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By Onésimo Hidalgo Domínguez
This February 16, 2006, 10 years have passed since the signing of the San Andrés Accords, so we consider it important to follow up on a chronological order of what has happened to them.
1.- In January 1996, representatives of 35 indigenous peoples met in San Cristóbal and formed the National Indigenous Congress, who participated for 5 months in a process of dialogue as guests and advisers of the EZLN at the negotiating table.
After 5 months of dialogue, on February 16, 1996, the San Andrés Accords on Indigenous Rights and Culture were signed between the government delegation headed by Marco Antonio Bernal and the delegation from the General Command of the EZLN, represented by Commanders Tacho and David, in the municipality of San Andrés. Signature where, at the request of the EZLN, no media was allowed to enter.
2.- In March 1996, the Dialogue between the EZLN and the Government Delegation on Democracy and Justice continued. Here the government demonstrated its true closure to dialogue, because it did not bring guests or advisers and the few who attended remained silent. Pending agreements to be reached at Table 2 (Democracy and Justice), there was still a need to dialogue and discuss the Welfare and Development Table, and that of Indigenous Women, with this format of the three phases of each of the tables. With other formats, the Reconciliation of the Sectors, the Political Participation of the EZLN and the Military Distension were still to be discussed; these were the points on the agenda of negotiations between the EZLN and the federal government established and agreed upon since April 1995.
3.- On September 2, 1996, the EZLN withdrew from the negotiations, conditioning its return to the fulfillment of 5 conditions: the freedom of the Zapatista political prisoners, the participation of a government delegation with decision-making capacity and seriousness in its proposals. , the installation of the Commission for the Follow-up and Verification of the Agreements (COSEVER), a guarantee for the return of displaced persons from the northern zone, and an end to the harassment of the EZLN support base communities by the army and paramilitaries.
4.- In November 1996, tripartite meetings were held between the EZLN, the National Intermediation Commission (CONAI) and the Concord and Pacification Commission (COCOPA), where it was agreed that COCOPA would translate the Agreements into an initiative of Law to integrate them into the Political Constitution of Mexico.
5.- In December 1996, the EZLN stated that it did not fully agree with this initiative, but in order to advance negotiations with the government, it accepted the COCOPA Law proposal. Meanwhile, in the communities of Chiapas, the harassment and repression on the EZLN support bases increased and increased, the CONAI, the Diocese of San Cristóbal, the NGOs, international solidarity, etc. were attacked.
6.- The government did not respect what was agreed and presented a new initiative for the Law on Indigenous Rights and Culture. The EZLN accused the government of not respecting the agreement and expressed its refusal to dialogue, as long as the conditions of September 2, 1996 were not met. Throughout 1997 a campaign against the Zapatistas was developed in the media, led by the jurist Ignacio Burgoa Origuela, arguing that the San Andrés agreements could not be fulfilled as they were because they would generate the Balkanization of the country. In 1997, a series of marches and sit-ins by indigenous peoples who had participated in the dialogues to demand compliance with the Agreements were also held. In September 1996, the EZLN marched 1,111 to the Federal District to demand compliance with the San Andrés Accords and the Zapatista National Liberation Front (FZLN) was formed.
7.- The government did not keep its word and the murders of peasants and indigenous people increased, leading to more than 21,000 displaced persons and the Acteal Massacre on December 22, 1997. The paramilitarization and militarization scheme of northern Chiapas he ran to Los Altos with the balances of violence already described by the media and Non-Governmental Organizations.
8.- In January 1998, the PRI, the PAN and PVEM presented their own initiative for a Law on Indigenous Rights and Culture, with this the possibility of the COCOPA Law being accepted in the Congress of the Union was further removed.
