News & Views for Anarchists & Activists:
EZLN communique on the death of Don Samuel Ruiz Garcia
Posted by Jessica Davies - January 30, 2011 at 7:59 pm
COMMUNIQUÉ FROM THE CLANDESTINE REVOLUTIONARY INDIGENOUS COMMITTEE -
GENERAL COMMAND OF THE ZAPATISTA ARMY OF NATIONAL LIBERATION
TO THE PEOPLE OF MEXICO:
The Indigenous Revolutionary Clandestine Committee - General Command of
the Zapatista National Liberation Army expresses sadness and regret at
the death of Bishop Emeritus Samuel Ruiz García.
In the EZLN there are people of different religious faiths and people of
no faith at all, but the stature of this man as a human being (and of
those who, like him, are walking alongside the oppressed, the
dispossessed, the forgotten and the despised), calls for our word.
Although our differences, disagreements and distances were neither few,
nor superficial, today we want to recognise a commitment and a path that
is not only that of an individual, but forms a whole current within the
Don Samuel Ruiz Garcia not only practiced Catholicism for and with the
dispossessed, his team also trained a generation of Christians committed
to the practice of Catholicism. He was not only concerned about the
condition of poverty and marginalization of the indigenous peoples of
Chiapas, he also worked, along with a heroic pastoral team, to improve
their inhumane conditions of living and dying.
Those whom the governments deliberately forgot, in order to cultivate
death, were given memory by life in the diocese of San Cristóbal de Las
Don Samuel Ruiz García and his team not only insisted on peace with
justice and dignity for the indigenous people of Chiapas, they also
risked, and are still risking, their lives, liberty and property on this
path made hazardous by the arrogance of political power.
Even long before our uprising in 1994, the Diocese of San Cristóbal
suffered harassment, attacks and threats sometimes from the Federal Army
and sometimes from the state governments.
At least since the time of Juan Sabines Gutiérrez (remembered for the
slaughter of Wolonchan in 1980) and through the time of General Absalón
Castellanos Dominguez, Patrocinio González Garrido, Elmar Setzer M.,
Eduardo Robledo Rincón, Julio César Ruiz Ferro (one of the perpetrators
of the Acteal massacre in 1997) and Roberto Albores Guillén (better
known as "croquetas”), the governors of Chiapas attacked people in the
diocese of San Cristobal who were opposed to their killing and running
the state as if it were a hacienda from the time of Porfirio Diaz.
Since 1994, while working at the National Mediation Commission (CONAI),
in the company of the women and men who formed that body of peace, Don
Samuel came under pressure, harassment and threats, including attempts
on his life by the paramilitary group so badly named "Peace and Justice."
And, as president of CONAI, Don Samuel also suffered, in February 1995,
the threat of imprisonment.
Ernesto Zedillo Ponce de León revived the war against the Zapatista
indigenous communities, as part of the strategy of distraction (which is
still in operation now), aimed at hiding the serious economic crisis in
which he and Carlos Salinas de Gortari had left the country.
At the same time as launching a major military offensive against the
EZLN (which failed), Zedillo attacked the National Mediation Commission.
Obsessed with the idea of doing away with Don Samuel, the former
president of Mexico, and now transnational employee, took advantage of
the alliance which, under the auspices of Carlos Salinas de Gortari and
Diego Fernández de Cevallos, had been forged between the PRI and the PAN.
At that time, in a meeting with the Catholic Church leadership, the then
Procurator General of the Republic, Antonio Lozano Gracia, a PANista and
fanatic of spiritualism and witchcraft (like that of Chambon), held a
document in front of Don Samuel Ruiz García, with instructions for his
They say that the Procurator, a graduate of Occult Sciences, was
confronted by the other bishops, including Norberto Rivera, who came to
the defence of the holder of the Diocese of San Cristobal.
The PRI-PAN alliance (which was later joined by the PRD and the PT in
Chiapas) against the progressive Catholic Church did not stop there.
