José Luis Solís López was a full-time Zapatista since before the 1994 indigenous uprising. Galeano was his struggle name (nombre de lucha). Involved in every one of the peace initiatives of the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN) over the last 20 years, he was killed by a 22 calibre bullet in the right leg and one in the chest. He also received a machete wound in his mouth, blows to the back and a coup de grace shot in the back of the head.
A teacher from the zone in the Zapatista Escuelita, José Luis was the victim of an attack by members of the Independent Central of Agricultural Workers and Campesinos (CIOAC) Historic, not of a confrontation with this organization, as earlier versions reported. Nor is it true that he and his compañeros were armed. The Zapatistas have not used a rifle for over 20 years. They are an army and their communities have organization and discipline. They have not taken one out, not because they could not do so, but because – as the intellectuals John Berger, Immanuel Wallerstein and Pablo González Casanova have said, along with many others who have given them their solidarity – they have made a committment, “with a profound political and ethical will, not to allow confrontation between indigenous.”
A neighbour of the emblematic caracol of Reality, for years the community most under siege from the Army, the counterinsurgency plans, the press and national and international visits, he never shied away from a job or assignment, such as when he was chosen as a Votan of the first generation of the Zapatista Escuelita.
José Luis was inside the caracol when his compañeros were ambushed by paramilitaries from the CIOAC, PVEM and PAN. Hearing the attacks at the entrance to the community, he ran together with other Zapatistas to go to support their compañeros, “but they could not reach them because they were attacked in the middle of the village with guns, and that’s where our compañero fell,” the good government junta in the zone reported.
Of his participation in the escuelita last summer, Galeano said, “They – referring to the students – thought that the Zapatistas were in the mountains, so they said, they never thought that the Zapatistas are flesh and blood and are human beings like them, and that we are in the communities and that we are organizing. So I see that for me the escuelita is a means to meet with and learn from other people of the city, our country and the world. “
The testimony was collected in the first issue of the magazine Rebeldía Zapatista, and circulated after his death by the Chiapas Free Media Centre.