dorset chiapas solidarity

May 1, 2016

Zapatista News Summary for April 2016

Filed under: news, Zapatista — Tags: — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 3:46 pm



Zapatista News Summary for April 2016




In Chiapas 

1. Judgement about the tourist highway: The Tsotsil communities of Los Llanos and San José el Porvenir in Los Altos de Chiapas reveal publicly that on January 18th 2016 they were granted an amparo (order for legal protection) against the San Cristóbal de Las Casas-Palenque highway, which the government has been trying to impose on them since November 2013. In the sentence the judge orders the cancellation of the outlines of the construction project, or any other programme, for the highway between the municipalities of San Cristobal and Huixtan, in particular on the lands of the two communities. The communities call for the cancellation of the entire project.


2. Great pilgrimage in defence of Mother Earth. A pilgrimage of more than 200 kilometres in defence of Mother Earth and in memory of the still unpunished and unresolved Viejo Velasco massacre of 13th November, 2006, takes place from 3rd to 10th April 2016, in the Northern region of Chiapas, with indigenous Chol, Tseltal, Tsotsil and Zoque participants. The pilgrimage, starts in the community of Arroyo Granizo and finishes in Oxchuc. The pilgrims denounce the lack of justice for the Viejo Velasco massacre and denounce the dispossession caused by megaprojects; it is made clear that the pilgrimage is intended to set a precedent for the defence of and struggle for the Mother Earth, which is seriously threatened by megaprojects already planned in this zone, which will directly affect many communities. Such is the case of the hydroelectric dam at Boca del Cerro which will affect at least 30 communities in the vicinity of the Usumacinta river. These communities have not been consulted or taken in to account in any way.


3. The displaced of Banavil: On 4th April, Frayba denounces the unjustified delay in dealing with the case of the displaced families of Banavil, Tenejapa, and the fact that the authorities of the Chiapas government are protecting the perpetrators. The displaced families issue a communiqué and join the National Campaign in Defence of Mother Earth and Territory.


4. Risk in Simojovel: On 7th April, Frayba again expresses concerns about the continuing imminent risk to community human rights defenders in Simojovel, especially Father Marcelo Pérez Pérez and members of the Simojovel parish council and the Pueblo Creyente.


5. Primero de Agosto: The displaced families from Primero de Agosto denounce in a communiqué that on 7th and 8th April, members of CIOAC-Histórica from Miguel Hidalgo started to enclose with barbed wire part of the lands of Primero de Agosto. The cioaquistas were carrying firearms and machetes and wearing the “yellow caps of the PRD.”


6. San Isidro Los Laureles: On 9th April, adherents to the Sexta, members of Semilla Digna and the Indigenous National Congress (CNI) from San Isidro Los Laureles, in the municipality of Venustiano Carranza, denounce acts of intimidation in the form of a helicopter overflight with cameras, followed by the firing of gunshots from a vehicle in their community, and call for solidarity with their struggle.


7. The National Campaign in Defence of Mother Earth and Territory: is launched on 10th April, the 97th anniversary of the assassination of Emiliano Zapata. The objective is for everyone to unite in defence of the Mother Earth. Caravans from Chiapas, Oaxaca, Guerrero, Puebla, Veracruz and Tlaxcala converge in Mexico City for this launch. The campaign is made up of 179 organizations, collectives and associations. It aims to denounce dispossession and share struggles for the defence of Mother Earth, to denounce the corporations profiting from dispossession and to show alternative ways of life.


8. Fourth Forum of Resistances and Alternatives of the Peoples of the Northern Zone of Chiapas: During this forum more than 300 people from more than 60 communities from seven municipalities in the Northern and Jungle regions of Chiapas and from the Petén Front against Dams in Guatemala come together. They reject the construction of the bi-national Boca del Cerro hydroelectric dam on the Usumacinta river, which will lead to the invasion and dispossession of their territories. Work has already started on this dam, the first of five such dams planned for this river, which forms the border between the two countries.


9. Ejido Tila: Ejidatarios from Tila hold a march on 10th April in memory of Emiliano Zapata, and to celebrate the realisation of their ejidal autonomy and free self-determination since the expulsion of the municipal authorities last December. On 13th April a group of around a hundred people come to the ejido in six lorries, led by caciques (political chiefs) from the area, intending to provoke a confrontation, to give the government an excuse for repression. This leads to a very tense situation. The group are expelled, and return a second time.


10. Declaration from EZLN and CNI: On 12th April the EZLN and CNI issue a Joint Declaration on “the cowardly betrayal of the Indigenous Ñatho community of San Francisco Xochicuautla in order to implement the highway project Toluca Naucalpan,” as well as on the assault on community police in Ostula. They call upon all peoples, organizations, and individuals in solidarity to be attentive and to heed the call made by the community of Xochicuautla. The CNI declares itself on maximum alert. Statements in support of Xochicuautla are also issued by Las Abejas and by the ejidatarios of Bachajόn and Tila.


11. Las Abejas of Acteal call a press conference to denounce the usurpation of their name, stamp and logo by a different group from Acteal, Consejo Pacifista Sembradores de La Paz, who are spreading false information and want to take over the physical and symbolic spaces of Las Abejas in Acteal, House of Memory and Hope. In another communiqué a few days later, they offer solidarity to ‪‎Xochicuautla, Bachajón and Primero de Agosto, and denounce megaprojects and the destruction of Mother Earth.


12. International Political Prisoners’ Day is marked in Chiapas by events in support of political prisoners in Mexico and the world, including a press conference for Alejandro Díaz Santis from Solidarity with the Voice of El Amate. The release is called for of Santiago Moreno Perez, Emilio Jimenez Gomez and Esteban Gomez Jimenez, prisoners from the Ejido San Sebastián Bachajón, which issues a communiqué in their support.


13. A gathering is held in the Ejido Chicoasen (where they are struggling against a dam) from 12th to 15th April, for the Non-violent Transformation of Conflict in Defence of our Territory, attended by representatives of communities in Chiapas affected by dams, mines, gas pipelines, and other megaprojects. They issue a pronouncement denouncing these megaprojects and demanding the cancellation of projects which affect life and damage the mother earth and calling on communities not to allow transnational companies to enter their lands.