Since then federal and state governments have fathered attacks, slanders
and attacks against members of the Diocese.
The Federal Army was not far behind. While financing, training and
equipping paramilitary groups, they were promoting the idea that the
diocese was sowing violence.
The argument then (still repeated by idiots writing for the left) was
that the diocese had formed the grassroots supporters and the leaders of
An example of the wide range of these ridiculous arguments was when a
general showed a book as proof of the links of the Diocese with the
"lawbreakers" (“transgresores de la ley”).
The title of the incriminating book was "The Gospel according to St
Mark" (San Marcos).
Today, these attacks have not ceased.
The "Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas" Human Rights Centre continually
receives threats and harassment.
In addition to being having been founded by Don Samuel Ruiz García, and
having a Christian inspiration, the "Frayba" commits the "aggravated
offences" of believing in the Integrity and Indivisibility of Human
Rights, in respect for cultural diversity and the right to
Self-Determination, in justice as a prerequisite for peace, in the
development of a culture of dialogue, tolerance and reconciliation, and
in respect for cultural and religious diversity.
Nothing could be more annoying than these principles.
And this discomfort reaches as far as the Vatican, who are manoeuvring
to split the diocese of San Cristóbal de Las Casas in two, so as to
dilute the alternative option, that of, for, by and with the poor, in an
agreement where money washes consciences. Taking advantage of the death
of Don Samuel, they are reactivating this project of control and division.
Because up there they understand that the option for the poor will not
die with Don Samuel. It lives and breathes in the whole section of the
Catholic Church which has decided to follow the path that he preached.
Meanwhile, the pastoral team, and especially the deacons, ministers and
catechists (indigenous Catholics from the communities) suffer slanders,
insults and attacks from the neo-lovers of war. Power still longs for
his days of dominion and sees the work of the Diocese as an obstacle to
reinstating his “knife and fork” regime.
The grotesque parade of figures from local and national politics beside
the coffin of Don Samuel is not to honour him, but to check, with
relief, that he is dead; and the local media simulate sorrow when they
are actually celebrating.
Above all these ecclesiastical attacks and conspiracies, Don Samuel Ruiz
García and Christians like him, had, have and will have a special place
in the dark heart of the Zapatista indigenous communities.
Now that it is fashionable to condemn the entire Catholic church for the
crimes, excesses, commissions and omissions of some of their superiors...
Now that the so-called "progressive" sector delights in making fun of
and deriding the whole of the Catholic church...
Now that everyone is encouraged to see in every priest a potential or
Now it would be good to turn around and to look towards those from below
and find there those who, as they did before Don Samuel, challenge and
Because these Christians believe strongly that justice should reign also
in this world.
And in this way they live and die, in thought, word and deed.
Because if it is true that there are Marcials and Onésimos in the
Catholic Church, there also have been and are Roncos, Ernests, Samuels,
Arthurs, Raúls, Sergios, Bartholomews, Joels, Heribertos, Raymundos,
Salvadors, Santiagos, Diegos, Estelles, Victorias, and thousands of
other religious and lay people who, being on the side of justice and
freedom, are on the side of life.
Among the EZLN, Catholics and non-Catholics, believers and nonbelievers,
today we not only honour the memory of Don Samuel Ruiz Garcia.
Also, and above all, we salute the commitment of Christians and
believers in Chiapas, Mexico and the World, who do not remain silent
against injustice, nor remain inactive against war.
Don Samuel is going, but there remain many, many others who, in and for
the Catholic Christian faith, struggle for an earthly world that is more
just, more free, more democratic, that is to say, better.
Good health to all of them, because from their efforts tomorrow also
will be born.
From the mountains of the Mexican southeast
For the Clandestine Indigenous Revolutionary Committee - General Command
of the EZLN
Lieutenant Colonel Insurgente Moisés, Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos
Mexico, January 2011
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Professor: Why, no one.
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