Chiapas Support Committee

EZLN: solidarity recognition

By: Gilberto López y Rivas

In light of the EZLN’s well-founded denunciations about the threats and risks that the mega-projects of the Fourth Transformation’s government represent and the violence that structurally accompanies this form of capitalist globalization, hundreds of distinguished personalities from Mexico and the world in the fields of scientific work, philosophy, sociology, anthropology, literature, arts, journalism and political activism subscribed to an unprecedented document of solidarity with the Zapatista Mayas and of categorical rejection to the “campaign of disinformation, lies and slander,” which our newspaper published on the front page.

Those who signed this text recognize the example of resistance, dignity, congruence and political creativity that the Zapatista struggle represents; they consider that their rebellion, “an event of great transcendence,” constituted “one of the first resounding reactions on a planetary level against neoliberal globalization.” They emphasize that the Zapatistas “are and continue being an expression of the original peoples’ legitimate struggle against the domination and contempt suffered for centuries and even today, as well as in favor of their rights to autonomy.”

At the other equidistant pole from the EZLN’s critics, who condemn it to a supposed autarchic isolation in which they experience the “decline” of their movement, the signers identify the popular self-government established in their territories as an “example of real and radical democracy, worthy of inspiring the peoples of the world and of being studied in all the departments of social science on the planet. The construction of Zapatista autonomy represents for us, the constant, honest and critical search for an alternative and emancipating project of highest importance when facing the challenges of a world that seems to be increasingly sinking into a profound crisis, at once economic, social, political, ecological and human.”

Because of this evidence, the signers expressed “their concern for the situation that the Zapatista communities and the indigenous peoples of Mexico face, upon their territories and communities being attacked by mining, tourist, agro-industrial, infrastructure and other projects, like the National Indigenous Congress (Congreso Nacional Indígena, CNI) and the Indigenous Government Council (Concejo Indígena de Gobierno, CIG) have denounced. At this time, we are especially concerned about the large projects the new Mexican government promotes, like the Trans-Isthmus Corridor, the million hectares of commercial trees and the so-called Maya Train, recently denounced as a humiliation and a provocation by subcomandante Moisés, the EZLN’s spokesperson, since it seriously affects the territories of the Maya peoples that inhabit the Mexican southeast.” They oppose their “devastating environmental effects,” the mass tourism development that it will trigger, the haste to start the work and the violation of the rights to a “real, prior, free and informed consultation, as Convention 169 of the ILO and the United Nations Declaration on Indigenous Peoples establish. It seems very serious to us that international commitments assumed by Mexico are violated like that (…) We share the total rejection that the EZLN expressed against these and other large projects that seriously affect the autonomous territories and ways of life of the peoples.”

The document warns of and denounces: “in advance any aggression against the Zapatista communities, be it directly on the part of the Mexican State or through groups and organizations of armed or unarmed ‘civilians’. We place responsibility on the Mexican government for any confrontation that may emerge within the context of the implementation of these megaprojects, which correspond to a model already saturate with unsustainable and devastating ‘development’, decided from heights of power and shamelessly violating the rights of the original peoples.” The signers make an appeal: “people of good heart” to “be attentive to the risk of aggressions against the Zapatistas and the original peoples of Mexico.”

This precautionary warning is based on a global systemic tendency. The mega-projects are imposed by means of different armed actors: armies, police, security agencies, paramilitary groups, drug traffickers and counterinsurgency devices that in Chiapas have not stopped operating since 1994. The country’s militarization process, which will increase with the National Guard, is functional to the corporate neoliberalism that William Robinson specifically characterizes as “militarized accumulation.” Sidestepping the articulation between neoliberal capitalism and State violence is a grave political error on the part of Zapatismo’s detractors.

You can sign onto the international solidarity letter here.

 En español en Enlace Zapatista:


Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Friday, January 25, 2019

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee


EZLN: 25 years of anticapitalist struggle

Gilberto López Y Rivas

The 25th anniversary of the Zapatista Rebellion on January 1, 1994 was marked by a singular demonstration of the will of anti-capitalist struggle that has characterized the EZLN during these years. Five thousand milicianos and milicianas in disciplined formation listened with enthusiasm to the speech of the political-military organization’s spokesperson, subcomandante insurgente Moisés, in which he sharply reiterated his opposition to the current government, and revealed a virulent campaign of slander, disqualifications and, even, threats of using paramilitary force against the Zapatista Mayas.

It should be noted that the anti-Zapatista campaigns date from the first days of the uprising, and reappear recurrently in certain political contexts and according to the needs of power groups. We remember the diatribes of Octavio Paz criticizing the inopportuneness of the rebellion and the damages that it would cause the country; or the writings of Héctor Aguilar Camín and his group that is made up of representatives of the learned right in its conservative reaction to the armed neo-Zapatista option. Arturo Warman, on the other hand, as a Salinas ideologue, would deny the national character of the indigenous rebels, and, therefore, the authorship of the movement, resorting to the thesis of subjects managed by other actors: “It doesn’t seem to me a movement of the poor but rather the manipulation of poverty, of isolation (…) It is not an indigenous movement, it is a political-military project implanted among the Indians but without representing them (…) We must not confuse: it is not the voice of the Indians, simply some of them are present as in all las expressions of national life.” (Chiapas hoy. La Jornada, 16/01/94.)

At the same time, Mario Vargas Llosa, with the aid of literary assistants working with information from the Mexican police services, contribute to the creation of the myth of indigenous peoples as vulgar “experimental rabbits” that follow the “staging” of the insurgent group’s visible mestizo. Conjecture about the exteriority of the insurrection and the everlasting character of the indigenous as manipulated subject was used by the Army and the Mexican intelligence services, and by “analysts” related to the mass media, to deny indigenous leadership in the origin and development of the Zapatista movement.

Thus, the racist interpretation of personifying in the then subcomandante insurgente Marcos, now Galeano, was installed early on, which in reality has been and is the organizational and political result of a complex and unprecedented indigenous movement that emerged from the bowels of the Lacandón Jungle. The approach repeated over and over again by the gamut of anti-Zapatismo doesn’t recognize that the EZLN is almost entirely made up by indigenous peoples of the different ethnicities of Mayan origin, and it considers that any initiative, declaration or program comes from Marcos-Galeano, against whom attacks and reproaches are launched that cover the entire political spectrum and social psychopathy.

While there is a history of foul designations and all kinds of declarative excesses against Zapatismo during these 25 years, now massively amplified by the social networks and cyberspace, it would not be unreasonable to think about the active participation of state actors in this unusual anti-Zapatista escalation, which President Andres Manuel López Obrador doesn’t seem to control, but rather to tolerate. During these two weeks he has not said anything about the media war, which included the opportunist and irresponsible intrusion of a doctor that threatened to use paramilitary forces in 28 states, which, according to him, would be under his command, “in defense of AMLO” and “against the EZLN.”

