dorset chiapas solidarity

January 31, 2015

Ejidatarios of San Sebastián Bachajón continue to defend their territory against the threat of dispossession from the government of Chiapas

Filed under: Bachajon, Displacement, Indigenous, La Sexta — Tags: — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 6:12 pm


Ejidatarios of San Sebastián Bachajón continue to defend their territory against the threat of dispossession from the government of Chiapas


After at least 900 federal and state police evicted them, on 9th January, from the lands recuperated on 21st December belonging to the ejido San Sebastián Bachajón, Chiapas, the Tseltales have maintained the position of defending their lands; now they have set up a regional headquarters of the ejido between the Agua Azul turning and the boundary with the municipality of Tumbalá.

EDITORIAL Desinformémonos

Mexico City, January 30, 2015. After at least 900 federal and state police evicted them on 9th January from the lands recovered on 21st December belonging to the ejido of San Sebastián Bachajón, Chiapas, the Tseltales have maintained the position of defending their land; now they have set up a regional headquarters of the ejido between the Agua Azul turning and the boundary with the municipality of Tumbalá.

In the area that connects Ococingo with Palenque and the Agua Azul waterfalls, there is a permanent police presence, so the indigenous demand that the government of Manuel Velasco Coello, Governor of Chiapas, withdraw the members of the police immediately and do not continue with the intimidation and repression.

In 2007, the indigenous from one of the largest ejidos in Mexico, with 70,000 hectares, became part of the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle, and exercised their right to the free self-determination of their people. They erected a tollbooth on their territory, so that tourists who want to visit the waterfalls of Agua Azul, one of the biggest tourist attractions of this state, pay a toll for entrance. With the money, they decided in assembly, they would support sick ejidatarios and needy families

Both the ejidal commissioner Alejandro Moreno Gómez and his vigilance councillor Samuel Díaz Guzmán, from the municipality of Chilón, are organizing shock groups to repress the ejidatarios. “People like Juan Álvaro Moreno and Manuel Jiménez Moreno fire shots at night with high calibre weapons, to foment fear in the population,” report the indigenous in a communiqué.

At the same time they make an appeal to human rights organizations and society in general to be alert to any new eviction. The indigenous report that the delegate of the municipality of Chilón, Francisco Demeza Hernández, and local deputy, Carlos Jimenez Trujillo, are possibly planning repression against the people who guard the new regional house and the toll booth.




Communiqué from San Sebastian Bachajon January 29, 2015

Filed under: Bachajon, Displacement, Indigenous, Movement for Justice in el Barrio — Tags: , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 4:22 pm


Communiqué from San Sebastian Bachajon January 29, 2015



Regional Headquarters San Sebastian Bachajon, communiqué January 29, 2015

Where those from above destroy, we from below reconstruct!



To the Good Government Juntas

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

To the Indigenous National Congress

To the compañer@s adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle

To the mass and alternative media

To the Network for Solidarity and against Repression

To Movement for Justice in El Barrio from New York

To national and international human rights defenders

To the people of Mexico and the world

Compañeros and compañeras, we inform you that we continue to do the work of resistance defending our people and territory from dispossession by the bad government; for this reason we are building a regional headquarters in San Sebastián to be a place of work, workshops and sharings (exchanges). The work at this headquarters starts today, we have built it a kilometre from the Agua Azul turning and from the border with the official municipality of Tumbalá.

We demand from the bad government that their police leave the lands which have been dispossessed since 2nd February, 2011, because the lands belong to the people and we will not allow them to take them from us for their economic interests.

We demand that the ejidal commissioner Alejandro Moreno Gomez and vigilance councillor Samuel Diaz Guzmán stop selling their dignity for money like the former commissioner Francisco Guzmán Jiménez did. We denounce that these representatives of the bad government are organizing the groups of Juan Alvaro Moreno from Xanil and Manuel Jiménez Moreno from Pamalá to fire shots at night with high calibre weapons.

And also they are having private meetings with the delegate of Chilón, Francisco Demeza Hernández and Carlos Jiménez Trujillo, local deputy, to plan to displace the compañer@s who are guarding the regional headquarters and those who are collecting the toll at the entrance to the Agua Azul waterfalls; and we hold the three levels of government responsible for any type of attacks or confrontations that may take place.

From the northern zone of the state of Chiapas, the women and men of San Sebastián Bachajón send our combative greetings to all the peoples, communities and organisations in resistance, never again a Mexico without us.


Land and Freedom! Zapata Vive!

Hasta la victoria siempre!

Freedom for political prisoners!

Juan Vázquez Guzmán Lives, the Bachajón struggle continues!

Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano Lives, the Bachajón struggle continues!

No to the dispossession of indigenous territories!

Immediate presentation of the disappeared compañeros from Ayotzinapa!






January 29, 2015

Controversial arrest warrants in the case of the Viejo Velasco Massacre

Filed under: Displacement, Frayba, Indigenous — Tags: , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 8:17 pm


Controversial arrest warrants in the case of the Viejo Velasco Massacre




In a bulletin issued on January 8, the Human Rights Center Fray Bartolomé de las Casas (CDHFBC) reported that the new arrest warrants against those allegedly responsible for the Viejo Velasco Massacre, Ocosingo municipality, “violate the right to fair trial, including the presumption of innocence”.

It noted that in September 2014, the suspects, members of the Xi’Nich organization and support bases of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN), obtained Court Protection. However, the District Judge of Ocosingo dictated new arrest warrants, although the prosecution has not collected sufficient elements to establish the existence of the alleged crimes nor the responsibility of those indigenous persons.

The CDHFBC complained that “the investigation of the Attorney General of the State of Chiapas has been ineffective: they have accused the victims as if they were the perpetrators”, and they have been “criminalized and judicialized “. It warned that from the beginning, the investigation “of this crime against humanity” was distorted.

Giving more context to this new facts, the CDHFB recalled that “on November 13, 2006, in Viejo Velasco, Ocosingo municipality, about 40 people from Nueva Palestina, Frontera Corozal and Lacanjá Chansayab, communities of the Lacandon Community, accompanied by 300 elements of the State Police of Chiapas, five Prosecutors of the Public Ministry, two experts, the Jungle Zone Regional Commander of the State Investigation Agency (with 7 more persons) and a representative of the Ministry of Social Development, assaulted the Viejo Velasco community. They broke into the houses, stole people’s belongings, and caused the forced displacement of 36 people, the extrajudicial killing of four persons and the forced disappearance of four others. “

The day of the incident, the alleged perpetrators were in the ejido Nuevo Tila, where actually arrived the displaced persons from Viejo Velasco. The inhabitants provided them support and organized a brigade of observation.




Report: The First Worldwide Festival of Resistance

Filed under: Zapatista — Tags: , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 6:58 pm


Report: The First Worldwide Festival of Resistance

Above: Sign for the first Worldwide Festival of Resistances Against Capitalism.

Celebrating the Global Fight Against Capitalism in Mexico: Where There is Destruction From Above We Will Rebuild From Below

From December 21, 2014 through January 3, 2015 some 2,600 people from 48 countries (2,050 from Mexico and 550 from other countries) gathered for the first Worldwide Festival of Resistances Against Capitalism.

The festival took place all over Mexico and the majority of participants travelled together in a mass caravan of buses (not without mechanical problems and police interference) to the different regions to share and listen stories and strategies of resistance, to strengthen their cultures of resistance, and to build lasting networks locally, regionally, nationally, and globally. Thanks to the excellent organizing by EZLN and CNI the impacts of the festival will reverberate amongst the participants and their resistance communities for years to come.

The event, organized by the Zapatista Army for National Liberation (EZLN) and Mexico’s National Indigenous Congress (CNI) consisted of: an opening in San Francisco Xochicuautla on December 21; comparticiones or sharings in the communities of Xochicuautla and Amilzingo on the 22-23; the grand cultural festival in Mexico City on the 24-26; continuation of sharings in the community of Monclova Candelaria on the 28-29; festival of rebellion in the Zapatista community of Oventic on new years night; conclusions, next steps, and declarations at University of the Earth (CIDECI) in San Cristobal de las Casas from the 2-3 of January.

Bicimaquina (bike powered blender) at festival in Mexico City.

Communities Standing in Defense of Their Right to Self-Determination

Events began in the indigenous community of San Francisco Xochicuautla. Xochi, as the community is often called, is a stronghold of Ñätho language and culture. People that I met from Xochi are proud of their history, their culture and language, their beautiful forests. All of this is threatened by a highway that is being built through their communally owned ancestral lands, without their permission. The Toluca-Lerma highway, largely built to advance industry, is destroying the forests, agricultural areas, and waters of Xochi. Fields of a unique variety of ancestral blue corn, the basis of the local diet, are being bulldozed over–another species of corn and another people threatened by the onslaught of capitalism and industry.

The community stands in defense of its right to self-determination, a right that was maliciously usurped by invading developers. The community is self-governed under the indigenous usos y costumbres system in which decisions are made collectively through large community meetings, called general assemblies. A community member told me, “the system was betrayed by developers who paid off two community leaders. They were paid 40,900 pesos [$2,920] each to sign away the community’s ancestral rights.” She sighed, “how could they do this? We decided in assembly to say no!” The people are fighting back, and have allied with at least 10 other impacted communities. In Xochi alone there have been at least 15 community members arrested for protesting, some standing directly in the way of construction, others illegally imprisoned for an extended period. The project continues with President Peña Nieto’s full support. At the festival people chanted to the people of Xochi: “¡No están solos, no están solos!,” “You’re not alone, you’re not alone!” And, as more people and communities shared their stories, this became evermore clear.

Resistance to mega development projects, like the highway through Xochi, were a common theme at the festival. We heard from communities in Mexico fighting against mines (gold, silver, copper, etc.), dams, fracking and other fossil fuel infrastructure, plantations, logging, large wind and solar farms. All of these projects (including the wind/solar developments) displace local and indigenous communities, often destroying their way of life, and disrupt, ultimately demolishing, fragile ecosystems. They are done without free, prior, and informed consent of the communities, supposedly required by international law (United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People). Sadly, the multinational corporations running these projects, not people or nature, are the ones with rights, especially under free trade agreements like the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Those who resist are brutally suppressed, and are commonly kidnapped and murdered by the Mexican government.

Sign welcoming families of Ayotzinapa 43

Families Seeking the Disappeared and Justice for the Murdered

Police violence was another overarching theme of the festival, with a particular focus on the September 26 Ayotzinapa murders and disappearances in the town of Iguala where police started firing on student buses during a protest. Six students were killed and 43 were kidnapped and dissapeared. The students, from the Ayotzinapa Normal School, were protesting poor school conditions and were trying to raise money for travel to the annual march in Mexico City to commemorate the 1968 student massacre. A mother of one of the students told of the schools: “they have crumbling walls, no books or pencils, too few desks, and its all getting worse.” She said, “they weren’t protesting because they wanted to. They were protesting because they needed to.”

