Mexico: EZLN celebrates 15 years

On Dec. 26 supporters of Mexico’s rebel Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN) began the “World Festival of Dignified Rage” in the Federal District (DF, Mexico City). The series of events marks 15 years since the mostly indigenous group took the world by surprise on Jan. 1, 1994 with the military occupation of four cities in the southeastern state of Chiapas. Some 2,500 people reportedly participated in the festival, which moved to Oventic in Chiapas on Dec. 31 and then to the city of San Cristobal de las Casas, which the rebels occupied at the beginning of 1994. The festival is to run through Jan. 5. Speakers include representatives of the New York-based Movement for Justice in El Barrio, the Unemployed Workers Movement of Argentina and the Greek Alana Magazine; Argentine-born Mexican writer Adolfo Gilly; former Nicaraguan rebel leader Monica Baltodano, now a leader of the opposition Movement for the Rescue of Sandinism; Uruguayan writer Raúl Zibechi; and Bolivian activist Oscar Olivera.

Insurgent Sub-Commander Marcos, the EZLN spokesperson, made his first appearance at the event on Jan. 2 with a speech denouncing President Felipe Calderón Hinojosa’s militarized “war on drugs.” He charged that Calderón “decided that instead of bread and circuses for the people, you had to give them violence…since the professional politicians are already providing the circuses, and bread is very expensive.” He also criticized the violence of the center-left Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD), which governs the DF. (A June 20 police operation in a DF discotheque resulted in 12 deaths, many of underage patrons; see Update, July 13) (La Jornada, Dec. 31, Jan. 3; Narco News, Jan. 3)

From Weekly News Update on the Americas, Jan. 4

See our last posts on Mexico’s drug war and the Zapatista struggle.