dorset chiapas solidarity

April 30, 2015

Ayotzinapa and the International Caravans

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


Ayotzinapa and the International Caravans

Luis Hernández Navarro

La Jornada, 28th April, 2015

In an effort to never forget, parents of the 43 missing young people from Ayotzinapa and students from the rural normal school have in recent weeks launched a vigorous and intense international campaign. On March 16 they began a 45-day tour to more than 40 U.S. cities; between April 12 and May 2 they are crossing Canada from west to east, and on April 16 a delegation left for Europe to visit more than 13 countries.

It’s not the first time that parents and teachers college students have left the country to publicize their demand that their children and colleagues be returned alive.

In late January, a delegation went before the UN’s Committee on Enforced Disappearances in Geneva to denounce the absence of justice perpetrated by the State in Iguala and demanded that the military be investigated. On February 18 parents met with members of the EU’s Joint Commission, which is dedicated to analyzing relations with Mexico, asking for support in order to continue with the investigations and that they be opened to hypotheses about what happened that are distinct from the historic truth decreed by the federal government.

One may recall that on January 28, Jesús Murillo Karam, then Mexico’s attorney general, concluded that the 43 missing youths in Igualla were deprived of freedom, murdered and burned and their remains were tossed into a river by members of the organized criminal group Guerreros Unidos [Warriors United]. Murillo described the government’s account of historical truth and tried to sweep the matter under the rug.

Tours in several countries by the parents of the missing 43 and teachers college students make up the last effort in the fight against the official determination and their commitment to its being abolished. By internationalizing the conflict, they have broken the information blockade surrounding their demands for justice within the country and have established alliances with movements, organizations and institutions that are putting pressure on Mexico’s government. Some have made efforts to lobby parliamentarians and government institutions; others, like the current trip to 13 European nations, are explicitly declining to do that.

So far, these actions’ preliminary results have been favorable to the families and painful for Mexico’s government. The presence and testimonies of the families of the 43 in Geneva at the session of the UN’s Committee on Enforced Disappearances were central to the group’s delivering a resounding defeat to President Enrique Peña Nieto’s administration.

Like much that has resulted since Ayotzinapa, the Security Agreement between Germany and Mexico is stalled. Christoph Strässer, the German government’s Commissioner for Human Rights, recommended that the Security Agreement negotiations between Germany and Mexico be suspended until there is a national strategy for the fight against impunity and protection from enforced disappearances.

Strässer apologized to the families of those killed and the enforced disappeared of Ayotzinapa because, during the attacks of September 26-27, 2014, Iguala’s municipal police used weapons of German origin.

On February 28, upon leaving Mexico following an official visit, Commissioner Strässer warned:

“There is a structural absence of the rule of law throughout the country. It begins with poor access to justice and continues with torture in prisons, disappearances and corruption.”

Strässer is not the only representative of a foreign government who has expressed concern about the human rights situation in the country. Mexico—according to Tom Malinowksi, Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor of the United States—is under strong international scrutiny.

The tours by the victims have succeeded in getting various parliaments, government commissions and human rights organizations to pronounce for keeping the case open, conducting a full and transparent investigation, and exploring new areas of investigation. Just on April 20, the group of experts from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (CIDH) in charge of investigating the case demanded continuing the search for the disappeared youth and opening areas of investigation. That means, quite simply, that the experts are suggesting reopening the legal terrain, and that the official version of events isn’t being believed and much less so the “historical truth”.

The caravans have drawn the attention of local media outlets that are continuing to cover the tragedy, a news feat given that it’s been seven months since the events. In the United States, journalists and prestigious publications like Amy Goodman from The New Yorker and The Nation have covered the matter extensively. Universities like Pomona [California], Cornell, York (in Canada), Duke and North Carolina (among others) have organized conferences on the subject.

But beyond this impact on institutions, parents and teachers college students have touched the hearts of hundreds of thousands of people worldwide. As they have passed through various cities, they have been welcomed by the generous solidarity of many organizations, individuals and resistance groups. For them, the true Mexico is the one being described by the families of the disappeared, not the one being propagated by the embassies.

The clumsy offense of Mexico’s undiplomatic diplomacy in trying to stem damage to Enrique Peña Nieto’s image is floundering at the success of the simple, genuine words of Guerrero’s farmers, students and teachers as they travel the world sharing their pain and hope.

Led by the parents of the victims of Ayotzinapa, these international tours have been an effective tool in the struggle against forgetting what really happened and have provided much-need visibility to the critical human rights situation in the country. Also, they have—according to Roberto González Villareal—named a cursed modality of the State’s repressive technology and recently returned enforced disappeared to the political realm with an unexpected centrality.

