ORCAO’s armed attacks against Zapatistas in Lucio Cabañas

Caravan: It seeks to impose a state of war

Members of the Regional Organization of Ocosingo Coffee Growers (ORCAO, its initials in Spanish) looted and burned coffee warehouses belonging to the EZLN’s support bases on August 22, at the Cuxuljá crossroads, Ocosingo municipality, Chiapas.

By: Elio Henríquez

San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas 

The Regional Organization of Ocosingo Coffee Growers (ORCAO, its initials in Spanish) and a “group of armed people seek to impose a daily and permanent state of war” against the Zapatista communities, denounced the Caravan of Solidarity and Documentation with the autonomous communities in the Nuevo San Gregorio and Moisés Gandhi region.

In a report prepared after visiting the site on October 29, [the group] explained that the Orcao and the armed subjects are “violating the right to the use and enjoyment of the land and territory” that the families, support bases of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN), hold legitimately and in full exercise of their right to autonomy.

It also detailed that: “they carry out acts of physical cruelty and direct psycho-social violence,” by “enclosing and sequestering families in their own houses and lands. They impound animals, natural springs and rivers,” which represents a “deployment and reconfiguration of the current way of operating in the war against life and the autonomies.”

They considered that these attacks “are an obvious act to attack and beat Zapatista autonomy and its organizational structure.”

In this context, they charged that on November 8, ORCAO members “kidnapped, beat and tortured Félix López Hernández,” an EZLN support base.

According to sources from civil organizations, the campesino, who was released last Wednesday evening after national and international pressure, among them a mobilization in Mexico City, was “tied up, they put a belt on his neck and were at the point of killing him.”

Made up of organizations, collectives and networks who are adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle, the mission documented “the attacks, threats and harassment perpetrated by armed groups against girls, boys, men and women of the EZLN’s autonomous Zapatista communities belonging to Lucio Cabañas autonomous municipality,” and the New Dawn in Resistance and Rebellion for Life and Humanity Good Government Junta.

The report said: “in the context of counterinsurgency, the attacks on communities and peoples that are organized to live and resist has been constant in the last months of 2020,” as happens in the communities of Lucio Cabañas autonomous municipality.

See the video short from the caravan here.

In August, they burned the coffee warehouses

The community of Moisés Gandhi belongs to the municipality of Lucio Cabañas, where, on August 22 members of the ORCAO “burned the coffee warehouses, the Compañera Lucha Diner and looted the Arco Iris (Rainbow) store, among other outrages.”

The caravan expressed in its report that: “since June 2020, these aggressions are on the rise, now with more shooting, felling of oak trees, more damages, looting and physical attacks on members of the population of Moisés Gandhi.

Between June and October there have been mostly shots from different caliber firearms from the ORCAO at the autonomous communities, thereby putting at risk the men, women, boys, girls and elderly people who have to seek refuge from the bullets or throw themselves in the mud in the wee hours of the morning, since there have been attacks for entire nights and days,” it stated.

The report also said that: “this situation has not allowed the Zapatista compañeros to work the land, since they have had to stay inside their houses or in shelters.”

The Caravan stated that the violence in Moisés Gandhi has left losses of $1,456, 021 pesos, according to a report from the New Dawn Good Government Junta.

The mission stated that there have been “attempts to establish an approach to dialogue between the EZLN and the ORCAO; however, they have not advanced, “since the armed attacks have not stopped and there has been a breach of agreements.”

Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada
Saturday, November 14, 2020
https://www.jornada.com.mx/2020/11/14/estados/028n1est
Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee and posted by Schools for Chiapas with permission.