Following the position proposed by the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) in the framework of the 25th anniversary of the armed uprising on January 1st, thousands of social network users strongly challenged the Zapatistas. Rebelion magazine summarized the opinions expressed in the following terms: “The accusation that the EZLN was an “instrument of Carlos Salinas de Gortari” predominated; questioning their belligerence against this government and their limited opposition to the governments of Felipe Calderon (PAN) and Enrique Peña Nieto (PRI); (…) contempt and underestimation towards the AMLO voters; racist expressions against Zapatismo were also broadcast and there were even calls to liquidate Sub-commander “Marcos-Galeano”.
Zapatista sympathizers pointed out “ignorance”, “falsehoods” and “slander” in what was circulating. “The slander and lies campaign against the #EZLN, mounted by trolls, bots and some followers of the 4T (Fourth Transformation announced by AMLO), has far exceeded the malicious stories propagated by the PRI, PAN and the agencies of government intelligence for 25 years”, even Luis Hernandez Navarro, journalist with La Jornada, stressed. The Zapatista supporters set up the hashtag #OtroMundoEsPosible [another world is possible – one of the best known slogans of the EZLN internationally], in response to what they considered to be “a hate campaign”, a label that trended in the following hours.
It should be recalled that in its communiqué at the beginning of the year, the EZLN clearly marked its distance from the government of Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) and his National Regeneration Movement (MORENA), and rejected three key projects of the AMLO proposal for the development of southeastern Mexico: the construction of a trans-tropical railway in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, the Maya Train and the project of reforesting 500,000 hectares with a million trees.
However, this discord is not new, but dates back to 2001, when the “Indigenous Law” was approved, which the EZLN considered a “betrayal” of the San Andres Accords on indigenous rights and culture and which were signed between the movement and the federal government in February of 1996. This approval was given when Andres Manuel served as Head of Government of Mexico City and had a wide influence in the fraction of the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD in its Spanish acronym) in the Congress of the Union, which he did not use.
The rupture with AMLO supporters was consummated in 2006, when AMLO was presented for the first time in the campaigns for the presidency of the Republic and the EZLN did not support his candidacy but said that the candidates “are all the same.” When AMLO lost in the midst of what was designated as electoral fraud, the perception remained among his supporters that the EZLN had played a role in favor of the PRI and PAN parties. By that time, the EZLN had clarified through the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle that its position was “anti-capitalist” and “anti-systemic”, and its position was “below and to the left”, something that would increasingly distance it from the electoral left.
It should be noted that the EZLN is not the only one that has positioned itself in this way faced with the new federal government. The National Indigenous Congress (CNI in its Spanish acronym) and the Indigenous Council of Government (CIG in its Spanish acronym) said that they felt themselves “reflected in the path of the Zapatista indigenous communities.”
In a statement that also came out on the anniversary of the uprising, they said that “the INPI [National Institute of Indigenous Peoples] and its new indigenous policy is nothing more than the deepening of this offensive against life, with which they want to weaken the struggle for the autonomy of the native peoples that, with their struggle, stop the devastation that they impose from above. The CNI and our colleagues from the Indigenous Council of Government do not believe the foreman of capitalism who claims to govern Mexico, and we will not accept any false consultation like those with which they want to legitimize the theft of indigenous and campesino territories, our extermination and the exacerbation of the war against us. We will not accept our death even if they bring thousands or millions of votes which, according to them, decided it this way.” They also announced that, “along with with the deepening of the capitalist war we will also deepen our resistance and rebellion. The mining companies with which they made pacts, the megaprojects in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, the immoral project of the Maya Train, the devastation and privatization to plant industrial forest plantations in the Lacandon Jungle and the territorial alienation to big capital that are [represented by] the Special Economic Zones will confront with true power, the one below. The one that does not surrender, that does not sell out and does not give up, because to do that is to know we are dead as peoples.”
For more information in Spanish:
La soledad de los zapatistas en la multitud que son (Ojarasco, 11 de enero de 2019)
Celebrando el 25 aniversario del alzamiento zapatista (Desinformémonos, 9 de enero de 2019)
Amarga celebración: Los 25 años de la experiencia zapatista (Espoir Chiapas, 9 de enero de 2019)
EZLN: ¿hay vientos que anuncian tempestades? (La Jornada, 8 de enero de 2019)
La soledad del EZLN (ALAI, 7 de enero de 2019)
EZLN: 25 años de resonancia (Sin Embargo, 6 de enero de 2019)
Entre el EZLN y AMLO, desencuentro eterno (Proceso, 5 de enero de 2019)
Las discrepancias AMLO-EZLN se suben a la Red. Usuarios asumen la polémica en favor y en contra (Sin Embargo, 5 de enero de 2019)
Conflicto EZLN-AMLO puede elevarse a escala internacional (Cuarto Poder, 4 de enero de 2019)
El CNI y CIG se alinean con el EZLN y rechazan megaproyectos del gobierno federal (Proceso, 3 de enero de 2019)
Comunicado del Congreso Nacional Indígena y el Concejo Indígena de Gobierno por el 25 Aniversario del levantamiento armado del Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional (CNI, enero de 2019)
For more information from SIPAZ:
Chiapas: Zapatista Mass Meeting in Realidad Caracol 25 Years after Armed Uprising (January 14th, 2019)
Chiapas: Second Assembly of National Indigenous Congress (CNI) (October 22nd, 2018)
Chiapas/Mexico: Invitation to the Second National Assembly of the National Indigenous Congress (CNI) and the Indigenous Governing Council (CIG) (September 18th, 2018)
Chiapas : CNI denuncia amenazas y agresiones en la zona Norte, 16 de agosto de 2018
National: First National Encounter of Women Convened by CNI (August 10th, 2018)
National: CNI Will not Support any Presidential Candidate and Calls on Peoples to Organize (May 10th, 2018)
Chiapas/National: Roundtable Discussion “To Watch, to Listen, to Speak: Forbidden to Think?” (May 5th, 2018)