[OPE-L] Zapatistas Under Attack

From: glevy@PRATT.EDU
Date: Mon May 16 2005 - 18:34:20 EDT

I asked Harry Cleaver for information about the current threat to the
Zapatistas.  The following is his response which I am forwarding
with his permission.  The message to aut-op-sy that he refers to
near the end of his message is:
< http://lists.resist.ca/pipermail/aut-op-sy/2005-May/001651.html >

In solidarity, Jerry


>  I hadn't really noticed that the zapatistas were under attack by
> imperialism. Did I miss the US efforts to get rid of them? I don't
> want to be facetious-- I think the Zapatistas represent an important
> struggle for human dignity; however, I would not equate this with
> Venezuela.

The Zapatistas have been under attack by the state and federal government
and by local ranchers and PRIista power brokers ever since shortly after
they emerged on the public scene on January 1, 1994. The only thing that
has changed over time has been the form and intensity of those attacks.

Their communities remain surrounded and harassed, often violently, by
the army, the police and by paramilitary forces financed and largely
given impunity by the former. Yes, your interlocator clearly has "missed"
US complicity with first Salinas, then Zedillo and now Fox's efforts
against the Zapatista. The flippant character of the remark you quote
above seems ask whether the marines have been sent in. The answer to
that is obviously no. But US intelligence has been involved since the
beginning and the US not only has trained but provided on-going support
to the Mexican military that has mustered the largest number of forces
against the Zapatistas - not only in the two major military assaults of
early 1994 and early 1995 but in the ongoing campaign of containment and
harassement and support for paramilitary actions within and against
zapatista communities.

The intensity of those paramilitary forces have varied over time, just
like those of the official forces, and while that intensity  seems to be
lower today than during the period around the Acteal massacre when
thousands were being driven from their homes and many murdered their
efforts have by no means disappeared.

As for current information, the usual best ongoing source is the FZLN
which has, currently, some amusing illustrations that reference the EZLN
offer of a soccor match to a European team.
Latest news on harassement and attacks are usually carried in "denuncias"
issued by various communities or regional Zapatista "Juntas de Buen
Gobierno". I'd also refer you to the Chiapas95 archives for information
but they have been inaccessible for some time - a problem I'm trying to
get fixed.

Why anyone would equate what is going on in Venezuela with what is going
on in Chiapas is a mystery to me. However, according to a report just
submitted to me by one of my students, there appear to be some parallels
between the situation of the Zapatista communities and those of some
indigenous peoples in Venezuela now threated by government-backed
expansion of coal production. I'm about to paste that report into a
postin to autopsy list to see if anyone has anything useful to say on
the subject so you can check it out there. It's not something that I
have been following so I hope someone else has and can further clarify
the situation.


Harry Cleaver
University of Texas at Austin
Department of Economics
BRB 1.116
1 University Station, C3100
Austin, Texas 78712-0301  USA

Phone Numbers:
(hm)  (512) 442-5036
(off) (512) 475-8535
Fax:(512) 471-3510


Cleaver homepage:

Chiapas95 homepage:


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