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From: "Dale Wharton" <1@dale.CAM.ORG>
Subject: Behind the Chiapas massacre
Followup-To: alt.activism.d
Date: 15 Jan 1998 18:15:29 GMT

Darrin Wood, Director.

We now have the aforementioned article from PROCESO magazine about the use of paramilitaries in the low-intensity war against the EZLN. And all of this with the help of a graduate of the U.S. School of the Americas [ at Ft Benning, GA ], General Jose Ruben Rivas Peña (SOA 1980 "Commando and General Staff"). Cheers to Carlos Marín of proceso for his excellent work.

web version created by the ratitor

No. 1105
4 de enero de 1998

To censure the media, control the organizations of the masses, secretly co-opt civil sectors...

Plan of the Army in Chiapas, since 1994: create paramilitary groups, displace the population, destroy the support bases of the EZLN...

Carlos Marín

Soldados en la niebla The Acteal massacre comes as a result of a precise counterinsurgency strategy designed in October 1994 by the Secretary of National Defense to be applied by the 7th Military Region with headquarters in Tuxtla Gutierrez, Chiapas.

The head of Sedena (Secretary of National Defense) was General Antonio Riviello Bazan, and the commander of the 7th Region, the current federal representative Miguel Angel Godinez.

KEY OBJECTIVE : "To break the support relationship that exists between the population and the transgressors of the law."

The military intelligence services should "secretly organize certain sectors of the civilian population including ranchers, small business owners, and individuals characterized by a high sense of patriotic duty, who will be employed in support of our operations."

In the hands of Army instructors were left "the advising and support of the self-defense forces or other paramilitary groups."

The need to implement these dispositions are contained in the "Chiapas '94 Campaign Plan."

The increasing action in Chiapas of paramilitary groups fits within the line of action that was set back then.

In military logic, the absence of conditions for forming those armed anti-Zapatista groups should be overcome: "In case self-defense forces do not exist it is necessary to create them."

This ingredient of the military strategy in Chiapas--denounced with insistence by Subcommander Marcos, the diocese of San Cristobal de Las Casas, and nongovermental human rights defense organizations, and repeatedly denied by the governments of Carlos Salinas and Ernesto Zedillo--plays such a decisive role that [it] considers, as well, the displacement of the civil bases of the guerrillas (a drama that currently almost 5,000 indigenous people are experiencing in various areas):

Riviello Bazan, Apoyo total The concentration of those bases of support to other areas would leave the Zapatistas without those essential elements and would lower the morale of the subversives, taking them away from their family.

The director of Sedena (Secretary of National Defense) remarked:

"The offensive tactical operations should be continued, with the end purpose of eliminating the tactical forces of the transgressors and their support bases."

A general stationed at the Rancho Nuevo headquarters (31st Military Zone), Jose Ruben Rivas Pena, elaborated for his part a historical, sociological, economic, political, and religious analysis of the conflict in which he diagnosed:

... An infant Chiapas, that begins to live or to confront sociopolitical problems possibly equivalent to, within the historical chronology of Mexico, the War for Reform and, in an optimistic manner, to the Mexican Revolution. January 1, 1994, it could be accepted, was the painful fall of the first tooth of a state of the Federation that is called Chiapas.

In its Campaign Plan, Sedena looked without suspicion at the local political bosses:

That the friendly population defend what is theirs, and this is especially valid for ranchers and small business owners.

The recruitment--according to the National Attorney General's Office--for forming the Red Mask group (the one that is being held responsible for the homicide of 45 people in Chenalho, according to the EZLN's accusation) was done from among the friendly population, natural clients of authority: sympathizers and militants of the PRI and the Frente Cardenista.

In early 1997, in Santa Martha and Pechiquil; in Yaxjemel, Los Chorros, and Puebla--all these in the region of Chenalho--training camps for this type of self-defense organizations began to function.

Some other goals that were outlined four years ago by the Army strategists were: the elimination of the urban commandos and the disintegration or control of the organizations of the masses.

At the heart of the plan, the objective of the psychological operations is to destroy the EZLN's will to fight and win the civilian population's support for the government.

