Militias Stalk the Killing Fields of Chiapas
by Jan-Albert Hootsen
Twenty years ago, anti-Zapatista militias ravaged this impoverished Mexican state, killing, beating and displacing supporters of the armed leftist group. Now the paramilitaries are back. Will more violence follow?
ACTEAL, MEXICO—There is no escaping the past here in this remote village in Chiapas, Mexico’s southernmost state. It hangs in the air like a terrible fog. It’s etched in stone in a small concrete area lined with crosses: a tomb for dozens of people who were murdered by a local militia some 16 years ago. The event, known as the Acteal Massacre, was among the most gruesome in modern Mexican history. The dead included pregnant women, their unborn babies ripped straight from their wombs.
The town square in Acteal (Jan-Albert Hootsen)
Máscara Roja, the group involved in the killings, was one of many militias that the Mexican government at least tacitly…
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