dorset chiapas solidarity

October 21, 2014

EZLN: Oct 22 actions supporting Ayotzinapa and Yaquis

Filed under: Zapatista — Tags: , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 5:02 am



EZLN: Oct 22 actions supporting Ayotzinapa and Yaquis



OCTOBER 20, 2014

Communiqué from the Revolutionary Indigenous Clandestine Committee—General Command of the Zapatista Army for National Liberation


October 19, 2014

To the classmates, teachers, and family members of the dead and disappeared of the Escuela Normal[i] “Raúl Isidro Burgos” of Ayotzinapa, Guerrero, Mexico.

To the Yaqui people:

To the National Indigenous Congress:

To the National and International Sixth:

To the peoples of Mexico and the world:

Sisters and Brothers:

Compañeras and Compañeros:

The Zapatista Army for National Liberation joins the actions slated for October 22, 2014, at 6pm, in demand of  safe return for the 43 disappeared students; in demand of punishment for those responsible for the murders and forced disappearances; and in demand of unconditional liberation for our Yaqui brothers Mario Luna Romero and Fernando Jiménez Gutierrez,

As part of this global day of action, the Zapatista people will shine our small light on some of the paths that we walk.

Along the highways, dirt roads, paths and potholes, the Zapatista people will add our outrage to that of our Ayotzinapa brothers and the heroic Yaqui people.

Although small, our light is our way of embracing those who are missing and those who suffer in their absence.

Let this light demonstrate that we are not alone in the pain and rage that blanket the soils of the Mexico below.

Because those of us below hurt with rage and rebellion, not with resignation and conformity.

We call on the Sixth in Mexico and the world and on the National Indigenous Congress to also participate, according to their abilities, in this day of actions.




From the mountains of the Mexican Southeast.

For the Revolutionary Indigenous Clandestine Committee—General Command of the Zapatista Army for National Liberation.

Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés.

Mexico, October 2014. In the twentieth year of the war against oblivion.

[i] The Escuelas Normales in Mexico are teaching colleges that principally train rural and indigenous young people to be teachers in their own communities.


October 20, 2014

Iguala, Guerrero, Mexico: “What I Saw and Heard About Ayotzinapa Massacre ” – Father Alejandro Solalinde

Filed under: Human rights — Tags: , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 7:25 pm



A message from Dorset Chiapas Solidarity: We hope our readers will understand why we have recently been publishing some news which does not appear to be Chiapas-based. We hope they will also understand why we reluctantly decided to publish the following, when the hope of the world is that the students will be returned alive. Thank you.



Iguala, Guerrero, Mexico: “What I Saw and Heard About Ayotzinapa Massacre ” – Father Alejandro Solalinde




Proceso: José Reveles

He was a young normal school student from Ayotzinapa, one of the Indigenous who were saved. Suddenly, he broke out weeping inconsolably. Father Alejandro Solalinde recalls:”And I wept with him, we cried together for a long time.”

That was on Wednesday, October 15.

Last Sunday, October 12, the priest was able to interview some of the police and people involved in the kidnapping of the 43 students who, supposedly, the government continues “searching for,” but they were eliminated in the early hours of September 27: “I cannot tell you who they are, because their lives are in danger. They are full of fear, because they are people of conscience, people of our people who were witnesses of the horror (in truth, they were more than witnesses, he adds). They are people who told me that some of the injured students they burned were not dead.”

Solalinde asked one of the informers who communicated the horror directly: “Why didn’t you report it?” “He replied, ”But to whom, if everyone is judge and jury? I cannot go say anything knowing that they are going to kill me first thing. My testimony wouldn’t reach anyone’.”

In an interview, Solalinde recapitulates: “It is heartrending information that fills me with sorrow and pain. Its confirmation would reveal not only the viciousness of an entire system, but also its hypocrisy and the mismanagement of the tragedy. Instead of taking a humanitarian approach, they took a political one, as if the tragedy could be a political resource for channeling (advantages) to the political parties.”

Proceso: Are you confirming it? Do you have any doubts about these witnesses?

“No. Absolutely not. They gave me details, but they are like police in Oaxaca who did things against their will and were driven nearly mad by their conscience, by remorse. They no longer serve the State.”

Proceso: Did you first inform the bishops, the Catholic hierarchy?

“I haven’t spoken with them, but I will. I am a friend of the Bishop of Acapulco and of the others, and I know that the Church has a lot of information, because the people approach their ministers and confide in them what is haunting them inside.”

Proceso: Why did you make this massacre public, when the government says that it is continuing to look for the 43 normal school students alive?

“Because my conscience demands it. I cannot remain silent. I am outraged to hear Governor Ángel Aguirre Rivero saying that he is hopeful, that he is confident that they are going to find the normal school students alive.

“Why do they manage the truth politically? They knew [the truth] before I and other priests whom people approach. In the government, from the outset, they receive information from everyone; they are only pretending with political opportunism.”

The State Shot to Kill and Kidnapped

Proceso: Can you overcome the entire power structure?

“My conscience and my duty as a priest come first, before such considerations. I do not manage myself like the politicians. We have to get to the bottom with the truth and not manipulate it politically.”

The well-known defender of migrant rights then adds, “We have to arrive at total transparency,” because the State “persecuted the normal school students. It shot them. On two occasions, it shot to kill. It delivered to the criminal gang the survivors they were able to capture and they were burned in a cruel manner.”

Proceso: Might they not have wanted to trick you with false or exaggerated information just to make a scandal?

“Everything is possible. Even a trap for me. Except that one knows and has experience with people. I would prefer that they pounce on me rather than continuing to deceive the people with false hope, when the government already has all the information.”

Father Solalinde likes to respond with questions: “Oh, how I hope I am wrong, but I don’t think so. Let’s see: if the students from Ayotzinapa were alive, do you think that they [government] would pass up the opportunity to release them so the problem wouldn’t continue to grow? [Failure to do so] is the best confirmation that they were liquidated. This is why the young student burst into tears when I began to talk to him about the other testimonies, because they [government had] raised the hope that they would find the disappeared students alive.

“Clearly, we see that the political parties are making time for everything to remain in doubt and gain time to win the election [midterm Congressional elections in June of 2015]. The government first [PRI, Party of the Institutional Revolution, party in power]. The PRD [left-leaning Party of the Democratic Revolution] is doing it in order not to lose that important stronghold [Guerrero's Governor is PRD], because it involves political capital.

“The PAN [rightist National Action Party] has never had influence in the southern part of the country because it has not had any interest in poor people; nonetheless, it can also make the most of the two [political parties] that are already stalled, because a third party could possibly make gains in Guerrero society.”

The priest says that starting at the federal level, through the state level and, of course, at the municipal level, “everything that happens in Guerrero is a patch. All that is done is a patch, but the same thing happens in Veracruz, Tamaulipas, Michoacán, everywhere.

“What is needed is a reworking of Mexico, the country in which bodies appear everywhere. Mexico is a grave. Why not make a national pact, a national dialogue. Why not take the best that we have and rework the country?”

The priest answers his own question: “Because the authorities invest more in powers for domination, and because they are at the service of other neoliberal, capitalist interests. We do not interest them. They do not care about us.”

Politicians “appear on television. The people see them on television, in photographs and in the press. They are people who seem serious, responsible. They seem truly concerned about us. But the truth is that we are alone.”

The priest says that in Michoacán, Veracruz, Nuevo León and in other states, only palliatives are implemented. The government does not yet know what to do “and the problem is that the violence is border to border and coast to coast.”

The Politically Useful

Another point-blank question is posed by the founder and director of the Migrants on the Road shelter located in Ixtepec, Oaxaca: “Let’s see. Politically speaking, what is least damaging? To say, ‘here are the tortured, burned, buried, destroyed’? Or to manage that they are disappeared?”

He does not wait for the response, which he has himself repeated several times: “For the politicians, the preservation of hope is more useful because, with that, there is no evidence, yet, that [that strategy] exhibits the criminality of the State itself.”

Solalinde said that it was providential that he missed the plane that was to take him from Guerrero to Nayarit. Instead, he was given the opportunity to be connected with eyewitnesses who were present at everything.

Proceso: Only eyewitnesses?

Solalinde hesitates for a few seconds, then responds: “Something more than that.”

He is not very explicit, because he doesn’t want to jeopardize those people. He knows that the government checks all his movements. By telephone, he prefers not to speak about certain things. But he lets loose: “Obviously, they remain fearful. I cannot say anything more because, believe me, it isn’t just them but also their families who are threatened if they tell what they saw.”

Translated by Jane Brundage




Iguala, Guerrero, Mexico: “The 43 Ayotzinapa students are dead, some were burned alive,” Father Alejandro Solalinde




Proceso, 17th October, 2014

The 43 Ayotzinapa normal school students disappeared from Iguala are dead. There is no hope that they will appear alive and some were burned alive, Father Alejandro Solalinde said today.