So, the unusual miliciano parade and the 25th anniversary harangue constitute the EZLN’s energetic call to attention about the risk to life, territory and self-government involved in the development projects and militarization policies of the current government concretized in the National Guard. They express the unwavering determination to resist the “bad government,” as they have for these 25 years. The National Indigenous Congress–Indigenous Government Council declared: “We warn the bad governments that any aggression against (the EZLN) is also against the CNI–CIG, therefore we make a call to the support networks throughout the country and to the networks of resistance and rebellion in Mexico and in the world to be attentive and organized to act jointly and to construct a world in which we are all able to live.”

Many are the interpretations about the loneliness of the Zapatista rebels alluded to by Sup Moisés after years of fighting a countercurrent. Nevertheless, the solidarity and support for these indefatigable insurgent dream weavers is a provable fact, even in the planetary ambit. The January 1994 slogan of “you are not alone!” continues more valid than ever.


Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Friday, January 11, 2019

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee



Chiapas communities maintain resistance against mining concessions

For more than three decades petrous material has been extracted from the Salsipuedes open pit mine, to the southeast of San Cristóbal de Las Casas. The deposit has been expanded to occupy a hundred hectares. Specialists have denounced that the nearby wetlands, declared a natural protected area in 2008, are irreversibly drying up due to the loss of seven of the 25 wells in the zone. Photo: Oscar León

By: Elio Henríquez

San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas

The communities’ resistance has achieved stopping the operation of 111 mines authorized in Chiapas, which encompass around a million hectares (2.47 million acres), 16 percent of the state’s territory.

An emblematic case is the barite mine in the Grecia ejido, municipality of Chicomuselo, in the highlands, where the (anti-mining) activist Mariano Abarca Roblero was murdered in November 2009. It is alleged that the Canadian mining company Black Fire was involved in this still-unpunished murder.

“Mining is an activity of death that only leaves crumbs and destruction. Those who take away the wealth are the mining companies, so we will never permit them to exploit the deposits that exist in our territories,” warned Luis Rojas Nomura of the June 20 Popular Front (Frente Popular 20 de Junio), with a presence on the state’s coast.

Opposition to the projects has taken place principally in the municipalities of Escuintla, Acacoyagua and Chicomuselo, where the mining companies have abandoned exploration or extraction projects.

“In Chiapas there are 111 concessions for the extraction of gold, silver, titanium and barite, and other minerals, but all these projects are full of cloudiness, anomalies and a lack of information in the communities,” said Libertad Díaz Vera, from the land and territory defense area of the civilian organization Otros Mundos, a member of the Mexican Network of Those Affected by Mining (Rema).

Thanks to the organization of residents of different communities, he said in an interview, there isn’t any mine operating in any of the areas with concessions.

He pointed out that work at the El Bambú deposit, on the Nueva Francia ejido, in the municipality of Escuintla, is suspended, because of the opposition of the residents “conscious of the destruction and contamination that it would occasion.”

The Casas Viejas project has not gone beyond the exploration phase faced with the struggle of the Popular Front in Defense of the Soconusco (an area of Chiapas on the Pacific Coast). However, Díaz Vera pointed out that there were still grave environmental damages.

“The workers removed material. After denouncing them to the Federal Prosecutor for Environmental Protection (Profepa, its Spanish acronym), the people decided not to allow the passage of the trucks and machinery until the company reported about this situation.”

Residents of several communities in Acacoyagua, in the Soconusco, installed a surveillance camp around the mine and after two years “it has been shown that the project in that region is murky and has contaminated.

“In addition to causing skin diseases, there has been an increase in cancer cases; that’s why they have asked the National Water Commission and the Ministry of Health to carry out the corresponding studies to verify the information, but they have refused,” Díaz Vera said.

He added that the residents monitor the entry and exit of machines from the encampments, and “at times have asked the truck drivers to show them what material they carry.”

Luis Rojas Nomura, a representative of the June 20 Popular Front, expressed that ejidos, communal wealth commissions and campesinos “are firm in not permitting mining exploitation, because that is agreed to in the minutes (of assemblies).”

He commented that just in Acacoyagua there are 13 concessions that encompass more than 36,000 hectares and there are 8 in Escuintla, which would affect their water, because the Cintalapa River runs through there.

In the La Libertad ejido, he added: “they destroyed the environment with the Cristina mine. Definitively, mining will cause us problems. Before there was the idea that it would bring progress and development, but it’s a lie, because we already saw what was destroyed. They took away tons and tons of titanium and left our roads destroyed.”

He said that the Cristina del Male company: “offered that if we accepted the passage of machines and dump trucks, they would give us schools, roads, trails, a health center and 50,000 pesos for the ejido. There was never anything and they took away 49,000 tons at 6,000 and 9,000 pesos for each ton in 2015.

“We decided to undertake the resistance so as not to permit the mining companies to take possession of the territories we have in the northern part of Acacoyagua, because the communities of Los Amates, Acacoyagua, Jalapa, La Cadena, San Marcos and others would be affected. It would cause us irreversible damage.”

Rojas Nomura said that if the operation of mines is allowed: “the natural reserves of El Triunfo and La Encrucijada will be affected.”

Meanwhile, Díaz Vera warned that the arrival of Andrés Manuel López Obrador in the Presidency of the Republic is cause for concern to the towns where there are mining concessions.

“The welfare project, as he calls it, includes mining and the Mining Fund, which has existed since 2014, and the idea is to have more Canadian investment. That’s what he told (United States) President Donald Trump,” he said.

With the trust, he added, he intends to share a part of the profits among the poor. That “is giving money in exchange for health. He also talks about green or sustainable mining; however, the damages are in sight and no fund is going to solve them.”

He warned that there will be “more resistance because we don’t believe in sustainable mining or in the Mining Fund. It worries us that instead of doing justice to the affected families, more investment is requested.”


Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Monday, December 24, 2018

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee


The Maya Train: the Zapatistas are right

By: Claudio Lomnitz

As in this column I’m going to speak ill of the government of Andrés Manuel López Obrador, I should like to begin by recognizing things: raising the minimum wage, the fight against the huachicol (stolen gasoline), the having declared himself against fracking… They are decisive, important, and very positive policies.

But, having recognized and thanked him, I must say that it’s disturbing that the government acts as if its triumph at the ballot box was an indefinite green light, which then legitimizes it to impose any of López Obrador’s ideas. Morena received millions of votes despite some of those ideas. Our President won the recent election above all because of the credibility that his promise of reducing inequality, his commitments of zero tolerance to corruption and the “hugs not bullets” (“abrazos no balazos”) inspired. His other obsessions were useful for convincing very few.

López Obrador’s economic ideas, especially, have always been problematic. Our President is an old fashioned pro-development president, as he himself has frequently explained, including in his speech upon taking the oath of office, where he adhered fully and unambiguously to the “stabilizing development” model from the times in which don Antonio Ortiz Mena was Secretary of the Treasury (that is, the presidencies of Adolfo López Mateos and Gustavo Díaz Ordaz). Perhaps there are some who would like that Mexico return to the 1960s –finally to the elderly, everything past always was better–, but the model of industrialization by import substitution that was the touchstone of “stabilizing development” is incompatible with the current free trade agreements. The Ford of Mexico in the days of Díaz Ordaz produced autos for the national market; the Mexican Ford of today makes them for the US market. They are two completely different “Fords”. It would be impossible to root the Mexican industry of today in the national market without generating a major crisis.

