Leonidas Oikonomakis: Zapatistas announce major expansion of autonomous territories

It all started, in typical Zapatista fashion, with the publication of four new communiqués signed by Subcomandante Insurgente Galeano (formerly known as Marcos) between August 10 and 15. The first one, titled Enter el telonero (“The Opening Act”), ended on a mysterious note:

Look, ladies, gentlemen, and others
Nothing to see here, nothing to see there, but wait, all of a sudden, boom:

The Zapatista communities (re)appear…

Those familiar with the Subcomandante’s literary style already knew that something big was about to follow.

The communiqués analyze the political reality in Mexico and the challenges faced by Indigenous peoples under AMLO’s presidency and his so-called “Fourth Transformation”, which presumes AMLO’s term in office to leave a historical footprint similar to that of the Mexican Revolution and the country’s independence from Spain.

Thus far, AMLO’s rule has been characterized by a typical capitalist drive for the exploitation of the environment and the extraction of natural resources, not that dissimilar from his more conservative predecessors, despite the progressive rhetoric. AMLO’s “megaprojects” — among which the Maya Train, the Trans-Isthmus Corridor and the Project Sembrando Vida (Planting Life) — are particularly illustrative of the new administration’s disregard for the environment and its Indigenous protectors.

The top-down nature of these projects, along with the threats they pose to the well-being of both social and natural environments across the country in general, and to Zapatista communities in particular, have led the Zapatistas to condemn these in the strongest terms.

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