A coalition of indigenous Mexican communities (CNI) has announced the creation of its own government in coordination with the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN). Dubbed the Indigenous Governing Council (CGI), this government will aim to promote autonomy for indigenous Mexicans.
“This council proposes to govern this country,” the EZLN said in a communique.
One representative said “Indignation, resistance and rebellion will feature on the 2018 electoral ballots,” in the EZLN’s de facto capital of Oventic, according to the Mexican magazine El Proceso.
They also delineated the profile that the candidate will have that they will postulate in the 2018 elections for the presidency of the Republic.
The EZLN is an indigenous guerrilla movement that waged an armed insurgency against the Mexican government throughout the 1990s. Today, the EZLN retains a presence in the highlands of the southern state of Chiapas, where it has been experimenting with a form of direct democracy that draws from anarchist and socialist traditions blended with indigenous practices.
The CNI/EZLN first announced plans to field a presidential candidate last October. The name of the candidate won’t be released until May 18, after the CGI holds a “constituent assembly.” This assembly will also officially inaugurate the CGI. No other details of the candidate have been made public, though the CNI and EZLN have already said they have agreed it will be an indigenous woman.
The announcement of the CGI’s creation came following the conclusion of a CNI summit in Chiapas. According to representatives who spoke to the press, the decision to create the CGI was made after three months of consultations with indigenous communities. This was followed by two days of closed door talks between indigenous groups during the CNI summit. A total of 43 indigenous groups from 25 states were involved in the talks, the CNI said.
"Our resistances and rebellions constitute the power of below. We don’t offer empty promises or actions, but rather real processes for radical transformation where everyone participates and which are tangible in the diverse and enormous indigenous geographies of this nation. This is why, as the National Indigenous Congress, which brings together 43 peoples of this country in this Fifth Congress, WE AGREE to name an Indigenous Governing Council with men and women representatives from each one of the peoples, tribes, and nations that make up the CNI. This council proposes to govern this country. It will have an indigenous woman from the CNI as its spokesperson, which is to say a woman who has indigenous blood and who knows her culture, and this indigenous woman spokesperson from the CNI will be an independent candidate for the presidency of Mexico in the 2018 elections." (Enlace Zapatista )
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Words of the EZLN at the closing of the 5th CNI Congress