Since Mexico’s war on drugs began in 2006 there have been at least 40,000 people killed in the country. Many of these deaths are, contrary to police reports, unrelated to drug trafficking. Largely, they are attacks on civilian protestors and indigenous peoples. Unlike other disappearances and massacres, Ayotzinapa has gained national and international attention because of the popular uprising in response, largely led by family of the dead and dissapeared.

Performance with chairs for the 43 missing Ayotzinapa students.

Family members of the disappeared and survivors of the attack have been traveling around the country in search of their loved ones. They share their story and organize wherever they go. They were special guests at the festival and helped organize a march of many thousands in Mexico City on December 26th. The message was simple: “¡Vivos se los llevaron, vivos los queremos!,” “They were taken alive, we want them back alive!” Parents, brothers, sisters, sons and daughters were clearly in great pain, but hope their loved ones may still be alive. While their search continues, they fuel a growing anti-government movement, not just against Peña Nieto’s regime, but all political parties, violent by nature. They ask communities to kick political parties out of their local politics and they ask people not to vote in the upcoming elections, both ways to delegitimize top-down government. Instead, they are allied with the EZLN and CNI in seeking a world constructed from the bottom up.

Celebration of Life and Dignity

The festival in Mexico City was a large celebration, a celebration of life and dignity in the face of atrocity from above. The event took place in one of the poorest parts of Mexico City’s endless sprawl at the Lienzo Charro ranch. It began on a rainy Christmas Eve day. Neither the rain nor the holiday prevented large crowds from gathering and participating in workshops, dancing, music, independent movie screenings, mural painting, a makeshift tattoo parlor, soccer and chess tournaments, or enjoying tamales and drinking atole.

Sharings in Monclova.

Three large canvass tents were set up, providing some shelter. Hundreds of vendors, representing different indigenous communities and activist collectives, huddled under one of the leaky tents, selling and gifting organic food, artwork, handmade jewelry, colorful clothing, blankets and ponchos, vegan boots, movies of uprising, anarchist and indigenous literature, and a maze of other merchandise. Under the other tent people gathered for workshops and art classes such as: community cartography; relationships of liberty and autonomy; solidarity economies, community money, and time banks; ecological toilet construction; ecological home construction; what to do when arrested; urban food sovereignty; making chocolate; traditional mexican medicine; screen printing; stencil; clay sculpting; painting; and many more. There were also two stages with a variety of live music and dancing throughout the day. Others sat around playing drums, strumming traditional string instruments, singing songs of revolution and life in the campo.

Fighting Privatiztion of Electricity

From Mexico City we headed to Monclova, a rainforest community in the state of Campeche. Monclova is fighting against the privatization of electricity that is raising costs and cutting their already minimal services.

Five community members were imprisoned for 11 months from 2009-2010. Community members I spoke to talked about the rich ecosystem in which they live, right along a meandering crocodile-filled river and extensive wetlands, with prehispanic ruins nearby.

We arrived in the morning after an overnight bus trip. Bucket baths were set up near the river and breakfast of rice, beans, tortillas, chiles, and tea or coffee was served by the community. Sharings were held outside under a beautiful forest canopy. It started raining and everyone ran for their tents.

The next day people huddled under a large circus tent to listen. We heard about struggles for land and justice around the country. We heard about other cases of police violence. We heard about indigenous communities trying to hold onto their culture and language, in the face of Mexico’s modernizing and whitening agenda. We heard about history, about the 1968 massacre, the Mexican Revolution, and the 500 years of resistance to colonialism, capitalism, and other evils brought by the West. We heard endless stories of exploitation, violence, and displacement related to mega development projects or encroaching tourism. Even kids came to speak. One talked about about leading marches, a culture of life to fight the culture of death, and building a new world from within his community.

Celebration in Oventic

Mexico’s Heart of Resistence

After two nights in Monclova, our caravan headed to the final region, the central highlands of Chiapas Mexico. We were based at the University of the Earth (CIDECI) in the town of San Cristobal de las Casas. The area surrounding San Cristobal has the country’s most concentrated indigenous population and is Mexico’s heart of resistence.

Reforms of the Mexican Revolution, like the 1917 constitution’s article 27 that protected indigenous communal lands (ejijdos), never reached Chiapas. Throughout the 20th century indigenous communities continued to be persecuted, their lands stolen and exploited by large landowners. As roads infiltrated the rural state, huge areas of old growth forest were cut down, cattle ranching became a large business, and tens of thousands of small indigenous landowners were displaced, though not without a fight. In the early 1980s Chiapas was further militarized by its governor, General Absalon Castellanos Dominguez, during whose administration, “102 campesinos are assassinated, 327 disappear, 590 are imprisoned, 427 are kidnapped and tortured, 407 families are expelled from their homes, and security forces overrun 54 communities” (Hayden, 2002).

In 1983, in the midst of these atrocities, the Zapatista National Liberation Army was formed by a few Mexico City college professors from the National Liberation Front (FLN) and a few indigenous leaders from Chiapas. By 1989 the Zapatistas had entered upon invitation into numerous indigenous communities and had an armed force of at least 1,300. This army continued to grow in the years before the revolutionary article 27 was repealed in 1992, for many the last hope of owning land. The EZLN buckled down, preparing for a fight, even a revolution. They knew that article 27 was repealed for a reason. Another forced displacement of indigenous communities from their lands was preparation for the neoliberal takeover under NAFTA–it would ease the opening of new markets.

But, on January 1, 1994, when Mexico joined the United States (Clinton administration) in this corporate coup, the EZLN occupied six large towns and hundreds of ranches in an armed uprising against 500 years of colonialism. They would not stand aside as global elites celebrated new freedoms and the onslaught of capitalist globalization. Another world was possible. President Salinas did not agree, and responded with a military assault, bombing nearby indigenous communities, killing at least 145. Soon there was a cease fire, but the EZLN did not go away.

Building New Communities Base don Self-Determination and Autonomy

Workshop on ecological homes.

To this day, much of the originally occupied territory is under the control of the Zapatistas and they are proving that another world is possible, that a large area, high in cultural and ecological diversity, can be self-governed in a non-hierarchical, non-capitalistic, non-patriarchal manner. That it can be done according to principles of respect, for each other and the natural world, and cooperation, not exploitation and competition.

The Autonomous Zapatista Communities demonstrate how autonomy and self-determination can work as a lifestyle, economy, government, and form of resistance. The Zapatista communities are based around five regional political and cultural centers called caracoles. These are the seats of the buen gobierno (good government) and are spaces for gatherings, like this year’s 21st anniversary celebration of the uprising. All Zapatista municipalities and independent communities belong to one of these caracoles.

The communities function democratically with decisions made through general assemblies in which women and men have an equal say. Women’s participation in Zapatista assemblies is unique. Other indigenous communities with a similar system of participatory self-governance, usos y costumbres, are often male-dominated.

Zapatista communities do not accept programs from the Mexican government. Instead, they are in charge of their own food and resources, education, healthcare, legal system, economy, politics, and ultimately their lives. On Zapatista territory there are no mega development projects like those becoming more and more common throughout Mexico. They take care of the land and protect its life-giving force. Deforestation, water and air pollution, genetically modified crops are anomalies on Zapatista lands. Their territory is perhaps safer from ecological destruction than anywhere else in Mexico. Likewise, indigenous cultures and languages thrive in the region and they are consciously protected and enhanced. Zapatista communities reject the Mexican state’s modernizing program to assimilate indigenous peoples into the national character, largely run through state schools.

The area continues to be heavily militarized with paramilitary and counterinsurgency bases surrounding the autonomous region. On May 2, 2013 an indigenous school teacher of the Escuelita Zapatista, José Luis Solís López otherwise known as Galeano, was macheted and shot to death by paramilitary forces. EZLN leader Subcomandante Moisés lamented the loss during a speech in the caracol of Oventic, outside of San Cristobal.

The Zapatista community of Oventic hosted the new years celebration on the 21st anniversary of the uprising. The festival caravan arrived on December 31st, joining thousands of people from surrounding communities, the majority of whom wore the classic Zapatista black ski mask, a red star, and a red scarf or bandanna. There was food, music, and dancing, but no drugs or alchohol, all night long. We returned to University of the Earth the next morning and stayed until the end of the festival on January 3rd. This is where we worked on conclusions, next steps, and a final declaration, summarizing the politics of the festival.

Ayotzinapa families on stage carrying photos of their dissapeared relatives.

Can the Culture of Resistance Save the Planet

We all live on the same planet. It is our only home and it is being systematically destroyed by industrial civilization and global capitalism. People everywhere are suffering the consequences, but are in resistance. As we move further into the 21st century how will these struggles play out? As a global resistance movement will we be able to fight back encroaching destruction before it is too late? Will we be able to build a world, as the Zapatistas suggest, in which many worlds fit? Will we be able to reclaim democracy, justice, and autonomy from the powers that be?

During the festival of resistance we learned about the inevitable horrors of ongoing capitalism, the destruction of remaining ecosystems, the continued genocide of indigenous peoples, about global state violence against people. We also learned that people everywhere are fighting back, even when it means putting our lives on the line.

One of the most common responses to speakers was a chant from the crowd that they are not alone. That we are all in this together and are fighting the same fight. And, as the relatives of the Ayotzinapa massacred say, we cannot sleep until we defeat these evils. ¡La Lucha Sigue! The Fight Goes On!

Edited by Sean Glenn




January 28, 2015

Macbeth in Los Pinos

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 8:44 pm


Macbeth in Los Pinos




Luis Hernández Navarro

La Jornada, 27th January, 2015

The ghost of Lady Macbeth has appeared before Enrique Peña Nieto. For the past four months the extrajudicial killing and the forced disappearance of 43 rural normal school students from Ayotzinapa are following him wherever he goes. And where he does not go, too. In Davos, Switzerland, in the middle of the closing ceremony of the annual party for the lords of the universe, where it was several degrees below zero outside, a crowd that took to the snowy streets held him responsible for the attack against the young people.

Just as it happened to Lady Macbeth with Duncan, in the eyes of many citizens the presidential institution has been stained with blood by the Iguala tragedy. The shadow of suspicion has fallen over his command. Formally favoured by the benefits of sleep, since then Peña Nieto has been acting in a way that corresponds to a lack of sleep. The stench that all the perfumes of Arabia cannot hide surrounds his destiny. The stain does not come clean and the shadow does not disappear.

Elevated at the beginning of his six-year term through the work and grace of his team’s public relations and praised by the international media that today have abandoned him, the President followed to the letter the advice from the apparition to Macbeth: “Be lion-mettled, proud, and take no care/ Who chafes, who frets, or where conspirers are. Macbeth shall never vanquished be until/ Great Birnam Wood to high Dunsinane Hill/ Shall come against him…”

Today, however, he anxiously observes how the Great Birnam Wood, with the parents from the families of the disappeared young people at the front, is walking toward the presidential residence. The tragedy of Macbeth has arrived at Los Pinos [presidential residence].

