By Sare Frabes
With the government of Andrés Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO), the model of counterinsurgency in Chiapas “is more cynical in violating human rights, agreements, treaties and both national international pacts by using a supposed electoral legitimacy to do the same criminal work of those who came before,” states the second report from the Caravan of Solidarity and Documentation made up of dozens of organizations, networks and collectives.
The document is the result of the record of visits to Zapatista communities carried out between October of 2020 and February this year. In it, they underscore that in Chiapas the war of counterinsurgency from the “Fourth Transformation” not only continues in practice, but is expressed in various forms: economic, political, agrarian, psychological and military-paramilitary.
“The strategy is being able to coordinate various tactics ranging from an information campaign of contempt and slander towards the EZLN, intimately related to the presence of the National Guard and armed groups, the execution of megaprojects, and projects of depeasantization like ‘Sembrando Vida’ and the harassment of members of the CNI (National Indigenous Congress.) Its objective consists of advancing the dispossession of the Zapatista communities from their recuperated lands,” the report denounces.
Among the main effects on the life of the Zapatista support base communities (BAEZLN) are the impediments to planting and harvesting their food, constant surveillance and harassment, primarily of women, and the destruction of the infrastructure for carrying out the collective work in vegetable production, farmland and livestock.
In the report presented on the 11th of November of 2020 the members of the Caravan of Solidarity and Documentation identified seven mechanisms of violence of the wholesale war of attrition against the Zapatista communities.
These are: 1)Invading lands and destroying the Mother Nature 2) Enclosure by fences and an environment of gunfire. 3)Violations of the right of access to water 4)Causing hunger 5)Destroying the autonomous economy 6)Violence of defamation, slander and disinformation 7)Mechanisms of violence toward the bodies/territories of women.
For the period from December of 2020 to February of 2021, the report identifies four of them below.
- The tone of domination and terror that dispossession takes on in the face of impunity from the three levels of government toward the invading groups has led to the Zapatista families abandoning their houses and gathering in a safe shelter; the families have remained encapsulated in three quarters of a hectare, where they continue resisting in the carpentry collective, the clinic, the school, the store and the church.
- The psycho-social exhaustion for women grows greater all the time. A situation that puts them in a state of vulnerability of not being able to move about freely, and under permanent intimidation on the part of the invaders’ leaders.
- As a consequence, we see that the conversion of communal territory to private property. Invading, fencing in, and parcelling the recuperated land in order to generate terror and discouragement once they transform all of the vital spaces – elemental for the reproduction of autonomous community life, into exclusive spaces of private property where the relationship with Mother Nature becomes on of use as merchandise.
- New leading landowners. Catechists, ex-policemen and landowners offer recovered lands to people outside the community, they put the land up for sale as they continue the defamation, slander and disinformation about the project for life and the autonomous organizational forms of the Zapatista communities.
Agressions on Nuevo San Gregorio
In a press conference that accompanies the publication of the report, organizations and collectives, defenders of human rights, presented testimonies and denunciations of EZLN bases of support (BAEZLN) families about the agressions on their community of Nuevo San Gregorio, in the Zapatista Rebel Autonomous Municipality of Lucio Cabañas.
En contexto ⇒ Chiapas: Ante agresiones, bases de apoyo del EZLN interrumpen labores de siembra (Translation forthcoming.)
“We have now been here for 8 days, sequestered in one place, yes. The families all have our houses, our animals or what each person or family has, and right now it is all abandoned,” states a testimony collected on February 7th of this year, after the agressions escalated to the point of forcing the Zapatista families from their homes.
Those responsible for the violence have been identified by the BAEZLN as “the 40 invaders.” Said group, is made up of people who come from the ejidos of San Gregorio de Las Casas, San Andrés Puerto Rico, Ranchería Duraznal, and Rancho Alegre, including some members who have ejido and church roles, besides owning land in their own ejidos.
Among the leaders, Nicolas Pérez Pérez, former PRD councilman in the municipality of Huixtán during the years of 2008 and 2010; Sebastián Bolom Ara, former official of Huixtán during the same period; Pedro Hernández Gómez, ejido land holder in San Gregorio Las Casas; and Javier Gómez Pérez, ejido land holder in Ranchería Duraznal.
The social organizations emphasized that the intention of the aggressions is to dispossess the BAEZLN of their lands. It is worth noting that a year and three months ago, the group of “The 40 invaders” arrived in Nuevo San Gregorio and among their members are ex-police of Huixtán.
The village of Nuevo San Gregorio, located on lands recuperated by the EZLN extends across an area of 155 hectares, including the shell of the ex-hacienda called the Casa Grande and belongs to Caracol 10 Floreciendo la Semilla Rebelde (Blossoming the Rebel Seed).
Over the course of 27 years, the community has managed to strengthen different vital works for its process of autonomy, such as projects of agroecology, health, nutrition, education, justice and economy.
To this end, the BAEZLN have carried out many collective projects from the management of a grocery store, to the production and sales of artesanía, pottery, woodwork, livestock, vegetables, fruit trees and medicinal plants.
“A dignified life is lived from the exercise of the peoples in resistance-rebellion that build self-reliance with collective work for a healthy and wholesome life, where the families exercise the right to a balanced and equitable food and health. The rivers and lakes are not contaminated, the soils are clean, the mountains, forests, jungles and ceibas are still standing; the women, young people, boys and girls practice art, culture and education. The communities decide on their forms of self governance,” the report refers to the Zapatista way of life that is under constant siege.
*The organizations visited the community of Nuevo San Gregorio to compile the complaints, which allowed theme to witness “the impunity and complicity of this regime that is being carried out by all three levels of government,” affirmed Diana Itzu Gutiérrez, of the Center for the Rights of Women of Chiapas.
Among the member organizations of the caravans of solidarity and documentation are: Centro de Derechos de la Mujer Chiapas A.C., Colectivo Anarcista El Pueblo (Grecia), Desarrollo Económico y Social de los Mexicanos Indígenas, A.C., Desarrollo Tecnológico y Servicios Comunitarios El Puente, S.C., Enlace Civil, A.C., Espacio de Lucha Contra el Olvido y la Represión, Grupo de trabajo No Estamxs Todxs, Lumaltik Herriak, Médicos del Mundo, Suiza-México, Memoria Viva, Promedios de Comunicación Comunitaria A.C., Red de Resistencia y Rebeldía Ajmaq, Salud y Desarrollo Comunitario, A.C.,BIZILUR y TxiapasEKIN Plataforma.
This article was originally posted by Avispa Midia on March 3rd, 2021. https://avispa.org/organizaciones-denuncian-estrategias-de-contrainsurgencia-de-la-4t-hacia-a-los-zapatistas/ . This English translation has been re-published by Schools for Chiapas.