14: Third anniversary of the assassination of Juan Vázquez Guzmán. The community spokesperson from the Ejido San Sebastián Bachajón was killed by six gunshots in the doorway of his home on 24th April, 2013. He was killed for defending his people’s land and territory from dispossession by the government and transnationals in order to build a luxury tourist development.  The third commemoration of his death is held at his family home, all in solidarity are invited to attend or contribute, and letters are received and read aloud from Mexico, North and South America and from Europe.


15. Repression of teachers: The National Coordinating Body of Education Workers (CNTE), called a national day of mobilization on 15th April against the federal government’s plan to privatize and standardize public education. In San Cristóbal de las Casas there were running street battles after federal police attacked the demonstrators with tear gas and beatings. Similar repression also occurred in the state capital of Tuxtla Gutiérrez, involving tear gas fired from helicopters. At least 24 people were arrested and tortured. In response to this state brutality, on 22nd April, 100,000 teachers marched in Tuxtla in a peaceful and orderly demonstration. Frayba denounces the repression, torture and arbitrary arrests of teachers along with the “generalised violence implemented by the Mexican state.”


16. Poverty figures: An Oxfam report shows that despite the investment of 40 million dollars since 1995, poverty in Chiapas is increasing. Since the Zapatista rebellion, Chiapas has received the most funding of any state to combat poverty, yet still remains the poorest state in Mexico. A study by INEGI shows that in the state of Chiapas 43.8% (754,000) of children live in extreme multi-dimensional poverty.


17. Interview with Sub Moíses: An interview with Subcomandante Moíses, spokesperson of the EZLN, by Ukrainian journalist Oleg Yasinsky, with the group Chto Delat from St Petersburg, Russia, is released on YouTube.


18. 3 major rivers have dried up in the state of Chiapas. The State Director of Civil Protection Luis Manuel Garcia tells Reforma that 40 Chiapan municipalities have been affected, of which four are experiencing extreme drought. “All of the biggest rivers in the coastal area of Chiapas have been practically dried up. The wells from which water for the population is extracted are eight metres below their normal level.” In light of the extreme circumstances, Garcia says they will send a petition to the federal government requesting that they issue a state of emergency decree for three of Chiapas’ municipalities in order to get financial resources from the National Disaster Fund.



1. Caravan against the drug war visits Chiapas. The Caravan for Peace, Life and Justice departs from Honduras on 28th March and travels to New York City for the special session on drugs of the General Assembly of the United Nations on 19th April. It crosses the border with Guatemala on 6th April and visits San Cristobal on 7th April where there is a meeting with movements and organisations dealing with issues such as migration and the defence of land and territory. It moves on to Mexico City. The Caravan is a broad initiative of families of victims of human rights violations, civil society organizations and social movements from different nations, which call for a “halt to the war on drugs.”


2. Major disturbances in indigenous territories to allow the entrance of megaprojects

a) San Francisco Xochicuautla: This Otomi-Ñatho community, in the municipality of Lerma, Mexico State, has been resisting the construction of the Toluca-Naucalpan highway and won the definitive suspension of a presidential decree to expropriate almost 38 hectares of its lands. In spite of this, on April 11th, between 700 and 1,000 state police forcibly enter the community, in order to permit the entrance of bulldozers from the construction company Autovan-Teya, a subsidiary of Grupo Higa. They demolish the camp of Peace and Dignified Resistance and a number of houses which are on the planned highway route, beating and evicting people. There is a huge response to this attack, and the state suspends construction and offers damages on 13th The new National Campaign in Defence of Mother Earth and Territory is one of many organisations to respond. At the same time as this attack the community police of the autonomous Nahua community of Ostula in Michoacán are ambushed, and one person is killed.


b) San Salvador Atenco: On 12th April, the Peoples Front in Defence of the Land (FPDT) from Atenco report the forced entrance of an army tank into the communally owned lands of Atenco, Mexico State, escorting a group of workers “from a private company that carried out studies for the construction of the new airport. This was all done illegally and intimidating the inhabitants who had met on becoming aware of the incursion. Nevertheless, we managed to expel them pacifically.” The people of Atenco are continuing to prevent work on building the road from taking place, blocking the road and removing construction materials.


In response to this attack, and that on Xochicuautla, Jose Antonio Lara Duque, general director of the Zeferino Ladrillero Human Rights Centre states: “We believe that, given the facts, the local government is trying to justify the Eruviel Law. That is to say, to provoke the peoples who have been defending their land, territory and natural resources. If anybody falls into [the trap of] provocation, it would legitimize the use of lethal force to control the people who are defending themselves.”


3. Special Economic Zones: On 14th April, the Senate passes the Federal Law for Special Economic Zones (SEZ.) The law establishes preferential conditions for national and foreign private companies, to whom it gives concessions for 40 years, renewable for 40 more, and tax and customs exemptions for eight years. In effect, the law plans the expropriation of all territories required to establish investment projects, which will be administered by businessmen, who will be able to operate their own surveillance and security companies. The law has been condemned for being designed only to benefit the rich. One of the five zones is Puerto Chiapas, designed to facilitate exports to Asia.


4. The major issue of dams:

After recent news from Brazil and Honduras, dams are, like mining becoming a major international issue which cannot be ignored. Please read some of the links given in this news summary. The forthcoming dams on the River Usumacinta will soon become a major issue for anyone who cares about the Zapatistas and the communities of Chiapas. The threat goes far beyond the 60 communities which are already being affected. We strongly urge people to start mobilising now, before it is too late.

Dorset Chiapas Solidarity has received the following message from Chiapas: “The situation with these dams is urgent… if they are allowed to be built it means the destruction of Chiapas as we know it completely and the end to movements and to indigenous culture.”


The information below comes from Telesur:

According to researchers, some 200,000 people have been displaced by the construction of dams across Mexico, while advocacy groups warn that the country’s new water law will only continue to make the situation worse. Many of Mexico’s 4,462 dams registered in official records are located on land belonging to indigenous and campesino communities, which are not only located near main water sources but also vulnerable to exploitation, and the communities rely heavily on river resources. Over 660 of the dams are considered to be large.

