dorset chiapas solidarity

July 26, 2016

Questions About San Juan Chamula

Filed under: Indigenous, Uncategorized — Tags: , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 3:34 pm



Questions About San Juan Chamula




La Jornada Editorial
24th July, 2016

If there is a place in the country where political engineering experiments are dangerous exercises, it’s in the municipality of Chamula, in the Highlands region of Chiapas. Because that, as a matter of fact, seems to be a component to consider in the events that took place yesterday in the municipal seat, where a confusing shooting ended with, as of last night, an undetermined number of victims, among them, the mayor and a local representative. In this context, what does political engineering mean? The expression refers to the deployment of a system whose purpose is to exploit (or possibly foster) the tensions and contradictions already present in a social group to gain political benefits foreign to the interests of that group.

It doesn’t take much to trigger an outbreak of violence in the Highlands region: the long series of clashes that have taken place there since the 1970s, where religious disputes, economic rivalries and bitter struggles for political power have woven a tight web, left that part of the country in a state of latent conflict and at risk of losing, at any time, its precarious social balance. As a result, the community life of the municipality’s indigenous population has been undergoing a gradual process of erosion that has damaged, in addition to mere coexistence, the dynamics of the habits and collective practices of that population. And as it usually happens, the winning fishermen in those troubled waters were the members of the political class that have been holding the main political posts in the region and state.

Yesterday’s events occurred after those on the 20th of this month when more than a hundred supposed residents of San Juan Chamula, carrying some improvised weapons and some not so improvised, atttacked a blockade that members of the National Coordinating Committee of Education Workers maintained on the highway between Tuxtla Gutierrez and San Cristobal de las Casas. In the attack, which left several injured-at least one teacher with a firearm, they had the coverage (or in other words, protection) of members of the state police. After the violent eruption, it was said that the protagonists were farmers, merchants and craftsmen whose livelihoods were affected by the blockade. However, the group of indigenous people who carried out the action showed that to be untrue, as they were armed and maintained a hostile attitude towards the teachers. Officially, it was said there were some detainees, but no authority has taken the time to speak more about the subject.

And then, almost without interruption, one of the usual community protests ends in a bloody shooting, in which, in addition to handguns, R-15 and AK-47 rifles were used. It is difficult to venture a hypothesis to acceptably explain the sudden upsurge of violence in Chamula, although it’s not insignificant that it occurs as the actions of the teacher’s conflict reach Chiapas.

In any case, if the two acts of violence are linked and are due to the unfortunate calculations of a sector interested in ending the CNTE protests, it is expected that sanity will prevail over impatience, irritation and the temptation to push solutions based on force for problems that require, above all, a willingness to negotiate. Finally, we should remember that, from another angle, the Zapatista National Liberation Army had warned a few days before about the risks involved in irresponsibly taking advantage of the struggle between the government and the CNTE to rekindle any hostilities against its members.


Translated by Ruby Izar-Shea


Posted on 26/07/2016 by Dorset Chiapas Solidarity



“There has been a Massacre in San Juan Chamula” says witness

Filed under: Indigenous, Journalists — Tags: , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 2:35 pm


“There has been a Massacre in San Juan Chamula” says witness



Photo caption: Removing the bodies from the plaza in San Juan Chamula

Protest, violence and death

  • Around 20 reported killed by gunfire and machete; shotguns were used
  • The mayor responded to the indigenous who were demanding support and then the shooting started
  • The police arrived three hours later; people had already taken the bodies from the square


By: Hermann Bellinghausen

San Juan Chamula, Chiapas [1]

“It was a massacre,” says a young witness to the shooting that occurred here yesterday at 8 o’clock in the morning in the central plaza of this traditional and famous Tzotzil locality.

An act of demand from various communities, something common here, turned into a lethal shootout that cost the life of Mayor Domingo López González and the council member Narciso Lunes Hernández, as well as an undetermined number of dead and wounded, although those residents present agree that around 20 could be dead, the majority from bullets, but also from machetes.

It is difficult to know the precise number, but the testimonies agree that the first shots came from the city hall.

“People met in the communities from 6 in the morning, to come to demand the programmes that the municipio promised. Everyone came, men and women. No one knew what was going to happen,” adds the witness. “At 8 in the morning President Domingo (of the Green Ecologist Party of Mexico) came out on the balcony of the city hall.”

“After listening to the dissidents he asserted forcefully that he would deliver those resources later, and he asked the people to withdraw. Then he entered the building. The people did not disperse, and then rockets and ‘bombs’ (of gunpowder) came out from inside the building, and the first gunshots.” Various subjects, some masked, who arrived with the PRIístas, had taken up positions below the municipal palace. They were carrying rifles and started to shoot at the building. This group has previously appeared with their faces covered in their protests in Tuxtla Gutiérrez.

It was then that the mayor attempted to leave through the back, but the masked men went after him and they immediately shot him. “They came for that, they were prepared.

“He also had to have others in the streets above, because some came out running and others went behind shooting,” adds the young man, who requests anonymity, but speaks with total fluency and in good Castilla. Three other men surround us and just listen. The first shots came out of the municipal presidency, according to this version, confirmed later by two other indigenous men present in the plaza, who surrounded a man standing on his feet with a bullet wound, who with a hand on his abdomen observed the police arriving in the plaza after 11 o’clock in the morning, almost three and a half hours after the events.

“How long did the shots last? No more than 10 minutes. All the people started to run to the edge of the plaza. Women? Many came, but they stayed at the edge. Yes, some of them were wounded; I don’t know if there were any dead,” the witness explains to La Jornada. Apparently there were other shots afterwards.

The municipal building, painted completely green, is barely separated by a narrow passage from the municipal building of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI, its initials in Spanish). “With red hearts,” proclaims a big sign on its facade. On the side, the presidency shows numerous bullet impacts and broken windows. High-powered weapons were used, according to what a ministerial agent said later, when the police finally arrived. They found cartridges from a 45-caliber pistol, an AK-47 and an R-15. A hole in a curtain is identified which a police agent of mature age considered to be a shot from inside.


chamulaThe photo shows the 2 municipal buildings, (one green, one red), as well as the plaza, now taken over by police.


A town in shock

The body of an older man lies over an abundant puddle of blood on the line of the small area of a soccer field traced at the western side of the plaza. His loneliness is absolute; no one is nearby. An elderly woman remains seated on the stairs at the side of the plaza, as if she is unrelated to everything, silent. Another body remains in sight on the street that goes to the market. According to the testimonies, the mayor and his councilman would have fallen (dead) behind the municipal presidency when they were attempting to flee. The number of  individuals who died in the plaza is unknown, because their family members or companions removed them before 10 o’clock in the morning. According to two Chamulans from the municipal capital, two Nissan “Estaquitas” (trucks) entered the plaza after the confrontation, some indigenous men picked up the dead and injured, and then they went away.

After the shootout, the masked men who killed Domingo López and his collaborator carried the bodies to the front of the city hall, and with gestures and shouts pointed to them and called to the people that were approaching. At least one was re-killed there. “He was already dead, you can come now,” they said. “But the people had not come to fight. They were not informed,” the witness says. By then, the hundreds of indigenous who were protesting had fled and only residents of the municipal capital remained, unrelated to the tragedy, but too deeply affected to be classified as voyeurs. The town is in a state of shock, the streets deserted, except for small groups of men.