To try to stop the forest’s march, the federal government wants to close the case in whatever way they can. They are obsessed with closing the case no matter what. On December 4, during his first visit to Guerrero since the tragedy, the president called for “overcoming the pain” left by the Ayotzinapa case and “moving forward.” He has since then, time and again, tried to make people forget the matter. It has, however, all been in vain. The indignation over the tragedy still prevails.

The order of forgetting has not been obeyed for one very simple reason: even though four months have gone by, the 43 students have not appeared. The government has been incapable of finding them. Nor has it been able to come up with a plausible and coherent account of what took place on September 26 and 27 in Iguala.

The family members of the disappeared students do not believe the government version, that their children and relatives were killed by the United Warriors group and that their remains were burned at a landfill in Cocula. After listening to the official explanation of the events at the meeting they had on January 13, the parents told Jesús Murillo Karam, the Attorney General, Miguel Ángel Osorio Chong, the Secretary of Government Relations, and other government officials: “It’s not true”, “you have them”, “stop trying to trick us.”

Distinguished scientists and human rights defenders have documented a great number of inconsistencies in the official narrative. On January 21, several academics criticized Murillo Karam’s attempt to pronounce the 43 dead, and make conclusions without providing scientific evidence.

According to Amnesty International, the investigations made by the Attorney General’s Office (PGR) have been “limited and insufficient.” The supposed delinquents whose declarations make up the official story reported that they had been tortured. For that reason, Amnesty International insisted that new lines of investigation be opened, including the Army’s probable participation in the violent events. It pointed out that there are many testimonies that say that soldiers were at the place of attack and harassed and detained several students. It warned that the case is also no longer being looked at as a matter of forced disappearance, but as kidnapping and homicide, which blurs the State’s responsibility in the crime.

But, instead of responding to indications like those from the parents, scientists and Amnesty International, the authorities have managed to confront the team of lawyers with the parents, isolate the family members and present them to public opinion as ignorant people manipulated by radical political forces. Playing dirty, they revealed the results about the analysis of the remains carried out at the University of Innsbruck without first informing the parents, violating the agreement signed by President Enrique Peña Nieto on October 29.

The result of this government decision has been disastrous. According to Abel Barrera, director of the Tlachinollan Human Rights Centre, “the possibility to have close, trustworthy dialogue has been lost.”

Since the national channels for dialogue have been closed, today the parents are working to internationalize the conflict. Along with the solidarity tours going to the United States, the next stops on this route are kick-starting the interdisciplinary group on technical cooperation from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) and having a committee of family members visit the Committee on Enforced Disappearances of the United Nations in Geneva.

The responsibilities of the IACHR group include the creation of plans to find the disappeared people alive, the technical analysis of the lines of investigation to determine criminal liability, and the technical analysis of the plan for comprehensive attention to the victims, in order to guarantee that the necessary comprehensive attention and reparation will be provided.

In the words of Felipe de la Cruz, representing the family members: “We are going to Geneva to look for justice, we’re going to look for it all over the world, so that this State crime does not go unpunished.” The intention is that the UN committee “make a strong statement to condemn the forced disappearance of the 43 students.”

The ghost of Macbeth has moved to Los Pinos for good. It will stay there as long as there is no justice, truth and reparation for damages for the victims of the Iguala attack.

Translated by Sally Seward




January 27, 2015

The First Global Festival for Anti-Capitalist Resistance and Rebellion

Filed under: Zapatista — Tags: — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 6:34 am



The First Global Festival for Anti-Capitalist Resistance and Rebellion

CNI cideci

“México Trágico, Mágico México”


Organized by the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) and the National Indigenous Congress (CNI), the first annual Festival Mundial de las Resistencias y Rebeldías contra el Capitalismo, or the Global Festival for Anti-Capitalist Resistance and Rebellion, was held in central and southern Mexico over a two-week period at the end of 2014 and beginning of 2015. The event’s subtitle sums up its purpose well: “While those from above destroy, those from below rebuild.” Taken as a whole, this new Festival recalled the different “intergalactic” meetings hosted by the EZLN in Chiapas in the 1990’s, such as the Intercontinental Encounter for Humanity and Against Neo-Liberalism (1996). According to the statistics made known at the event’s close at CIDECI-Unitierra in San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas, the number of officially registered participants at the Festival came to over 3400 Mexicans, including 1300 individuals belonging to 20 indigenous ethnicities, and 500 foreigners from 49 countries—though the total number of those who attended the Grand Cultural Festival in Mexico City and the EZLN’s year-end festivities at the Oventik caracol at other points over the course of the Festival must be considered as amounting to several times this total. While the Festival generally focused on the numerous problematics faced by Mexico’s various indigenous peoples amidst the power of capital and State—due in no small part, indeed, to the central participation of the CNI in the event—the distressing case of the 43 students from the Raúl Isidro Burgos Rural Normal School who were forcibly disappeared by police in Iguala, Guerrero, in late September also took central stage throughout the event.

The Anti-Capitalist Festival was inaugurated in Mexico state on 21 December, and the comparticiones (“sharings”) followed for two days afterward in two locations in central Mexico. While I was present for neither, I can here relate the reports made ex post facto at CIDECI regarding the goings-on at these spaces. The launch of thecomparticiones took place simultaneously in San Francisco Xochicuautla in Mexico state and in Amilcingo, Morelos. San Francisco Xochicuautla has become an emblem of socio-ecological resistance in Mexico lately, as the local indigenous Ñatho peoples have opposed themselves to the imposed plan of building a new private highway on their territory—a project that implies vast deforestation, and which has to date seen State repression meted out on those in opposition—while, as two Nahua CNI delegates from Morelos explained to me as we waited together outside the Zapatista Good-Government Council’s office at Oventik on New Year’s Eve, the case of Amilcingo reflects the problems of domestic and foreign rackets, extractivism, and profit in Mexico, as these exigencies result in the plundering of territory (despojo) and fundamentally violate indigenous autonomy. In Amilcingo, in accordance with the vision set forth in the “Integral Morelos Plan” (PIM) that has been on the books for years, there has been an attempt to construct a natural gas pipeline that would supply a planned thermal power station, this despite the various dangers posed to the integrity of such structures within such a seismically and volcanically active area as Morelos. In Amilcingo, as in San Francisco Xochicuautla, indigenous Nahuas have mobilized to prevent the construction project from being carried through. At both sites on 22-23 December, representatives from indigenous ethnicities represented in the CNI and affiliates of the National and International Sixth—that is to say, those who subscribe to the EZLN’s Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle (2005)—made presentations about their struggles, philosophies, and commitments.

In San Francisco Xochicuautla, the Las Abejas Civil Society from the highlands of Chiapas discussed the December 1997 massacre which they suffered at the hands of State-supported paramilitaries—an attack on the community of Acteal in which 45 people, mostly women and children, were murdered, with this number coming ominously close to the number of students currently disappeared from the Rural Normal School of Ayotzinapa—and they described how, though the attack was an act of State terror that should demand international prosecution, the Supreme Court for Justice in the Nation (SCJN) has in recent years instead liberated scores of indigenous men who had been convicted for having participated in the massacre, such that now only 2 out of the 102 individuals who had originally been held for the crime remain incarcerated. Similarly, ejidatarios from San Sebastián Bachajón, Chiapas, reviewed their historical struggle against the state-government’s attempt at privatizing their lands for touristic ends, as at proposing a new highway between San Cristóbal and Palenque—again for purposes of “developing” the tourist sector—in addition to the repression they have faced at the hands of paramilitaries belonging to the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI, which in addition to dominating the country’s executive, also holds power now in Chiapas in the person of Governor Manuel Velasco Coello, “el Güero,” or “the White Guy”), which has resulted in the murders of two of their comrades in the past couple of years. The Voz del Amate, a group of former and current political prisoners who similarly subscribe to the Sixth Declaration, also shared its experiences in Xochicuautla.

For their part, the Yaquis from northwestern Mexico revindicated their just struggle to prevent the waters of the Yaqui River from being massively diverted in order to supply the burgeoning industries and populations of cities like Hermosillo, Sonora, and they declared themselves in resistance to the systematic violation of their traditional laws and customs, to which they are entitled under international law, particularly the International Labor Organization’s Convention 169. At the first of two days of the Festival’s conclusion at CIDECI, in fact, Mario Luna, a Yaqui political prisoner who has been imprisoned precisely for having led the struggle in defense of the Yaqui River, was allowed to communicate by phone with the assembled: expressing his gratitude to the EZLN and CNI and the indigenous revolutionaries of Xochicuautla and Cherán, Michoacán, he affirmed his people’s right to govern themselves differently, in spite the conscious efforts that have been made to suppress such alternatives; making mention of the horrific fire at the ABC Nursery in Hermosillo which took the lives of 49 children in 2009, Luna announced that, despite his unjust incarceration, he continues firm in his convictions. International adherents to the Sixth Declaration from Argentina denounced the ingression of transgenic crops, the expansion of open-pit mining, and the repressive socio-psychological forgetting of the foundational genocide that took place in that country, while comrades from the Anarchist Federation of France (FA) declared themselves opposed to the degradation of the rights of workers and the destruction of nature. An additional group from Italy that was present described its political work as “anti-fascist, anti-sexist, anti-capitalist,” and in favor of mutual aid and solidarity.

In Amilcingo, the padres de familia (parents) of the disappeared students opened the compartición, naming the principal responsible parties for the atrocities to which their sons have been subjected to be the federal and Guerrero-state governments, the narco-paramilitaries, the Army, and President Enrique Peña Nieto (EPN, from the PRI). Constructively, they proposed the physical occupation of major mass-media outlets in the country as a means of intensifying the calls that have resounded throughout the country these past three months to demand the return with life of their sons. From Tepoztlán, Morelos, CNI delegates discussed the case of another planned highway expansion designed in accordance with the PIM, for which they blame private capital and State together. Hailing from Oaxaca’s Tehuantepc Isthmus, national adherents to the Sixth Declaration spoke to the expropriation of communal property by international firms like Mareña Renewables that have sought to install scores of wind-energy towers in the area in recent years, and they announced a caravan for January 2015 to highlight the problematic of looting and systematic violations of free, prior, and informed consent by these corporations. Other national Sixth adherents who presented at Amilcingo include the Anarchist Black Cross; the environmental wing of #YoSoy132, which declared itself opposed to transgenic maize and the newly approved energy and rural reforms spearheaded by EPN; comrades from Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, who denounced the ongoing femicides, militarization, and war-footing for which that city is known, as well as burgeoning oil-extraction and fracking schemes in the region; the “Lucio Cabañas” collective from the Xochimilco campus of the Autonomous Metropolitan University (UAM) of Mexico City, which shared its experiences with police repression following the mobilizations they had undertaken for the disappeared 43 students in November; CACITA Oaxaca, which has for years worked in favor of a generalized adoption of ecologically balanced and appropriate technologies, including bicycle-operated machines and dry bathrooms; as well as an environmentalist grouping from Mexico City that resists attempts to privatize the Chapultepec forests in that city. Internationally, comrades from Ferguson arrived to share their experiences with police brutality and to highlight the effective racial segregation on hand in U.S. society, while Parisian rebels lamented the annihilation of anarchist social spaces which has resulted from processes of gentrification in the French capital; commemorated the life of 21-year old Rémi Fraisse, who was murdered in November during a police clearing of the ZAD (Zone a Défendre) encampment in southwestern France; and detailed the various actions they have taken in solidarity with Ayotzinapa and the political prisoner María Salgado. Representatives from the Norwegian Committee for Solidarity with Latin America similarly explained the concrete actions they had taken of late to protest the criminalization of social protest in Mexico and elsewhere.