Some of the largest mass displacements took place in the early 1980s, with tens of thousands of people pushed off their land for large dam projects. Thousands more have been forcibly displaced by new construction since then. Even when families are not forced from their homes, hydroelectric projects impact the entire social fabric of a community, as well as compromising food production and local public health.

Resistance against dam projects also takes a heavy toll. Since 2005, over 40 activists fighting to defend rivers have been killed in Mexico, Central America and Colombia, according to GeoComunes. Among those killed in connection with dam projects in the past decade, at least eight were killed in Mexico and 13 in Guatemala.

Also, with this year’s drastic droughts having a grave effect on the hydroelectric dams on which countries such as Venezuela and Colombia depend for their electricity, dams would not seem a sensible source of future energy supplies. Meteorological predictions from the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warn that extreme weather events such as prolonged droughts are likely to steadily increase.


Other sources of news

Boca en Boca has not been produced this month

Followers of Movement for Justice in El Barrio may like to read their latest news:

We draw your attention to this report on the deteriorating social situation in some communities in the northern, highland and border regions:

We recommend this summary of all the news from Mexico, produced for It’s Going Down:  This is the fourth edition of this report, which hopefully will be printed regularly.

Thank you.




Atenco: Residents remove construction materials from ejido lands

Filed under: Autonomy, Displacement, Uncategorized — Tags: , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 12:18 pm



Residents remove construction materials from ejido lands 

“All we are doing is defending our land”


Atenco Francisco Navarro_Somoselmedio 

Ricardo Ortiz

Somos el Medio

On Saturday 23 April at about 11 in the morning, residents from San Salvador Atenco and members of the Community Front in Defence of the Land (or in Spanish “Frente del Pueblo en Defensa de la Tierra” FPDT) went to ejido lands to denounce the arrival of heavy machinery with which to begin building the new airport, the so-called “Future City”.

Prior to this, residents had removed construction materials from the ejido San Miguel Tocuila, as well as digging up pipes which were marking out the area where a road paved with volcanic rock was to be built. This road would have facilitated the access for vehicles delivering construction materials despite a protection order for the area.

“All we are doing is defending our land, … And let us be clear:  we’re not going to give them a bloody metre,” stated an Atenco resident as the vehicles with building material were arriving.

At the same time, residents declared their rejection of the “Eruviel Law” which permits the police to use fire arms during public assemblies, meetings or demonstrations which might become violent. The law is named for the PRI governor Eruviel Ávila.

The airport project includes building new runways each with capacity to handle 300,000 flights a year, and a transportation hub for mainly transnational passengers and goods.


Translated by the UK Zapatista Translation Service



April 29, 2016

RvsR: Three years later Juan Vázquez Guzmán lives!

Filed under: Autonomy, Bachajon, Indigenous, Uncategorized — Tags: , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 2:33 pm



RvsR: Three years later Juan Vázquez Guzmán lives!




To the compañeras and compañeros of Ejido San Sebastián Bachajón, adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle:

To the family of Juan Vázquez Guzmán:


Compañeras and compañeros:

Please receive a fraternal and collective embrace from the Network against Repression and for Solidarity. We want you to know through these words that our compañero Juan Vázquez Guzmán is still present in our struggles, in our steps and in our hearts.

The image of Juan represents all that is signified by the rebellion and resistance of the dignified Tzeltal people who decided to organize to defend their land, their territory, their memory, and their history, so that their life will not be a legacy of despair, but instead their heritage continues to be the struggle for freedom and for justice.

Freedom and justice are more than just two simple words, they are values filled with the life in community, the collective work and the strength of the women of San Sebastián Bachajón. With their hands, their toil and their sweat they have been fuelling the possibility and the necessity to continue in the construction of another world.

The pains that you carry and you bring are many. What calls us together today is the life of Juan Vázquez, yesterday it was Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano, tomorrow it will be our political prisoner compañeros, but it will always be the need to continue towards the horizon of the world which we long for and deserve.

Compañeras and compañeros of Bachajón, we do not forget your pains, they are ours too. Nor do we forget your struggle, which for years you have fought in order to make life something where you get up every morning with your only concern that of returning to work, to the milpa, to the stove, to school, to rest, to love, so that resistance and rebellion can continue to flourish in your community, which is the only way to have a dignified life.

We have no doubt that in the north of the state of Chiapas the Tseltal seeds of San Sebastián Bachajón will continue to grow down below, your roots like your hearts are strong, your fruits like your gaze continuing to illuminate the darkness of the storm in which we live. One of those seeds is called Juan Vázquez Guzmán.

These are the seeds and fruits that will enable Emilio Jiménez Gómez, Esteban Gómez Jiménez and Santiago Moreno Pérez to return to their community; where memory is not only a date to commemorate, but also an act of elemental justice.

So freedom and justice will not come from above, from those who have been our tormentors, they will come as a result of our daily struggle in community.

If the capitalist hydra seeks to put an end to life on the planet, this then is our main battle in this war: to continue weaving life, bonds of solidarity, paths of freedom where we, the peoples and organized communities, will decide the course of our lives.


Juan Vázquez Guzmán lives!

Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano lives!

Freedom for political prisoners!

Liberty and Justice for San Sebastián Bachajón!


Against dispossession and repression:


Network against Repression and for Solidarity (RvsR)









Las Abejas de Acteal, in support of Xochicuautla, denounce the great capitalist megaprojects

Filed under: Acteal, Corporations, Displacement, Human rights, Indigenous, La Sexta — Tags: , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 12:06 pm



Communiqué from Las Abejas de Acteal, April 22, 2016




Civil Society Organization Las Abejas of Acteal,
Sacred Land of the Martyrs of Acteal,
Chenalhó, Chiapas, Mexico

To the independent organizations, movements, and collectives of the world

To the independent defenders of human rights

To the National Indigenous Congress (CNI)

To the national and international Sexta

To the councils of good government (JBG)

To the free, alternative, and autonomous media or whatever they are called

To los Tercios Compas

To the national and international media

To the national and international civil society


Brothers and sisters

The shadow of darkness is marked in the history of the people. All that bears fruit is planted and harvested, in the long, short and medium term. Thus we have protested before and after the massacre of Acteal, and until now violence has dominated in our municipality, but the majority of men and women of our population do not know where the violence, corruption, discrimination, incarceration, injustice and death comes from.

