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Apr 12, 21

In this Struggle, We Are Descendants of Zapata

On the 102nd anniversary of the assassination of Emiliano Zapata, the Indigenous campesino community of San Francisco, Teopisca, Chiapas, reflects on their processes of organization and struggle

Emiliano Zapata was assassinated on April 10th, 1919. One hundred and two years after his assassination, women of San Francisco, an Indigenous campesino community in the municipality of Teopisca, Chiapas—adherents of the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle and members of the National Indigenous Congress—declare their desire that “all the compañeras wake up, that we wake up now from the slumber in which the bad government has put us.”

“The force of the collectivity is for land defense. We have been organizing since 1994, for more than 25 years. We are excited about the collective bakery. We work there a lot. We are around thirty women, divided into four shifts, and we are seeing that there is bread whenever we need it. The men only helped make the oven, but we women carry and split our firewood, that is what we do.” “Here, we cure ourselves with herbs. We have a collective vegetable garden and a new garden with medicinal herbs.”

A commission of men, returning from collective work in the milpa, agreed with the women: “The EZLN comes from the seed of Emiliano Zapata. The biggest seed that we have here in San Francisco is the collective bakery.” “It is a very important base for the struggles which have been taking place. Collective organization is the base to sustain the struggle. We have a collective milpa garden. Since 2012, when we recuperated another piece of land to continue advancing with our collective work, we have considered creating a cattle collective.”

“Here we say that we are recuperating our land. Our grandparents were peons on these lands. Those who said they were the owners did not work the lands. The boss doesn’t work. Our grandparents are those who worked the lands, cutting brush to plant milpa for the boss. Thus, we have the right to this land for being children of the peons. From that analysis began the desire and necessity to organize ourselves in order to recuperate the land. In 2012, we recuperated the land, and the cattle of the supposed landowner was returned. We said that the cattle belong to the supposed landowner, but the lands are ours. And it’s not that we couldn’t have taken the cattle, we just didn’t want to.”

“As Indigenous campesinos, we have been marginalized and forgotten by the bad government. We understand that it is necessary to defend our rights, and at the same time defend our territory and our lands. As campesinos, as the community of San Francisco, this land belongs to us. For that reason, we decided in those years to begin to organize ourselves as men and women, to defend our lands and organize our collective project, what we call our autonomy, our self-development, something the bad government is incapable of carrying out. For that reason, we began organizing ourselves and that is what we continue to do.”

“More than anything, we come from the seed of Zapata. From there everything was born. The idea of Zapata and the EZLN are the same. Also, the CNI. In this struggle, we are descendants of Zapata, who struggled for the land in order to distribute it to the poor. If we defend our land, it is not for us, it is for our descendants. Everyone should struggle for their descendants, not for themselves. Not to fight for one, but for everyone else.”

“As a message to the compañeros of Mexico and other countries, we say you should continue defending your territory and the rights that you do have because the governments throughout the world are all the same. They are capitalist governments that seek to destroy the poor and Indigenous people. The government says it is carrying out economic development, but it is doing the opposite. We see that transnational corporations arrive here in Mexico and Chiapas, coming from other countries to extract all the natural resources. That is what we are defending, what we are all defending, that which corresponds to us as owners of our own territory.”

San Francisco, Teopisca, Chiapas

April 10th, 2021

¡Compas Arriba!/ Radio Pozol

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