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DATE=4/10/99 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT NUMBER=2-247891 TITLE=MEXICO ZAPATISTAS (L) BYLINE=JAMES BLEARS DATELINE=MEXICO CITY CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: THE MEXICAN GOVERNMENT'S CHIEF PEACE NEGOTIATOR FOR THE CHIAPAS DISPUTE, EMILIO RABASSA, IS APPEALING TO THE ZAPATISTA REBEL MOVEMENT TO ALLOW HEALTH CARE TO HELP INDIGENOUS PEOPLE WITHIN THEIR SPHERE OF INFLUENCE. THE ZAPATISTAS ARE BATTLING THE CENTRAL MEXICAN GOVERNMENT TO GAIN A MEASURE OF AUTONOMY IN CHIAPAS STATE, THE SCENE OF THE 1994 INDIAN UPRISING. AS JAMES BLEARS REPORT FROM MEXICO CITY, PEOPLE IN CHIAPAS HAVE DIED FOR WANT OF EASILY AVAILABLE MEDICINES. TEXT: MANY INDIGENOUS PEOPLE IN THE ZAPATISTA AREA OF CHIAPAS WILL NOT ACCEPT EITHER FOOD, HUMANITARIAN OR MEDICAL AID FROM THE GOVERNMENT. THE RESULT IS THAT THEY REMAIN UNTOUCHED BY THE PROGRAM OF WELFARE IMPROVEMENTS, WHICH HAS BEEN SET ASIDE ESPECIALLY FOR THIS REGION -- MEXICO'S POOREST. EMILIO RABASSA SAID THAT A RECENT CASE OF MASS FOOD POISONING IN THE ZAPATISTA ENCLAVE COULD HAVE EASILY BEEN TREATED WITH MEDICINES. INSTEAD, IT COST A NUMBER OF LIVES. // RABASSA ACT // THEY DIED FROM SAMONOLISIS, WHICH IS SOMETHING WHICH YOU COULD VERY EASILY CURE WITH ANTIBIOTICS. SO IT IS VERY IMPORTANT FOR BOTH PARTIES TO COME TO TERMS ABOUT AN AGENDA AND SETTLE THIS CONFLICT. // END OPT // MR. RABASSA ALSO EXPLAINED THAT HEALTH CARE SHOULD BE AN ENTIRELY SEPARATE ISSUE APART FROM THE MAIN NEGOTIATIONS. THE ORIGINAL CONFLICT OVER INDIGENOUS RIGHT, FLARED IN THE FIRST HOURS OF 1994 AND IN A WEEK AND A HALF OF FIGHTING WHICH ENSUED, 140 PEOPLE DIED. SINCE THEN, AN UNEASY CEASEFIRE HAS HELD. THE ZAPATISTAS WALKED AWAY FROM THE NEGOTIATING TABLE MORE THAN TWO YEARS AGO, ACCUSING THE GOVERNMENT OF RENEGING ON AN AGREEMENT. MR. RABASSA IS APPEALING FOR THEM TO RETURN AND NEGOTIATE, SO A SETTLEMENT CAN BE REACHED BEFORE THE END OF PRESIDENT ERNESTO ZEDILLO'S SIX YEAR TERM IN OFFICE EXPIRES IN THE YEAR 2000. (SIGNED) NEB/CBL/JB/ 10-Apr-99 5:18 PM EDT (2118 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .





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