chapter  6
24 Pages

The Political and Human Rights Frameworks of Las Abejas

POLITICAL FRAMEWORK: LAS ABEJAS AS A NEOZAPATISTA MOVEMENT

O n October 12, 1992 numerous Mayan communities prayed and fasted remembering 500 years of indigenous resistance to oppression and slavery. Other indigenous people joined the anti-Columbus day march in San Cristobal de Las Casas. About 9,000 Tzotziles and

Political scientist Neil Harvey observes that the neozapatista cry of Ya Basta! was in fact, a call for solidarity for all those indigenous people and mes­ tizos who said, “Enough is Enough!” of economic impositions and cultural dis­ criminations (Harvey 1998, 199). Nevertheless, we need to focus our attention on the already emerging consciousness raising processes among peasant, indigenous, and women organizations of the Lacandon and Highlands regions of Chiapas. The strength of the EZLN rebellion, therefore, lies less in their military resources and revolutionary programs and more in the revelation and coalition of popular discontent of excluded sectors of the Mexican (and inter­ national) civil society (Womack 1999, 44). The EZLN succeeded in their rebel-

lion thanks in large part to national discontent with President Salinas’ unde­ mocratic NAFTA negotiations. Therefore, the national political opportunities and pre-existing international networks of resistance explain the EZLN s suc­ cess more than their 3,000 poorly equipped soldiers (see: Schulz 1998). The interrelated local, national and international communicative networks of resist­ ance made of the EZLN an indigenous movement with visibly growing orga­ nizational strengths (McAdam 1982) and international support (Cleaver 1994; Ronfeldt et al. 1998).