Zapatistas Celebrate 29-Year Anniversary with Emphasis on the Youth

Cover Image: Zapatista youth in the Caracol of La Realidad, Chiapas

In the early morning hours of January 1, 2023, Zapatista children and youth with their faces covered, along with women, men, and elders, celebrated the 29-year anniversary of the uprising of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation in different political spaces of the organization in Chiapas, in southern Mexico.

One of the events took place in the Caracol of Jacinto Canek, located in CIDECI-UniTierra, a space where throughout the year, Zapatista youth study and learn different trades.

There, in the municipality of San Cristóbal de las Casas, the Indigenous Zapatistas celebrated another year of their declaration of war against the Mexican government with activities that included sporting, cultural, and political events, along with dancing.

In the Caracol known as “Flower of Our Word and Light of Our Peoples Reflected for All,” the presence of Zapatista youth stood out, who represent the fourth generation of the EZLN.

“Continue in struggle, in resistance. The work still isn’t finished. There are things to come in which the collaboration of the communities is necessary. We ask the new generations that they learn the organizational forms, that they learn to organize from inside their towns and communities,” were the words shared by a woman and man of the armed movement with the younger generations.

“We are gathered here to remember this date which is of great importance for us. It may be only a few hours that we are together, but we are remembering a date that is important for everyone. A date in which people gave their lives so that we could have a good life, so that we could live good,” shared the Zapatista woman in a speech in the last few minutes of 2022.

Zapatista mobilization against all wars. March 2022. Photo: Jeny Pascacio

On the 29-year anniversary of the Zapatista uprising, the Zapatista woman also remembered the validity of the demands which have still not been fulfilled by the Mexican government, now almost thirty years later: work, land, housing, food, healthcare, education, independence, freedom, democracy, justice, and peace.

“It is of great importance that we remember those who have lost their lives, the men and women who died during those difficult days. Continue working in unity. It is a long road that has already been traveled, but left behind by those who have died. We continue in search of justice,” shared the Zapatista woman.

For his part, the Zapatista man directed his comments to the youth of the political-military organization, asking them not to change their way of thinking and to honor the people who have died for the organization.

“Don’t change your way of thinking, continue as you are. We continue thinking this way because up until now the organization is on strong footing. We continue the legacy and thinking of those who have already died. And while the project has transformed, it has transformed in community. It is important that we continue learning all of this,” he announced in Tsostil, directing his comments to the youth who were present.

At the stroke of midnight, together with music and fireworks, the Zapatistas celebrated another anniversary of the armed uprising with the cry of “Long live resistance and rebellion!”

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