dorset chiapas solidarity

January 31, 2013

Ionesco in the Lacandon

Filed under: Indigenous, Marcos, Zapatista — Tags: — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 7:45 pm

Ionesco in the Lacandon

Luis Hernández Navarro

La Jornada, 29th January, 2013

photo-3Whether through arrogance, bad memory, carelessness, recklessness or poor organization,  to begin the Crusade Against Hunger on January 21st with a mass mobilization in Las Margaritas, Chiapas, was a bad decision by Enrique Peña Nieto. He had no need to do it. He could have given the starting signal for his programme in any poor municipality in the country, but he decided to do it in Zapatista territory, a month after the mobilization of 45,000 rebels.

The response from Subcomandante Marcos arrived hours after the official ceremony. The central message of his statement was a cartoon in which a hand appears making an obscene gesture popularly known as la Gaver, in which the middle finger is straight while the four remaining appendages are bent.

The communiqué is addressed to Ali Baba and his 40 thieves. In a postscript he characterized the act as “terrible choreography and badly directed.  That applause by the people you hauled out there was totally off cue, even the “preciso” [president] realized it (which is saying a lot). Remember that substance is the form (or was it the reverse?) Hmm… and the stuttering continues, in addition to errors in the use of the plural, the singular, and the masculine and feminine.”

To top it off, in the final postscript he scorns and discredits the PRD leaders Jesus Ortega and Jesus Zambrano. “You should send those handouts somewhere else”, he says, “or you could give them out in the ‘Pact for Mexico’.”

The reference to the leaders of the New Left is not gratuitous. They played a central role in 2001 in aborting the approval of the constitutional reform on indigenous rights and culture, drawn up by the Commission for Concord and Pacification (the Cocopa law), and instead produced reform legislation. However, in what appears to be a political move to negotiate with the government, they are now saying that the San Andres Accords should be adopted. It is also known that, within the PRD, they are the main promoters of the Pact for Mexico, driven without any agreement to do so within the party.

The municipality of Las Margaritas seems to occupy a prominent place in the museum of PRI nightmares. What has happened there for the last 20 years is a spectre which haunts their dreams of being invincible. It is a reminder that the trappings of power cannot exorcise the demons of popular discontent.

Before organizing the event in Las Margaritas, Peña Nieto strategists should have reviewed the regional history of the last two decades. Or did they do so and think that they needed to give a show of political strength in rebel territory?

In May 1993, seven months before the armed uprising of the EZLN, troops of the Mexican Army found the site of the Las Calabazas camp in the Sierra Corralchén. This resulted in the first clashes between the federal forces and the Zapatistas.

To try to stem the rebellion before it started, the federal government deployed troops in the region and promoted an ambitious programme to combat poverty. In September 1993, Luis Donaldo Colosio, then Secretary of Social Development, together with President Carlos Salinas de Gortari, travelled to the community of Guadalupe Tepeyac, 80 kilometres from the county seat of Las Margaritas, to inaugurate a hospital funded by Pronasol (which did not have the necessary medical equipment to function), bless the coffee as it went to market and advertise ‘Solidaridad’ development projects.

None of this worked. On 1 January 1994, just over three months after that visit, despite the multitude of soldiers, and the money given to stop the uprising, the indigenous of that region rose up in arms. Many used the resources that the government gave them to combat poverty to buy the guns with which they rebelled.

On November 28, 1993, Luis Donaldo Colosio was appointed PRI candidate for the Presidency of the Republic. Someone within his team arranged for the start of his campaign to take place on the following January 10 in Las Margaritas, Chiapas, even though there was still fighting between the EZLN and the Army. Finally it was decided to move the event to Huejutla, Hidalgo. Two days later, President Salinas declared a unilateral ceasefire so as to begin the dialogue.

The act at Las Margaritas last January 21st is an indicator of the lack of effort from the federal government to resolve the conflict with the EZLN. Were they announcing a crusade against hunger or against the Zapatistas? Were they trying to kill two birds with one stone? The government failed to achieve either one or the other. On the contrary, they ended up by making the rebels into the main critics of their programme. To use a football metaphor, we can say that Peña Nieto passed them the ball in front of his goal, and they did not miss. “You should send your handouts – Marcos told them – somewhere else”.

Surprised by the emergence of a political actor who they were not expecting and who is not subject to the rules of the Pact for Mexico or of traditional politics, the government is behaving towards the EZLN in a remiss, erratic and contradictory manner. The signals they are sending are also contradictory. What they want to do, if they themselves really know what it is, is an enigma. Their actions are more like the staging of a play from the theatre of the absurd than an exercise in high politics. Eugène Ionesco has come to the Lacandón.


“We Will Win One Hundred Times Over”: Translating the Zapatista Resurgence

Filed under: Indigenous, La Sexta, Marcos, Zapatista — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 7:09 am


“We Will Win One Hundred Times Over”: Translating the Zapatista Resurgence

Wednesday, 30 January 2013 16:05 Joshua Stephens


Zapatistas march in Ocosingo, December 21, 2012. Source: Roarmag.orgZapatistas march in Ocosingo, December 21, 2012. Source:

On December21st of last year, as many across the world were speculating about the end of the Mayan calendar, 40,000 actual Mayans marched silently into five cities in Chiapas, Mexico, putting the Zapatistas and the Zapatista Army for National Liberation (EZLN) back into the forefront of grassroots political discourse the world over, and mainstream political discourse in Mexico. A stream of provocative communiques from the EZLN’s spokesperson, Subcomandante Marcos, have followed. For the better part of the last decade, Kristin Bricker has been documenting popular struggle in Mexico, particularly the Zapatista rebellion, and is one of the most prolific English translators of material produced by grassroots social movements across the country. Given the occasion of the seemingly sudden re-emergence of the Zapatistas, and her translations of its almost-daily literary flourishes, it seemed appropriate to catch up with her and solicit her reflections on the moment.


Joshua Stephens: I think a lot of people reading the pieces you’ve been translating the last month or so are wondering, so I’m just going to ask: Why now? Generally, the Zapatistas have mobilized at this volume in response to discreet events or conditions – North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the post-Institutional Revolution Party (PRI) electoral landscape, and so on. Do you have the sense that something in particular has sparked the resurgence?

Kristin Bricker: The current resurgence began with the December 21st mobilization in which 40,000 Zapatistas staged a silent march in five Chiapan cities. In their December 30th communique, they explained why they decided to step back into the limelight:  “After the media-driven coup d’état that exalted a poorly concealed and even more poorly disguised ignorance to the federal executive branch, we made ourselves present so that you would know that if they never left, neither did we.” Here they are referring to the election of Enrique Peña Nieto to the country’s presidency.

Peña Nieto is Mexico’s George W. Bush. He won the 2012 election thanks to massive vote-buying. Everyone acknowledges that he is impressively stupid and not at all ashamed of it, and for the Left he’s the devil incarnate. His godfather and puppet master is former president Carlos Salinas, who was in office when the Zapatistas staged their1994 uprising. In order to pave the way for NAFTA, Salinas reformed Mexico’s Constitution, essentially removing the land rights Emiliano Zapata and his peasant army fought and died for in the Mexican Revolution of 1910. As a result, Salinas continues to be even more unpopular than Peña Nieto’s predecessor, Felipe Calderón, who launched the drug war that currently has Mexico embroiled in a deadly quagmire.

As governor of Mexico State, Peña Nieto laid a deadly trap for the People’s Front in Defense of the Land (FPDT), a civilian peasant organization that has strong ties to the Zapatistas. In 2006, his government negotiated a deal with the FPDT that allowed flower vendors to sell flowers in the downtown area of Texocol, near Atenco. When the vendors, accompanied by the FPDT, showed up to sell flowers at the agreed-upon time and place, Peña Nieto’s riot police were waiting for them. In the clashes that followed, police killed two protesters (including a fourteen-year-old boy, shot in the chest with live ammo) and gang-raped over twenty female detainees on a bus in front of other arrested demonstrators. No police have been punished for these abuses, but some demonstrators spent years in jail. Peña Nieto proudly claimed responsibility for the police’s actions.

When he won the presidential election, it meant that the Institutional Revolution Party (PRI), which ruled Mexico for seventy years as a one-party dictatorship, would return to power after just a twelve-year hiatus. The Zapatistas were an important factor in the PRI’s ouster following the 2000 elections, so it’s fitting that they’ve chosen to go back on the offensive now.


JS: The initial communique following the late December march pretty openly acknowledged a widespread sense that the Zapatistas had eroded – as a force or presence – rather considerably. I remember conversations we had about the ebbing of The Other Campaign, autonomous communities’ land-loss, and journalists’ claims about Marcos being “put out to pasture”. Was the “they don’t need us in order to fail” comment simply an artful way to stage a return to visibility, or do you feel like it was taking aim at something?

KB: I actually have a different interpretation of that communique. I interpreted it as a response to all of the chatter in the Mexican and international media over the past few years that the Zapatistas had run out of steam, were losing ground, had failed to make any gains, and that Marcos was either dead or had been fired. As Marcos says in that communique, “We never left, even though media from all over the spectrum have dedicated themselves to making you believe that, and we are reemerging as the indigenous Zapatistas that we are and will be.”