Delete that photo

“Delete that photo,” a state police agent with a helmet demands, pointing his tear gas rifle at this reporter when he sees him taking a picture of the man stretched out on the ground. A dozen police vehicles have just entered the plaza and the police jump out onto the ground clutching their weapons, extremely nervous. “Delete it,” he insists. Upon being questioned as to why, another agent farther away aims his rifle for a few seconds, and the first agent, maybe reconsidering, points to the scanty number of indigenous who observe from the periphery of the extensive central plaza: “If you don’t, the people will hit you.” “Then why do you aim at me?”

In fact, the only time that some indigenous attempted to question the reporters was when a state functionary headed to a group of his acquaintances and indicated: “remove the journalists;” the indigenous were limited to preventing us from approaching the presidency, the PRI and the market.

Vehicles from the municipal police of San Cristóbal de Las Casas, the state police and investigative agents arrived sounding their sirens towards 11:30 in the morning and they cordoned off the front part of the plaza with anti-riot equipment and regulation weapons. The extreme nervousness of the agents and functionaries is the most alarming of all. They immediately proceed to collect cartridges and other evidence, and only later do they use latex gloves and bags. Rather than investigating, they are cleaning up the plaza.

From early on, the social networks were flooded with a lot of photographs of the dead functionaries. One of every two Chamulans must have a cell phone. “A lot of photographers were there,” relates the witness quoted above.

Nevertheless, the first press images are from the air and from when the patrols were already at the place. All the images that circulated in the networks and some media were from local residents and are late scenes.

Towards noon, a pick-up truck goes into the plaza. Two women are in the box. One, an older woman, cries inconsolably. Two men get out of the cabin, pick up the body and hastily throw it into the vehicle’s box, face down. So that the doors can close, they bend the knees up, only his feet and the soles of his huaraches are seen once they close the back door of the box. The second woman gets in to the cabin and the pick-up departs. Various police surround the scene without daring to intervene. The woman looks briefly at the feet of the body, turns the face and cries desperately. Nearby, a white truck picks up another body.

Soon, only police agents and patrol cars were in the proximity of the buildings of the PRI and of the municipal council. Not one business is open in the entire town. The people are sheltered in their homes. Some families remain on the flat roofs of the houses near the plaza.

At the border between San Cristóbal and Chamula, in the middle of the road a little sign warned in the morning: “Don’t go to Chamula. There’s a problem.” To say the least!


Translator’s Note:

[1] San Juan Chamula is close to the tourist mecca of San Cristóbal. Chamula is the home of “traditional” religious practices, or at least that’s what they tell the tourists. Day trips for tourists to Chamula are very popular and the municipio (municipality, or county) makes a lot of money from these tourists trips. Chamula is also home to some of the thugs who attacked, evicted and destroyed the encampment and occupation of the “people’s movement” in San Cristóbal. In its Open Letter to the Governor of Chiapas, the EZLN warned the Governor of the danger of stirring up the rivalries in Chamula.


Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Re-published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee

Minor edits for UK audience by Dorset Chiapas Solidarity




Violent Eviction of the Roadblock of Teachers from San Cristobal

Filed under: Indigenous, Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 11:12 am



Violent Eviction of the Roadblock of Teachers from San Cristobal


profes1Eviction of the teachers’ sit-in (Photo@ChiapasDenuncia Pública)


On the morning of July 20, the sit-in protest in rejection of education reform that the National Coordinator of Education Workers (CNTE) has maintained on the toll road to Tuxtla Gutierrez, was destroyed “by a group of 150 armed people.” The representative of Section Seven, Adalberto Rabanales, said the attackers belong to “two attack groups: ALMETRACH (Association of Tenants of Traditional Markets of Chiapas) which works with the Municipal President of San Cristobal de las Casas, Marco Cancino- and a group led by the mayor of San Juan Chamula, Domingo López González, a member of the Green Ecologist Party.” These groups “of attack and the Municipal Police arrived to cause damage, employed the use of firearms and tear gas, respectively.” That same day, according to Radio Regeneracion, four people were reported injured: Rumualdo Guadalupe, primary school teacher who had his body pierced from behind by a firearm projectile, Guadalupe Estrada, wounded by a bullet to the shoulder, one person by a blow with a firearm and another who was run over. The final toll has not been released. There were also attacks on the press. Dolores Rodriguez of Chiapas Network News, was assaulted and injured.

After the eviction, the teachers regrouped in the central park of San Cristobal de Las Casas and made a call to the general public for the reconstruction of the sit-in. Teachers began a demonstration to the blockade to reinstall it. “The show of solidarity was immediate and there where the camp was destroyed, the hands of teachers together with the people returned to lay the foundations of the camp.”

Regarding the dialogue with the Federal Government, a representative of the Chiapas teachers stated that, “it is not possible that being at a negotiating table, for some days they have been trying to break the dialogue. The government wants to impose education reform. We will not remain silent.” Meanwhile the Fray Bartolomé de las Casas Centre for Human Rights (Frayba) spoke out against these events and declared that this attitude “does not help the process of ongoing dialogue with the Federal Government.”


Posted on 26/07/16 by Dorset Chiapas Solidarity



Chiapas: “The people’s patience has run out”, Pueblo Creyente express solidarity with the teachers

Filed under: Indigenous — Tags: , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 6:30 am




Chiapas: “The people’s patience has run out”, Pueblo Creyente express solidarity with the teachers




published by the Pozol Collective, 18 July 2016

Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Chiapas. Pozol, 18 July. Thousands of parishioners from 52 parishes of the dioceses of San Cristobal de las Casas pilgrimaged in solidarity with the teachers and to commemorate the 25 years since the establishment of the Pueblo Creyente movement, which began in 1991 “to seek justice and respect for the most basic rights of being human” stated the pilgrimage organisers after a long walk.

Among the participants in this massive pilgrimage were members from the groups in the Highlands, Lowlands, Cho’l, Southeast, South, Tsotsil, Tzetzal and the Centre. They delivered food supplies to the teachers’ picket in Tuxtla, who have been there since 15 May, protesting the self-styled “education reform”. “We demand an alternative education project”, stated the protesters, among whom are teachers from the trade union sections 7 and 40, which belong to the “Coordinadora Nacional de Trabajadores de la Educación (CNTE – or National Coordinator of Education Workers).

The parishioners from Chiapas expressed via a communique their disdain of the political class in Mexico, its corruption, and the fact that they use laws and the police and military forces to their advantage. “It’s necessary to reorient politics to benefit the most vulnerable,” they emphasised, and to this “it’s necessary to look for alternative and autonomous routes.”

“The people’s patience has run out,” said the indigenous communities and campesino pilgrims categorically. “Enough! We’ve had it with so many lies and tricks; with the exploitation of the poor, and with the manipulation of laws and use of violece,” they stated.

The spokesperson for the Pueblo Creyente Joel Padron asked that the CNTE teachers “don’t get up from the table of dialogue with the Government until we have achieved a Mexico that we want.” This pilgrimage will not finish until we have achieved justice,” added the priest who had been imprisoned in 1991 and for whom the indigenous communities went on pilgrimage to demand his freedom.

Father Marcelo from the parish of Simojovel said that if the government continues to insist on imposing this education reform, we don’t discard the possibility of walking from Chiapas to Mexico City. “A pilgrimage is to liberate people through walking, yelling, and telling the truth,” said the pastor. “If the government imposes these reforms by force, it will do so only by making our blood run,” warned the priest from Chiapas.