Sisters and brothers, the civil society organization Las Abejas is concerned and saddened for the uncertainty and violence generated in our municipality at least during the last couple of weeks results from ideological differences and the people are becoming very confused.

A state government can allocate a great deal of support and projects but that is not the solution when the people are not in agreement. It can generate more violence and death, but we as people of god and a peaceful organization, our commitment, our mission, and our vision is to announce the truth, and denounce the injustices and the violence because the governors are not willing to give a prompt and equitable solution so that peace can be established. They can only deceive the people to gain more time to bring violence.

And it is when we do not allow ourselves to be directed and used by the projects of the bad government, because the root of evil is money, because everyone wants to earn like the high officials, because ambition brings us to wickedness, as Pope Francisco says.

“We speak of the earth, of work, of homes…we speak of work for peace and care for the environment…but why are we instead accustomed to see the destruction of dignified work, the eviction of many families, the expulsion of campesinxs, the making of war and the abuse of the environment? This is because this system has taken the man, the human being, from the centre, and replaced him with something else. Because there is a worship of money, because all that matters is the logic of profit.”

And not only in the pueblos neighbouring Chenalhó and Chiapas do we see this destruction, but also in other parts of our country like what is happening in the indigenous Otomí community of San Franciso Xochicuautla, state of Mexico, where the machinery of the rich in alliance with the government has entered to continue the construction of a highway megaproject destroying the houses of campesinos.

How many compañeros suffer today through the total destruction of their homes and the plundering of their territories by the megaprojects of the great capitalists who have attempted to destroy our mother earth!

It is urgent to address the demands of the people, because in our constitution are enshrined the right and the individual and social guarantees, and also the convention 169 of the International Labour Organization (OIT) of the right to land and territory.

Compañeras and compañeros, it is necessary to be attentive and to stand in solidarity with our brothers who have suffered so much through displacement, incarceration, violence, and dispossession from their lands. We also have the cases of the compañeros of the community “Primero de Agosto” in the municipality of Las Margaritas who have already completed a year of forced displacement, and the case of those unjustly imprisoned from the ejido of San Sebastián Bachajón, the repression against the teachers’ movement in Tuxtla Gutiérrez and San Cristóbal. Beyond the borders of Mexico is the case of Berta Cáceres assassinated in Honduras, her relatives were in April 7th of San Cristóbal on their way to the United Nations to present their demands and petitions. The people in general are tired of so much violence and injustice.

Sisters and brothers we must have love for our people and be aware in our peaceful struggle. Because justice doesn’t come from above but is constructed by the people from below. It is necessary to maintain unity and harmony so that the future of our children will be one of peace that they can enjoy, as well as remembering the great heroes who defended our land, like Emiliano Zapata, whose birthday we remembered on April 10, who struggled and gave his blood so that we the campesinos can have “land and liberty.”




Justice for the Acteal Case!

No more crumbs to deceive the people!

No to the megaprojects that destroy the environment and displace the campesinos!

Freedom to the prisoners of Bachajón and all of the political prisoners

No more massacres and persecutions of our people!

Justice in the case of Berta Cáceres!

Love live resistance and autonomy!



The voice of the civil society organization of Las Abejas!

For the board of directors:

Sebastián Pérez Vásquez José Ramón Vásquez Entzin

Mariano Jiménez Gutiérrez Vicente Sánchez Ordóñez

Juan Pérez Gómez


Based on a translation by Palabras Rebeldes



Armed with machetes, residents protest road

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 8:08 am



Armed with machetes, residents protest road


Obras-pista240416-600x390Connector road for new Mexico City airport crosses community-owned lands

The machete-wielding foes of Mexico City’s new airport are back.

When the government of Vicente Fox attempted to build a new airport for the city in 2002, residents of ejidos, or community-owned lands, successfully quashed the plans.

Fourteen years later, inhabitants of San Salvador Atenco are protesting once again.

On Saturday, protesters blocked construction of what is to become a 17-kilometer connecting road between the new airport (NAICM) and the Pirámides-Texcoco highway.

After noting the start of preliminary work the previous night, they turned up with machetes at noon on Saturday to prevent workers from continuing.

Residents of both San Salvador Atenco and Tocuila, under the banner of the People’s Land Defense Front (FPDT), claim the road will cross community lands. They said the towns have filed an amparo against construction of the road.

“We’ve grown tired of warning the government, asking them to stop harassing us and to stop trying to take our territory.”

Earlier this month the FPDT removed a group of workers who were placing posts to mark the road’s path. The workers at the time were accompanied by military officials, a detail FPDT leader Ignacio del Valle considered “a provocation.”

“We remain calm because what [the government] wants is to break that tranquility; they’re engaging in something we do not want, and still we remain respectful,” he said.

The people from Atenco and Tocuila managed to seize several front-end loaders and steamrollers, and stopped 15 dump trucks from reaching the construction site and depositing their loads of gravel.

After some tense moments between FPDT members and construction workers, the latter decided to withdraw and remove their machinery and construction supplies from the site.

Work on the 17-kilometer-long road started over a year ago. A four-kilometer stretch has been completed and is now in use. The remaining 13 kilometers cross the ejidos of Tocuila, La Magdalena, Francisco I. Madero, Atenco, Acuexcomac and Nexquipayac.

The company in charge of the construction, Pinfra, said work will continue in order to fulfill its contract. “We’re sure that the government will do its part, we only request that the safety of the workers be guaranteed,” an anonymous representative told the newspaper La Jornada.

The construction budget for the US $9.4-billion airport this year is 5 billion pesos, or $288 million. The first phase should be largely finished by 2020 when the terminal building and three runways are expected to be in operation.


