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<nettime> Fw: En;Jornada/Bellinghausen,Clash at Amador Hernandez,Jul 07

-----Original Message-----
From: Chiapas95 <owner-chiapas95@eco.utexas.edu>
To: chiapas95@eco.utexas.edu <chiapas95@eco.utexas.edu>
Date: Saturday, July 08, 2000 8:52 AM
Subject: En;Jornada/Bellinghausen,Clash at Amador Hernandez,Jul 07

Date: Fri, 7 Jul 2000 17:50:07 -0400
Originally published in Spanish by La Jornada
Translated by irlandesa

La Jornada
Friday, July 7, 2000.

Army Base at Amador Hernández Growing Nonstop

        Pro-Zapatista Sit-in  Reaches 336 Days
        Clash Between Soldiers and Dissidents on Monday, Four Injured

Hermann Bellinghausen, Correspondent.
Amador Hernández, Chiapas.
July 6.

"They're over there, we just saw them," a campesino points towards the
woods inside the biosphere reserve.  "They just now hid themselves, so the
journalists couldn't go and take their photographs," he adds.

The soldiers, hidden in the undergrowth - perhaps lying in wait, or perhaps
caught red-handed - have, nonetheless, surrounded the circular march of the
support bases of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN), since,
at the center of everything is the military camp.  In 11 months the camp
has not stopped growing, on ejidal lands which have been taken over by

"They just do it like that," Jacobo explains, "They go like a kilometer and
a half along the Camino Real and go into the mountain.  All day long.  They
come out in the afternoon, often they're carrying wood."

The day after the federal elections, on Monday, the third, there was an
incident between soldiers and demonstrators, which left four injured.  The
protestors were attacked by Military Police with shields, clubs and
electric prods, and they were kicked into the barbed wire fences.  Some
indigenous and students were sprayed in the face with pepper gas.

It had happened that, when a military helicopter had arrived, the men from
the march approached it, in order to see who was arriving in the aircraft.
"We wanted to see what they were bringing.  Even though they're there, they
are our lands, and we don't want them bringing their trash here," Jacobo

The wall of soldiers guarding the helicopter ordered the campesinos to move
away, and the military police charged them immediately - with a commanding
officer giving an order to attack the students in particular.  Today they
still bear the marks of the gas on their knees and foreheads, still with
traces of blood.

The last few nights, including last night, the place where the indigenous
have raised their casemates to stand guard between the community and the
camp is surrounded by soldiers, prowling about in an intimidating manner.

Harassment of International Observers

A group of US observers visited Amador Hernández today.  At the moment they
were boarding the plane in Comitán to journey to this community, they were
intercepted by immigration police, who interrogated them for close to an
hour.  When they returned from their visit, the plane - in which Lydia
Brazon, Niels Frenzen and Stephen Kerpen were traveling - was followed for
the entire trip, at a very close distance, by a PGR plane.

And when the plane landed, a Military Intelligence agent set out observing
them and followed them as they left.

Amador Hernández is a hot-spot on the chiapaneco geography.  Visits are
always a cause of concern for the armed forces and federal police, and even
more so when they are foreigners, even if they have only gone to learn
about the situation prevailing in the ejido.

Who are the Forgotten Ones

The growth of the army bases here - at the bottom of the Amador Valley - is
incredible.  The military blot has spread nonstop, and today - between what
they have leveled and what they are occupying - the soldiers have taken
over 15 hectares.  Jacobo himself has calculated this figure, although he
tentatively consulted his compas.  "Or almost," he clarifies, as if he were
not sure.  The Tzeltaleros are like that, they have their way of being

A smell of burning plastic fills the air.  In the center of one of the
heliports, completely barren of vegetation, a large garbage pyre is burning
between rocks.

"Soldier, understand, life is not to be sold," the women and children
chant, raising their fists, all with their faces covered.  The men follow
them, and by times they surround them attentively, looking in all

"Soldier olive green, you are forgotten."  The barricades on high and the
walls of sand bags, full of peepholes and combat positions, make one think
that the soldiers are ready to resist an attack.  From this hundred women,
boys, girls, young people and men who walk, every day, taking their turn
and shouting demands, protests and slogans?

"Zedillo signed, and then he didn't honor," they shout from the paths
forged by their very own daily walks next to the barbed wire circles.
Three hundred and thirty-six consecutive days of groups of dozens of
communities in resistance, meeting, walking like Sisyphus around an
operations base which will not stop growing.  Now it occupies 5 hectares,
between basketball, soccer and volleyball fields, a budding military
residential complex, like in the Vietnam movies, offices, latrines and
training camps.

The troops occupied these lands on August 11, 1999, in order to "protect"
the building of a highway from the San Quinti'n military base.

Even though protests by the affected indigenous - zapatistas as well as
those of the ARIC-Independent - led to the federal government's declaring
the suspension of the work, the camp remained on the outskirts of the
Amador Hernández community, surrounding the Camino Real, and going deeper
and deeper, every day, into the Selva.

Since that time, EZLN support bases have organized a sit-in, in which they
demonstrate every day against the occupying forces.  They have resorted to
singing, shouting, banners, theatrical presentations, dance, paper
airplanes and simple protest, in order to express their indignation and

This singular protest is being repelled today with the strident folk song,
'Bailando de talón,' from the sound system set up in the corners of the
army camp.

Then the soldiers put on a record by Maná in which he sings, "Human rights,
I don't see any humans around here."  It has to be a joke.  "They've even
put on El Tri, they've been reciting 'La cárcel de Santa Marthá to us
every day," comments one of the students who has been accompanying the
zapatistas' sit-in for the last ten days, as have various civil groups
throughout what will soon be one year.

Psychological tactics against the indigenous, music made noise.  Carmen and
Aida as well as military marches and muzak also function to prevent the
voices of the Tzeltales from reaching the ears of the troops, who are
amusing themselves by practicing sports while their commanders watch over
the protest.

Inside the camp, two individuals in civilian dress are taking notes.  One
of them is filming with arrogant aggressiveness, and he categorically
refuses to identify himself, without even bothering to open his mouth.  The
campesinos point out that they are PGR agents, based in Ocosingo.  They
have threatened the students by saying:  "We'll be seeing you when you

They also point out that every 20 days there is a rotation of air transport
troops, so that at least part of the detachment is always fresh.  It is, in
fact, also functioning as a practice camp for elite troops.  The indigenous
say they have seen officials wearing US army insignias, but they have not
found a way of proving it.

The soldiers are occupying a beautiful spot on the river, with pools and
waterfalls, but they have contaminated it to such a degree that now even
they themselves are not using its water, but rather bringing it in piped
from the mountain.  And they have deforested or damaged ten hectares of
mountain and Selva, which belongs to the ejiditarios of Amador Hernández.
The ejiditarios have sought protection from civil courts in Chiapas,
without having yet received a favorable resolution to the extra-legal
occupation of their lands.

While making their daily rounds through the mud, it was discovered that the
indigenous are indeed carrying weapons.  Specifically, the children are
wearing their slingshots around their necks, like collars.  The adults, men
and women, are carrying wooden walking sticks.  On the other side of the
barricades and trenches, there are R-15's and machine guns.  I asked a
little boy what his name was.  He hesitated for a few seconds, and, I swear
he said in a whisper:  "My name is David."

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