In Acteal, Mexico, the Zapatistas are once again under siege. The holiday season saw 45 people murdered. Twenty-one of them were women, nine were men, 14 children and one baby under a year old were gunned down.

The gunmen stormed the town, killing people in the church and then hunting down survivors in their homes and the nearby hills.

Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos of the Zapatatas denounced the action saying that the government is responsible as they financed the paramilitary forces in the Mexican state of Chiapas.

He also accuses the Mexican government of investigating the very crime they caused and said justice is not possible in this case. He points out that the “war cry” of the federal and paramilitary forces translates to “we are going to wipe out the Zapatista seed.” This is taken by many to mean that there are intentions to wipe out the indigenous communities in Mexico.

The Mexican government, according to Marcos, had sent a message ending with the following, “I would rather go down in history as an oppressor than honour the accords with the ELZN (Zapatistas).”

Mexico’s Chiapas Governor Julio Cesar Ruiz Ferro resigned after being criticized for his handlingof the massacre. The killing took place over a four-hour period. A secretary to the governorreportedly told him about it several times while it was happening. The opposition party says thisshows a direct involvement on the government’s part. They are saying the Mexican governnment organizedthese death squads.

In the midst of all the “Ice Storm ’98” turmoil,the Canadian Trade Mmission quietly left for Mexico. Much to the ire of some Natives, two groups ofNative entrepeuners, the Kahnawakhe Band Council and Cree Construction, are tagging along with theCanadian mission to Latin America.

Livingston, a spokesperson for Cree Construction, told The Nation he had just heard about the massacrebut there was no indication it would be “affecting the trip.” Livingston said Cree Construction peoplewould only be staying in Mexico City for a couple of days. “Then it’s on to Brazil, Sal Paulo andBuenos Aires.” He said no Natives had approached them about the trip.

The Mohawk community, though, is up in arms about the massacre and a proposed “Oaxaca-Kahnawake Tradeand Commerce Convention (Project O.K.)”

The massacre, though, is what stands out in some Native minds. Violet Quinney, a Cree fromSaskatchewan, and John Goodleaf, a Kahnawake Mohawk, have joined forces to raise money for thesurvivors of the massacre. To date they have raised over $4,000. During Ice Storm ’98, they organizeda protest march to the Mexican consulate. About 100 people showed up. It seemed dark and desolate untila spraypaint can made the scene.

Only two were supposed to enter the consulate but the demonstrators stormed the open doors. Giventhe weather outside this would have been no surprise. They laid a coffin down representing themassacred Indians. After a fax was sent off to the Mexican government, the protestors left quietly.Quinney says that more is needed.

People who are interested in helping can call

514-635-5719 and ask for Violet.