By: Gloria Muñoz Ramírez
Evaluating the 36 years of existence of the Zapatista National Liberation Army (Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional, EZLN) it not an ideological issue, but rather an act of honesty. This November 17 marks 10 years of clandestine life and 26 years of having become known with an uprising that moved the board of a country that rejoiced, like today, in the honey of neoliberalism.
They are not poorer within Zapatista boundaries than before the insurrection, as conservatives publish. They are, in many ways, larger. The organization of the communities in rebellion has endowed them with their own government and with a structure of justice, education, health, communications media and commercial cooperatives, besides a framework that has permitted, among other achievements, Maya women to develop in multiple disciplines, meet, rebel and struggle for their spaces.
The indigenous among the EZLN’s founding peoples who in 1983 were between 15 and 20 years old, should now exceed 50 or 60 at a minimum. The children of 1994 are now young men and women between 25 and 35, the majority married with children. But those who are now seen in the images of public events must have been born after 2000. They are the ones who now make up their health and education structures, the promoters who are seen with white coats and masks; those who star in dances, theatre pieces and numerous musicals.
The Zapatistas announced new caracols or centers of resistance three months ago. They spoke then about their political organizing work, and highlighted the work of young people and of women who “assume positions [of responsibility] and saturate them with their creativity, ingenuity and intelligence.” For beyond their discourse, the Zapatista reality prevails. Their territory continues being the safest to travel through in the country, because despite the ominous military presence and the offensive of projects that all the state and federal governments have absolutely promoted, their organization has allowed them to protect themselves and grow.
Long life to the organization that gave life 36 years ago and whose recognition was not spared. It is a moral issue.
Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada
Saturday, November 16, 2019
Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee