Zapatistas denounce kidnapping of a zapatista support base by paramilitary members of ORCAO
Denunciation from the Zapatista Good Government Council “New Dawn in Resistance and Rebellion for Life and Humanity”, Caracol “New Homeland”, Zapatista territory, Chiapas
November 10, 2020
To the human rights organizations:
To the Sixth in Mexico and abroad:
To the Networks of Resistance and Rebellion:
We denounce the kidnapping and torture of our compañero who is a Zapatista base of support from the community of San Isidro, near Moisés Gandhi, on November 8, 2020, by the ORCAO paramilitary organization.
ORCAO members have been carrying out actions to damage our homes for over a year now. Many human rights organizations, including the Fray Bartolomé de las Casas Human Rights Center, CORECO[i], SERAPAZ[ii] and others, have been witness to the harms perpetrated by these paramilitaries. The bad government knows that ORCAO members have been firing on our Moisés Gandhi community day and night, but does nothing to stop them and actually aids and protects its thugs.
All three levels of bad government are fully aware of these attacks, including bad government lackeys like Josefina Bravo[iii] and Ramón Martínez who twist the truth saying that we Zapatistas are provoking the poor little ORCAO paramilitaries. They claim to investigate but they are complicit. This government is the same as previous administrations—there’s a lot of talk about change but the attacks are the same. We hear the same falsehoods as before from these lying bureaucrats who sit in their offices all day getting paid handsomely for doing nothing.
What happened on November 8, 2020, is just the most recent example of this criminal alliance between the ORCAO paramilitaries and López Obrador’s federal government, Rutilio Escandón’s state government, and the municipal governments of Ocosingo and Altamirano. This took place just a few yards away from where the ORCAO burned and looted our cooperative store in Cuxuljá, in response to which the bad government has done nothing to this day.
On November 8, 2020, at around 3:30PM, twenty ORCAO paramilitaries kidnapped and beat our compañero Felix López Hernández who is a Zapatista base of support. The ORCAO members took him to an unknown destination and are holding him, tied up and locked up, without access to food or water.
We denounced this kidnapping the same day it occurred but instead of resolving it, the bad government justified the ORCAO paramilitary action, claiming that we Zapatistas went to provoke the ORCAO in their fields. This is totally false. Our compañero was kidnapped on his way home to his family from the Ocosingo town hall.
The following individuals have been identified as part of the group of ORCAO kidnappers: Andrés Santis López, Nicolás Santis López, Santiago Sánchez López and Oscar Santis López, all from the community of San Antonio.
Instead of remedying the situation and releasing the person they kidnapped, the ORCAO members are demanding an end to the floods that are currently overflowing the drainage system. They are demanding that the electricity be re-installed, even though they themselves cut the electric cables to harass the community of Moisés Gandhi, harming other communities in the process.
Our compañero Felix has not hurt anyone, he doesn’t owe anyone anything, and he does not go around stealing and shooting up people and towns. Do they think our compañero is God and can thereby issue a command to make it stop raining? Or put some sense into the dimwitted ORCAO members who cut the electric cables, thereby harming other communities that are neither Zapatista nor ORCAO-affiliated? And now the ORCAO members play the victim to cover up their crime.
We have information that the ORCAO members from the San Antonio community received money for infrastructure project offered by the bad government to build an elementary school, but those three hundred thousand pesos were instead used to buy high-caliber weapons. Is this the what the government of the 4T[iv] stands for, claiming to be building schools while in reality financing weapons for paramilitary groups? Is that its counterinsurgency plan?
Lastly, we want to tell Mr. López, Mr. Escandón and their government employees that we hold them responsible for whatever happens to the Zapatista men, women, children and elders in the community of Moisés Gandhi. We hold them responsible for the community’s pain, blood, and suffering and we will hold them accountable for whatever may happen next.
We demand that our compañero Felix be freed immediately, and the ORCAO kidnappers be arrested and charged. The ORCAO must also replace what it stole and destroyed in our cooperative store, and understand that sooner or later, whomever plays with fire will get burned. The bad governments must stop their counterinsurgency efforts and remember that everything comes to an end eventually, no matter how loud-mouthed and bossy they may be. If they don’t believe us, they can go ask Trump.
For the “New Dawn in Resistance and Rebellion for Life and Humanity” Good Government Council.
“Flowering of the Rebel Seed, New Homeland” Caracol, Chiapas, Mexico.
November 10, 2020
[i] Comisión de apoyo a la unidad y Reconciliación Comunitaria, or Support Commission for Community Unity and Reconciliation, a non-governmental organization in Chiapas, Mexico.
[ii] Servicios y Asesoria para la Paz, or Services and Guidance for Peace, a non-governmental organization in Mexico.
[iii] Josefina Bravo Rangel is the head of the Commission for Dialogue with the Indigenous Peoples of Mexico.
[iv] The López Obrador campaign deemed its governing project the “Fourth Transformation” (4T), supposedly on par with historic events such as Mexican Independence (1810), a period of reform in the mid-19th century, and the Mexican Revolution (1910).