The Narco-State of Chiapas Part VIII in a series
The Narco News Bulletin
The State Police
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."
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."
Prisoners in the Drug War
from Part IX:
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
an 11 year sentence on false drug charges
being a social activist in Chiapas
never signed the document as his torturers demanded)
the true heroes
the April and May Drug War Heroes of the Month