Thus was the first part of the Festival completed, with thecomparticiones lasting two days in San Francisco Xochicuautla and Amilcingo each. The next phase of the event—part two of five, we can say—took place in the Iztapalapa district of Mexico City, at the Lienzo Charro, a stable located near the Guelatao metro station, named for the birthplace in Oaxaca of the celebrated indigenous president of Mexico, Benito Juárez, who repelled the revanchist French invasion of 1862 that sought to install Maximilian von Habsburg as emperor and weakened the hegemony of the Catholic Church over Mexican society, in accordance with his Liberal principles—which are very far from the liberal (or neo-liberal) values known in the U.S.! Indeed, the “Grand Cultural Festival,” which started on 24 December and lasted three days, until the 26th, took place a short walk from the “Cabeza de Juárez,” a huge structure commemorating the Liberal Oaxacan president. Principally, the space at the Lienzo Charro was divided between a massive tianguis cultural—a cultural market of sorts, full of food vendors offering huaraches and tacos; anarchists and other radicals selling books, shirts, and prints; and intellectuals representing Praxis en América Latina, which takes after Marxist-humanism and the thought of Raya Dunayevskaya—and two stages for musical and theatrical performances: one named for Compañero Galeano, a Zapatista support-base (BAEZLN) who was killed in a paramilitary attack on the La Realidad caracol in May 2014, and the other for Compañero David Ruiz García, an Otomi indigenous man who died in a traffic accident after having attended the meeting held between the Zapatistas and the CNI that very same month to mourn Galeano. The Grand Cultural Festival also provided various activities for children, hosted chess and soccer tournaments, and opened space for various workshops addressing such questions as urban gardening, traditional Mexican medicine, eco-villages, prisoners’ rights, digital self-defense, and solidarity economics.

When I arrived to the Festival on the morning of the 24th, the activity on hand on the “Compañero Galeano” stage was a series of speeches made by padres de familia and even by students who had survived the police attack in Iguala of 26 September. At least one father and mother expressed the hope that their sons were in fact still alive, in this way rejecting the official account of the events of 26-27 September which waspresented by Attorney General Jesús Murillo Karam in early November: that is, that the 43 students had been expeditiously handed over by the Iguala municipal police to the “United Warriors” drug cartel, who subsequently murdered them and incinerated their remains. Omar García, a student-survivor who has become a spokesperson of sorts for the padres de familia, announced that, though the 43 students had been unarmed at the time of the police attack against them and the forcible disappearance which followed, many of the parents now wished that their sons had actually been carrying weapons that night with which to defend themselves. That morning of the 24th, which was marked by strong rains, the padres de familia were organizing their action for that night, Christmas Eve—known as Noche Buena (“The Good Night”) in Spanish—which was to involve a public protest outside the Los Pinos presidential residence. The action, which proceeded despite the rainstorm which raged that night, was meant to demonstrate to the government and Mexican society as a whole that, for the parents of the disappeared, there could be no Noche Buena. At the tianguis that day, I came across a print commemorating the life of Alexander Mora Venancio, 21 years old, the only one of the 43 whose remains have been positively identified by Argentinian forensics experts to date.  


Hasta siempre compañero”: a print commemorating Alexander Mora Venancio, 21 years of age, being the only student among the 43 disappeared whose remains have been positively identified since the police attack of 26 September 2014. The man depicted as holding Alexander’s image is Lucio Cabañas, a guerrillero from Guerrero state who founded the Party of the Poor in 1967.

After this sobering beginning, the Grand Festival Cultural proceeded principally to open space for a multitude of rebellious and revolutionary theater-artists, dancers, and musicians to share their art and vision with the masses of people who came to attend the event, even in spite of the heavy rains on the 24th. That morning, a Nahua man and his comrade provided a thorough public explanation of how the imagery of theVirgen de Guadalupe—originally depicted by a Nahua artist, in fact—preserves and expresses a myriad indigenous symbols, from the stars and flowers which adorn the Virgin’s dress to the waxing moon on which she stands. The duo showed that the iconography of the Virgencommunicates the Nahua notion of Tonantzin, or “our beloved mother,” “la madre más primera” (“the first or most important mother”), and as such stands in for la Madre Tierra, Mother Earth. Notable musical artists from that first day of the Cultural Festival included the collaboration between Raíces Libertarias (“Libertarian Roots”) andMentes Ácratas (“Anarchist Minds”), who melded stirring hip-hop beats with a profound anti-authoritarianism to simultaneously entertain and enrage; Inercia (“Inertia”), a group of young punk rockers who dedicated at least one song to the inertial manner with which humanity would seem to be careening toward eco-apocalypse; and a Chilean rapper who concluded one of his songs using the following lines, palpably referring to the contemporary eco-political situation identified by “Inercia”: “La tierra un infierno / Y la humanidad en cenizas” (“The Earth, an inferno / And humanity in ashes”).

The Grand Cultural Festival continued with musical celebrations on the 25th and 26th as well. The former day, reggae artist El Aaron sang the praises of cannabis while condemning the police (“Policias en helicopteros / Buscando marijuana”), in this way presenting an embodied rebellion against Zapatista rebelliousness: for it is known that all drugs are forbidden in EZLN communities. The all-women’s groupBatallones Femininos (“Female Batallions”) provided raps having to do with feminist issues on the evening of the 25th—much as they would do live on Radio Insurgente during the night of the first day of the Festival’s closure at CIDECI just over a week later. Also the same evening from the “Galeano” stage, Sonora Skandalera provided everyone who so desired and could the opportunity to dance to the tune of their joyous music.

In contrast to the first two days, which were open to all, entrance to the third and final day of the Cultural Festival was limited to those who paid 70 pesos to attend a concert that doubled as a fundraiser for the CNI. A number of celebrated Mexican and Latin American groups performed this day, including El Sazón María, Mr. Blaky, Polka Madre, Antidoping, El Poder del Barrio, and others. Among the most impressive artists who performed on this final day was the Mexikan Sound System. Like El Aaron, Mexikan Sound System played a song explicitly dedicated to the legalization of marijuana, and much of the rest of the duo’s oeuvre would seem to be similarly politically radical, discussing State terror, migration, and the drug war. Another one of their songs, “No Te Olvido” (“I Will Not Forget You”), which is dedicated to “all those who have given their lives in the attempt to form a world in which many worlds fit,” features the following gripping refrain:“Pasarán los dias / Pasarán los meses / Pasarán mil anos / Pero no te olvido” (“Though days, months, and even a thousand years may pass, / I will not forget you”). Impressively for an artist who identifies consciously with the reggae musical tradition, Gabo Revuelta, the Mexikan Sound System’s MC, explicitly affirmed sexual diversity in personal comments between songs, both during this performance at Lienzo Charro, as at a subsequent one he did in collaboration with Panchito Rha, Sista Gaby, and Manik B (Al Sentido Kontrario) at El Paliacate Centro Cultural in San Cristóbal de Las Casas. In contrast,Lengualerta, another celebrated Mexican reggae artist who performed at the Grand Festival on the 26th—and in fact dedicated a song to Compañero Galeano, having modified the lyrics of the famous “Hasta Siempre Comandante” song to accommodate the murdered Zapatista—saw a brawl break out at the end of his concert with Al Sentido Kontrario in San Cristóbal a week later, owing to controversy surrounding the place of LGBTQ individuals in his vision for resistance against Babylon.


The Mexikan Sound System at the Grand Cultural Festival in Mexico City, 26 December 2014.

I left the Cultural Festival early in the mid-afternoon of the 26th to attend a protest-action being organized to mark three months since the forcible disappearance of the 43 students from Ayotzinapa. The mobilization was massive: having started at the Ángel de la Independencia on Mexico City’s Paseo de la Reforma, it proceeded to entirely fill the Monumento a la Revolución (the Monument to the Mexican Revolution). One of the more telling banners I encountered read—as an inversion of René Descartes’ Cogito, ergo sum—that “I think, therefore they disappear me.” At the Monumento, padres de familia and student-survivors spoke to a rally of the assembled protestors; one father described how the parents of the disappeared had just been protesting outside the Germany embassy in Mexico City, given that new findings showed that the Iguala municipal police had used Heckler & Koch G-36 assault rifles in their attack on the students on 26 September, while another called on all Mexicans to boycott the upcoming 2015 elections—declaring that in Guerrero state, no elections would be held at all!   Alongside the padres de familia, Omar García spoke again, as did another student from Ayotzinapa who had survived the police attack that horrible night, providing details of their ordeal: the caravan of three buses that had been appropriated by the students to raise funds for their participation in the upcoming 2 October protests in Mexico City, which happen every year to commemorate the Tlatelolco massacre of 1968 that took the lives of hundreds of student radicals; the sudden encirclement of the caravan as it passed through Iguala, followed by an entirely unprovoked barrage of gunfire from the police against the students; the escape of the students from the first two buses and their tribulations seeking refuge from police and military alike in a local medical clinic, and thereafter in the home of a compassionate elder who agreed to take them in, once the nurses in said clinic had washed their hands of them; and the fate of the third bus, which contained the 43 students who are currently disappeared. Adán Cortés Salas, the 21-year old international relations student at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) who became an instant national and international celebrity after interrupting the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to Malaya Yousafzai and Kailash Satyarthi on 10 December to call on the pair not to forget Mexico and the disappeared students, also addressed the rally, leading an emotive count-down to 43.

The aura of this protest-action, particularly following the concluding interventions of these two youth, was fraught with trauma and horror; in fact, a number of individuals fainted over the course of the rally’s two hours, provoking calls for assistance from nurses and doctors alike. Leaving the action after hearing of so much negation and re-entering the usual flow of things in downtown Mexico City, I was reminded of an observation made by a survivor of the 2 October 1968 atrocity, as reproduced by Elena Poniatowska in La Noche de Tlatelolco (translated into English as Massacre in Mexico), that, once she had successfully maneuvered through the military barricades surrounding the Plaza de las Tres Culturas—the site of the mass-shooting, that is—and rejoined “normal” society, she felt that she had chanced upon an entirely foreign world, wherein people had little to no concept of what had just happened blocks away. Of course, I do not want to say that the masses of Mexicans one sees in the streets of Mexico City are uncaring or unaware of such shocking crimes as that which took place in Iguala. Still, I felt that I had passed from a place of profound rage, suffering, and dignity—la digna rabia—into the larger world, governed by the vast cruelties of the capitalist everyday.

