Support Committee
Murder in Olga Isabel (Aug, 2002)

Here is an article which appeared in the Mexican newspaper
Reforma about the companero who was murdered in the
autonomous municipality of Olga Isabel by paramilitaries.
CSC

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Originally published in Spanish by Reforma
Translated by irlandesa
Thursday, August 29, 2002.

Burial of a Zapatista
Daniel Pensamiento
Chilo'n, Chiapas.


 A column of 300 zapatistas went up a five kilometer mountain yesterday,
along a path in the community of K'an Akil, in the Autonomous
Municipality of Olga Isabel, where the body of Antonio Meji'a, with six
AK-47 bullet wounds, was laid out.

 Mejia, age 50, was the fourth member of that group to be executed by
paramilitaries in less than 10 days in the so-called conflict zone in
Chiapas.

 Between August 19 and 25, three zapatistas were killed, executed, in
the communities of Quexil [This is an error. The first of the 4
Zapatistas murdered was in 6 de Agosto] and Amaytik, in the municipality
of Ocosingo.

 Members of the EZLN gathered together yesterday, starting in the early
hours of the morning, in the municipal seat of the Olga Isabel
Autonomous Municipality.

 They departed from there in seven trucks, accompanied by
Non-Governmental Human Rights Observers, in order to pick up Mejia's
corpse, which had been laying among the maize plants since August 26.

 The Zapatistas picked up the body, which had one ear severed [other
reports say both ears were cut off] and which had been riddled with
worms.  They took it to his house, which was in the highest part of the
hill in the community of K'an Akil.

 The house was cement block, with corrugate laminate, part wood, with a
hard old reed bed and an altar with the figure of the Virgin of
Guadalupe.

 In the midst of the milpa, there was silence.  Eyes and mouths, the
only parts of their faces visible through the ski-masks, seemed to
compress the widespread sorrow.

 There was exhaustion, but no weeping.  There was frustration,
disillusionment with the federal and state governments, and a widespread
feeling of justice denied to indigenous groups in Chiapas over the last
decades.

 There were traces of blood at the site of the homicide, and 13 shells
from an R-15 and one from a shotgun.  There were a pair of gloves which
had remained untouched, waiting for the state Prosecutor's Office
specialists who never came to pick up the corpse and perform the usual
legal investigations for homicide cases with firearms.

 A paramilitary group called "Los Aguilares" fired on Meji'a and his
wife, Maria Gutie'rrez Sa'nchez, who were crossing the field just a bare
500 meters from their home on August 25.

 Gutie'rrez Sa'nchez managed to escape from the attack that day, after
slipping away along the ground and after seeing her husband fall in the
milpa.

 "We did not ask anything of the Governments, since we do not support
them, nor do we receive anything from them.

 "It is quite obvious that the Governments know who the leaders of the
paramilitaries are, they know who the assassins are, and we can see that
there is no will to punish them.

 "For us, that is proof that they want to do away with the EZLN's
Autonomous Municipalities," said Eliseo, a zapatista who spoke in the
name of the group.

 As they ascended and descended, towards Mejia's house at the highest
part of the mountain, the zapatista column kept up the same order.

 Inside, the putrid odor which escaped from the coffin spread through
the atmosphere.  A woman was crying, desolate, and the guttural sounds
disrupted the column and the determination in the zapatistas' faces.

 It is obvious that Mejia was not an average militant among the
Zapatista bases.  The mobilization by the civilians of the Olga Isabel
Autonomous Municipality was augmented by an EZLN military squadron,
which kept a prudent distance and set up an undercover security
operation among the trees.

 The EZLN insurgents' uniforms of brown shirts and black pants remained
absent from the civilian mobilizations.  The purpose was to set up an
operation around the house, where they would keep vigil over the corpse
last night for the burial there this Thursday.



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