Paramilitaries Attack San Sebastián Bachajón Ejido Members
** Adherents of the Other Campaign place responsibility on Uciaf members for the aggressions
**They warn residents that faced with the inattention of the authorities they will take matters into their own hands
by: Hermann Bellinghausen
San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, May 10, 2012
Members of the Indigenous and Forest Campesino Union (Unión Campesina Indígena y Forestal, Uciaf, its initials in Spanish), affiliated with the Green Ecologist and Revolutionary Institucional (PRI) parties, ambushed residents of San Sebastián Bachajón ejido with firearms, leaving Javier Pérez Jiménez, 17, very badly injured; according to ejidatarios of the Other Campaign, “he is dying in the Hospital de las Culturas” in this city.
The attack, which occurred last Sunday on the stretch of highway between Chilón-Carmen Xaquila, was led by Víctor Manuel Vázquez López, a native of San José Chapapuyil (all of these in Chilón municipality) and representative of Uciaf, an organization whichbefore, under the name of ‘Development Peace and Justice’ (Desarrollo Paz y Justicia), was the paramilitary scourge of the state’s northern zone at the end of the last decade. The other three attackers have not been identified.
The Other Campaign ejido members denounced today that in the village of San Jose, “a group of 12 people exists, led by Manuel Vázquez Ruiz, director of the Uciaf,” with a background of participating “in several violent acts, and who are currently members of the PRI-Green Ecologist parties”. They are identified as “the principal agitators of society in that village, a product of the intense campaigns of those political parties, which have encouraged different violent acts.”
Javier and his oldest brother, who was unhurt, “were heading to their homes when suddenly, without knowing the motives, four strongly armed individuals came out from among the weeds and shot at them in cold blood.”
In a previous act, on April 29, 2011 the same Vázquez López attacked Florentino Pérez Gómez with a steel weapon (knife) and “he had the sad experience of losing some parts of his body, which up until now he has preserved in a glass container”, state the indigenous. There is an arrest warrant for this for Vázquez López and those responsible, which the authorities have ignored.
Pérez Gómez “should have had the opportunity to be able to demand justice for what happened to him, but it never came,” explain those making the denuncia. “As they are people of few resources, one day they went to the offices of the state attorney general of justice, in Yajalón, for the purpose of requesting the cooperation of the authorities in executing the arrest warrant against those responsible”. To their surprise, these authorities told the indigenous man’s family“that to go to arrest the one responsible they needed 6, 000 pesos”, and that “justice costs money”.
The Tzeltal ejido members designate as “principally responsible” for this violence “the law enforcement authorities”. They warn: “We are not going to continueto tolerate more repression and attacks by party members”, and conclude: “It is very clear who isresponsible; if the competent authority does not take action in this matter we are going to do it [ourselves], because it is not the first time that we have been victims of injustice with the sole purpose of breaking up our organization and intimidating us into notcontinuing our struggle in defence of our lands and territories. This is one more example of how the political parties are generating violence, confrontation and disintegration with their projects.”
Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada
Friday, May 11, 2012