EZLN: The 421 squad of the Zapatista army disembarks in Galicia to begin its tour of Europe

Members of the Zapatista delegation on the beach of Carril, during the welcome of Squadron 421 this Tuesday
Members of the Zapatista delegation on the beach of Carril, during the welcome of Squadron 421 this TuesdayMIGUEL RIOPA / AFP

The first sound that the Zapatista 421 Squad heard when playing continental Europe was that of joyous bagpipes. The delegation landed on the Vigo coast this Tuesday, after 6:00 p.m., Spanish time. More than a hundred people received the La Montaña crew with traditional Galician music and the typical dance of the Muñeira, shouting “¡Zapata Vive!”, At the lighthouse of the Museo do Mar de Vigo. The Zapatista militiamen paraded for almost an hour along Carril beach where they met with representatives of collectives from all over the continent, which they renamed Slumil K’ajxemk’op, “Unsubmissive land” in Tzotzil, a Mayan dialect. The Galician assembly of the Xira por la Vida, in charge of organizing the reception, gave a bouquet of herbs from San Juan to the guests as a welcome gift.

Laura Bugallo, Galician transfeminist activist; María, a peasant woman who fights for the sovereignty of the land and feminism; an Iranian refugee in Belgium or a Mexican one. These are some of the diverse profiles of those who participated in the welcome of Squad 421. It was done in a format that they called a “mirror”. A circle in which the representatives of European groups appeared before the Zapatistas, vindicating their purposes and accepting what they have described as a “consensual invasion.”

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The landing of La Montaña stole the first sunny afternoon of the Galician summer. On the white sandy beach of Carril, the atmosphere seemed that of an international diplomatic meeting: small delegations speaking before the cameras of their media, in different languages ​​and scattered around the protagonists of the afternoon. Once the introductions were over, all the attendees went up to a small park a few meters above the beach and the atmosphere changed to that of a musical festival, with a stage on which the seven entertained —Marijose, Lupita, Carolina, Ximena, Yuli , Felipe and Bernal— appeared between jokes about the lack of provisions in their boat and claims of the need for Europe to wake up.

The Zapatista group has been traveling since May and reached the Azores islands in Portugal on June 12. From there they set sail for Galicia and sighted the Galician coast for the first time last Sunday. That weekend delegations from Germany, Brazil, Colombia, France, Greece, Iran, Italy, Morocco, Portugal, Sweden, Switzerland and the autonomies of Andalusia, Asturias, Catalonia, Castilla y León, Madrid, Murcia, Basque Country and Valencia events were held throughout the coast to commemorate the arrival of La Montaña. All were supported by the Xira por la Vida assembly, made up of a series of Galician groups that organized the reception event since October last year, when the EZLN announced its trip to Europe.

Manuel Raxo, representative of Payasos Rebeldes, one of the collectives of the Galician assembly, explains that the defense of land and life is what unites them with the Zapatista army: “It is an opportunity to unite and wake up, as they claim, for the territory and all the struggles that unite us ”. Rosa Gómez, from the Galician global action group Fuga em Rede, agrees on this, adding that the visit of the militiamen has led to a kind of unification of social and environmental groups in Galicia and Europe for the common goal of receiving them. They both hope that, after more than two years of the pandemic, this is an opportunity to restart things in a different way.

The delegations from Germany and France are expecting the same, as they have concentrated on denouncing the problems that the Zapatista snails still face, which began their existence a year after the 1994 indigenous uprising in the Mexican state of Chiapas. The French group demanded justice for the members of the National Indigenous Congress of the North American country that they say have been assassinated for defending their territory and stood up to the Government of Andrés Manuel López Obrador for not granting passports to the other Zapatistas who will travel to Europe by plane. The German representation, on the other hand, demands a change in the industry of its country and points to Monsanto (owned by Bayern) for the sale in Latin America of pesticides that are already banned in Europe.

In closing her speech, Marijose, identified as a non-binary person and in charge of renaming the continent, added a few words that aroused the ovation of the audience: “We want to show capitalism that another world is possible.”

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