On June 21st, indigenous people of the community El Pozo, of the municipality San Juan Cancuc in the Chiapas highlands, clashed in a shootout that left one dead and 9 others injured (4 by gunshot wounds). The confrontation occurred when inhabitants of El Pozo tried to suspend the supply of potable water and electricity to Zapatista sympathizers, who are in resistance and refuse to pay for these services. Amidst the aggression 28 year-old Sebastián Hernández Pérez was killed.
On the 23rd of June, the Good Government Council (JBG) Central Heart of the Zapatistas Before the World of the caracol of Oventic published a comunique explaining that “it was not a clash as the media manipulations have made it out to be. Nor was it an agression provoked by Zapatista support bases, as the media has also accused. In response to the aggressions, the compañeros had to defend themselves somehow, utilizing last resort measures in their legitimate defense”.
They explained that on June 21st at about 10:30 am, PRI and PRD supporters “organized themselves into four groups, each one of 60 people with aggressive attitudes and armed with machetes, stones, sticks, hoes, pickaxes, shovels and clippers for cutting the service of light and water to nine Zapatista support base families. “ They recognized: “in this aggression, one of the aggressors who was leading the assault was left dead. Our support bases had to defend themselves”. They also commented: “How is it possible that the bad government acts in this way, detaining our compañeros while our support bases were attacked, beaten and several were seriously wounded and injured.“
On June 23rd, the Attorney General of Chiapas stated that there were detentions of three people involved in the clash. On the same day, the municipal president of San Juan Cancuc, Cirilo Vázquez Cruz (of the PRD), who allegedly spoke for fear of being assaulted, said that 25 support base families fled their homes in the community of El Pozo. He said the situation in El Pozo is calm, but there remain some 15 agents of the State Preventative Police (PEP) whose presence is supplemented by Municipal Police as well.
He denied that the bloody events June 21 will affect the elections of July 4th, while still affirming, “the candidate of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) wants to use them, saying that the Democratic Revolution Party (PRD) is supporting the Zapatistas, but the community has rejected them because they know that the compañeros of the Zapatista National Liberation Army have nothing to do with the election and they are not a political party. “
For more information (in Spanish):
Commotion in Chiapas leaves one dead (El Universal, 21 June)
Attorney General’s Office finds three responsible for homicide in “El Pozo”, San Juan Cancuc (PGJE statement, 23 June)
JBG repudiates El Pozo attack (Cuarto Poder, 23 June)
In El Pozo we were only defending ourselves, claim Zapatistas (La Jornada, 24 June)