Why now? Several observers have raised this question since the announcement in early May that Jorge Llaven Abarca, Mexico’s secretary of public security for the troubled southern state of Chiapas, had engaged in talks with the Israeli defence ministry. According to Llaven Abarca, the parties discussed security cooperation and coordination on policing, prisons and the effective use of technology. Only one major Mexican news organisation reported on the announcement in its immediate aftermath.
Chiapas is home to the EZLN (Ejercito Zapatista de Liberacion Nacional), a movement comprised of indigenous Mayan fighters and their supporters. The Zapatistas led a popular rebellion against the Mexican government in January 1994, on the occasion of NAFTA’s implementation, re-taking large tracts of land in and around the Lacandon rainforest. Since then, the EZLN has established cooperative farms, autonomous schools, health clinics and other community infrastructure.