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Mexican Day of the Dead Commemoration of massacre of Zapatista supporters

Martin O'Neill | 21.10.2009 15:56 | Zapatista

A number of state sponsored paramilitaries responsible for the killing of Zapatista supporters have recently been given early release or will soon be released. The people in power who gave the orders for the massacre have never been brought to justice. There will be a vigil protesting at the lack of justice outside the Mexican Embassy on Monday 2nd November, the
Mexican Day of the Dead.

To co-incide with this, in Glasgow on Sunday the 1st of November at 4pm at the Glasgow Social Centre, 66 Osborne Street G1 5QH, we will be screening a documentary about Acteal,'A Massacre Foretold' introduced by it's local film maker Nick Higgins.

This Thursday the 22nd of October at 7pm at the Social Centre we will
be making a Day of the Dead Shrine. We would love it if other people
could contribute to the Shrine by bringing momentos or photos to the shrine
to celebrate the lives of their dead friends or relatives and of dead
revolutionaries in the run up to the Day of the Dead. Already people
want to add the victims of injustice in Gaza and Haiti to the shrine.

Background Information

In 1997, during the counterinsurgency movement organised against the Zapatistacommunities in Chiapas, 45 indigenous people, most of them women, elderly people and children from the pacifist group of “Las Abejas”were massacred while praying in their church in the village of Acteal, Chiapas. The perpetrator of this crime was a paramilitary group that had been trained and armed by the government.

The event has been documented by several Human Rights organisations and those of you who are familiar with Latin American politics(particularly the strategies used in Guatemala, Nicaragua and El Salvador) will know that this is unfortunately a very common way of dealing with dissent and social discontent.

A number of the paramilitaries were convicted immediately after the event, though none of the masterminds were brought to justice. On 13th August the Supreme Court granted an appeal to 26 of those jailed, and 20 of them have already been released.

The Supreme Court has acknowledged that they are not innocent, but that the case against them was weak. Most of the evidence from the scene had been destroyed by the state police the day after the massacre. I know this because one of my friends was one of the first journalists to get there, when all the bodies had been removed without a Forensic Team
(ministerio public, in Mexico) being present.

This means not only that there is no justice for the relatives and survivors of the massacre; it might also mean the reactivation of paramilitary groups in the area (which have been present, but dormant untilnow).

If you want to know more, here are some links that you might want to check out:

Martin O'Neill