Translated by the UK Zapatista Translation Service

Posted by Dorset Chiapas Solidarity




July 25, 2016

Velasco’s Disregard for the Lives of Indigenous People

Filed under: Indigenous — Tags: , , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 3:11 pm



Velasco’s Disregard for the Lives of Indigenous People



Chiapas, Mexico. July 23, 2016

With the violent death of five people after a dispute between members of the Green and PRI political parties, affiliated with the government, in the county seat of San Juan Chamula, once again the state administration of Velasco Coello has demonstrated its disregard for the lives of members of the indigenous communities in Chiapas, whether or not they are their allies. Since the government assumed power, the administration has continually stimulated and incentivised conflicts for the political benefit of itself and its “green Ecology” party.

In the municipality of Chenalhó they also have had deaths in consequence of the party political disputes between the Greens and PRIistas. Last May, a child died from injuries received as the result of a fight between sympathizers and groups opposed to the ex-mayor Rosa Pérez.

And, as a result of the climate of fear present in the region, on June 23, 2015, a member of the civil society organization Las Abejas de Acteal was assassinated. The organization said that Manuel went to the municipal head of Pantelhó. Upon returning and accompanied by his 11 year old son Juan López Guzmán, in the height of the Sibaluk´um bridge about a kilometre from the municipal head of Pantelhó, seven people dressed in military clothing with firearms ambushed the public transport vehicle in which he was travelling, killing him with three shots.

The events in San Juan Chamula also bring to mind the death of Zapatista teacher Galeano, on May 2nd, 2014, after a series of manipulations by the governments of Velasco and Peña Nieto to create tension between other indigenous communities and the Zapatistas.

Another issue is the displaced indigenous families in the region, like the cases of the community Primero de Agosto in Las Margaritas, and Banavil in the municipality of Tenejapa, and the colonia Puebla, in Chenalhó; the government does not see or hear their demands for justice and return to their communities.

Photo: Isain Mandujano.

Posted by Dorset Chiapas Solidarity


From a translation by Palabras Rebeldes



Manuel Velasco killed the mayor of Chamula

Filed under: Indigenous, Uncategorized — Tags: — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 2:07 pm



Manuel Velasco killed the mayor of Chamula



By Chiapas Uncensored, 25th July 2016

The social extravagance, the lack of support and the zero fulfilment of campaign promises were the main reasons why the indigenous of San Juan Chamula staged a confrontation with gunshots, sticks and stones, which killed the mayor Domingo López González, his assistant Narciso Lunes and the justice of peace and reconciliation, Sebastian López. The true guilty party has not been nor will be arrested; it is Manuel Velasco Coello.

Although the Attorney General of the State (PGJE), is working to arrest the perpetrators of the killings in Chamula, the one truly responsible continues to enjoy his life of luxury and excesses, the governor will not go to San Juan Chamula, and this has provoked the anger and resentment of the people.

Here a photo is inserted of the Mayor after he was killed in the central square of Chamula

While nothing justifies depriving another human being of life, Manuel Velasco set off a time bomb, he was warned that trouble would break out unless measures were taken in the matter; this was not done, and the bomb exploded; the result as we all know, is several people dead and wounded.

Currently the majority of the inhabitants of Chamula live in inhuman and precarious conditions. They live in one room made of wood and cardboard, sheets of plastic and rags, with an earth floor and a roof of old plastic and tin, which along with the low temperatures (1°C), makes them ill. This along with the lack of adequate food makes them more vulnerable to disease, they have no means of livelihood, much less education and health.

When Velasco Coello was campaigning for governor, he said he would take up this matter, he would support them and they would have better living conditions; this did not happen.

In a few months Velasco will leave the governorship, and the state remains the same or in worse conditions. This means it is up to us to decide who will lead the direction of our state to where we want it to go.


Posted by Dorset Chiapas Solidarity on 25/07/2016



Insumisión: from Teachers’ Strike to People’s Rebellion

Filed under: Indigenous, Repression, Zapatista — Tags: — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 12:01 pm



Insumisión: from Teachers’ Strike to People’s Rebellion


nochixtlan-indigenous-peoples-caravanIndigenous Peoples Caravan passing through Nochixtlán.


July 24, 2016

Originally published by It’s Going Down
By Scott Campbell

With the ongoing teachers’ strike that has morphed into a widespread rebellion, primarily in Oaxaca and Chiapas, we haven’t put together a more general roundup of resistance and repression in Mexico in some time. While that struggle is very much alive and well, the intensity with which it is unfolding has diminished some. This column will first take a look at the past three weeks of that conflict (if you need to get up to speed, check out this piece) and then cover some of the other recent events around the country.

The teachers belonging to the National Coordinator of Education Workers (CNTE) have now been on strike for more than two months. Since the massacre by federal and state forces in Nochixtlán, Oaxaca on June 19, in which eleven people were killed, the conflict has taken on an increasingly popular dimension. This has looked like direct actions, marches, material support and expressions of solidarity from across Mexico and beyond, in numbers far too large to recount individually.

By way of example, here are some of the actions that have occurred over the past few weeks. Parents and teachers took over toll booths in both Mexico City and Durango for a day, allowing cars to pass through for free. On July 3, an explosives device was detonated at the headquarters of business associations in Mexico City who have been lobbying the government to crush the uprising. There were three days of intense mobilizations from July 5-7 in Mexico City. On the first day, there were at least 70 simultaneous blockades and marches, followed by four mass marches on July 6, and at least ten blockades on July 7.

The Zapatistas have continued releasing statements in support of the teachers’ struggle, stating, “To say it more clearly: for us Zapatistas, the most important thing on this calendar and in the very limited geography from which we resist and struggle, is the struggle of the democratic teachers’ union.” They also went further and announced that they were suspending their participation in the July 17-23 CompArte Festival for Humanity, which they had called for earlier this year. Instead, they sent delegations from all the Zapatista caracoles to donate the food they would have eaten during the seven-day festival to the teachers in resistance in Chiapas. This amounted to 290,000 pesos (15,600 USD) worth of food.

In recognition of the contribution of the people to their struggle and the fact that the people have demands which extend beyond the immediate concerns of the union, on July 9, Section 22 of the CNTE in Oaxaca called for a gathering of teachers and indigenous leaders to “build a peoples’ agenda against structural reforms.” The union met with authorities from 90 municipalities in the state. Important to note is that these authorities are selected as the moral leadership of their communities not through a vote based on political party, but through nominations, discussions and agreements reached in community assemblies. The first outcome of that gathering was the Indigenous Peoples Caravan, which traveled from Oaxaca to Mexico City from July 17-19, with the participation of more than 120 municipal authorities and the teachers’ union. The union is making a similar effort in Chiapas, where they announced union delegates will visit every community in the state to meet with parents and members of civil society. Also in Chiapas, 52 church parishes, primarily adherents to liberation theology, marched in support of the teachers on July 19.

Along with Oaxaca, Chiapas and Mexico City, Michoacán has been holding it down. On July 11, teachers blockaded train tracks at seven different points throughout the state. (Michoacán is home to Lázaro Cardenas, Mexico’s biggest port and one of the largest seaports along the Pacific.) A week later, on July 19 and 20, state and federal forces attacked teachers’ highway blockades there, with 25 teachers being arrested on July 20. More by coincidence than coordination, an attack also occurred on the highway blockade outside of San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas on July 20. In that incident, state and municipal police loaded armed and masked members of the Green Party (PVEM – a right-wing party distinct from international Green Parties) from San Juan Chamula into a tractor trailer, drove it to the blockade and opened it up, providing cover while the paramilitaries attacked and burned the blockade and encampment. Fortunately there were no deaths, though one teacher was shot in the shoulder by a paramilitary. In response, teachers and supporters regrouped in the city center of San Cristóbal, taking over the old city hall and flying a red and black flag from it. (Along with the anarchist connotations, a red and black flag flying from a building in Mexico typically signals that the workers in that building are on strike.) They then marched back to the site of the blockade and built it up once again, where it remains. More context on San Juan Chamula to come later in this piece.