Besides globalization, there are two other factors that divorce us from the policies of an Ortiz Mena: the environment and democracy. Acapulco flourished during the times, possibly golden, of the stabilizing development model and Cancun, where there wasn’t even a small rural village, was also invented then. Today Acapulco –which definitely was, as they say, a pearl in the Pacific– is an urban and environmental disaster, a city in a state of emergency. Cancun, for its part, now has 630,000 inhabitants, and it’s beginning to have grave socio-environmental problems. This is due to the fact that those in favor of “development” bet on “poles of development” without incorporating an environmental thought or a serious democratic commitment.

The Maya Train is a development project that would have enchanted Miguel Alemán, Ruiz Cortines, or Echeverría. It’s true that President López Obrador has said that not “one single tree” will be cut down, but that statement, besides being rigorously false, distils the same contempt for the environmental theme that his predecessors had.

Why or where do I find that contempt? Is it fair to speak of contempt, because in the case of the Maya Train, as in any railroad, the least important thing from an environmental angle is the train: the real issue is what the train carries. And the government presumes that the Maya Train will attract 4 million new foreign tourists a year. That is a very attractive goal, of course: 4 million more foreign tourists will generate a lot of wealth. To give the number some context, Cancun receives around 5 and a half million tourists a year.

In other words the Maya Train, which will have 1500 kilometers and 12 stations, will transport a number of foreign tourists similar to what Cancun receives annually, besides the national tourists. Those travelers, will undoubtedly spend nights at the route’s most attractive points, especially in Palenque, Calakmul and Bacalar, which perhaps will be the circuit’s strongest plates, but also at other points, like Xpujil, Merida or Valladolid, so that those places will also have to develop or enlarge their hotel plant. The population of Cancun –which, we will remember, exists exclusively thanks to tourism– went from zero inhabitants around 1970 to the 630,000 inhabitants that it has today. The current population of Palenque is 110,000, that of Calakmul is 28,000, Xpujil has 4,000, while the population of Bacalar is below 10,000.

Those places will receive the more than 4 million tourists on the circuit. In order to lodge, feed and entertain them they will have to build hotels, restaurants, bars, discotheques, brothels, laundries, and a thousand other things. It’s not going to be a question of protecting trees where the train passes. They will have to extract water from rivers and underground layers, bring down jungles, and pave milpas. The train will change the region’s life, like Cancun changed [life] in its time.

The Zapatistas and all communities of the region have the right to know and discuss this development project in detail, and to resist it if the details don’t convince them. Local power exists.


Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Wednesday, January 09, 2019

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee




Important Letter of Solidarity and Support for Zapatista Resistance and Autonomy

Letter of Solidarity and Support for Zapatista Resistance and Autonomy

15 January 2019

We, intellectuals, academics, artists, activists and people of goodwill, as well as organizations, associations and collectives, from various countries, express our solidarity with the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) in this crucial moment in its history, and strongly reject the current campaign of disinformation, lies and slander directed against the Zapatistas.

For us, as well as for many other people around the world, the Zapatista struggle represents an example of resistance, dignity, congruence and political creativity. 25 years ago, the cry of Ya Basta! was an action of great transcendence and one of the first strong reactions at a planetary level against neoliberal globalization, opening the way toward the rejection and criticism of a model that at that time seemed unquestionable. It was also, and continues to be, an expression of the legitimate struggle of indigenous peoples against the domination and contempt they have suffered for centuries and continue to face today, as well as in favor of their rights to autonomy. The peoples’ self-government that the Zapatistas have put into practice with the Juntas de Buen Gobierno (Good Government Councils) in the 5 Caracoles is an example of radical democracy that inspires peoples around the planet, and that should be studied in all schools of social science in the world. For us, the Zapatista construction of autonomy represents the persistent, honest and crucial search for an alternative, emancipatory model of great importance for a humanity facing the challenges of a world that is rapidly sinking into a deepening crisis that is simultaneously economic, social, political, ecological and human.

Therefore we express our concern over the situation currently faced by Zapatista communities and many other indigenous peoples in Mexico, as their territories are attacked by mining, tourism, agribusiness, large infrastructure projects, etc., as recently denounced by the National Indigenous Congress (CNI) and the Indigenous Council of Government (CIG) of Mexico. Right now we are worried about a series of large-scale mega projects being imposed by the new Mexican government, such as the Trans-isthmus Corridor, the million hectares of commercial tree planting, and the so-called “Mayan Train”, recently denounced as an humiliation and a provocation by subcomandante Moisés, spokesman of the EZLN, as it would have very serious impacts on the territories of the Mayan peoples that inhabit the Mexican southeast.

In addition to the devastating environmental effects of this project and the massive tourist development it is designed to detonate, we are concerned about the rush to start laying the tracks for the “Mayan Train”, behind the obfuscation of a pseudo ritual to ask permission from Mother Earth, denounced by the Zapatista spokesperson as an unacceptable mockery. We are outraged by these further attacks that are being prepared against indigenous territories, and that the rights of indigenous peoples have been ignored, evading the obligation of real, prior, free and informed consultation and consent, as established in Convention 169 of the ILO and the UN Declaration on Indigenous Peoples. It is not trivial that this violates the international commitments assumed by Mexico.

We share the total rejection of these and other mega projects expressed by the EZLN, projects that seriously threaten the territories and ways of life of peoples. We denounce in advance any aggression against Zapatista communities, either directly by the Mexican State, or through groups or organizations of armed or unarmed “civilians.” We hold the Mexican government accountable for any confrontation that may arise in the context of the implementation of these mega projects, which correspond to an already superseded, unsustainable and devastating model of “development,” decided at the highest spheres of power in violation of the rights of original peoples.

We call on all people with a good heart to see through the current wave of disinformation both about the Zapatistas and about the proposed mega projects, and to be alert to the imminent risk of aggression against Zapatista communities and other indigenous peoples.

Signed: See the full list of signatures at:




















Sunday, January 27, 2019 –  5pm, (doors open at 4:30)

Omni Commons, 4799 Shattuck Ave, Oakland, CA

Liberated Lens and the Chiapas Support Committee present:

A program of documentary shorts on the anti-capitalist Resistance in southern Mexico.

The Resistance shares many of the principles and goals of the Zapatistas movement: autonomy from the capitalist economy, communalist self-government rooted in indigenous traditions, an end to the subordination of women, respect for the natural world. Indigenous women are at the forefront of many of these ongoing struggles. The films include:

All of This, We Are Going to Defend (2018, 15:56) by Caitlin Manning and Joe Bender

A Tzeltal community gathers in the mountains of Chiapas, one of the most biodiverse areas of the world. They share information, recuperate and develop techniques of agro-ecology (permaculture), while resisting the industrial farming practices promoted by the government and Monsanto/Bayer.

Angelina Gomez Lopez (2017, 11:06) by Caitlin Manning and Joe Bender

Angelina Gomez Lopez, an indigenous woman potter from Amatenango, Chiapas, is part of “the Resistance”. Her journey towards liberation began when she joined a women’s group organized by the Diocesan Coordination of Women.

