SIPAZ Activities (July – October 1999)


8 January 1998: a group of guerrillas split from the EPR to create the Revolutionary Army of Insurgent Peoples (Ejército Revolucionario del Pueblo Insurgente, or ERPI), a new group that tries to be closer to its grassroots regarding decision-making. Supposedly, the ERPI includes the most important group of militants and EPR leaders within Guerrero. The ERPI engages in military actions and political activity.

22 February 1998: on the Costa Grande, members of the Organization of Rural Campesino Ecologists from the Sierra of Petatlán and Coyuca de Catalán (OCESP) organize a “Lumber Strike.” For a month, they block all of the roads to the mountains in order to stop the illegal extraction of wood from the region, a joint business venture being carried out by the transnational corporation Boise Cascade and local authorities and plantation owners. Boise Cascade would pull out of the region later on, due to “difficult situations for business.”

7June 1998: just two years after the massacre at Aguas Blancas, another massacre takes place in El Charco on the Costa Chica. The previous day, indigenous Mixteco farmers from nearby communities had held an organizing assembly, in which members of the ERPI took part. As the meeting ended late, the ERPI members decided to spend the night in the community. At dawn, members of the 27th Infantry Battalion execute 11 people and arrest 22, accusing them of being members of the EPR. The prisoners are tortured and transferred illegally to military installations. Of the 22 arrested, five were minors and two were students (Ericka Zamora Pardo and Efrén Cortés Chávez). The Army spread the story that the alleged EPR members had attacked the troops and soldiers “responded to this aggression.” Members of organizations such as the Independent Organization of Mixteco and Tlapaneco Peoples (OIPMT) and members of the PRD immediately contest this version, and speak out about massacre.

June 10 1998: the ERPI releases its first public communique in which it acknowledges that one of its units had been attacked by surprise by military troops. The ERPI responds with two armed attacks, one against the Army on June 22 (the Ninth Military Region says there were three soldiers killed, while the ERPI claims to have “annihilated the platoon”), and another against the State Judicial Police on July 4 (resulting in 2 police officers killed and one wounded).