Some news sources, mostly about Chiapas

this page is at http://site.www.umb.edu/faculty/salzman_g/Mexico/index.htm

La Jornada is a daily national newspaper in Spanish, published in Mexico City. It is highly critical of the government, which is dominated by the Partido Revolucionario Institudo (PRI), the Institutionalized Revolutionary Party, and is sympathetic to the Zapatistas.

Melel Xojobal means, I think, "The Splendor of Truth", probably in the Tzotzil language. Melel Xojobal works in space provided by the Church of Santo Domingo in San Cristóbal de las Casas. It is a small organization which provides an "information service to the indigenous people" (of Chiapas). Working in collaboration with four other non-governmental groups, they produce a daily synthesis of the various press items related to Chiapas, not only in Tzotzil, but in Spanish on their website. Information in Spanish is available by e-mail from Melel Xojobal: melel@laneta.apc.org.

La Diócesis de San Cristóbal de las Casas, based in the cathedral of San Cristóbal, is an important focal point for information. The deservedly-famous bishop, Don Samuel Ruiz García, now retired, was out of the country at the time of our visit (Aug 6, 1998), but Felipe Toussaint Loera, the vicar (or General Deacon of the diocese), chief assistant to the bishop, was extremely well informed in a briefing session that lasted well over an hour. 20 de noviembre 1, C.P.29200, San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, Tel:967-80053, Fax:967-83136, e-mail Felipe Toussaint Loera: curiasc@laneta.apc.org, Felipe Toussaint homepage.

Servicio Internacional para la Paz (SIPAZ) is a coalition of more than 40 groups (see http://www.sipaz.org/organe.htm), primarily but not exclusively religious-based. It maintains a house in San Cristóbal, where members of an international team representing a variety of nationalities are living and working together. They are glad to receive visitors and to brief them on the actual situation in Chiapas. We were there on August 5, 1998. Devoted to the promotion of peace through dialogue, SIPAZ strives to maintain a posture that recognizes the complexity of the conflict and sees the need to talk to all parties, from the "extremists" among the Zapatistas to the "extremists" among the government and government-allied forces ("extremists" was our informant's term). Despite the attempted neutrality, SIPAZ is suspect in the eyes of the Mexican Federal and State governments. My initial disappointment at what I saw as compromising the need to speak truth for the sake of trying to appear neutral was subsequently erased when I read the newsletter. It is entirely straightforward in revealing the ruthless depredations carried out against desperately poor and innocent campesinos by the governments and their allied paramilitary forces. Of course the governments don't like to have that reported honestly. The newsletter article on the (self-declared) autonomous municipalities in Chiapas is the the best explanation of this aspect of the current political landscape there that I have come upon. In Chiapas: SIPAZ, Calle Dr. Felipe Flores #38, San Cristóbal de las Casas, 29250 Chiapas, Tel. & fax: 967-80381, e-mail in San Cristóbal: chiapas@sipaz.org. International office: SIPAZ, P.O. Box 2415, Santa Cruz, CA 95063, Tel & fax: 408-425-1257, e-mail in Santa Cruz: admin@sipaz.org.

Centro de Derechos Humanos Fray Bartolomé de las Casas. The Fray (Brother) Bartolomé de las Casas Center for Human Rights plays an essential role in monitoring human rights violations in Chiapas. It is one of the four groups that collaborate with Melel Xojobal in the collection, documentation, and dissemination of information. On each of two occasions, an orientation meeting provided a very informative historical overview of developments which ultimately led to the current conflict. The first time, on July 28, 1998, Oscar Hernandez met us; the second time, on November 20, 1999, Juan Carlos met us. Calle Chauhtemoc 12, C.P.29250, San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, Tel:967-83548, Fax:967-83551, e-mail of the Center:cdhbcasas@laneta.apc.org. E-mail Oscar Hernandez: oscarh@laneta.apc.org.

Center of Economic and Political Investigations of Community Action (CIEPAC). This group came to my attention when one of its reports was sent to me by e-mail from the National Commission for a Democratic Mexico (NCDM). I found it informative, but it presupposes a certain familiarity with Mexican history and with contemporary Mexican politics, parties, and civilian organizations. An example is 1998-07-31Ciepac121.htm, dated 7/31/98, shortly after the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN is the acronym in Spanish) broke its silence of several months. This bulletin tallies up the factors at work influencing current events in Mexico. Eje Vial Uno, No. 11, Col. Jardines de Vista Hermosa, 29297 San Cristóbal, Chiapas, Mexico. Tel: from within Mexico 01-967-85832; from abroad 52-967-85832.

contact:   <george.salzman@umb.edu>

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Last update of this page: January 24, 2004