The Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) – an organization best known for staging an armed uprising in southern Mexico in January 1994 – has released a statement warning that Chiapas is on the verge of civil war.
Endorsed by Zapatistas’ leader Subcomandante Galeano, the communique denounced the abduction of two EZLN members by a paramilitary organization at the service of the Chiapas government led by Morena party Governor Rutilio Escandón.
“On September 11, 2021, in the early morning, while the Zapatista air delegation was in Mexico City, members of ORCAO [the Regional Organization of Ocosingo Coffee Growers] – a paramilitary organization serving the Chiapas state government – kidnapped the compañeros Sebastián Nuñez Pérez and José Antonio Sánchez Juárez … from the Good Government Council of Patria Nueva [New Homeland], Chiapas,” the statement said.
The Zapatistas, who control a significant amount of territory in the state, asserted that ORCAO is “a political-military organization with paramilitary characteristics: they have uniforms, equipment, weapons, and ammunition purchased with money they receive from [government-sponsored] ‘social programs.’”
“… They fire on the Zapatista community of Moisés y Gandhi every night with these weapons,” the communique said.
The kidnapping victims were released on Sunday eight days after they were abducted “thanks to the parish priests of San Cristóbal de las Casas and Oxchuc, of the San Cristóbal diocese,” the EZLN said after claiming that the Chiapas government had attempted to sabotage their rescue.
“The compañeros were robbed of a walkie-talkie and 6,000 pesos in cash belonging to the Good Government Council,” the statement said.
“… The only reason the conflict did not escalate into a tragedy was due to the intervention of the parishes mentioned above, human rights organizations, and the mobilizations and denunciations carried out in Mexico and, above all, Europe. The misgovernment of Rutilio Escandón is doing everything possible to destabilize … Chiapas.”
The EZLN accused the state of a laundry list of abuses, asserting that it violently represses student teachers, sabotages agreements between teachers and the federal government, protects drug gangs and finances paramilitary groups.
“Its vaccination campaign is purposefully slow and disorganized, creating unrest in rural communities that it will no doubt exploit. Meanwhile, the rising COVID deaths in these communities are ignored,” it added.
“Its officials are stealing everything they can from the state treasury, perhaps preparing for a federal government collapse or betting on a new party coming into power. And now they want to sabotage the departure of the Zapatista delegation participating in the European chapter of the Journey for Life,” the statement said, referring to a group of Zapatistas – the so-called “air delegation” that departed for Europe by plane on September 13.
“They ordered their ORCAO paramilitaries to kidnap our compañeros, leaving the crime unpunished, and trying to provoke a reaction from the EZLN, all in a state where governability hangs by a thread.”
The Zapatistas also claimed that the Ecological Green Party is really in power in Chiapas but currently “badly disguised” as Morena, the party founded by President López Obrador.
In addition to accusing Escandón of abuses, the EZLN took aim at state government secretary Victoria Cecilia Flores Pérez.
“If what they [Escandón and Flores] want is to topple the federal government, or to cause problems in retaliation for the current federal criminal investigations against them, or to support one of the factions competing for power in 2024, then they should use the available legal channels and stop playing with the life, liberty, and property of the people of Chiapas. They should call for a vote to revoke the presidential mandate and stop playing with fire because they’re going to get burned,” said the rambling and somewhat deranged communique entitled Chiapas on the Verge of Civil War.
The EZLN called for foreigners and Mexicans to protest on Friday in front of Mexican embassies and consulates and at the government offices of the state of Chiapas to demand “an end to their provocations and renunciation of their death cult.”
“Given the actions and omissions of the state and federal governments regarding these crimes and previous ones, we will take the necessary measures to bring justice to the criminals in the ORCAO and the government officials who sponsor them. That is all. Next time there won’t be a communique. That is, there won’t be words, only actions,” concluded the statement issued from the mountains of southeastern Mexico.
Mexico News Daily