrez Díaz, with a gunshot wound to the leg.
9. – Hermenejildo Hernández Nuñez, injured by a gunshot wound to the left cheek.
10. – Mario Sánchez Hernández, with a gunshot wound to the left ear.
11. – Carmelo González Sánchez, with a gunshot wound to the left ear.
12. – Pascuala Santiz Pérez, with a gunshot wound to the thigh.
13. – Felipe Hernández Pérez, with injuries from blows and a bullet in the leg.
14. – José Antonio Ruiz Gómez, with blows and gunshot wounds in the right arm.
15. – Vicente Ruiz Hernández, with blows and an injury from gunshot wound in the left shoulder.
16. – Rufino Hernández López, with blows and gunshot wounds.
17. – Lorenzo Pérez Gómez, with a gunshot wound to the right arm.
18. – Rufino Hernández López, with gunshot wounds to the gluteus which exited through the muscle.
19. – José Manuel Gómez Espinoza, with various machete wounds and a gunshot to the head.

From rocks, sticks and machetes:

1. – Modesto Hernández Jiménez, with multiple blows to the head and the ear,
from rocks.
2. – Juan Díaz Díaz, with multiple blows from cement blocks and rocks.
3. – Maximilano Bautista Díaz, with multiple blows from rocks and a fracture
of the left forearm.
4. – Miguel Núñez Ruiz, with blows to the back from rocks.
5. – Hilario Cruz, with blows to the left arm from rocks and sticks.
6. – Edmundo Díaz Gómez, with blows to the forehead.
7. – Victorio Ruiz Jiménez, with injuries to the leg from rocks.
8. – Lorenzo Méndez Ruiz, with injuries to the forehead from rocks.
9. – Manuel Ruiz Gómez, with injuries to the head from rocks.
10. – Hernesto Díaz Díaz, with injuries to the head from rocks.
11. – Arnulfo López Gómez, with cuts to the head and multiple blows.
12. – Mariano López Pérez, with injuries to the head, back, forehead and
leg, from rocks and sticks.
13. – Marcos Pérez Hernández, with injuries to the face and left shoulder
from rocks and sticks.
14. – José Díaz Hernández, with blows to the face and thorax from rocks.
15. – Amparo Alvarez, Solis, with blows to the head and face from rocks.
16. – Martha Martínez López, with blows to the arm and head from rocks.

Several vehicles belonging to the zapatistas were also damaged.

10. – Out of fear of being attacked again, zapatista support bases from the communities of Jechbó, Elambo Alto and Elambo Bajo moved out. There are 109 families (a total of 484 persons, men, women, children and old ones) who are unable to return to their communities of origin. There homes were looted and destroyed by the PRDs, the water tanks were destroyed and they stole from the stores.

11. – The principal authors of this cowardly attack are:

Martín Sánchez Hernández, Municipal President
Mateo Pérez Sánchez, First Councilperson
José López González, Chief of the Municipal Police.
José Pérez Conde, leader of the Zinacantán PRD.

12. – We are waiting for justice to be done and for the punishment of those who attacked our peaceful zapatista demonstration and of those who have been harassing and attacking the zapatistas of Zinacantán for the last few months. Instead of making stupid statements, like those made by the Secretary of the State Government of Chiapas, the authorities should detain the aggressors.

13. – The Good Government Junta of Los Altos of Chiapas will move forward with the investigation in order to learn the names of those who, along with the PRD President of Zinacantán, the Municipal Police and the PRD, attacked the EZLN support bases. If justice is not served, the Good Government Junta of Los Altos of Chiapas will forward the results of the investigation to the Comandancia General of the EZLN, accusing the attackers of being paramilitaries who attacked the zapatista peoples.

14. – The Good Government Junta of Los Altos of Chiapas is calling on national and international civil society to mobilize, in demand of the punishment of the attackers and of the conditions for the return of the displaced to their communities, and in repudiation of those who make politics a criminal business.


From the Resistance and Rebellion for Humanity Caracol II. Corazón Céntrico de los Zapatistas Delante Del Mundo Good Government Junta of Los Altos of Chiapas. Oventik, Chiapas. Mexico.

April of 2004.

[Embossed seal stating: Corazón Céntrico de los Zapatistas Delante del Mundo Good Government Junta, Oventic, San Andrés Sackamch’en de los Pobres Municipality, Chiapas”]

[Four signatures of members of the Good Government Junta]

Caracol: Resistance and Rebellion for Humanity, Ta Tzikel Vocolil Xchiuc Jtoybail Sventa Slekilal Sjunul Balumil.

San Andrés Sakamch’en de los Pobres, San Juan de la Libertad, San Pedro Polhó, Santa Catarina, Magdalena de la Paz, 16 de Febrero, San Juan Apóstol, Cancuc.



Corazón Céntrico de los Zapatistas Delante del Mundo Good Government Junta

Snail Tzobombail Yu’un Lekil J’amteletik
Tao’lol Yo’on Zapatista Ta Stukil Sat Yelob Sjunul Balumil

Investigation of the Good Government Junta,
Corazón Céntrico de los Zapatistas Delante del Mundo,
Caracol 2.

Oventic, Municipality of San Andrés Sakamch’en de los Pobres,

Concerning the Attack on EZLN Support Bases

April of 2004.

To the People of Mexico and of the World
To National and International Civil Society
To the National and International Press

Sisters and Brothers All

This Good Government Junta is informing you that the war which has been
planned by the bad governments along with their local caciques like the Municipal Presidents and their paramilitaries is continuing to grow. Their threats and their attacks against the communities in resistance and their autonomous authorities are increasing. As a very clear example of this:

We have the communities of Jechbó, Elambo Alto and Elambo Bajo, in the municipality of Zinacantán, where they cut off the water supply in December of 2003.

They cut the water hose, took away the well and tank they had in the community, and the problem has continued to worsen at the present time. The zapatista bases continue without the right to have their water, because the PRD municipal official, his municipal agents and his local caciques are not allowing the zapatista bases to collect water. Nor are they allowing anyone to store water for those families. Their only crime is that of being zapatistas, of fighting for their rights, of being in resistance, of not taking handouts from the bad government and of not belonging to any political party.

The Good Government Junta of Caracol 2 sent a letter to the Municipal President of that municipality, telling him to resolve the problem in a proper manner and to give the zapatista support bases the right to water, but that Municipal President did not respond positively.

That is why the Good Government Junta sent, on February 12, a commission of the Autonomous Municipalities of Los Altos of Chiapas in order to carry thousands of liters of water to those families who had been affected. They also old the communities and their Municipal President to not take the right to water away from the zapatista bases of that municipality, that they should not cause trouble among the very brothers of the community, and that they should have respect despite their differences of ideas, of organization, of party or of the religion they have. If there is a problem, it can be resolved properly, without reaching the point of confrontations among brothers of the same municipality.

Author: Justin Podur

Author of Siegebreakers. Ecology. Environmental Science. Political Science. Anti-imperialism. Political fiction.