The third part of the Anti-Capitalist Festival consisted of anothercompartición, this time held in Monclova, Campeche state, on the Yucatan Peninsula, from 28 to 29 December. There, as at other points during the Festival, 43 empty chairs were set up to commemorate the disappeared students from Ayotzinapa; the Yucatan being a tropical region, moreover, the comparticiones were interrupted on various occasions because of torrential rainfall. Those in attendance at Monclovawere told of land-grabs in neighboring Quintana Roo state, where 26,000 hectares have been bought up in recent years by Mennonite families and German, Filipino, and Japanese corporations, leading to a mass-exodus of campesin@s from their formerly communal territories,in a continuation of processes which acutely worsened with the coming into law of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in 1994. Monclova itself is the site of a civil-resistance movement whose members refuse to pay for electrical energy provided by the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE), holding out the alternative of a popularly managed energy system that makes electricity available at affordable prices. In this sense, the movement in Monclova, which is comprised of 20 participating communities, echoes the resistance taken up by groupings like PUDEE (Peoples United in Defense of Electricity) in Chiapas, as elsewhere in the country. Beyond this, those participating at the compartición in Monclova heard from representatives from the “La 72” migrant-home in Tenosique, Tabasco, about the “exterminationist policies” overseen by the three levels of the Mexican government as regards the transit of Central American migrant workers through the country toward the USA—such that the Mexican side of the border is reportedly full of mass-graves containing the bodies of such economic (and environmental) refugees. In fact, the Central American mothers who have long organized periodic missions to seek out their children who have gone missing after passing through Mexico en route to el Norte estimate that a full 70,000 migrants have gone missing in the country in the past three decades.

The fourth part of the Festival took place during New Year’s Eve at the EZLN’s Oventik caracol—appropriately given the name “Resistance and Rebellion for Humanity”—in the highlands of Chiapas, not far from San Cristóbal. Indeed, the year-end’s event at the caracol can in some sense be considered the climax of the Festival. At Oventik, Zapatistas from the five regional caracoles—La Realidad, La Garrucha, Roberto Barrios, and Morelia, besides Oventik—were present en masse, resting under large tarps to shield themselves from the rain. The thousands of Mexican and international guests who arrived that day were invited to camp in tents, or join the BAEZLN under the tarps if need be—such that, by midnight on 31 December, the Oventik campus had become a veritable tent-city! The size of those gathered at the caracol that night was seemingly even larger than the previous year, when the EZLN celebrated the twentieth anniversary of its 1 January 1994 insurrection. While the legacy of those twenty years (and the thirty since the EZLN’s founding) provided much of the impetus for reflection at last year’s celebration at Oventik, as reflected in Comandanta Hortensia’s speech that night, the case of the disappeared students from Ayotzinapa was the focus this time, with Subcomandate Moisés himself—now the effective “chief” of the EZLN, following Subcomandante Marcos’s “suicide,” as announced in “Between Light and Shadow,” a discourse that was presented before the CNI in La Realidad last May—dedicating a substantial proportion of his commentsto the struggles of the students and their parents. In fact, before Sup Moisés’ address, two padres de familia spoke publicly before the multitude assembled at Oventik—one being a mother who believed that her son had in fact been murdered, and the other a father whom I had seen speak both at the Grand Cultural Festival, as at the protest-action on 26 December. The most moving moment of the night—and perhaps of the Anti-Capitalist Festival as a whole—came when Sup Moisés interrupted his discourse to embrace each and every family-member of the disappeared who was standing alongside him on stage. Subsequently, the BAEZLN present followed suit, providing hugs “of tenderness, respect, and admiration.”


Zapatistas embracing relatives of the 43 disappeared students on New Year’s Eve at the Oventik caracol, following the example of Subcomandante Moisés (pictured at the microphone).

Much like the previous year, live music was performed from the Oventik stage before and after the “political act” which saw Sup Moisés and thepadres de familia make their public addresses. This music included various cumbias that brought the BAEZLN and their sympathizers alike to fill the basketball court adjoining the central stage and dance to welcome the change in year. In fact, both the cumbias and dancing continued on through the night until shortly after dawn. In contrast to the case at year’s end 2013, the weather cooperated through most of the night this time, with the rains coming only around 3 or 4am. The next morning, for this reason, Oventik was a veritable mudscape. But that, taken together with the heavy fog which accompanied the mud (lodo, in Spanish, or che, in Tsotsil), did not stop the BAEZLN from continuing with their planned volleyball and basketball tournaments on the morning of 1 January.

The fifth and final act of the Festival took place at CIDECI-Unitierra in San Cristóbal de Las Casas from 2 to 3 January, as has been mentioned. The CIDECI-Unitierra has had a long history of supporting the Zapatistas and various other autonomist-indigenous political movements. (CIDECI itself stands for the Center for Integral Indigenous Education and Training.) Every Thursday evening, indeed, the space’s director, Dr. Raymundo Sánchez, hosts an international seminar for reflection and analysis of current events, considering local, national, and global matters. The second day of the conclusion at CIDECI, then, resembled a typical night at the Unitierra seminars, only taken to a much higher level—for, while the first day of the Festival’s conclusion at CIDECI summarized the three comparticiones that had taken place during the previous two weeks, the second was dedicated to consideration of popular proposals from below and to the left for confronting the hegemony of capital and State. This remarkable exercise in deliberative, participatory democracy was open to any and all registered participants, being adherents to the EZLN’s Sixth Declaration, who wished to share their views.

Though essentially all the proposals made by participants at the closure of the Festival shared a generally radical political analysis, the specific details varied in each case, and though I cannot review all the recommendations that were made, I will mention some of the most illuminating ones. One of the first speakers noted that capitalism is destroying the world, and it was for this reason that she had responded to the calls by the CNI and EZLN to attend the Festival: she posed the fundamental question, “How it is that we will destroy capitalism?” Another participant suggested that we work to report on the situation in Mexico and wherever else the plundering of land and resources is a pressing issue; arguing that we must struggle in the interests of future generations, she designated the State as enemy. A number of attendees separately called for a return to the traditional cultural and political forms of indigenous societies as a means of rejecting capital. Furthermore, a representative from a Mexican collective focusing on disability issues shared his view that disability per se is not a problem, as it is considered in the medical model, but rather that the hardships faced by people with disabilities have to do with social exclusion. Affirming the proposal that has been advanced by some of the padres de familia of the disappeared students, one individual person called on all Mexicans to boycott electoral politics, while another called for a new constituent power to intervene and form a new constitution, toward the end of instituting a “transitional government” in 2018—the very year, incidentally, in which the current Chiapas governor, Manuel Velasco Coello (el Güero), hopes to run and be elected president as the PRI candidate.[1] A male in the crowd advocated that we all decolonize our minds specifically by identifying patriarchy as a principal enemy of the Sixth National and International, and engage in direct action against violence against women, which in Mexico is taking on epidemic proportions. Advocating the transcendence of national borders, a representative from CACITA Oaxaca announced a Caravana Mesoamericana para el Buen Vivir (a “Mesoamerican Caravan for Living Well”) that will launch its journey in April of this year—in many ways echoing the mission of the Caravana Climática por América Latina (“the Climate Caravan through Latin America”), which began itsaction-tour through Mesoamerica and Central and South America in northern Mexico a year ago, only to face repression at the hands of the “revolutionary socialist” government of Rafael Correa days before it had planned to arrive at the Twentieth Conference of Parties (COP20) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), with this destination having been the original end-goal sought by thecaravaner@s.

Omar García then addressed those assembled at CIDECI, thanking the CNI and EZLN for their support and presenting the proposal that Mexican society be transformed through the participation of everyone from below. An indigenous Purépecha male followed by expressing his rejection of industrial agriculture, while a representative from UAM Xochimilco mentioned the new “Cooperative of 26 September” that will provide space for exchanging seeds. A university instructor openly advocated a general strike to demand the presentation with life of the 43 disappeared students, and another individual called for boycotts against those corporations that are engaged in the looting of the lands and resources of the peoples represented in the CNI. One young activist presented an especially compelling vision for dual power and transition, outlining a vision whereby the national territory is to be divided into a multiplicity of local assemblies that are to meet twice a month and thereafter coordinate through bimonthly regional assemblies and, less periodically, national ones; he identified the minimum objectives of such a strategy to be the reversal of the plundering of lands, the liberation of all political prisoners, and the cessation of femicides, with the ultimate end sought by such action being the very abolition of capital. Affirming vengeance for those massacred by the State, he provoked a general cry from the assembled: “Los compadres masacrados / Serán vengados / Y, ¿quién lo hará? / ¡El pueblo organizado!” (“Our massacred comrades / Will be avenged / But by whom? / By the people, organized.”) Lastly, a Colombian male called on the Sixth National and International to adopt veganism, considering the vast waste of resources implicated in animal agriculture at present, and especially in light of the inescapable suffering of non-human animals who are instrumentalized for the end of human consumption. Taking a page from the more traditionalist political accounts heard earlier, he argued that pre-Hispanic societies consumed far fewer animal products than Latin Americans do now, thanks to the imposition of Spanish dietary preferences through colonial processes.


Banner of the Anti-Capitalist Festival at CIDECI, San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas, 3 January 2015.

In closing, the CNI agreed to organize further meetings between thepadres de famila and its constituent communities, while the Sixth International pledged to assist in the organization of an international caravan for the parents of the disappeared. The general conclusion was that we must construct social relations outside of capital: autonomy in the countryside, as in the cities, and in the spheres of education, health, communication, politics, and nutrition. Addressing those who might have been disappointed by this conclusion, those assembled at CIDECI declared that “it is not a question of coming up with a grand program for national, global, and intergalactic struggle; […] there are no magical formulas that can change the world. The struggle cannot be reduced to one path, as we ourselves are not just one [but many].” In the official document produced in the final session at CIDECI, those present note rightly that “[i]t will only be through our rebellion and resistance that the death of capital will be born, and a new world brought to life for all.”

Javier Sethness Castro, author of two books, has had essays and articles published in Truthout, Dissident Voice, Countercurrents, Climate and Capitalism, MRZine, Dysophia, The Journal of Critical Globalisation Studies, and Perspectives on Anarchist Theory. He worked as a human-rights observer in the Mexican states of Chiapas and Oaxaca during 2010, and has just completed a draft manuscript of his political and intellectual biography of Herbert Marcuse.


[1]    José Gil Olmos e Isaín Mandujano, “Al estilo Peña Nieto, pero con madre vicegobernadora.” Proceso no. 1992 (4 January 2015), 16-19.





January 26, 2015

Subjects of Change

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 8:56 pm



Subjects of Change

The world would be joyful if all colours and ways of thinking had their place

The world would be joyful if all colours and ways of thinking had their place

By: Gustavo Esteva

We already know what to do. Now we need an agreement about how to do it and with whom.