It’s important to note that while this new set of communiques hopefully means that the Zapatistas are planning something proactive, they haven’t been invisible over the past few years. In 2011, Marcos had some public written exchanges with two prominent men, intellectual Luis Villoro and writer-turned-activist Javier Sicilia. That same year, thousands of Zapatistas mobilized to march against the drug war in support of Javier Sicilia’s peace movement. So if the Zapatista’s disappeared from anywhere, it was from the corporate media’s echo chamber. In reality, the Zapatistas never went away.

“They don’t need us in order to fail” is an allusion to Karl Marx’s assertion that capitalism contains the seeds of its own destruction. Earlier in that same communique, he argues that the political class is “too incapable and dishonest to see that within themselves they had and have the seeds of their own destruction.” Marcos has said that over and over; he even wrote a children’s book called “The Story of the Lion and the Mirror” where the lion represents capitalism and the mirror, which kills the lion in the end, represents how capitalism contains the necessary contradictions for its own destruction.

Current and previous presidential administrations have made it very clear that Mexican politicians and their Yankee puppet masters are perfectly capable of failing miserably without the Zapatistas’ help. No one can blame the hell that we are living in Mexico on the Zapatistas. The kidnappings, the guns that are held to our heads, the bodies that hang from bridges as we go to work or take our kids to school–the Zapatistas had nothing to do with that. It is a direct result of the United States-backed drug war that former president Felipe Calderón started with guns blazing in order to distract the country from the fact that he’d stolen the election.


JS: Has the resurgence had effects on the ground? There are references in these texts to collaboration with adherents to the Sixth Declaration, but it seemed in recent years as though that network had languished some.

KB: The Other Campaign’s success has depended entirely on the people who make up the local collectives and regional networks. Yes, in some areas, collectives have languished somewhat as they wait for the Zapatistas to tell them what to do next. But one thing that you have to keep in mind is that the Other Campaign is comprised of a lot of groups that have been organizing since before the Other Campaign. That’s the case in Guerrero, where human rights organizations andautonomist community policing organizations united under the Other Campaign umbrella. They’re on the front lines against the dirty war and drug war violence in that state; they don’t sit and wait around for the next Zapatista communique to tell them what to do. They’re always proactive, because it’s a matter of life and death for them.

The Other Campaign also resulted in like-minded individuals coming together under the pro-Zapatista banner to do community organizing that they might have not been doing prior to the Other Campaign. That’s the case in Chalco, a poor, crime-ridden area of Mexico State. In 2010, following a foreseeable disaster where a canal burst and covered Chalco with raw sewage (in some areas putting the entire first floor of houses under what the residents politely referred to as “mud”), a collective of Other Campaign adherents in Chalco built relationships with the local church to do the disaster relief the government refused to do. Operating under the Other Campaign mantra of “If they touch one of us, they touch all of us,” the Chalco collective called on Other Campaign adherents in the region to help out. The Chalco collective used the church as a base of operations where Other Campaign adherents from Mexico City and surrounding areas could drop off donations and provide free services. A collective of doctors who are adherents to the Other Campaign came out to Chalco to provide medical care to people who were suffering infections due to their exposure to raw sewage. A hairdresser came out to give kids haircuts before they went back to school. Brigades repainted walls to cover up the flood lines that reminded people of the few days they spent living under a few feet of feces. Having the wall of a government-maintained above-ground canal burst and cover your town with poop is just about the most undignified experience a working class community could possibly suffer. The Other Campaign brought dignity back to Chalco, and the collective there is as strong as ever.

The Other Campaign has also strengthened the movement to free political prisoners.  Instead of every jailed Zapatista sympathizer all over the country having to fight for their freedom in isolation, they’re essentially guaranteed a support network, not just in Mexico, but all over the world. Just look at how hard the New York-based Movement for Justice in the Barrio has fought for Mexican political prisoners. The release of these political prisoners over the years is a constant tangible win for the Other Campaign. [Interviewer’s note: Since the time of this interview, Zapatista political prisonerFrancisco Sántiz has been released, a day after his being mentioned in an EZLN communique.]

That said, so far I haven’t seen any tangible effects of this resurgence–just a lot of anticipation. The latest communique from Subcomandante Marcos said “to be continued…” So I think everyone is anxiously waiting to see what the Zapatistas have up their sleeves. I imagine that Other Campaign collectives all over the country are meeting to analyze and discuss the latest communiques.

Personally, I think the new communiques are uplifting. We’ve suffered so much under the drug war, myself included. It’s debilitating to be constantly bombarded with carnage, guns held to your head, kidnappings, extortion… Can you imagine what it is like to be afraid to look out your window to see what that noise was in the street because you’re afraid that you’ll be seen seeing something you shouldn’t have? I think that, for many people outside of Mexico, it’s impossible to imagine living under those conditions, much less organizing under them. When 40,000 Zapatistas took the streets and then they began releasing these new communiques, I felt hope and energy for the first time in two years. I think a lot of other people feel the same way. I’m excited to see what they have to say, and I’m excited to be a part of it. If anyone knows how to go through hell and emerge stronger, the Zapatistas do.


JS: I remember seeing middle school-aged kids studying at the Zapatista school in Oventic back in 2008, and realizing that I was looking at 13 and 14 year olds who had effectively always been Zapatistas, inasmuch as they were born after the ’94 uprising. By now, those kids have reached adulthood, entirely within those communities and the mode of being cultivated in them. Is what we’re seeing reflective of that generation coming into the fold, as it were?

KB: That is something that a lot of people noticed: how many of the Zapatistas who marched on December 21 were young adults. The Zapatista autonomist process officially kicked off in 2003 when the EZLN unilaterally implemented indigenous rights in the territory it controlled. That’s when the EZLN, the Zapatista’s military apparatus, created the civilianGood Government Councils to govern in the newly created autonomous territory, which was divided into five caracoles, or regional capitals.  Positions on the five Good Government Councils are rotative and decided through the indigenous tradition of choosing leaders based on their prior service to the community.

The Zapatistas who are now reaching adulthood, getting married, and having children of their own were babies during the uprising, and they were about nine when the autonomous governing system was created with its own schools and healthcare. So they still attended government elementary schools and were neglected by government health clinics when they were sick. They grew up with the feeling of being an outsider, different, inferior, or, as the Zapatistas call it, “other.”  Part four of Marcos’ “Them and Us” communiques talk about that feeling. But these young adults also spent their very important formative years living under an autonomous indigenous governing system where their indigenousness is celebrated, not scorned. That has to be very important for them. And now they’re old enough to serve on the Good Government Councils.


JS: Indigenous resistance is increasingly visible, the world over, especially in light of the Idle No More actions coming out of Canada. And that resistance is increasingly networked. Is that part of the conversation on the ground in southern Mexico?

KB: Since their uprising in 1994, the Zapatistas have been at the forefront of globalizing leftist–not just indigenous–struggle in the new information age. Many people have argued that the protests that shut down the World Trade Organization meeting in Seattle in 1999–an event that radicalized and mobilized my generation–were to some extent inspired by the Zapatista uprising.

Of course, indigenous and anti-colonial struggles have always had a special place in the Zapatistas’ hearts. Some of the first people to visit them after the uprising were Irish freedom fighters and leaders from the American Indian Movement. The Zapatistas have organized international meetings of indigenous peoples so that they can share their struggles and strategies. They organized the founding of Mexico’s National Indigenous Congress so that the country’s indigenous peoples could participate in the indigenous rights negotiations between the Zapatistas and the government. While the Zapatistas haven’t specifically mentioned Idle No More (it’s still relatively new, and there is a language barrier), Marcos has repeatedly expressed support for Palestinians resisting Israeli colonization. A lot of people in the United States, even leftists, seem to forget that the conflict in Palestine is centered around colonists (although they call themselves settlers) attempting to seize indigenous land and resources by displacing Palestinians and imprisoning them in open-air prisons akin to what the US calls reservations. This fact is not lost on Marcos and the Zapatistas.

The Zapatistas are now closely watching the indigenous Mapuche’s struggle for autonomy and indigenous and land rights in Chile. Marcos has mentioned the Mapuches in three of the four “Them and Us” communiques that have been published, at this point. I think we’ll see a greater collaboration between those two struggles in the near future.


Video of the Zapatistas’ December 21, 2012 march in Chiapas, Mexico:




Kristin’s translations of the recent Zapatista communiques can be read (along with her coverage of struggle in Mexico more broadly) at My Word is My Weapon. Follow her on Twitter at @kristinbricker.

Joshua Stephens is a writer, editor, activist, and board member with the Institute for Anarchist Studies, and co-editor at Counter Conduct. He splits his time between Brooklyn, NY and the Mediterranean. Follow him on Twitter at@joshuacstephens.


January 30, 2013

You’re Invited to a Zapatista Party in August to Celebrate 10 Years of Autonomous Government

Filed under: Marcos, Zapatista — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 9:27 pm
You’re Invited to a Zapatista Party in August to Celebrate 10 Years of Autonomous Government


From Kristin Bricker

Zapatistas love parties almost as much as they love autonomy.

Today Subcomandante Marcos released a postscript to his “Them and Us” series. I don’t have time to translate the whole thing right now, but I do want to let you know about an upcoming party in Zapatista territory that was announced in the postscript.