Ik’ti Jme ‘tike (Dark Moon) (2013, 50:25) Experimental documentary by Ronyk and Thomas John

The daily life of Maya poet Angelina Suyul is portrayed using an unconventional audiovisual language that approaches both the personality and identity of its female protagonist as well as the meanings of her poetry.


The screenings will be followed by Q and A with the filmmakers and a discussion on the current situation in Chiapas with members of the Chiapas Support Committee.

Chiapas Support Committee will be selling crafts by Zapatista artisans. Profits from the sales, and half of the donations at the door, will go towards a fund to build schools in Zapatista territory. For more info on this project see:

$5 suggested donation- no one turned away for lack of funds— free popcorn.

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Bertolucci in the Lacandón

Subcomandante Galeano reviewing Zapatista troops at the 25th Anniversary celebration.

By: Luis Hernández Navarro

It’s close to 5.30 in the afternoon last December 31. The afternoon is bright. As if it were the climactic scene from an epic film from Bernardo Bertolucci, [1] troops of the 21st Zapatista infantry division unfold like an enormous serpent from the Cañadas that is coiling martially in the Madre de los caracoles, mar de nuestros sueños caracol (Mother of the caracoles, sea of our dreams caracol) of La Realidad, Chiapas.

In the advance of the military deployment there is a detachment of motorized Zapatista women who, upon reaching the central plaza, are open on all four sides to delimit the perimeter of operations. A group of milicianas that surround the square follows them, as if they were their guardians. The head of the gigantic jungle reptile is made up of commanders on horseback, among them Comandante Tacho and Subcomandante Moisés. A column of more than 4,000 combatants follows in a row two by two, wearing uniforms with green trousers and caps, brown shirts, black ski masks and red bandanas, each one with two wooden sticks about 75 centimeters long, which, upon colliding with each other, mark the step of the troop formation. Not all of them are able to enter.

That same division –it is explained in a video on Enlace Zapatista– is the one that 25 years ago took the municipal capitals of Altamirano, Oxchuc, Huixtán, Chanal, Ocosingo, Las Margaritas and San Cristóbal. It is reinforced with second and third generation combatants, “Zapatistas that were infants in 1994 or had not been born, and grew up in resistance and rebellion.”

The celebration of the 25th anniversary of the EZLN’s armed uprising is not the staging of a social movement. It is a show of power of a political-military force with order, discipline, cohesion, skill, logistical capability, social base, command and control of territory.

If in their public appearances during recent years the Zapatistas privileged showing their civic and popular face, through seminars and colloquiums, art festivals, escuelitas (little schools) and film exhibitions, this December 31 they put on their military face, a face that does not imply grabbing a weapon, but does imply resisting. The symbolic message of their deployment could not be more explicit.

The celebration is finished off by an energetic harangue from Subcomandante Moisés directed to the Zapatista military structures, its civilian authorities and its support bases. He tells them: we are alone, as they don’t look at us, as they don’t listen to us. They want to lie to us and they want to deceive us. It is a mockery, a humiliation. They’re coming for us, for the EZLN. We are not afraid of the government. The bad government doesn’t command here, the men and women command.

As you know (although you often forget and prefer Subcomandante Galeano to speak0, Moisés is the EZLN’s spokesperson. An indigenous Tzeltal, agricultural day laborer on the hellish fincas of Chiapas, a compañero of Subcomandante Pedro with the rank of major in the taking of Las Margaritas and of Subcomandante Marcos, today he is the one who speaks in the name of Zapatismo and its peoples. He is not a decorative figure. He is the spokesperson for the insurgency. His words are the synthesis of a life of suffering and struggle, and of the emancipatory longings of the original peoples.

The military deployment and the words must be evaluated together. Although there is a long history of disagreements between “Obradorismo” and Zapatismo, the harshness of the rebels’ accusations and their year-end mobilization would seem to respond to two central facts: the threat of an offensive against them on the part of the new government and substantive programmatic differences.

It is not paranoia. Spokespersons of the Fourth Transformation (4T) have informally proclaimed to the four winds that the EZLN was defeated, while promoters of the new National Guard threaten to undertake containment actions against the rebels.

Zapatismo (and a multitude of indigenous peoples and human rights groups) have fundamental differences with “Obradorismo.” Persecuted by the militarization of Chiapas for more than a quarter of a century, the EZLN rejects the National Guard and considers it a step forward in the militarization of the country. With a long list of militants murdered, it is opposed to the final point that leaves past crimes unpunished. Persecuted by those who seek to dispossess them of their territories, the EZLN sees in the Maya Train (Tren Maya) and the reforestation projects the spearhead for destroying them. Committed to the reconstitution of the original peoples, it finds deception in the new government’s new age ceremonies. Determined to make another world a reality, it looks upon the pretense of the 4T of governing for the exploiters and the exploited simultaneously, not only as an echo of the words of the repressor Absalón Castellanos Domínguez, but also as madness. Engaged in struggling against capitalism, it believes that the Andrés Manuel López Obrador government is the continuation of it.

One must not get confused. The appearance of Bertolucci in the Lacandón anticipates that, contrary to what some believe, nothing is written definitively in the southeast.

[1] Bernardo Bertolucci was an Italian director and screenwriter, whose epic films include Last Tango in Paris, among many other famous films. He died on November 26, 2018.


Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee

Words of the EZLN’s CCRI-CG to the Zapatista Peoples on the 25th Anniversary of the Beginning of the War Against Oblivion

Words of Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés

December 31, 2018

To our compañeros and compañeras who are Zapatista bases of support:

To our compañeras and compañeros who are Zapatista Autonomous Authorities:

To our compañeras and compañeros who are part of the Indigenous Revolutionary Clandestine Committee [CCRI] and those who are Regional and Local Authorities:

To our compañeras and compañeros who are milicianas and milicianos:

To our compañeras and compañeros who are insurgentas and insurgentes:

I speak in the name of the Zapatista Army for National Liberation.

I speak in your name, as it is my job to be your voice and your gaze.

Our hour as Zapatista peoples has come and we see that we are alone.

I want to tell you clearly that this is what we see, compañeras and compañeros who are support bases, milicianos, and milicianas: we are alone, just as we were 25 years ago.

Alone we rose up to awake the people of Mexico and of the world, and today, 25 years later, we see that we are still alone. But we did try to tell them, compañeras and compañeros, you were witness to the many gatherings we held as we tried to awaken others, to speak to the poor of Mexico in the city and in the countryside.

Many people did not listen. Some did and are organizing themselves—we hope they continue to organize themselves—but the majority did not listen.

Yet we have done our work and we know the work we still have to do, and thus we can see the current situation with clarity, compañeros and compañeras. With our experience not just from the last 25 years but from over 500 years, we can tell you that we see today is what we saw 25 years ago: it’s as if they don’t see us, as if they don’t hear what we are trying to tell the poor of Mexico. Today, twenty-five years after our uprising, this is still what we see and we repeat it to you now, compañeros and compañeras: we are alone.

