LAND CONFLICTS with ORCAO SPREAD (Jan.,
The first reported dispute between the Regional
Association of Ocosingo Coffee Growers (ORCAO) and EZLN bases of
support erupted in Cuxuljá, autonomous municipality (county) of
Moises Gandhi. Not only does that dispute continue to simmer,
additional land disputes between ORCAO and Zapatista civilian
communities have arisen. Here is just one example.
On January 15 , a clash occurred in New
Town Javier López, autonomous county of Francisco Gomez. It fit into
what is becoming an all too familiar pattern: a former cattle
ranch, abandoned by its owner after the January 1, 1994 Zapatista
uprising, reclaimed and settled by the Zapatistas and close to the
city of Ocosingo.
This is the story a Javier Lopez community
representative told to La Jornada: "At nine o'clock at night
those of the ORCAO arrived. 70 of them, it was dark. They came
specifically to fight. They were carrying stones, clubs, chains,
machetes and slingshots. We defended ourselves. They beat one
companero badly, they broke his mouth with stones. Another
companero was taken to the Ocosingo jail, they wanted to take him
to Cerro Hueco [far away in the state capital]. On the way to
jail, they were beating him. The police were not beating him and
let him go in the morning."
Authorities of Javier Lopez state that ORCAO
deliberately organized 12 men to join their organization with
promises of land titles and productive products from the
government. These 12 men had a dispute with authorities in Javier
Lopez over the unauthorized cutting of wood from the community s land to sell for profit. Some
of them no longer lived in Javier Lopez.
Authorities from the autonomous council of
Francisco Gomez reported that the ORCAO leader was with the
attackers and that the autonomous authorities detained 3 people.
La Jornada reported that the community remains on a 24-hour guard.