Marcos acknowledged that a lot of people were upset about the Zapatistas’ decision to password-protect some parts of future communiques. This new postscript jokingly (as is his style) lets everyone know that the decision to password-protect some information will not mean that supporters will be left out of important Zapatista happenings:

“For example, if we put that an invitation that we’re extending to you is for August 2013, when the Good Government Councils celebrate 10 years of carrying out free autonomy; and that there will be a small party in the Zapatista communities; and that it rains a lot around those dates, and that here, in addition to dignity, the only other thing there will be a lot of is mud, so those who come should bring what you need so that you don’t end up being the colour of the earth. Well, those things, compas, we’re going to password-protect, because most people aren’t interested in that information, just those in the Sexta and some others who will be invited.”

I’ll post further details as the EZLN makes them public. If you want to read the whole postscript in English, El Kilombo will surely have it posted to their site very soon.


Frayba welcomes the liberation of Sántiz López, but highlights unresolved issues

Filed under: Frayba, Political prisoners, Zapatista — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 9:18 pm


Frayba welcomes the liberation of Sántiz López, but highlights unresolved issues

 ** Worrying that the Chiapas government does not address the forced disappearance in Banavil, it says

Foto[Moment of release of Francisco Sántiz from prison last Friday Photo: Moysés Zúñiga Santiago]

By: Hermann Bellinghausen,

San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, January 29, 2013

Despite the recent liberation of Francisco Sántiz López, EZLN support base, the problems of the four Tzeltal families displaced from Banavil (Tenejapa) and the two murders on December 4, 2011, remain unresolved. Justice has not been done, the Fray Bartolomé de las Casas Human Rights Centre (Frayba) said today.


The Centre welcomed the release of Sántiz López’, after 13 months and 20 days “arbitrarily deprived of his freedom”, and attributed it “to the solidarity actions of organizations, communities and peoples around the world, as well as various legal actions”.

On January 25, the judge resolved his (Francisco’s) legal situation with a protective order (amparo) in which it was recognized that his legal rights were violated at the time when his detention order was issued. Frayba emphasizes that in the order for his release it is argued that sufficient evidence never existed to prove that Sántiz López was carrying a firearm, the crime for which he was kept in prison, and “it is recognized that there were testimonies that contradicted this”.

Sample case

These contradictions confirm that “the judicial persecution had a political basis”, because the indigenous man is a Zapatista. “The case exemplifies the way in which the judicial system operates in our country, where there is evidence of a lack of a due investigation,  and the fabrication of crimes which are legitimized by the judges at both a state and federal level.”

The organization recalls that Sántiz López was detained because of the acts that occurred in the Banavil ejido on December 4, 2011. “Because of these acts four families are currently displaced” and day-by-day the fundamental rights of Tzeltal women, men, children are violated, and the disappearance (and very probable murder) of Alonso López Luna and the murder of Pedro Méndez López have still not been clarified.

“More than one year after these acts, authorities of the State Attorney General of Justice, the Tenejapa Court for Indigenous Peace and Conciliation, the Municipal Presidency of Tenejapa and the Secretary of Government have been remiss in not resolving these grave human rights violations.”

Faced with this, Frayba registers “concern” because the government of Chiapas has not addressed the displacement, the forced disappearance and the murders in Banavil in the wake of the attacks on families sympathetic to the EZLN. Therefore, it demands clarification of the acts, humanitarian assistance, guarantees for the return of the four displaced families and the appearance of Alonso López Luna. Besides, [it demands] the execution of the arrest warrants issued six months ago for the material aggressors of those acts.

New fast by the Voice of El Amate prisoners

Meanwhile, the “political prisoners” of the Voice of El Amate (Voz del Amate) and those in Solidarity with the Voice of El Amate (Solidarios de la Voz del Amate), adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle, held in prison number five in San Cristóbal de las Casas, announced a fast for seven days to demand their freedom. “The bad system that rules the country and its states has caused a lot of harm, sorrow, anguish and anger to thousands of Mexican families. A clear example is our case and the unjust imprisonment that we are experiencing; some have been in prison for 13, eight and six years serving undue sentences, because we never committed the crimes that we are charged with.”

This Wednesday they will initiate days of fasting and prayer for 12 hours per day demanding justice. They called on the government of Manuel Velasco Coello to “put an end to these injustices and free us as soon as possible and unconditionally.”

The indigenous prisoners who will protest are Alberto Patishtán Gómez, Rosario Díaz Méndez, Pedro López Jiménez, Juan Collazo Jiménez, Alejandro Díaz Sántiz, Juan Díaz López, Rosa López Díaz, Juan López González and Benjamin López Aguilar.


Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

En español:



English translation by the Chiapas Support Committee for the: International Zapatista Translation Service, a collaboration of the: Chiapas Support Committee, California, Wellington Zapatista Support Group, UK Zapatista Solidarity Network



Violations of Legal Due Process Are ‘Daily Bread’ – Especially for Indigenous

Filed under: Human rights, Indigenous, Political prisoners, Uncategorized — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 5:57 pm

Violations of Legal Due Process Are ‘Daily Bread’ – Especially for Indigenous

La Jornada: Alfredo Méndez
Due process violations of the accused are ‘daily bread’ in Mexico, and one sector that suffers most are indigenous who do not speak Spanish, whose rights to interpreters and to presumption of innocence are commonly violated.

Following a review of courts of the Federal Judiciary (PJF) in Mexico City, which represent less than ten percent of the more than seven hundred of Mexico’s authorized courts, La Jornada was able to document the existence of at least one hundred and sixty criminal cases in which the accused and / or convicted allege violations of their constitutional rights.
Police abuses, the lack of translators in all languages ​​spoken in Mexico, and inadequate access to a qualified public defender are the main allegations of complainants in demands for protection [injunction], or in appeals of prison sentences. However, in most cases, the defendants alleging violations of due process have only obtained injunctions to re-do judicial procedures, but not for their immediate release, indicated the judges, federal prosecutors and public defenders interviewed by this daily.
The judges and prosecutors consulted agreed that although in many cases violations of defendants’ rights to a proper defense, presumption of innocence and due process are proved, so far there is no case law from the Supreme Court or from the circuit courts that might compel judges to grant immediate release when such violations are proved.

“For now all we can do is grant injunctions for purposes of replacing procedures, so that if certain proofs were not evaluated, or [if they were] not respected, for example, the right of an indigenous defendant to a translator, the court re-tries the case, clearing the formal defects and procedural violations in order to issue a new sentence,” said a judge of criminal amparo [protective injunction] consulted by this newspaper.

The lawyers who, like the judges and prosecutors agreed to speak with La Jornada provided that no names be mentioned, indicated that thousands of criminal cases are currently being settled in courts across the country and there was violation of due process in some of them.
They explained that the case of Florence Cassez, released last week by the Supreme Court for violations of her constitutional rights to a proper defense, presumption of innocence and to contact her consulate, is a “storm in a teapot”, which in no way will mean that from now on the federal judges may decide in the same way.

“Make no mistake: the case of this French lady (Florence Cassez) is not jurisprudence. It’s only an isolated judgment of three justices of our highest constitutional court, but that consequently it might be mandatory for us…no, not at all,” said one of the judges interviewed.”



La Jornada: Jesús Aranda

The first chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation (SCJN) has in its hands to approve criteria that guarantee the right of indigenous peoples to full access to justice, which goes beyond their right to due process, to rely on an interpreter who is familiar with their language, and a defense lawyer; it has to do with the application of criminal justice, taking into account their [indigenous] uses and customs [law, enshrined in Article Two of Mexico’s Constitution, under which indigenous communities may practice self-government].
On the court docket for today are five amparos [injunctions] filed by indigenous defendants against various rulings; [these legal actions] have forced the Supreme Court to make a complete analysis of the Article Two of the Constitution. According to judicial sources consulted, the legal arguments that it may come to approve will be of high importance, because for the first time the high court will analyze comprehensively the problems faced by indigenous people on trial.
After having twice delayed disposition of the cases, listed for today are injunctions filed by Manuel López Gómez, Celestino Garay Candia, Eloy García Reyes, Nicolás Gómez Santiz and Joel Mancilla Vázquez. Sources commented that the Court will examine such basic concepts as:
  • Who is an indigenous person? ;
  • The possibility that in each specific case, the trial judge may take into account the right of indigenous people to a criminal process according to the law; and
  • In what situation will it be considered that an indigenous person is ‘vulnerable’ and require greater protection?
Stated differently, that the judge may take into account the specific situation of the accused: if he speaks Spanish or not, his economic situation, as well as analyzing each case by taking into account ‘uses and customs’ with respect to the criminal codes on which the allegations against him are based.
Article Two of the Constitution indicates, among other things, the State’s obligation to guarantee in all trials and proceedings to which indigenous may be party, individually or collectively, that it take into account their customs and cultural specificity. And that indigenous peoples have the right to be assisted by interpreters and advocates who are familiar with their language and culture.
Last October, [Supreme Court] Justices Olga Sánchez Cordero and Arturo Zaldívar stated their opinion in favor of granting outright orders of protection for these complainants for the complainants, as in the case of Florence Cassez [i.e., cases of violations of due process that are so serious that the verdict is thrown out; case is not re-tried–defendant is released]; while Jorge Pardo Rebolledo, José Ramon Cossío and Guillermo I. Ortiz Mayagoitia (who resigned from the Court on November 30 and was replaced by Alfredo Gutiérrez Ortiz Mena) voted for orders of protection, but for effects [i.e., that the case be re-tried in accordance with due process], because they considered the procedural violations to be insufficient for releasing them. Spanish original
La Jornada: Jesús Aranda

The first chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation (SCJN) granted amparo para efectos to five indigenous defendants held for various crimes (murder, attempted rape and drug crimes) in order that a circuit court might resolve their legal status, leaving aside violations to their rights committed during the proceedings against them.