What we have achieved we achieved through our own work, our own effort. If we have achieved anything it has been with our own labor, and if we have erred in anything, that has also been our responsibility. But it is our work either way—nobody taught us how to do it, it is our work alone. Some people, men and women, tried to show us what we should do, they wanted to tell us what to do and what not to do, when to speak and when not to. We don’t pay any attention to them. Only those who organize can know, see, and understand. Talk is just talk; you have to actually carry out in practice what you say and what you think, and we don’t have manuals or books that show us how to struggle. No one can teach us how to build what we want to build; it can be done only through our own sacrifice and our own effort, compañeros and compañeras.

Now we are demonstrating once again, and we will honor our word on this, that what one thinks and feels is impossible is indeed possible. It’s easy to say, “we have to make the impossible possible,” people say it all the time. But you have to actually do it in practice and this is what we are trying to show people. What is it that we are showing them? What we have before us: a people who govern themselves, with their own politics, their own ideology, their own culture. They create, improve, correct, imagine, and put it all into practice. This is what we are. Here the bad government does not rule; organized women and men rule. Those who are not organized will continue to rely on despair, because what they believe in is not actually hope.

[From above] they try to lie to us, to deceive us, first of all with that stuff about the virgen Morena [i], and there are people who believe that stuff. Only a crazy person says such a thing, someone who doesn’t know how to think, and who certainly doesn’t think in terms of the people. We, on the other hand, work from our own experience, our own labor, our own efforts, and we will continue to do so; we will continue to build what we are building here and we will achieve what we are trying to create. Everything we have we have built ourselves. There are some brothers and sisters in solidarity who have helped us, but the great bulk of what we have we created ourselves.

It is not easy to stand up to the political parties, the bad governments, and the current trickster in chief. It is not easy to confront, for 25 years now, the thousands of soldiers, protectors of capitalism, who surround us. They are here even now; we’ve seen them all around here the last few days. It isn’t easy to confront the paramilitaries, or all of the small-time “leaders” who are bought off by politicians and political parties, especially the person and the political party in power today. [ii] But we aren’t afraid of them. Or are we compañeras and compañeros?

[In unison:] “No!

I didn’t hear you…

[In unison, more loudly:] “NO!”

Other people, from outside [our communities], come and go, but we are always here and here we will stay. Those from the outside come each time as tourists, but as tourists of poverty, of inequality. But injustice isn’t something to be toured. The poor of Mexico are dying and they will continue to so. It’s a shame they listen to that guy in power who is deceiving the people of Mexico.

We aren’t lying, compañeras and compañeros, five years ago already we were telling the people of Mexico and the world that worse things were coming. We tried to tell them this in their own languages, in their own words—the collapse, the hydra, the monster, the wall—we tried to use their words so they would understand, but even so they did not listen. They think that we are lying because they are listening to that trickster in power—I don’t even want to say his name—it’s better just to refer to him as a lying trickster.

Compañeros and compañeras, that person in power is going to destroy the people of Mexico, but first he will destroy the original peoples—he is coming for us and especially for those of us who make up the Zapatista Army for National Liberation. Why? Because we are here telling him that we are not afraid of him. Or are we compañeros and compañeras?

[Loudly in unison:] “No!”

We will stand up to what comes because we will not allow his project of destruction to be implemented here. We are not afraid of his “National Guard”, which is just the army under another name—he renamed it so as not to have to admit it’s the same army as always.

We will defend what we have built here, what we are able to show to the people of Mexico and the world as something we, women and men, built ourselves. We are not going to let anyone come destroy it, or are we?

[Loudly in unison:] “No!”

That trickster in power now, what is his game? That he pretends to be with the people of Mexico, trying to deceive the original peoples by kneeling upon the earth to ask permission for his projects. He thinks all the original peoples are going to believe that charade. Here we say no, on the contrary, we don’t buy it.

What do I mean by on the contrary? He is pretending to take up our customs and ways—asking permission of the mother earth to act—but he is asking permission of the mother earth to destroy the original peoples! That is what his charade is about, and some of our brothers and sisters of the original peoples have been fooled. We don’t buy it. If the mother earth spoke she’d say: “fuck off.” Mother earth doesn’t speak, but if she did, she’d say clearly, “No! Go fuck yourself.”

We know mother earth, we have lived in harmony with her for five hundred and twenty-some years. Those who have not known nor felt the sweat of living and working with the mother earth do not know her, like those idiot senators and representatives who think they know everything. They do not know poverty; they do not know what it is to sweat over the earth. We do. That is why they do not know how to make laws for our peoples, for the original peoples. We do, because we know what it is to suffer and we know what kind of law we need and want; they do not.

Take for example, compañeros and compañeras, those deceitful tricksters in all three branches of power in Mexico—the judicial, executive, and legislative powers—and look at what they do, especially the party that currently holds the majority in the national congress [MORENA] and who names indigenous people representatives so they can sit beside Ricardo Monreal [iii], for example. It’s just like before when they put a Tojolabal man in the national congress right there beside Diego Fernández de Cevallos[iv], who owns a whole bunch of ranches. They sit that Tojolabal indigenous man next to him and you think that Tojolabal man is going to say we have to redistribute the lands that belong to the ranch owners? That’s what they want to show us, that with a salary and sitting comfortably in a restaurant or hotel, that all of the senators, representatives, cabinet secretaries, council members, etc., will continue to abandon their people. That is what they want, for us as Tzeltal, Tzotzil, Chol, Tojolabal, and all the other languages spoken here in Mexico to be the ones who lie and cheat our own peoples. That is what they are showing us, that is their job, that is what their bosses have mandated. For us they are not government, they are mere overseers for the real boss.

Now we see that they are coming for us, the original peoples. We see clearly that the referendum they are carrying out is a way to manipulate the people; they are using the vote to get permission to come attack the original peoples. That’s what that referendum is about, but the people have still not awoken to the truth, and thus today we will not be able to attend fully to the 25th anniversary. We are tired. We talk and talk but for them it just goes in one ear and out the other, what we say does not truly enter into their thought.

This is what the new government is doing right now, consulting the voters as to if they can come attack us, as original peoples and especially as the Zapatista Army for National Liberation with that bullshit “Mayan Train,” which they have the nerve to name after our ancestors. We will not accept it. They can put any name on it, it has nothing to do with the Maya. If it were up to us we’d say they should name it after their mother.

Over these 25 years, compañeros and compañeras, bases of support, men and women, milicianas and milicianos, we have seen around the world that there are those who say they struggle, some who say they are progressive, others who say they are leftists, others who say they are revolutionaries. But they don’t have any idea what a revolutionary is, because a revolution is to turn things around. Like we say here, we have to prepare our young people, young men and women, because we ourselves will one day turn around and return [to the earth], and that is why we have to leave the next generation ready. Those on the outside have no idea what they are talking about, it’s such a pity that with all their education and degrees and diplomas they don’t know what a revolution is. And on top of that there are even some out there who say we’re “electoralists.”

They don’t have the slightest idea how to revolutionize an idea, thinking itself. They think that we lie like they lie. We told the Mexican people that we would dialogue with them and we honored that pledge, and if one day we say we are going to defend ourselves against even the most minimal provocation, then that means we are going to defend ourselves. We’re also not going to let anyone come seek cover here or cloak themselves in this territory of resistance and rebellion to start stupid shit. We won’t permit it.

