Chiapas: the ways of counter-insurgency

Magdalena Gomez
La Jornada, 08-12-09

Thirteen years ago the interest of large national and international social sectors was focused on accompanying the process of dialogue and negotiations between the EZLN and the federal government. Following the end of dialogue from the Mexican state and the chain of decisions taken to actually “repeal”, the Law for Dialogue, Negotiation and Peace in Chiapas, the ways of counter-insurgency were clearly delineated . First, consolidating the military presence in the region, whose activities and roadblocks do not get any official report, military presence is no longer just to surround and intimidate the Zapatistas, but looks to reach other goals, connecting with the justification “the federal executive has defined for the whole country. Where and for what purposes was the rumors campaign fueled about the supposed imminence of an “uprising” in Chiapas last 20 of November?

The strategy also addressed the heart of the Zapatista project represented on boards of governance (JBG), emblematic in the experiences of autonomy in Spain and Latin America, and whose legal base is fully supported by the United Nations Declaration on Rights Indigenous Peoples and OIT Convention 169.

Suddenly and around the same days, on 19th November,   the plenary of the 63rd Legislature of Chiapas approved “the establishment of the special committee due to the reality of good government committees (JBG), was proposed by the Political Coordination Board (local government),  based on the “application” of some “representatives and residents of the Good Government (JBG)” which  have said: “in view of the wait and failure of the San Andrés Accords, we have agreed as mexicans that Chiapas government should resume and meet the corresponding points according to its constitutional functions contained in those agreements . ”

They also include “the development of communal regulations, consistent with national and state laws,” as well as identifying strategies for meeting basic human needs of autonomous peoples, through the adoption of a decent budget, set as local law before Congress, which would be given to the organizational structure of each board and administered by the same accordingly to their customs.

All items listed hold the intention to “legally” and openly act on the boards (JBG), given the strategy failure of federal and local government to overcome and divide them (the communities in resistance and the JBG) with public resources. It was not easy to advance in this context and the cost has been high, because strictly speaking these indigenous Zapatista communities, as people throughout the country, are entitled to public funds.

Recalling, that was the purpose of the COCOPA (Concord and Pacification Comission) proposal, mutilated in the counter-reform in 2001: to recognize the communities as entities of public law. However, given the context of suspension of the dialogue and the obvious intention of the State of emptying the meaning of the EZLN. Since then, the EZLN maintains absolute distance with federal and local governments, as they build their autonomy in action.

Therefore, and rightly so, the five Zapatista Good Government Juntas denied and disavowed the alleged request for “constitutional recognition” of people who do not represent them, and said: “We do not need to be recognized by the bad governments, who are not people. We are recognized for our people, who elected us and by many people nationally and internationally, “and added that once”, they demanded to the three mexican government entities, a law on indigenous rights and culture. These three powers threw us away. We do not know how to either read or write, but We do have memory “(La Jornada, 27/11/09).

The energetic  Zapatista response and their coming elections broke this initiative, and even governor Juan Sabines distanced himself, although it is pretty obvious he was not alien to this initiative.

We are far from having conditions to resume the path of dialogue between the EZLN and the Mexican state. The remains of the political hegemony of those who chose the counter-insurgency in 2001, because achieving peace at the cost of giving real power to indigenous peoples was contrary to the sense of the neoliberal project undertaken.

In accordance to this the State has decided to maintain the fiction of the structure of a dialogue, which has been suspended indefinitely, while applying very old recipes of counter-insurgency. They are part of the current banal pastiche of indigenous policies to evade the original meaning of the San Andrés accords on indigenous rights, which required a serious reform of the state as a condition for Autonomy.


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