DSA IC stands with the EZLN / Zapatistas and communities of Chiapas against paramilitary attacks

DSA International Committee (IC) supports the rights of Indigenous peoples to self-determination and freedom from political and social violence and land seizure as fundamental socialist principles. Since the uprising of January 1994 in Chiapas, the EZLN (Zapatistas) has continually inspired movements around the world to resist capitalism and colonialism in all its forms. The DSA IC condemns the growing vicious acts of violence and economic corruption by right-wing paramilitaries in Chiapas and urges solidarity with those opposing these attacks.

In a September 19, 2021, communiqué, the EZLN warned that “Chiapas is on the Verge of Civil War.” On that day, two members of this summer’s Zapatista delegation to Europe, who had been kidnapped and sequestered in Mexico City prior to departure and therefore unable to make the journey, were returned due to the intervention of “human rights organizations and the progressive Catholic Church,” avoiding a tragedy. Subcomandante Galeano states that the kidnappers were from ORCAO, “a political-military organization with paramilitary characteristics” that “fires on the Zapatista community of Moises y Gandhi every night.” 

As the Waging Nonviolence website reported on August 2, “During the last six years, the presence of criminal groups seeking control of the territory has impeded the maintenance of peace within communities.” According to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, since July 5, 2021, at least 12 people have been murdered. Waging Nonviolence summarizes the pattern of ORCAO’s escalating violence in the last year, including “threats, intimidation, physical attacks, burning of crops, destruction in the autonomous high school and constant detonations of firearms against the community houses.” These heavily armed attacks by ORCAO on communities continue as of October 15, including shooting into a high school and approaching homes in the middle of the night, forcing families to flee. 

Subcomandante Galeano in the September 19 communiqué condemns the ongoing violent actions as a deliberate destabilization of the region and suggests this may be an effort by the PVEM (previously the old PRI in Chiapas) to undermine the standing of the current national government prior to elections. 

We stand in solidarity with the EZLN communities and all the working people of Mexico, and encourage DSA members to participate in local protests and educational events, and provide support to their cause through solidarity networks. We also respect the self-determination of sovereign nations and oppose all types of U.S. intervention in Mexico, including political and economic pressures, which aim to obstruct the Mexican government from addressing the needs and human rights of all its peoples.