In an interview for the Novosti agency and the Austrian daily Der Standard of Vienna, he said: “From Sunday to today, I have had several meetings with witnesses, eyewitnesses, students who suffered the first and second attack, but there are other sources, who are not students, who spoke to us of another time. They talk about some that were wounded, and the wounded were burned alive. They poured diesel fuel on them. That is going to become known. They say that before they put wood over them, some of them were alive, some dead.

“The first direct information I got on Sunday. The second I got yesterday in Mexico City. The first thing I learned is that there are witnesses, but they are afraid to speak. There are witnesses among the police themselves. There is always someone who has a conscience; but if they talk, they fear that they are going to be killed,” said the priest.

Solalinde clarified that he doesn’t know whether the young people could be in one of the pits that the Attorney General’s Office (PGR) and the Union of Peoples and Organizations of the State of Guerrero (UPOEG) found in Iguala.

“We don’t know. If they are in the pits, the Argentine forensic anthropology team doesn’t have the technology to find out. They can work in normal conditions, but it is impossible with charred remains,” but, he insisted: “There is no hope that they are alive.”

Solalinde, who is the National Human Rights Award winner in 2012, said the Mexican government is managing the case politically rather than as one of justice, and assessing what truth to tell, that with the least political cost.

“What is least painful for the system? To say they were burned up, with all that implies? Or to say that they are missing, and they do not know what happened? Because it is less shocking to say the latter, and also less compromising, but it is more painful for the families to leave them with hope. The government knows many things. If it is withholding the truth, that is its responsibility. I must say, their management is already contaminated and its management is not one of justice. It’s political,” he charged.


Translated by Reed Brundage



An urgent message from SIPAZ: Urgent Action – Case of Ayotzinapa, Iguala, Guerrero, Mexico

Filed under: Human rights — Tags: , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 6:48 pm



An urgent message from SIPAZ:


Urgent Action – Case of Ayotzinapa, Iguala, Guerrero, Mexico



Dear readers of SIPAZ,

We the team-members of The International Service for Peace (SIPAZ) greet you. SIPAZ is an international organization that has worked for over 18 years in favour of peace and human rights in Mexico. It is comprised of a coalition of more than 50 organizations from the U.S. and Europe that share concerns for human rights in Mexico.

As part of its work, SIPAZ has maintained a semi-permanent presence in the state of Guerrero since 2006, accompanying local indigenous and campesino organizations and collectives, men and women, and human-rights defenders who struggle for the good of their communities, respect for their rights, and the protection of their lands.

As you may already know, on 26 and 27 September in Iguala, Guerrero State, Mexico, municipal police as well as members of an unknown armed commando group opened fire at several coordinated events against students from the Raúl Isidro Burgos Rural Normal School of Ayotzinapa, in addition to athletes and other civilians, leaving six dead (3 of them students from Ayotzinapa), 25 injured, and more than 50 students forcibly disappeared (all of them from the same school in question).

Now three weeks after these events, little progress has been made in the search for the disappeared, although mass-graves containing dozens of bodies have been found. For this reason, and thus echoing the proposals made by several local, national, and international organizations, we urge you to write letters to the Mexican authorities (using list provided below) to demand the following points:

  1. To forthrightly carry out an independent and exhaustive investigation of all the events that took place on 26 and 27 September in Iguala.
  2. To process and punish the municipal police who are responsible for the extrajudicial executions as well as the municipal authorities who omitted and consented to the grave human-rights violations in question.
  3. To launch administrative and judicial processes against state and federal authorities who failed in their duties to reasonably prevent these grave rights-violations from taking place.
  4. To carry out investigations and searches to determine the whereabouts of the disappeared students, to present them with life, and to guarantee access to ministerial investigations on the part of relatives of the victims and their representatives
  5. To implement precautionary measures toward the end of guaranteeing and protecting the physical and psychological integrity of the disappeared students.
  6. To guarantee comprehensive medical and psychological attention to the harmed students.
  7. To establish the truth and comprehensively to compensate the damages to victims and their relatives by means of payment, restitution, rehabilitation, and guarantees of non-repetition.
  8. To guarantee the security and physical integrity of the students who have denounced the acts and of the human-rights defenders who have accompanied the social processes of the students from the Ayotzinapa Rural Normal School, in accordance with the stipulations of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights regarding the rights and responsibilities of peoples, groups, and social organizations to promote and protect the human rights and basic freedoms that are recognized universally.

We thank you for your interest and support in responding to these events, which have caused us great alarm.


The SIPAZ team


Lic. Miguel Ángel Osorio Chong
Secretario de Gobernación
C. Abraham González No.48, Col. Juárez, Del. Cuauhtémoc C. P. 06600, México, D. F.
Tel. (55) 5728-7400 ó 7300.

Lic. Jesús Murillo Karam
Federal Attorney General
Paseo de la Reforma 211-213, Piso 16
Col. Cuauhtémoc, Del. Cuauhtémoc, C.P. 06500 México D. F.
Tel: (52.55) 53460000 ext. 0108
Fax: (52.55) 5346.0928

Lic. Ángel Aguirre Heladio
Governor of Guerrero State
Palacio de Gobierno, Edificio Centro 2do. Piso, Col. Ciudad de los Servicios,
C.P. 39074 Chilpancingo, Guerrero, México
Fax: +52 747 471 9956;

Lic. Jesús Martínez Garnelo
Secretary of Governance for Guerrero State 
Palacio de Gobierno, Edificio Norte, 2º Piso.,
Boulevard Lic. René Juárez Cisneros No. 62. Col. Cd, de los Servicios, C.P. 39074, Chilpancingo, Gro.
Tel: (747) 471 9803, 471 9804, 471 9806,

Lic. Iñaki Blanco Cabrera
State Attorney General of Guerrero
Procuraduría General de Justicia del Estado de Guerrero
Boulevard René Juárez Cisneros S/N, esquina calle Juan Jiménez SánchezCol. El Potrerito,
C.P. 39098, Chilpancingo, Guerrero
.Tel. 01 747 494 29 99

Dr. Raúl Plascencia Villanueva
President of the National Commission on Human Rights 
Edificio “Héctor Fix Zamudio”, Blvd. Adolfo López Mateos 1922, 6° piso,
Col. Tlacopac San Ángel, Del. Álvaro Obregón, C.P. 01040, México, D.F.
Tels. y fax (55) 56 81 81 25 y 54 90 74 00,

Lic. Ramón Navarrete Magdaleno
President of the Commission for the Defense of Human Rights in Guerrero State (CODDEHUM)
Avda. Juárez, Esq. Galo Soberón y Parra
Col. Centro, 39000, Chilpancingo, Guerrero, México.
Teléfono: (+52) (01) 747 471 21 90 Fax: (+52) (01) 747 471 2190

Javier Hernández Valencia
United Nations High Commissioners Office
Alejandro Dumas No 165,
Col. Polanco. Del. Miguel Hidalgo. C.P 11560, México D.F.
Tel: (52-55) 5061-6350; Fax: (52-55) 5061-6358  ;

Dr. Emilio Alvarez Icaza
Executive Secretary of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights
1889 F Street, N.W. Washington, D.C., 20006 U.S.A.
Tel: 202-458-6002
Fax: 202-458-3992


Global Day of Action for Ayotzinapa: Wednesday 22nd October, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 12:15 pm


Global Day of Action for Ayotzinapa: Wednesday 22nd October, 2014






Action in London:






Action in Edinburgh:

PROTEST IN SUPPORT OF THE KILLED AND MISSING IN AYOTZINAPA WEDNESDAY AT 12:30                                                                                                                         TOP OF MIDDLE MEADOW WALK, NEAR TO LAURISTON PLACE




Sign the Open Letter from Abroad, to be published on Wednesday:







Bishop Raúl Vera on the Massacre of Ayotzinapa Students

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 10:03 am



Bishop Raúl Vera on the Massacre of Ayotzinapa Students

Raúl Vera: Ayotzinapa / Acteal, “a message from the state to intimidate the insurgents”

The massacring of social strugglers is “a habit” in Mexico: Raúl Vera




By desinformemonos

Mexico. “I don’t believe it is organized crime; it’s something else. This is a message to social strugglers; we have already seen it in many places,” accuses Bishop Raúl Vera [1] –who has carried out his pastoral work in sites of conflict in Mexico, from Coahuila to Chiapas, passing through Guerrero. The massacre of normalistas [2] at the hands of Iguala’s police, on September 26, has a background in other repressions “and the excessive use of force,” he indicates.

Vera compares the attacks on students –that as of today have resulted in six people executed, 43 disappeared and 25 injured, two of them gravely- with the governmental repression in San Salvador Atenco in 2006. “We’re dealing with State terrorism tactics,” he sums up.

