[OPE] Zapatistas and the War on Drugs

From: glevy@pratt.edu
Date: Sat Jun 14 2008 - 18:58:15 EDT

Zapatistas and the War on 

In the context of Plan Mexico, the US government's material
support for 
Mexican president Felipe Calderón's deadly war on
drugs which has already 
claimed over 4,100 lives, it's worth taking
a look at where all that new 
military hardware will go in the south.
Despite having never caught a 
Zapatista with a single bag of pot (or
a bottle of beer, for that matter), 
the government continues to use
the war on drugs as an excuse to terrorize 
Zapatista communities.

The New Government Provocation Against Zapatismo 
by Luis
Hernández Navarro 
June 10, 2008 
translation by Kristin Bricker 

the January 1994 insurrection, various administrations have wanted to 
associate the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN in its Spanish

initials) with drug trafficking. They've never been able to
demonstrate such 
a link, but they try time and time again. 

This past June 4 the tired old story played out again. Only this time
threat is greater than in the past. On that date over 200 agents
from the 
federal Army, the Attorney General's office, and state and
municipal police, 
with their faces painted, entered the Zapatista
territory of La Garrucha 
with the pretext of looking for marijuana
plants. Hundreds of residents from 
the Hermenegildo Galeana and San
Alejando communities fended them off with 
machetes, clubs, and

Zapatista communities prohibit the cultivation,
trafficking, and consumption 
of drugs. It's not even permitted to
drink or sell alcohol there. This isn't 
a new fact. The rebel
commanders have made this law public since the 
beginning of the
armed uprising. The measure remains in effect under the 
authorities who have been put in charge of the autonomous 
municipalities and the good government councils. The same can't be said
the PRIista [translator's note: members of the Institutional
Party which ruled Mexico with an iron fist for over 70
years] communities, 
where illegal drugs are grown in collusion with
the police. 

In a communique directed at then-president Ernesto
Zedillo, dated February 
10, 1995, one day after the military
offensive that tried to detain, by 
means of treachery, Subcomandante
Marcos, the insurgents stated: "we want to 
tell you the truth,
if it's what you don't know: the criminals, terrorists, 
traffickers are you, they are the same people who make up your cabinet,

they are your very own soldiers who traffic drugs, who force the
peasants to plant marijuana and other narcotics. You
haven't realized this, 
Mr. Zedillo? Yes, we Zapatistas, because we
live amongst the people, are the 
same people who have fought against
the planting of drugs, against the drug 
trafficking that your very
own soldiers do and have done within the 
territories we've

Unfounded, the accusation has been repeated
year after year. In 2004, the 
newspaper Reforma published the news
that "on average, every two days 
members of the Mexican Army
enter Zapatista territory in order to destroy 
marijuana and poppy
fields which in the past year have considerably 
increased in
number." Days afterwards, Gen. Jorge Isaac Jiménez
commander of military operations in the zone, denied
that the marijuana 
fields belonged to EZLN sympathizers. 

The police-military provocation this past June 4 against the rebels is
an isolated incident. It forms part of and endless aggression.
government harassment against the insurgents has been constant
since the 
arrival of Gov. Juan Sabines in 2006. 

peasant groups close to the state government try to take possession 
of the lands that Zapatista support bases have occupied and worked since

1994. Paramilitary groups such as the Organization for the Defense
Indigenous and Peasant Rights (OPDDIC) harass the autonomous
The Army has established new positions, made its
presence felt in the 
region, and carried out unusual movements of a
clearly intimidating 

Jaime Martínez
Veloz, representative of the Chiapas government on the 
for Peace and Reconciliation (Cocopa), has explained very clearly 
the agrarian dimension of the current anti-Zapatista offensive.
"The Mexican 
government," he said to the International
Civil Commission for the 
Observation of Human 
its Spanish initials), "I am convinced that in the attitude
trying to confront the EZLN with peasants and indigenous people
in the zone, 
gave land titles to people in need of land, but it
entitled them as 
ejidatarios [trans. note: communal land owners] of
the same lands that the 
Zapatistas occupied. It made them
ejidatarios, and obviously it creates a 
conflict. In the same area
there's those who occupy the land and those who 
have a title to it.
This was already happening in the first years, '95, 
'96... and the
repercussions of that, well, now they're surfacing." 

Curiously, those responsible for agrarian, rural, and tourist policy in
Sabines' government are people like Jorge Constantino Kanter,
of the plantation owners and ranchers affected by the
Zapatista eruption, or 
Roberto Albores Gleason, son of ex-governor
Roberto Albores, who committed 
countless human rights violations.

The June 4 operation was carried out in the place were just a
short while 
before Subcomandante Marcos was. By the looks of it, his
presence in La 
Garrucha worried the governmental authorities. The
spokesperson of the rebel 
group hasn't appeared before the public
for months, and his silence makes 
the intelligence services nervous.
But the red flags that warn of the 
increasing governmental
intolerance when faced with the peaceful civil 
initiative of the
rebels have been raised for some time. En route to the 
Continental Gathering of the Peoples of America [sic: Indigenous 
Peoples of America] in Vicam, Sonora, from October 11-14, 2007, police
military checkpoints detained a convoy that was transporting the
delegates, forcing the indigenous commanders who were
going to attend the 
event to return to Chiapas. 

opinion poll recently carried out by Felipe Calderón's
demonstrates that, in addition to the broad public
support for the anti-drug 
campaign, despite the passing years, 26
percent of those surveyed support 
the Zapatistas. This is not a
negligible percentage under the current 

The new governmental effort to make out the EZLN to be an accomplice in

organized crime attempts to take advantage of the wave of anti-narco

sentiment in order to try to erode the current positive opinion of
rebels and deal it a repressive blow. A resolute blow with a
long history. 
Does the federal government really lack unresolved
conflicts so much that it 
needs to enflame one that it hasn't been
able to resolve for years? 

Kristin Bricker 


Rebel Imports - fair
trade artesanry and textiles from Zapatista 



Imports - fair trade artesanry and textiles from Zapatista 

ope mailing list

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Mon Jun 30 2008 - 00:00:16 EDT