Mexico to build public works in reparation for 1997 massacre

FILE - In this Dec. 25, 1997 file photo, family members carry coffins of victims killed in a massacre in Acteal, in the remote highlands of the southeastern Mexican state of Chiapas. The Mexican government said Thursday, July 23, 2020, that it will build as many as 20 public works projects in the area that was the scene of the 1997 massacre of 45 indigenous villagers. (AP Photo/Elizabeth Dalziel, File)

MEXICO CITY (AP) — The Mexican government said Thursday it will build as many as 20 public works projects in an area of southern Chiapas state that was the scene of the 1997 massacre of 45 Indigenous villagers.

The Interior Department said the projects will be part of a plan to provide reparations for relatives and survivors of the massacre in the hamlet of Acteal. The reparation agreement is to be announced on Sept. 3.

Land and political conflicts were involved in the massacre, in which pro-government villagers armed with guns and machetes slaughtered the 45 men, women and children on Dec. 22, 1997.

At the time, Chiapas was deeply divided between supporters of the Zapatista rebels — fighting for greater autonomy and respect for Indigenous groups — and backers of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, which had ruled Mexico for almost seven decades at the time.

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