Magazine article New Internationalist

Raucous Resistance: Women in Chiapas Speak Their Minds

Magazine article New Internationalist

Raucous Resistance: Women in Chiapas Speak Their Minds

Article excerpt

BAREFOOT, with a baby slung on her back, Calendaria Morales Perez runs up a dusty road and brandishes a stick. 'Murderers, assassins, sons of the devil,' she cries in Spanish. 'Out of our village!' Her aunt, Aydelina Morales Guillen, lopes ahead echoing the cry: 'Out devils!'

Nine trucks, carrying almost 200 armed Mexican federal soldiers, leave Morelia in Chiapas with 50 women and children waving sticks and throwing rocks at them.

This is the second time in a week soldiers have tried to enter Morelia and the women have turned them back. On the 22nd December last year a paramilitary group killed 45 people including 4 pregnant women and 18 children. President Ernesto Zedillo ordered soldiers to 're-establish law and order' in the region. Villages believed to be supportive to the Zapatista National Liberation Army (ZNLA), a group of rebels fighting for the right to land and autonomy of indigenous people, were targeted.

The tension between the Government and the ZNLA continues despite peace agreements signed in 1996. Zedillo maintains that troops are still necessary to disarm the Zapatistas and bring aid to families affected by the violence. Zedillo's view is echoed by the commanding officer of the troops attempting to enter Morelia: 'We're here to see that everyone is all right. …

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