Two Zapatistas from Ocosingo reported disappeared

24 septiembre, 2021

José Antonio Sánchez Juárez and Sebastián Núñez Pérez, members of the Good Government Council, Caracol 10 Flourishing the Rebel Seed, left the Council’s headquarters on Saturday, September 11 to carry out some assigned tasks. They still haven’t come back. Zapatistas hold the Regional Coffee growers’ Association of Ocosingo responsible.

Editor’s note: Per a Sept. 19 communiqué from the EZLN, the two disappeared men have since been freed. You can read the English version of the communiqué here.

Text by Isaín Mandujano for Chiapas Paralelo, originally published September 16, 2021.

Translated by Elysse DaVega.

CHIAPAS– Two members of Bases of Support of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) who are also members of a Good Government Council were reported kidnapped and disappeared Tuesday, September 14 in an area of land that is disputed between the masked rebels and a hostile social organization.

In a communiqué, the Resistance and Rebellion Network, the working group No Estamos Todos y Todas, the Fighting Space against Oblivion and Repression, the Autonomous Coastal Council, the Chiapas Center of Women’s Rights and other groups such as El Puente and the Chiapas Media Project reported that the two Zapatistas had disappeared on September 11.

In the document, they denounced the kidnapping of the members of the Good Government Council «New Dawn in Resistance and Rebellion for Life and Humanity,» Caracol 10 Flourishing the Rebel Seed.

They say that the two Good Government Council members are José Antonio Sánchez Juárez and Sebastián Núñez Pérez, who left the Council’s headquarters on September 11 around 8 am in a pickup truck, plated CW-0001-C, to carry out a task elsewhere.

Upon losing contact with the other Council members, their colleagues began the search process. They located the truck that same day in the 7 de Febrero community of the Ocosingo municipality.

The network mentioned that this municipality is the headquarters of the Regional Coffee growers’ Association of Ocosingo (ORCAO), «in which, according to the information gathered, the two Council members were detained in legitimate EZLN territory, and where the Arco Iris cooperative store had opened as part of the expression of the autonomous Zapatista economy.»

As of nightfall on Tuesday, September 14, the Council said that they haven’t been able to see the detained, verify their health status, or confirm their whereabouts, which is why they’re currently reported as missing.

They allege that ORCAO has perpetrated a series of criminal acts against EZLN Bases of Support in the autonomous community of Moisés-Gandhi for several months.

The communiqué recalled «the most despicable acts, which took place in August 2020, in which they violently looted, robbed, destroyed and burned the Arco Iris cooperative store, [and] the kidnapping of an EZLN Support Base member, Félix López Hernández, on November 8, 2020.»

They also recalled the kidnapping of other defenders from the Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Human Rights Center on April 12, and that today, «they continue with their criminal acts.»

«We denounce the hypocritical, deceitful and sloppy narrative from the federal government of Andrés Manuel López Obrador and of Chiapas state governor Rutilio Escandón Cadenas with regards respecting the autonomy of Indigenous peoples, when in reality they’ve implemented a series of counterinsurgent acts against these autonomies that walk all over the Zapatista Army for National Liberation and their bases of support,» members of the network said.

They said that the kidnapping and disappearance of these two persons took place «with the permission of the three levels of poor governance: municipal, state, and federal» and that this is a «scale of violence orchestrated by the high powers of the federal government that limits the EZLN organizing initiative Journey for Life, Europe Chapter, which seeks to peacefully and creatively expand the seed of resistance and rebellion for humanity and Mother Earth, that is, for Life.»

The network demanded proof of life from EZLN members José Antonio Sánchez Juárez and Sebastián Núñez Pérez, and the end to all harassment towards the autonomy and life that constitutes the EZLN.

In this context, we call on all Resistance and Rebellion networks and supporters of the National and International Sixth to also demand proof of life for the two Council members.

In an area of Ocosingo, the ORCAO and the EZLN and its support bases are involved in a longstanding dispute over land control and a territory that both groups «recovered» together shortly after the armed uprising in January 1994.

This report was originally published in CHIAPAS PARALELO, which is part of the Media Alliance organized by Red de Periodistas de a Pie. You can read the original here.

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