This year was also marked because in the first 4 months of the year President Ernesto Zedillo visited the state of Chiapas on 7 occasions, delivered inflammatory and provocative speeches against Mr. Samuel Ruiz, president of CONAI, accusing him of theologian of violence and Subcomandante Marcos de messianic leader. In April 1998, the evictions of 5 autonomous municipalities began (Ricardo Flores Magón, Tierra y Libertad, San Juan de la Libertad, San Andrés Sacmachen de los Pobres and Nicolás Ruiz) at the same time that the expulsion of more than 144 people from international solidarity, while on June 7 of that same year, CONAI was dissolved.
In this year, the government of Roberto Albores Guillén carried out police and military operations, arguing for the reestablishment of legality, while the EZLN defended itself by speaking of its legitimacy and the right to apply the San Andrés agreements in its territory, resorting to its decisions of majority assemblies, and the argument that they were agreements signed with the federal government. In this logic, the state government argued the reestablishment of the rule of law through different campaigns: the State Agreement for Reconciliation, remunicipalisation, creating seven new municipalities (San Andrés Duraznal, Santiago El Pinar, Montecristo de Guerrero, Maravilla Tenejapa, Marqués de Comillas and Benemérito de Las Américas), creates the Amnesty Law for the Disarmament of Armed Civilian Groups in Chiapas and sends the State Law on Indigenous Rights to Congress, seeking to counteract the San Andrés Accords. For a time the EZLN was silent and later launched the National Consultation on the Initiative of Law made by COCOPA.
9.- In March 1999, the EZLN and the indigenous peoples carried out the National Consultation for the Recognition of the Indian Peoples and for the End of the War of Extermination, where 2.5 million indigenous people voted in support of this initiative.
10.- On July 2, 2000, the PRI lost the federal elections and on August 20, it also lost the elections in Chiapas. Fox wins the elections and promises to resolve the conflict in Chiapas in 15 minutes, announces the withdrawal of 50 military positions and placed at the forefront of his speech the search for a peaceful solution to the conflict in Chiapas and promises to comply with the San Andrés Accords. On December 1, 2000, Fox took office and on the 2nd of the same month, the EZLN announced the March of the Color of the Earth and put the government of Vicente Fox to the test, subjecting it to compliance with 3 signs for the continuity of the Dialogue: withdrawal of 7 military positions in the zone of Zapatista influence (Jolnachoj, Moisés Gandhi, Roberto Barrios, La Garrucha, Río Euseba, Guadalupe Tepeyac and Amador Hernández), the freedom of the Zapatista political prisoners and the fulfillment of the San Andrés Accords according to the COCOPA Law.
11.- In March 2001, in a publicity event, Fox announced the sending of the COCOPA Law to Congress, Pablo Salazar ordered the release of 83 Zapatista prisoners (out of 111), and since December 22, 2000 there has been a withdrawal gradual growth of 28 military camps (not the 50 announced) including those requested by the EZLN.
12.- In March 2001 the EZLN carried out the march of the color of the earth against the will of retrograde and provocative deputies such as Diego Fernández de Ceballos, the EZLN took the floor in the Federal Congress, making it clear that they did not stand up in They did not come to Congress to ask for alms, nor to apologize, or to offend any political party, just for the fact of saying their word in Congress.
13.- In April, the Federal Congress, with the support of the PAN, PRI and PRD, approved a different bill to the COCOPA Law. Then more than 322 constitutional controversies were presented before the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation by indigenous peoples who protested the approval of the Bartlett-Ceballos-Ortega Law, but none were taken into account and in September of that same year the SCJN says that it does not have the sufficient authority to review the constitutional reforms (although for this reason Mariano Azuela, president of the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation, earns 682 thousand pesos a month free of taxes).