Another day of protests took place in 10 Mexican states on Saturday, October 18, demanding the presentation with life of the 43 students detained and disappeared 3 weeks ago. Marchers in Acapulco (above) also demanded the exit of Governor Angel Aguirre Rivero. Photo by Victor Camacho, La Jornada.

Another day of protests took place in 10 Mexican states on Saturday, October 18, demanding the presentation with life of the 43 students detained and disappeared 3 weeks ago. Marchers in Acapulco (above) also demanded the exit of Governor Angel Aguirre Rivero. Photo by Victor Camacho, La Jornada.

Acteal and Iguala: cruelty

The Bishop of Saltillo, Coahuila, finds as a coinciding point between the massacre of Acteal, Chiapas, in 1997, and the extrajudicial execution and forced disappearance of students, the cruelty with which it is enacted. In Chiapas, the behaviour towards the murdered Tzotziles–“who had chosen to be pacifists, almost all women and children,” he clarifies – was “Kaibilesque.” [3] The priest insists that it was a message from the State to intimidate the insurgents.

Another similarity between the massacres, which provoked international condemnation of the Mexican government, is in the impunity which surrounds them. In Acteal, although the paramilitaries were captured, they are now free. And in Iguala, the kidnapping in June 2013 of eight activists and the murder of three of them, belonging to Popular Unity, also remains unpunished. According to a survivor, the one directly responsible for the execution was the mayor, José Luis Abarca, now a fugitive. The widow of one of the murdered leaders, Sofía Mendoza, continues to be threatened by the criminals, the Dominican points out.

In Acteal, Raúl Vera insists, there are testimonies that the state police and the Army concealed and covered up the actions of the paramilitaries. “We see this kind of thing in Iguala,” he compares. The Bishop, as part of the organization called Decade against Impunity Network, participated in two human rights observation caravans to Guerrero, one for the Iguala case.

Vera elaborates on the assassination of Arturo Hernández Cardona, leader of Popular Unity, which “disturbed” Abarca because Cardona organized a “strong” demonstration to demand the implementation of government aid. He points out that Cardona was captured, together with the other seven militants, and taken to empty land on the outskirts of Iguala, where the mayor threatened him and killed him, accompanied “by the criminals,” he relates. The survivor gave their statement in March of this year, “and no one has moved a single finger.”

“In these disappearances, another type of body now participates,” the Bishop explains. And he insists that the criminals are the “arms” of the mayor. He classifies as “absurd” the versions that indicate that the normalistas could have disturbed, in any way, the criminals: “That is trying to legitimize what happened.”

“We no longer know where the cartels end and the organized crime begins within the political structure and the apparatus of justice. We are already fed up with this frightening collusion,” he laments.



[1] Raúl Vera is the Catholic Bishop of Coahuila, a state in Mexico. He is the Chair of the Board of Directors of the Fray Bartolomé de las Casas Human Rights Centre in Chiapas.

[2] Normalistas are students who attend rural teaching colleges, which principally train campesino and indigenous young people to be teachers in their own communities.

[3] A Kaibil is a member of one of the army’s death squads in Guatemala during its long civil war. The Kaibiles used unusually brutal tactics to terrorize the population.


Originally Published in Spanish by Desinformemonos

Translation by Chiapas Support Committee

Monday, October 13, 2014





Words from San Sebastián Bachajón during the gathering celebrating “522 years of indigenous resistance to the European invasion,”

Filed under: Bachajon, Displacement, Indigenous, La Sexta — Tags: , , , , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 9:25 am


Words from San Sebastián Bachajón during the gathering celebrating “522 years of indigenous resistance to the European invasion,” Ejido Los Llanos, 12th October, 2014

From the “Day of Race” to the Day Of Resistance: The Harm Caused by the Road from San Cristobal to Palenque. By: Aldabi Olvera



Through the voice of the indigenous Tzeltal and Tzotzil communities, original peoples of Chiapas, the demand to stop the federal project resonates in the Highlands of Chiapas through narratives that describe the harassment and pressure from the government, despite the lands being reclaimed during the Zapatista uprising.

12th October, “Columbus Day”: the commemoration of the “discovery of America”, when 522 years ago sailors arrived from Europe. The discovery turned out to be nothing more than the imposition of a system for the “new” continent.

Since then, dispossessed, persecuted and cornered in the forests and mountains, the indigenous lost part of their lands.

In Mexico, on the first of January 1994, only two years after the five hundredth anniversary of the “Day of the Race”, the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) rose up in arms and took back what are now known as the recuperated territories, stolen by the might of the local caciques.

Twenty years after the Zapatista uprising, these same lands are being targeted by entrepreneurs who are looking to build a road…





Domingo Pérez, indigenous Tzeltal from San Sebastián Bachajón, speaks while his compañeros hold up a banner behind him which says: Juan Vázquez Guzmán lives, the Bachajón struggle continues.

“We thank you for the opportunity to talk and to speak, and to share with you our experience of struggle and resistance. We are adherents to the Sixth (Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle). We have been in struggle for about eight years and the root of the organization (community) is that the ejido is made up of common lands, the ejidal authorities were only one and they sold out to the bad government and then the bad government with the political parties divided the ejido.”

He relates:

“Many more years ago in San Sebastián Bachajón there is a place called the waterfalls of Agua Azul, part of it belongs to the ejido and the other part to Tumbalá. Since 1980 there has been a nature reserve, but Conagua altered the co-ordinates marked on the previous plan and which affects our territory, they are planning to build hotels, golf courses and others for the benefit of the bad government and big businesses, other countries and transnationals, but the government says it is development for the communities, which is a lie.”

On 24 April, 2013, Juan Vázquez Guzmán, a member of the organization, was murdered. On 21 March, 2014, Juan Carlos Gómez was murdered. On 15 September Juan Antonio Gómez Silvano, Mario Aguilar Silvano, Roberto Gómez Hernández, also from Bachajón were arrested accused of the attempted murder of police from the municipality of Chilón.

The banner shines behind him, there are the adherents with a star around an indigenous face: “Juan Vázquez Guzmán lives, the Bachajón struggle continues.”

“The super highway does not benefit us compañeros, and the bad government goes straight to the Commissioner without consulting with the people and assembly and went to the Ejido of Salto de Agua to sign an agreement to give passage to the super highway but not with the consent of the people.”

192 of the 206 communities of the neighbouring ejido of San Jerónimo Bachajón also declared themselves against the Highway. This decision was taken at a community assembly of nearly two thousand people in the town of Guadalupe Paxilá, on August 30, 2014.

“San Sebastián has three centres of population and 208 communities and the three centres do not know it. A few made ​​this agreement, selling out to the bad government but we are against it because it destroys our resources. There are big mountains, rivers, waterfalls. There are compañeros whose land with their coffee plantations and crops it will cross, and we will not allow it to affect seven municipalities from San Cristobal to Palenque.”

“The government has been doing it with the death of two compañeros and with the imprisonment, but we will keep fighting, as we already said the land is not for sale, it is defended. We are people of corn, we are of the earth. We eat from her and will not allow the highway to pass. As we say in our community, not one step to the super highway.”








October 18, 2014

Ejidatarios from Los Llanos defend Mother Earth against Megaproject

Filed under: Bachajon, Displacement — Tags: , , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 2:01 pm


Ejidatarios from Los Llanos defend Mother Earth against Megaproject


Source:  Espoir Chiapas / Esperanza Chiapas


On the 12th of October, 900 people came together in the Ejido Los Llanos, in the municipality of San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas, following the invitation given by the ejidatarios on the 21st of September.

From 8 in the morning normal time, 9 am bad government time, people from different communities, peoples and organizations came together in the community space of the compañeros of Ejido Los Llanos where they have the sacred area with the three crosses, flowers, candles etc. to join a prayer with traditional music.

After the prayer and some more modern music, they began with the 3 moments of traditional dance, which lasted for about 30 minutes.

After this several compañeros gave their word.

We propose in this article to give several summaries of the presentations of each representative, and the entire speech of others.



Words of the Commissioner of Ejido Los Llanos, municipality of San Cristobal de las Casas. 

“Good morning compañerxs

105_5788We are gathered here for one reason, to defend our lands. These lands where we are now were reclaimed in December 94, we do not forget how we reclaimed these lands, there was much sadness, many Zapatista support base compañeros shed their blood, the compañeros came in trucks and gave their lives to keep the land where we are now.

The bad government dispossesses us, we are removed to so they can do their projects without consulting us to see if we like it or not. And this is happening in many municipalities, communities.

This is why we will not give up even one metre of land. This is why we are going to build our strength together. The lands are our mother, here we present the fruits on the platform, as an example of the fruits we get from her such as corn, squash, chilacayote, tortillas, etc. this is our food and we will not feed the rich.

We will defend. The super highway is going to pass through the ejido El Porvenir, we will not sell the lands. Because the land feeds us, it nurtures us, we will not sell it to the rich who come from other nations nor those from the national level.

This is our mother earth, we are hanging on to it tightly and we always will, we will not give up even a metre.

Then the word passed to the compañero from the vigilance council of the ejido of Los Llanos, who insisted on the importance of unity among the people to fight against this megaproject. He recalled the history of his ejido, that in 1994, “we recuperated the blessed land of 2 farms (…) Various people died, 2 minibuses with support bases of the EZLN shed their blood, lost their lives, their women wept, so we value their efforts” (because they left children, wives.)

He said that “the land is not for sale, the mother earth has no price, and should not be sold to the rich and big business.” He took a potato from the altar in his hand, and showed it to the whole assembly, saying “we are very wrong to buy our potatoes in OXXO, Walmart and in supermarkets. Because we give away our money to businessmen, even though the earth gives it to us!”
Then the compañeros of Ejido El Porvenir in the municipality of Huixtán gave their word.

105_5807“Good day compañeras and compañeros

We did not come here today to celebrate quietly, we came here to defend our rights, to make our struggles against the bad government. It cost lives to recover our lands. It is possible to defend our lands compañerxs, even possibly with our lives.

The fruits we bring are our fuel; we are like cars that need their fuel.

The government, the rich, are very clever, they know how to sell us their ideas, and this is why the reform is happening now, the government clearly wants the ejidos to disappear, it wants to impose the PROCEDE programme, but this is only for the rich capitalists.

They deceive us in many ways, because we do not know our rights, or maybe because it was voted on at election time. The PRI and the other parties only dedicate themselves to violating farmers and orphans.

Truly we have to defend our rights, sisters and brothers, open our eyes, join forces, get together and ask our Lord for more strength.

Much violence is with us, we are in struggle, we are organising well in the places where we come from, we spread the word with our compañerxs. The government is a pure lie, pure deception, so that it tells us “if you don’t sell us your land you will go to prison,” but do not be afraid brothers, we will take the word with the others, with our children, because they are the ones who will have to care for the earth after, we are only passing through life, no more.

Some slogans that were used:
East, west, north, south, whatever it takes! Zapata lives, the struggle continues!











A social struggle, just but also legal! 

105_5826The Lawyer Ricardo Lagunes announced that he had also taken the case through the legal route, denouncing that in November 2013 the government threatened to use public force against them if they prevented the passage of the highway.

They therefore used legal means to oppose it, since they were not consulted as the constitution requires. The lawyer said that they cannot impose a project if there is no agreement. The Secretary of Communications and Transport refused to accept that the compas would be affected.  He also denounced that for several years the government has attempted to pay the authorities to make the necessary agreements; once they have those agreements, the people cannot do much, so that the Secretary of Government of Chiapas announced that the only two communities which were in resistance to the project are Mitziton and Los Llanos, which is not true.
Then the compañeros from San Sebastian Bachajon occupied the rostrum, installing their banner with the face of Juan Vazquez Guzman, looking at the assembly. The compas, adherents to the Sixth, recalled their struggle, their roots, for 8 years now, against megaprojects like the tourist centre of Agua Azul and now against the highway.

They remembered that at the same time as this event, in San Miguel in the municipality of Salto del Agua, compas were gathering against this megaproject of the highway.

They stated that they have no fear, they already know that the government is ready for anything, sending their paramilitaries, imprisoning more than 117 ejidatarios few years ago and now more recently with the unjust arrest of 3 compañeros.

“We will not remain silent, we will continue the struggle, the land is not for sale, it will be defended, we will not allow the passage of the highway, it is good to be united, this will not be the first nor the last time!”


Invitation to a pilgrimage on the 25th November in San Cristobal 

The Commissioner of the Candelaria community, in the municipality of San Cristobal de las Casas, a community which welcomed nearly a month ago 3000 people in struggle against highway, gave their word and invited people to a pilgrimage on the 25th of November. Here is his speech:

105_5834“Good morning sisters and brothers

I am very happy that our forces are together, we gather, we awaken and gather our thoughts together, let us unite more.

Our Mother Earth feeds us, because of that we unite to defend her, we support, we share, so it is important to get to meetings and assemblies to awaken ourselves, and that we do not stay at home. I very much appreciate your presence, that of many people from different communities, and also the organizers.

Without more ado, we invite you to a pilgrimage that will take place on 25th November, 2014, at 8 am in the city of San Cristobal de las Casas, the gathering place will be at Plaza Soriana. On the occasion of the International Day of Women and Mother Earth.


Women’s Solidarity against the projects of Destruction.


105_5836Then compañeras from the Women’s Law Centre read a statement written by several women’s groups such as the collectives las palomas, las gaviotas, la mujer de grandeza, de Aguacatenango etc…

The statement highlighted “an example of struggle and coexistence.” “We are not alone!” “Together we will struggle and defend our land; not only against the highway but against all projects of destruction.” “We will join our voices together so the bad government can hear us.”

At the end, the compañeras shouted slogans such as: “If Ramona was alive, she would be with us.”
Finally the compañero from the vigilance council of the ejido Los Llanos read the comunicado from San Francisco Xochicuautla, sent from the centre of the country, to give some parallels to their struggles, to beware of the promises of the bad government which they never fulfil, “they promised us that we would get bridges for our animals and that we could sell on the bank, but that was just a lie.”

Finally they greeted the struggle of their brothers and sisters in Chiapas.

The event ended with music and all the attendees were invited to eat together.

Related Information: Los Llanos se suman al rechazo de la autopista y lanzan una invita



October 17, 2014

Ejido San Sebastian Bachajón attends the 80th anniversary of the ejido Tila.

Filed under: Bachajon, Human rights, Indigenous, Political prisoners, Repression, Tourism — Tags: , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 5:59 pm



Ejido San Sebastian Bachajón attends the 80th anniversary of the ejido Tila.


Ejido San Sebastian Bachajón attends the 80th anniversary of the ejido Tila. “It is the organised people who command, enough of discrimination and dispossession. No to the San Cristóbal - Palenque highway, and other megaprojects”, they say. “Freedom for political prisoners!” they demand.

Ejido San Sebastian Bachajón attends the 80th anniversary of the ejido Tila. “It is the organised people who command, enough of discrimination and dispossession. No to the San Cristóbal – Palenque highway, and other megaprojects”, they say. “Freedom for political prisoners!” they demand.



Justice for Bachajón! Today, 16th October, it is a month since detention and torture of the three indigenous Tzeltales from the community of Virgin de Dolores in the Ejido San Sebastián Bachajón.  After 30 days of unjust detention, the conditions under which they are detained in prison in Yajalón are deplorable, because, as members of the collective #‎MasDe131 and the Network against Repression who visited them make clear, they are in need of medical attention, because the wounds resulting from the blows to which they were subjected have yet to heal.

Justice for Bachajón! Today, 16th October, it is a month since detention and torture of the three indigenous Tzeltales from the community of Virgin de Dolores in the Ejido San Sebastián Bachajón.
After 30 days of unjust detention, the conditions under which they are detained in prison in Yajalón are deplorable, because, as members of the collective #‎MasDe131 and the Network against Repression who visited them make clear, they are in need of medical attention, because the wounds resulting from the blows to which they were subjected have yet to heal.





October 15, 2014

43 Missing Students, State Crimes & Resistance in Mexico

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 6:07 pm

43 Missing Students, State Crimes & Resistance in Mexico


By Dawn Paley, Oct.15, 2014

1555407_1498929623709504_1663148470843276962_nThe story of the 43 young men, students at a teacher training college in Ayotzinapa, who were disappeared in Iguala, Mexico on September 26th is one that isn’t going to go away.

Recall that they were “kidnapped by police and nothing has been heard from them since. The Mexican government and mainstream media are relying heavily on the narrative that the responsible party in these crimes is a “drug gang” called Guerreros Unidos. That narrative distorts and distracts from despicable state crimes by pointing to organized crime and corrupt cops as being solely responsible.

This is a short update meant to demystify official claims, which are (as usual) finding great echo in the media, as well as to bring folks up to date on ongoing acts of resistance in Mexico.

On the day the students were detained by police, before also being disappeared by them, six people were killed by gunshot wounds when cops opened fire on various vehicles. There are now ample survivors who have bravely told media what took place that day, and they’re not talking about attacks by Guerreros Unidos or some other crime group.

They describe how police fired directly on groups clearly identified as students. Here’s a snippet from an excellent piece by Vice Mexico:

“When it started, one of us said, ‘Don’t be afraid, friends, they are firing to the sky’,” Mario went on. “The buses stopped, and that’s when I saw the bullets were coming toward us.”

The young men began panicking. Mario and three other friends got off, each also wearing the red jacket of their Ayotzinapa uniforms. They saw that the gunfire was coming from men inside two municipal police cruisers. Trying to defend himself, Mario threw rocks in their direction.

“As bullets kept hitting the buses, they ran to the first bus. “But then we saw that they were ten police cars, surrounding us. We had nowhere to run and no rocks to defend ourselves,” Mario said.

“One of the bullets hit Aldo, who fell right next to me. I saw how a pool of blood formed. I yelled at them that they already hit one of us, and they began firing more,” he went on. “If you moved, they fired, if you yelled or talked, they fired. They fired so much, from in front, and from behind, that us, the ones who got off, we hid in between the first and second bus.”

Yesterday it was revealed that the 9-10 mass graves that were found outside of Iguala almost two weeks ago do not contain the bodies of the 43 missing students. We now know that at least 28 more people were killed around that time, they were tortured, cut into pieces, and burned before being buried outside of Iguala.

We must now speak of various massacres in Iguala (not to mention mass graves containing nine bodies found in April and another nine in May of this year on the outskirts of the city).

But the government of Mexico’s involvement in these crimes goes beyond police actions and their collaboration with paramilitary groups in the region. It was reported that authorities also impeded the work of an Argentine Forensic team tasked with identifying the remains in the graves. “There were two days of agnoy and complications, and on the third day things were normalized,” [according to a lawyer on the scene].

Because of the loss of those initial hours, they arrived at the first five graves – out of which they took 28 bodies – once the exhumations were already done. “They didn’t have the opportunity to participate in that.”

The mayor of Iguala, who belongs to the sham leftist PRD (Party of the Democratic Revolution), is on the run with his wife. Note that governor of Guerrero is also a member of the PRD.


I guess that’s my lead in to update on the resistance and organization taking place in the face of this massive, ongoing tragedy.

There were marches throughout the country a week ago today, as well as in cities around the world, including Vancouver and Montreal. Coming back to my segue-way, Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas, the so called “moral leader” of the sham-left PRD party, was attacked during the October 8th demo by protestors in Mexico City who threw garbage and yelled at him and his entourage. But the marches were big, and there were lots of them, and the attack on Cárdenas was just a bit of a sideshow that demonstrates how pissed people are at all of the political parties in this country. Of the main protest slogans in the marches is: ¡Vivos los llevaron, vivos los queremos! which translates as: They were taken alive, we want them back alive!

Militant highway blockades have been taking place in various locations. There was one this morning on a major highway in the south of Mexico City.

Also today the National University (UNAM) and various other large universities in Mexico City (UAM, IPN and UACM) entered their second day of a two day student strike, with another two day strike proposed for next week.

Lastly, for the moment, on October 13th the State Congress of Guerrero was burned by protesters. The building will not re-open for some time and government activities have been suspended until an alternative seat of government is found. Chilpancingo’s City Hall was also set on fire.



October 14, 2014

Invitation To The World Festival Of Resistances And Rebellions Against Capitalism “Where Those Above Destroy, We Below Rebuild”

Filed under: Zapatista — Tags: , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 5:25 pm


Invitation To The World Festival Of Resistances And Rebellions Against Capitalism “Where Those Above Destroy, We Below Rebuild”


reissued by Enlace Zapatista 13th October, 2014


gracias de verdad


Saturday, August 9, 2014

Invitation from the EZLN and CNI to the World Festival of Resistances and Rebellions

To the brothers and sisters of the National and International Sixth:

In the gathering of our peoples in the Exchange between Zapatista Peoples and the National Indigenous Congress “David Ruíz Garcia,” we shared with each other our pain as well as our words and experiences of struggle, rebellion, and resistance.

Together we know that within our rebellions is our “NO” to the politics of destruction that capitalism carries out across the world. And we know that within our resistances are the seeds of the world that we want.

These rebellions and resistances are not just those of the indigenous peoples of Mexico. They are also found in the footsteps of the originary peoples across the continent and in all corners of the earth where individuals, groups, collectives, and organizations not only say “NO” to destruction, but go about constructing something new.

In this exchange, which we know has been possible largely due to the support of brothers and sisters of the National and International Sixth, we confirm that our mother earth, giver of all life on the planet, is in danger, and thus all of humanity is also. We see that it is neoliberal capitalism that has caused all of this pain, destruction, and death, and which has dispossessed, exploited, disrespected, and repressed us.

In defense of mother earth and in the struggle for humanity and against neoliberalism, no struggle is small.

Brothers and sisters of the National and International Sixth, we know that this savage and deathly capitalism is not invincible. We have learned this from the Zapatista experience and from the rebellions and resistances that bloom all over the planet whose pain is our pain, whose struggles are our struggles, and who dreams are our dreams. So we want to share with you the words, experiences, paths, and collective decision that a world where many worlds fit is possible. As we are concretizing the steps toward this dream, it is necessary to share with each other what we are thinking, to listen to each other in order to understand our struggles and our rebellions and learn from our forms of resistance.

The peoples, tribes, and nations assembled here have agreed to carry out, in cooperation with you, the “First World Festival of Resistances and Rebellions Against Capitalism” with the theme, “WHERE THOSE ABOVE DESTROY, WE BELOW REBUILD.”

This gigantic world exchange will take place between December 22, 2014 and January 3, 2015 in the following places:

festival_dic*Inauguration in the community Ñatho de San Francisco Xochicuautla, Lerma, Mexico State, Sunday, December 21, 2014.

*Exchanges in the communities of San Francisco Xochicuatla and Amizingo, Morelos, December 22 and 23, 2014.

*Great Cultural Festival in the Federal District December 24, 25, and 26, 2014.

*Continuation of the exchanges in the communities Binnizá de Juchitán, Oaxaca, and in the Yucatan Peninsula December 28 and 29, 2014.

*Celebration of Anticapitalist Rebellion and Resistance in the Caracol of Oventic, December 31, 2014 and January 1, 2015.

*Conclusions, closing event, pronunciations, and declarations in CIDECI, San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, January 2 and 3, 2015.

Our exchange in this “First World Festival of Resistances and Rebellions Against Capitalism” will be between Zapatista Peoples, the peoples, tribes, nations, and barrios of the CNI, indigenous peoples from all over the continent, and the peoples, collectives, and individuals all over the world who are adherents of the National and International Sixth.

In the next few days we will provide more details about this convocation.

Our peoples of maize, in holding this exchange with all of you, will become like a field that flourishes, strengthening our resistances and caring for our mother earth on this new path that we want to share with you.

From the Zapatista Realidad, August 2014.

Toward the holistic reconstitution of our peoples.

Never Again a Mexico Without Us



In addition to the individuals, groups, collectives, and organizations of the Sixth all over the world who join this convocation.



The Humility of Love: A Lesson from Chiapas

Filed under: Zapatista — Tags: , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 5:15 pm



The Humility of Love: A Lesson from Chiapas

Humility. An important word you rarely hear in our culture anymore. Our culture seems to be going in the opposite direction, everything with a superlative. Everything bigger, faster, better, stronger. Everything new, shiny, pretty, expensive. But never humble. “Dude, love that car. It’s so humble.” Yeah, you never hear that.

Politically on the left, in the “fight” as we call it, we’re just as guilty. We have a tendency towards ego, self-righteousness, hyper-individualism. We want our movements to be better, stronger, bigger. We want the big social “pop-off”, the “sexy” revolution, perhaps our face on the next generation’s t-shirts. But we never ask for humility. As we near what most scientists predict to be “climate catastrophe”, I’ve been thinking a lot about humility. I recently was able to travel to Chiapas, Mexico to learn about the Zapatista movement. I was there for a month, working with various groups in a human rights capacity. While I was there to provide some type of service, I left with a profound respect for a true revolutionary humility. This essay is not designed to be a complete history of the Zapatista movement, but perhaps it can provide some context.


The Zapatistas are an indigenous movement based in the southern state of Chiapas, Mexico. The name is derived from Emiliano Zapata, who led the Liberation Army of the South during the Mexican Revolution, which lasted approximately from 1910-1920. Zapata’s main rallying cry was “land and liberty”, exemplifying the sentiments of the many indigenous populations who supported and formed his army. The modern-day Zapatistas declare themselves the ideological heirs to these struggles, again representing many indigenous struggles in southern Mexico. While the Zapatistas became public in 1994, as their name implies, their struggle is the culmination of decades of struggle. Many of the mestizos (non-indigenous) organizers came from the revolutionary student struggles of the 60s and 70s in Mexico’s larger cities. In 1983, many of these organizers, along with their indigenous counterparts, who represented decades of indigenous organizing in the jungles of Mexico, formed the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN). From 1983 to their dramatic declaration of war against the Mexican government in 1994, the EZLN formed and trained a secret army under the cover of the Lacandon Jungle. After a decade of organizing and training in the context of extreme poverty, an army of indigenous peasants, led by a mix of mestizos and indigenous leaders, surprised the world by storming five major towns in Chiapas. They chose the early morning hours of January 1st, 1994, the day the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) went into effect. The connection with NAFTA was intentional because the destructive neoliberal policies inherent in the agreement were viewed as a death sentence to indigenous livelihoods. They used old guns, machetes, and sticks to take over government buildings, release prisoners from the San Cristobal jail, and make their first announcement, The First Declaration from the Lacandon Jungle. With most wearing the now signature pasamontañas over their faces, theydeclared war on the Mexican government, saying:

We are a product of 500 years of struggle: first against slavery, then during the War of Independence against Spain led by insurgents, then to avoid being absorbed by North American imperialism, then to promulgate our constitution and expel the French empire from our soil, and later the dictatorship of Porfirio Diaz denied us the just application of the Reform laws and the people rebelled and leaders like Villa and Zapata emerged, poor men just like us. We have been denied the most elemental preparation so they can use us as cannon fodder and pillage the wealth of our country. They don’t care that we have nothing, absolutely nothing, not even a roof over our heads, no land, no work, no health care, no food nor education. Nor are we able to freely and democratically elect our political representatives, nor is there independence from foreigners, nor is there peace nor justice for ourselves and our children.

