The EZLN celebrates 24 years of the armed uprising; it rejects being an “electoral organization”

Zapatistas at the 24th anniversary of the start of “the war against oblivion.” Photo: Isaín Mandujano

By: Isaín Mandujano

OVENTIK, Chis. (

Bases of support and members of the Good Government Juntas of the Zapatista National Liberation Army (Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional, EZLN) celebrated the 24th anniversary of their armed uprising last night, during which Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés rejected the accusations of those who accuse them of becoming an “electoral organization.” 

Last night, in the name of the Comité Indigenous Revolutionary Clandestine Committee-General Command of the EZLN, Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés headed the ceremony in which the thousands of masked indigenous peoples remembered their dead that fell in the first 12 days of combat in January 1994; also those who have fallen throughout the 24 years in this struggle and resistance.

In the midst of the cold and fog, the Zapatistas ratified their support for the National Indigenous Congress (Congreso Nacional Indígena, CNI), the Indigenous Government Council (Concejo Indígena de Gobierno, CIG) and its spokesperson María de Jesús Patricio Martínez, better known as Marichuy, who was launched as a candidate to the Presidency of the Republic.

Within the framework of this “24th anniversary of the beginning of the war against oblivion,” they remembered the armed uprising against the bad government and the neoliberal capitalist system causing all kinds of death and destruction.

“For more than 520 years they have subjected us as original peoples to exploitation, marginalization, humiliation, scorn, oblivion and dispossession of our lands and natural riches throughout Mexican territory.

“That’s why on January 1, 1994 we said ENOUGH! of living with so many injustices and dead, and so we announced to the people of Mexico and the world our demands for Democracy, Liberty and Justice for all, which we said in our demands for land, work, dignified, food, health, education, independence, democracy, liberty, justice and peace,” Moisés said.

The Zapatistas ratified that their struggle “is for life, for a dignified life,” now that violence is everywhere, it murders women and children, the elderly and young people, and even Mother Nature is a victim of that violence.

They indicated that their armed uprising was not to go out asking for charity as the government has understood it, that they came out to give their life and death for a better life not only for the indigenous peoples of Chiapas and Mexico, but rather for all the oppressed peoples of Mexico.

He said that before their demands, the response from the bad governments was: “well there you have a handout, and be satisfied, because if you continue demanding and demanding, I have here my big armies, my police, my judges, my prisons, my paramilitaries, my drug traffickers, and you only have your cemeteries.”

“Then we Zapatistas told them: we are not asking for handout, we want respect for our dignity. And the bad governments said that they don’t know what dignity is, that is that word Maya or is it from another planet, because it’s not in their dictionaries or in their head or in their life,” Moisés added.

He explained that during these 24 years they have been constructing their autonomy, developing in different work areas, consolidating their three levels of autonomous government, formalizing their own health and education systems, creating and strengthening their collective work, and in all these areas of autonomy is where the participation of all women, men, young people and children counts.

“And so we are demonstrating that we, the original peoples, have the anility and capacity to govern ourselves, we don’t need the intervention of any political party that just deceives, promises and divides our peoples and we are not receiving any type of support from the official governments,” Moisés said.

“We don’t accept that anyone comes to tell us what we can and cannot do. Here, we discuss everything and we reach agreement collectively. And sometimes we’re late because of that, but what comes out is collective. If it comes out well, it’s collective. If it comes out badly, it’s collective,” he warned.

Moisés made a call to all sectors to organize and unite, to workers in the countryside and in the city, indigenous, campesinos, teachers, students, housewives, artists, businesspersons, employees, workers, doctors, intellectuals and scientists of our country and our world.

“The only path remains for us to take, is that we must unite more, organize better to construct our autonomy, our own organization as peoples and workers, because it’s what’s going to save us from the great storm that is approaching or is already upon us that’s going to sweep us all” he added.

Moisés said that the Zapatistas are not going to stop struggling, and that they will continue to die if necessary.

He mentioned that they will continue now in their struggle with the CNI, the CIG and Marcihuy, “whether anyone likes it or not.

Moisés remembered what they said since 1994 at the Democratic National Convention in 1994 in Guadalupe Tepeyac, where they pointed out that they as an armed group would step aside if someone else showed them another way to achieve their objectives and demands.

“And to this day they have not shown us that other way to defeat the system of death and destruction that is capitalism. Those who are showing us the way are the compañeras and compañeros of the National Indigenous Congress, with Compañera Marichuy and the Indigenous Government Council. And we support them without ceasing to be what we are,” Moisés said.

And he clarified: “There are some liars that go around saying that we are now electoral. It is a vile lie and they are Castilians that know how to read and write, but who don’t read or who come out with their skills as liars. What a pity, what pain that they have no understanding and have no shame.”

He mentioned that no one is going to take away what they are, and that only when they are dead or when they are all free.

He demanded that everyone awaken other exploited peoples and also awaken “those who say that they have studies.”

“That’s why we will help Compañera Marichuy with the Indigenous Government Council. Let’s organize ourselves so that Compañera Marichuy and her Indigenous Government Council can make their tour in the country, although she may not achieve enough signatures to be a candidate. Because it’s not the signature that struggles, it’s not what’s going to organize us, we are the ones that must listen to each other, know each other and from there, by feeling each other as we are, we can start to think about how to organize ourselves better and what path to follow,” he concluded.


Originally Published in Spanish by

Monday, January 1, 2018

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee




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