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|Part of Chiapas conflict|
|Date||December 22, 1997|
|Perpetrators||Máscara Roja with the consent of the Government of Mexico|
|Motive||End EZLN sympathizing|
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." On 2020 the Government of Mexico recognized have responsibility of the massacre.
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.
As of July 2008[update], the Supreme Court decided to reopen the case 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. On October 20, 2015, a group of Las Abejas group had a public hearing before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.
In July 2020, the government announced it was taking twenty actions to repair the damage related to the massacre, including recognition of the deaths caused by the paramilitary forces related to the government and the Institutional Revolutionary Party. An Acuerdo de Solución Amistosa ("Friendly Settlement Agreement") is scheduled to be signed by 30 collateral victims of the masscre on September 3, 2020, that will include money for infrastructure projects in the region. The National Human Rights Commission said the 30 signers have agreed to lead peaceful, productive lives, and that the government has agreed to respect the rights of individuals who choose not to sign. Survivors of the massacre had requested the creation of Truth Commission in December 2018, a few days after the inauguration of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.
On September 2, 2020 the Secretariat for Home Affairs admitted to having responsibility for the massacre. Alejandro Encinas Rodríguez, Undersecretary for Human Rights, officially admitted that the Mexican government had responsibility for the massacre, and he offered a public apology to the victims. This announcement and the signing of the Friendly Settlement Agreement ended the lawsuit filed in the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights by the victims. However, Fernando Luna Pérez, a victim speaking for Las Abejas, requested that the investigation continue and that former President Zedillo be tried.
List of victims
|Names of those killed at Acteal massacre||Age|
|Lucia Mendez Capote||13|
|Vicente Mendez Capote||5|
|Manuel Santiz Culebra||57|
|Loida Ruiz Gomez||21|
|Victorio Vazquez Gomez||22|
|Graciela Gomez Hernandez||3|
|Guadalupe Gomez Hernandez||2|
|Roselia Gomez Hernandez||5|
|Miguel Perez Jimenez||40|
|Antonia Vazquez Luna||27|
|Rosa Vazquez Luna||14|
|Veronica Vazquez Luna||20|
|Margarita Vazquez Luna||3|
|Juana Vazquez Luna||8 months|
|Ignacio Pukuj Luna||unknown|
|Micaela Pukuj Luna||67|
|Alejandro Perez Luna||16|
|Juana Perez Luna||9|
|Silvia Perez Luna||6|
|Maria Luna Mendez||44|
|Nanuela Paciencia Moreno||35|
|Maria Perez Oyalte||42|
|Margarita Mendez Paciencia||23|
|Daniel Gomez Perez||24|
|Susana Jimenez Perez||17|
|Josefa Vazquez Perez||27|
|Maria Capote Perez||16|
|Martha Capote Perez||12|
|Micaela Vazquez Perez||9|
|Juana Gomez Perez||61|
|Juan Carlos Luna Perez||1|
|Antonia Vazquez Perez||30|
|Lorenzo Gomez Perez||46|
|Sebastian Gomez Perez||9|
|Daniel Gomez Perez||24|
|Juana Perez Perez||33|
|Rosa Perez Perez||33|
|Marcela Luna Ruiz||35|
|Maria Gomez Ruiz||23|
|Catarina Luna Ruiz||31|
|Marcela Capote Ruiz||29|
|Marcela Capote Vazquez||15|
|Paulina Hernandez Vazquez||22|
|Juana Luna Vazquez||45|
|Alonso Vasquez Gomez||46|
- Martínez, Fabiola (2020-09-03). "Reconoce el Estado su responsabilidad por caso Acteal (The State recognizes its responsibility for the Acteal case)". www.jornada.com.mx (in Spanish). Retrieved 2020-09-04.
- Ortiz, Alexis (2020-09-03). "Acteal. Estado mexicano ofrece disculpa pública a víctimas, 22 años después (Acteal. Mexican state offers public apology to victims, 22 years later)". El Universal (in Spanish). Retrieved 2020-09-04.
- "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
- "El gobierno prevé 20 acciones para reparar el daño por la masacre de Acteal". www.msn.com. Retrieved July 23, 2020.
- "Estado mexicano ofrece disculpas por masacre de Acteal". www.msn.com. EXP. Retrieved September 3, 2020.
- 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