But today, we say ENOUGH IS ENOUGH…

We, the men and women, full and free, are conscious that the war that we have declared is our last resort, but also a just one. The dictators are applying an undeclared genocidal war against our people for many years. Therefore we ask for your participation, your decision to support this plan that struggles for work, land, housing, food, health care, education, independence, freedom, democracy, justice and peace. We declare that we will not stop fighting until the basic demands of our people have been met by forming a government of our country that is free and democratic.

Very true to the words of Zapata, that it is “better to die on your feet than live on your knees”, the EZLN fighters engaged in a self-described suicide against the Mexican government. As Subcommandante Marcos, now known as Subcomandante Insurgente Galeano, the public face of the EZLN, stated, “If I am living on borrowed time, it is because we thought that we would go to the world above on the first of January. When I arrived at the second day, and the following, it was all extra.”1


What followed was a war of government repression. The quiet mountain towns of Chiapas were flooded with advanced military equipment and troops. A twelve-day battle ensued, with rebel retreats and civilian massacres, finally ending with a cease-fire. Following this “peace agreement”, the EZLN no longer offensively attacked, but refused to lay down their arms. The government engaged in raids, attacks on civilian populations, as well as initiating a paramilitary war. A formal peace accords, known as the San Andres Accords, was signed between the government and the EZLN leadership in February of 1996. It addressed some of the root causes of the rebellion, such as indigenous autonomy and legal protections for indigenous rights. While signed in 1996, the law did not make it to the Mexican congress until 2000. There it was gutted, removing key principles as signed by the EZLN, such as the right of indigenous autonomy. Much has been written on the history of the EZLN after the failure of the peace accords, including the march to Mexico City, as well as the EZLN’s attempts at fostering a larger social movement force. The EZLN released their “Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle”, which highlights their call to the Mexican and international populations to work to ”find agreement between those of us who are simple and humble and, together, we will organize all over the country and reach agreement in our struggles, which are alone right now, separated from each other, and we will find something like a program that has what we all want, and a plan for how we are going to achieve the realization of that program…”

In 2003, the EZLN released a statement that began the process of radically restructuring the Zapatista communities with the development of autonomous municipalities, called caracoles (conch shell). The name caracole was picked because as Marcos once explained, the conch shell was used to “summon the community” as well as an “aid to hear the most distant words”. The caracoles and their respective “councils of good government” (as opposed to the “bad government” of Mexico) were designed to organize the rebel municipalities as well as to push forward the original mandate of indigenous autonomy. With the failure of the San Andres accords, the Zapatista’s openly decided that they would follow the word of the accords that they had signed, regardless of the Mexican government’s policy. In line with their mandate to “lead by obeying”, the EZLN, the armed aspect of the Zapatista’s, separated themselves from the work of the civil society and abdicated control of the Zapatista movement to the caracoles. The objective was “to create — with, by, and for the communities — organizations of resistance that are at once connected, coordinated and self-governing, which enable them to improve their capacity to make a different world possible. At the same time, the project postulates that, as far as possible, the communities and the peoples should immediately put into practice the alternative life that they seek, in order to gain experience. They should not wait until they have more power to do this. “What has occurred in the past decade is that the Zapatistas have put the original demand for indigenous autonomy into practice by creating autonomous governments, health systems, economic systems, and educational systems. In doing so, they have stayed true to the ideals of “leading from below” and a rejection of the ideal to overtake state power. They have “constructed a world in which they have realized their own vision of freedom and autonomy, and continue to fight for a world in which other worlds are possible.”


Their fight is very much alive today, more than twenty years after its first public appearance. My recent visit was to the Oventik caracole, located in the Zona Alta region. Myself and three others were sent as human rights observers with El Centro de Derechos Humanos Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas (Fray Bartolome de Las Casa Human Rights Center) to the small community of Huitepec, immediately north of the mountain town of San Cristobal de Las Casas. Here the community is placed in charge of protecting the large Zapatista reserve of Huitepec from loggers, poachers, and government forces. As observers, our task was to accompany the Zapatista families on their daily walks through the 100+ acre reserve, keep track of any intrusions on the autonomous land, and document any infractions. We lived in a simple house, with a fire to cook on and wood panels for sleeping. There was no running water, minimal electricity, and no forms of electronic communication, even with the close proximity to the town of San Cristobal.

Through these eyes we learned of the daily struggle of the Zapatistas. The community consisted of eight Zapatista families. Originally fifteen families, many of them had left Zapatismo to suffer against poverty with the “bad” government. The families who stayed as Zapatistas were indigenous to the area, having struggled to protect the land long before the Zapatista’s uprising in 1994. The families lived in poverty, dividing their time between protecting the reserve, growing flowers for sale in San Cristobal, and working their rented fields two hours away. Their days started with the sunrise and often ended long after the sun had set. Their hands were strong and their walk through the mountains fast, evidence of a lifetime of hard labor. They told us of life before the uprising, coming to Zapatismo, their struggles with inner council decisions, and their hopes for the future. We bombarded them with questions, testing the theories of the Zapatistas we had read in books and working to understand the structure of their autonomy. Most spoke Spanish fluently, but outside of our conversations, they spoke their indigenous language. Often times, long questions were answered with a pause and then a “Si!,” only to find out later that much had been lost in translation. The Zapatistas taught us to recognize medicinal plants on our walks, how to cut firewood, helped our dying cooking fires, and shared tea and sweet bread with us. For much of our time together we sat in silence, staring at the fire, each unsure of what to say to people from such different cultures. We, the foreigners, sat in silence in the reserve, lost in our thoughts, struggling to understand the lessons in front of us.

Fortunately, there was little work to be done in our role as human rights observers. As the families stated, most of the repressive tactics of the “bad” government in that area have been rare in recent years. Paramilitary and military forces still effect Zapatista communities, as evidenced by theassassination of José Luis López, known as “Galeano” to the community, a prominent teacher in the caracole of La Realidad in May of 2014. In addition, a week prior to our arrival, paramilitary forces had forcibly displaced 72 Zapatista families from the San Manuel community.

As I look back on my experience, I am forced to place it in the context of what we on the left are doing here in the US and I think back to the humility of the experience. The backdrop of the experience was always in the context of the severe poverty the community struggled against. The families cleaned their ripped clothes as best they could, walked for hours in the jungle in plastic, tired shoes, and spoke of their struggle to place food in their stomachs. They told us of the newborn who had died a few weeks prior to our arrival. They softly commented on the lack of rain in their fields, which meant that no crops had grown. When asked what they would do, they shrugged their shoulders, stared off into the horizon, and quietly said “I don’t know.”

One of the elders (names intentionally left out for security reasons) told us of what he felt for the future. He told us that little by little, more and more Zapatistas are asking the EZLN to take up arms again. He felt they were at a similar social situation as they were in 1993, prior to the uprising. And then he said something that truly humbled me. He said, “we love this land, and if we’re going to die anyway, it would be better to die fighting.” His face was filled with a distant look, touched by sadness, but also of determination. And then there was silence. No theories, no Che t-shirts, no rhyming slogans. No quotes, no chest thumping, no sectarianism. Just the honesty of someone who has nothing left to lose and everything to gain. In that moment, I was gifted the glimpse of the true humility of revolutionary thought. Here was a man who has struggled to survive his entire life. He fights in the way he knows how. He has a simple house and wears the same tucked in dirty dress shirt. He works in the fields as well as the communal government. He knows that the fight he and his community face are against massive transnational corporations who wish to extract the precious resources underneath his ancestral land. He knows that they will hire the government, paramilitary forces, and the police to intimidate and coerce him into submission, likely killing him and his family if he refuses. He lives in an area of the world that has been described as one of the most affected by climate change. And because of this climate change, a force that he did not cause, his children will not have food for the winter. He does not talk of Facebook posts, of petitioning politicians, of symbolic protests. There is no mention of hashtags, things going “viral”, “working with the police”, buying organic, fad diets, or identity politics. There are no self-congratulatory emails after symbolic protests. He doesn’t say anything about “being the change,” “finding himself,” or engaging in a never-ending debate on the use of violence versus non-violence. He simply states “we are part of this land and we will die to protect it,” and then continues walking.