Source: Reforma (sp), AlianzaTex (sp)

The journey’s only just begun: The ejido Tila

Filed under: Autonomy, Indigenous — Tags: , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 7:30 am



The journey’s only just begun: The ejido Tila




By Ratarrey

It’s been five months since the ejido Tila (area of common land) gave their local government the boot and declared ejidal autonomy. Five months of self-determination, of organised community restructuring, of thinking about how to create a government where the people are in charge, of making collective decisions about the direction the community is going in. Nearly half a year on the path to autonomy. “Autonomy is a lifelong process. The fight never ends. And the journey’s only just begun”, said a compañero ejidatario (common land shareholder).

Three compañeros ejidatarios tell us about the progress they have made, the accomplishments and the obstacles. When the community realised they couldn’t keep waiting for the local government coup and the police and paramilitary forces that would accompany it, the idea for a new kind of self-governance and territorial take-over began to take shape. The assembly’s first decision was to name security commissioners and coordinate surveillance of the entrances into the town. It’s a surveillance rota in which women and young people also participate; every citizen takes their turn at some point. The community is looking out for itself: “On the 16th of January there was a dance and we commissioned 50 people to act as security, in the end there were 150 of us. People were surprised that the dance was so safe. Before, when the local government was here, anything from mobile phones to children would be stolen, and people were scared. But this time, nothing happened.”

Another decision taken by the assembly, suggested in a proposal put forward by the compañeras, was to close the cantinas and stop the consumption of drugs in the community. “Before, when the [municipal] police were here, they were the ones who sold [drugs] and after a year here they’d already have their brand new car.” Today, if the security commission of the ejido finds anyone taking drugs, they ask them where and who they bought them from, in order to get to the person responsible.




Like so many other decisions taking by the assembly, this way of resolving internal problems comes from one of the community’s fundamental beliefs: that they must educate young people to defend their territory, to be alert and to be focused. For now, state schools and their curricula are respected; the community understands that community training and territorial defence can be learned collectively: on guard duty, doing community work, around the kitchen table. Young people also have an obligation to participate in community work. The ch’ol language and organised defence of the land can be learned and shared outside the school walls, in daily community life.

To administer justice, the assembly designated an ejidal judge (judge of the common lands). Punishment consists not of fines and prison sentences but of community work. Instead of an irrefutable and corrupt legal system, decisions are made according to customs and experience, case by case. “If a man hits his wife, he’ll be sent to work as a cleaner or carry wood; others are sent to clean drains. If somebody steals, he has to repay what he took. The punishment is given according to the crime. For example, drunks are shut away for a night, but in the morning their personal possessions are returned to them. Respect underlies everything. Not like when the local government was here, who would take away their things and even charge them a fine.”

The assembly also created designated cleaning and water committees. Apart from taking care of administrating rubbish collection and looking after the drains and pipes, these committees are responsible for keeping an eye on how rubbish is being dealt with: making sure people don’t produce too much waste and that they don’t leave it outside. Self-governance also means looking after the streets, being aware that space is shared and must be looked after by everyone.




The different commissions and committees alternate, the men and women of the ejido describe themselves as ‘multi-use’. Sometimes someone is a policeman and then he collects rubbish, or sometimes it’s his turn to go and collect wood for cooking. Each family in the community contributed fifty or a hundred pesos towards the purchase of a three-ton truck, for use by the collective workforce.

And the building where the town hall used to be? The assembly gave permission for all the street-sellers who had stalls around the main square to set themselves up in it. “The local government actually wanted to expropriate the ejido casino to turn it into a shopping mall, and, well, we decided that the town hall would become a place where people could sell their products.”

There was an example of the new collective organising last March. Every year, hundreds of people make a pilgrimage to the alter of the Black Christ (Cristo Negro) in Tila. This year, members of the Partido Verde ran a smear campaign about the state of the town. “They said there were fights, that there was no water, no electricity, that it was dirty.” Yet everyone duly came, from Tabasco and all over the northern part of Chiapas. The visitors were surprised to see a Tila that was so safe and so clean; a Tila, furthermore, were there was no police intimidation or corruption, as in previous years. “We wanted to give people a good impression of Tila, so they know that life is better for us in autonomy.” Tila showed the visitors that without the government, life is better.

The gradual building of ejidal autonomy has been achieved, furthermore, in the midst of a constant climate of threats and harassment: on the 8th of February last year, the state government of Chiapas gave orders for the arrest of twenty ejidatarios on the charge of riots and breach of the peace. The assembly decided to increase vigilance across the ejido to make sure, at all cost, that no compañero was taken prisoner. This involved implementing a radio communications system between the different look-out points and installing speakers in different parts of the town to keep the whole community informed.




“Loud speakers are our greatest weapon, not the weapons the paramilitaries have”, says one ejidatario. “And, well, they also say we have sticks with nails in. That’s true too. But that’s just to put punctures in the wheels of any cars used to try to abduct a compañero.” They’ve also dug trenches at the entrances into the town so that military and federal vehicles can’t get out – their tyres withstand nails without puncturing. The guards are on watch all night and people know that we have to be on constant alert, because our enemies don’t sleep either. “As the saying goes, you’ve got to be more of a tiger than the tiger (hay que ser más tigre que el tigre)”, says another ejidatario.

Thus the assembly is vigilant. As one compañero ejidatario says, “the storm is coming”. The paramilitarisation of the area has increased because of a uranium mining project which, rumour has it, is already in construction. The seam is 25km from the town, in the ejido of Tumbalá, inside the official limits of the municipality of Tila. This mine does not appear on maps available to the public because uranium mines come under the remit of ‘National Security’. The mine is in the so-called highlands of Tila, which seriously worries the ejidatarios: it’s highly probable that the land and water will be contaminated, threatening their health and their way of life. Faced with this prospect, the assembly have started talking about what to do and how to respond to it. The compañeros recognise that they’re at the start of a long journey: health, education and an increased involvement of women are some of the key areas to work on. Even so, the ejidatario men and women know that the path to autonomy is long and must be taken step by step. That the struggle never ends.