Compañeros and compañeras, we have not deceived the people of Mexico, but we also have to tell them that they are still letting themselves be fooled. We don’t know why, and it causes us great sadness and anger. What good is it to study, to know history if we are not going to see our own reality for what it is? What good is study if one can’t see even that. What we have built we have built without formal study, and here it is, alive in practice. That’s what we are showing you, and will continue to show you. What they will do over there, who knows.

What we are telling you now is that the guy in power now is uttering absurdities, just look at what he says—that he’s going to govern for both rich and poor. Only a crazy person, someone sick in the head could say such a thing, because his mind is not working, his brain isn’t functioning. We’ve heard that before, from that bullshit landowner Absalón Castellanos Domínguez [v], who is finally now in hell, and who said he would govern for the rich and the poor. We’re not going to be convinced to give up fighting against exploitation because that lunatic says he’s going to govern for both rich and poor. He doesn’t even know what he’s saying; he doesn’t understand what he’s saying. And he doesn’t even have to understand because he’s just saying what his boss orders him to say. He is obeying; he is taking orders to say what he is told to say so that the citizens keep believing in those in power.

It’s very simple: you can’t support the exploiter and the exploited; you have to choose one or the other. You’re either with the exploiter or with the exploited, but not both. That’s how we see it, that’s how we understand it and that’s how we govern.

What a shame that he calls all this stuff he is doing the fourth [transformation][vi], because it’s not the fourth anything. How do these people of the “fourth” think they follow the third [transformation], which was carried out in practice, by confronting reality. This guy says he’s going to pardon all the criminals, “pardon,” he says. From where we stand, that means he’s not going to do anything to the bad government, to our compañero Galeano’s murderers for example. That’s what he’s telling us with that statement. It will be the same for all the other murders, so then what’s the point of him being in power?

There are so many things we could name that he has said that are not true. So, compañeros, compañeras, are we going to be afraid of this bad government?

[In unison:] “No!”

Of course not, because we are filled with rage due to all the lies that he’s telling the people of Mexico, and we feel pity for those who speak Spanish well and yet don’t understand that all the things he is saying are lies. It’s hard for us to understand too, not because of the Spanish but because it’s hard to believe he’s saying this amidst the poverty, inequality, and injustice around us. You don’t have to learn Spanish to understand that, you have to learn to see and feel it.

What he’s doing is mocking all of us, especially the original peoples, humiliating us, but not just us. It’s also a mockery of all those who speak Spanish perfectly well but don’t study the stinking politics of this bad government.

Compañeros y compañeras, we’re not going to give in to this, or are we?

[Loudly, in unison:] “No!”

Am I speaking loudly enough for those in the back? Compañeros, compañeras, we’re not going to give in, or are we?

[More loudly, in unison:] “NO!”

Nobody is going to come fight for us, the exploited peoples of the countryside and the city, nobody. No man, no woman, no group is going to come fight for us. What we need are women and men who organize themselves, organize themselves more and still more, a whole people who organizes itself to liberate itself. Or you think that the pope is going to come do it?

[In unison:] “NO!”

Or that Trump is going to come?

[In unison:] “NO!”

Well much less are we going to believe this guy who says he’s the fourth [transformation]. Or do we believe him?

[In unison:] “NO!”

It’s the same damn thing, compañeros and compañeras. I’m not lying to you. During his campaign he said: “In my party,” (the one that’s in power now, MORENA), “I’m not going to allow any manipulative parasites.” That’s what he said: but manipulative parasites are exactly the people that he’s let into the party since then! They are the very same as always: they’re all politicians from the PAN, from the PRI, from the Partido Verde [Green Party of Mexico] and the PT [Worker’s Party]. That’s the big lie. But it seems that there are thirty million people in this country who must not understand Spanish or else how could we explain that they believe his lies?

He says he’s going to fight corruption. Ha! Meanwhile his Cabinet Secretary [vii] is the first person he should investigate. She worked… well, you all know where she came from, I don’t have to tell you. We know where his Cabinet Secretary came from and she herself says, “I’m not getting involved in that fight against corruption,” and the same guy who says he’s going to fight corruption has nothing to say about that.

Pure lies, all of it! He’s not going to do anything for the people. The bad government thinks it’s going to come and fuck us over with its PROÁRBOL [viii] project, which is the same strategy they’ve been using for years. It’s a new name for the same programs that we already defeated with our resistance and rebellion.

Twenty-five years ago we defeated Carlos Salinas de Gortari, who was known as “the most powerful man,” but we weren’t afraid of him. And back then the Mexican people had never heard of us. Now they’ve known us for the last 25 years, and we’ve always told them the same thing. Today, we’re tired. We’ve tried so hard to make them understand. Only a few have; the majority has not.

But this is what we’ve been able to accomplish, compañeros and compañeras. We’re not asking the brothers and sisters out there to take up arms. Over the past 25 years what we have won we haven’t won with bullets or bombs, but with resistance and rebellion. That’s what has allowed us to succeed and that’s what people have come to see—but it seems they’ve only come to see, not to take this message to other brothers and sisters who haven’t been able to come because they don’t have the money, just like us.

We’re not afraid of capitalism, and we’re not afraid of the old plantation owners or the new ones. Or are we?

[In unison] NO!

In that case, whatever people say, whatever they think, we are going to defend ourselves—whatever might happen, whatever it takes. We’re going to defend ourselves and we will fight if necessary. Isn’t that so, compañeros and compañeras?

[In unison] YES!

Let’s be clear, compañeros and compañeras: here there are no saviors. The only saviors are the men and women who struggle and organize themselves, always together with their peoples.

The change we want is that one day, the people—the world, men and women—to decide how they want to live, and that there not be a group that decides about the lives of millions of human beings.

We express this in just a few words: the people command, and the government obeys. That’s what we must struggle for.

They think we’re still ignorant and backwards, compañeros and compañeras. But we’re here ready and willing to defend ourselves.

Because of that and everything I’ve already said, we are ready for whatever it takes and whatever might happen.

Because of this, we say:

Here we are!

We are the Zapatista National Liberation Army and we will continue on!






Words of the Indigenous Revolutionary Clandestine Committee:

January 1, 2019

Compañeros and compañeras who are bases of support; compañeros and compañeras who are milicianos; compañeros and compañeras who are insurgents; compañeros who are commanders of the Zapatista Army for National Liberation:

Brothers and sisters, compañeros and compañeras:

Today, January 1, 2019, we commemorate the 25th anniversary of our armed uprising on January 1, 1994.

Despite all the ideological, political, economic, and military and paramilitary attacks against us, we want to reiterate that we are still here building autonomy for the life of our peoples.

Here in the Zapatista communities where we are governed by the Juntas de Buen Gobierno and the Zapatista Autonomous Rebel Municipalities [MAREZ], there is no place for humiliations, manipulations, tricks, lies and fake referendums.

For this reason we will not allow the implementation of any project here that destroys the life of humanity and kills our mother earth, because behind all that lie the interests of the big Mexican and transnational capitalists.