By a majority of three votes (José Ramón Cossío, Jorge Pardo Rebolledo and Alfredo Gutiérrez Ortiz Mena), the highest court ruled yesterday that the violations perpetrated against the plaintiffs were not sufficient to release them immediately. Justices Olga Sánchez Cordero and Arturo Zaldívar ruled for amparo liso y llano.

MV Note: Amparo is the legal term given to a protective order, or injunction. In this case, the justices addressed two classes of amparo:

  • Protective order for effects (amparo para efectos) is applied when a piece of evidence is incorrectly assessed, a law is incorrectly applied, or due process is violated, thus resulting in a flawed verdict; the court that handed down the sentence is instructed to re-try the case, apply the correct criteria and issue a new judgment. There is no jury system in Mexico; instead, judges try cases. 
  • Protective order free and clear (amparo liso y llano) is applied when violations of the judicial process are so onerous that the case cannot be re-tried, and the verdict is annulled; the case is not re-opened, and the defendant is immediately released.
After rulings on their petitions were delayed twice, Manuel López Gómez, Celestino Garay Candia, Eloy García Reyes, Nicholás Gómez Santiz and Joel Mancilla Vázquez from the states of Guerrero and Chiapas, were beneficiaries because in the criminal trials against them, they did not have the proper guarantees indicated by the Constitution to take into account their economic situation and social vulnerability.

Despite that there was no agreement on the effects of the judgment, the justices comprehensively analyzed the system with relation to the indigenous and adopted a set of criteria that guarantee full access to prompt, expeditious and impartial justice; that is, that the judge might take into account the specific situation of the accused, if he speaks Spanish or not, his economic situation, as well as analyzing each case by taking into account the ‘uses and customs’ with respect to the criminal codes on which the charges are based.

MV Note: Enshrined in Article Two of Mexico’s Constitution are the principles of Uses and Customs, under which indigenous communities may practice self-government.

Jane Brundage, Mexico Voices

The Other Campaign Disappears; the EZLN Announces “Changes”

Filed under: La Sexta, Marcos, Uncategorized, Zapatista — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 3:14 pm

The Other Campaign Disappears; the EZLN Announces “Changes”

 ** “What we struggle for is still to be fully defined”

** He confirms that they will not become allied with any electoral movement

By: Hermann Bellinghausen,

San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, January 28, 2013

166581_399534150136591_1590245218_nThe Zapatista National Liberation Army (Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional, EZLN) announced new political actions and meetings “on dates to be specified”, and delineated with whom, and how, it will do it. For now, it announces that the Other Campaign and the Zezta International cease to exist as such. In future, those who participate on this “path” will gather around the Sixth, as the new stage of the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle will be named.

In its most recent communiqué (number five), in the “protected” passages with the password “Marichiweu”, Subcomandante Marcos, the EZLN’s spokesperson, points out: “The who that we are, our past and current history, our place and the enemy that we confront is defined, as enshrined in the Sixth Declaration, it remains pending to finish defining why we struggle.” With the “nos” being defined, he admits, what is missing is to delineate the “yeses” and the “how,” “when” and “with whom.”

Directing himself to the adherents to the rebel proposal, announced in 2005, which gave rise to the Other Campaign, he reiterates: “Our thinking is not to construct a large organization” with “a centralized command,” because “every attempt at homogeneity” is “a fascist attempt at domination.” When they speak of “unity,” they omit to mention that it is “under the leadership of someone or something.”

“On the false altar of ‘unity,’ not only are differences sacrificed, but the survival of all the small worlds of tyrannies and injustices that we suffer is also hidden”. And “as the world turns”, it is “for us the place of the oppressed”. Nevertheless, “the current system has reached a state of extreme insanity. Its predatory zeal, its absolute disdain for life” is leading humanity “to its disappearance”. To save humanity “and the battered house in which it lives,” “those from above,” have to go and “the social relations that make it possible” for them to be above “have to be destroyed.”

The Zapatistas, Marcos says, see that there is machismo, patriarchy, misogyny, homophobia, scorn of the different, the left as an alternative to the right. “But it’s one thing to be it above and another to be it below.” The most deceiving identity, fashionable each time the State enters into a crisis, is that of “citizenship,” he maintains. The “citizen” from above and the “citizen” from below “have nothing in common.” One more difference, “that cuts across them,” is substantial: “he who has, has because he plunders (dispossesses) those who don’t have.

“To impose answers to those questions, or to avoid asking them, gigantic cathedrals for ideas have been constructed”, some “elaborate;” more often “grotesque.” “It doesn’t have to be this way,” the rebel chief continues.

In this new step “we will make changes in the rhythm, the speed” and “the company.” “One of the many defects that we have is memory. We remember who was where and when, what was said, what was done, what was silenced, what was undone, what was written, what was erased,” Marcos warns, mentioning next those who only took “their own political advantage from the Other Campaign”; those who “go jumping from one mobilization to another,” incapable of “generating something for themselves.” One day they are anti-electoral, another they are “in the fashionable mobilization”; one day teachers, the other students; one day indigenists, “another day they are allied with finqueros and paramilitaries.” And they disappear when the anti-riot tanks arrive. “We won’t walk together with them again,” he says.

At the same time, those who appear “when there are stages, dialogues, good press, attention, and disappear when there’s work to do without any fuss”. Also, “those who climb over the rest”, and “the professionals of assemblies”; those who “hand out defeats wherever they appear directing or moderating round tables”. Likewise “those who present themselves as fighters for the freedom of the prisoners”, but who “demanded we abandon the Atenco prisoners.” With all of these, he says, the Zapatistas “will not walk again.” Now they will do it “together with those who we invite and who accept us,” whether from the coast of Chiapas or from New Zealand; the territory for action is “clearly defined”: Planet Earth.

Being part of the Sixth “does not require affiliation, fee, subscription,” only “commitments and the consequences of those commitments.” “Those who, with the EZLN’s resurgence, hope for a new season of stages and big mobilizations”, will be “disillusioned.” The “walk of the Sixth is in long strides”, “we don’t just want to change the government, we want to change the world.”

The EZLN confirms that it will not become allied with any electoral movement. The “word” that proposes initiatives will be “exclusive” to those who “request it and who we accept”. Finally, the Zapatista spokesperson asks for “patience.” The principal objective of the new initiatives “will be that you are in direct contact with the Zapatista support bases” in the “best way, as students”. Those interested who are also “expressly invited by the Sixth-EZLN”, will have to prepare “to travel to Zapatistas lands on dates to be specified.”


Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

En español:

English translation by the Chiapas Support Committee for the: International Zapatista Translation Service, a collaboration of the: Chiapas Support Committee, California, Wellington Zapatista Support Group, UK Zapatista Solidarity Network.


From Puebla: another Worldwide Echo

Filed under: Uncategorized — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 2:31 pm




Inauguration of mural 13 baktun of dignity, by Colectivo de Arte Independiente CAIN
Puebla, Saturday, 2 de February, 11 am.



Cain mural

January 28, 2013

The EZLN asks for solidarity for the compa Kuy, wounded on 1 December

Filed under: La Sexta, Marcos, Zapatista — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 9:15 pm


The EZLN asks for solidarity for the compa Kuy, wounded on 1 December

Marcos sends out the fifth communiqué of the series “Them and us”

FotoJuan Francisco Kuykendall was seriously injured on Dec. 1 Photo Roberto Garcia Ortiz

Hermann Bellinghausen,

La Jornada
Sunday January 27, 2013

San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas. Jan. 26. With a request and a statement of solidarity with Juan Francisco Kuykendall, the compa Kuy, seriously wounded on December 1st during protests against the inauguration of Enrique Peña Nieto, the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) released the fifth communiqué of the series “Them and us”, directed at the Network against Repression and for Solidarity at its national meeting:

“We are sure that one of the points to be discussed in your meeting will be, or has already been, setting up a campaign to support the compa Kuy, to denounce the attack that he was subjected to, and to demand justice for him and for all of the others who were injured on that day, to demand unconditional freedom for all of the detained in Mexico City and Guadalajara during the protests against the imposition” of Peña Nieto as head of the federal executive.

The fifth instalment of the series from Subcomandante Marcos is also a statement from the Clandestine Indigenous Revolutionary Committee, General Command of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) and the Sixth (Sexta) Commission, consisting of a letter and three “hidden” or “protected” messages, which can only be accessed by those who know certain passwords. As Marcos said in advance on December 30: few, very few, will have access to certain communications, which will be protected (as we read on the Enlace Zapatista website) within public documents.

