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The EZLN - A Look at its History (Part 1): The Guerrilla Nucleus

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It is 1968, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) and the US dispute world hegemony in a disguised war: the "Cold War." In Czechoslovakia, the "Prague Spring" shows the world the authoritarianism and bureaucracy of the "actually existing socialism." The protesters are fighting for a "socialism with a human face," but above all for a democratic one. The response of the USSR and its allies is the invasion of the country. In France the "French May" is evidence - among many other things - of a widespread rejection of the consumer society.

The EZLN - A Look at its History (Part 1): The Guerrilla Nucleus

by Raul Romero
Translation by Dorset Chiapas Solidarity Group
Tuesday, 17 December 2013

I. The "Guerrilla Nucleus" [2]

Source: SubVersiones

It is 1968, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) and the US dispute world hegemony in a disguised war: the "Cold War." In Czechoslovakia, the "Prague Spring" shows the world the authoritarianism and bureaucracy of the "actually existing socialism." The protesters are fighting for a "socialism with a human face," but above all for a democratic one. The response of the USSR and its allies is the invasion of the country. In France the "French May" is evidence - among many other things - of a widespread rejection of the consumer society.

It is 1968 and the Americas are also restless. In Latin America the triumph of the Cuban revolution is still generating expectations, and thousands of young people join the ranks of the revolutionary parties and movements. In the US, Martin Luther King – leader of the civil rights movement – is assassinated, and the demonstrations against the invasion of Vietnam further polarize North American society.

It is 1968, Mexico will host the Olympic Games, and in July one of the most important student movements in its history emerges. The political and social conditions in the country make a seemingly minor conflict rapidly acquire national dimensions. Mexico is again in tune – as it was during the 1910 revolution – with the social discontent walking the world. Gustavo Díaz Ordaz and Luis Echeverría Álvarez – Chairman and Secretary of the Interior of Mexico respectively – order the repression of a student demonstration. On October 2nd , military and paramilitary groups attack the protesters in the Plaza de las Tres Culturas, Tlatelolco, Mexico City, causing hundreds of dead, missing and injured.

It is 1969 and the world is not the same after the "Cultural Revolution" of 1968, as Hobsbawm calls it [3]. It is 1969, and Mexico is still hurting: many families have been searching for their children since that October 2nd when they did not return to their homes. Meanwhile, the Mexican government justifies the massacre, arguing that the first attack came from the students, that there were foreigners interested in destabilizing the country, and that the specter of communism was behind the protests.

Hundreds of young people who had participated in the student demonstrations concluded that they would not manage to transform Mexico by the institutional route. For many of them, the peaceful route was exhausted and it was time to move on to the next stage: armed struggle.

On August 6th,1969, in Monterrey, Nuevo León, the National Liberation Forces (FLN) were founded. Leading the group were the brothers Cesar Germán and Fernando Muñoz Yáñez, Alfredo Zárate and Raúl Pérez Vázquez. The group had the strategy of building up its forces in silence and not confronting the state forces. In 1972, Cesar Germán Yáñez was established in the state of Chiapas in the camp called "El Diamante," from which the "Emiliano Zapata Guerrilla Nucleus” (NGEZ) operated. Five years after its founding, the FLN had networks in Tabasco, Puebla, the State of Mexico, Chiapas, Veracruz and Nuevo León [4].

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