However much they might try to humiliate us with their repressive apparatus, like the National Guard, we will not rest from defending our mother earth. We were born to this earth, we live on this earth, and on this earth we will die.

In these lands of rebel men and women, they should know that we will not give up, we will not sell out, and we will not give in, much less will we betray the blood, the life and the death of our compañeros who died in our struggle.

They can consult a billion people—we’re still not going to give in. Even if they get permission from their fucking mothers, they will not break our will.

From 1492 to 2018, there have been 525 years of resistance and rebellion against the worst humiliations by foreigners and Mexicans, but they were never able to exterminate us. Those of us with brown blood, the color of mother earth, are still here and here we will stay.

Even if one billion years go by, we Zapatistas will still be here.

Indigenous Revolutionary Clandestine Committee, General Command of the Zapatista National Liberation Army, EZLN.

From the Caracol of La Realidad, Mother of the Caracoles, Sea of our Dreams.

Mexico, January 2019.


Words of the Good Government Council “Towards Hope”

January 1, 2019.

Good morning to all of you, compañeros and compañeras.

In the name of my compañeros and compañeras of the Junta de Buen Gobierno [Good Government Council] of the border jungle (selva fronteriza) zone, from our Caracol, Mother of the Caracoles, Sea of our Dreams, seat of the Junta de Buen Gobierno:

To all the compañero and compañera bases of support of the Zapatista Army for National Liberation; to the local authorities and the municipal councils:

We welcome you to celebrate with us the 25th anniversary of our armed uprising on January 1, 1994, when we declared ourselves the Zapatista Army for National Liberation.

Today marks 25 years of our struggle, we who are the most forgotten, marginalized and exploited by the neoliberal capitalist system.

Before that time, nobody bothered to find out whether we indigenous peoples lived or died, but in 1994, we said Ya Basta! (Enough!) We declared ourselves at war with the bad government, taking over five municipal government headquarters in Las Margaritas, San Cristóbal de las Casas, Ocosingo, Altamirano and Oxchuc.

Five hundred years ago, our grandfathers and grandmothers were not taken into account by the capitalist system, because for the system we are worth nothing. They were just slaves for the plantation owners: they were worked to the bone, paid nothing and abused like animals with no humanity. Our grandparents suffered all this mistreatment and more.

They were tired of so much abuse and injustice and for this reason they decided to organize themselves to struggle against exploitation.

For this reason 25 years ago our compañeras and compañeros faced off with the Mexican army. Many brave compañeras and compañeros put their lives on the line with no expectation of anything in return.

They gave their lives in order that future generations might live better than they did. We will always remember these brave men and women because they were our teachers.

Today as the Junta de Buen Gobierno, we say that we have conquered our freedom: the freedom to govern ourselves as peoples, to make decisions and develop our own rules as peoples without asking permission from anyone.

We’ve trained health and education promoters, carried out collective work projects, and formed the Autonomous Municipalities and the Juntas de Buen Gobierno. Though it hasn’t been easy for us—we don’t have any books or manuals to guide us—we are now governing ourselves.

We’ve faced many attacks from the bad government, which wants to get rid of us and has created different projects and programs to confuse us in order to do away with our organization—but we are organized and they won’t be able to wipe us out.

Each day we’re working to further our autonomy to face the neoliberal capitalist system.

As peoples in resistance and rebellion we’ve come to understand that there is no other way except to organize ourselves. In every corner of the world and in every organization we have our own ways and customs for how we organize ourselves, but what we have in common is our shared enemy, the neoliberal capitalist system. The global crisis of the system gets worse every day, but those who created it don’t care if they destroy humanity or the universe: for them, everything is a commodity and the only thing that interests them is profit, to get richer and richer.

This system converts countries into plantations where the national governments are just overseers. For us the bad governments are no longer governments of the people, because they are at the service of an even bigger boss.

For this reason, we as the EZLN don’t believe anything they say anymore because they are the same thieving and murderous traitors always. For this reason, we say that here we will continue with our autonomy, resistance and rebellion in our Zapatista territory.

From La Realidad, Chiapas

Junta de Buen Gobierno “Towards Hope”

[i] Refers to La Virgen de Guadalupe, the figure of a dark-skinned Virgin Mary and Mexico’s patron saint. The text could be referring to news reports that many religious believers prayed to la Virgin of Guadalupe [la virgen Morena, or the “brown virgin”] that Lopez Obrador [whose party’s acronym is MORENA] would honor his promises to assist the poor:

[ii] Refers to Andres Manuel López Obrador and the MORENA party.

[iii] Former prominent PRI senator and party officer as well as long-term associate of Carlos Salinas de Gortari. It should be noted that Ricardo Monreal has also repeatedly been accused of direct involvement with drug cartels. After a long career with the PRI (1975-1998), Monreal later switched parties to the PRD (1998-2008), then to the Labor Party (2008-2012), then to the Citizens Movement Party (2012-2015) and today, at the López Obrador’s request, Monreal has been made senate leader for the MORENA party.

[iv] Former senator for the PAN, notorious for his visceral racism and his large land holdings.

[v] Former PRI governor of Chiapas, federal Mexican army general, and wealthy landowner in the state of Chiapas. He was taken as a prisoner of war by the EZLN in the 1994 uprising, convicted in a popular trial of crimes against the Chiapan indigenous population, and then released with the sentence of “living out his life with the shame of having received the pardon and mercy of the very people who he had for so long robbed, displaced, kidnapped, humiliated, and murdered” [EZLN, January 20, 1994]. He died in March of 2017.

[vi] AMLO has deemed his own governing project the “Fourth Transformation,” supposedly on a par with historic events such as Mexican Independence (1810), a period of reform in the mid-19th century, and the Mexican Revolution (1910).

[vii] Olga Sánchez Cordero

[viii] One of Lopez Obrador’s controversial development plans to plant a million hectares (two and a half million acres) of invasive and commercial trees in the Lacandón Jungle in Southern Mexico.

En español




The Fourth Transformation?

EZLN milicianos at the 25th Anniversary celebration

By: Gilberto López y Rivas

The arrival of Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) to the Presidency of Mexico and the triumph of Morena as the first political force in the Congress of the Union, the governorships of four states, the leadership of the Mexico City Government, numerous city and municipal governments, demands reflecting, with critical thought, about the reaches and limitations of what’s called the Fourth Transformation. [1]

It’s necessary to characterize the current government, the economic and social projects it considers priorities, as well as the new correlation of political forces that it is forming, for the purpose of having tools that permit comprehending and responding adequately to the new hegemonic system of domination with which capitalism is reconfigured.

It’s necessary to analyze the bases that sustain the Fourth Transformation, which does not clearly reveal its programmatic or legislative strategy. The fight against corruption, without a rupture with the development model, doesn’t set the basis for a change in the historical dimensions of national Independence, the 1910 Reform and Revolution. Denying the validity of the class struggle in Mexico, situating itself as the supreme arbiter of social conflicts and seeking to mutate the State into a redistributive clientele apparatus, does not signify a “historical transition of the Republic,” much less a “change of epoch.”