The political classes lost the little credibility they had because of Ayotzinapa. A consensus formed through long experience crystalized like this: only violence, corruption, impunity and incompetence come from above.

Another consensus emerged along with this: the institutions themselves are rotten, not only those that direct them. They are not at the service of the people, nor do they fulfil their functions. We need substitutes for them.

It also extends to a consensus that comes from perspective. In recent decades the political classes adulterated and finally dismantled what remained of the 1917 Constitution. We need another one. Or rather: a constituent mechanism that formulates the new social order from below.

To do that we must conceive how we get rid of what is and create democratic mechanisms of transition that forestall and contain the current disorder and violence.

There is no consensus about the way to do all that. Among those that share the conviction that we must remove the current functionaries and construct other institutions, some think that the only way of attaining it without violence is to stay within the current frameworks, through the electoral and party path. According to them, we would have to use ballot boxes to disqualify them. Any other way would be illusory or undemocratic and violent. Thus emerges a profound difference, because many other people consider that what is illusory and undemocratic is to continue using ballot boxes, entirely inadequate for what is sought. What’s missing is to break with the current frameworks.

Within this debate, as in other questions, weighs an old tradition that centres the possibility of change on a leader or a handful of leaders. According to Luis González y González, since the XVIII century “a handful of people (politicians, intellectuals, capitalists and priests), who are the ones who principally distribute the bread, propose and dispose the path to follow,” are periodically installed in the leadership of Mexico. Those who have been responsible for social change, he maintains, “are a small number of directors, groups of eminent men, assemblies of notables, not masses without a face or local commanders.”

This vision of our history, which ignores the millions of ordinary men and women who gave their lives in the changes that occurred in the country, or that converts them into obedient masses, manipulated or controlled, forms a tradition in effect that has been updated in the era of globalization and the mass communications media. A leader or at least a party or a group continues to be sought. They have to constitute the minority directorate, a disciplined and articulate leadership body. Without them we would fall into disorder and violence and the changes we seek would be frustrated.

A vigorous current attempt to break with that tradition proposes reconstruction from below, by ordinary men and women, without leaders, luminaries, experts, vanguards or parties.

It is certain that a handful of men have assumed the representation of all Mexicans ever since the country was born. Morelos asserted that it was the nation’s sentiment to be governed by the creole minority. That sentiment prevailed among those who forged the new social order, expressed in the Constitution of 1824, marginalizing Indian peoples, who then represented two-thirds of the population and had been the principal champions of the revolution for Independence. In a similar manner, successive elites converted their own ideals and interests into the mould in which the national will should be formed. The ritual of elections, which was maintained even in times of the dictatorship to legitimize the social pact imposed from above, never managed to compensate for that absence of the majority. The general will cannot be reduced to a statistical grouping of individual votes to elect individuals or to define postures. “My dreams don’t fit into your ballot boxes,” the Indignados of Spain said well.

It is not a document that will reconstitute us as a nation or permit us to reconstruct the coexistence and social fabric, or one that was formulated with a social sense and patriotic ardour by the country’s better minds. As LaSalle said, constitutional questions are not issues of law but rather of power. We’re dealing with defining those who have it and how it is articulated and how it constructs the general will: above or below, with elections that delegate everything to a few… or without them, with autonomous governance.

Faced with the immense national tragedy, no assembly of notables can assume the transition or even less determine the new direction and the ways in which we reconstruct. The challenge consists in attaining that the very diverse social subjects who from below have been resisting dispossession and oppression are finally those who conduct the transformation. Far from representing the chaos and disorder, trusting in the wisdom and experience that they have been accumulating from below is the only alternative to the chaotic disorder that characterizes the national moment and will continue as long as we continue to render social engineering from above.

In that transit, we also need certain people, perhaps a handful, who are moral guarantors of the transition, bind together a consensus and intellectually nourish change. The government would not be in their hands, but in the hands of the people who would watch, control and reconstruct the institutions. That way, democracy would be where it ought to be: where the people are. And they would be those who maintain the social order and would be a barrier to the current chaos and violence.


Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada, Monday, January 19, 2015

English Translation: Chiapas Support Committee

En español:





No More Permits for Planting GM Corn

Filed under: Maize — Tags: — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 7:05 pm


No More Permits for Planting GM Corn


Antonio Turrent Fernández*

La Jornada, 22nd January, 2015

Judge Guillermo Campos Osorio, head of the Federal District Court 12 in Civil Matters based in the Federal District ordered Mexico’s Executive Branch to suspend any new permits, effective September 17, 2013, for growing genetically modified maize in open fields in Mexico while the collective demand for action for the human right to the biodiversity of native corn, brought by 53 citizens and 20 rural and urban organizations (Miguel Concha, La Jornada, 3/22/14) is being settled.

This court order was issued before the ruling by Judge Jaime Manuel Marroquín Zaleta, head of the Second Unitary Court in Civil and Administrative Matters of the First Circuit, who ordered that the demand might continue its legal course. Subsequently, Marroquín reiterated that the suspension of planting genetically modified organisms must remain in place due to the risks of irreversible damage to biodiversity.

For the last 14 months, the Executive Branch has had to obey the suspension. The nature of the collective demand for action is “diffuse”, since it defends the right of all Mexicans, present and future. Moreover, its objective is “declarative”, because it does not seek reparation for damages, but rather a permanent ban on the open field planting of transgenic corn in the national territory.

Why do the plaintiffs argue that the biodiversity of native corn is a human right of Mexicans? For at least five reasons: First, because without native corns no one could produce the 600 dishes of our multicultural cuisine based on native corn, with its organoleptic characteristics (sense-based, i.e., texture, taste, smell and colour) that we Mexicans demand. There are more than 300 kinds of tamales, tlayudas, totopos oaxaqueños, totopoxtles from the Gulf, tlacoyos, Pepitilla tortilla corn, Chalqueño corn, pozole, elotes de cacahuacintle, etc., and drinks—pozol, tascalate, tejate, tejuino—, atoles such as tart Ixtenco, and so on. What can certainly be prepared with non-native corns, including imported ones, is the low quality industrial tortilla that we urban Mexicans currently suffer.

The second reason: 53 percent of the calorific intake of the national diet and 39 percent of the protein comes from the direct consumption of corn. We know how to prepare corn as food and how to manage it to avoid contamination with mycotoxins, which are carcinogenic. What we would not know is how to continue feeding ourselves in a healthy way if our corn were genetically contaminated by GMOs since, as recent studies suggest, its consumption by mammals in experiments is associated with damage to the health of a “chronic subclinical” type.

The third reason: More than half of the 8 million hectares planted each year with corn in Mexico are low quality, even marginal, agricultural land being taken advantage of by millions of campesino families. These lands and the native corn provide both their source of employment and food. National and international ‘improved’, modern varieties, including transgenic corns that they aim to sell us, do not thrive in these conditions.


The fourth reason: native corns and their teosintle ancestor, both widely distributed throughout the country, are the only tangible source of genetic adaptation to the challenges that climate change will bring to food security. The transgenic technology that they sell us is obsolete, unpredictable, carries risks and, like the genie in the bottle, it is impossible to return it once it has been let out. The collective demand for action and a handful of incorruptible judges who bring honour to the Judiciary are all that prevent the transnational corporate interests, the Mexican government and collaborationist Mexican scientists from removing the cap from the bottle.

The fifth reason: the nation would irreversibly lose the technological sovereignty over its main staple, while the current government, through incompetence or neglect, would contribute to the disappearance of any social, private or public offering of communal corn seed.

There is a small group of lawyers (Collective AC)—powerful in principles, in intellectual resources, and incorruptible—which is steering the rudder and engine of the litigation strategy for the collective demand lawsuit. Titans of legal technique, such as Attorney Bernardo Bátiz**, and of human rights, including Father Miguel Concha***, are also collaborating. The Union of Scientists Committed to Society AC has provided the required scientific support. But it is a confrontation between David and several Goliaths.

What is much needed now is committed reinforcement by Mexican civil society in order to defend this strategic resource of the nation!

Translated by Jane Brundage
*Antonio Turrent Fernández, Agronomist, is current president of Mexico’s Union of Scientists Committed to Society.







January 25, 2015

In Mexico Over 650,000 Kids Forced to Work Instead of to School

Filed under: Human rights — Tags: , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 7:51 pm


In Mexico Over 650,000 Kids Forced to Work Instead of to School



Mexico has one of the largest child labor forces in Latin America, second only to Colombia. 

At least 21 percent of all Mexican youth between the ages of 7 and 14 – what amounts to 651,000 kids – give up school because they are forced to work, according to a new study released by UNESCO.

The figures mean that Mexico has one of the largest child labor forces in all of Latin America, second only to Colombia where 25 percent of youth are forced to work.

Worldwide, the number is also higher than other countries such as Indonesia (19 percent) and Sri Lanka (10 percent) and comparable to Cambodia (23 percent), Zambia (20 percent) and Nigeria (25 percent).


Child labor around the world. (Graphic: UNESCO)

Child labor around the world. (Graphic: UNESCO)

The UNESCO report also highlights the disparities between rich and poor in the country, where children from poor families in rural areas tend to have little chance of entering school at any point in their life, while wealthy urban families have more access to education.

According to state numbers, 3.1 million kids across the country do not attend school, but only 651,000 children substitute classroom learning specifically for work, usually because families are in need of extra income.


Growing inequality fueled by western-imposed neoliberalism forces children out of school and into work to help with family income. The sign reads, “We want justice and education.” (Photo: AFP)

Growing inequality fueled by western-imposed neoliberalism forces children out of school and into work to help with family income. The sign reads, “We want justice and education.” (Photo: AFP)

Other causes include entrenched gender roles, where impoverished families are often forced to choose between their son or daughter to send to school (which is generally the male), and regional conflicts or violence in the country that prohibits children from attending school.

According to UNESCO, countries have a duty to ensure education for all, and should do more to make sure that the need to work does not compete with the aspiration to educate themselves.

The report advises countries with a high child labour force to seek a balance “between interventions specifically aimed at [helping] the most marginalized children and broader reforms in the entire education system.”  


Over 17,000 Mexican Children Attempt to Enter US Every Year


Growing inequality fueled by western-imposed neoliberalism forces children out of school and into work to help with family income. The sign reads, “We want justice and education.” (Photo: AFP)


Most Mexican youth trying to enter the U.S. are deported immediately without being asked about the risks they face at home. | Photo: Reuters

A new study shows that over 60 percent of Mexican youth trying to enter the United Stares are fleeing situations of violence.

Each year, the United States Border Patrol stops 17,000 young Mexicans trying to enter the United States illegally, according to a new study released Friday by the Washington Office of Latin America (WOLA).

The report also states that these youth, most of whom are fleeing situations of violence, including being exploited by gangs, are “rarely listened to” or asked about the risks they faced at home. They are deported almost immediately.

“There are many problems with the evaluation of children: Often interviews are conducted in a public environment that intimidates children, agents do not have adequate training to deal with vulnerable children and often do not know how to ask about abuse and trafficking,” the WOLA study stated.

