Does the government of Chiapas act on its own against the EZLN?

Stop the Mexican government attacks against the Zapatista communities: ¡All paramilitaries out of Chiapas!

By Magdalena Gómez

The aggressions against Zapatista communities by ORCAO (Regional Organization of Coffee Growers of Ocosingo), have remained in impunity throughout the years under successive state governments. The names of the participants are known and yet, the official networks of complicity and access to the resources of Orcao has permitted them to continue violent actions against diverse communities which are part of  Good Government Councils of the EZLN. This situation is increasing just now in the time of the so-called Fourth Transformation with a governor from the current official party, Morena. On the 19th of September 2021 the Revolutionary Indigenous Clandestine Committee–the commandants of the EZLN–issued a strong communique titled “Chiapas on the brink of a civil war.” It referred to ORCAO as a paramilitary organization in the service of the government of Chiapas, and denounced the kidnapping by that organization 8 days before of two of its members, autonomous authorities of the Good Government Council of Patria Nueva, Chiapas. It recognized the work of Human rights organizations and the progressive Catholic Church; all of this at the same time that the Zapatista delegation was in Mexico City about to leave for Unsubmissive Europe.  They were liberated the day of the communique, which enumerated the destabilizing actions of Rutilio Escandón, amount these aggressions against normal school students, violations of agreements with the democratic teachers union, alliances with groups of narcotraffickers whose bands systematically attack the communities of Aldama and Santa Marta. The very relevance of this positioning was the accompanying declaration, “We will take pertinent measures so that justice is applied to the criminals of Orao and officials who sponsor them.  That is all, in another occasion there will not be a communique; there will not be words but acts.”

We recognize and value that the EZLN, despite multiple provocations over the years, has maintained a strict respect of the cease fire agreed upon and consigned into law for the dialogue of reconciliation and dignified peace in Chiapas of 1995. Now we ask ourselves if there is a clear political intention of the government of Chiapas in stretching to the limit the aggressions against the Zapatistas and placing them before the decision to respond to the armed attacks which rather than stopping are increasing. It would also be important to establish if Rutilio Escandón acts on his own or in behalf of the Mexican state. We remember that the Commission of Concordance and Pacification (Cocopa), still exists but it’s silence is ominous to say the least.

Just last week the Red de Resistencia y Rebeldía Ajmaq documented on May 2 the attack and forced displacement of the inhabitants of of the communities of Emiliano Zapata and La resistencia, both belonging to the Good Government Council of New Dawn of Resistance for Life and Humanity. In the official municipality of Ocosingo. Again ORCAO, in action against the the Zapatista support bases, led by Tomás Santiz Gómez, José Pérez, Antonio Juárez, Marcos López Gómez y Juan Gómez, shot at the inhabitants of of the previously mentioned communities, provoking displacement of 54 people (11 families). Three days later ORCAO attacked after midnight the community of San Felipe and fired into the autonomous community of La Resistencia. Half an hour later “a group of aggressors burned the Zapatista autonomous school and a garage resulting in the displacement of 29 people (four families).” In total 83 people (all Zapatista support bases) were displaced. Hopefully the artifice of “intra-community conflict” is not revived which the government of Chiapas has resorted to in the past. We don’t know how far the state be captured by factional powers.

The national situation is not in better health. In various regions original peoples are being attacked by forces that look to occupy their territories provoking forced displacement, while the Mexican State is amiss in guaranteeing their  collective rights. We see this in the cases of the Rarámuris and the peoples of the Chululteca region in defense of water. Even though they have won judgments in courts of justice, justice is blocked. This is the case for the March for Dignity and Wixárika Consciousness on its way to Mexico City to demand that the president of Mexico return their lands.

An answer from the Mexican Federal government is urgent now to mark distance with the past in Chiapas and all of Mexico.


Originally published by La Jornada May 10, 2022, here:

Translated by the Chiapas Support Committee.

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