THE VIEW FROM MEXICO eries that help explain the appearance of the campesino army and cast doubt on the destination of massive aid shipments. In communities surrounding the San Quintin ejido, the largest of 48 communal farms carved from the dense jungle in the last 30 years, volunteer doctors from the philanthropic Casa de Las Imagines in San Cristobal diagnosed three untreated cases of cholera. The doctors also encountered .a case of No Relief in the Jungle BY SALLIE HUGHES AND MIGUEL Ejido Zapata, Chiapas CANDIDA MENDEZ GOMEZ lies in her string hammock, for the eighth day in a row. Three steps away her sevenmonth-old son, Martin, rocks in a string net hung from the ceiling, barely able to whimper. Doctors from a non-governmental organization had visited Mendez’ s six-yard-bythree-yard thatched but and diagnosed the Tzetzel Indian mother and son as having acute anemia and prescribed intravenous nourishment. Three days later, February 9, none has arrived. In the heart of the Lacondon rain forest, 12 to 15 hours by truck from the nearest city, more than 50 tons of national and international aid that has arrived in the war-torn state of Chiapas since the outbreak of a rebel insurrection on January 1 is nowhere to be found. Instead, Red Cross supplies are stockpiled in the district capital of Ocosingo, said Red Cross supervisor Lenin Suasnavar in nearby San Cristobal de las Casas. “The aid is piling up in Ocosingo. You could say they are not caring for the other towns. I really don’t know why because these are the most needy communities,” Suasnavar said. Lacandon residents speculate that they are being left out because of the difficulty of the terrain and suspicions that they are members of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation, although the state Red Cross administrator denies that. “For now, our commitment as the Mexican Red Cross is with the displaced people in the shelters,” said Oscar Javier Balboa, a relief-group administrator, referring to 20 official shelters housing an officially estimated 8,500 people. Though they live in places whose names suggest the promises of the 1910 Revolution Ejido Zapata, Ejido Pancho Villa, Tierra y Libertad Sallie Hughes and Miguel Badillo are reporters for El Financiero International, a weekly published in Mexico City. typhoid, a case of leprosy, several cases of acute anemia and ever-present malnutrition. In 24 hours, they treated 100 patients before the medicine ran out. Another 200 awaited treatment. The communal representative from Ejido Zapata, Ernesto Lopez Mendez, said seven people contracted cholera in March of 1993. A child of four and an infant of six months died, he said. Four adults from nearby Ejido San Quintin also died of cholera in the last two years, residents said. Except for the volunteer doctors and a government health supervisor who came to Ejido San Quintin when the volunteers reported a cholera outbreak, no government health agency or the Mexican or international Red Cross has come to the aid of the hundreds of communities in the . Lacandon jungle, said Dr. Armando Servin, regional supervisor for the Mexican Health Secretariat. The Valley of San Quintin, with communities of 100 to 1,100 small farmers, is 89 miles from the district capital of Ocosingo. To communicate with the rest of Mexico, valley residents must traverse winding, muddy roads that cut through dense jungle, deep gorges and four mountain ranges. During normal times, one small airplane company, Taxis Aereos Ocosingo, flies tourists, geologists and occasionally residents in and out of the region. Since January 20, pilots Alfonso Vega and Alejandro Tapia have retrieved 200 stranded cattle ranchers and flown in the occasional doctor or reporter, as well as a few residents who have made it out of the jungle to buy foodstuffs and medicine. The average family in the lush green valley grows coffee to sell and corn, beans and rice to eat. Homes are made of wood planks or sticks and there is no electricity or running water. The families sleep in or on blankets on the dirt floor. The main foodstuff is pozol, a mixture of corn paste and water. Eggs provide protein, but only once every week or so. Meat is eaten only on holidays. Residents reported salaries as low as $200 BADILLO of the isolated San Quintin Valleyhave never seen government agronomists or technical advisers, and the rural doctor’s post has been vacant for three months. . Traveling by small aircraft from the district seat of Ocosingo, on the border of the immense Montes Azules Biosphere Reserve, four journalists encountered a web of mis 26 FEBRUARY 25, 1994 ..