Like Red Mask, organizations such as Peace and Justice (the one responsible for the failed attempt on the life of Bishop Samuel Ruiz), the Chinchulines (closing and burning of churches in Tila), Fray Bartolome de los Llanos Alliance (killers that operate in the Central Valleys), Revolutionary Anti-Zapatista Insurgent Movement (indigenous phalanx in the jungle), Tomas Munzer Brigade (at the service of the ranchers), Armed Forces of the People, and the Throat Slitters, seem to respond fully to the military designs that, in their substantive parts, follow, literally.

The milk tooth

31st Military Zone/General Staff/General Headquarters
General Situation in Chiapas State

1. Historical Aspects

Godinez, Estra tega As of September 14, 1824, Chiapas became part of the United States of Mexico. However, due to geographic isolation, social introversion, lack of political capability of the subsequent presidencies, Central American influence, and its great ethnic diversity, the Chiapans suffered from "national indifference" so they participated with little interest, or symbolically, in the historical development of present day Mexico. This "national indifference" or lack of national will, made it so that while the other federative entities developed themselves historically by means of their active and dynamic participation, like fusing their customs, political ideologies, economic and social procedures, and psychological situations, the Chiapans participated in nothing or in very little, for example, in the War of Independence, the battle between Centrists and Federalists, North American interventions, the War for Reform, French intervention, and the Mexican Revolution.

These asymmetrical historical circumstances left a Chiapas in its infant stage, while the rest of its siblings, the states within the federation, reached adulthood.

We consequently found an infant Chiapas (....) The 1st of January is the painful fall of the first tooth (....)

In his interpretive essay, General Jose Ruben Rivas Pena found a lack of authenticity in the Chiapan problem, whenever this Chiapan people, in search of their identity, make efforts to identify themselves without success and only locally are identified with a peculiar authenticity which borders on the extreme:

  • The "authentic" coletos.
  • The "authentic" tuxtlecos.
  • The "authentic" comitecos.
  • The "authentic" Chipilin tamales.
  • The "authentic" butifarra.

General Rivas Pena (3789150) interpreted that the Zapatista Movement involves "genetic" resentments and a separatist vocation. He perceived also the creation of a new Central American republic:

The Chiapans hold, one could say even in a genetic manner, a sentiment of being forgotten and marginalized, for which they hold the government of the Republic accountable. They consider themselves orphans of the system, in spite of the fact that Chiapas produces 55% of hydroelectric power and other resources (....) With the beginning of the problem generated by the EZLN on January 1, 1994, Chiapan separatism has become evident through the transgressors, as they demand:

  • a territory.
  • an autonomous government.
  • an eminently indigenous population.
  • military recognition of the EZLN.
  • an independent church/Departure of the Mexican Army.

(...) It is, therefore, Chiapan separatism that endangers not only social peace and tranquility but also, what is more serious, this separatism directly threatens the sovereignty, integrity, and independence of Mexico, and in addition permits foreign powers to interfere and that, in a not distant future, we may see once again the slashing of national territory and the birth of a new Central American republic.

Campamento en Chenalho The intelligentsia specializing in indigenous and Chiapan matters were strongly criticized:

(...) Reinforcing and complicating the difficult situation mentioned, within the indigenous "class" there exist cultural differences and differences of dialect that impede Chiapan integration and promote the development of a classist society.

In some way, national and foreign anthropologists and sociologists have promoted, it is presumed fraudulently, the isolation and nonintegration of the diverse ethnic groups into the concept of the Mexican nation.

It seems that those anthropologists and sociologists are more interested in the indigenous people being proud of being Tzeltales, Tzotziles, Choles, etc., than Mexicans (...), when it is known by all that the War of Independence of 1810 gave all individuals who live between the Rio Bravo and the Suchiate the nationality of Mexicans, and that in order to end countless social problems it is urgent to recognize that in our country exclusively Mexicans exist.

The Army analyst recognized that the exploitation of the indigenous people and the maintaining of privileges constituted the central problem in Chiapas:

(...) the socioeconomic upper class, in its zeal to enrich itself almost exclusively through the exploitation of the dispossessed and indigenous classes, promoted in these populations a series of restrictive values which were favorable to its interests:

  • Humility.
  • Sacrifice.
  • Frugality.
  • Obedience.
  • Fanatical respect.
  • Fear of authority.
  • Lack of aspirations.
  • Alcoholism.
  • Ignorance.
  • Paganism.
  • Submission.

The work of the Diocese of San Cristobal [according to this diagnosis] fostered the indigenous uprising:

From the arrival of Samuel Ruiz Garcia, Bishop of the Diocese of San Cristobal de las Casas, to the State of Chiapas, the traditional values began to be disrupted with the intention, in principle, of dignifying them, bringing them out of their ignorance, poverty, and marginalization. Unfortunately, this modification of indigenous values soon are seen to be directly influenced by the liberation theologians, orienting them toward the following positions:

  • You have been exploited for 500 years, first by the Spaniards and then by the rich.
  • You are the owners of Chiapas.
  • These lands were taken from you by the rich; take them back.
  • The rich are the cause of your misfortune.
  • Do not fear those who can take your life; only fear God.
  • God is exclusively on your side.
  • Jesus Christ was the first guerrilla.
  • You are superior to the Ladinos.
  • God does not love the rich.
  • The use of violence is justified.
  • We have to organize ourselves to stand up to the evil government and the rich.
  • Jesus Christ is coming soon and will be with you.
  • There is no democracy in Mexico.
  • The government and the PRI are corrupt.
  • The PRD won in Chiapas.
  • We need a Socialist country.
  • The government has always stolen from us.
  • The OAS and other international organizations support us.
  • The National Human Rights Commission and Nongovernmental Organizations are with us.

After making an interpretation regarding the conduct of the Catholic Church in general, and of the Diocese of San Cristobal in particular, given the Chiapan problem, the General of Rancho Nuevo concluded:

The Vatican is the indirect cause of the conflict in Chiapas, which has as its direct sponsor the contaminated current of liberation theology in Mexico, supported by its Latin American counterparts and the majority of the national Catholic clergy, utilizing to implement it: Socialist and political organizations, Mafia, and groups not satisfied with the government.

With regard to the political aspect, Chiapas has not escaped the effects, traditions, and myths of the Mexican political system and where for more than 60 years now the principal actor has been the PRI, accompanied by other extra political parties with different margins of influence and little power.

The campaign plan

Secretary of National Defense
c.g. en: Tuxtla Gtz., Chis.
VII Region Militar/Octubre. 94
Fifth Section
Campaign Plan Chiapas 94.

  1. Strategic-operational situation.

    1. Board of the Secretary of National Defense.

      1. The political objective of these operations is: attain and maintain peace.

      2. The strategic-operational objective is: destroy the EZLN's will to fight, isolating it from the civilian population and achieving the support of the civilian population in benefit of the operations.

      3. The tactical objective of the operations is: destroy and/or disorganize the political-military structure of the EZLN.

      4. An international conflict with Guatemala will be avoided.

      5. It should be managed tactfully and in benefit of the Mexican Armed Forces to the media.

      6. It will limit the negative effects that human rights organization and national and international NGOs may have the capacity to develop.

      7. It should execute in a coordinated manner, among others, the following operations:

        1. Tactical operations.
        2. Intelligence operations.
        3. Psychological operations.
        4. Civilian matters (including the aid plan to the population and its resources).
        5. Protection of the population and its resources.
        6. Advising (organization of self-defense forces).
        7. Logistics.

      8. The Campaign Plan will include the following phases:

        1. Preparation.
        2. The offensive.
        3. Development phase.
        4. Final phase.

      9. Its norms of action will be those dictated by the principles of war.

      10. Keep in mind the axioms and fundamentals of the current doctrine for carrying out operations in the jungle.

      11. The center of tactical operations of the Military Region (Cotremi) will be established initially in Tuxtla Gutierrez, Chiapas.

      12. In the zone of expansion, the principal task is the destruction or neutralization of the local guerrillas, militias, and commandos, and the security and defense of vital installations.

        In that same zone it will exercise direction, coordination, and control over all Public Security forces, making them responsible for the elimination of urban commandos and the disintegration or control of the organizations of the masses.