Addressing the adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle worldwide, including the Network against Repression and for Solidarity, the rebel commander said: “We’ve decided that our first word specially directed at our compañeros, who are adherents to the Sixth, should be made known in a space of struggle, such as the Network”. But the recipients are also those who are not present, these above all.

Marcos thanks for the support given “throughout all this time” to communities and Zapatista support bases, and to adherents imprisoned in Chiapas. And considering the need for “fundraising to support the compa Kuy with his hospital bills, and for the costs of his subsequent recuperation”, the Zapatistas announced the dispatch of “a small amount of cash” and “as soon as we can put together more money, we will send it”.

The statement said: “The Sixth is a Zapatista convocation. To convoke is not to unite. We aren’t trying to unite under a leadership, neither Zapatista nor any other affiliation. We do not seek to co-opt, recruit, take anyone’s place, feign, fake, cheat, direct, subordinate, use. The destination is the same, but the different, the heterogeneity, the autonomy of the ways of walking, are the Sixth’s richness, they are its strength. We offer and will offer respect, and we demand and will demand respect. One adheres to the Sixth without any other requisite other than the ‘no’ that convokes us and the commitment to construct the necessary ‘yeses’”

The Zapatistas send “our best hugs (and we only have one) to the men, women, children, and elderly, groups, organizations, movements, who however each one of you calls yourselves, have never during all this time distanced us from your hearts, and have resisted and supported as the compañeras, compañeras, and compañeroas that we are”.

And they conclude: “We are the Sixth (la Sexta). It’s going to be very difficult. Our pains won’t be lessened by opening ourselves up to those that hurt all over the world. The path will be the most tortuous. We will fight. We will resist. We will struggle. Maybe we’ll die. But one, ten, one hundred times, we will always win, always.”




Water Rights and Yaqui Tribe in Sonora Desert

Filed under: Indigenous, water — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 8:40 pm


Water Rights and Yaqui Tribe in Sonora Desert

La Jornada: Gloria Muñez Ramírez

Preoccupied with the release of Florence Cassez, the Supreme Court postponed its discussion of the challenge imposed by the federal government against an injunction granted to the Yaqui tribe against [halting] construction of the Independence Aqueduct, a project with which they want to strip them [Yaquis] of their water to carry it to the capital of Sonora.

The injunction granted to the Yaquis is against the Environmental Impact Statement prepared by the Secretariat of the Environment and Natural Resources, for not consulting them or considering them in order to grant building permits.
From Vicam, Sonora, Mario Luna, secretary of the traditional authorities of the Yaqui tribe, warns that his people are facing the greatest threat to their existence in recent times: the dispossession of the waters that give them sustenance, both economic and cultural.

“The Yaqui River is a structural part of our life and with this theft of water, they are condemning us to death as a people.”

With a length of 175 kilometers [108 miles], the aqueduct would carry a volume of 75 million cubic meters [2648.6 cubic feet] from an area already suffering from thirst, to Hermosillo, Sonora. All this despite the fact that the Yaquis are title holders, not licensees, of fifty percent of the water.
Currently, from the Sonora Desert they warn that forty percent of drinking water in Hermosillo is wasted, so it is unlikely that the need is for human consumption. Instead, [it is likely] that they are using this argument to ensure construction of a project whose main beneficiaries will surely be business people. Supporting this view is the recent installation in Hermosillo of industries with high water demands, such as assemblers, breweries and soft drink companies.
At present, although there is an injunction in favor of the Yaquis to stop the construction, the machinery continues working in clear violation of a legal order in Sonora that, apparently, has no value. The other claims against the Aqueduct are against the sale of rights of the river basin. The water is already fully concessioned to irrigation districts and “the rights would have to be within the same basin, not outside,” states Luna in an interview given to Adazahira Chávez.
Currently, the eight Yaqui villages (Vícam, Torim, Pótam, Rahum, Huirivis, Belem, Loma de Bácum and Loma de Guamúchil–Cócorit) are surviving with a minimum of land and resources that belong to them.

“We must be consistent with our history and ensure a promising future for future generations of the same Yaqui people,” they say from Vícam.

Translation by Jane Brundage

The Simojovel Court Can End 7 Years of “Injustice”

Filed under: Political prisoners — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 8:37 pm

The Simojovel Court Can End 7 Years of “Injustice”

 ** More than 30 organizations ask for the freedom of Rosario Díaz

** There is not sufficient evidence against him, Defenders emphasize

By: Hermann Bellinghausen, Envoy

San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, January 27, 2013

prision1The demand grows for the absolution and liberation of Rosario Díaz Méndez, adherent to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle and a member of the Voice of El Amate, currently a prisoner in the municipality of San Cristóbal’s state prison. The resolution of his case has had various delays. Now, after almost 8 years of being deprived of justice, a new opportunity exists to do him justice.

Faced with that (opportunity), 37 collectives and organizations of different countries and several states of the Republic demanded that the Simojovel de Allende mixed court of first instance and the Chiapas government “dictate a sentence absolving” Díaz Méndez “in what corresponds to the crime of homicide that was imputed to him,” in criminal case 47/2005.

Bad behavior of the MP

Since January 10, when the legal hearing was held in the Simojovel court, a time period of 15 working days has been running for Díaz Méndez’ new sentence to be dictated. He is accused of a murder “that he never committed.” That (accusation), relates to acts that occurred on April 4, 2005, when five people were going in a car in Huitiupán municipality and were held up by four individuals, armed and in black. The driver died, and on August 23, 2005 Díaz Méndez was detained, accused of participating in the homicide.

The organizations argue: “He is incarcerated with an accusation based on insufficient evidence or evidence fabricated by the Public Ministry (Ministerio Público). According to testimony collected by the authorities for the administration and imparting of justice, no evidence exists that shows his guilt.”

As the Tzotzil prisoner’s defense has already done, the solidarity organizations mention the evidence for charging and exoneration “that are at work in the record.” Rosario Díaz Méndez has always stated his innocence, because at the time of the unlawful act occurring he was in Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, working as a mason, together with two of his sons, who support this version. The four eyewitnesses, victims of the robbery, declared they had seen four armed men, describing the event in detail. “These witnesses at no time mention who the assailants were, and none of them said they saw Rosario participate in the crime. Thus, when a face-to-face meeting took place between him and these witnesses in 2008, they did not recognize him as one of the aggressors,” the request to the judges says.

The evidence of the Public Ministry was also founded “on the testimony of an alleged witness, who in 2005 declared having seen the acts and recognized the aggressors” including Díaz Méndez. “Nevertheless, the face-to-face meeting carried out on January 19, 2011 between this charging witness and Rosario reflects that this testimony was fabricated by the authorities, because the witness did not confirm his ministerial statement in which he allegedly accused him,” and therefore “disavows having made such a statement at the MP, and does not recognize his signature or his prints on the document.” When the police arrested him in 2005, Díaz Méndez “suffered torture and multiple violations of his human rights.”

The collectives and organizations consider it “evident” that there are no reasons to declare him guilty, because “no sufficient evidence exists” for his imprisonment. Thus, the Simojovel mixed court of first instance (lower court) “has in its hands the possibility of putting an end to an injustice” that has lasted “now more than 7 years.”


Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Monday, January 28, 2013

En español:


English translation by the Chiapas Support Committee for the: International Zapatista Translation Service, a collaboration of the: Chiapas Support Committee, California, Wellington Zapatista Support Group, UK Zapatista Solidarity Network


Pueblo Creyente Criticizes Peña Nieto’s Crusade Against Hunger

Filed under: Human rights, Mining, Uncategorized — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 7:04 am

Catholic Chiapas Grouping Criticizes Peña Nieto’s Crusade Against Hunger

 ** It’s clear that the government will not attend to structural needs, says Pueblo Creyente

** They denounce “the concessions for mining exploitation without free and informed prior consultation,”


Zapatista Silent March, last December 21, in San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas. Foto Víctor Camacho

By: Hermann Bellinghausen, Envoy

San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, January 26, 2013

“We see with profound concern the beginning of the National Crusade Against Hunger, precisely in the Chiapas municipality of Las Margaritas, (because) with this action the federal government’s strategy of not attending to the structural needs of the people is defined,” Believing People (Pueblo Creyente) declared yesterday, a majority indigenous Catholic organization of the San Cristóbal de las Casas Diocese.

Believing People, very identified with the Catholic Church’s progressive current, carried out a busy march this Friday in this city to commemorate the second anniversary of the death of Bishop Samuel Ruiz García. They were also commemorating 15 years since the Acteal Massacre and 25 years of Bishop Raúl Vera López, currently in Saltillo, but very linked to these lands.

Authorities “without ethics or respect”

“It pains us that the federal, state and municipal governments, as well as the Legislative and Judicial Power: the judges, police and the military who have a serious responsibility to protect the rights of all the inhabitants of these lands and watch over the wellbeing of everyone, are many times the ones who violate those very rights, allied with companies without ethics or respect for nature and human life like: the mining companies, the producers of genetically modified seeds, beer companies, liquor companies, owners of cantinas or distributors of drugs and houses of prostitution,” they declared.

The pilgrimage of some 10,000 persons, which entered the city coming from its two extremities, greeted “the EZLN’s peaceful demonstration last December 21, as an unequivocal sign of its option for peace.”

