Zapatista-government meeting imminent
MEXICO CITY — The rebels in Chiapas have announced that negotiations with the government to end the rebellion are imminent. A Zapatista Army communique on February 1 said that the basics have been agreed upon to hold conversations with the government negotiator, Manuel Camacho.
Both sides have agreed that Bishop Samuel Ruiz, a defender of indigenous rights for many years, will mediate the talks. The time and place for the negotiations still have to be determined.
This was the first concrete notice from the rebels that they intend to negotiate an end to the uprising that began on January 1. On February 2, two major Mexican newspapers, Reforma and La Jornada, suggested that the rebel-government dialogue will take place on February 5 in a neutral area under the auspices of the International Red Cross.
Meanwhile, the government announced that food and medicine would be sent to two zones in the southern mountains. Refugees who fled the area report that indigenous residents lack food and medical attention due to the fighting.
In other news, La Jornada has denounced a defamation campaign and threats received against it and journalists covering the armed conflict in Chiapas. On its front page, the popular national journal revealed that the threats accused reporters of being spokespersons for the indigenous rebel group, the Zapatista National Liberation Front, and included slanderous political and personal accusations.
The documents were signed by the "Mexican Anti-Communist Front". La Jornada published a copy of one of the documents, which stated, "The war has begun and the communists of 'La Jornada' will be stopped from serving as apologists for the Zapatista rebels".
The group also threatened the Democratic Revolutionary Party and Nobel Peace laureate, Guatemalan indigenous leader Rigoberta Menchu.
La Jornada's editor called on the national and international press to monitor the threats against the paper.
[Radio Havana via Pegasus.]