Dialogue at San Andres. Photo @ Radio Zapatista
February 16 marked 20 years since the signing of the San Andres Accords between the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) and the federal government. The accords were the result of five months of negotiations and dialogue about indigenous rights and culture in the Tsotsil municipality of San Andres Larrainzar, renamed San Andres Sakam’chen of the Poor by the Zapatistas.
On signing the accords, the government promised the creation of a judicial framework which would recognize the rights of indigenous communities and peoples, not only in Chiapas but throughout Mexico, among them the right of self-determination of the original peoples, recognizing their autonomy according to the cultural, social, political and economic characteristics of each group and place. The agreement on right of access to natural resources in the territory of indigenous peoples and communities was also relevant. The government promised to take these accords to Congress to convert them into reforms and additions to the constitution to guarantee their application, although the resulting proposal omitted a number of the signed accords. This was interpreted by the EZLN as a betrayal, a fact which led to the interruption of dialogue of the Zapatista commission with the federal government, ending the negotiations in the second round of six planned encounters.
“Already 20 years, in which the Government of Mexico has refused to fulfill [the San Andres Accords]; and at the same time they have been put into practice for 20 years in Zapatista territories, with their own forms of self-governance”, according to the declarations of the Fray Bartolome de Las Casas Center for Human Rights (CDHFBC) in Proceso. In spite of this, “it is important to note that the counterinsurgency policy of the Mexican State continues against the EZLN and the peoples of Chiapas who build different paths to neoliberal capitalism. It is evident the militarization in indigenous zones, the drive to conflicts in communities with Zapatista presence, the use of campesino organizations to confront the Support Bases of the EZLN, and the use of government aid programs to control and co-opt the population that resists. Moreover, forced displacement and impunity for crimes against humanity committed by the Mexican Army and paramilitary groups persist”, CDHFBC noted.
For more information in Spanish
Los acuerdos de San Andrés. 20 años de traición (La Jornada, 18 de febrero de 2016)
San Andrés: 20 años después (La Jornada, 26 de enero de 2016)
A 20 años de los Acuerdos de San Andrés, siguen violentado los derechos indígenas: Frayba (Proceso, 17 de febrero de 2016)
El zapatismo y el uso estratégico del silencio (La Jornada, 23 de febrero de 2016)
For more information from SIPAZ: