Chiapas: Intellectuals Express Concern over Militarization in Zapatista Territory

June 20, 2019


Intellectuals and national and international social and political organizations expressed their concern over the renewed militarization in Zapatista territories since the change of government. Below we reproduce the contents of their statement:

To whoever is still willing to listen:

This is a message of concern for life, for dignity. Those of us who signed this letter are worried about what is happening, again, in that forgotten corner of the Mexican southeast that became the heart of hope and rebellion, Chiapas.

This is not an ideological manifesto nor a declaration of position against the political changes that are taking place in Mexico, it is a genuine concern over what it is felt is approaching looming those from below that after 25 years, of 500 years, continue to resist extermination and oblivion. We are concerned about those who for a quarter of a century have fought for their autonomy, who have placed dignity above political pragmatism, who have been an example of freedom in a world chained by fear, we are concerned about the Zapatistas.

We are concerned to learn about the growing military activity in the territories of the Zapatista communities. We see that in the midst of Mexico’s complex security situation, the path of militarization of the country is becoming even stronger. It is a warning sign that under the much-questioned strategy surrounding the National Guard, that this, as has happened many times, be a “security” force that does not distinguish between crime and resistance, between cruelty and dignified rebellion. It is contradictory that when the Mexican Government’s own data indicate that the Zapatista zone has one of the lowest crime rates, the security strategy is directed in a threatening manner in those areas that are of the few sanctuaries of freedom and security for Mexico of those below. This seems more like a war strategy than a security strategy.

Although among the signatories we are a diverse group of people that can see the administration of Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador with hope or skepticism, we are all people who dream of a different, better world. Those of us who support these words believe that a change in Mexico cannot occur under a shadow of political pragmatism, yielding to pressures that lead to authoritarianism, to dispossession and violence for the benefit of the 1%, nor to the disqualification of critical voices. that with their authenticity and consistency have earned the respect of the world.

We see an increasing process of hostility towards authentic, historical and legitimate resistances that oppose projects such as the Maya Train, the Trans-isthmus Corridor and the Morelos Integral Plan, among others. We are concerned about the recent homicides of members of the National Indigenous Congress and the Indigenous Council of Government. We are concerned about the possibility that this new administration, like its predecessors, liberals or conservatives, once again insults indigenous peoples on the verge of extermination.

The world is looking with eyes and heart at what is happening in Mexico and Chiapas.

Stop the war against the Zapatistas and the Indigenous Peoples of Mexico!

For more information in Spanish:

Carta contra la militarización de zonas indígenas del EZLN, La Jornada, 18 de junio de 2019

Militarización de territorio zapatista “parece estrategia de guerra”: intelectuales, Radio Formula, 18 de junio de 2019

Militarización en zona zapatista pone en riesgo a indígenas, La Jornada, 17 de junio de 2019

La “guerra” contra el Congreso Nacional Indígena (Contralínea, 17 de junio de 2019)

Chomsky denuncia militarización de territorio zapatista: «parece estrategia de guerra», Revistadefrente, 17 de junio de 2019

For more information from SIPAZ:

Chiapas: Frayba Denounces Intensification of Attacks against Indigenous Peoples since December 2018 (June 4, 2019)

Chiapas: Frayba Denounces Increased Militarization in Zapatista Territories (May 10, 2019)

Chiapas: Denuncian vigilancia militar en Chicomuselo (March 27, 2019)

Chiapas: Centro de derechos humanos denuncia riesgos ante militarización de Chilón (January 25th, 2019)

National: AMLO “The Army and the Navy will continue on the streets in internal public security tasks”

September 15, 2018

On August 24, at a press conference, Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO), president-elect of Mexico, informed that his government will continue with the security policy that began in 2006, during the administration of Felipe Calderón, to use the military forces in tasks of public security before “the bitter reality” of insecurity and violence that prevails in the country. He affirmed that “in the current circumstances there is no alternative” and that it would be “an irresponsibility on his part” to remove marines and soldiers from the streets, since it would leave the Mexicans “in a state of defenselessness“. He stressed that the Federal Police “is not prepared to replace them” in their tasks, and that the state and municipal police “are not fulfilling their responsibility”.

He added that his government will seek a gradual exit from these two forces, but acknowledged that it will be a process for the medium and long term. He added that “no change is going to be made in the current Law of Internal Security, as long as there are no results. Let’s first operate with the current legal framework. “ He maintained however that his government will take care that marines and soldiers respect human rights.

These proposals were made after having meetings with the Ministries of the Navy, Vidal Francisco Soberón Sanz, and of the National Defense, Salvador Cienfuegos Zepeda. AMLO also said that the names of the future ministers of both agencies will be defined by mid-October.

Given these statements, the #SeguridadSinGuerra collective stated that “the signs are confusing. On the one hand, throughout the country, Forums for Peace and Reconciliation are held and on the other hand, fragments of the discourse we have heard in almost 12 years of war, are repeated in contrast to the effort, the expectations and the historic moment that Mexico lives ».

He expressed concern that “the President-Elect has omitted to commit to what the IACHR, the UN, the CNDH and our group have repeatedly recommended: the gradual withdrawal of the Armed Forces from public security tasks and the recovery of these by the civil police. “ He also claimed “the absence of commitment to reject the Law of Internal Security, [that the next government] turns a deaf ear to what is said repeatedly in the forums organized by those who will make up the future Ministry of Public Security and that this situation contributes to the uncertainty about the will of the next government to stop the militarization that throughout the country has been accompanied by an increase in violence and serious human rights violations. “

He concluded by reiterating its “willingness to contribute in the public debate and its demands to reject the Law of Internal Security, to develop a responsible plan for the gradual withdrawal of the Armed Forces and adopt the necessary measures to strengthen the police and put an end to the impunity that prevails regarding the military elements involved in serious human rights violations. As long as militarization continues, peace and reconciliation can not begin to be built. ”

For more information (in Spanish) :

AMLO: sin condiciones para sacar a Ejército y Marina de la calle (Polí, 24 de agosto de 2018)

Sería irresponsable mandar al cuartel a Ejército y Marina, ni PF ni Gendarmería resultaron: AMLO (Sin Embargo, 24 de agosto de 2018)

Que militares sigan en la calle es realista, pero con AMLO se deben castigar sus crímenes, dice Sicilia (Sin Embargo, 24 de agosto de 2018)

Ejército y Marina seguirán en las calles: AMLO; “sin su apoyo, no podríamos con la inseguridad” (El Sur, 25 de agosto de 2018)

AMLO, el nuevo rehén del Ejército y la Marina (Sin Embargo, 27 de agosto de 2018)

La militarización nunca permitirá la paz y la reconciliación (CMDPDH, 28 de agosto de 2018)

For more information from SIPAZ:

National: Cerezo Committee Demands Amnesty, Truth Commissions and Protection of Defenders and Journalists from AMLO August 2, 2018

National: Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador New President Elect in Mexico July 17, 2018

Chiapas: Organizations injunction on Interior Security Law

April 2, 2018

Photo @ Proceso

On January 30, a forum called “Let’s stop militarization. Analysis on the Interior Security Law” was convened by the Women’s Human Rights Center of Chiapas (Cdmch), the Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas (Frayba) HRC, as well as the Observatory of Democracies, of the Center for Higher Studies of Mexico and Central America.

With an audience of more than 100 people, the organizations rejected the Interior Security Law (LSI) on which Julieta Hernández, from Cdmch, mentioned that “it is very serious and alarming that the LSI might be applied, so we must all be concerned, alarmed and act in some way. “ In response to the implementation, the organizations “called on society in general to present an appeal on the grounds of inconsitutionnality (amparo) to prevent it from being applied because what the federal government wants is to legalize the dictatorship in Mexico,” according to La Jornada.

A researcher from the Center for Higher Studies of Mexico and Central America, part of the University of Sciences and Arts of Chiapas, recalled that “the LSI is unprecedented in the history of the country and it is linked to the commitments of Mexico with the exterior, particularly with the United States, because since 2003, at various security meetings in Latin America, concrete commitments have been made. “

For more information (in Spanish):

Organizaciones de DH rechazan Ley de Seguridad (La Jornada, 31 de enero de 2018)

Esta semana el Frayba Derechos Humanos y Mujeres CDMCH estarán recibiendo tu firma en San Cristóbal de Las Casas (CDMCH, 30 de enero de 2018)

For more information from SIPAZ:

National: EPN Enacts Interior Security Law. CNDH Declares it Unconstitutional. January 14, 2018

National: Internal Security Law Passed amidst Protests December 7, 2017

Guerrero: Internal Security Law Initiative Rejected April 4, 2017

Chiapas: Communiqué from Sup Galeano

April 10, 2015

Subcomandante Insurgente Galeano. Foto de archivo @ SIPAZ

Subcomandante Insurgente Galeano. Photo @ SIPAZ archive

On 19 March, Subcomandante Insurgente Galeano, or Sup Galeano, published a communique “On Homage and Seminar,” in which he reports on the homage to Luis Villoro Toranzo and the Zapatista teacher Galeano, who was murdered on 2 May 2014.  This homage will take place on 2 May in the Oventik caracol, an event to which relatives of the “46 who are missing from Ayotzinapa,” as the communique notes, “as well as relatives of the comrade teacher Galeano and autonomous Zapatista authorities from the 5 zones.”  Furthermore, Sup Galeano reminded his readers of the forthcoming seminar “Critical Thoughts in light of the Capitalist Hydra,” as organized by the CIDECI-Unitierra and the Sixth Commission of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN), planned for 3 to 9 May.

Galeano also mentioned “the notable rise in military activity in the vicinity of the Zapatista caracoles (aggressive patrols, intimidating checkpoints, threatening overflights), particularly in the La Realidad and Oventik caracoles.”  He further affirmed the lack of will on the part of the State to initiate a dialogue with the EZLN “since 2001.  That is to say, no federal official has approached the EZLN for the past 14 years without seeking to assassinate the Zapatista leadership; no, the federal and state governments are not seeing the lives of the indigenous of Chiapas improving, but instead they seek to divide communities.  The only governmental approaches that can be noted by Jaime Martínez Veloz have not been toward the Zapatistas but instead toward the paramilitaries they support.  Before, this was done by Luis H. Álvarez, Juan Sabines Guerrero, and Felipe Calderón Hinojosa; now it is done by Manuel Velasco Coello, Rosario Robles Berlanga, and Enrique Peña Nieto, one of whose shock-groups (CIOAC-H) is materially responsible for the murder of our comrade teacher Galeano.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Sobre Homenaje y Seminario. El SupGaleano (Enlace Zapatista, 19 de marzo de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: new communiques from the EZLN (21 March 2015)

Chiapas: threats against families sympathizing with the EZLN(29 December 2014)

Chiapas: EZLN requests support for the reconstruction of the autonomous school and clinic in La Realidad (13 June 2014)

Chiapas: EZLN pays tribute to murdered Support-base and announces organizational changes (10 June 2014)

Chiapas: EZLN communiqué “Pain and rage”

May 18, 2014


On 8 May, the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) published a communiqué written by Subcomandante Marcos regarding the violent events which took place on 2 May in La Realidad, leaving one Zapatista dead and 15 others injured.  Marcos announced that the activities planned for the end of May will be canceled, including an event in homage to Don Luis Villoro Toranzo and the “Ethics amidst looting” seminar.

Marcos explains the reasons for which “the primary results of the investigation, in addition to the information is reaching us, leaves no room for doubt: […] this was not a problem of communities, in which groups confronted each other in the heat of the moment.  It was a planned attack: first the provocation with the destruction of the school and the clinic, knowing that our comrades had no firearms and that they would go to defend what they had humbly raised with their efforts; afterward, the positions taken by the aggressors, foreshadowing the path they would continue to take from the caracol to the school; and then finally, the crossfire against our comrades.

[…] Now those from above speak of the ‘Acteal model’: ‘it was an inter-communal conflict over a gravel bank.’  Mmh…  Thus militarization follows, as do the hysterical voices of the domesticated media, the lies, the posturing, and then persecution.”

The communiqué concludes with a post-script: “If you were to ask me to summarize our work in just a few words, I would say that our efforts have been for peace, while their efforts have been for war.”

For more information (in Spanish):

EL DOLOR Y LA RABIA, Enlacezapatista, 8 de mayo de 2014

Suspende EZLN homenaje a Luis Villoro (El Universal, 9 de mayo)

EZLN se declara en alerta, suspende reuniones de mayo y junio por ataque de CIOAC (Chiapas Paralelo, 9 de mayo de 2014)

Exige CNI castigo a culpables de la emboscada donde murió Galeano (La Jornada, 11 de mayo de 2014)

Protestas solidarias en varias partes del mundo con los zapatistas de La Realidad (La Jornada, 11 de mayo de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Attacks on EZLN support bases leave one dead and 15 injured among Zapatistas (16 May 2014)

National/International: End of solidarity week “If the Zapatistas are harmed, all are harmed” (3 March 2014)

Chiapas: Denunciations of attacks on BAEZLN from the Morelia JBG and on hospital personnel from San Carlos de Altamirano (7 February 2014)

Chiapas: Denunciation of harassment and attacks from the Whirlwind of Our Words Caracol (7 December 2013)

Chiapas: Roberto Barrios JBG denounces attack on Comandante Abel community (19 September 2012)

Mexico: AI demands that the Secretary of Governance takes on its task of guaranteeing security and human rights following the restructuring of the State

January 15, 2013


In a press-bulletin, Amnesty International (AI) requested that the Secretary of Governance take on its obligation to guarantee security and human rights following the restructuring of the public administration on 3 January, the day when the Secretary for Public Security (SSP) was eliminated, having been integrated into the Secretary of Governance, including the management of the federal police.  AI recalls that “during the six-year term of former president Felipe Calderón, the SSP took on a protagonistic role in the strategy against organized crime, one that has left more than 60,000 dead and thousands others disappeared.  The use of torture and abuse as well as arbitrary arrests was routine on the part of the security forces during that period.”

Amnesty International observed that it “considers that the conduct of exhaustive and impartial investigations into the thousands of murders and disappearances which occurred in recent years should be a priority, not only to guarantee access to justice for the families of the victims, but also so as to determine the cases in which there was participation or material aid on the part of agents of the State.  Without truth, justice, and transparency, it will not be possible to restore confidence from Mexican society in the justice system and the security forces.”

For more information (in Spanish):

AI exige a Gobernación respetar los derechos humanos y garantizar la seguridad (La Jornada, 8 de diciembre de 2012)

AI confía en el nuevo sistema de seguridad mexicano (El Universal, 7 de enero de 2013)

Llamado a la Secretaría de Gobernación para asumir su deber de garantizar seguridad y derechos humanos (AI, 7 de enero de 2013

La Gendarmería Nacional bajo la lupa de los derechos humanos Director del área de defensa de la Comisión Mexicana de Defensa y Promoción de los Derechos Humanos El Universal, Blog, 7 de diciembre de 2013)

Guerrero: warning of risk of greater militarization of state police forces

June 4, 2012

(@Animal Político)

In a joint pronouncement published on 16 May 2012, the Tlachinollan Mountain Center for Human Rights, the Institute for Security and Democracy, the Fundar Center for Analysis and Investigation, and the Civil Police Monitor expressed their concern for “the recent announcement made by Angel Aguirre Rivero, governor of Guerrero, that he would soon begin to substitute soldiers for the state police who find themselves up for retirement or who have failed their accreditation exams […] given that the move to militarize public-security institutions goes against the spirit of the international standards regarding citizens’ security.”  With this, they refer to the international principle that establishes that states should limit the use of armed forces as much as possible “regarding internal disturbances, given that the training they receive is directed at defeating the enemy, and not for the protection and control of civilians, a type of training that corresponds to police forces.”

Beyond this, the organizations affirmed that in this sense would be avoided the obligation to make-professional the state police, which “also goes against international standards, particularly those that refer to the need to train and develop preventive polices rather than reactive ones.”  They indicated furthermore that this strategy “has resulted in being ineffective, as has been demonstrated in the experiences of Chihuahua and Nuevo León”.

In contrast, they suggest that “In light of the prevailing conditions of insecurity, we reiterate that state authorities, rather than opting for the militarization of the police, should advance the modernization of these institutions so as to confront the challenges required for the realization of an equitable, habitable, safe, and democratic social environment.  For this reason, to demilitarize the police and refound it on the basis of its civilian mission and its obligations to the people should be the characteristics for police reform in Guerrero.”

Para más información:

Boletín conjunto de OSC Participación del Ejército en tareas de seguridad pública en México, contrario a estándares internacionales en materia de seguridad ciudadana (16 de mayo de 2012)

Critican ONG militarización en Guerrero (La Jornada, 16 de mayo de 2012)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Briefs Guerrero: Challenge to OSC regarding Operation “Secure Guerrero” (18 October 2011)