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There’s more to life (and death) than drugs

3 July 2008

One worry I’ve expressed again and again is that with the focus on drug export interdiction (and the millions of U.S. funding being poured into U.S. companies to provide services to Mexican law enforcement), there are two dangers.  First, other legitimate security issues will be slighted; and second, that social conflicts will be treated as “drug war” fights, as they were and are in Colombia.

My first article, from the 1 July 2008 Jornada, has nothing to do with drugs. This has been a chronic problem in the Mayan communities: “usos y costumbres” vs. religious freedom. The second, from El Universal the same day (and sorry, I lost the link) involves an agrarian conflict that has already turned violent, and had U.S. reporters shaking their heads because it is NOT drugs — but cattlemen and loggers versus small farmers — that’s led to violence for years.

Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Chiapas. Catholic traditionalists cut water and electricial services to evangelical families in community of Ángel Albino Corzo, La Trinitaria municipio, for refusing to cooperate with religious festivities in the area.

According to a denunciation filed by twenty families who belong to the Pentacostal Church “Tiempo de Sembre”, they have been threated with expusion if they do not pay the Catholics two thousand pesos per family.

Oscar Moha, president of the Association of Christian Lawyers, said that since the beginning of the year, the Evangelical community in Ángel Albino Corzo, which borders Guatemala, have been persecuted and fear expulsion.

He affirmed that these families, totalling about a hundred persons, were pressured to pay first a hundred pesos, then four hundred per month per family, and now two thousand pesos, for the community festivals, in violation of their Constitutional rights.

The lawyer denounced the Catholic traditionalists for pressuring the evangelicals by cutting water services to their homes and shutting off street lights.

And from Chilpancingo, Guerrero:

Among the five dead and five wounded in an armed attack in Municipio Zapotitlán Tablas were several members of the Emiliano Zapata Southern Agrarian Revolutionary League ( Liga Agraria Revolucionaria del Sur “Emiliano Zapata” or LARSEZ), according to police sources.

Last Sunday’s incident, in Escalerilla Lagunas was originally reported to police as an automobile accident. Killed were Aurelio Sánchez, Francisca Sánchez Mendoza, Abigail Aurelio Sánchez, Domingo García Tapia, 18, 50, 11 and 14 years old respecively.

However, State Preventive Police in the mountain community repored finding .45 and 9mm shells at the scene, which had been fired at the grey Nissan double cab pickup truck.
The victims were identified by José Aguilar Mejía, who said he knew several of them as active in LARSEZ, a social organization in Zapotitlán Tablas, zona de La Montaña.

The vehicle was travelling on a country road between Aguaxocatlán and Zopilotepec, where it intersects of the state highway Tlatlauquitepec-Zapotitlán. Zopilotepec residents said the vehicle was cut off by another vehicle, which led to the gun battle.

Five persons were also injured when another driver, Tranquilino Aurelio Sánchez, lost control of his vehicle and went over an embankment, injuring Mario Tapia León, Leticia Sánchez Espinosa, Rosalinda Rodríguez Espinobarro and Pedro Tapia Aurelio, 18, 16, 12 and 12 years old, respecively.

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