Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Good Faith in Chiapas

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Good Faith in Chiapas

Article excerpt

THE news that Indian rebels in Mexico's southern state of Chiapas are set on Feb. 16 to hand over a prominent mayor held hostage since Jan. 2 is welcome.

According to Manuel Camacho Solis, President Carlos Salinas de Gortari's negotiator, the move represents a "gesture of good will, of good faith.... They {the rebels} would not have taken this decision if they did not have the intention of going to the negotiating table."

In addition, both sides are expected to announce a date this week for face-to-face talks.

Such progress should help reinforce the position of those in and out of government who want to see the uprising settled peacefully, rather than through force, as hard-liners in the government still advocate.

Such an "in your face" response, especially to grievances that not only are longstanding and justified, but are widely shared in Mexico, would fuel further resentment and class violence. Within the past two weeks, peasants staged a protest in the usually quiet Chiapas town of Teopisca, seeking the ouster of a long-serving mayor who is a member of the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI). …

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