I find myself thinking about that community as I re-enter the world of activism here in New York City. We are bombarded with the temptations of an insane and immoral culture of consumption. As I write this, young black men are being assassinated by police officers, inequality is at an all-time high, the newspapers are filled with “Fashion Week” events, and people are camping out in front of the Apple store for their new Iphones. On the left, communities are organizing around every type of campaign, with a growing focus on climate change. While there is some great grassroots work being done, even in the insanity of New York City, I can’t help but see the lack of humility that exists in our progressive communities. I include myself in this critique, and write as a member of the Left.

Our conversations are dominated with rhetoric and sectarianism. We talk in the language of books and posts, not in material experiences. We speak of “developing” the third world, as though our complicity in a globally destructive system of capitalism is somehow as invisible as we would like to believe. We use our politically correct language and speak of our “individual oppression”. We wait for perfection, for the “revolution”, wearing our “radical” clothes, speaking our “radical” talk in our “radical” spaces that are devoid of any connection to the material world. And at the end of the day, the destruction around us, the destruction that we are complicit in, continues. Something that has embedded itself in my thoughts this past year is exemplified by two quotes. One is a quote by Che Guevara, in which he says, “At the risk of sounding ridiculous, let me say that the true revolutionary is guided by great feelings of love.” The second is a lyric by the group “The Last Poets”, where they proclaim, “Speak not of revolution until you are willing to eat rats to survive, come the Revolution.” Quite different ideas, and yet, as I return to the craziness of New York City, I see how similar they are. Revolution is a term often thrown about without a clear definition. Some people see revolution in the context of an armed uprising of oppressed peoples, others, like the CEOs of Chevrolet, see revolution in terms of their new car line. Others see a “revolution of ideas” transforming the world. For the Zapatistas, it is based in the “radical” idea that the poor of the world should be allowed to live, and to live in a way that fits their needs. They fight for their right to healthy food, clean water, and a life in commune with their land. It is an ideal filled with love, but a specific love of their land, of themselves, and of their larger community. They fight for their land not based in some abstract rejection of destruction of beautiful places, but from a sense of connectedness. They are part of the land they live on, and to allow its destruction is to concede their destruction. They have shown that they are willing to sacrifice, be it the little comforts of life they have, their liberty, or their life itself.

We here in the Left in the US talk about the issues of the world ad nauseaum. We pontificate from afar on theories of oppression, revolutionary histories, and daily incidences of state violence. We speak of climate change as something in the future. But so often we are removed from the materiality of the oppression. Climate change is not something in the future, but rather it is something that is killing 1,000 children per day, roughly 400,000 people per year. Scientists are now saying that the species extinction rate is 1,000 times the natural background extinction rate, with some estimates at 200 species a day, because of climate change. Black men are being killed at a rate of one every 28 hours in the US. One in three women globally will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime. There are more global slaves than ever in human history, with the average cost of a slave being $90. It is estimated that there is dioxin, one of the most horrific chemicals we have created and a known carcinogen, in every mother’s breast milk. We read about “solidarity” with the oppressed and work for “justice”. We speak of “loving the land” and wanting to “protect” nature. But how can we say we “love” these people/places/things when the actions we take to protect them have been proven to be wholly ineffective and stand no chance of doing so?

We are told to focus on small lifestyle reforms, petitioning politicians who have shown that they do not listen to us, and relying on a regulatory system that is fundamentally corrupt. We are bombarded with baseless utopian visions of a “sustainable world”, complete with solar panels, wind turbines, abundance, and peace. But these are false visions, meant to distract us. Our entire world infrastructure is based in an extractive, destructive process, without which our first world way of life is entirely impossible. Everything from the global wars, increasing poverty, the police state, and climate change are built around this foundational injustice. These injustices are inherent and are not “reformable”. If it were our child who being slaughtered to mine the rare earth minerals necessary for our technology, would we perhaps have a different view of our smartphone? If our land were being irradiated by runoff from solar panel factories, would we think differently about green energy? If our brother was murdered by a police officer to protect a system of racial oppression, would we be ok with just posting articles on facebook about police brutality? If paramilitaries were going to murder our family to gain access to timber, would we engage in discussions on the justifications for pacifism?

In the face of the horrific statistics of our dying planet, we need a radically different tactic. We need a radical humility. As an example, just to temper the slaughter of the 400,000 human beings being killed by climate change would require a 90% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. That means no more industrial food production, no more travel, no more development of green energy, no electricity, no internet, no police state, and I’m sorry to say, no fucking Iphone 6. Tell me how our movements even touch on the reality of our current situation? I think that for the majority of the Left in the “developed world”, if we truly had love as our foundation, our actions would have much more humility.

For me, this is what Che is speaking to. Those who truly want to change the world need to base their reality in a reality of love. It is love, with all its beauty and romanticism, but also with its inherent responsibility, that powers those who are willing to sacrifice. With that love comes a loss of self and the beginning of humility. Most of us here in the global north who fight for global justice must learn this humility. We, as a whole, are more privileged than any other population has ever been in human history. History has shown that we will not give up this privilege. We will not “eat rats” voluntarily, no matter how radical we may think we are. These things can only be taken from us. If we truly want a world of justice, we must understand this fact and accept the humility to forget ourselves.

The Zapatistas, as almost all indigenous movements, have at the base of their revolution a love of the land. By losing themselves into the larger struggle of the land, they allow the land to teach them how to struggle. But their fight is not our fight. They demand us to return to our cultures and fight. Because what will ultimately kill the Zapatistas will not be the Mexican government. It will be the Mexican government, hired by transnational corporations coming from the US and Canada, who will build dams, extract mineral resources, and create “free-trade zones” so that we can continue to enjoy our material comforts. Until we lose our identity-based politics, and allow ourselves to learn from those who are being oppressed by our lifestyle, we will never achieve the justice we think we desire. Author Drew Dellinger writes in a poem entitled “Angels and Ancestors”:  “I pray to be a conduit. An angel once told me, ‘The only way to walk through fire…become fire.’”

If we work for justice, let us embrace this humility and allow ourselves to be led by those who know. Let us become fire. And perhaps in that way, we will be ready to eat rats.

  1. Interview: Subcomandante Marcos,” El Proceso, 21 February 1994. []

Frank Coughlin is an emergency medicine resident at a public hospital in New York City. He has worked abroad in Haiti, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, and most recently Chiapas, Mexico. He is an organizer with the radical environmental group Deep Green Resistance, working on issues ranging from anti-police brutality, anti-extraction infrastructure, and building a true culture of resistance.


October 13, 2014

More than 800 indigenous from the highlands and northern zone of Chiapas repeat their rejection of the San Cristobal-Palenque highway

Filed under: Indigenous, Tourism, Bachajon, La Sexta, Displacement — Tags: , , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 7:04 pm


More than 800 indigenous from the highlands and northern zone of Chiapas repeat their rejection of the San Cristobal-Palenque highway

Pozol Colectivo, October 12, 2014




Los Llanos, Chiapas, October 12. More than 800 indigenous, from communities such as Candelaria, San José el Porvenir, Nuevo Corralchem and San Sebastián ​​Bachajón, arrive at the community of Los Llanos, in the municipality of San Cristobal de las Casas, to express their opposition to the construction of the highway from San Cristóbal to Palenque, which the government intends to build without prior consultation, as they have repeatedly denounced.




With a traditional ceremony, different communities from the Highlands and the northern zone of Chiapas, begin their meeting. “The road does not give me food, how will it benefit me,” Juan Gomez Diaz argues first, from the vigilance council of Los Llanos. “I am sick of how here they threaten to imprison me,” he continues, and affirms strongly, “If I deserve it, put me in prison, but if not, I must live in this land which has been sold.”

For his part, the representative of the community of San José el Porvenir, in the municipality of Huixtán, says that in December 1994, “It cost us a lot of blood to reclaim our land, many lost their lives,” so do not think giving up “not one more step,” he says.

In his participation, the defence lawyer for Los Llanos says that the announcement of the construction of the highway was made in November 2013; for this reason the community requested an amparo (injunction) in early 2014. The authorities’ response has been to deny that the highway would damage the lands of Los Llanos, which means that the law automatically allows the judges to dismiss the amparo, leaving the communities vulnerable, reports the defender.




The indigenous guests from the ejido San Sebastián Bachajón explain that within their lands are located the tourist attraction the Waterfalls of Agua Azul, which they share with the municipality of Tumbalá, however they denounce that the National Council of the Environment (Conam), altered the coordinates of the map affecting Bachajón.

With respect to the highway, the adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle said that it would not benefit them at all, and showed that in the municipality of Salto de Agua, a convention where some communities accept the superhighway had already been signed; for this reason they were also protesting in the San Miguel community of Salto de Agua on the 12th October. The Tzeltal Indians also took the opportunity to demand the release of their three compañeros who were recently imprisoned, despite their statements being obtained under torture.