Translated by Danielle M. Antonetti



7 Months After: investigative journalists talk about the Ayotzinapa Case

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 6:47 pm

7 Months After: investigative journalists talk about the Ayotzinapa Case 


Graphic for Caravana43 in New York City by JR

Seven months after the attack on Ayotzinapa students, I remembered that unspeakable crime by attending a talk at my local branch library (Temescal) in Oakland. For several hours last Saturday, Anabel Hernández and Steve Fisher talked about their work as investigative journalists. Both are postgraduate fellows at the University of California Berkeley’s School of Journalism in the Investigative Reporting Program. [1] They are currently investigating the Ayotzinapa Case and have written several articles for the Mexican weeklyProceso.

Hernández and Fisher have debunked the federal government’s official version of the Ayotzinapa Case piece by piece. For example, the federal government denied that the Federal Police were involved. Hernández and Fisher obtained a key piece of evidence that told a different story: the September 26, 2014 monitoring record from the Center for Control, Command, Communications and Computation (C4), a computer-monitoring center connected to both state and federal police. That C4 monitoring record showed that the students were monitored from the minute they left Ayotzinapa for Iguala and that their location was reported to the Federal Police.

Perhaps the most interesting part of the government’s official version concerned the alleged “motive” for such a heinous crime: José Luis Abarca, Iguala’s mayor at the time in question, supposedly ordered the attack because he was afraid that the students would disrupt his wife’s presentation of her DIF [2] activities. The official version goes on to say: following the mayor’s orders, municipal police from Iguala and from the neighboring municipality of Cocula attacked and captured the students while the United Warriors (Guerreros Unidos) criminal gang murdered and then incinerated them, without the knowledge of the federal agents and soldiers stationed in the zone.

Hernández made a big point of saying that there is no way the mayor of Iguala and his small municipal police force, even with the aid of Cocula’s municipal police and “Guerreros Unidos,” had the ability to pull off an operation like the disappearance of 43 college students and the attack that preceded it. She stressed that the mayor was a “nobody” and Guerreros Unidos were never even heard of before this tragedy. She emphasized that Iguala was a place where large federal institutions dominated: the federal police, the Army and offices of federal agencies like Governance (SG) and the Attorney General (PGR).

It has been reported in the Mexican press that no murder or kidnapping charges have been brought against Abarca because there is no evidence to support either charge. A member of Caravana43 stated the same thing in a talk at Boalt Hall, the UC Berkeley Law School, and Hernández emphasized it. She added that Abarca’s wife, María de los Ángeles Pineda Villa, had finished her presentation and left the area by the time the student’s reached Iguala. The presentation of Abarca’s wife was not the motive for the attack!

As for the “confessions” from alleged members of Guerreros Unidos, Hernández said that photos of their appearances before a judge showed obvious signs of torture. The significance of this is that their confessions were obtained under torture and, therefore, should not be upheld up in court of law.

So what actually did happen? Who ordered and/or planned the attack and the disappearances and why? That is what Hernández and Fisher continue investigating. They want answers. So far, they have obtained information from the reconstruction of the crime, pieced together by the parents’ lawyers with survivors of the attack, as well as from cell-phone videos taken by survivors. They have obtained government documents and interviewed both survivors and detainees. They stated that they are planning to investigate why the EPR (Ejército Popular Revolucionario, EPR) issued a statement shortly after the attack pointing fingers at the Mexican Army as responsible for the murders and enforced disappearances. A baseless accusation or does the EPR know something? The parents certainly seem to believe that the Army was responsible. At the talk I attended in Berkeley a member of Caravana43 specifically said the parents and survivors believe the Army is responsible.

There was a hint in the first Proceso article by Hernández and Fisher that the leftist politics of the school may have been a motive:

“Moreover, according to the information obtained by Proceso at the Ayotzinapa Teachers College, the attack and disappearance of the students was directed specifically at the institution’s ideological structure and government, because of the 43 disappeared one was part of the Committee of Student Struggle, the maximum organ of the school’s government and 10 (others) were “political activists in formation” with the Political and Ideological Orientation Committee (Comité de Orientación Política e Ideológica, COPI).” [3]

And there was also an implication in the Saturday talk that the government suspected a connection between the students and the EPR or the ERPI [4] and that could have been the government’s motive.

The question and answer session was interesting. One of the questions that is always asked at public discussions involving the Drug War in Mexico is whether legalizing drugs here in the United States would solve the problem of violence in Mexico. What seemed to be of greater concern than legalizing drugs, at least from the journalists’ perspective, was ending the military aid that trains soldiers and police how to kill more effectively and provides them with the weapons needed to do so. Hernández believes those weapons and training are not used against drug traffickers or organized crime, but rather against the (innocent) civilian population.

