Chiapas news: serious aggression in El Pozo over water and electricity supplies

The JBG of Oventic has denounced a brutal attack made on the 21st June by 240 people belonging to the political parties PRD and PRI, organised in four groups, in the community of El Pozo, San Juan Cancuc. The attackers were armed with sticks, stones, tools and machetes, and were reportedly under the influence of drugs and alcohol, “stimulated by alcohol, drugs and government support”. The aim of the aggression was to force nine families, Zapatista bases of support, to pay for water and electricity services, despite being in resistance.
Several (at least nine) compas were seriously wounded in the attack, especially two who suffered skull fractures. One compa was reported missing, presumed injured. An indigenous PRI supporter was killed during the confrontation. Three health promoters who were trying to come to the aid of the wounded were arrested by the police and taken to San Cristobal de las Casas, where they were charged with homicide. The Zapatista families sought refuge in the autonomous municipality of San Juan Bautista Cancuc.
The attack has been denounced as another attempt by the three levels of the bad government, along with the army and paramilitaries, to put an end to the process of autonomy in the Zapatista communities, by provoking the communities to respond with violence, thereby legitimising an attack by the army, “to provoke a confrontation that will break their truce and their silence”. The Network against Repression and for Solidarity called a national and international day of solidarity with the Zapatista communities in Chiapas following this attack.

Below is a report of the events by Sipaz.  It remains unclear who used firearms.

Chiapas: San Juan Cancuc clash leaves 1 dead

July 5, 2010

On June 21st,  indigenous people of the community El Pozo,  of the municipality San Juan Cancuc in the Chiapas highlands, clashed in a shootout that left one dead and 9 others injured (4 by gunshot wounds). The confrontation occurred when inhabitants of El Pozo tried to suspend the supply of potable water and electricity to Zapatista sympathizers, who are in resistance and refuse to pay for these services. Amidst the aggression 28 year-old Sebastián Hernández Pérez was killed.

On the 23rd of June, the Good Government Council (JBG) Central Heart of the Zapatistas Before the World of the caracol of Oventic published a communique explaining that “it was not a clash as the media manipulations have made it out to be. Nor was it an aggression provoked by Zapatista support bases, as the media has also accused. In response to the aggressions, the compañeros had to defend themselves somehow, utilizing last resort measures in their legitimate defence”.

They explained that on June 21st at about 10:30 am, PRI and PRD supporters “organized themselves into four groups, each one of 60 people with aggressive attitudes and armed with machetes, stones, sticks, hoes, pickaxes, shovels and clippers for cutting the service of light and water to nine Zapatista support base families. “ They recognized: “in this aggression, one of the aggressors who was leading the assault was left dead.  Our support bases had to defend themselves”. They also commented: “How is it possible that the bad government acts in this way, detaining our compañeros while our support bases were attacked, beaten and several were seriously wounded and injured.

On June 23rd, the Attorney General of Chiapas stated that there were detentions of three people involved in the clash. On the same day, the municipal president of San Juan Cancuc, Cirilo Vázquez Cruz (of the PRD), who allegedly spoke for fear of being assaulted, said that 25 support base families fled their homes in the community of El Pozo. He said the situation in El Pozo is calm, but there remain some 15 agents of the State Preventative Police (PEP) whose presence is supplemented by Municipal Police as well.

He denied that the bloody events  June 21 will affect the elections of July 4th, while still affirming, “the candidate of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) wants to use them, saying that the Democratic Revolution Party (PRD) is supporting the Zapatistas, but the community has rejected them because they know that the compañeros of the Zapatista National Liberation Army have nothing to do with the election and they are not a political party. “

For more information (in Spanish):

Two dead in reported confrontation in Zapatista zone (La Jornada, 21 June)

Commotion in Chiapas leaves one dead (El Universal, 21 June)

Chiapas Attorney General’s Office investigates conflict between groups of San Juan Cancuc (Milenio, 21 June)

Attorney General’s Office finds three responsible for homicide in “El Pozo”, San Juan Cancuc (PGJE statement, 23 June)

Complete communiqué of the Junta de Buen Gobierno de Oventic (23 June)

JBG repudiates El Pozo attack (Cuarto Poder, 23 June)

In El Pozo we were only defending ourselves, claim Zapatistas (La Jornada, 24 June)

Zapatista communities flee for fear of violence (La Jornada, 24 June)


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