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EZLN Introduces Moisés, the Zapatistas’ New Subcomandante


Visionary, military strategist, and organizer of the people, these are just some of the characteristics of the new Subcomandante of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN). During the first days of January 1994 he was known as Major Moisés, later in 2003 he would fill the position of Lieutenant Colonel. Today [Feb. 14] he is presented by the Zapatista military leader and spokesman, Subcomandante Marcos, as the new Subcomandante of the insurgent forces.

"We want to introduce to you to one of our many selves, our compañero Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés. He watches over our door and with his voice is the voices of all of us. We ask you to listen to him, that is, to look at him as we look at ourselves, " stated Subcomandante Marcos in an announcement on the new appointment.

Moisés is one of the best-known insurgent commanders in the public life of the EZLN. On February 16, 1994, during the handover of General Absalon Castellanos - an EZLN prisoner of war - he appeared for the first time directing what would be the beginning of Zapatista public events after the start of the war. It was an act full of symbolism that ended with the exchange of the former Governor of Chiapas, known for his ruthlessness, for hundreds of Zapatista prisoners that were captured during the first days of the war. It was an act used to present an ethical movement that had sentenced him [the former governor] to carry the weight of forgiveness of those he had humiliated, imprisoned and murdered.

"I come to hand over the prisoner of war, General Absalon Castellanos Dominguez. In short: The People’s Army, the Zapatista Army of National Liberation, has served as being the go between of warriors and rivals. The value of military honor is the only bridge. Only real men use it. Those who fight with honor, speak with honor." These were the first words heard from the then Major Moisés, during one of the most emotional events of the last 19 years of struggle: the first appearance of the Zapatista support bases in Guadalupe Tepeyac.

Subcomandante Moisés, a Native Tzetal, came to the Zapatista organization, he says, in 1983. He started out by being sent to “the city” as part of his preparation and there, in a clandestine house, he met Subcomandante Pedro, who would become his commander, and Moisés his right hand man. Later he would become very close to Subcomandante Marcos. Moisés was one of those who went to organize the people in the Tojolabal valley in Las Margaritas. He went from village to village, family to family, explaining the reasons of the struggle.

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