At the same time, an enumeration of the priority economic projects: Special Economic Zones, the Maya Train, development of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, the planting of fruit and timber trees on one million hectares, construction of 300 roads in rural territories, refineries, a system of airports in the Mexico City metropolitan area; free zones on the northern border and the Isthmus region, continuity of mining projects, the repeated affirmation of respecting contracts, the independence of the Bank of Mexico, the chief of staff’s perspective of “making Mexico an investment paradise” and the Morena initiative in Congress to abrogate the current Agrarian Law and expedite another one that reinforces the mechanisms for the privatization of ejido and communal land, and especially, the acceptance of the Free Trade Agreement with the United States and Canada, confirm the continuity of economic policies within the logic of the capitalist system, of the neoliberalism that it claims to overcome.

Politically, the creation of the National Institute of Indigenous Peoples (INPI, its initials in Spanish) is a return to the old “indigenismo” established by the PRI regime, patronizing and corporative, which was characterized as an authoritarian and manipulative State policy for the indigenous peoples, and whose funerals were celebrated in the San Andrés dialogues between the federal government and the EZLN. The fact of establishing 130 offices of the new INPI in Native peoples’ territories, with functionaries that speak the respective language, with governmental resources and projects, is a direct aggression against the autonomic processes and the movements in defense of the territories and against corporate invasion, especially in the territories where deeper autonomic processes are developed, related to armed conflicts, such as the Maya Zapatista region, or which defend indigenous campesino territoriality, the INPI runs the risk of performing counterinsurgency labors and of the “conflict engineering” that mining companies put into practice in order to overcome the resistances.

It is established in the metaphor of Subcomandante Moisés that: “the overseers and foremen change, but the owners of the finca (estate) continue being the same.” Rejection of these projects on the part of the national Indigenous Congress-Indigenous Governing Council (Congreso Nacional Indígena-Concejo Indígena de Gobierno), numerous independent indigenous and campesino organizations, specialists in different scientific disciplines, as well as criticism of the government consultas (votes) for not complying with the conditions established in the Constitution, in Convention 169 of the International Labor Organization, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which mandate that consultations be prior, free, informed and binding, have not received the attention that they deserve and, to the contrary, were the object of contemptuous treatment on the President’s part.

In this sense, the climate of intolerance to criticism of the new government from the anti-capitalist Left stands out, claiming that “it plays the game of the right,” and “is a return to primitive communism,” or “a disparagement of the 30 million voters that elected Andrés Manuel López Obrador.”

Precisely because of the respect that all Mexicans who voted for a profound change deserve, the need is vindicated for a rigorous analysis of the nature and impact of the budding projects, of the directionality of the same, starting with the resistances below and to the Left, and with an intelligentsia committed to these struggles. The disjunctive continues being: with the prince or with the people.


[1] By calling his project the Fourth Transformation, AMLO is elevating his presidential project to the importance of: 1) the War of Independence from Spain, an armed conflict that ended 300 years of Spanish colonial domination and took place from 1810 to 1821; 2) the Reform, a war between liberals and conservatives from 1858 to 1861 that resulted in the Reform Laws, among which the separation of Church and State stands out; and 3) the Mexican Revolution, a war against the regime of Porfirio Díaz from 1910 to 1917, which resulted in the promulgation of the Mexican Constitution that, as amended, rules Mexico today.


Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Friday, December 28, 2018

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee




Communiqué from the National Indigenous Congress and the Indigenous Governing Council for the 25th anniversary of the armed uprising of the Zapatista National Liberation Army

Commanders enter La Realidad for the 25th Anniversary celebration.

January 2, 2019

To the Zapatista National Liberation Army:

To the CIG Support Networks:

To the Resistance and Rebellion Networks:

To the people of Mexico:

To the peoples of the world:

To the communications media:

The peoples, nations and tribes that form the National Indigenous Congress and the Indigenous Governing Council, proudly greet the 25th anniversary of the armed uprising of the Zapatista National Liberation Army, since on January 1, 1994 our word stopped asking for alms and demanded justice, and to recognizer the rights that we started to exercise since that day, not only in Chiapas, but in all indigenous corners of our country.

That day, a new chapter in our collective life began to be written. With heads held high, we walk picking up the footsteps of our ancestors and sowing those of coming generations, with the conviction of continuing to be peoples, nations and tribes.

With the war unleashed against us, we have seen ourselves reflected in the walk of the indigenous Zapatista communities, knowing that outside there are threats against us and that everything is in the name of wealth for only some. They offer us that we migrate, leaving our territories; they offer us mourning for our deaths in the face of violence, contamination, persecution and prison; they offer us fear and resignation.

The peoples that we in the CNI are know how the bad governments act in the name of those who have more and want everything. We have faced the formation of shock groups, of paramilitaries and now of narco-paramilitaries that the bad government disguises as internal divisions, to say in that way that some want and others do not want to deliver land and natural resources to the owners of money. We know the ways in which the bad government’s “indigenist” institutions deceive our people in order to generate the kind of division that costs the lives of our compañeros and compañeras that opt for dignity, resistance and rebellion.

The INPI and its alleged new “indigenist” policy is no more than the deepening of that offensive against life, with which they want to weaken the struggle for the autonomy of the original peoples who, with their struggle, stop the devastation that they impose from above. The CNI and our compañeros of the Indigenous Governing Council do not believe al overseer of capitalism who claims to govern Mexico, and we will not accept any false consultation like those with which they want to legitimize the robbery of indigenous and campesino territories, our extermination and the sharpening of the war against us. We will not accept our death although they may bring thousands or millions of votes that, according to them, decided it.

With us walk the profound steps, real and not renounceable, that the original peoples have taken in resonance with the walking of the EZLN and the indigenous Zapatista communities. We are communications media, cooperatives, community guards; we are primary, secondary and high schools; we are languages and ancient world views (cosmovisiones); we are betting on a future that those who are in power are not even capable of imagining; we are the ones who will face in every corner the destruction that they proclaim as if it were a “democratic” benefit.

Together with the deepening of the capitalist war we will also deepen our resistance and rebellion. The mining companies with which they contracted, the megaprojects on the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, the immoral Maya Train project, the devastation and privatization of sowing industrial forest plantations in the Lacandón Jungle and the territorial alienation (for the benefit of) big capital that the Special Economic Zones are will bump heads with the real power, the power of below, the one that doesn’t surrender, doesn’t sell out and doesn’t give up, because to do it is to know we are dead as peoples.

We respectfully greet and send a collective and fraternal embrace to the Indigenous Revolutionary Clandestine Committee–General Command of the Zapatista National Liberation Army, to the thousands of milicianos and milicianas and to the support base communities. We warn the bad governments that any aggression against them is also against the CNI- CIG, therefore we make a call to the support networks throughout the country and to the networks of resistance and rebellion in Mexico and in the world to be attentive and organized to act jointly and to construct a world in which we will all be able to live.


January 2019

For the Integral Reconstitution of Our Peoples

Never More A Mexico Without Us

Coordination and Follow-Up Commission of the National Indigenous Congress/Indigenous Government Council

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