Zapatista Subcomandante Marcos in Guerrero
Rodríguez: Marcos in Guerrero: "Now We Have Found the People We Were Looking For"
April 26, 2006
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Of all the states that Zapatista Subcomandante Marcos has visited and will visit, perhaps none has such a bloody history of violence and oppression as Guerrero. This state was ground zero for Mexico's "dirty war" against the left in the late 1960s and 70s, where hundreds of civilians died or were disappeared as the government put down a guerrilla insurgency led by legendary rebel teachers Genaro Vásquez Rogas and Lucio Cabañas Barrientos. Their uprising is still memorialized in towns Marcos visited, in statues on town squares and in the words of the people, for whom the war never really ended.
In the Narco News Bulletin, Bertha Rodríguez Santos files her final report from Guerrero for The Other Journalism with the Other Campaign. In one town, El Charco, 12 people were massacred in June of 1998:
"Erika Zamora, one of the survivors of the El Charco massacre, said that since the slaughter committed by the Mexican army there has been an increase in selective killings, secret forced sterilization of indigenous women and various other violations on the part of the soldiers in the area.
"Efrén Cortés, another one of the survivors, described the scene of the massacre: 'The majority of the eleven people were killed, some of them dumped there under that basketball hoop' (he pointed toward the basketball court near where the group was meeting). 'That is what they train the army to do; to kill. They made fun of our compañeros as they were standing there with their hands up, "because you're all guerrillas," "we're going to kill you for being Indians," the bastards shouted,' he said, and then pointed toward other sites where farmers were murdered in cold blood."
The U.S.-imposed war on drugs is not far from people's minds in this state. For years the Mexican government has battled opium producers in the mountains of Guerrero, one of the poorest parts of Mexico, making helicopters and roadblocks a part of peoples' everyday lives as they struggle for basic survival. In one mountain town, Marcos spoke with members of a well-known human rights group called Tlachinollan:
"Speaking of the unemployment and misery prevalent in the area, they said: 'Today, 45.7 percent of our indigenous brothers have no monthly economic income. This obliges us to emigrate or die, that is why between the months of November and April we have to move to Baja California, Sinaloa, Sonora and other states to sell ourselves as cheap laborers in inhumane working conditions.
"They also denounced the militarization of the state, 'promoting a low-intensity war that seeks to intimidate, demobilize, persecute and criminalize all the men and women who fight for justice, equality and democracy. The war on drugs has transformed into a war on the poor. It has devastated indigenous lands, fragmented communities and imposed the law of the strongest.'"
Read Rodríguez' full report, a summary of the Other Campaign's entire tour through Guerrero, here:
From somewhere in a country called América,
The Narco News Bulletin