Raheel Hayat, Reposted from Medium
On May 2, 2014, José Luis Solís López, better known as Galeano was murdered in the community of La Realidad in the Mexican state of Chiapas. Galeano was murdered by three gunshots after he, unarmed, was surrounded by paramilitary troops and refused to surrender. The attack took place on the eve of a meeting that the Zapatistas had planned to hold with other indigenous organizations and indigenous people of Mexico during which spokesperson Subcomandante Marcos had planned possibly to reappear after a public absence of nearly six years. During the attack, a number of people were injured, and a Zapatista school and health clinic in La Realidad, both of which were symbols of the movement’s autonomy, were destroyed.
According to the Good Government Junta, the Zapatistas’ governing body, those responsible for Galeano’s murder were paramilitary forces that came from two rightwing parties, the Green Ecologist Party and the National Action Party, as well as the Independent Center for Agricultural Workers and Historic Peasants. These paramilitary groups responsible for the murder of Galeano were legitimate peasant organizations that struggled for land rights against the local Chiapas Government in the 1970s. Over the years however, they have flirted with the government to try and receive funding and to get their people into government positions.
These are groups that have been coopted by the government of Chiapas in the past several years to oppose the Zapatistas in exchange for funds. This is a counter insurgency plan by the Mexican government and the Mexican Army to combat the Zapatistas outside of direct conflict. All these groups are involved in violent attacks and land occupations of the Zapatistas since the beginning of the Zapatistas movement in 1994. The lands which Zapatistas obtained and hold for the indigenous people of the region with their blood, is been invaded by these groups, that then look for the local government to legitimize their take over of the land and to undermine the Zapatista movement.
Galeano is the first Zapatista from the supportive communities, known in the movement as the “bases of support,” to be killed by paramilitary government forces since 2003. He served as a teacher during the recent escuelita, where thousands of students from across Mexico and abroad came to learn from the movement. His murder further reveals the ongoing counterinsurgent war that is carried out by Mexican government across Zapatista territory. This counterinsurgency, which began after the uprising in 1994, seeks to erode and wear out Zapatistas’ struggle to build autonomous institutions such as schools, clinics, hospitals and its own system of government. After the assassination, some of the Mexican mainstream media reported that the death came from conflict from within the community, without waiting for a statement from La Realidad’s Good Government Junta or from human rights organizations that have mediated conflicts in the area. But in a communiqué, the Zapatistas refuted this account of events.
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