Translated by Ruby Zajac for the UK Zapatista Translation Service



April 28, 2016

Letter from Gustavo Esteva for Juan Vázquez Guzmán of Bachajón

Filed under: Bachajon, Indigenous, Movement for Justice in el Barrio, Zapatista — Tags: , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 5:44 am



Letter from Gustavo Esteva for Juan Vázquez Guzmán of Bachajón



From Oaxaca, Mexico: Letter from the writer and social activist Gustavo Esteva

We do not forget, compañero Juan Vázquez Guzmán. We will never forget.

Every year there are more of us who remember. And there are also more of us who find in your story inspiration to live, that is, to struggle. There are increasingly more of us who turn their indignation over your murder into the energy and strength to move forward.

Thanks to you, compañero, the Bachajón struggle became ours. We are not going to give up. It is the fight back we are giving everywhere against criminal governments and against those who own them, who maintain a war of plunder and aggression against the people and use all means at their disposal to oppress and take away what is ours. It is they who have been destroying Mother Earth, causing damage that can no longer be tolerated.

Your example is spreading, compañero. It is true that your death hurts, and that all murders affect us, all aggression, all the dispossessions that are committed daily. But it is also true that they do not intimidate us. They want to control us by fear, they want to paralyze us with anxiety, they want us to sink in our pain. They have produced the opposite. As it is said, they took away so much that they took away the fear. We are still standing. We are getting better at organising. We’re are interweaving to gather all our struggles together, to circulate among us so that we will be united when the time comes to reconquer all that is ours and to build, as you said, that world in which many worlds fit, a world that dawned with our Zapatista compañeros…

Your death and that of many other compañeros and compañeras does not discourage us. Quite the opposite. Our heart is made strong, it takes courage, it is reinforced in your example, in your life. Because ours is and has always been a struggle for life against the campaign of death waged by governments and capital.

We do not forget, compañero Juan Vázquez Guzmán. We will never forget.

Gustavo Esteva







April 27, 2016

Juan Vazquez Guzmán – Letter from Uruguay from Raul Zibechi

Filed under: Bachajon, Movement for Justice in el Barrio — Tags: , , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 5:00 am



Juan Vazquez Guzmán – Letter from Uruguay from Raul Zibechi


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From Uruguay: Letter from the writer and social activist Raúl Zibechi

The family, friends and compañer@s of Juan Vasquez Guzman:

Receive a greeting from southern Latin America, full of solidarity and appreciation.

Receive also congratulations for continuing to honour the memory of compa Juan, three years after his death.

Keep on, despite all the difficulties, resisting and challenging the powerful from our collective dignity, it is the only way we have to keep being who we are: peoples who struggle and work for another world where the Juans do not have to give their life for something as basic as life with dignity,

Raúl Zibechi





From Peru: Message from the indigenous social activist Hugo Blanco for the commemoration of Juan Vazquez Guzmán

Filed under: Bachajon, Movement for Justice in el Barrio, Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 4:51 am



 From Peru: Message from the indigenous social activist Hugo Blanco for the commemoration of Juan Vazquez Guzmán




I confirm, through Movement for Justice in El Barrio, my solidarity with the third annual commemoration of the death of compañero Juan Vázquez Guzmán, killed on April 24, 2013.

The murder was committed by the Mexican authorities and large corporations who are seeking to seize the communal land for tourist megaprojects.

Juan Vázquez Guzmán is a symbol of the defence of the indigenous community, of the defence of life and nature against the large transnational corporations that rule the world, killing nature and humanity, with the only sacred goal they have: “to make as much money as possible in the shortest time possible.”

Long live the undaunted struggle of the ejido Bachajón in defence of nature and humanity!


Hugo Blanco







April 25, 2016

From New York: Message from Movement for Justice in El Barrio in honor of Juan Vásquez Guzmán

Filed under: Bachajon, Displacement, Indigenous, Movement for Justice in el Barrio — Tags: , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 3:28 pm



From New York: Message from Movement for Justice in El Barrio in honor of Juan Vásquez Guzmán



Dear compañeras and compañeros ejidatarios of San Sebastián Bachajón:

We send loving hugs to you all from El Barrio, New York.

Across the borders which those from above impose on us, by means of this letter we want to share our humble word to the family and all the compas of our beloved brother, Juan Vásquez Guzmán in this commemoration that you have organized to celebrate the memory and life of our compa Juan.

After three years we still feel a lot of pain and rage at the savage murder of Juan Vásquez Guzmán which took place on April 24, 2013.

Juan Vásquez Guzmán was and remains an inspiration for the migrant people of El Barrio and every day here we keep his memory alive.

Your struggle is our struggle because the land belongs to those who work it and housing belongs to those who live in it.

You struggle against those who want to take away your lands, while on this side in the north, we struggle against those who want to take away our housing.

Today, three years after the death of compa Juan Vásquez Guzmán, we remember his great legacy of struggle in defence of your land and our people.

Juan Vásquez Guzmán is not dead because he still lives in our hearts.

Juan Vásquez Guzmán, a great fighter who for his love of community and the land belonging to them made it a priority in his daily life to defend the land of his birth, the same land that saw him fall.

Juan Vásquez Guzmán, a man who well knew that the Mother Earth has no price.

Juan Vásquez Guzmán who fought tirelessly until his death.


Dear brother Juan Vásquez Guzmán:

You are still a great example for us to follow here in New York.

You will never be alone.

Nor will your beloved compas in struggle from the ejido San Sebastián Bachajón be alone.

There are no barriers or frontiers that separate our support and feelings for you our compa Juan and your parents, siblings, children and compas in struggle.


Compañeros ejidatarios of San Sebastián Bachajón:

We remain in struggle and together we will continue to build a better world where many worlds fit,


This week in Canada, we will have an event in commemoration of Juan Vásquez Guzmán where we will share the dignified struggle that you continue to carry out.

We also continue to demand the punishment of those responsible for the death of compa Juan so his death does not go unpunished.


We demand justice! Their murderers cannot go unpunished! No more impunity!

Land, freedom and justice for the ejidatarios of San Sebastián Bachajón!

Juan Vásquez Guzmán lives, the Bachajón struggle continues!

Juan Vásquez Guzmán, Presente!


