Communiqué from the Indigenous Revolutionary Clandestine Committee – General Command of the Zapatista Army for National Liberation
The EZLN shares its word on what the bad governments are preparing in the state of Chiapas against the Zapatista Indigenous Communities:
First – As has been denounced by the Autonomous Municipalities and the Good Government Councils, the supposed campaigns against narcotrafficking carried out by the government are a farce. Just like that which took Mr. Calderón Hinojosa to power.
In the municipalities with official governments, that authorities cover for those who steal cars and plant and traffic drugs is publicly known.
The federal army, when it goes out to destroy marijuana plants, only destroys the mature plants and leaves the young plants, this with the goal of having an excuse to come back and try to intimidate the Zapatista communities.
What’s more, the authorities don’t even know the geography of the state, as they map the destruction of plants as if they were in Zapatista territory, when everyone knows that these are lands governed by PRI and PRD authorities and inhabited by their followers.
Since its birth, the EZLN has prohibited the planting, traffic, and use of drugs (as well as the sale and use of alcohol) and that has been ratified by the autonomous civil authorities.
Despite the fact that Mr. Luis H. Alvarez, old and useless commissioner of peace and now “indigenist” bureaucrat with Calderón Hinojosa, has declared time and time again that the EZLN is a thing of the past, that it no longer has strength, that it has already disappeared, military presence [in Chiapas] has not only not diminished, but has in fact increased.
If we don’t exist anymore, if we are “a thing of the past,” if we no longer have any strength, why do they maintain and reinforce militarization and, as in the times of Zedillo and Albores, paramilitarization?
The operatives against narcotrafficking and illegal vehicles are mere pretexts for increasing the already disproportionate militarization of rural Chiapas.
In Chiapas it is a crime to be a Zapatista or a human rights or environmental activist. That is, it is a crime to defend and take care of the forests, to punish and impede narcotrafficking and the trafficking of precious woods, to condemn the sale of stolen cars, to improve the living conditions of the indigenous communities with education, health, housing, and commercialization programs.
Instead, to be a narcotrafficker, to cut down forests and traffic precious woods, to do business in stolen automobiles, to threaten with death and impoverish the communities, is to be… a military or police commander, senator, municipal president, or state or federal representative.
Second – The federal, state, and municipal governments are preparing new paramilitary groups, now under the disguise of “indigenous organizations.” Such is the case of the OPDDIC – or OPDIC – (Organization for the Defense of Indigenous and Peasant Rights).
The OPDDIC is directed by Mr. Pedro Chulín, PRI member known for his role in building the paramilitary groups (including, among others, the MIRA-Indigenous Revolutionary Anti-Zapatista Movement), financed by the authorities and trained and equipped by the federal army. Mr. Pedro Chulín began his misdeeds with “Croquetas” Albores Guillén and, since then, has relied upon the complicity of the subsequent state governments and the electoral political parties.
In the last few days, Mr. Pedro Chulín and members of his gang have declared that they possess weapons and have the authorization of the government to provoke confrontations with Zapatista support bases, this with the goal of presenting an image of conflicts between indigenous peoples and thus justifying a massive intervention of federal forces.
In addition to this, the OPDDIC and Mr. Pedro Chulín are promoting the felling of trees and the trafficking of precious woods, making million-peso contracts with the companies destroying the jungle. These contracts only benefit Chulín and other OPDDIC leaders, providing their bases with a mere pittance.
The OPDDIC is a criminal organization. According to EZLN investigations, the OPDDIC is directly responsible for the assassination of the indigenous persons (first incorrectly identified as Zapatista support bases) in the community of Viejo Velasco Suarez last November, and they have been allowed impunity thanks to their relations with the government.
Also, the OPDDIC, following the steps of the paramilitary organization “Peace and Justice” in the north of Chiapas, has dedicated itself to threatening with death members of non-governmental organizations that work in Chiapas to defend human rights and the environment.
This is the case with the environmental NGO “Maderas del Pueblo del Sureste” and the human rights centers “Fray Bartolome de las Casas” and “Fray Lorenzo de la Nada” whose members have been openly threatened by the OPDDIC without any response or action from the authorities.
In recent days, the OPDDIC leadership has sent correspondence, signed by its leaders, threatening entire families with being displaced or attacked for the crime of not affiliating themselves with their paramilitary gang or not permitting the trafficking of woods.
Third – To the OPDDIC, Mr. Pedro Chulín, and the governmental authorities, we say that we are prepared and ready to defend our people and enforce the indigenous laws that protect the trees and the nature of the Lacandón Jungle, prohibiting the cutting down and trafficking of precious woods, as well as the planting, trafficking, and consumption of narcotics.
We tell them that we are prepared to reinitiate war with these groups, and that even though it would be disguised as “conflicts among the indigenous” and abetted by the militarist posses of Mr. Calderón, we are willing and ready to fight.
If they think that this will detain our political project of the “Other Campaign,” we tell them that they are mistaken. For years we have prepared this civil and peaceful effort for a real and profound transformation of our country, even in the middle of a war.
If they calculate that this plan will culminate with the successful annihilation of Zapatista Indigenous communities and give the green light to the destruction and plundering of the Lacandón Jungle, which was accelerated under the Zedillo and Fox governments, we say that we are ready and prepared to resist.
With our blood we recovered life for our mother earth, with our love we will defend her.
It doesn’t matter how many soldiers, police officers, or paramilitaries come, we will care for the earth that holds our dead even at the cost of our liberty or our lives.
Liberty and Justice for Atenco!
Liberty and Justice for Oaxaca!
From the mountains of the Mexican Southeast.
For the Indigenous Revolutionary Clandestine Committee – General Command of the Zapatista Army for National Liberation
Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos
Mexico, February 2007