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Stomach disease, parasites and civil war - where have all the Federales gone?

Oscar Beard | 12.12.2006 22:28 | Oaxaca Uprising | Repression | Social Struggles | Zapatista | World

One the last day in a town tittering on uncertainty the police pressence decreases as the undercovers double: Oscar Beard in San Cristobal de Las Casas.

The only two armed police in the Zocalo yesterday
The only two armed police in the Zocalo yesterday

People are dropping like flies now. Not from bullet holes, repression, or a vicious government that just sent 5000 troops and state police, backed up with jet fighters, into the troubled state of Michoacán, under the ruse of the war on drugs.

"The battle against organized crime is just beginning," said President Calderon.

Indeed it is, if that is why this really happened.

I have just been informed that Michoacán is a known area of APPO support and solidarity.

But the people of San Cristobal are dropping like flies because of something you cannot even see. Viruses. Sickness from the water, although several have admitted the bottle and a half of Mescal they downed on Sunday evening may well have something to do with their pukathon.

For the others they are sick from the water. Polluted and getting worse. Why?

Maybe it has something to do with the extensive relaying of water and sewage pipes across the town. Pipes that go nowhere but to the river, to the natural water supply.

Is it not a little odd to waste vast amounts of money on new pipes when there is still no sewage plant to clean all the crap, the pesticides, the Coca Cola effluent out of the water? That is if the later can indeed be cleaned from the supply.

It is visible here, since the tense presidential transfer, the state police numbers have decreased. But by no means has the tension lessened. In fact it seems more now in most of whom I talk.

But, the problem now is the secret police, those under the covers. My contact in La Otra Campaña - who I was told today has already assigned himself without fear to a death by fighting – this outstanding man said the secret police had doubled in recent days.

They are here now to route out and grab anyone from Oaxaca and to find those who are supporting and aiding APPO, be them NGOs, activists, or even journalists. If they succeed in that then their eyes will settle on the EZLN and anyone who assists them in any way shape or form.

Their weapon of choice at the moment is the mobile phone, used as surveillance, taking advantage of GPS after phone numbers of the Oaxaca captured and the monitored are catalogued.

The recent court case against a Mafia family in America also proved what I have been warning for several years, and labelled paranoid, that mobile phones can be used as microphones and record conversations in the surrounding area.

Plus simple techniques such as an undercover phoning known numbers, then watch who in the room picks up their phone.

One contact told me this method was used once several nights ago when a huge “military type” entered a bar and unknown numbers began ringing on one phone whilst the thug was busy on his phone.

Last night the Oaxaca film show was watched by one undercover at the back of the room. If looks could kill, I would not be writing this now. And no one in base camp would be eating because the staff would be in the secondary stages of rigamortis.

Our last night in the bar was again monitored, this time the gentleman taking over three hours to drink two café mochas.

As I prepare to leave this town of tourism and tense politico atmosphere, the sun is shining and the Fiesta de Guadalupe is in full swing - crazed religious bare foot runners tearing from one mountainside to the other of this fine green valley, from one church to the other.

For me, the illness began rearing its ugly head again yesterday. So, Oscar Beard did what Oscar Beard does best and attempted a 24-hour assault on his stomach with beer and tequila, ending up in a sleazy salsa bar fighting with the barman who tried to screw him like the other gringos. But with several revolutionary members behind him when the kid was met with a clenched fist and the promise of death, not even the 20-stone doorman with no teeth made a move.

All that is left now is to get the hell out of here and hope the peace holds. That is doubtful according to my good friends of La Otra Campaña. They say the repression is coming fast now, but add they are not going down without a fight.

Oscar Beard