With love and solidarity,

Movement for Justice in El Barrio



Ejido Tila Chiapas denounces attempt of attack and solidarity with Xochicuautla and Ostula

Filed under: Indigenous, Paramilitary, Repression — Tags: — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 2:40 pm



Ejido Tila Chiapas denounces attempt of attack and solidarity with Xochicuautla and Ostula


new MarchaContras




Public denouncement

Ejido Tila, Chiapas, Mexico 14 April 2016

To the general public,

To national and international adherents of the Sixth,

To the mass media nationally and internationally,

To non-governmental organisations fighting for justice and dignity,

To the Network against Repression and for Solidarity,

To non-governmental human rights defenders,

To the National Indigenous Congress (CNI),

To resistance in Mexico and worldwide,


A cordial greeting to you from the comrades of Ejido Tila, Chiapas, Mexico. We want to tell you we remain as firm as ever in our resistance against the Bad Government’s efforts of dispossession.

We publicly denounce the cowardly and treasonous behaviour committed against our comrades, the Ñatho indigenous community of San Fransisco Xochicuatla, on Monday 11 April 2016. They resist the construction of a motorway between Toluca and Naucalpan and despite the fact they won an injunction against the expropriation of their lands, their peace camp was destroyed and their dignified resistance assaulted. We condemn this aggression against our comrades and now clearly see that the Bad Government’s laws only serve to dispossess and repress people. On 18 February 2016 a protection order, number 1123/2015 and 771/2015, was granted to our indigenous brothers and sisters of the community San Francisco Xochicuautla and most of the authorities notified. The marauding behaviour of the Bad Government and businesses violates this injunction.

We also condemn the 10 April 2016 assault on our comrades in the community of Santa Maria Ostula, in the vicinity of San Juan de Alima, Michoacan. One community member, Francisco Grajeda was murdered and another, Abraham Giron, was injured. This cowardly attack clearly shows that the Mexican Government’s laws only serve the powerful.

We publicly denounce Arturo Sanchez Sanchez, brother of Samuel Sanchez Sanchez, the ‘Paz y Justicia’ paramilitary leader currently incarcerated in Amate Prison. The family is made up of murderers. Arturo Sanchez Sanchez’s son, the teacher Francisco Arturo Sanchez Martinez is another one of these agitators seeking to disrupt the peace of Ejido Tila. The disruptions go back to when the grandparents, from Jolsibaquil, burned Doctora Adelaida Martinez Parcero and Evaristo Gutierrez Martinez goods in 1980 and five orders of apprehension were made, but today remains a community leader. Domingo Gutierrez Ramirez, Mariano Gutierrez Lopez, Dizque Profesor Caralampio Lopez Sanchez, Juan Lopez Lopez, Martin Decelis Guillen, Delmar Avenamar Hernandez Trujillo, brother of ‘Paz y Justicia’ paramilitary member Raymundo HernandezTtrujillo, teacher Jose Ramirez Jimenez,  from  El Limar and the teacher Florentina Jimenez Vazquez, and Mercedes Bonifaz Gutierrez, whose grandparents are from Amatan, Chiapas. All of these people mentioned here are the new paramilitaries who with high caliber weapons blocked access to Ejido Tila, Chiapas during the contentious elections of 19 July 2015, and who up until today disrupt the peace, and want to continue doing so.

We want it known that for the security of the inhabitants of Ejido Tila, and as agreed by the ejido general assembly, two entrances were blocked, and two were left open for access. This was owing to the terrible conditions the local government allowed – a growing number of ‘cantinas’, bars, and shops selling wine and spirits which was leading our young people to drink, join gangs, and become addicted to drugs.  But these agitators are bothered by this same government project and they arrived to unblock access to the ejido. The truck drivers, people with money from Tila and Yajalon, Chiapas came on 13 April 2016, but they have no reason to be here as no one is being bothered. It is the truck drivers as well as these agitators who are disturbing the peace of the ejido, for example shooting high calibre weapons into the air at 17.00 (5 o’clock in the afternoon). They are also the same ones who organised a march on 10 April, all dressed in white and saying we are people of peace but in reality they are the ones destabilising the community. They said 900 people participated in the march, but in reality it was less than 200.

In this atmosphere of anomalies and provocation by these people, we will continue to govern using our traditions and customs and the same community members are witness that no one is bothering these people. In fact it is those provoking us who encourage other community members to join their movement, threatening them otherwise to burn their houses. We also want to unveil the truth to the lies Doctor Adelaida Martinez Parcero is making about us blocking roads and charging tolls for passage. This is totally false, the ejido residents do not do this, but these people use lies even to trick the Supreme Court of the Nation, which is what they are accusing us of now. This indicates these people are prepared only to trample on and exploit our indigenous brothers and sisters.

We are immensely grateful to the townspeople and neighbours who have supported us and our struggle with food and supplies, and who did not join the troublemakers’ march on 10 April. They know that Ejido Tila is acting within it legal framework.

We alert the diverse social and non-governmental organisations who fight for justice and in defense of Mother Earth and land rights that they keep watch on what might happen to Ejido Tila. The situation is very tense. The above mentioned people have hired people with weapons to murder and upset the peace, and we put the responsibility on them about whatever might happen here. We know these people are capable of murder. Further it should be noted that strategy of provocation has been organised by the mayor Edgar Leopoldo Gomez Gutierrez who meets in the party hall ‘Delyben’ with Moises Alberto Cornelio Trujillo, who is the current municipal secretary.


Yours sincerely,

The Representative Body of the Ejido

Never again a Mexico without us




Day of Action for the Liberation of Alejandro Diaz Santiz and Political Prisoners

Filed under: Political prisoners, Uncategorized — Tags: , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 2:32 pm



Day of Action for the Liberation of Alejandro Diaz Santiz and Political Prisoners

Presos.pngDuring the cultural event in Plaza de la Resistencia y la Paz in San Cristobal de Las Casas, Chiapas. Photo: @Work Group “No estamos todxs”


In the framework of International Political Prisoners Solidarity Day, relatives of Alejandro Diaz Santiz organized a cultural event, a sit in and press conference for the freedom of the unjustly imprisoned [man] together with collectives and sympathizers. Diaz Santiz, who has been deprived of his freedom for 17 years, is an adherent of the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) and from prison has been organizing to denounce violations of his rights and those of other prisoners. Last September he was moved to the Federal prison at Villa Comaltitlan in Tapachula in spite of the fact that he had been sentenced for a local and not federal jurisdiction crime as well as not being a highly dangerous prisoner. According to his attorney, Leonel Rivero Rodriguez, he was transferred “in a totally arbitrary manner” and the move “had no type of basis.”

