October 23, 2009
On October 12, during a press conference that took place in the Human Rights Center Fray Bartolome de Las Casas (Frayba) headquarters, the Civil Society of the Abejas (Bees) denounced acts of harassment committed on behalf of the state government. They also expressed much anguish and indignation before the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation (SCJN) makes the possible decision to release 31 prisoners that were sentenced as perpetrators of the Acteal Massacre, which took place on December 22, 1997.
The organization of the survivors of the Acteal Massacre stated in a press bulletin that governor Juan Sabines Guerrero had requested a meeting with the board of directors of the Abejas. Despite the Abejas’ refusal, the state government continued to insist on meeting with the directors of the organization by going through the bishop of San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Frayba and the Mexican representative of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights of the United Nations, Alberto Brunori. According to the Abejas, there has recently been “suspicious people dropping by the Office of the Abejas of Acteal, on several occasions” who would not identify themselves and who insisted on speaking with the directors of the organization, presumably regarding the delivery of a Virgin of Guadalupe, and other such things. The Abejas also denounced reports made by several local newspapers that they were linked to an arms trafficker arrested recently in Yabteclum, a community near Acteal. Those medias implied that the Abejas organization was seeking vengeance on the prisoners released in August 2009.
The “Abejas” also alerted that the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation might take a decision in the case of the 31 prisoners condemned for the massacre during this month of October. According to journalistic sources, this resolution was postponed until the end of the month. If the defense’s request for protection (Amparo) was accepted, these prisoners would be liberated just like the 20 that were released last August. The Abejas insisted that “the Acteal Massacre in 1997 was due to political conflict, and responding to power and money interests. Although Ernesto Zedillo, ex-President of Mexico, Emilio Chuayffet, ex-Secretary of the Interior, Gen. Enrique Cervantes and Gen. Renan Castillo weren’t responsible for the actual killings in Acteal, they were the ones who planned the counterinsurgency strategy including the training of the paramilitaries who would be entrusted to instill fear and terror in the Zapatistas and the Pacific Organization of the Abejas of Chenalhó en Chiapas”.