Mexican Government Foments Counterinsurgency Against EZLN Territories

Families displaced from BAEZLN communities of Emiliano Zapata and La Resistencia by ORCAO paramilitary groups. Photo: Red Ajmaq

by Red de Restistencia y Rebeldía Ajmaq

Jobel, Chiapas, México
May 5th, 2022

To the National Indigenous Congress
To the national and international Sexta
To the Networks of Resistances and Rebellions
To those who have signed the Declaration for Life
To the people who sow Dignity and Organization

Compañeros and compañeras, the bad government of Mexico persists in fomenting war/counterinsurgency in the territories of the EZLN.

The paramilitary group ORCAO (Regional Organization of Coffee Growers of Ocosingo) this time has forcibly displaced 83 BAEZLN (EZLN Bases of Support from the townships of Emiliano Zapata and La Resistencia, which belong to the Good Government Council of the Patria Nueva region.

The Ajmaq Resistance and Rebellion Network has been documenting and denouncing the attacks against, as well as accompanying the Support Base  communities of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (BAEZLN) in the territory, in which caravans of observation and documentation have denounced the situations of Moises y Gandhi and Nuevo San Gregorio.

Yesterday, May 4 and today May 5, we received information from the Good Government Council “Nuevo Amanecer en Resistencia por la Vida y la Humanidad” (New Dawn in Resistance for Life and Humanity) Caracol 10 “Floreciendo la Semilla Rebelde” (Flowering the Rebel Seed) regarding another escalation of violence by ORCAO who has perpetrated armed attacks against our BAEZLN compañeros and compañeras, which consisted of a series of armed attacks by this paramilitary group. The armed aggressions began on May 2, 2022, around 20:00 hrs. towards the town of Emiliano Zapata. The BAEZLN retreated towards the autonomous school in order to protect themselves from the gunfire —first from approximately 300 meters away, then from 50 meters away, and then from 30 meters away, as the paramilitary group was getting closer and closer. Given the life-threatening circumstances, the BAEZLN chose to move 11 families from their homes, 54 people (women, men, young men and women, girls, boys, old men and women) because of this violence that has persisted for three years, and which has increased in recent months.

The violence continues. We have testimonies that armed actions of the ORCAO paramilitary group continue, as today May 5 at 12:59 am the ORCAO of San Felipe fired about 32 shots of 22 caliber towards the Zapatista community of La Resistencia; at 1:30 am the aggressions by the ORCAO of San Felipe continued when a group of them came to burn the Zapatista autonomous school and the garage of one BAEZLN member of La Resistencia. The houses of the BAEZLN are located 10 meters from where they burned the autonomous school building — in the moments of the burning of the school, they continued to hear gunshots. Because of this, 29 people (including women, men, youths and young people)  are currently displaced from the community of La Resistencia. From the latest reports, the houses of the BAEZLN are open, but it is not known exactly how much damage was done by the ORCAO paramilitaries.

Regarding the events of May 2, testimonies report the following:

  • “ORCAO attacked the community of Emiliano Zapata, they got to within 300 meters away, so when they came within 50 meters, the families had to leave. They were attacked by the group from San Felipe; those who came to attack are from seven communities who belong to ORCAO.
  • We are not going to fall into provocation, we have told our compañeros and compañeras, they attacked us with different calibers of weapons. Those from 7 de Febrero of ORCAO began to shoot, we told the men and women from Moisés y Gandhi that they had to leave .. when they reached 30 meters, the families had to leave.
  • Another group from San Antonio attacked the community of Moises y Gandhi with weapons of various calibers, arriving near the school, leaving at 5:00 a.m.”.

According to the information received, ORCAO has carried out three years of continuous aggressions against Zapatista communities that have resisted, and will continue to resist, despite the aggressions that range from armed attacks, theft of crops, and destruction of the goods of the BAEZLN, the fruits of their labors.

A compañero BAEZLN tells of attacks of ORCAO against his community.

Other testimonies report that:

  • “It brings us great sadness, because we are suffering with the children. Yesterday at 3 o’clock in the afternoon we went out, suffering, walking, enduring hunger, because the day before yesterday, they began to attack at about 8 o’clock at night. We went out to hide, in distress– the children, they were trembling, because we were going to go and hide. They began to shoot high-caliber bullets, shooting bullets close by. It calmed down a little and we were moving, until we reached the school. We stayed there; we were surrounded, but they saw us because there was no vegetation. They began to shoot, and we laid them [the children] down on the ground so that the bullets wouldn’t hit them. We were still surrounded until 3 in the morning. They even told us to retreat, and we did because we didn’t want to have a confrontation and die. That is why we left yesterday–we came walking — enduring hunger and thirst in this heat.
  • “It’s not the first time… it’s been 3 years, and we are always living with gunfire, we go out to work our milpa and we are always afraid, because they run us out with bullets. It’s been 4 years and still… Who is going to solve the problem? The damn government does nothing, do they want us to die, or what? We are used to working, to planting our beans and corn, we don’t want to be here too long, because here we also suffer, the children are used to being in their homes and  working, and all this because of the damn ORCAO…. “
  • For years they have not let us, the BAEZLN, work in peace, this has increased with the arrival of the government of Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador and his program of Sembrando Vida. The only thing that it does is cause division and conflict, “they do not let us work … it is being driven by their leaders José Pérez who is the first alderman of the municipal government of Ocosingo and Tomas Santiz Gómez,  Antonio Juárez, Marcos López Gómez, and Juan Gómez who are the leaders, who encourage the communities to attack us, this last event being when the seven communities attacked us. All night they were shooting, they also burn the milpa, and steal the corn.”
  • “The compañeras have a lot of rage and sadness, about leaving their things and animals, because from there they are resisting and struggling. There is a compañera who is injured from running, because of the barbed-wire. They have to leave as they can… there is also another compañero who was recently operated on…he had to leave. There is a compañera who is six months pregnant. Those from ORCAO, their parents don’t understand that it is those from the government who give them money, that AMLO only brings problems between communities, now with their Sembrando Vida, they want us to kill each other, the 4T, that is what they want.”
Milpa burned by ORCAO attackers. Photo: Red Ajmaq

From Ajmaq Network of Resistance and Rebellion, we condemn the armed actions and aggressions of the ORCAO criminal group against the Zapatista communities of Emiliano Zapata and La Resistencia. We denounce the Mexican government for being part of these counterinsurgency actions, and for not stopping the harassment and aggressions against the EZLN territories. We call upon the compañeros of The Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle, the Networks of Resistance and Rebellion, and all of the compañerxs in the struggle for Life and the defense of Mother Earth to demonstrate with denunciations and solidarity actions in demanding that these people, who are members of ORCAO, and who are carrying out criminal acts against our EZLN compañeras y compañeros in struggle, are stopped. We demand that the violence against the Zapatista territories stops.

Solidarity with the Zapatista peoples!

Stop the counterinsurgency against the Zapatista peoples!

Red de Resistencia y Rebeldía Ajmaq

This report was published by the Red de Resistencia y Rebeldía Ajmaq. https://redajmaq.org/es/fomenta-el-gobierno-de-mexico-la-contrainsurgencia-hacia-los-territorios-del-ezln English translation by Sexta Grietas del Norte and Schools for Chiapas.