Friday, January 02, 2004

From the Selva Lacandona

Berria English:

Zapatistas reaffirm commitment to struggle

In the town of Oventic they have condemned the Government’s attitude and have called for the work to be continued

Editorial Staff
Yesterday and the day before yesterday the Zapatistas reaffirmed their commitment to carry on the struggle in favour of autonomy and indigenous rights during a number of jamborees held in the autonomous towns of Chiapas (“Caracoles” or Snails) to mark the 10th anniversary of the EZLN, the Zapatista National Liberation Army. “Only by rising up and hanging on to this can we build up our autonomy as an indigenous people,” declared Alvaro, member of the Oventic Good Government Committee.

The Zapatistas reviewed their work over the last ten years and called on the people present to carry on. “To be able to live freely we have to carry on our work and not give up or betray ourselves.” The Zapatista representative said in this respect that they were grateful for the international support they had received and asked the hundreds of people from all over the world who had come together in Chiapas to go on offering help: “We have been able to go our way thanks to the participation of the local people, but also thanks to the solidarity of the citizens of the whole world. Help us as much as you can.”

He explained that the Zapatistas’ struggle was against neo-liberalism and said in this respect that “the fight against the common adversary” had to be continued everywhere.

The Zapatista representative declared during his public appearance in Oventic that the uprising led by the EZLN, the Zapatista National Liberation Army, on 1 January 1994 in Chiapas was the most important period in the history of the indigenous peoples. “It was a revolt against 500 years of neglect, marginalisation and injustice that we local people had been suffering.” He recalled that the event had turned the Zapatista movement into the symbol of the struggle for self-determination of peoples all over the world; however, he denounced the situation that the indigenous peoples were still suffering. “We live under the military threat posed by the Mexican Government”. The Zapatistas denounced the Mexican Government for hampering the work of the Good Government Committees set up last summer in 30 autonomous villages of Chiapas. “They have been restricting our development, blocking off roads, cutting off water and electricity supplies, occupying our land, closing down schools…,” they pointed out.

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