Acteal massacre

The Acteal massacre was a massacre of 45 people attending a prayer meeting of Roman Catholic indigenous townspeople, including a number of children and pregnant women, who were members of the pacifist group Las Abejas ("The Bees"), in the small village of Acteal in the municipality of Chenalhó, in the Mexican state of Chiapas. The Acteal massacre occurred on December 22, 1997, by the right-wing paramilitary group Máscara Roja, or "Red Mask."

Acteal massacre
Part of Chiapas conflict
LocationActeal, Chiapas
DateDecember 22, 1997 (1997-12-22)
TargetLas Abejas
PerpetratorsMáscara Roja
MotiveEnd EZLN sympathizing


The Las Abejas activists professed their support for the goals of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional - EZLN), including their rejection of applying violent means. Many suspect this affiliation as the reason for the attack, and government involvement or complicity. Soldiers at a nearby military outpost did not intervene during the attack, which lasted for hours. The following morning, soldiers were found washing the church walls to hide the blood stains. Some of the pregnant women who were part of the prayer group were intentionally stabbed and shot in the belly to kill their unborn children.

The EZLN and many Chiapas residents accused the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) of complicity, and following the change of government in 2000, survivors alleged that the investigation was being stalled, with authorities refusing to question or arrest suspects in the attacks.

Las Abejas, composed of people from 48 indigenous communities in the highlands of Chiapas, continue to work for peace and demonstrate their solidarity with other social struggles by issuing communiqués that denounce violence and through actions centered around fasting and prayer. In November 2006, 100 men and 100 women members of the Abejas organized a peace and justice caravan to Oaxaca, to show their support for the Popular Assembly of the Oaxacan People (APPO) and denounce the repression and violence perpetrated by the state and federal governments. They also delivered at least three tons of food, water, and medicine to the APPO.

On August 27, 2007, Martín Rangel Cervantes, writing in national daily El Universal, stated that a federal judge assigned to the Acteal case sentenced, on July 22, 18 persons from the Tzotzil ethnic group for their responsibility in this massacre.[1] Each one got 40 years in prison.

As of July 2008, the Supreme Court decided to reopen the case[2] due to the consistency of the reports made by different organisations pointing to the lack of accessibility of data of the case.

In 2014 the US Supreme Court turned down a case filed by the survivors of Acteal massacre against Connecticut resident and former Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo on grounds of "sovereign Immunity" as a former head of state.[3]

List of victims

Names of those killed at Acteal massacre Age[4]
Lucia Mendez Capote13
Vicente Mendez Capote5
Manuel Santiz Culebra57
Loida Ruiz Gomez21
Victorio Vazquez Gomez22
Graciela Gomez Hernandez3
Guadalupe Gomez Hernandez2
Roselia Gomez Hernandez5
Miguel Perez Jimenez40
Antonia Vazquez Luna27
Rosa Vazquez Luna14
Veronica Vazquez Luna20
Margarita Vazquez Luna3
Juana Vazquez Luna8 months
Ignacio Pukuj Lunaunknown
Micaela Pukuj Luna67
Alejandro Perez Luna16
Juana Perez Luna9
Silvia Perez Luna6
Maria Luna Mendez44
Nanuela Paciencia Moreno35
Maria Perez Oyalte42
Margarita Mendez Paciencia23
Daniel Gomez Perez24
Susana Jimenez Perez17
Josefa Vazquez Perez27
Maria Capote Perez16
Martha Capote Perez12
Micaela Vazquez Perez9
Juana Gomez Perez61
Juan Carlos Luna Perez1
Antonia Vazquez Perez30
Lorenzo Gomez Perez46
Sebastian Gomez Perez9
Daniel Gomez Perez24
Juana Perez Perez33
Rosa Perez Perez33
Marcela Luna Ruiz35
Maria Gomez Ruiz23
Catarina Luna Ruiz31
Marcela Capote Ruiz29
Marcela Capote Vazquez15
Paulina Hernandez Vazquez22
Juana Luna Vazquez45
Alonso Vasquez Gomez46

See also


  1. "Juez sustenta sentencia de caso Acteal en Wikipedia" [Judge: Acteal case statement supported by Wikipedia] (in Spanish). Retrieved 23 December 2010.
  2. "La Jornada en Internet: La Jornada". 3 September 2012. Archived from the original on 3 September 2012. Retrieved 30 December 2017.
  3. October 8, 2014 Archived October 15, 2014, at the Wayback Machine
  4. The Acteal Massacre Archived 2013-03-30 at the Wayback Machine, accessed May 16, 2008

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