At the same time that all these actions have been occurring, the CNTE and the Interior Ministry have been holding negotiations. They have met a total of six times, addressing political, educational and social issues. At each meeting the teachers come prepared with specific proposals and ask the government to do the same. After each meeting the end result has been the same: no progress. They will meet again on July 26.

In an attempt to subvert the mobilization of the CNTE, the Public Education Ministry has begun negotiations with the National Union of Education Workers (SNTE), the union that all teachers in Mexico belong to and of which the CNTE is considered a “dissident faction.” While telling the CNTE that the educational reform is non-negotiable, the government has indicated to the SNTE that is it willing to modify it. The CNTE responded to this by referring, in an official statement, to the SNTE leadership as “the system’s rats” who “are being increasingly exposed as true mercenaries and scabs.”

The last bit of news from the electoral realm is that on July 14, Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) – who for Mexican politics is something like a never-ending Bernie Sanders – proclaimed, “You can’t repeal the educational reform; that would be a failure of government and doesn’t serve anybody. There must be authority.” AMLO’s latest party, MORENA (he used to be PRI, then PRD), has tried to capitalize on the teachers’ strike to grow their numbers yet its partisans have been notably silent regarding their leader’s rejection of the main demand of the strike.

In some sad news, a teacher, José Caballero Julián, who was wounded on June 11 when state forces attacked the teachers’ encampment in front of the Oaxaca State Institute of Public Education (IEEPO), died of his injuries on July 5. In addition to the eleven massacred in Nochixtlán, Azarel Galán Mendoza who was killed in Viguera and Salvador Olmos García, the anarchist and journalist murdered by police in Huajuapan, Caballero’s death brings the total to fourteen killed by the state in Oaxaca during the course of the rebellion so far.

While the growing national mobilizations initiated by the teachers’ strike has dominated headlines and coverage from Mexico, there are of course numerous ongoing resistances that at least on the surface can be seen as independent of that struggle. The matter pending before the union and the people in resistance is if and how these fights, most of which are directed against neoliberal capitalism and the state, can be coherently integrated into a broader movement. As mentioned above, steps have been taken in that direction, but for the most part it is still the teachers union at the wheel.


okupa-su-destino“Occupy your destiny.” Recent street art in Oaxaca.

Students from the Xochimilco, Azcapotzalco and Iztapalapa campuses of the Autonomous Metropolitan University (UAM) in Mexico City won a major victory earlier this month after occupying the university President’s Offices. The takeover was in response to cuts in scholarships for studying aboard or elsewhere in Mexico. After holding the building and following a twelve hour meeting with the administration, they left with the university agreeing to fund 100 percent of scholarships. Also in Mexico City, riot policeattacked a gathering of indigenous peoples at the Monument to the Revolution on July 15. The organizations and communities were protesting their exclusion and the exclusion of indigenous practices from the process Mexico City is currently going through to restructure its form of governance.

The violence continues unabated in Veracruz, where on July 7, Jairo Guarneros of the Colectivo Feminista Cihuatlahtolli in Orizaba,survived an assassination attempt that occurred one day after he denounced the police murder of a woman riding in a taxi. After killing the woman, the police fled the scene. Pedro Tamayo Rosas became the 17th journalist murdered in Veracruz during the reign of Governor Javier Duarte. Shot eleven times at his home on July 20, Tamayo lived in and reported on the Tierra Blanca region. He had previously fled the state following threats he received for his coverage of the disappearance of five young people by police in that region in January.

With his legacy of oppression, violence and exploitation, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto certainly has a lot to make amends for. So what did he actually decide to apologize for? On July 18, he asked forgiveness for the “perception” of wrongdoing that occurred when in 2014 his wife purchased a $7 million mansion – known as the White House – in Guerrero from a corporation that had tens of millions of dollars’ worth of government contracts. Two days later, the well-known journalist who broke the story, Carmen Aristegui, was sued by her former employer, MVS Radio, to stop the publication of a book on the Casa Blanca scandal. MVS fired Aristegui in 2015 after she first reported on the story. Naturally, MVS and the federal government deny any collusion.

In Cuidad Ixtepec in Oaxaca, organizing continues against attempts by the Canadian mining company Linear Gold Corporation to mine in the area, a project that would not only damage the environment but also archeological sites. On July 12, indigenous women from Ixtepec destroyed a concrete topographical marker put in by the company, followed by a 500-person protest a week later.

This weekend, Oaxaca is seeing three days of festivities for the Tenth Annual Teachers-Peoples Guelaguetza. Guelaguetza is both an indigenous concept and celebration premised on mutual aid and community participation, where communities from around the state come to the city of Oaxaca and hold marches, banquets and dances conveying the traditions of each community. The biggest festival of the year, the Guelaguetza became commercialized by the state, with tickets to attend costing $40, well beyond the reach of the average Oaxacan. Following the 2006 uprising, the Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca (APPO) announced a boycott of the official Guelaguetza and ever since the teachers union and civil society groups have been organizing their own free version. Here’s the promo trailer for this year:

As was mentioned above, the Zapatistas stated they were suspending their participation in the CompArte (a spin on the words “art” and “sharing”) Festival for Humanity. In one statement, they offer a breakdown of the original plans for the 1,400-plus artists who were going to participate (along with a video of Zapatistas dancing to Ska-P). In response, CIDECI-Unitierra, who often assists in the organization of Zapatista events in San Cristóbal, announced they’d still be holding an abridged version of the festival. In response to that response, the Zapatistas backed off their decision to not participate at all and invited everyone to come to Oventik on July 29 to participate in a condensed presentation of what they had prepared for the festival.

The last piece of news from Chiapas brings us back to San Juan Chamula, some of whose residents attacked the teachers’ blockade on July 20. Following that incident, several communities in the municipality of Chamula released a statementcondemning the attack, expressing their support for the teachers, and threatening, “The municipality of Chamula will rise up in arms if necessary. If the government doesn’t want peace, then we won’t give them peace.” The Zapatistas also presciently stated, “And some unsolicited advice: don’t play with fire in Chamula. The unrest and division you are inciting in that town with your stupidities could provoke an internal conflict of such terror and destruction that you wouldn’t be able to quash it with social network bots or paid ‘news’ articles or the little money that Manuel Joffrey Velasco Baratheon-Lannister has left in the state treasury.”

And then three days later it happened. On July 23, a group of individuals affiliated with the PRI showed up at the town hall demanding that the mayor – affiliated with the PVEM – pay them the money he owed them for their artisanal work. He refused to do so at that moment and the PRIistas stormed the building. The mayor and his bodyguards opened fire and an hours-long shootout commenced in the center of the town. In the end, five people were killed, including the mayor.

