In a statement published on August 26th, more than 450 people and 140 organizations from 22 countries demanded “Stop the War against the Zapatista Communities.” This occurs after “paramilitaries from the Ocosingo Coffee Growers Regional Organization (ORCAO) looted and set fire to the facilities of the New Dawn Rainbow Trade Center, which is located in the place known as the Cuxulja Crossroads, Lucio Cabañas Autonomous Municipality, within the official municipality of Ocosingo on August 22nd”, they explained.
Explaining the context, they recalled that “on February 24th, 2020, the ORCAO, together with the ‘Chinchulines’ group (identified for years as paramilitary), and members of the MORENA party in the region, used violence against and kidnapped members of National Indigenous Congress (CNI), this in the context of the Conference in Defense of Territory and Mother Earth ‘We Are All Samir’, convened by the EZLN and the CNI.”
They denounced that the “new aggression is part of the intensification of the war of attrition in Chiapas, characterized by the increase in violence by paramilitary groups and organized crime, as the Fray Bartolome de Las Casas Center for Human has duly documented”, a trend that this center has highlighted in recent weeks, mostly in the agrarian conflict between the municipalities of Aldama and Chenalho.
They indicated that “this counterinsurgent war (…) is carried out on different fronts and forms: direct and indirect, open and covert; media, political, economic and military”, and in addition, “this war scenario is not exclusive to Chiapas.” As an illustration of this, they pointed to the constant “denunciations of indigenous peoples and their organizations against the violence of criminal, parastate and state groups, violence that contributes to the destruction of the fabric of the community and to the erosion of the struggles against dispossession and megaprojects in Mexico.”
They called on national and international civil society to “demand the cessation of aggressions and hostilities against the Zapatista Support Bases, the destruction of precious community assets, the result of collective work, which, in the midst of this multifactorial crisis, acquire a high equity value.” They also asked “to remain vigilant in the face of this new escalation of violence against the EZLN and the CNI, organizations that are a global benchmark in the defense of Life and for a better world.”
For more information in Spanish:
Activistas de 20 países condenan ataque a bases zapatistas (La Jornada, 28 de agosto de 2020)
Ataque de Orcao, una guerra de desgaste (Cuarto Poder, 28 de agosto de 2020)
Exigen alto a ataques paramilitares contra comunidades zapatistas(Contralínea, 27 de agosto de 2020)
Alto a la guerra contra los pueblos zapatistas (Comunicado completo, 26 de agosto de 2020)
For more information from SIPAZ: