Saturday, May 13, 2006

Mexico Calls on Zapatistas to Disarm

By MARK STEVENSON
Associated Press Writer

MEXICO CITY - Mexico's peace negotiator for Chiapas on Wednesday urged leftist Zapatista rebels to lay down their arms and to end their support for causes he termed violent.
Luis H. Alvarez also accused rebel leader Subcomandante Marcos of taking a contradictory position by supporting protesters in their violent clash laset week with police in San Salvador Atenco, about 15 miles northeast of Mexico City.
"The Zapatista National Liberation Army has an obligation to hand over their weapons, and leave behind the deplorable threat of violence they represent," Alvarez wrote in an open letter to the rebels.
"Marcos is being incongruous by taking up causes that have expressed themselves violently," Alvarez wrote. He has put "aside the interests of the Indians he claims to represent,"
Alvarez, whose invitations to meet with Marcos have long been rebuffed by the rebel leader, also suggested the Zapatistas are losing support in Chiapas state, where the rebels held a short-lived revolt for Indian rights and socialism in January 1994.
"In contrast with the attitude of the Zapatista leadership, several communities that were identified with them have changed their way of thinking," the letter said in an apparent reference to the fact that some towns allied with the Zapatistas are starting to accept government aid.
In a rare live broadcast interview Tuesday, Marcos said the battle between police and protesters that left one person dead and scores injured shows the country's brewing tensions.
The rebel leader came out of his jungle hideout in January and is touring Mexico trying to forge a national leftist movement. But his recent talks and tour appearances have not drawn large crowds, leading some to suggest he is trying to capitalize on street violence to revive his movement.

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