in Spanish by La Jornada
Mexico City, Friday, August 9, 2002
Zapatista Killed With 8 Shots
* Witness Points to Transportista as Author of the Crime in the
community of 6 de Agosto (August 6)
* They accuse that the state police rose up the cadaver in the
absence of the Public Minister
By: Hermann Bellinghausen, Correspondent
Autonomous Municipality of 17 de November, August 8, 2002.
José López Santiz, a Tzeltal campesino, EZLN base of support, was executed last night near the community 6 de Agosto. His son, a 12 year-old boy, eye witness to the crime, asserted that it was perpetrated by Baltazar Alfonso, Altamirano transport owner, with a shotgun.
The victim received 7 or 8 shots in the face and chest. The killer, and 2 other persons who accompanied him, are fugitives. The indigenous people of the different communities of the autonomous municipality, met this afternoon in the village where the acts occurred, assert that the municipal authorities of Altamirano permitted the killer and his companions to flee.
Whatever, they left behind incriminating evidence, like the murder weapon and the vehicle in which they arrived last night and to which they were not able to return, because the community had woken up and were waiting at the side of the black Toyota V6 truck with Chiapas license plates CX03420, before which Alfonso and his companions fled on foot by a neighboring road to the city of Altamirano.
Indigenous people identify Benjamin Montoya Oceguera and Humberto Castellanos, apparently also drivers, as those who accompanied "señor Alfonso," as the eyewitness referred to him. "I saw him," the young boy says seriously. "He shot two times and I shouted to my papa to be careful. The señor asked me why was I shouting, that he was also going to kill me." The child took off running, while his father, fallen on the ground, received another 6 shots.
The wife of López Santiz, with that certain stupor that contains grief and courage, refers: "Like at 7 in the evening he went to the field with the two children (2 sons and a girl). At 9 the car arrived and parked here," she points to the truck.
The field is a distance of "half and hour on foot," the campesinos say. The killers entered in the muddy road, apparently in search of the victim. They were already returning, related the boy, when the attackers appeared. The younger boy fled instantly.
The shots and boys' screams caused alarm for the seven families that make up 6 de Agosto, founded in 1994 by indigenous peoples, in lands recuperated from what was Rancho San Juan.
Before fleeing, the assailants hid the corpse in the underbrush.
Towards 3 in the morning, Seguridad Publica (state police) showed up at the place, raised up the cadaver without the presence of the Ministerio Publica and against the will of the relatives, "carried it away to the Altamirano municipal cemetery." This morning, some 200 indigenous Zapatistas blocked the Altamirano-Ocosingo road and recovered the body
of the fallen campesino. As of this afternoon, no representative of the Ministerio Publico (local attorney general's office) had shown up, nor had any certificate been issued.
"They gave them a chance to escape," the indigenous accuse the authorities this afternoon. "They didn't want to detain them."
Today, at 3:00 in the afternoon, a gray vehicle attacked the indigenous blockade at high speed: "it was going to kill the compan~eros. It was a deliberate attack" says another head of family from the village to La Jornada. The campesinos then pursued the grey car to the municipal presidency, where the aggressors sought cover.
Nevertheless, the campesinos captured these people, and this afternoon they had retained them at the side of the road, waiting for human rights observers.
In a 6 de Agosto house, this evening rested the body of José López Santiz wrapped in various shawls. It had a coffin on one side, and a swarm of flies was going from the box to the body. José was a relatively young man, as his bloody face reveals, his strong body his open and glassy eyes. As the children and the men came upon the body, they stared at it, hypnotized.
The farm workers also told La Jornada that they had detained a
son-in-law of Baltazar Alfonso. Distancing himself from what occurred, he confirmed the guilt of his father-in-law and even the manner in which the crime was planned.