EZLN Opts To Continue the Struggle of New Generations 29 Years Later

29th anniversary of Zapatista armed uprising. Photo: Ángeles Mariscal

Thousands of young men and women with youthful faces commemorated the 29th anniversary of the uprising of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN). It was their grandparents and great-grandparents who started the indigenous organization that was the watershed in the claim for the rights of indigenous peoples and declared war on the Mexican government, now they have the task of continuing it. That was the message that was given in the meeting centers where they celebrated with dances, sports competitions, and a demonstration of the insurgent forces.

“Keep fighting, keep resisting. The work is not finished yet. Things are coming in which the collaboration of the communities is needed. We ask the new generations to learn the form of organization, to learn to work within their towns and communities”, was the message of one of the EZLN commanders, in the Jacinto Canek Caracol, also called “Flower of our word and light of our peoples that reflects for all”, whose headquarters are located in the CIDECI-Unitierra training center, in the municipality of San Cristóbal de Las Casas.

There, among the facilities that serve as trade workshops, study rooms, libraries, an auditorium and a center that young Zapatistas attend every day of the year, one of the celebrations took place that was replicated in each EZLN center throughout the indigenous territory of Chiapas.

In the Jacinto Canek Caracol there were old men, old women, also men and women of adult age, but the majority was the Zapatista youth who constitute the fourth generation of those who make up the insurgent movement.

The youth celebrated the 29th anniversary of the armed uprising, the majority with their faces uncovered, unlike the adults accustomed to wearing the ski mask that constitutes an identity symbol of the EZLN.

There were two escorts that formalized the act, one carrying the Mexican flag and the other with the Zapatista flag, a red star on a black background. For the latter, the standard-bearer was a young woman in a militia uniform -green pants and brown shirt-, to her left was a man whose wrinkles peeking through his ski-mask showing he was over 50 years old. The rest of the escort were strong men with posture and movements that showed they had training from those who make up the Zapatista militias.

The political speech that was given shortly before midnight on December 31st in this meeting place was given by a woman and a man who were leaders of the armed movement.

“We are united to remember this date that is important to us. It may only be a few hours that we will be together, but we are remembering a date that is important to everyone. A date when people gave their lives so that we could have a good life, achieve the good life”, said the Zapatista leader in Tsotsil, the indigenous language of the region.

She also remembered those who died in 1994 during the first minutes and days of the armed uprising; she recalled the demands enunciated in their first declaration: work, land, shelter, food, health, education, independence, freedom, democracy, justice and peace; and the validity of these demands that have not been met by the Mexican government.

“It is of the utmost importance to remember all those who lost their lives, the men and women who died in those difficult days. Keep working in unity. It is a long walk that has already been started, that those who died left behind. We continue in search of justice”, explained the Zapatista leader.

In turn, when speaking to the attendees, on behalf of the EZLN, one of the leaders spoke directly to the Zapatista youth and told them: “it is important that the new generations learn so that the organization can continue. Do not change your way of thinking, honor those who died for the organization so that the peoples continue to be a community.”

In Tostsil, he reminded them that the work and struggle of the EZLN has new challenges that they will have to face, “keep fighting, keep resisting. The work is not done yet”, he insisted.

“Don’t change your way of thinking, keep going like this, let us continue thinking like this because until now the organization has gone well and we follow the legacy and thinking of those who have already died. And although it has been transformed, this has been in community, so it is important that we continue learning all this”, he said to those who were listening attentively to her words.

Almost at midnight, while they celebrated with fireworks, the Zapatistas proclaimed their slogans: “Long live the EZLN! Long live the 29th anniversary of the armed uprising! Long live the insurgents! Long live the insurgents! Long live the women of the militia! Long live the men of the militia! Long live Insurgent Sub-commander Pedro! Long live all the fallen men and women! Long live the resistance and rebellion! Long live Insurgent Sub-commander Moisés! Long live Insurgent Sub-commander Galeano! Long live Chiapas! Long live Chiapas! Long live Mexico! Long live Mexico! Long live Mexico!”.

Ángeles Mariscal

Original version at https://www.chiapasparalelo.com/noticias/chiapas/2023/01/ezln-29-anos-despues-apuesta-a-la-continuacion-de-lucha-de-las-nuevas-generaciones/

Translated by Schools for Chiapas.

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