"We respect the Zapatista movement very much so my respectful fraternal recommendation is that we stop any quarrel, enough of divisions, we need to unite,” the Mexican president said.
Mexican president Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador urged on Sunday for the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) to leave behind differences and no longer fight in order to work for the unity of the country.
"We respect the Zapatista movement very much so my respectful fraternal recommendation is that we stop any quarrel, enough of divisions, we need to unite,” the Mexican president said during a speech during a visit to Chiapas, the heartland of the EZLN movement.
Later he added that “like that stanza of the Chiapas anthem: may hateful revenge be over, may resentment end forever ... All together united like brothers."
The Zapatista movement has long been at odds with Lopez Obrador. Since the first time he ran for president in 2006, the EZLN organized an alternative campaign and declared its opposition to the center-left candidate.
Now, after his landslide victory in the 2018 elections, the Zapatistas have reiterated their position, stating his administration “does not represent change but continuity.”
However, relations have soured even more as Lopez Obrador took office and announced two mega-projects that resulted in a public uproar by the EZLN, as well as the creation of the National Guard to stop migration flows.
The “Maya Train”, which is a large-scale infrastructure project is set to connect the whole Yucatan Peninsula for tourism, transportation, and economic purposes. It’s been strongly criticized by local organizations and welcomed by many others. Lopez Obrador called for a national consultation in late November and received 89.9 percent of votes in favor.
On February, the women collective of the EZLN said that Lopez Obrador’s government didn’t hold comprehensive community consultations, thus canceled the II International Meeting of Women Who Fight to protest to the “new, bad government (that is) doing the capitalist's megaprojects.”
Another issue that has inflamed the Zapatistas is the “Transisthmus Corridor,” an infrastructure project that will connect the Gulf of Mexico with the Pacific for commercial purposes, a million hectares of fruit and wood trees in Chiapas would replace native "unproductive" forests.
“They don’t want our lands to be ours but for tourists to come and have their big hotels and their great restaurants,” stated the grouping.
As tensions mount, on Sunday as well Lopez Obrador published a picture from 1994 taken in Las Margaritas, Chiapas, in which the now-president poses next to Subcommander Marcos and other members of the Zapatistas, the twitter caption reads "an image is worth a thousand words.”