In their message, the Catholics demanded “the freedom of many unjustly incarcerated prisoners; among them our brother Alberto Patishtán Gómez, a prisoner of conscience and animator of those who suffer most in the prisoners where he has been.”

They likewise denounced: “the concessions for mining exploitation that the federal government has granted, especially to foreign companies, passing over the fundamental right of the peoples to prior consultation, free and informed.” They rejected the imposition of agro-chemicals, mono-crops of African palm, pinion and rubber, “because they sterilize the land,” and they demanded: “conserving the sovereignty and food self-sufficiency, respect for our original seeds, especially corn, which has nourished us for thousands of years, because of which we reject all types of transgenic seeds, highly noxious to the health of people and animals.”

The march-pilgrimage particularly pronounced “against the authoritarianism in Galeana ejido, La Independencia municipality, and against the inability of the State to act in favor of 13 families displaced since August 2012,” as well as “the quick return to their homes of those displaced from Tzajalhá, municipality of Teopisca.” They demonstrated their position on the effect on lands and environment from dam projects like in Río Florido, Huixtán Municipality, and Río Chakté, San Juan Cancuc municipality.

The Catholic Chiapanecos also rejected “the pressured eviction, falsely ‘voluntary’ because of government threats and plunder of lands from the indigenous and campesino communities, for their natural resources and tourist attraction.” They demanded respect for the communal and ejidal property “that still exists” and they said no to “the proposals for the direct sale of land without consultation of the ejido or community.”


Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Sunday, January 27, 2013

En español:


English translation by the Chiapas Support Committee for the: International Zapatista Translation Service, a collaboration of the: Chiapas Support Committee, California, Wellington Zapatista Support Group, UK Zapatista Solidarity Network





Diocese of San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, México.
On January 25, 2013.
Prime Minister of Canada.
Canadian Ambassador in Mexico.
To Canadian civil society.
Indigenous and rural communities, ecclesiastical institutions and various pastoral areas of our diocese organized as “Pueblo Creyente (Community of Faith) and motivated by the Pastoral Letter of Pope Benedict XVI (“If you want Peace, Protect Creation”), exercising the right of petition established in Article 8 of the Constitution of the United Mexican States, we are writing to express our disagreement with the many projects promoted by governments at various levels and multinational companies that attempt against our Mother Earth and our territories.
Currently indigenous peoples as well as rural and campesino communities of Mexico and of around the world are seriously threatened by various projects. One of them are linked to mining exploration and exploitation. In the last 15 years the aggression of various companies has been intensifying rapidly. Only in our country, according to statistics from the Ministry of Economy, more than 32 million hectares have been registered under concessions to mining companies, which represents more than 16% of our national territory.
These attacks serve a production model that favors the acquisition and accumulation of wealth in the hands of a limited number of persons above the lives of peoples and communities. Concealed behind the argument of Development, the mining projects promise jobs, public services, productive and environmentally friendly projects. Notwithstanding, historically they have left in the peoples a trail of death, impoverishment, irreversible damage to the environment and health, social polarization and division in communities, among others.
In the case of Chiapas, more than half of the exploration and exploitation concessions for mining are monopolized by four Canadian transnational companies that have concessions in 29 municipalities of Chiapas, representing more than 656 197 hectares (223954 of these are concessions for 50 years).
It is worth noting that these permits are situated in strategic places such as the Sierra region of the state where are located the main springs that supply with water various communities; or in areas with forests and high biodiversity. These projects could threaten and contaminate these natural resources which in turn would seriously risk the lives of the inhabitants as it happens at present in other states like Guerrero, San Luis Potosi, Oaxaca, among others.
Given this situation, as Community of Faith (Pueblo Creyente), we would like to express our disagreement with the decisions of our leaders who grant concessions for exploration and exploitation of mineral resources without prior information and consultation of our people, violating the most basic human rights recognized in national laws and instruments ratified by the Mexican government such as: the Federal Law of Ecological Balance and Environmental Protection. Article 1, “All members of the community have the right to live in an environment suitable for the development, health and welfare; the earth, water, air and other natural resources shall be protected from contamination so as other future generations can continue enjoying them”. The San Salvador Protocol, Article 11: “Everyone has the right to a healthy environment and to have access to our basic public services.” The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Article 19: “States shall consult and cooperate in good faith with the indigenous peoples concerned through their own representative institutions in order to obtain their free, prior and informed consent before adopting and implementing legislative or administrative measures that may affect them”. The ILO Convention 169, article 15. “The rights of the peoples concerned to the natural resources pertaining to their lands shall be specially safeguarded. These rights include the right of these peoples to participate in the use, management and conservation of these resources”. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights of the UN. Article 25, “Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family.”
We are aware that mining projects only impoverish our lands making them infertile and contaminated, useless for the production of our food. In this sense the situation is contrary to the so-called National Crusade against hunger undertaken by our government.
For the defense of life, our sacred spaces, our forests, rivers, mountains, springs, and our children, we DEMAND
To Civil Society: We ask you to become aware of the suffering endured by the communities affected by mining for you to question your leaders on this issue.
To investors, entrepreneurs and partners in mining projects: be conscious that the earnings on these projects go hand in hand with the loss of life, community conflicts, division of the community fabric, militarization and contamination of water and land that is sacred to our peoples.
FIRST. – Cancellation of all Canadian mining projects in our country where communities are against the extractive model for the risks it represents.
SECOND.- To propose and pass laws prohibiting mining investment projects that generate environmental destruction, corruption of authorities and violation of individual and collective human rights in our country.
THIRD.-that Canadian authorities contribute with the Mexican government to clarify the murders of social activists against mining projects.
FOURTH.-Respect for the community consultation procedures, which are an ancient practice of peoples towards participation and decision making.
FIFTH. – To confirm reception of this letter by informing us as soon as possible of what proceeds, notifying us to the address of the office of the Vicar for Justice and Peace of the Diocese of San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas.

January 27, 2013

Protected: Them and Us Part 5: The Sixth by Subcomandante Marcos (Full Text)

Filed under: La Sexta, Marcos, Zapatista — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 6:42 pm

Protected: Them and Us Part 5: The Sixth by Subcomandante Marcos (Full Text)

Note: This is the full text of the password protected document already published here with its accompanying videos. (The Enlace Zapatista website made the password public for the hidden text: marichiweu).



January 2013

To: The compañeros adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle all over the world.

From: The Zapatistas from Chiapas, Mexico.

Compañeras, compañeros, and compañeroas:

Compas in the Network Against Repression and for Solidarity:

Everyone, greetings from the women, men, children, and elders of the Zapatista National Liberation Army, the smallest of your compañeros.

We’ve decided that our first word specially directed at our compañeros [who are adherents to] the Sixth should be made known in a space of struggle, such as the Network Against Repression and for Solidarity. But the words, feelings, and thoughts that are sketched here are also meant for those who are not here. And, above all, they’re for them.


We would like to thank the support that you have given to our communities, to our Zapatista support bases and to the prisoners who are adherent compass in Chiapas, throughout all this time.

Your words of encouragement and your collective hand that connected with ours are guarded in our heart.

We are sure that one of the points to be discussed in your meeting will be, or has already been, setting up a campaign to support the compa Kuy, to denounce the attack that he was subjected to, and to demand justice for him and for all of the others who were injured on that day, to demand unconditional freedom for all of the detained in Mexico City and Guadalajara during the protests against the imposition of Enrique Peña Nieto as head of the federal executive branch.

Not just that, but it is also important that this campaign contemplate fundraising to support compa Kuy with his hospital bills, and for the costs of his subsequent recuperation, which the Zapatistas hope will be soon.

To support this fundraising campaign, we’ve sent a small amount of cash. We ask you, even though it might be small, to add the money you’re able to get together for our compañero in the struggle. As soon as we can put together more money, we will send it to whomever you [the Network Against Repression] designate for this work.


We would like to take advantage of this meeting of yours, not only to salute your perseverance, but also and above all to salute, through you, all of the compas in Mexico and in the world who have stood firm in this link that unites us and which we call the Sixth.

Know that it has been an honor to have you as compañeroas.

We know that seems like a farewell, but it’s not. It just means that we have ended a phase on the path on which the Sixth leads us, and we think that it’s necessary to take another step.

The troubles we’ve suffered, sometimes together, sometimes everyone in their own geography, have not been few.

Now we want to explain and communicate to you some changes that we will make in our journey, and one that, if you agree and you accompany us, we well go back, but in another form, to that extensive recounting of pains and hopes that were previously called the Other Campaign in Mexico and the Zezta Internazional in the world, and which will now be called simply La Sexta. Now we will go beyond that, to….

The Time of the No, the Time of the Yes.

Compañeras, compañeros:

The who we are, our past and current history, our place and the enemy that we face is defined in the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle, what remains outstanding is to define why we struggle.

With the “no’s” being defined, what’s missing is to delineate the “yeses.”

And not just that, the responses to the “how,” “when,” and “with whom” also remain to be defined.

All of you know that our thinking is not to construct a great organization with a central premise, centralized command, a boss, be it individual or collegiate.

Our analysis of the dominate system, of its functioning, of its strengths and weaknesses, has led us to point out that unity of action can be achieved if what we call “the ways” of each person is respected.

