by Itzela Olivarri
Translation by David Milan
A number of organizations, collectives, and individuals have thrown their solidarity behind the EZLN after a paramilitary attack on the Zapatista village of Moisés Gandhi on August 22. Ocosingo Coffee Growers Organization (ORCAO), the group behind the attack, pillaged coffee storehouses and set fire to the Nuevo Amanecer del Arcoíris trading center in the autonomous township of Lucio Cabañas, in Ocosingo, Chiapas.
The National Indigenous Congress (CNI) and Indigenous Council of Government (CIG) condemned the acts and launched a call “against the war of extermination that’s quickly escalating against our sisters and brothers in the Zapatista villages who teach us to never stop sowing rebellion and hope.”
The Zapatista Europe Network, made up of many different collectives, released a communiqué on August 26 demanding “an end to the war against the Zapatista villages and an end to the actions of paramilitary groups like ORCAO, in Ocosingo.”
The Paso Doble Collective also showed their solidarity with the EZLN and made a call “to be alert in this new phase of the war.”
The Metropolitan Anti-Capitalist and Anti-Patriarchal Coordination denounced the acts as well, laying the blame on the Chiapan and federal governments for their complicity and silence regarding paramilitary activity. “This new act of aggression forms part of an intensification in the war of attrition against the Mexican state of Chiapas and is characterized by increasing violence perpetrated by paramilitary groups and organized criminal gangs,” they said in a joint statement signed by more than 500 other collectives and individuals.
The network expressed its solidarity and stated that “those of us who have signed this document are calling on Mexican and international civil society to join us in denouncing recent aggressions against indigenous communities. We demand an end to the aggression and hostility aimed at the Zapatista support bases.”
Along with these collectives, Germany’s Ya Basta NETZ network strongly condemned the attacks and expressed its solidarity with EZLN support communities. “All our solidarity with our Zapatista comrades and all the peoples of Mexico who are building their autonomy,” they announced.
This isn’t the first time that ORCAO has committed violence against Zapatista communities, specifically in Moisés Gandhi autonomous township. For years they have “intimidated and threatened the comrades who from below wager on hope, such as the attacks against comrades of the National Indigenous Congress, who were violated and kidnapped by paramilitaries from ORCAO, the Chinchulines, and people from the Morena party,” stated the CNI-CIG in a communiqué.
The attack in Moisés Gandhi comes on top of the constant violence and persecution suffered by Zapatista communities. “On July 17, a young girl named María Luciana Lunes Pérez was wounded by a bullet while working the loom in her house in the community of Koko’ in Aldama, Chiapas,” according to the Fray Bartolomé de las Casas Center for Human Rights.
Amid this series of abuses against Zapatista communities, Kafé Kapel in the UK, MutVitz13 in Marseilles, France, CaféZ in Liege, Belgium, Women of the Sixth in the Other Europe, and Women Adherents of the Sixth in Jovel, Chiapas “urged a ceasefire and the disarming of the paramilitary groups that continue acts of aggression against the communities of Aldama, Chiapas.”
Participants in the “Dance yourself another world” dance space condemned the violence against Zapatista communities and joined onto the demands for the immediate halt to hostilities against them, saying, “we don’t forget our steps in your dignified lands, we don’t forget that other dance that is possible. Our steps are not immobile; we are with you.”
The demonstrations of solidarity and the call to put an end to the war of extermination against the Zapatista villages in this historic moment hits harder now that the violence has intensified amid the silence of state and federal authorities.
Photo by Santiago Navarro F