        For this purpose, the police forces will have the three following objectives:

        1. To break the relationship of support that exists between the population and the transgressors of the law.
        2. To discover the structure of the subversives and their activities within the population.
        3. To provide an atmosphere of physical and psychological security among the population uninvolved in the conflict.

      13. In the zone of defense, its main objective is to destroy or disorganize the regular units, militia, commandos, and local guerrillas of the EZLN.

      14. In the strategic rearguard zone, to spare no effort or resources to destroy the Clandestine Revolutionary Indigenous Committee (CCRI), general headquarters of the EZLN.

      15. The objective of the psychological operations is to destroy the EZLN's will to fight; to win over to the government the support of the civilian population, and to create within the civilian population a feeling of physical and psychological security. Having as a premise not to attack:

        1. Religion.
        2. Ethnic groups.
        3. Neighboring countries.

      16. Exploit air resources to gain an advantage in:

        1. Mobility.
        2. Command and control.
        3. Reconnaissance.
        4. Logistics.

      17. During the first phase of the Campaign Plan, emphasize the elaboration of plans and with respect to training, intensify that related to preparation of the troops for:

        1. Immediate air support.
        2. Fire support.
        3. Combat patrols.
        4. Nocturnal operations.
        5. Combat in the jungle.
        6. Combat in urban areas.
        7. Leadership and battle order of the EZLN.

      18. To secretly organize certain sectors of the civilian population, including ranchers, small business owners, and individuals characterized by a strong sense of patriotic duty, who will be employed under orders in support of our operations.

      19. With regard to intelligence, all military and civilian agencies should be directed, controlled, and coordinated in order to obtain:

        1. Counterinformation.
        2. Combat intelligence.
        3. Intelligence for the support of psychological operations.
        4. Intelligence on the internal situation (political, economic, and social information).

      20. In coordination with the state government and other authorities, censorship of the different mass media should be applied. Establish a communications office and designate an official spokesman.

      21. Elaborate a development plan which will be submitted for the President's consideration.

      22. Present a plan for the organization and functioning of a State Coordinating Center for the direction of operations for maintaining order in the State of Chiapas.

      23. The forces assigned to the effort for the operations for maintaining order will be assigned in a separate document.

      24. The Campaign Plan and Development Plan will be addressed/sent to the transgressors and the population.

      25. The Navy of Mexico will support the Mexican Army and Air Force in the area of its responsibility.

    2. Enemy forces.

      1. The self-proclaimed EZLN, like any Maoist organization, is made up of political leaders, armed forces, and organizations of the masses. (...) The possibility that the EZLN is supported in the political structures of the PRD must not be overlooked (...)

        1. Organizations of the masses (secretary of the masses). This is the fundamental component and more important element of Maoist strategy; it is structured with real or front social organizations, in the following sectors: Teachers; Students; Popular; Labor; Ethnics; Religious; Peasants; Others.

  1. In these organizations the commandos, Mexican militia forces, and local guerrillas carry on their work (...)

    1. Zone of expansion.

      1. From the Palenque-Ocosingo-Comitan-Frontera-Comalapa line toward "W" toward Tuxtla Gutierrez.

      2. In this zone there are:

        1. Organizations of the masses.
        2. Mexican militia forces.
        3. Local guerrillas.
        4. Urban and rural commandos.

      3. Contingents/Forces that operate in the zone.

        1. Between militia members and local guerrillas, 4,784 have been detected.
        2. The organizations of the masses are estimated at 200,000 people.

  2. From the aforementioned line toward "E" with the Guatemalan border, the transgressors call it "zone of liberated territory."

The paramilitary groups and the Army

Todo planeado Chapter h contains an advising Plan:

This attachment describes activities of the Army in the training and support of self-defense forces or other paramilitary organizations, which may be the fundamental principle of the mobilization for military and development operations. In addition it includes the advising and assistance that is provided to other government agencies and local, municipal, state, and federal government officials. Where self-defense forces do not exist, it is necessary to create them.

(...) The military operations include the training of local self- defense forces, in order that they may participate in security and development programs.

© 1998 Derechos Reservados, Comunicación e Información S.A. de C.V.

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