According to the report, “Mexican Immigrant Children Forgotten at the Border,” Mexican children do not see the same kind of protections afforded to minors from Central America when they are detained at the U.S. border.

Last year, tens of thousands of children tried to enter the U.S. illegally from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, leading to President Barack Obama calling the situation on the border a “humanitarian crisis.”

The United Nations warned Obama that people coming from these countries should be treated as refugees as they are likely fleeing situations of violence, prompting the U.S. to implement certain protections for them. However, these migrant children still face eventual deportation.

A similar report was released by the U.N.’s refugee agency, which says 59 percent of all the unaccompanied Mexican minors detained at the border are fleeing situations of violence. The group also states that less than 5 percent of Mexican children detained at the border actually get the opportunity to present their case in front of a migration judge to determine whether they are eligible for protection in the U.S.

The WOLA report concludes by asking for greater investment and resources into violence prevention programs in Mexico and for better training for border security services on how to deal with and assess child migrants.




Ejidatarios from Tila denounce attempt at usurpation

Filed under: Displacement, Indigenous, La Sexta — Tags: — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 5:29 pm


Ejidatarios from Tila denounce attempt at usurpation



Photo @ SIPAZ

Photo @ SIPAZ

Photo @ SIPAZ

On 7 January, the representatives of the Tila ejido, the president of the ejidal commissioner, and the president of the council of vigilance denounced the usurpation of the ejidal authority in their community, accusing Arturo Sánchez, Juan López López, and Evaristo Gutiérrez of naming their own commissioner and having ordered them “to make their seal and […] giving them services, thus presenting these three as though they were the new ejidal authorities.  They have thus made the grave mistake of illegally usurping the ejidal authority that is the general assembly and the ejidal authorities.”

In this way, the ejidatarios affirmed that on 2 September and 22 December 2014, these three persons met “to plan this action, and they have been supported by the Chiapas state government and City Hall” in this.  They also indicated that organized crime is in collusion with the municipal government, in light of the fact that “City Hall has served as refuge for criminals, murderers, and ex-convicts who engage in a power-struggle over the position every three years.”





January 24, 2015

Amnesty: Mexico: Investigation into the enforced disappearance of 43 students is far from conclusive

Filed under: Human rights — Tags: , , , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 3:29 pm


Mexico: Investigation into the enforced disappearance of 43 students is far from conclusive

Amnesty International, 22 January 2015

203347_Protests_Rock_Mexico_City_On_Anniversary_Of_Mexican_Revolution (1)_0

Demonstrators from Guerrero State demand answers concerning 43 missing students in Mexico City, Mexico. © Brett Gundlock/Getty Images


download (1)We have a catalogue of concerns over the way the investigation has been run and whether the full range of these crimes, including enforced disappearance and the killing of six people when the students were first attacked have been fully addressed.

Erika Guevara Rosas, Amnesty International’s Americas Director.

The Attorney General of Mexico has failed to properly investigate all lines of inquiry into allegations of complicity by armed forces and others in authority in the enforced disappearance of the 43 students from the Ayotzinapa teacher college, said Amnesty International today after meeting with family members of the victims.

At an Amnesty International press conference today in Mexico City experts will critique the faltering investigations overseen by the Mexican Attorney General Jesus Murillo Karam and will outline the demands of the parents of the 43 students. The Attorney General’s office said that all lines of enquiry have now been exhausted.

“We have a catalogue of concerns over the way the investigation has been run and whether the full range of these crimes, including enforced disappearance and the killing of six people when the students were first attacked have been fully addressed,” said Erika Guevara Rosas, Amnesty International’s Americas Director.

“Amidst worries about the possible complicity of local government authorities and the army, it is all the more important that every line of investigation is thoroughly explored and that no stone is left unturned.”

This latest call comes the day after Austrian forensic scientists announced that they had been unable to identify the DNA from badly burned remains found in a mass grave. Further tests on the samples could take months.

The enforced disappearance of the students has highlighted Mexico’s appalling human rights record. More than 100,000 people have been killed in Mexico since the “war on drugs” began in 2006 at least 23,000 are missing, according to official data. Thousands of communities have been displaced by the increasing violence and Amnesty International continues to receive reports of human rights violations committed by police and security forces including arbitrary detentions, torture and enforced disappearances.

“The disappearance of these students is a crime that has shocked the world. This tragedy has changed the distorted perception that the human rights situation has been improving in Mexico since President Peña Nieto took power. There are thousands more cases that have barely been investigated in Mexico, they cannot be ignored anymore,” said Erika Guevara Rosas.

“Much more needs to be done to investigate the many cases where there are signs of collusion on the part of the authorities and security forces in human rights abuses, for example the mass execution of civilians in Tlatlaya and the massacres of migrants. Tragically, impunity for these terrible crimes remains the norm. Federal and state institutions are failing to fulfil their human rights obligations, sending the message that these abuses are actually allowed,” concluded Erika Guevara Rosas.




Forced Disappearances are a Humanitarian Crisis in Mexico

Filed under: Human rights — Tags: , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 2:22 pm


Forced Disappearances are a Humanitarian Crisis in Mexico


Written by Emilio Godoy, IPS

(IPS) – The Mexican government will face close scrutiny from the United Nations Committee on Enforced Disappearances – a phenomenon that made international headlines after 43 students from a rural teachers college were killed in September in Iguala, in a case that has not yet been fully clarified.

Twenty-six human rights organisations have sent the U.N. Committee 12 submissions on the problem of forced disappearance, one of the worst human rights issues facing this Latin American country, where at least 23,000 people are registered as missing, according to official figures that do not specify whether they are victims of forced disappearance.

The submissions, to which IPS had access, say forced disappearances have taken on the magnitude of a humanitarian crisis since December 2006, when then conservative president Felipe Calderón (2006-2012) declared the “war on drugs” – a situation that his predecessor, conservative President Enrique Peña Nieto, has not resolved.

The organisations say forced disappearance is not adequately classified as a crime in Mexican law. They also complain about the lack of effective mechanisms and protocols for searching for missing persons and for reparations for direct and indirect victims, the impunity surrounding these crimes, the lack of a unified database of victims, and problems with the investigations.

In addition, they criticise Mexico’s reluctance to accept the competence of the Committee on Enforced Disappearances to receive and analyse communications from the victims.

The Committee, made up of 10 independent experts tasked with overseeing compliance with the International Convention for the Protection of all Persons from Enforced Disappearance, will hold its eight period of sessions Feb. 2-13 in Geneva, Switzerland.

During the sessions, Mexico “will be reviewed in a very critical light, because many recommendations have not been complied with,” said Jacqueline Sáenz of the FUNDAR Centre for Research and Analysis, one of the organisations that sent a report to the U.N. Committee.

The state has failed to implement an adequate public policy, Sáenz, the head of FUNDAR’s human rights and citizen security programme, told IPS. “Its responses have been minimal, more reactive than proactive. The balance is very negative.”

Although forced disappearance was already a serious humanitarian problem, the phenomenon leapt into the global spotlight on Sep. 26, when local police in the town of Iguala, 190 km south of Mexico City in the state of Guerrero, attacked students from the Escuela Normal de Ayotzinapa, a rural teachers’ college, leaving six dead and 25 wounded.

The police also took away 43 students and handed them over to members of “Guerreros Unidos”, one of the drug trafficking organised crime groups involved in turf wars in that area, according to the attorney general’s office.

The investigation found that the bodies of the 43 young people were burnt in a garbage dump on the outskirts of Colula, a town near Iguala, and that their remains were then thrown into a river.

On Dec. 7, prosecutor Jesús Murillo reported that the remains of one of the 43 students had been identified by forensic experts from the University of Innsbruck in Austria.

But on Jan. 20, the university reported that due to “excessive heat” from the fire, the charred remains of the rest of the bodies could not be identified, because of the lack of viable DNA samples.

Mexico’s office on human rights, crime prevention and community service has reported that in this country of 120 million people, 23,271 people have gone missing between 2007 and October 2014.

Although the office does not indicate how many of these people were victims of forced disappearance, its specialised unit in disappeared people only includes 621 on its list for that period, of whom 72 have been found alive and 30 dead.

“It’s important for the (U.N.) Committee to urge the state to specify the magnitude of the problem,” activist Juan Gutiérrez told IPS. “Very specific recommendations were made in reports long ago and the state has not fulfilled them. Public policies and reforms are necessary.”

More than 9,000 people have gone missing since 2013, under the administration of Peña Nieto, “which puts in doubt the effectiveness of policies for safety and prevention of the disappearance of persons,” said Gutiérez, the head of Strategic Human Rights Litigation I(dh)eas, a local NGO.

Forced disappearance has a long history in Mexico. In November 2009 the Inter-American Court on Human Rights ruled that the Mexican state was responsible for violating the rights to personal liberty, humane treatment, and life itself of Rosendo Radilla, a community leader in the municipality of Atoyac, who disappeared in 1974.

The Court ordered the Mexican state to conduct a serious investigation into his disappearance and to continue to search for him – none of which has happened.

In its submission to the U.N. Committee, Amnesty International says “the authorities have failed to explain, once again, how many of those people have been victims of abduction or enforced disappearance, and how many of them could be missing due to other reasons. No methodological information has been published, which makes it impossible for civil society organisations to scrutinise the figures.”

It adds that “impunity remains rampant in these cases.”

The rights watchdog notes that at a federal level only six convictions have been achieved, all of them between 2005 and 2009, for crimes committed before 2005.

With respect to the 43 students from Iguala, the attorney general’s office arrested over 40 police officers, presumed drug traffickers, the now former mayor of Iguala, José Abarca, and his wife, who have all been accused of involvement in the attack.

In their alternative report from December 2014, nine organisations said the Iguala case reflected “the current state of forced disappearances” and demonstrated “the ineffectiveness of the Mexican state in searching for missing people and investigating the cases.”

On Jan. 8, in an addendum to their submission to the U.N. Committee, four organisations stressed the “lack of capacity” and “tardy reaction” by the authorities in this case.

“The investigation was not conducted with due diligence. The Mexican state has been incapable of presenting charges and starting trials for the forced disappearance of the students,” says the text, which adds that the case demonstrates that Mexico’s legal framework falls short and that the authorities completely ignore the Convention for the Protection of all Persons from Enforced Disappearance.

On Nov. 27, Peña Nieto presented 10 measures, including a draft law on torture and forced disappearance and the creation of a national system for searching for missing persons.

But Sáenz said “The roots of the problem are not attacked. Mexico has to make a policy shift. The proposal is inadequate. We hope the Committee’s review will give rise to changes. Mexico has not managed to respond to this crisis.”

Gutiérrez said the new measures “are necessary but not sufficient. The law must be discussed with organisations and relatives of the disappeared.”

The Mexican state has not yet responded to the questions that the Committee sent it in September, ahead of the February review.


