New Internationalist

Sebastião Salgado

February 2004

The funeral ceremony of seven peasants killed on 18 October 1997 in the community of Vergel by the paramilitary group UNAL (Unidad Nacional Lombardista), which had been trained and armed by the Mexican army.

Eight peasants, leaders of the organization Lucha campesina of Vergel, in the region of Las Margaritas, were arrested on the night of 18 October 1997 by 52 armed men, members of the paramilitary group and taken to the Casa Higidal, the community’s meeting house. They came out in handcuffs, were taken to the mountains and walked several kilometres up to a 40-metres-deep crevasse. When they arrived there, one of them succeeded in fleeing, but the other seven men were shot and thrown into the hole. The escaped man revealed the facts right away, but the authorities did not do anything about it before February 1998, when he spoke to a group of journalists at a press conference. On 16 February 1998 the bodies were found by the fire brigade, who went down into the crevasse.

from the Migration project Sebastião Salgado Courtesy NB picture agency

Front cover of New Internationalist magazine, issue 364 This column was published in the February 2004 issue of New Internationalist. To read more, buy this issue or subscribe.

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This article was originally published in issue 364

New Internationalist Magazine issue 364
Issue 364

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