Since Sunday 19 the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN) has been on general red alert with EZLN troops called into the mountains of Chiapas, and Zapatista communities advised to flee by their Juntas de Buen Gobierno (Governing Councils), amid fears that war in Chiapas is likely to resume. The Zapatista “Caracoles” or “centers of zapatista autonomy” have also been closed [Pics of the Caracoles La Garrucha and Morelia]
A communique from the Clandestine Revolutionary Indigenous Committee General Command (CCRI-CG) of the EZLN declared a general red alert throughout all Zapatista territory. Members of the autonomous administrative bodies are being evacuated from the various autonomous municipalities and internationals are being urged to leave.
On Monday 20 another communique explained the red alert as a precautionary defensive measure in response to the Mexican governments continued attacks and betrayal, stating that the EZLN is ‘returning the word it gave on the first of January of 1994’.
On Tuesday 21 the next communique reassured that the Zapatistas have re-organised so as to survive an attack on their clandestine leadership by government forces or paramilitaries: ‘the CCRI-CG of the EZLN is letting it be known that conditions are in place to continue leading the Zapatista struggle even if it were to lose, be it through jail, through death or through forced disappearance’. On the same day, Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos addressed the national and international civil society with another “letter of explanation and/or, perhaps, farewell” that, amongst other things, states that the Zapatistas are not preparing a military ofensive. It starts with: ‘This is not a letter of farewell. At times it is going to seem as if it is, that it is a farewell, but it is not. It is a letter of explanation. Well, that is what we shall attempt. This was originally going to go out as a communique, but we have chosen this form because, for good or for bad, when we have spoken with you we have almost always done so in this most personal tone.’
On Sunday 26 another communique is published by the EZLN which states that “The CCRI-CG of the EZLN is informing you that it has finished consulting with tens of thousands of support bases.” and that “The results were that more than 98% approved the new step, and less than 2% decided not to support the EZLN’s proposal.”
On Wdnesday 26 the Six Declaration of the Selva Lacandona is published by the Clandestine Revolutionary Indigenous Committee – General Command of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation. The text does a balance of the last 12 years of Zapatista struggle for autonomy and indigenous rights, and points to the fact that “we have reached a point where we cannot go any further, and, in addition, it is possible that we could lose everything we have if we remain as we are and do nothing more in order to move forward”, and that “the hour has come to take a risk once again and to take a step which is dangerous but which is worthwhile”.