San Juan Chamula is a popular tourist destination due to its religious festivities and proximity to San Cristóbal. It is also a deeply divided Tzotzil municipality. This began decades ago following the conversion of growing numbers of Chamulans to evangelical Christianity by outside missionaries. They clashed with those who remained adherents to the indigenous-Catholic tradition that emerged following colonization, using the pretext of religion to settle disputes over land and territory, leaving dozens dead. Political parties – primarily the PRI and PVEM – have supported or attacked these factions depending on the needs of power, leading to events like the ones seen on July 20 and 23. Another conflict between the PRI and PVEM caused the deaths of two people and the displacement of 81 in Chenalhó, Chiapas on May 26. Manipulation of internal divisions by political parties within a context of neoliberal exploitation is one of the main factors pushing many indigenous communities to organize for autonomy, to ban political parties and to return to making decisions using community assemblies according to practices generically referred to as usos y costumbres.

In our last bit of news, some anarchists in Tijuana published a roundup of some of their activities in recent months, including sabotage attacks and banner drops – some in solidarity with anti-police and anti-fascist mobilizing in the US and anarchist political prisoners worldwide.

Posted by Dorset Chiapas Solidarity on 25/07/2016



July 24, 2016

Compañerxs from San Sebastian Bachajon support the teachers by delivering supplies

Filed under: Bachajon, Indigenous, La Sexta — Tags: , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 3:10 pm



Compañerxs from San Sebastian Bachajon support the teachers by delivering supplies





 To the General Command of the Clandestine Revolutionary Indigenous Committee of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation

To the Councils of Good Government

To the Indigenous National Congress

To adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle in Mexico and the world

To the mass media and alternative media

To the Network against Repression and for Solidarity

To Movement for Justice in El Barrio from New York

To national and international human rights defenders

To the National Coordinator of Education Workers (CNTE)

To the defenders of public, secular and free education

To the people of Mexico and the world


Jmololabex ants winiketik, icha spatil a whotanik ta pisilik ta yuun jmololab kotik ta organización ta ejido san Sebastian Bachajón.

Compañeros and compañeras in struggle and resistance, receive a combative greeting from the compañeros and compañeras adherents to the Sixth Declaration from the ejido San Sebastián Bachajón.

On this day we express on behalf of our organization and struggle our support and solidarity with the defenders of public education against the so-called education reform which the Mexican state wants to impose.

We want to tell teachers that we support and we join their fight to defend education as a right for all our countrymen, so that future generations have this free space to have access to public education, we are following their struggle, because it is also ours.

Teachers, from our hearts we tell you not to give up, for one minute on your feet standing in struggle is worth more than a lifetime on your knees.

We are here because our voice is stronger than any wall, the weak do not struggle. Those who are stronger perhaps struggle for an hour. Those who are even stronger, struggle for a few years. But the strongest of all, those who struggle for their whole lives, they are the indispensable ones.

A month since the brutal repression in Nochixtlan, Oaxaca, on 19th June, when the federal police opened fire on the demonstrators, and several of them were killed by gunshot fire, we hold the bad government responsible for any repression and aggression against Mexican society; the bad government can beat us, can kill us, can take our bodies, but it will never make us obedient to a traitor to the motherland.

Finally, from the bottom of our hearts, with our brothers and compañeros in struggle we have put together a little help and we deliver these supplies to the defenders of public education, in order to support the mobilization in which they are active today.

Never again a Mexico without us

Land and freedom

Zapata lives!

¡Hasta la victoria siempre!

Freedom for political prisoners!

Long live the dignified struggle of the defenders of public education!

Juan Vázquez Guzmán Lives, the Bachajón struggle continues!

Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano Lives, the Bachajón struggle continues!

No to the dispossession of indigenous territory!

State police out of indigenous territory!

Immediate return of the disappeared and murdered compañeros from the Normal School Raúl Isidro Burgos of Ayotzinapa!

Long live the dignified struggle of the Chol compañeros and compañeras from the ejido Tila!

Long live the dignified struggle of the compañeros and compañeras from San Francisco Xochicuautla!

Long live the peoples who struggle for their autonomy and freedom!




Translated by the UK Zapatista Translation Service for Dorset Chiapas Solidarity




EZLN: Open letter on the aggressions against the people’s movement in San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas

Filed under: Zapatistas — Tags: , , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 12:46 pm



EZLN: Open letter on the aggressions against the people’s movement in San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas






July 21, 2016

To the current governor and the other overseers of the south-eastern Mexican state of Chiapas:

Ladies (ha) and Gentlemen (double ha):

We do not send greetings.

Before it occurs to you to try (as the PGR [i] is already attempting in Nochixtlán) to blame the cowardly aggression against the people’s resistance encampment in San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas on ISIS, we would like to provide you, at no charge, the information we have collected on the subject.

The following is the testimony of an indigenous partidista [ii] (PRI) brother from San Juan Chamula, Chiapas, Mexico:

“At 9am (on July 20, 2016) the Verde party followers were called to the governor’s palace. They went and were told to do again what they had done the other day.”

(NOTE: he is referring to the incident in which a group of indigenous people affiliated with the Partido Verde Ecologista (Green Ecology Party) put on ski masks and went to create chaos at the [teachers’] blockade between San Cristóbal and Tuxtla Gutiérrez, the capital of Chiapas. When they were detained by the CNTE’s [teachers’ union] security, they first said they were Zapatistas (they weren’t, aren’t, and never will be), and later admitted they were partidistas.




But this time they were supposed to dialogue so that the people at the blockade would let the trucks from Chamula that do business in Tuxtla go through. The municipal president (who belongs to the Verde Ecologista Party) sent police patrols and local ambulances. The municipal president of San Cristóbal sent some more police. The governing officials in Tuxtla sent a bunch more. See, they [the people from Chamula] had made a deal with the police—they already had a plan. So they went in there like they were going to dialogue but one group went into the blockade’s encampment and started destroying things, stealing or burning everything they found. Then they started shooting—the Verdes are indeed armed—but shooting like a bunch of drunks and druggies. The police were acting like their security detail, their backup. We don’t agree with what the Verdes did. Now the tourists are scared to come to the municipal centre (of San Juan Chamula) and this screws everybody over because it really hurts our businesses. It’s not the blockade but rather the fucking Verdes that are fucking us over. Now we’re going to go protest in Tuxtla and demand they remove that asshole of a president. And if they won’t listen to us, well then we’ll see what we have to do.”

With regard to that clumsy attempt to dress paramilitaries in ski masks and say they were Zapatistas, it was a total failure (in addition to being a tired old trick that has been tried before by Croquetas Albores).[iii] Questioned on whether they thought it had been Zapatistas who destroyed the blockade and committed these outrageous acts, here are the comments of two townspeople, without any known political affiliation:

A street vendor, approximately 60 years old:

“No! The people who destroyed all that stuff yesterday are people paid by the government, we all know that. They aren’t the ones that support the teachers. The teachers’ struggle is valid; the other option would be that we’d have to pay for education ourselves. And where do they get money to pay the teachers anyway? From the people. What we need is for the majority of other states to join the struggle, there are four that are already in but we don’t know how long the others will take.”

A Chamula indigenous person, a street vendor:

Naaahhh, those weren’t Zapatistas. Zapatistas don’t act like that. Plus the Zapatistas support the teachers and those people yesterday were trying to pass themselves off as Zapatistas by putting on ski masks, but they aren’t; they don’t act like Zapatistas at all.”

“So who were those people yesterday?”

“Those are other people, they get paid for that.”

“What do you think of the teachers’ struggle?”

“That we should all support them.”


