ORCAO’s armed attacks on Zapatistas in Lucio Cabañas

Last August 22, members of the Regional Organization of Ocosingo Coffee Growers (ORCAO, its initials in Spanish) looted and burned coffee warehouses belonging to the EZLN’s support bases at the Cuxuljá Crossroads, Ocosingo municipality, Chiapas.

By: Elio Henríquez

San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas

The Regional Organization of Ocosingo Coffee Growers (ORCAO, its initials in Spanish) and a “group of armed people seek to impose a daily and permanent state of war” against the Zapatista communities, denounced the Caravan of Solidarity and Documentation with the autonomous communities in the Nuevo San Gregorio and Moisés Gandhi region.

In a report prepared after visiting the site on October 29, it explained that the ORCAO and the armed subjects “violate the right to the use and enjoyment of land and territory that legitimately and in full exercise of the right to autonomy the families who are support bases of the Zapatista National Liberation Army (Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional, EZLN) have.”

It also detailed that: “they execute acts of physical cruelty and direct psycho-social violence,” by “enclosing and kidnapping families in their own houses and lands. They retain animals, natural springs and rivers,” which represent a “deployment and reconfiguration of the current way of operating in the war against life and the autonomies.”

They considered that these attacks “are an obvious act to attack and deal a blow to Zapatista autonomy and its organizational structure.”

In this context, they accused that on November 8, ORCAO members “kidnapped, beat and tortured Félix López Hernández,” an EZLN support base.

According to sources in civil organization, the campesino, who was released last Wednesday evening after national and international pressure, among them a mobilization in Mexico City, was “tied up, they put a belt on his neck and were at the point of killing him.”

Made up of organizations, collectives and networks adhered to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle, the mission documented “the attacks, threats and harassment perpetrated by armed groups against girls, boys, men and women of the EZLN’s autonomous Zapatista communities belonging to Lucio Cabañas autonomous municipality,” and the New Dawn in Resistance and Rebellion for Life and Humanity Good Government Junta.

The report said: “in the context of counterinsurgency, “the attacks on communities and peoples that organize to live and resist has been constant in the last months of 2020,” as happens in the communities of Lucio Cabañas autonomous municipality.

In August, they burned the coffee warehouses

The community of Moisés Gandhi belongs to the municipality of Lucio Cabañas, where, on August 22, members of the ORCAO “burned the coffee warehouses, the Compañera Lucha Diner and looted the Arco Iris (Rainbow) store, among other outrages.”

In its report the caravan said that: “the attacks have increased since June 2020, now with more shooting, felling of oak trees, more destruction, looting and physical attacks on members of the population of Moisés Gandhi.

Between June and October, the ORCAO has been mostly shooting with different caliber firearms at the autonomous communities, thereby putting at risk the men, women, boys, girls and elderly who have to seek refuge from the bullets or throw themselves in the mud in the wee hours of the morning, since there have been attacks for entire days and nights,” it indicated.

The report also said that: “this situation has not allowed the Zapatista compañeros to work the land, since they have had to stay inside their houses or in shelters.”

The Caravan said that the violence in Moisés Gandhi has left losses of $1,456, 021 pesos, according to a report from the New Dawn Good Government Junta.

The mission stated that there have been “attempts to establish an approach to dialogue between the EZLN and the ORCAO; however, they have not advanced, “since the armed attacks have not stopped and there has been a breach of agreements.”


Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Saturday, November 14, 2020


Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee




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