SENIOR EXECUTIVE INTELLIGENCE BRIEF

Created: 12/16/1998

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AMERICAS

Wary of Renewed Chiapas Violence

authorities arc concerned that the anniversarieseasant massacre by prugovernment paramilitaries onecember or of the Zapatista revoltanuary will spark renewed hostilities,!

Violence could resultrovoca tve act by

the Zapatistas or the Chiapas State government.

Alleged Zapatista supporters on Sunday ambushed government sympathizers in the conflict area, killing one and wounding several, according to Mexican press reports.I

Chiapas Governor Albores lasi week announced lhat paramilitary groups would be granted amnesty if they disarmed. Zapatista sympathizers, who have long accused Albores oflind eye toward the paramilitary groups, have dismissed lhe latest pledge as insincere. |

The Zapatistas continue in send mixed signals on their intent toeace settlement. Rebel leader Marcos last month publicly expressed his willingness to open talks and reach out to concerned congressional leaders.

Other Zapatista spokesmen while meeting last month with congressional mediators, however, rebuffed an aticmpi by the Zedillo government to open direct negotiations.

The Zapatistas will concentrate on soliciting Ihe support oforganizations and on maintaining their areamay dangle the possibility

ol peace talks to ouy umc until ihe electionhen ihe more sympathetic opposition willhance to assume power.

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