We are sure that you don’t know this (either that or the stupidities that you commit are because you are in fact stupid), but the so-called “teachers’ conflict” arose because of the stupid arrogance of that mediocre police wannabe who still works out of the Department of Public Education (SEP by its Spanish acronym. Oh you’re welcome, no thanks needed). After the teachers’ mobilizations and the government’s response in the form of threats, firings, beatings, imprisonment, and death, the teachers in resistance managed to get the federal government to sit down to dialogue. This is in fact a federal issue. It is up to the federal government and the teachers in resistance to dialogue and come to an agreement or not.

You sympathize with the hard-headedness of that mediocre policeman. We Zapatistas sympathize with the teachers’ demands and we respect them. This applies not only to the CNTE, but to the entire people’s movement that has arisen around their demands. As Zapatistas, we have made our sympathy public by supporting them in word and deed, with the small amount of food that we could put together from our own tables.

Do you think this movement, now taken up by so many people, is going to be defeated by evicting a few encampments, even when you disguise it as “citizen rage?” You’ve already seen that doesn’t work. Just like what happened with our brothers, the originary peoples in Oaxaca—if you destroy their camps they’ll build them back up. Time and time again. The thing is that here below there is no fatigue. Your bosses calculated that the teachers’ resistance movement would deflate over summer vacation. Now you’ve seen that you were wrong (hmmm, that’s more than three failures in one evaluation. If we applied the “education reform” in this case you would already have been fired and would be looking for work in the Iberdrola alongside the psychopath.) [iv]

The movement has been able to generate and concretize the sympathies of the people, while you all only generate dislike and repudiation.

As we were already saying as of two months ago, the movement already encompasses various social sectors and, of course, their specific demands. For example, you’re not around to hear it but people are demanding Cancino be removed from office (the supposed municipal president of San Cristóbal de Las Casas, a city in Chiapas, Mexico, in case you didn’t know) and Narciso be put in jail (the paramilitary boss of the ALMETRACH.) [v] This and the other things they are demanding can be summarized in one word: good government. How long will it take you to realize that you are just in the way, parasites that infect the entire society, above and below?

The thing is that you all are so sure of yourselves that you send your attack dogs to steal the few belongings of these people who are PEACEFULLY protesting. Well, we Zapatistas will again begin to collect the food and basic necessities you stole from them and supply them once again. And we will do so over and over again.

Instead of making ridiculous declarations (like denying having a role in that cowardly attack on the people’s encampment in San Cristóbal), you could contribute to the easing of tensions necessary for this dialogue and negotiation to take place as determined by both parties (which are, we might remind you, the Federal Government and the National Coordination of Education Workers). It would be a good idea to tie up your attack dogs (Marco Antonio, Domingo, and Narciso). Just whistle and shake a wad of bills at them and you’ll see how they come running.




And some unsolicited advice: don’t play with fire in Chamula. The unrest and division you are inciting in that town with your stupidities could provoke an internal conflict of such terror and destruction that you wouldn’t be able to quash it with social network bots or paid “news” articles or the little money that Manuel Joffrey Velasco Baratheon-Lannister has left in the state treasury.

So be calm. Be patient and show some respect. We hope the federal government will dialogue and negotiate with seriousness and commitment, not only because the teachers’ demands are just, but because this might be one of the last times there is someone with whom to dialogue and negotiate. The process of decomposition you have encouraged is so advanced that soon you won’t even know who to slander. Plus there won’t be anyone on the other side of the table. Understood?

So, do your thing. That is, go back to Photoshop, to the celebrity news, the flashy parties, the spectacle, the gossip magazines, to the frivolity of those who lack intelligence. Govern? Oh come now, not even the paid media believe you do that.

It’s better that you step aside and learn, because this is Chiapas, and the Chiapas population is a lot to take for such a lame government.


To whom it may concern:

As Zapatistas it is our conviction—and we act in accordance—that the movement’s decisions, strategies, and tactics should be respected. This applies to the entire political spectrum. It is not acting in good faith to hitch oneself onto a movement and try to steer it in a direction outside of its internal logic. And that goes for attempts to slow it down or speed it up. If you can’t accept that, then at least say clearly that you want to use this movement for your own ends. If you say so directly, perhaps the movement will follow you, perhaps not. But it is healthier to tell the movement what you are seeking. How do you expect to lead if you don’t respect the people?

We Zapatistas are not going to tell our current teachers (those from the CNTE and also from the towns, barrios, and neighbourhoods that support them) what to do and what not to do. This should be crystal clear to all noble people in struggle: ANY ACTION TAKEN BY THE ZAPATISTAS IN RELATION TO THE CURRENT POPULAR MOVEMENT (or those that later emerge) WILL BE PUBLICLY MADE KNOWN AHEAD OF TIME, always respecting the movement’s times and ways. The National Coordination of Education Workers as well as the originary peoples’ movements, neighbourhoods, and barrios that support the teachers should understand that whatever decisions they make—whether about their path, their destiny, their steps, or their company—they will have our respect and our salute.

This thing of dressing up like Zapatistas and yelling slogans that involve others is fine as a bit of entertainment and a line on your resumé, but it is nevertheless false and dishonest. We did not rise up to hand out stolen junk food, but rather for democracy, freedom, and justice for all. If you think breaking windows and stealing food that isn’t even nourishing is more revolutionary and of more help to the movement, well, let the movement decide. But clarify that you are not Zapatistas. We don’t care when people tell us we don’t understand the “conjuncture,” or that we don’t have a vision of how to use electoral advantage, or that we are petit-bourgeoisie. We only care that that teacher [maestro, maestro] that señora, that señor, that young person [joven, jóvena] feel that here, in the mountains of south-eastern Mexico, there are those who love them, respect them, and admire them. This is what we care about, even though such sentiments do not come into play in grand electoral strategies.

The teachers in resistance and, now more and more often, the people’s movement that gathers around them face very difficult adverse conditions. It isn’t fair that, in the midst of all of that, they have to deal not only with clubs, batons, shields, bullets, and paramilitaries, but also with “advice,” “orientation,” and “with-all-due-respect”-type orders telling them what to do or what not to do, or whether to advance or retreat—that is, what to think and what to decide.




We Zapatistas don’t send junk food to those who struggle, but rather non-GMO corn tostadas which are not stolen but rather homemade through the work of thousands of men and women who know that to be Zapatista does not mean to hide one’s face but rather to show one’s heart. Because reheated Zapatista tostadas relieve hunger and inspire hope. And you can’t buy that in convenience stores or supermarkets.

From the mountains of the Mexican Southeast.

Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés

Subcomandante Insurgente Galeano

Mexico, July 21, 2016

[i] Procuraduría General de la República, Mexico’s Attorney General

[ii] Refers to someone affiliated with one of the registered political parties.

[iii] “Croquetas,” or doggy biscuit, was the nickname assigned by the EZLN to Roberto Albores Guillén, governor of Chiapas from 1998-2000.

[iv] This likely refers to ex-president Felipe Calderón who recently took a job with a subsidiary of Iberdrola.

[v] La Asociación de Locatarios del Mercado Tradicional, Traditional Market Tenants’ Association.


P0sted on 24/07/16 by Dorset Chiapas Solidarity



Chiapas Mayor and a City Hall Worker Killed, 3 Others Dead in Chamula

Filed under: Indigenous — Tags: , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 11:17 am



Chiapas Mayor and a City Hall Worker Killed, 3 Others Dead in Chamula


mexico_chiapas_mayor.jpg_1718483346The site of the shootings. | Photo: EFE


The Indigenous town of San Juan Chamula broke out in protest on Saturday over the intentional withholding of funds for public works.

