[IWAR] ZAPATISTA anniversary

From: Michael Wilson (MWILSON/0005514706at_private)
Date: Fri Jan 02 1998 - 10:15:09 PST

  • Next message: Michael Wilson: "[IWAR] GLOBAL flash points"

                 Foreign supporters, Zapatistas, mark revolt anniversary
          Copyright ) 1998 Nando.net
          Copyright ) 1998 The Associated Press
       SAN CRISTOBAL DE LAS CASAS, Mexico (January 1, 1998 5:00 p.m. EST
       http://www.nando.net) -- On the fourth anniversary of the Zapatista
       rebel uprising, sympathizers marched Thursday in this highlands city to
       celebrate the rebellion and mourn 45 people massacred in nearby Acteal.
       Only about 100 people braved the cold for the march through the streets
       of this colonial city -- about half of them foreigners.
       "Where are the San Cristobal people? There are only Americans here,"
       said Carmen Ramirez, 34, a San Cristobal resident, whose husband is a
       soldier. Their 1-year-old son clung to her shoulder.
       "There are no Mexicans here," she said. "The people of San Cristobal
       support the army being here, because they bring calm."
       Unlike tens of thousands of subsistence farmers in the surrounding
       mountains who provide the support base for Zapatista rebels, most of the
       116,500 residents of this colonial city have strongly supported Mexico's
       government and participated in demonstrations against Roman Catholic
       leaders sympathetic to the rebel cause.
       Ramirez's mother-in-law, Gloria Flores, said she believed foreign
       supporters of the Zapatista rebels are bringing arms into the region,
       and she said the government should deport them all.
       Outside a church, young Americans, Italians and Germans -- some of them
       wearing red headbands and white tunics -- said they were marching in
       solidarity with the poor Mayan-descended Indians who are a majority in
       southern Chiapas state and accounted for all the victims of the Dec. 22
       massacre in Acteal, a hamlet 25 miles away.
       Survivors of the attack blamed supporters of the ruling Institutional
       Revolutionary Party. About 40 people have been arrested, many of them
       PRI members.
       "In the youth hostels throughout Mexico, people are talking about
       Chiapas," said Mike Ferry, 37, of Santa Cruz, Calif., who arrived here
       in the days after the massacre.
       "It's hard to get an accurate idea of what's really happening, but I'm
       definitely in support of indigenous people and their rights."
       The Zapatistas rose up on Jan. 1, 1994, to demand economic and political
       reform in the impoverished state. Fighting over the next two weeks
       killed at least 145 people.
       The impact of the rebellion was felt nationwide. Hundreds of thousands
       of Mexicans marched in support of the rebels, and the face of rebel
       leader Subcomandante Marcos soon appeared on T-shirts and banners.
       Since then, Marcos' movie-star popularity has faded. Peace talks have
       stalled. Rebel villages are surrounded by at least 35,000 federal troops
       scattered across Chiapas' mountains and canyons.
       The massacre in Acteal, however, could mark a turning of the tables in
       the rebels' public relations war -- the only field where the outnumbered
       and outgunned insurgents have strength.
       Many of the foreigners said they attend meetings in their countries to
       talk about the situation in Chiapas, and came to Mexico after the
       massacre to lend moral support.
       "There are a lot of Europeans who are more interested in these cultures
       than Mexicans themselves," said Lucy Santoro, 34, of Brindisi, Italy.
       Santoro belongs to Yankuikanahuak International, a locally based group
       supporting the rights of poor farmers.
       The group's president, a Mexican named Xokonoschtletl, gave an animated
       speech about Maya power to a group of Mexicans who appeared puzzled by
       his ideas.
       "We have a group of Europeans who come here to support us," he said.
       "After the massacre, a lot flew in."
       The Zapatista rebels celebrated their anniversary late Wednesday in
       Oventic, a village 15 miles north of here. They and their supporters
       shot off fireworks and danced late into the night.
       The guerrillas vowed not to give up their demand for improved conditions
       for the region's Indians.
       "We will not surrender," said a Zapatista leader known as Comandante
       -- By NIKO PRICE, The Associated Press

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Fri Apr 13 2001 - 12:58:56 PDT