The Opacity and Inaction of the Mexican State is an Imminent Threat to Peace in Chiapas

San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico
May 26th, 2023

Bulletin No. 12

The opacity and inaction of the Mexican State is an imminent threat to peace in Chiapas

Tension in Zapatista territory

On January 1st, 1994, the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) rose up in arms, declaring war on the Mexican State, fighting for work, education, health, justice, land, and freedom. After 12 days and due to pressure from national and international civil society a ceasefire against the Zapatista peoples was decreed. After the San Andrés Talks, the Mexican government failed to comply with the agreements to reform the Constitution and fully comply with the rights of indigenous peoples. Since then, the EZLN has built its autonomy and self-determination in its territory in a civil and peaceful manner. It is also a key actor for the advancement and exercise of the rights of native peoples.

During these 29 years, the EZLN has been harassed and continuously attacked by the Mexican Army and groups related to the State. The strategies of war and counterinsurgency modify their methods of violence, in order to destroy and co-opt the resistance and emancipatory movements that are fighting for respect for their rights, and in this territory for the collective rights they claim as original peoples.

We have documented and constantly denounced the acts of violations of the territory, autonomy and self-determination, aggressions, armed attacks, criminalization, among others, in all spheres of responsibility, as was the unpunished murder of the teacher Galeano in 2014, which marked a new scenario with organizations allied to governments at its three levels (municipal, state and federal).

This six-year term of office of the government of Andrés Manuel López Obrador has not fallen behind, the attacks against the lands recovered from the EZLN are constant. In some autonomous territories we have documented attacks, threats and armed attacks, such as that of the Good Government Council (JBG) of Caracol 10 of Patria Nueva, where the EZLN Support Bases have suffered serious human rights violations such as arbitrary deprivation of liberty, torture, forced displacement, and several wounded by firearms.

Currently, the Law for Dialogue, Conciliation and Dignified Peace in Chiapas is in force, in which the EZLN is an example and has had continuous action in which it proposes, builds and resists peacefully, being a watershed for many peoples who are for the defense of life and Territory.

All these acts of aggression and attacks against the Zapatista movement have been reported with all the documentary rigor to the State instances that have the competence and that must respect, guarantee and protect human rights, without having shown political will to attend the urgent situation. From Frayba we express our concern about the constant violence that the EZLN has received and that we see an increase due to the active impunity generated from the Mexican government.

In one of its last communiqués in 2021, the Clandestine Revolutionary Indigenous Committee-General Command of the EZLN (CCRI-CG-EZLN) warned that Chiapas was on the verge of Civil War. Their perspective is a symptom of those of us who are living in the territory of Chiapas.

From Frayba we state that we live in constant insecurity, with a high risk to life, which has given rise to extreme violence against the EZLN Support Bases, such as that committed on May 23rd in the region of Moisés y Gandhi . This has spread to other territories that are being violated by criminality that controls the lives of communities and peoples, such as what is happening on the southern border of Chiapas.

Given this context, we declare that our unavoidable duty is to stop this violence that is growing and we see that it can be done with the organization of peoples, communities, organizations, and neighborhoods; from its own roots and culture, to defuse violence and build peace from below, opting for the possibility of the continuation of existence where good living is valued.

It is urgent that the Mexican State do its job fully and immediately address the underlying problem in order to guarantee dialogue and peace in Chiapas, generating clear routes to achieve it.

We call on national and international solidarity to demand that the Mexican State act forcefully to immediately cease the attacks against the autonomous political project of the EZLN and the generalized violence in the state of Chiapas, thus we also request solidarity to show of support to the peoples who defend life, territory, Mother Earth and peace.

Original statement at
Translated by Schools for Chiapas.

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