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."
|Part of Chiapas conflict|
|Date||December 22, 1997|
|Motive||End 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. Each one got 40 years in prison.
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.
List of victims
- "Juez sustenta sentencia de caso Acteal en Wikipedia" [Judge: Acteal case statement supported by Wikipedia] (in Spanish). Retrieved 23 December 2010.
- "La Jornada en Internet: La Jornada". Archive.is. 3 September 2012. Archived from the original on 3 September 2012. Retrieved 30 December 2017.
- Indianz.com October 8, 2014 Archived October 15, 2014, at the Wayback Machine
- The Acteal Massacre Archived 2013-03-30 at the Wayback Machine, accessed May 16, 2008
- ABC-news item on the involvement of the government in the massacre
- Libro Blanco sobre Acteal / White Paper on Acteal, Procuraduría General de la República, November 1998 (archive.org)
- Article on the peace and justice caravan to Oaxaca
- Report of the Human Rights Center Frayba
- Shows Wikipedia use as aid tool in the corresponding court ruling
- Ten Years Later, It’s Time to Recognize the U.S. Government’s Responsibility for Acteal
- Newly declassified info: "Breaking the Silence"
- Mexican Indian villagers accuse former president in U.S. court