14.- The EZLN returned to Chiapas and kept silent while it constructed a new strategy. Meanwhile, conflicts between Zapatistas and non-Zapatista organizations escalated (EZLN vs. ORCAO, ARIC-ID, OCEZ-DI-UNOPI, PRD in Zinacantán, PRD-PT-PAN-PRI in Belisario Domínguez, municipality of Salto de Agua, RAP-FIPI in Tumbalá, CIOAC Histórica in Las Margaritas, etc.), with this, the distance between the government and the Zapatistas increased and there was less possibility of resuming dialogue. Faced with this situation, the EZLN found itself involved in two options: the appeal of a complaint before the International Labor Organization (ILO) and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and the implementation of the San Andrés and Autonomy Agreements through of the facts, without waiting for the law to be modified. The EZLN opted for the latter, while other indigenous peoples filed their international complaint, complaints that had no place either.
15.- In 2002, the conflicts in Chiapas became more acute due to the problem of land tenure and the territorial and agrarian reorganization in the Lacandon Jungle. There was a relocation of villages, some by peaceful means and others by violent means. In order to avoid confrontation, the EZLN reordered and relocated its villages immersed in this problem. While the national and Chiapaneca civil society held Chiapas meetings against neoliberalism, reconciliation meetings, civil society meetings and dialogues for peace, organic production meetings, to find ways to continue moving forward.
16.- In January 2003, the EZLN marched more than 30,000 support bases in San Cristóbal, to express their repudiation of the Federal Congress and accuse the PRI, PAN and PRD of betraying indigenous peoples by not approving the Law COCOPA. But in August of the same year the EZLN, in a meeting in Oventic, declared the death of the Caracoles and announced the creation of the 5 Caracoles and the Good Government Juntas, announced the withdrawal of their checkpoints and the suspension of the collection of war taxes. that were implemented in its territory. In addition, he offered respect and dialogue with non-Zapatista processes, and opened a path with the Secretary of Indian Peoples of the State Government to resolve the conflicts that arose in his territory, seeking to advance the project of autonomy and exercise power. from the indigenous communities through the autonomous municipalities and the Good Government Boards.
Some indigenous peoples such as the Purépecha in Michoacán, the municipality of Xochistlahuaca and Rancho Nuevo de la Democracia in the state of Guerrero, San Miguel Teotongo, San Blas in Oaxaca, the Navajos in Sonora, among others, also began to put the Accords into practice. of San Andrés, declaring itself in civil resistance and in the construction of autonomy through the facts.
17.- During all this time with the government of Vicente Fox, it seems that there is an undeclared truce of the parties, while the Government Commissioner for Chiapas, Luís H. Álvarez, has been visiting Chiapas for more than 70 times, constantly shouting the government's willingness to resume dialogue and channeling a series of demands from the Zapatista-influenced communities, from non-Zapatista communities, to different government instances, with the aim of removing the EZLN's flags of struggle and preventing its growth. He has moved from his role as Commissioner for Dialogue to manager of community services.
18. In June 2005, the EZLN launched the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle to carry out another non-electoral campaign, to try to bring together all the most vulnerable sectors, the excluded, the marginalized, etc. in order to build a social force capable of developing a New Constitution, which is manifested in a Constituent Congress and that in Mexico we have a new model of country for everyone. If the Federal Congress is not able to listen to this new force, then a plan of action and national struggle will have to be considered, to mobilize all social forces, so that whoever governs this country hears the voice and respects those below .
In this context, the government of Vicente Fox has responded with the withdrawal of 43 military positions during his government and 17 positions of the Sector Police have been reconcentrated to their bases, leaving spaces that are then filled by the most discreet police forces, such as the bodies of the Federal Investigation Agency, State Investigation Agency, National Migration Institute and secret bodies such as the National Security Investigation Center (CISEN) or State Government Political Investigations. In the midst of a political campaign, it is convenient for Fox to say and show his will by withdrawing military bases to favor his party, the PAN, which can result in a new military offensive or simply the implementation of new political-military strategies against the Zapatistas.
19.- While we will have to wait for the result of the elections of July 2, 2006 and the departure of the 12 commanders in September of this year, the replacement of the Zapatista Command in April 2007 and how to wait for the response of the actions of the participants and signers of the other campaign, take stock and assess the proposals of the one who follows in this fight.
* Onesimo Hidalgo Domínguez