EZLN denounces conditions in communities affiliated to political parties


EZLN march, December 21, 2012, San Cristobal de Las Casas. Photo@SIPAZ

The Zapatista Army of National Liberation published a communiqué on February 21, “Meanwhile…in the communities affiliated to political parties.” Signed by sub-commanders Moises and Galeano, it describes various situations of pillage and exploitation that communities are living through in communities that follow the party political system in the south-eastern zone of Chiapas.

Although they omitted the names of the communities and of the informers “who in some cases fear reprisals,” they denounced the privatization of communally held lands or ejidos through government projects in a number of communities, where sale of lands had been signed unknowingly in the belief that government support was being signed for. Likewise, they witnessed the pillage of indigenous peoples’ lands, which contain materials such as uranium, amber, sulphur, or potential tourist attractions, through the same methods of deceit or coercion. They also denounced that in some communities in the Ocosingo area they had been forbidden to cut trees for their necessities, such as cooking or building materials for homes, while lumber companies are permitted to cut.

As regards projects directed at women and as has been reported by other organizations, the recipients of the Prospera program have to meet certain preconditions to receive support. Some of these include compulsory Pap testing, and giving birth in hospitals instead of with the aid their traditional midwives. If the preconditions are not met, financial support is withdrawn. Moreover, they revealed that women who went to Tuxtla to receive their financial support were requested to come accompanied by the young women of the community, who “in exchange for receiving the project are obliged to have sexual relationships.” Added to this, the communiqué dealt with the recent distribution of digital televisions in lieu of the analogic switch-off. According to the text, at the distribution event in Comitan, “two people died, a child and a woman: the child died because it was crushed from the people pushing and the mother was unable to protect it; the woman was murdered when, on arrival home, the husband took out his pistol and shot her for not looking after his son.” As if this weren’t enough, not all of the televisions worked, and they also require the purchase of a scrambling device, which was interpreted as a form of government business with a company that sells the units.

Another feature reported was two cases of the presence of organized crime in communities. First, they made known the recruitment of men in the communities “to go and work in the north.” Gangers promised that they would be taken directly to their workplaces, guaranteeing transport and therefore avoiding possible security problems on the way. According to the EZLN, “the work is sowing marijuana and poppies” somewhere “they are not allowed to leave.” In another town, a family made an agreement with a drug dealer and one of the daughters was murdered for non-payment, which was videoed and sent to her father.

At the end of the communiqué, upcoming activities were announced for which “they [we] should be alert.”


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