And all this about “the ways” is nothing other than the knowledge that each one of us, individual or collective, has of their geography and calendar. That is, of their pains and their struggles.

We are convinced that any attempt at homogeneity is nothing more than a fascist attempt at domination, even if it is hidden behind a revolutionary, esoteric, religious, or other similar language.

When one speaks of “unity,” it isn’t stated that this “unity” is under the leadership of someone or something, individual or collective.

On the false altar of “unity,” it’s not just differences that are sacrificed; the survival of all of the small worlds of tyrannies and injustices that we suffer are also hidden.

In our history, the lesson is repeated time and time again. As the world turns, the place of the oppressed, the despised, the exploited, the dispossessed is for us.

That which we call the “4 wheels of capitalism:” exploitation, plundering, repression, and scorn, have been repeated throughout our history, with different names above, but we are always the same below.

But the current system has reached a state of extreme insanity. Its pillaging ambitions, its absolute disdain for life, its delight for death and destruction, its determination to install apartheid for all of those who are different, that is, all of those below, is bringing humanity to its disappearance as a life form on the planet.

We can, as someone could suggest, wait patiently for those from above to destroy themselves, without noticing that their unhealthy pride has led to the destruction of everything.

In their ambition to be more and more above, they dynamite the floors below, the foundation. The building, the world, will end up collapsing and there will be no one to blame.

We think that yes, that something is wrong, very wrong. But that if, in order to save humanity and the battered house that it lives in, someone has to go, it must be, it has to be those above.

And we don’t mean banishing the people above. We’re talking about destroying the social relations that make it possible that someone can be above at the cost of someone who is below.

The Zapatistas know that this great line that we have traced across the geography of the world is not at all conventional. All this about “above” and “below” bothers, causes discomfort, and irritates. Yes, this is not the only thing that irritates, we know, but now we’re not referring to this discomfort.

We could be wrong. Surely we are. Soon the thought police and commissioners will appear to judge us, condemn us, and execute us… hopefully it’s only in their flamboyant texts and they don’t hide their job as executioners behind their job as judges.

But that is how the Zapatistas see the world and its ways:

There is sexism, patriarchy, misogyny, or however it’s called, but it’s one thing to be a woman above and quite another to be one below.

Yes, there’s homophobia, but it’s one thing to be a homosexual above and quite another to be one below.

Yes, there’s disdain to those who are different, but it’s one thing to be different above and quite another to be different below.

There’s a Left as an alternative to the Right, but it’s another thing to be Left above and quite another (and opposite, we would add) to be Left below.

Put your identities in this parameter that we note and you’ll see what we’re talking about.

The most deceiving identity, fashionable every time the modern State enters into another crisis, is that of “citizenship.”

The “citizen” of above and the “citizen” of below don’t have anything in common and yes everything opposite and contradictory.

Differences are persecuted, cornered, ignored, disdained, repressed, plundered, and exploited, yes.

But we see a bigger difference that cuts across those differences: above and below, those who have and those who don’t have.

And we see that that great difference has something substantial: above is above on top of that which is below; that which possesses because it plunders the have-nots.

Always, according to us, this about above and below determines our looks, our words, our ears, our steps, our pains, and our struggles.

Perhaps there will be another opportunity to explain more about our thinking on this. But now we’ll only say that looks, words, ears, and steps from above tend towards the conservation of that division. Clearly that doesn’t imply immobility. The conservatism appears to be very far from a system that discovers more and better forms of imposing the 4 wounds that the world below suffers from. But these “modernizations” or “progresses” don’t have any other goal than keeping those who are above above in the only way that is possible, that is, on top of those below.

The look, the word, the hatred, and the steps from below, according to us, are determined by questioning: “Why is it so? Why them? Why us?”

In order to impose answers to those questions upon us, or in order to keep us from asking them, gigantic cathedrals to ideas have been constructed, some more elaborate and some less, more often than not so grotesque that one doesn’t only admire that someone has built them and that someone created them, but also universities and centers of studies and analysis that are based in them have been constructed.

But a party-pooper always appears and ruins the successive celebrations of the culmination of history.

And that malora responds to those questions with another: “Could there be another way?”

That question could perhaps be what detonates rebelliousness in its broadest sense. And it could because there’s a “no” that gave birth to it: it does not have to be that way.

Sorry if this confusing circumlocution has irritated you. Blame it on our way, or on our uses and customs.

What we mean, compañeras, compañeros, compañeroas, is that what convoked us in the Sixth was this rebellious, heretic, rude, irreverent, bothersome, uncomfortable “no.”

We’ve arrived here because our realities, our histories, our rebelliousness have brought us to that “it doesn’t have to be that way.”

That and, intuitive or elaborately, we’ve responded “yes” to the question, “Could there be another way?”

A response to the questions that one trips over after that “yes” is necessary.

How is that other way, that other world, that other society that we imagine, that we want, that we need?

What needs to be done?

With whom?

We have to search for the answers to those questions if we don’t have them. If we have them, we should tell each other about them.


With this new step, but in the same path as the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle, as Zapatistas we will try to apply something of what we have learned in these 7 years and we will make changes in the rhythm and speed of the step, yes, but also in the company.

You know, one of the many and biggest imperfections that we have as Zapatistas is memory. We remember who was when and where, what they said, what they did, what they silenced, what they undid, what they wrote, what they erased. We remember the calendars and the geographies.

Don’t misinterpret us. We don’t judge anyone, everyone constructs their excuse for what they do and undo however they can. The stubborn turns of history will tell if it was a wise move or an error.

As for us, we’ve seen, we’ve listened, we’ve learned from everyone.

We saw who only approached the Other Campaign for their own political gain, who hops from one mobilization to another, seduced by the masses, in that way alleviating their inability to generate something for themselves. One day they’re anti-elections, another day they wave their flags in the fashionable protest; one day they’re teachers, another students; one day they’re indigenists, the next day they ally themselves with estate owners and paramiltaries. They clamor for the avenging fire of the masses, and they disappear when the water cannons start to shoot.

We will no longer walk together with them.

We’ve seen who appears when there’s stages, dialogues, good press, attention, and disappears when it’s time to do work that isn’t sexy but necessary, as the majority of those here who listen to or read this letter know. During all this time, our gaze and our ears weren’t for those who were on the stage, but rather on those who built it, those who made the food, cleaned up, kept watch, drove, flyered, se la rajaron, as they say here. We also saw and listened to those who climbed over others.

We will no longer walk together with them.

We’ve seen who are the professionals of the assemblies, their techniques and tactics to ruin meetings so that only they, and whoever follows them, remain to approve their proposals. They hand out defeats wherever they show up directing moderated roundtables, sidelining the “preppies” and the “petit bourgeois” who don’t understand that the future of the global revolution is at stake on the agenda. Those who look down on any movement that doesn’t end in an assembly led by them.

We will not longer walk together with them.

We’ve seen who are those who present themselves as fighters for the freedom of [political] prisoners in events and campaigns, but who demanded that we abandon the prisoners of Atenco to continue the Other Campaign tour because they already had their strategy and their programmed events.

We will no longer walk together with them.


The Sixth is a Zapatista convocation. To convoke is not to unite. We aren’t trying to unite under a leadership, neither Zapatista nor any other affiliation. We do not seek to co-opt, recruit, take anyone’s place, feign, fake, cheat, direct, subordinate, use. The destination is the same, but the different, the heterogeneity, the autonomy of the ways of walking, are the Sixth’s richness, they’re it’s strength. We offer and will offer respect, and we demand and will demand respect. One adheres to the Sixth without any other requisite other than the “no” that convokes us and the commitment to construct the necessary “yeses.”


Compañeroas, compañeros, compañeras:

On behalf of the EZLN we say:

1.- To the EZLN, there will no longer be a national Other Campaign and a Zezta Internazional. From now on we will walk together with those whom we invite and accept us as compas, on the Chiapas coast the same as in New Zealand.

So our activities’ territory is clearly delimited: the planet called “Earth,” located in the Solar System.

Now we will be that which we are: “La Sexta.”

2.- To the EZLN, being with La Sexta does not require affiliation, dues, registration on a list, an original and/or copy of an official identification, reporting, to be judge, or jury, or the accused, or the executioner. There are no flags. There are commitments and consequences for those commitments. The “no’s” convoke us, and the construction of the “yeses” move us.

2.- Those who, with the resurgence of the EZLN, hope for a new season of stages and large mobilizations, and the masses looking for glimpses into the future, and the equivalent of the assaults on the summer palace, will be disappointed. It’s better that they leave now. Don’t waste your time, and don’t waste our time. The way of the Sexta is long strides, not for midget thinkers. For “historic” and “opportunistic” actions there are other spaces that you will surely find comfortable. We don’t just want to change the government, we want to change the world.

3.- We ratify that as the EZLN we will not ally ourselves with any electoral movement in Mexico. Our perception has been clear about that in the Sexta and there is no change. We understand that there are those who think that it is possible to transform things from above without turning into another one of those above. We hope that’s true and that consecutive disappointments don’t turn you into that against which you struggle.

