ricardo dominguez on Thu, 27 May 1999 19:02:50 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> The South of Mexico in Arms - 14 Rebel Groups Identified

MEXICO CITY, May 12 (IPS) - As many as
14 ''latent'' insurgent groups are biding their time
in southern Mexico, according to reports by
official entities and non-governmental organisations.

The latest report was released this week by the
State Information System on Public Security of the
state of Morelos - near the capital - which based
its list of rebel groups on research by the armed forces
and the Secretariat of the Interior.

The State Information System reported that the
well-known Zapatista National Liberation
Army (EZLN) and the smaller and less known
Popular Revolutionary Army (EPR) were just
two of a total of 14 guerrilla organisations.

The intelligence report added that although
only those two groups had gone public, the
possibility that a number of others could do
so in the future must not be ruled out.

The ''latent'' insurgent groups are reportedly
based in southern Mexican states like Morelos,
Oaxaca, Guerrero and Chiapas - impoverished
areas with large indigenous populations.

The study, published Tuesday by the daily
'El Universal', largely coincided with an
earlier report by a non-governmental organisation.

The Centre of Historic Research on Armed Movements
(CIHMA) drew up a list of 12 insurgent groups other
than the EZLN and EPR, although several of the names
provided by the organisation differed from those
contained in the report by the State Information System.

The upsurge of insurgency is due to a rise in injustice
and human rights abuses, according to the CIHMA,
which is made up of former guerrilla fighters once
active in rebel groups in the 1970s.

That assertion is in line with reports by local human
rights groups and international watchdogs like Human
Rights Watch, which accuse the government of
President Ernesto Zedillo of violating the rights of
peasants in southern Mexico under the pretext
of searching for guerrillas.

Numerous cases of torture and disappearances
have been documented in recent reports by human
rights organisations, and the relationship between
the Zedillo administration and rights groups is tense.

Two of the most high-profile cases of abuse were
a a June 1995 police massacre of 17 peasant
activists in the state of Guerrero, and a December
1997 mass killing of 45 indigenous men, women
and children in Chiapas, committed by
a paramilitary group opposed to the

The armed forces have not publicly acknowledged
the presence of any guerrilla group but the EZLN
and EPR.

Only sporadic armed clashes have occurred with
the EPR since it appeared on the scene in June 1996,
while the EZLN and the army engaged in just 12
days of fighting when the Zapatistas first went
public on Jan 1, 1994. Peace talks between
the Zapatistas and the government were broken
off in September 1996.

Both the State Information System and CIHMA
reports say the ''latent'' guerrilla groups, mainly
comprised of peasants and indigenous people,
are planning actions for the future.

Apart from the EZLN and EPR, the State Information
System listed the:

-Clandestine Armed Forces of National Liberation,

-Popular Insurgent Revolutionary Army,

-Clandestine Indigenous Army of National Liberation,

-Clandestine Indigenous Commando of National Liberation and

-Revolutionary Armed Commando of the South.

Also mentioned in this week's report were the:

-Genaro Vazquez 'Ejercito de Ajusticiamiento',

-Insurgent Army of Chilpancingo,

-Liberation Army of the South,

-Liberation Army of the Southern Sierra,

-Jose Maria Morelos Popular Liberation Army,

-Armed Forces of Liberation for the Marginalised Peoples of Guerrero

Popular Revolutionary Movement.

Although several of the groups have carried out
propaganda actions, they have avoided scrapes
with the police and the military.

On several occasions, spokespersons for the
EZLN and EPR - which profess mutual respect
for each other but do not agree on strategies -
have mentioned the existence of at least eight
insurgent groups in Mexico.

According to the CIHMA, representatives of
all of the groups met in 1993 in the state of
Puebla to come up with a joint strategy to wage a
concerted fight.

But discrepancies reportedly arose, and the
Zapatistas decided to rise up in arms on their
own in early 1994. Although they announced a
nationwide rebellion at the time, that did not occur.

The presence of the EZLN, and later the EPR,
led to heavy militarisation of the states of
southern Mexico, where the army
operates dozens of outposts and checkpoints today.

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