The Narco-State of Chiapas Part VIII in a series

The Narco News Bulletin

The State Police Station


click to read Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV, Part V, Part VI, Part VII


SAN PEDRO NICHTALUCUM, EL BOSQUE, CHIAPAS: The displaced families of San Pedro returned to their homes on May 17, 1996. They were able to do this because they were accompanied by 4,000 indigenous peasants from neighboring communities, many wearing red-and-gold Zapatista kerchiefs over their faces.

Upon seeing the huge crowd marching toward them, the State Police forces who had occupied this village retreated from the buildings and homes they had taken from the desplazados. They literally ran away, into the woods.

A report published by the Catholic church's Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Human Rights Center, a group that had many witnesses on hand that day, offers convincing proof that in Zapatista base communities, the same public security forces that imprison Indians on false drug charges are, in fact, planting the evidence on the opposition's lands. They do this not only to discredit the indigenous movement. But, also, to use the drug themselves:

"Upon (the marchers') arrival at the basketball court, the security forces left their posts.... During these events and to everyone's surprise, a small marijuana plantation was found on the roof of one of the houses occupied by the security agents. This discovery was witnessed by representatives of the Government director's office, the press, and members of various Non Governmental Organizations. More marijuana was found planted in a small bucket, and two marijuana cigarettes were discovered among the sand bags at the security post. After the displaced celebrated their return with speeches and pledges of solidarity, they destroyed the marijuana plants, and the state government representative promised an exhaustive investigation."

-- report by the Fray Bartolomé Human Rights Center

The story was published throughout Mexico. After a Spring of repeated attempts by the Mexican federal and Chiapas state governments to link the Zapatistas with growing marijuana the official strategy had backfired.

Events like this in the Spring of 1996 took a lot of steam out of the government's efforts to paint the Zapatista rebels with a narco-brush. Mexico's ruling party soon moved on to other public relations pretexts for military harrassment of Zapatista sympathizers: looking for arms and routing out foreign journalists and observers.

The army and police forces, however, did not stop using drug laws as a method of counter-insurgency. Nor did its officials stop trafficking, consuming and introducing illicit crops into these drug-free rebel lands.

As Capitán Noe noted in yesterday's Part VII in our series: "The government controls all the media. If they have, or if there is, marijuana on our lands they will use it against us. If the Mexican Army is really destroying plants there, they should do it publicly. If they have the marijuana, they should be punished. If there's proof, they should do it publicly and not do it clandestinely."

To Be Published Tomorrow:

Part IX

Political Prisoners in the Drug War

Preview from Part IX:

"They began to torture me and burned me all over my body with electric shocks. They put Tehuacan (carbonated mineral water) up my nose. They put polyethelene in my eyes. They made it so I couldn't breathe. They put me in a tub of ice water. I vomited blood. Then came four judicial police. They brought me to a place far away, where there are no people, a hidden place, where they said...'Now you are going to sign the document against another person.' But we said we are not going to sign the document. They went on giving us more beatings, where they broke two ribs and already I vomited blood: 'Good, good, children of the fuckers, sign the document because we will continue beating you. If you don't follow your tortures we are going to take out your tongue, and your two ears we will have in our hands with a knife. Sign it, cocksuckers, yes! or we'll keep beating your ribs and... we´ll shoot you if you don't sign this document.'"

-- A Winner of the June 2000 Drug War Hero of the Month Award

Serving an 11 year sentence on false drug charges

for being a social activist in Chiapas

(He never signed the document as his torturers demanded)

We honor the true heroes

see the April and May Drug War Heroes of the Month