4.- Our word that will propose organizational, political, and dissemination initiatives will be EXCLUSIVELY for those who we require and accept, and sent by the website’s email to the addresses we have. They will also appear on the Enlace Zapatista website, but you’ll only be able to access the complete content by means of a password that will be continually changed. We’ll get you that password somehow, but it will be easy to deduce for those who read with attention that which is visible and for those who have learned to decipher the feelings that become letters in our word.

Each individual, group, collective, organization, or however each person calls themselves has the right and freedom to pass this information to whomever they think is advisable. All of the adherents to the Sexta will have the power to open the window of our word and of our reality to whom they desire. The window, not the door.

5.- The EZLN asks for your patience as we make public the initiatives that, during 7 years, we’ve matured, and whose main goal will be that you are in direct contact with the Zapatista support bases as, in my humble opinion and long experience, is the best, that is: as a student.

6.- For now we’ll let you know that whoever can and wants to, that you are invited expressly by the Sexta-EZLN, to save up some dough, some cash, some money or however you call the currency in each part of the planet, to be able to travel to Zapatista territory on dates that will be announced. Later we’ll give you more details.

To end this missive (which, as is evident, has the disadvantage of not having a video or song that accompanies it and completes the written version), we want to send our best hugs (and we only have one) to the men, women, children, and elderly, groups organizations, movements, who however each one of you calls yourselves, who have never during all this time distanced us from your hearts, and resisted and supported as compañeras, compañeras, and compañeroas that we are.


We are the Sixth.

It’s going to be very difficult.

Our pains won’t be lessened by opening ourselves up to those that hurt all over the world. The path will be the most torturous.

We will fight.

We will resist.

We will struggle.

Maybe we’ll die.

But one, ten, one hundred times, we’ll always win always.

For the Indigenous Revolutionary Clandestine Committee-General Command of the
Zapatista National Liberation Army
The Sixth-EZLN.
Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos.
Chiapas, Mexico, Planet Earth.
January 2013.

P.S.- For example, the password to see this writing on the webpage is, as is evident, “marichiweu”, just like that, in lower case and beginning at the left.


Chilón Indigenous Demand Rights in Lawsuit for Protection from Dispossession of Lands

Filed under: Bachajon, Indigenous, Other Campaign, Tourism — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 4:51 pm

Chilón Indigenous Demand Rights in Lawsuit for Protection from Dispossession of Lands

 ** In a letter to Juan N. Silva Meza they denounce state and private tourist projects


FotoPhoto by Cristina Rodríguez: Juan N. Silva Meza, during the welcome for new ministers of the Court, last December

By: Hermann Bellinghausen, Envoy

San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, January 25, 2013

The ejido owners (ejidatarios) from San Sebastián Bachajón, Chilón municipality, yesterday directed themselves to Minister Juan N. Silva Meza, president of the Federal Judiciary, in relation to the conflict that the community is going through because of a “governmental land grab,” whose purpose, they maintained, “is the implementation of state and private up-market tourist projects, without consulting or taking into account our rights as indigenous peoples recognized in the Constitution and in international human rights treaties.”

Adherents to the Other Campaign of the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle, the ejido owners write to the magistrate: “Last January 18, the seventh district judge in Tuxtla Gutiérrez held the constitutional hearing on the lawsuit for protection (amparo) 274/2011, and we are hoping for a just resolution, protective of the rights of our people, to avoid unfortunate acts difficult to repair.”

“The situation of our protective order” remains in the hands of the authorities “because we are not disposed to permit authorities to trample on the imparting of justice,” they added. “We have contributed all the evidence to demonstrate the injustice of which we have repeatedly and continuously been the object, as well as the legitimate and legal right that we have as ejido owners and members of the Tzeltal people to defend and enjoy our ancestral territory.”

The document was also sent to the executive secretary of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in Washington and the Office of the High Commissioner of the United Nations for Human Rights in Mexico, “for your knowledge and intervention.”

Mariano Moreno Guzmán, Mariano Moreno López and Miguel Álvaro Deara, representatives of the ejido owners, affirm that on February 2, 2011, different federal authorities and those of Chiapas “arbitrarily and in an authoritarian manner took possession of an area of our common use lands, located on the land grant, by means of the use of public force and the participation of armed civilians.”

The action, which imposed a governmental ticket booth for visitor access to the Agua Azul Cascades, in the neighboring municipality of Tumbalá, had the support of the ejido’s commissioners and the vigilance council, “instructed by authorities of different agencies of the state government,” according to “information obtained through an informant, whose name was not mentioned for fear of acts that put his physical integrity in danger.” They point out to the magistrate that on various occasions they denounced it without obtaining an answer.

Faced with that, and “despite the strong threats against them,” they filed the mentioned petition for a protective order “for the protection of our territory and the collective rights over our common use lands.” In your capacity as president counselor of the Federal Judiciary Council, the indigenous ask Silva Meza “that he watch over and guarantee” that the lower court in Tuxtla Gutiérrez “has the conditions of impartiality, objectivity and independence to resolve the petition for a protective order that was presented approximately two years ago.”


Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Saturday, January 26, 2013

En español:



English translation by the Chiapas Support Committee for the: International Zapatista Translation Service, a collaboration of the: Chiapas Support Committee, California, Wellington Zapatista Support Group, UK Zapatista Solidarity Network


EZLN Communiqué: Them and Us Part V. The Sixth.

Filed under: Marcos, Zapatista — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 2:59 pm


JANUARY 26, 2013





January 2013

2c59e0902200e1340c3ec88af0528492_STo: The compañer@s adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle across the world.

From: The Zapatista men and women of Chiapas, México.

Compañeras, compañeros, and compañeroas:

Compas of the Red contra la Represión y por la Solidaridad (Network against Repression and for Solidarity):

Receive greetings from the smallest of your compañeros, the women, men, children, and elderly of the Zapatista Army for National Liberation, .

We have decided that the first of our words directed specifically to our compañer@s of the Sixth Declaration be released in a space of struggle, a space like the Red contra la Represión y por La Solidaridad. But the words, thoughts, and feelings outlined here are also meant for those who are not present…especially for them.


We are grateful for the support that you have given our communities, our Zapatista bases of support, and to the adherents to the Sixth who are prisoners in Chiapas, during this entire time.

In our hearts we carry your words of encouragement and the collective hand that reached for ours.

We are sure that one of the points you will address in your meeting will be, or has already been, a great campaign of support for our compañero Kuy, to denounce the aggression which he suffered, to demand justice for him and for all of those injured on that day, and to demand absolute exoneration for all of those detained in Mexico City and in Guadalajara during the protests against the imposition of Enrique Peña Nieto as head of the federal executive branch.

And not only that, but it is also important that this campaign take into account the need to raise funds to support the compañero Kuy with the costs of his hospitalization and his subsequent recovery, a recovery that the Zapatista men and women hope will be quick one.

To support this fundraising campaign, we are sending a small amount of money, in cash. We ask that, although it is small, you add it to whatever you are compiling for our compañero in struggle. When we can get together more, we will send it to whomever you designate for that job.


(HIDDEN TEXT.  To read the entire letter, click on the following link: ELLOS Y NOSOTROS. V.- LA SEXTA.)


(HIDDEN TEXT.  To read the entire letter, click on the following link: ELLOS Y NOSOTROS. V.- LA SEXTA.)


The Sixth was convoked by the Zapatistas.  To convoke is not to unite. We don’t intend to unite under a single leadership, be it Zapatista or any other. We do not seek to coopt, recruit, supplant, impersonate, simulate, trick, subordinate, use anybody. Our destiny is the same, but the richness of the Sixth is its difference, its heterogeneity, the autonomy of distinct modes of walking, this is its strength. We offer and will continue to offer respect, and we demand and will continue to demand the same. The only requirement to adhere to the Sixth is the “no” that convokes us and the commitment to construct the “yeses” that are necessary.


(HIDDEN TEXT.  To read the entire letter, click on the following link: ELLOS Y NOSOTROS. V.- LA SEXTA.)

To conclude this letter (which, as is evident, has the disadvantage of lacking a video or soundtrack to accompany and complete the spoken version [the version to be read at the Red’s meeting]), we would like to send the best of our embraces (and we only have one best) to the men, women, children, elderly, groups, organizations, movements, or however each might refers to themselves, that all this time have not let their hearts grow distant from us, who have continued to resist and who have supported us as the compañeras, compañeros  and compañeroas that we are.


We are the Sixth.

It will take a lot.

Opening ourselves to those throughout the world who have pain will not lessen our own. The path will be even more treacherous.

We will battle.

We will resist.

We will struggle.

We may die.

But one, ten, a hundred, a thousand times, we will always win always.

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

The Sixth-EZLN

Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos.

Chiapas, Mexico, Planet Earth.

January 2013.

Watch and listen to the videos that accompany this text:

Cumbia Zapatista,” by the group “Sonido Psicotropical.” Part of the album “Rola la lucha Zapatista.” Shake your booty to the rhythm of the cumbiaaaaa!

Nadie mira,” by the group “RABIA.” With Iker Moranchel, guitar and vocals. Alejandro Franco, drums and vocals. Manco, Bass. Camera, Sara Heredia. Editing, Eduardo Vargus. Recorded and edited in Gekko Audiolab, Mexico City, July 2012. Also from the disk “Rola la lucha Zapastista.” Rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrock!



Older Posts »

Blog at