The mayor of San Juan Chamula and a city hall worker were killed, along with three others, in clashes on Saturday at a protest about irregularities in funds in Chiapas, a southern state of Mexico.

A group of residents converged in the central square to speak to municipal authorities on Saturday morning, according to the Chiapas attorney general. Twelve people were also injured.

“Protesters shared various complaints, when some individuals fired their arms, wounding the mayor,” said the statement.

The city hall worker, Narciso Hernandez, had taken office in 2015, according to local media. One other municipal employee, a chauffeur and a neighbour were also killed.

The mayor, Domingo Lopez Gonzalez, had come under pressure for refusing to pay for public infrastructure and artisan crafts with municipal funds, according to testimony. He had reportedly only given half to the community.

Public funds in the Indigenous town usually go through municipal authorities, in cash, rather than directly to their appropriate departments.

The Special Prosecutor for Indigenous Justice initiated an investigation to determine whether there were other victims, as well as to find and detain those responsible.

Lopez Gonzalez used to campaign with the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party, but was elected as a candidate with the PRI-aligned Ecologist Green Party. Chamula had been PRI-controlled for 80 years until Lopez Gonzalez assumed office in October.

Chiapas was the site of another deadly encounter on Wednesday, when masked members of the Green Ecology Party fired at striking CNTE teachers and killed at least one protester at the San Cristobal-Tuxtla Gutierrez highway, which is near Chamula.


Posted on 24/07/16 by Dorset Chiapas Solidarity



July 22, 2016

Chiapas: Vigilante Group Violently Removes Dissident Teacher Blockade of Highway

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 1:15 pm



 Chiapas: Vigilante Group Violently Removes Dissident Teacher Blockade of Highway


About 200 masked men attacked teachers and parents with stones, sticks and pistols, removing their blockade on the toll road between San Cristobal de Las Casas
and Tuxtla Gutierrez Photos: Colectivo Tragameluz and Elio Henriquez
San Cristobal de Las Casas, Chiapas


La Jornada: Elio Henríquez and Hermann Bellinghausen

On Wednesday afternoon, about 200 people carrying sticks, machetes and guns attacked the blockade being maintained by teachers, students, parents, representatives of more than fifty neighbourhoods of the city of San Cristóbal and members of various organizations on the toll road between San Cristóbal and Tuxtla Gutierrez. They have maintained the blockade since June 27 to demand the repeal of the education reform.

Accompanied by municipal and state police, the attackers attacked the blockade’s tarpaulins and tents, kicking them and destroying them with machetes, and setting them on fire, while the police surrounded them to allow them to carry out their action.

During the attack, a bullet wounded the elementary school teacher, Romualdo Guadalupe Urbina, who received a 22 calibre bullet wound in the collarbone. Another participant of the blockade was run over and suffered a fractured tibia and fibula. Both were admitted to the clinic of Institute for Social Security and Services for State Workers, while residents of the neighbourhood where the clinic is located blockaded the Santa Martha bridge and the clinic access roads “to protect the wounded”.

The attack was perpetrated by several dozen people who are officials of San Juan Chamula and involved over a hundred indigenous men from San Cristobal. The teachers identified them as part of the Association of Tenants of Traditional Markets of Chiapas (Almetrach), headed by Narciso Ruiz Sántiz, who, in previous days had threatened to attack the blockade. These groups are identified with the Ecologist Green Party of Mexico (PVEM), which governs both municipalities [and the state government].

The teachers of Section 7 of the National Union of Education Workers (SNTE), who belong to the National Coordinating Committee of Education Workers (CNTE), and parents supporting them did not respond to aggression and were forced to retreat and regroup in the central park of the San Cristóbal.

The violent eviction began at 12:30pm. Carrying a few small banners and brandishing sticks, machetes and stones, the attackers arrived assuring it was “in peace”, but immediately they began to lash out against the installations of the blockade and remove logs, tyres, rocks and other obstacles.

Behind them came a heavy truck and several pickup trucks sounding their sirens and carrying state and municipal police. The police did not directly involve themselves in the eviction; they only protected the indigenous men who destroyed and burned the tarps and tents.

Some attackers assaulted Dolores Rodriguez, a reporter for Noticiero Networks, for taking photographs. One of the assailants pointed a gun at her head. Others shot firecracker rockets [used to announce neighbourhood fiestas] in horizontal paths into the woods.

Shortly after, the police left and the place was under the control of the attackers. Adalberto Hernandez Rabanales, leader of Section 7 in the Highlands Region [of Chiapas], described them as a “shock group” and blamed the government at all three levels [municipal, state and federal].

When the local police withdrew, the teachers and members of civic organizations regrouped a hundred meters away, near the Hospital of Cultures. When they returned to try to rescue vehicles, the masked men fired at them. It was then that Urbina Estrada was wounded.

Later, six Federal Police (PF) patrol cars arrived. The burning and destruction of the encampment continued under the surveillance of the police. The action ended at 3pm, when the masked indigenous men left the place. The group from San Juan Chamula boarded a bus belonging to the Christopher Columbus bus line and the largest group marched in formation back to San Cristobal. The place remained under the charge of the three Federal Police patrol units until 4pm, when dozens of residents from the south side of San Cristobal returned with sticks and stones which they threw at the patrol cars.

The police then left in their vehicles and stopped a kilometre away. Within minutes, the blockade was restored. During the evening, more people kept arriving, and they extended the obstruction of the roads with bonfires, logs and pieces of iron. Again, there were several hundred parents, teachers and residents of different neighbourhoods, all in an atmosphere of excited tension.

During the afternoon, in Central Park, Hernandez Rabanales said that earlier “there were rumours that people from Chamula would evict us, but supporters from social organizations told us that they had communication with government agencies who told them that the indigenous would only pass through on their way to an activity in Tuxtla Gutierrez.”

In an interview with La Jornada, the teacher leader added: “It seems that the idea was to provoke a breakdown in the negotiations [with the federal government in Mexico City], because yesterday the unified negotiating committee said there was no point in talking because the government was only trying to impose [its position].”

In the afternoon, the teachers marched in the streets of the centre [of San Cristóbal], while in the park a group of hooded youths set fire to the wooden doors of the old city hall (which is being turned into a museum) and entered the building, breaking all the windows. Smoke came out of some windows.

Meanwhile, unidentified indigenous masked men, unrelated to the organizations that support the teachers, ransacked an Oxxo [convenience store] located half a block from the former city hall. They handed out cigarettes, drinks and other products to children and youths, creating a commotion.

According to the state government, the police rushed to the eviction as a deterrent to avoid a confrontation between residents of San Juan Chamula and CNTE demonstrators. In a statement, it claimed that “in response to an alert issued by the State Centre for Control, Command, Communication, Computation and Intelligence (C4I), which reported the presence of people from Chamula on the highway near the CNTE blockade, 200 agents were sent to protect the integrity of citizens, avoiding any reason for confrontation.”

In fact, police and attackers arrived together. According to the government version, the indigenous men came “to dialogue peacefully and request the free movement of citizens, merchants and transportation workers, such that the protesters chose to leave the area voluntarily and the road was freed.”

