File spoon-archives/lyotard.archive/lyotard_2001/lyotard.0110, message 62

Date: Tue, 9 Oct 2001 12:43:35 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: En;The News,Drawing a line between terrorists and guerrillas,Oct 06


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Date: Tue, 9 Oct 2001 07:50:20 -0500 (CDT)
From: Chiapas95-english <>
Subject: En;The News,Drawing a line between terrorists and guerrillas,Oct 06

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From: (Dana)
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Subject: GX/The News,Drawing a line between terrorists and guerrillas,Oct 06
Date: Tue, 9 Oct 2001 13:19:18 +0200

Drawing a line between terrorists and guerrillas

The News
October 6, 2001
By Reed Lindsay

MEXICO CITY - In August, the Armed Revolutionary Forces of the
People (FARP) detonated bombs at three Banamex branches in Mexico
City. The explosives were home-made and nobody was seriously injured.

In the wake of the recent terror assault on the United States, the media
frenzy sparked by the FARP's attacks has since been buried.

But with government officials and legislators set on revamping the nation's
security policy after the events of Sept. 11, the line between guerrilla
groups and terrorist organization has yet to be clearly defined.

Angel Escudero de Paz, the United Nations representative in Mexico, on
Thursday told a Mexico City daily the international organization currently
makes no clear distinction between the two terms and has a special team
working on coming up with separate definitions.

"Until now it isn't known at what point irregular forces are considered
terrorists," said Escudero. "There is a very thin line between guerrillas
and terrorists."

The width of this line is particularly relevant in Mexico, which is home to
an unkown number of armed groups (estimates range upwards of 37), the most
prominent of which is the Chiapas-based Zapatista National Liberation

Former President Ernesto Zedillo's administration frequently used the term
"terrorist" to refer to the Popular Revolutionary Army (EPR), a guerrilla
group that rose to arms in the state of Guerrero in 1996, said Jorge Luis
Sierra, director of Quehacer Politico, a Mexico-City based political

While a Mexico City daily reported the federal prosecutors inititally
considered the FARP bombings terrorism, government officials have been quick
to defuse attempts to draw parrallels between the nation's armed rebel
groups and terrorist organizations in the weeks since the attacks on the
United States.

Attorney General Rafael Macedo de la Concha on Sunday told reporters the
armed groups in Mexico did not qualify as terrorists.

The distinction is significant in the face of heightened pressure from the
United States to tighten security and crack down on terrorist groups.

The UN Security Council unanimously passed a U.S.-backed anti-terrorism
resolution last week, which obliges member states to "ensure that any person
who participates in the financing, planning, preparation or perpetration of
terrorist acts or in supporting terrorist acts is brought to justice."

The resolution requires nations to turn in a report of their progress within
90 days of the date it was adopted.

Despite the lack of clarity in the UN, the resolution should have no impact
for Mexico because Mexico's guerrilla groups can hardly be considered
terrorists, said Dep. Emilio Ulloa Perez, of the center-left Party of the
Democratic Revolution (PRD).

"We can't put the guerrillas in the same category as groups in the Middle
East, or the Balkans or the terrorist responsable for the Oklahama bombing
in the United States," said Ulloa, who is a member of the congressional
committee negotiating with the EZLN.

"In Mexico, we don't have guerrillas who put bombs in restaurants," he said.

But intense pressure to crack down on terrorism, and possibly on guerrilla
groups, is likely to come not from the UN, but directly from the United
States, said Sierra.

"Mexico has always lacked independence in setting its security policy," said
Sierra. "The policy followed by the United States has always determined that
of Mexico."

With the U.S. domestic and international security apparatus on full alert,
Mexico's guerrilla groups may be encouraged to lay low for a while, said

"The armed groups today know the conditions in which they are living," he

But some Mexican policymakers are nonetheless already calling for a
proactive, hardline policy toward armed groups in response to the terror
attacks in New York and Washington, D.C.

Dep. Carlos Raymundo Toledo on Friday said in a telephone interview the
nation's guerrillas were not terrorists. But he insisted the Fox
administration should be more "combative" against guerrilla groups other
than the EZLN, which has maintained a stalemated truce with the government.

"In light of the events, everything has to be reviewed," said Toledo, a
member of Fox's National Action Party (PAN). "There needs to be a toughening
of policy. We should be more agressive in designating resources to fight
these groups."

Judging by the unsuccessfulness of repressive measures carried out by the
Mexican government in the past, a reactionary stance could cause more harm
than good, said Sierra.

"If you study the last 30 years, every armed group in Mexico rose up after
finding the doors to dialogue closed," he said. "The risk is the government
at some point decides to take a repressive path."

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