Diez de Abril
From an account of a visit to the Maya Mam Institute by the Chiapas Support Committee
We spoke of a Zapatista community we visited called the Tenth of April, founded after Indigenous revolutionaries liberated lands owned by large-scale ranchers in the uprising of 1994. The rancher there had forced people to work for little to no pay. He denied the poor access to their river and unleashed huge mastiffs on so-called trespassers whenever anyone tried to bathe or collect water there. In 1994, the rich fled the region when the Zapatistas rose up in arms, and from that time forward, people have lived freely and governed themselves on their ancestors’ lands.
These gains have not been uncontested by the right-wing. In 2014, the community of the Tenth of April was terrorized by a neighboring community that had been bought off by the national government. They attacked the Zapatistas, causing severe injuries, and blocked ambulances. The Zapatistas responded by calling thousands of compañeros from all across the region to come help defend their lands and defeat, through peaceful means, the aggressors. For several months, 500 Zapatistas guarded the community night and day on week-long rotations, until finally the hostile neighbors retreated in their attempts to encroach on Zapatista territory.