Antonio Diaz Velasco, Alejandro’s father, stated in the press conference that, in spite of the fact that his son’s visual health is deteriorating, he is not receiving medical attention in prison. “I saw that he is ill, his eyes are discolored, I asked him what was wrong, he said that they don’t give him medication, little food, beans and five tortillas.” He confirmed that the transfer is making family visits difficult because the distance from his community to the prison is long and they do not have the economic resources to pay for transport. Pedro Lopez Jimenez, member of the Supporters of the Voice Amate organization, added that they hope that “the authorities fulfill their promises and free Alejandro” as the State Government signed an agreement in February for the liberation of Diaz Santiz. For his part, Rivero pointed that Alejandro was subjected to an irregular trial, having “a bad or no defense” following his arrest. It should be recalled that Diaz Santiz is a Tsotsil indigenous who “at the time of his arrest did not speak Spanish, was tortured, never had access to an interpreter, and did not have enough money for an adequate legal defense”, the Work Group “No Estamos Todxs” (GTNET) statement said.

According to the attorney, Alejandro would currently have the right to parole for partial remission of the sentence – a reduction of his sentence for good behaviour and participation in social reinsertion activities – for which a legal protection was lodged and is awaiting verdict. Lopez Jimenez announced that they expect the legal protection move to be successful and if it is not, they will continue with actions to demand the immediate release of their compañero. The release of Roberto Paciencia Cruz was also called for, unjustly imprisoned in the State Center for Social Reinsertion of Prisoners (CERSS) No. 5 at San Cristobal de Las Casas, and the San Bachajon prisoners at Amate CERSS, municipality of Cintalapa.




Communiqué from San Sebastián Bachajón about Juan Vázquez Guzmán



Communiqué from San Sebastián Bachajón about Juan Vázquez Guzmán





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

To the Good Government Juntas

To the Indigenous National Congress

To the compañer@s adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle in Mexico and the world

To the mass and alternative media

To the Network for Solidarity and against Repression

To Movement for Justice in El Barrio from New York

To national and international human rights defenders

To the people of Mexico and the world 


Jmololabex ants winikewtik, icháh spatil a wotanik ta pisilik ta ini ka´kal yuun yotik nokolonkotik ta spasel te snahojibal Juan Vázquez Guzmán ta Bachajón te laj ta milel yuun skoltabel slumal sok te lum k´inal.

Yaj jkabeyexcotik mukul hokolawalik yuun te laj ha jokinonkotik ta spasel in tsakayik yoxebal ahbil yuun te laj ta milel te jmololtik Juan Vázquez.


Compañeros and compañeras, today 24th April, 2016, the third annual commemoration of compañero Juan Vázquez Guzmán is being held.

The family of Juan Vázquez Guzmán and the members of the Sexta Ejido San Sebastián Bachajón thank you for your presence and participation through written letters.

We express once again our gratitude to the organizations and social activists for their cooperation, hoping to have the opportunity of your participation again in future gatherings.


From New York: Movement for Justice in El Barrio, to the family and compañeros of Juan Vázquez Guzmán.

From England: letter from the Dorset Chiapas Solidarity Group. 3 years after his assassination Juan Vázquez Guzmán lives!  

From Peru: message from the indigenous social activist Hugo Blanco for the commemoration of Juan Vázquez Guzmán. 

From Uruguay: letter from the writer and social activist Raúl Zibechi to the family, friends and compañeros of Juan Vázquez Guzmán.  

From Oaxaca, Mexico: letter from the writer and social activist Gustavo Esteva for the commemoration of Juan Vázquez Guzmán.


Receive combative greetings from the family of Juan Vázquez Guzmán and the members of La Sexta Ejido San Sebastián Bachajón.

Land and Freedom

Hasta la Victoria Siempre!





3 years after his assassination, Juan Vázquez Guzmán Lives!

Filed under: Bachajon, Displacement, Indigenous, Movement for Justice in el Barrio — Tags: , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 9:10 am



3 years after his assassination, Juan Vázquez Guzmán Lives!




To the family of Juan Vázquez Guzmán

To the adherents to the Sixth Declaration from the ejido San Sebastián Bachajón

To members of the community


Compañeras and Compañeros

We send you our warmest greetings from our humble corner of the world.

We would like to send you a few words for the third annual commemoration of the beloved compañero Juan Vázquez Guzmán, who was killed in front of his home on 24th April, 2013, by a group of assassins from the bad government.

Juan Vázquez Guzmán was an authority of the ejido, who fought with all his good heart to defend the lands and territory of San Sebastián Bachajón from the ferocious appetite of the bad government and the transnationals in Mexico and the world who want to dispossess the ejidatarios, take over their ancestral lands, plunder the mother earth, and transform the area of Bachajon in to a luxury tourist megaproject. These agencies ordered his murder because they knew he would never give up the struggle, but we all know that, in Juan’s memory and following the dignified example of love and commitment that he gave us, the struggle continues. It will never end.

It is now three years since Juan Vázquez Guzmán was cruelly assassinated, and the demand for justice continues. The crime still remains unpunished, there have been no investigations and no one has been arrested, but Juan is with us all in our hopes and dreams of a better world.

We honour his memory and remember his dignified struggle for his people and the land. Juan is a light of hope and dignity accompanying all our struggles, and we know that he continues to live in the hearts of all his compañeras and compañeros in the ejido San Sebastián Bachajón. Those who give their lives for the land do not die but live on in every act of freedom and resistance.

We send you an embrace of solidarity


Hasta siempre compañero.

Land and Freedom!

Juan Vázquez Guzmán lives! The Bachajón struggle continues!


Dorset Chiapas Solidarity Group







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