In the following interventions, the ejido La Candelaria gave an invitation to a pilgrimage on November 25 in San Cristobal de las Casas, where they would make clear their rejection of the dispossession of their land by the highway project. The Centre for Women’s Rights in Chiapas, and communities like La Grandeza and Aguacatenango reminded Los Llanos that they are not alone, and that they have to join together with other communities to defend themselves against megaprojects.

Word also came to the meeting from the Xochicuautla community, in the State of Mexico, which is in resistance against the Naucalpan-Toluca highway which they want to impose on the community. The community, which is a member of the Indigenous National Congress, denounced that, because they are refusing to give up their lands, they continue to experience acts of provocation, persecution, harassment and intimidation towards their communal territory. The indigenous Nanhu also spoke out for justice for the students of the normal school in Ayotzinapa.


Article published here:


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ANTECEDENTES: Desde Laguna Suyul indígenas manifestan su rechazo a la Supercarretera San Cristóbal – Palenque.




October 12, 2014

Indigenous communities meet in Chiapas about super-highway

Filed under: Displacement, Indigenous — Tags: , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 6:29 pm


Indigenous communities meet in Chiapas about super-highway

by Chiapas Support Committee


"No to the destruction of our Mother Earth, because we live in her and we will die for her. No to the super-highway," painted on a building in Los Llanos Ejido.

“No to the destruction of our Mother Earth, because we live in her and we will die for her. No to the super-highway,” painted on a building in Los Llanos Ejido.


Los Llanos Ejido, San Cristobal de Las Casas, adds itself to the resistance against the construction of the Super-Highway, and extends an invitation to know its culture, to share the fruits that Mother Earth yields and to exchange ideas for walking to defend Mother Earth, on October 12.

After the mega-march of Believing People where 15,000 indigenous marched, the mobilisation of 2,000 ejidatarios from Bachajón, and almost 3,000 people from Candelaria who got together to reject the construction of the Super-Highway on their lands, passing through the sacred Laguna Suyul, and the blocking of the Ocosingo-Palenque highway, the Los Llanos ejido owners join this rejection.









Brothers and sisters, compañeros and compañeras, our people continue organizing in defence of our lands which the government has said publicly it wants to affect through the construction of the San Cristóbal de Las Casas to Palenque super-highway. We are making our struggle a legal and political one faced with the threat from the authorities who want to deprive us of our rights as indigenous peoples without respecting the Constitution and the international treaties, just as it wants to do with other Tsotsil, Tseltal and Chol peoples and communities without taking their opinion in to account. The government only wants to do what it wants without asking, by means of force and threats.

We are not in agreement that we are dispossessed of our territory only to serve the capitalist interests of the rich and to discriminate as always against poor campesinos, against we Indigenous that live from Mother Earth. The government must respect its own laws and respect the peoples that don’t sell their lands and dignity for a few pesos; the land has no price.

Our people want to share their struggle with other communities, peoples and organizations who are resisting in the defence of their territory and therefore our Peoples’ Assembly has made an agreement to celebrate the resistance of the indigenous peoples next October 12, 2014 at 8 o’clock, the hour of God, in our lands.

We want you to accompany us so that you know our culture, share the fruits of Mother Earth with us and exchange ideas for walking together to defend Mother Earth.

We await you on October 12, 2014 at 8 am, hour of God, in the place known as Chivero, located at kilometre 5+100 of the San Cristóbal de Las Casas Highway on the way to Ocosingo, one kilometre before arriving at the State Centre for Social Re-adaptation Number 5 (CERSS 5) of San Cristóbal, in front of the GASCOM gas plant.

Tierra y Libertad!

Ejido Commission de Los Llanos,Municipio of San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas

Juan López López, Miguel Jiménez Díaz, Francisco Díaz Gómez, President, Secretary and Treasurer

Vigilance Council of Los Llanos, Municipio of San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas


Originally Posted in Spanish by Espoir Chiapas

Sunday, September 21, 2014



Raúl Zibechi: How the dominant class thinks

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 1:12 pm


Raúl Zibechi: How the dominant class thinks


Chart depicting how much the dominant class keeps

Chart depicting how much the dominant class keeps


The crisis continues to reveal everything that would stay hidden during periods of normality. This includes the strategic projects of the dominant class, their way of seeing the world, the principal gamble they take to continue being the dominant class. This is, in broad strokes, their central objective, to which they subordinate all others, including the capitalist modes of reproduction of the economy.

One can think that the crisis is just a parenthesis, after which everything would continue, more or less, to function as before. It’s not like that. The crisis is not only a revealer, but also the way in which those from above are remodelling the world. That is because the crisis is, in large measure, provoked by them in order to move out of the way or make disappear that which limits their powers; basically, the popular, indigenous, black and mestizo sectors on our continent.

On the other hand, a crisis of this breadth (it is about a group of crises that includes climate crisis/chaos, environmental crisis, health crisis and that which crosses through everything, the crisis of Western civilization) means the more or less profound mutations of societies, of the relation of forces and of the poles of power in the world, in each one of the regions and countries. It seems necessary to me to broach three aspects that don’t exhaust all the latest news that contributes to the crisis but are, to my way of thinking, those that can most have influence on the strategies of the anti-systemic movements.

In first place, what we call the economy has suffered fundamental changes. The chart [above] elaborated by the economist Pavlina Tcherneva, based on Thomas Piketty’s studies about inequality, reveals how the system has functioned since the 1970s, aggravated by the 2008 crisis.

The chart encompasses 60 years of the United States economy, from 1949 to present. It describes what part of income growth the richest 10 percent appropriate, and how much corresponds to the remaining 90 percent. In the 1950s, for example, the wealthy 10 percent appropriated between 20 and 25 percent of new annual incomes. A “normal” capitalist economy functions like that, consisting of a major appropriation by the impresarios of the fruits of human labour, which Marx called surplus value. It is the accumulation of capital through expanded reproduction.

Starting in 1970 an important change is produced that is very visible in the 1980s: the rich 10 percent begins to appropriate 80 percent of the wealth and the 90 percent remains with barely 20 percent of what is generated each year. This period corresponds to the hegemony of financial capital, which David Harvey has called “accumulation by dispossession” or (in Spanish) despojo.

But something extraordinary has been produced since 2001. The rich are left with all the new income and, since 2008, also grab a part of what the 90 percent had, as savings or wealth. What do we name this mode of accumulation? It is a system that no longer is capable of reproducing capitalist relations because it consists of robbery. Capitalism extracted surplus and accumulated wealth (even by dispossession), but expanding capitalist relations, so it sits on wage labour and not slave labour (I owe these reflections to Gustavo Esteva, who formulated them in the Zapatista Escuelita days and in the exchanges afterwards).

It is probable that we are entering into a system even worse than capitalism, a sort of robbery economy, more similar to the way the drug trafficking mafias function than to the business modes which we knew in the better part of the 20th Century. It is also probable that this has not been planned by the dominant class, but rather that it is the fruit of the extravagant search for profits in the financial period and the period of accumulation by dispossession, which has engendered a generation of vultures/wolves incapable of producing anything other than destruction and death around them.

In second place, the fact that the system functions this way implies that those above have decided to save themselves at the expense of all humanity. At some time they made an affective rupture with other human beings and are willing to produce a demographic hecatomb [a slaughter of many], as the chart mentioned above suggests. They want it all.

Similarly, the way in which the system is functioning is more appropriately called the “fourth world war” (as subcomandante insurgente Marcos didthan “accumulation by dispossession,” because the objective is all humanity. It seems that the dominant class decided that with the current degree of technological development it can dispense with the wage labour that generates wealth, and no longer depend upon poor consumers for their products. Aside from the fact that this may be delirium induced by arrogance, it seems evident that those above do not seek to order the world according to their old interests, but rather to generate entire regions (and at times continents) where absolute chaos reigns (as tends to happen in the Middle East) and others of absolute security (like parts of the United States and Europe, and wealthy neighbourhoods of every country).

In sum, they have renounced the idea of “a” society, an idea that is substituted by the image of a concentration camp.

In third place, this has enormous repercussions for the politics of those from below. Democracy is merely a weapon to throw against geopolitical enemies (starting with Russia and China), which does not apply to the regimes of friends (Saudi Arabia). But, it is no longer that system, one to which they sometimes granted some credibility. The same must be said of the nation-State, merely an obstacle to be overcome as is demonstrated by the attacks on Syria, violating their national sovereignty.

No other path is left to us other than to organize our own world, in our own spaces and territories, with our own health, education and food autonomy, With our own powers to make decisions and to accomplish them; in other words, with our own self-defence institutions, without depending on the state institutions.


Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Translation: Chiapas Support Committee

Friday, October 3, 2014

En español:






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