HomeNewsAnalysisZapatistas Deny Kidnapping 'Jefe' Diego
ANALYSIS

Zapatistas Deny Kidnapping 'Jefe' Diego

KIDNAPPING / 3 JAN 2011 BY INSIGHT CRIME EN

The Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN), the 17-year old rebel group based in the southern state of Chiapas, denied responsibility for kidnapping one of Mexico's most prominent politicians, Diego Fernandez de Cevallos.

The two editors of the leftist group's website, Enlace Zapatista, said that the group "does not resort to kidnapping to obtain resources nor for political propaganda."

In a statement published Saturday by Spanish news agency EFE, an alleged member of the EZLN, called "El Guerrero Balam," said that the Zapatistas were behind Cevallos' kidnapping last year. The politician was held by unidentified captors for over seven months until he was freed in December, reportedly after his family paid millions of dollars for his release.

Initial theories speculated that organized criminal groups were behind Cevallo's disappearance. But the mystery continues with the appearance of El Guerrero Balam. Aside from claiming to be a loyal associate of "Subcomandante Marcos," leader of the EZLN, Guerrero Balam said that Cevallos was a "main enemy of the project" to obtain indigenous independence in 1994, when Cevallos ran for president. 

The EZLN, however, has distanced themselves from Guerrero Balam and whatever group he may be representing, if any. In a statement signed by Javier Elorriaga and Sergio Rodriguez Lazcano, the editors of Enlance Zapatista, the group said that Balam's statement was intended to "seek the limelight, generate confusion and serve the interests of those in power." Kidnapping has never been practiced by the EZLN in the group's 17-year history, they added.

The EZLN announced its presence on January 1, 1994, the day that the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) between Mexico and the United States took effect, by overruning the town of San Cristobal de las Casas in Chiapas, Mexico. But the group has always been known more for its ability to garner attention than fight battles with the military. While technically still in existance, the EZLN has not attacked the government for years.

The group that initially claimed responsibility for Cevallos' kidnapping called itself the Network for Global Transformation. In statements allegedly issued by the group, it appears to adhere to an extreme leftist ideology, criticizing Cevallos for advancing "criminal" and "neoliberal" policies. Many analysts attributed the kidnapping to the Popular Revolutionary Army (EPR), a small rebel group that operates mostly in the state of Oaxaca.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

KNIGHTS TEMPLAR / 13 APR 2016

The appearance of new and recycled armed groups whose motives are as questionable as their video-making credentials is the…

JUAREZ CARTEL / 12 NOV 2010

Five hundred seventy-two police have left the municipal force in Reynosa, Tamaulipas, the embattled town along the Texas…

KNIGHTS TEMPLAR / 28 OCT 2013

A series of coordinated attacks on electrical plants and gas stations in Michoacan, Mexico has taken the state's conflict between…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Apure Investigation Makes Headlines

22 OCT 2021

InSight Crime’s investigation into the battle for the Venezuelan border state of Apure resonated in both Colombian and Venezuelan media. A dozen outlets picked up the report, including Venezuela’s…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Tackles Illegal Fishing

15 OCT 2021

In October, InSight Crime and American University’s Center for Latin American and Latino Studies (CLALS) began a year-long project on illegal, unreported, unregulated (IUU) fishing in…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Featured in Handbook for Reporting on Organized Crime

8 OCT 2021

In late September, the Global Investigative Journalism Network (GIJN) published an excerpt of its forthcoming guide on reporting organized crime in Indonesia.

THE ORGANIZATION

Probing Organized Crime in Haiti

1 OCT 2021

InSight Crime has made it a priority to investigate organized crime in Haiti, where an impotent state is reeling after the July assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, coupled with an…

THE ORGANIZATION

Emergency First Aid in Hostile Environments

24 SEP 2021

At InSight Crime's annual treat, we ramped up hostile environment and emergency first aid training for our 40-member staff, many of whom conduct on-the-ground investigations in dangerous corners of the region.