Earlier this month, the indigenous Zapatista communities of Nuevo San Gregorio and Moisés Gandhi were displaced following a wave of aggression from the corporate paramilitary Regional Organization of Coffee Growers of Ocosingo (ORCAO). The paramilitary not only occupied the land and drove out its indigenous population, it also destroyed the water system that supplies Zapatista communities in Ocosingo. ORCAO is backed both by the Mexican state and agricultural corporations in Chiapas attempting to expand their power and drive out the Zapatistas. The Zapatistas are a revolutionary coalition of indigenous tribes resisting colonial structures in Chiapas, Mexico. ORCAO has been at war with the Zapatistas for over 20 years.
According to Radio Zapatista:
“The Regional Organization of Coffee Growers of Ocosingo (ORCAO) was founded in 1988 by 12 communities in the municipality of Ocosingo, Chiapas, as an organization of legitimate struggle demanding better coffee prices and a solution to agrarian backlog. In little time, many more communities joined the organization. For years, ORCAO maintained connections with Zapatismo. However, those connections were broken in the late 1990’s when the organization, like many others, caved to the temptation of government support and political positions in exchange for favors. The rupture worsened in the year 2000 with the arrival of Pablo Salazar as governor of Chiapas. ORCAO abandoned the struggle and allied with the government, breaking with the EZLN in order to gain access to state funds. From that moment on, the aggressions have become increasingly frequent and violent.”