The mayor of Chamula, Marco Antonio Gonzalez Cancino, disavowed any responsibility in the eviction.
Posted by Dorset Chiapas Solidarity 22/07/2016


Translated by Reed Brundage



Zapatistas Reiterate Support for CNTE After Paramilitary Attack

Filed under: Paramilitary, Zapatistas — Tags: , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 11:53 am



Zapatistas Reiterate Support for CNTE After Paramilitary Attack


ezln2013.jpg_1718483346Zapatistas stand under the Zapatista flag during 20th anniversary celebrations of the armed indigenous insurgency in Oventic December 31, 2013. | Photo: Reuters


“If evicted, they will return. Time and time again. It turns out that down here, there is no fatigue,” read the letter.

Mexico’s Zapatistas stood behind the striking CNTE teachers whose blockade was attacked Wednesday by a masked group, calling the attack a “definitive disaster” in an open letter published Thursday.

Ten trucks loaded with a group of masked men came to the camp at highway San Cristóbal-Tuxtla Gutiérrez in Chiapas, where about a hundred protesters had gathered, forcefully evacuating the only camp that civil society and teachers of the National Coordinator of Education Workers, CNTE, held in the state of Chiapas, Wednesday.

The group at first identified as Zapatistas, but locals knew otherwise, according to those quoted in the letter. The “paramilitaries,” who were members of the PRI-allied Ecologist Green Party, were paid, said the letter. They were protected by policemen, according to witnesses, and “were not, nor are, nor will ever be” Zapatistas.

The Zapatistas have long endorsed the CNTE protests against neoliberal education reform, but Wednesday’s attack made them reiterate their promise to “continue to collect the food and necessities that have been denied them (the teachers) and continue to send them. Again and again.”

“We Zapatistas, will not send junk food to those who fight, but toasted non-transgenic corn, not stolen, but rather made with the work of thousands of men and women who know that being Zapatista is not to hide one’s face, but to show their heart,” read the letter signed by Subcomandante Insurgente Moises and Subcomandante Insurgente Galeano.

The letter, dripping with contempt for the actors behind the attacks, also struck a rebellious tone, saying that repression would not stop the movement.

“As the brother Indigenous peoples did in Oaxaca, if evicted, they will return. Time and time again. It turns out that down here, there is no fatigue,” read the letter.

The letter by leading figures in the Zapatista movement pledged to continue to support the striking teachers and their supporters without dictating what steps the movement should take.

“The National Coordinator of Education Workers, as well as the movements of indigenous peoples, (and) neighbourhoods that support the teachers, must understand that, whatever their decision, be it on the route, the destination, the steps and the company they keep, you will receive our respect and greeting,” said the Zapatistas.

Teachers affiliated with the CNTE have been protesting neoliberal education reforms implemented in 2013 by President Enrique Peña Nieto.

A crackdown by police, which left at least nine people dead, drew world-wide condemnation. Talks between the union and the government have failed to produce a resolution.


Posted by Dorset Chiapas Solidarity 22/7/16



July 21, 2016

In Chiapas, thousands march in support of the CNTE

Filed under: Indigenous — Tags: , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 8:33 am



In Chiapas, thousands march in support of the CNTE




believing-people-with-bannerThe banner reads: We, Believing People of Simojovel, demand that the government does not betray the dialogue with the CNTE like it betrayed the agreements signed in San Andrés with the EZLN.


By: Isaín Mandujano


Thousands of Indigenous faithful from almost 50 parishes of the San Cristóbal de las Casas Diocese marched today (Monday) in the Chiapas capital in support of the teachers’ movement.

During the mobilization they demanded that the federal government “not betray” the National Coordinator of Education Workers (CNTE), like it betrayed the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN) in the San Andrés dialogues.

For the fifth time, the Catholics of Pueblo Creyente marched for several kilometres from the state capital’s eastern exit until reaching the central plaza, where after issuing a pronouncement in favour of the teachers in the occupation, they held a mass, an act in which there were prayers, songs and chants in favour of the teachers’ fight.

During the march Father Gustavo Andrade, from the parish of Venustiano Carranza, and the priest Marcelo Pérez Pérez, from the Simojovel temple, celebrated the realization of this approach between the CNTE and the Secretariat of Governance (Segob) to achieve agreements that permit satisfying the teachers’ demands against the education reform.

Nevertheless, it was Pérez Pérez who stated his concern that the federal government “would betray” its word as it already did with the EZLN, after the agreements from the dialogues in San Andrés in 1996.

“We are worried, we must be attentive and alert so that the government does not betray its word, because it would not be the first time in which the government failed to fulfil the agreements that it signed,” said the parish priest that marched with the banner of the Virgin of Guadalupe.

With drum music, and accompanied by the sound of the conch shell, the faithful arrived in the capital escorted by thousands of teachers who protected their walk for several kilometres until they reached the central plaza.

There on the platform the parish priest of Tila, Heriberto Cruz Vera, asked the teachers not to stop their fight against unjust laws, and if for this fifth time they left their communities, it is because they consider it a peaceful struggle to which they have the need to add themselves.

He asked the priests that don’t leave their parishes to tour the Chiapas communities and observe the misery, poverty and marginalization, the places in which the teachers work in the most undignified conditions.

“We want a reform that really benefits the teachers and the boys and girls of Chiapas, a reform that really puts an end to those destitute conditions in which classes are imparted in Chiapas, not a reform that attacks the teachers’ labour rights,” Cruz Vera said.

Also on the platform was Father Joel Padrón, who along with Cruz Vera is considered a disciple or follower of the work that the late Bishop Emeritus Samuel Ruiz García constructed and left as a legacy.

Joel Padrón is a parish priest who was persecuted and imprisoned in the 1990s, and who the state government of Patrocinio González Garrido accused of promoting the invasion of ranches.

It was during his incarceration 25 years ago that what is called Pueblo Creyente (Believing People) was born as a Catholic organization that defends the rights among the indigenous peoples and communities of Los Altos of Chiapas.

Today, Pueblo Creyente alerted the teachers in a missive not to cede in their fight, because in they have great social support in the state from those who believe and trust in them to achieve that the government retracts the unjust laws, like it did with the so-called 3×3 Law after minimal protest of a group of business owners.


Originally Published in Spanish by

Monday, July 18, 2016

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee

Minor amendments for UK audience by Dorset Chiapas Solidarity



Believing Peoples [Pueblo Creyente] Hold Pilgrimage in Tuxtla in Support of Teachers

Filed under: Indigenous — Tags: , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 8:19 am



Believing Peoples [Pueblo Creyente] Hold Pilgrimage in Tuxtla in Support of Teachers


believing-peopleBelieving Peoples pilgrimage in Tuxtla Gutiérrez


On July 18, about 30 thousand members of Believing Peoples representing 52 parishes throughout the state as well as thousands of teachers, members of the CNTE, held a pilgrimage together on Monday in Tuxtla Gutierrez demanding that the government of Enrique Peña Nieto, discuss in “public dialogue” not only education reform, but also the so-called structural reforms that the government has been promoting. “We came to demand that the government act honestly, because even when there is a negotiating table with the CNTE, we remember what happened to the San Andres Accords (signed in 1996 between the Federal Government and the EZLN). The government betrayed them, and that can also happen now”, the indigenous pastor of Simojovel parish, Marcelo Perez Perez said, during the demonstration on Monday in the central square of the state capital, where teachers installed in a camp two months ago as part of protests against education reform.

Apart from Believing Peoples, several organizations, communities and groups expressed their objection to the reforms and their support for the teachers in recent weeks.


Posted by Dorset Chiapas Solidarity 21/07/2016



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