EZLN Announces Changes to Autonomous Governing Structures

In March of 2022, thousands of Zapatistas simultaneously mobilized in five municipalities of Chiapas to protest against war. Photo: Tercio Compas/ Enlace Zapatista

On Sunday, November 5, the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN), via a fourth communique disseminated during this last month, after months without official declarations, announced that they will do away with the Rebel Zapatista Autonomous Municipalities (MAREZ), as well as the Good Government Councils (JBG).


The document, signed by Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés, confirms that the decision of the Zapatista communities “was made after a long and profound critical and self-critical analysis,” in consultation with the autonomous communities in Chiapas.


In consequence, the EZLN communicated the nullification of all stamps, letterheads, positions, representations, and future agreements with whatever MAREZ or JBG; the agreements held prior to this date will continue until the end of their validity. They also shared that the Caracoles will remain closed to the outside until further notice.


“In following communiques, we will explain little by little the reasons and the process for which we made this decision. I can tell you that this assessment, in its final phase, began three years ago. We will also explain to you the new structure of Zapatista autonomy, and how it has been developing,” contextualized the Zapatista spokesperson.


Chiapas: Complete Chaos


The Zapatista spokesperson explained that the main cities in Chiapas are experiencing “complete chaos. The municipal presidencies are occupied by what we call ‘legal assassins’ or ‘disorganized crime.’ There are blockades, assaults, kidnappings, extorsion, forced recruitment, shootings. This is the effect of the patronage of the state government, and the dispute for political positions currently underway. They are not political proposals facing off against each other, but criminal societies,” states the communique.


The populations of San Cristóbal de las Casas, Comitán, Las Margaritas, and Palenque, to mention just a few municipal seats, “are in the hands of one of the cartels of disorganized crime, and are in dispute,” says the EZLN commander, who assures that petitioning the authorities is useless because “they are the ones who commit crimes and have no shame in the robbery they are carrying out.”

In March of 2022, thousands of Zapatistas simultaneously mobilized in five municipalities of Chiapas to protest against war. Photo: Tercio Compas/ Enlace Zapatista

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At the same time, the communique emphasizes the gravity of the situation in rural communities, particularly those located along the border with Guatemala.

The EZLN spokesperson also accuses the local and national media of “shamelessly echoing the social networks of the state government,” and named specific official authorities responsible for the situation of violence in Chiapas.


“The military forces and federal, state, and local police are not in Chiapas to protect the civilian population. They are there with the simple objective of stopping migration. That is the order that comes from the North American government. As is their way, they have converted migration into a business. The smuggling and tracking of people is a business through which the authorities, via extorsion, kidnapping, and the buying and selling of migrants, are shamelessly enriching themselves,” adds the communique.

Subcomandante Moisés also shared the invitation for the festivities between December of 2023 and January of 2024, to celebrate 30 years of the Zapatista war against oblivion. The celebration will take place between December 23, 2023 and January 7, 2026, “with the main celebration being the 30-31 of December and the 1-2 of January.”

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