Edited by Estrella Gutiérrez/Translated by Stephanie Wildes




Mexico Supreme Court Rules in Favour of Controversial Aqueduct

Filed under: Displacement, Human rights, Indigenous, water — Tags: , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 11:15 am


Mexico Supreme Court Rules in Favour of Controversial Aqueduct

Yaqui tribe protest | Photo: teleSUR / Clayton Conn

Yaqui tribe protest | Photo: teleSUR / Clayton Conn

The court decision validates Sonora state and the national government to pump water from the Yaqui River.

Mexico’s Supreme Court ruled that the water concession titles that were granted by the federal and Sonora state governments to pump up to 75 million cubic meters of water via the controversial Independent Aqueduct from the state’s coveted Yaqui River for human consumption to the city of Hermosillo were doneso legally.

The decision shoots down two constitutional cases brought by the municipalities of San Ignacio Rio Muerto and Cajeme, which oppose the water pipeline project because of its potential negative effects to their water irrigation systems.

However, the Supreme Court did order that a new environmental impact study of the project be conducted, given that the two municipalities were not given audience to the original study.

Since 2010, the Independence Aqueduct project has sparked opposition and protests primarily by the Yaqui indigenous tribe. In 2014, Yaqui tribe spokesmen Mario Luna and Fernando Jimenez were arrested in what human rights defenders call the Sonora government’s attempt to silence Yaqui protest.

The aqueduct openly violates a 1940 presidential decree by then President Lazaro Cardenas, which guarentees that at least 50 percent of the water from the Yaqui River pertains to the Yaqui Tribe.

The project was initiated violating the indigenous people’s right to free, prior and informed consent. In 2011, the Environment Secretary (SEMARNAT) approved the Environmental Impact Statement and granted permission to begin the project, which also included the use of 50 million cubic meters of water for construction.

Of the 55 Yaqui communities, only 30 percent currently have access to drinking water.

It is also not just the 40,000 Yaqui people who live in the region and depend heavily on the water supply from river, but also up to 1 million people from the nearby city of Obregon, who are mostly small-scale agricultural and livestock producers.

The 172 km long mega-project transports more than 75 million cubic meters of water per year from the Novillo dam, which is fed by the Yaqui river, to supply the growing urban complexes of Hermosillo and to supply the large agroindustry in the region. It was proposed and initiated by the current Sonora governor, Guillermo Padres, of the center-right National Action Party (PAN).




Mexico Supreme Court’s Permission for Sonora River Aqueduct “Validates Illegality”, Violates Indigenous Rights – NGOs

yaqui danza de vebado

Fernando Camacho Servín, Angélica Enciso

La Jornada, Friday 23rd January

The decision by the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation (SCJN) to allow operation of the Independence Aqueduct sets a bad precedent for the rule of law, said Andrea Cerami, human rights coordinator at the Mexican Centre for Environmental Law (CEMDA).

The message it sends to society is that it doesn’t matter if an individual [company] begins a project without consulting the owners of land and other natural resources, or if [the project] lacks an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), she said.

After the Court on Wednesday validated both the operation of the aqueduct and the titles of concession for the flow of the Yaqui River in favour of the Sonora State Water Commission, the CEMDA, which has supported the Yaqui tribe’s struggle over the water, noted that the fundamental problem is that there is no assessment of the environmental and social impact caused by extraction of the water. Cerami considered that “this decision further complicates the legal status of the aqueduct.”

On one side, [Cerami explained,] the Court itself cancelled the authorization of the Environmental Impact Statement and asks to replace the process, but it allows operation of the aqueduct.

Although Cerami explained that the Supreme Court did not give its endorsement to the work, “as the government of Sonora says in a triumphalist manner,” she said that neither did it rule to prevent its operation; therefore, “it is neither serving as a counterweight to the federal government nor is it performing its role as judge. It is restricting itself to a formalistic and legalistic view.”

In addition, she noted, this leaves legal uncertainty for everyone. By neither providing specific information about the quantity of water extracted from the river for transfer to Hermosillo [Sonora state capital] nor what remains for consumption in the Yaqui Valley, it is impossible to know whether the work is sustainable, which can harm the citizens of both regions.

On May 8, 2013, the Court decided the amparo [protection, like an injunction] in review and ordered SEMARNAT [Secretariat of the Environment and Natural Resources] to hold a consultation with the Yaqui tribe, in accordance with international standards for indigenous peoples’ right to consultation, but that process stopped last July.

For his part, Edmundo del Pozo, member of the Fundar Center for Analysis and Research, pointed out that with this decision, the Court “validates an illegality, since it allows the aqueduct to continue operating without an Environmental Impact Statement, with all the serious consequences this has for the rights of the Yaqui people.”

The aqueduct was constructed in violation of the right to free, prior and informed consultation, which has had no legal consequence, and that is “extremely serious”. It is a failure of the country’s highest court, which is charged precisely [with assuring] that such abuses not occur. Del Pozo warned:

“This deepens the systematic violation of the rights of indigenous people. It exacerbates the conflict and ignores the political context that exists in Sonora, where there is great social discontent over megaprojects imposed on citizens.”

Translated by Jane Brundage




Global Systemic Chaos and Transitions Already Underway – the Zapatistas are a Case in Point

Filed under: Zapatista — Tags: , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 10:53 am


Global Systemic Chaos and Transitions Already Underway – the Zapatistas are a Case in Point



Raúl Zibechi*

La Jornada, 23rd January, 2015

Geopolitics helps us understand the world in which we live, especially in turbulent times like these, characterized by global instability with its string of changes and permanent oscillations. But when geopolitics addresses the activity of anti-systemic movements, it has its limits. It gives us a reading of the stage on which they act, which is no small thing, but it cannot be the central inspiration of the liberation struggles.

In my view, Immanuel Wallerstein** is the one who has managed to excel in describing precisely the relationship between chaos in the world-system and the revolutionary transformation of movements. In his latest article, titled “It is Painful to Live Amidst Chaos,” he points out that the world-system is self-destructing, with the coexistence of 10-12 powers capable of acting independently. We are in the middle of a transition from a unipolar to a multipolar world, a process necessarily chaotic.

During periods of instability and crisis, activity by the [social] movements can more effectively influence the world’s redesign. In time, it is a necessarily brief window of opportunity. It is during these storms, rather than in periods of calm, when human activity can alter the course of events. Hence the importance of the current period.

Some of Wallerstein’s works published in the collection El Mundo del Siglo XXI [World of the XXI Century], directed by Pablo González Casanova, address the relationship between systemic chaos and transitions to a new world-system (After Liberalism and Unthinking Social Science, Siglo XXI, 1996 and 1998). In Marx and Underdevelopment, published in English three decades ago, in 1985, Wallerstein warns of the need to rethink our metaphor of transition, since from the nineteenth century we have been embroiled in the debate between evolutionary versus revolutionary pathways for coming to power.

I believe that the most controversial point, but also the most convincing, is Wallerstein’s assertion that we have believed that a transition is “a phenomenon that can be controlled” (Unthinking Social Science, p. 186). If the transition can only occur as a result of a bifurcation in a system in chaos, as the complexity scientists say, then expecting to direct it is both illusion and carries the risk of re-legitimizing the order that is breaking down if it uses state power.

This does not mean that we cannot do anything; quite the contrary. In the article cited, Wallerstein writes: “We must lose our fear of a transition that takes the appearance of collapse, disintegration, which is disordered. In some ways it can be anarchic, but not necessarily disastrous.”

He adds that revolutions can do their best work by promoting the collapse of the system.

This would be an initial way of influencing the transition: by sharpening the collapse, promoting chaos. As the author himself acknowledges, a period of chaos is painful, but it can also be fruitful. Moreover, the transition to a new order is always painful, because we are part of what collapses. Thinking in terms of linear, tranquil transitions is a tribute to the ideology of progress.

Zapatistas’ New World



After 1994 we began to become familiar with a second way of influencing the transition, which allowed us to enrich earlier conclusions. This is about the creation, here and now, of a new world; not as a foreshadowing, but as a concrete reality. I refer to the Zapatista experience. I think that both modes of influence (collapse and creation) are complementary.

The Zapatistas have created a new world in the territories where they are settled. It is not “the” world that we imagine in our old metaphor of transition: a nation-State where a totality is constructed symmetrically to the capitalistic [system] that claims to be its negation. But—if I understood something that its supporters taught us during the escuelita [little school]—this world has all the ingredients of the new world: from schools and clinics to autonomous forms of government and of production.

When systemic chaos deepens, this new world created by the Zapatistas will be a ‘must‘ for those from below. Many do not believe that the systemic chaos can deepen. However, we are facing an outlook of interstate and intrastate wars joined with the “fourth world war” now underway of capital against the peoples. These are some of the chaotic situations that we envision. During the same period, they may coincide with developing climate chaos and “health chaos”, according to the World Health Organization’s forecast of the forthcoming, inevitable expiration of antibiotics.

In history, the great revolutions occurred amid horrific wars and conflicts, as a reaction from below when everything was collapsing. During the Cold War, the hypothesis spread that the contestants would not use nuclear weapons that assured mutual destruction. Today, there are few who would make that bet.

Before us a new metaphor is being born for the possible transition: when the world-system begins to disintegrate generating tsunamis of chaos, the people must defend and rebuild life. By so doing, it is likely that they might adopt the type of constructions created by the Zapatistas. This happened in the long transition from antiquity to feudalism and from feudalism to capitalism. Amid the chaos, people tend to bet on principles of order, as some of today’s indigenous communities are doing.

Some of this is already happening. Some PRI families turn to the  clinics in the caracoles. Others seek in the committees of good government a fair solution to their conflicts. Never have the peoples moved en masse to the systemic alternatives. One day one family does it, then another, and so on. We are moving into a new world, in the midst of pain and destruction.

*Raúl Zibechi, researcher-activist and journalist, was born (1952) in Montevideo, Uruguay. Active in the youth and resistance movement until 1975, he sought exile in Buenos Aires, Argentina; then subsequently spent ten years in Madrid, Spain, associated with the Communist movement doing literacy work with peasants. Working since 1968 as a journalist and researcher-militant, he has toured almost every country in Latin America, with special emphasis on the Andean region. Familiar with many of the movements in the region, Zibechi helps to provide training and outreach for Argentine, Paraguayan, Bolivian, Peruvian and Colombian peasant farmers and indigenous Mapuche communities. Zibechi’s theoretical work is aimed at understanding and defending the organizational processes of these movements.


*Immanuel Wallerstein, American sociologist, historical social scientist, and world-systems analyst, arguably best known for his development of the general approach in sociology which led to the emergence of his World-System Theory. In 1976, Wallerstein became head of the Fernand Braudel Centre for the Study of Economies, Historical Systems and Civilization at Binghamton University, New York. The Centre’s mission is “to engage in the analysis of large-scale social change over long periods of historical time.” Wallerstein served as a distinguished professor of sociology at Binghamton until his retirement in 1999.


Translated by Jane Brundage





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