Chiapas: the New Face of War II
Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada
March 25, 2007 www.jornada.unam.mx/2007/03/25/index.php?section=opinion& article018a2pol
Natural Resources: a casus belli (an occurrence giving rise to war). The
counterinsurgency policies were structured in 1995 in spite of the recurring sessions of the San Andrés dialogue, defined in the two volumes of the Irregular War Manual edited by the National Defense Ministry (Sedena, its initials in Spanish). Its military theory remembers what Mao said about: "the people are to the guerrilla what the water is to the fish," but prefers another tactic: "one can make life in the water (in the campesino communi- ties) impossible for the fish, agitating, introducing elements prejudicial to their subsistence, or the most predatory fish who will attack them, persecute them and obligate them to disappear or to run away from the danger of being eaten by these voracious and aggressive fish" (Volume II, number 547). The grouping of these fish (the predatory, aggressive and voracious ones) are the paramilitary groups designated as "armed civilians."
Effectively, Sedena emptied the water from the communities, it penetrated them. The
most predatory fish are not external agents like before (the episodic hired guns, who
returned to live in the cities after fulfilling their promise), nor guardias blancas (an
exogenous elite which would disappear after their crimes); they are, to the contrary,
indigenous people from the communities who "work" full time on site. The first ones were
organized as the AntiZapatista Revolutionary Indigenous Movement (MIRA, its initials in
Spanish), whose behavior was very discreet. This new formula needs financing, which,
being official, must be justified with noble causes: in this case the "revolution."
Others continue with more constancy, whose initials are decorated with "development," of
"peace" or with "human rights" like Paz y Justicia, recruited within the PRI, whose
laboratory was the state’s Northern Zone, and its victims were many prisoners and
displaced. So much violence and new times stirred up splits, whose members are peppered
within the bosom of the PRD, the Indigenous Campesino Regional Union (URCI) and, from
the heart of the Jungle in Taniperlas, the Organization for the Defense of Indigenous
and Campesino Rights (Opddic, its initials in Spanish), created by the MIRA’s founder,
is the new launching pad of the current presidential term in the Jungle.
These old-new most predatory fish, like the folkloric "Mapaches" and "Pinedistas" of
the Revolution who said they were Villistas, are also campesinos and indigenous peoples
faithful to the old PRI owners or cattle ranchers and act as their canon fodder.
Decorated with the noble causes of their initials, they now occupy 3 thousand hectares
[Ed. more than 7,000 acres] of former national lands, from the North to the South by
Nuevo Momón. As they offer land in their new ejidos, legalizable or already legalized,
they drain many campesinos afflicted by agrarian insecurity but, different from the
EZLN’s pluralist management (a world where many worlds fit; not dividing, uniting; not
conquering, convincing; not supplanting, representing), once possessed of their new
lands, the Opddic demands their adhesion. To the recalcitrant ones, they take away their
houses, harvests, or trucks, they are expelled and thus a new generation of displaced
people is born.
In this reoccupied area, the most predatory fish break down the autonomous
municipalities, threaten their alternative schools and clinics, contaminate land
regenerated or reforested by Zapatista agroecology, make impossible the successful new
fair market cooperatives without middlemen. In other words, a dismantling of the
political path patiently constructed by the Caracoles. If the EZLN should defend their
recuperated lands again as in the armed period of clandestinity, it would be considered
that they violated the truce and the law on dialogue, and the EZLN would be blamed for
conducting an internal war, the conflict would be classified as inter or intra
community, indigenous communities against indigenous communities. It is the new face of
the war with political masks, that of the deceptive initials of the most predatory fish.
Beyond this deceptive tactic, what is their strategy? To understand, the reverse of the
first process we must begin with the projected purpose. The horizon is the privatization
of the Jungle’s natural resources, the Chiapas door to the biological corridor that goes
with the Plan Puebla-Panama:
the oil zone whose wells were tapped in 1993 with the EZLN’s detection; the sweet waters
of the Canyons’ rivers and lakes; the timber wealth; the medicinal plants coveted by the
pharmaceutical industry; the booty of vegetal diversity already biopirated (that is to
say, already clandestinely exported or a candidate for genetic modification); the
voluminous rivers, the landscapes and exotic animals for elitist adventure tourism. A
bargain for the (foreign) accumulation of capital in the systemic financial and
production crisis, easily excusable with an ecological discourse.
This wealth emphasized in the San Andrés Accords, territorialized by the recuperated
lands, is that which the Army watches over with the pretext of a contention with the
EZLN, as that which Andrés Barreda exemplified by mapping it: the gray zone and natural
resources coincide in the same space. By remaining under the management of Zapatismo,
their privatization would be impossible, but with the Opddic and the other most
predatory fish’s docility towards power, it becomes possible.
The means? The Salinas reform of constitutional article 27 and its regulatory law. By
legalizing the reoccupation of the old owners through the Opddic’s new ejidos, they are
ipso facto privatizable through the Procede, still optional (which excludes that the
Zapatista accept it) but already in gestation by Opddic’s lawyers. In "better" times,
the Caracoles, the autonomous municipalities and the Good government Juntas would become
levels of government without territory and without bases, their schools without
students, their clinics without patients, their agroecology crops genetically modified,
and their alternative commerce without clients. By achieving the strategy, the
Zapatistas would be unable to operate. And the indigenous and campesinos of the Opddic?
Simple, they would become, inside of their own ejidos, peons of the transnationals
installed on the lands, until now recuperated and now reoccupied, no longer by predatory
fish but by fat fish: the new systemic operators of the latest capitalist wave.