Chiapas Tensions Rising

Bishop Fears New Clashes Between Indian Communities

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share this Entry

SAN CRISTOBAL DE LAS CASAS, Mexico, JAN. 7, 2004 ( New clashes could be brewing among the Indian communities in the troubled state of Chiapas, warns a bishop.

«What is most painful is that now Indians are confronting Indians, Zapatistas non-Zapatistas, the poor against the poor,» Bishop Felipe Arizmendi Esquivel of San Cristobal said in his New Year’s message, published by the diocese.

Ten years after the uprising of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation, «it is worrying that there are no prospects of renewed dialogue with the government due to mistrust and discouragement,» Bishop Arizmendi said.

The prelate said that the division between the native communities is due primarily to the fact that some accept government support, while others continue to reject it and to call for autonomy. To this are added differences of a political and religious nature, as well as conflicts related to the agrarian question.

«Because of these differences, one cannot, for example, construct or pave a street — a fundamental requisite for more dignified conditions of life,» Bishop Arizmendi said.

Despite some progress, many marginalized communities still lack access to basic services, such as water, light and schools, he said. «Many children and women die of curable illnesses because of lack of medical care.»

Bishop Arizmendi clarified that he does not approve of «recourse to arms. This has been and will continue to be our position.»

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share this Entry


Support ZENIT

If you liked this article, support ZENIT now with a donation