The February betrayal, a sign of the war that continues

Photo: @ArchivesFrayba 1995-1996

By: Pedro Faro Navarro*

It wasn’t the EZLN that broke the dialogue and re-started the war.
It was the government.

It wasn’t the EZLN that feigned political will while it prepared the military and treacherous blow.
It was the government.

It wasn’t the EZLN that invented a conspiracy to obtain reasons that justify the irrational.
It was the government.

It wasn’t the EZLN that detained and tortured civilians.
It was the government.

It wasn’t the EZLN that murdered.
It was the government.

It wasn’t the EZLN that bombed and machine-gunned populations.
It was the government.

It wasn’t the EZLN that raped indigenous women.
It was the government.

It wasn’t the EZLN that stole from and dispossessed campesinos.
It was the government.

It wasn’t the EZLN that betrayed the will of the whole nation, of achieving a political exit to the conflict.
It was the government.

Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos

February 9 marked the 26th anniversary of the federal government’s betrayal, Ernesto Zedillo, the president of Mexico’s betrayal of the Zapatista National Liberation Army (Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional, EZLN), the betrayal of an entire nation that demanded peace and the response from the State was the activation of the Chiapas 94 Counterinsurgency Plan.

This action took place in the context of the distention to the internal armed conflict and reactivation of the dialogue. The Mexican government showed its most faithful face, repression of the peoples.

In February ‘95, former president Zedillo announced the issuance of arrest warrants and military incursions that resulted in a deepening of the occupation of the armed forces in the state of Chiapas -which have remained until now-. It’s the military logic of a path of war against the peoples in resistance; it’s the continuum of the Mexican government that opted for extermination.

The incursion of the Mexican Army into the Chiapas Jungle had the purpose of arresting the EZLN’s leadership, which caused the forced displacement of thousands of people that fled into the mountains; others suffered arbitrary imprisonment, extrajudicial executions, forced disappearances, torture, illegal searches, violations of the right of the freedom to travel because of the installation of military checkpoints that caused terror in the region, permanent military and paramilitary harassment, among other grave human rights violations. Acts denounced by the EZLN on February 11, 1995:

“The Federal Government is acting with lies, is making a dirty war on our towns. Yesterday at noon, 4 helicopters bombed the area on the outskirts of Morelia and La Garrucha, as well as machine-gunning the area under Zapatista control, thousands of federal soldiers penetrated the jungle’s interior, through Monte Libano, Agua Azul, Santa Lucia, La Garrucha, San Agustín, Guadalupe Tepeyac and others. They are extending a ring of death. We Zapatistas, troops and civilians, up to now have done everything possible to retreat, but we no longer have any other option than to defend ourselves and our peoples, thousands of civilians who have been displaced from their homes. Brothers, the government of Ernesto Zedillo is killing us, is killing children, is beating women and raping them.”1

This genocidal policy of the Mexican State is remembered for the proliferation of paramilitary groups in the territory, sustaining the impunity that is currently reactivated with the successor groups of para-militarism in the Highlands. In Aldama and Chalchihuitán municipalities there is a critical situation of human rights violations, causing thousands of people into forced displacement and generalized violence that doesn’t stop. The sign of this time, like on ’95, is of terror anchored in the perverse indifference of the Mexican government.2

The violence intensifies with the reactivation of armed groups that operate in the Jungle Zone and seek to dispossess the EZLN’s territories where the Zapatista towns and communities are settled in the Moisés Gandhi region, official municipality of Ocosingo, acts perpetrated by the Regional Organization of Ocosingo Coffee Growers (ORCAO, its initials in Spanish). That’s in addition to the attacks on territories located in the Zapatista community of Nuevo San Gregorio, in the official municipality of Huixtán. Attacks that are articulated in the follow-up to a strategy that comes from the factual powers and the municipal, state and federal governments that promote the counterinsurgency that doesn’t stop, in this persistent action of beating the processes of autonomy that are maintained against the grain of the capitalist system.3

Betrayal as an extermination strategy comes from the power of the State that proposes colonization based on territorial dispossession of the peoples, as an example in Mexico: the Morelos Integral Plan, the Interoceanic Corridor, the “Maya” Train and its development poles that threaten live. Nevertheless, the struggles for the horizons of life are being promoted from the peoples and the communities, in the movements in defense of humanity and Mother Earth, as has been expressed in the signatures that were added on the document convened by the EZLN: “A declaration… for Life”,4 wherein there is a hope of world action that promotes the continuity of a change in the system that has repercussions on a society necessary for the time of the peoples.

Jobel, Chiapas México,
February 10, 2021

* Pedro Faro Navarro is currently the Director of the Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Human Rights Center in San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas.

1. February 11, 1995:

2. Faro, Pedro:

3. Report from the Caravan of Solidarity and Documentation with the autonomous Zapatista communities of Nuevo San Gregorio and Moisés Gandhi Region. November 11, 2020.

4. A declaration for life:

Originally Published in Spanish by Desinformemonos, Thursday, February 11, 2021, and Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee

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