Why has the Ayotzinapa case won so much support in Mexico and the world? Anabel Hernández answered that question by saying that since the beginning of Mexico’s Drug War, the federal government has generally blamed the victims; in other words, when government security forces (Army, Navy or federal police) cause civilian deaths, the federal government alleges that those civilians were working for drug trafficking gangs or had a family member involved in drug trafficking. She went on to say that the government likewise tried accusing the Ayotzinapa students, but it was so ridiculous that it wasn’t believed. Because the government could not connect these students to organized crime, the students represent the hundreds of thousands of innocent victims of the government’s Drug War and all those citizens that live in fear of the next massacre or disappearance. Thus, the parents of the dead and disappeared students and the survivors of the attack speak with an unprecedented moral authority.

The passion with which Anabel Hernández spoke was contagious and many of those asking questions were also passionate. A final thought I came away with was that Mexico’s Drug War affects everyone, regardless of skin color, economic status or social class.

I also came away with a question I have had for several years and one that was asked by another member of Saturday’s audience: Why isn’t there more of an effort in the U.S. to end the Merida Initiative and stop the supply of weapons to Mexico?

Submitted by Mary Ann Tenuto-Sánchez


[1] For more information about Hernández and Fisher and the program see:

[2] DIF – These are initials for the National System for Integral Family Development, a welfare program for families administered through the President, Governor and Mayor’s offices. The wives of the president, governor or mayor are usually the ones responsible for carrying out these responsibilities.


[4] Ejército Revolucionario del Pueblo Insurgente, an armed group in Guerrero



April 29, 2015

Sylvia Marcos: About Juan Vázquez Guzmán of Bachajón and Ayotzinapa

Filed under: Bachajon — Tags: , , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 11:43 am


 Sylvia Marcos: About Juan Vázquez Guzmán of Bachajón and Ayotzinapa 

“Second Annual Commemoration in El Barrio, New York

in Memory of Juan Vázquez Guzmán” 


On 23rd April, 2015, family members of the 43 disappeared Ayotzinapa students visited Movement for Justice in El Barrio in New York.

During this special meeting, they commemorated together the beloved compa Juan Vázquez Guzmán, community leader, spokesperson and activist from the ejido San Sebastián Bachajón.

During this commemoration in New York in honour of Juan Vázquez Guzmán, the feminist writer Sylvia Marcos from Mexico also sent her word by means of the following letter:

Letter/Message from the Mexican feminist writer Sylvia Marcos

Juan Vasquez Guzman was assassinated and Bachajon remains under siege.

Other resistances burst into the calendars and geographies.

The compañeros from San Sebastián Bachajon are attacked defending their territory from the greedy clutches of capital which wants to take over the ownership of the waterfalls of Agua Azul, of this territory owned by indigenous ejidatarios, to transform into pseudo-ecological tourist centres, with luxury hotels. They want to dispossess the ejidatarios and also to exploit their geographical area to extract biofuels.

This is why they killed compañero Juan Vasquez, because he was the great defender of his territory.

They want to invade and transform these lands to extract resources of all kinds and benefit big business and their accomplices in corrupt governments.

The state and federal police continue to illegally occupy the territory.

But … Juan Vasquez lives on in the struggle which goes on and on.

I now greet the compañeros from Ayotzinapa, the parents with absent children, stolen, disappeared, who are joining their struggle with the struggle of Movement for Justice in El Barrio in New York.

The orphans of the tragedy of Ayotzinapa are not alone, in their stubborn pursuit of their beloved lost children in landfill sites in the Mexican State of Guerrero, they meet with other struggles and voices in solidarity which accompany them giving homage to the 43 disappeared.

It is terrible and marvellous that poor people aspiring to be teachers have become the best professors through the power of pain turned into dignified rage.

So that Mexico and the world can wake up and ask and question, and be accompanied.

In this ruthless war of capital against those from below, the following meet in resistance now, here, together making an echo amplifying their own history: the family and absent compañeros of Ayotzinapa, the migrants of Movement for Justice in El Barrio from New York, with the common landholders and villagers of San Sebastián Bachajon who suffered the unpunished assassination of the distinguished defender from that territory, Juan Vasquez.

The resistances and rebellions are joined together, they amplify one another, they intensify each other, they strengthen one another and we unite ourselves in them with the Zapatista heart that is ours.



From England: About Juan Vázquez Guzmán of Bachajón and Ayotzinapa

Filed under: Bachajon, Movement for Justice in el Barrio — Tags: , , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 11:37 am


From England: About Juan Vázquez Guzmán of Bachajón and Ayotzinapa 

“Second Annual Commemoration in El Barrio, New York

In Memory Of Juan Vázquez Guzmán”


On 23rd April, 2015, family members of the 43 disappeared Ayotzinapa students visited Movement for Justice in El Barrio in New York. During this special meeting, they commemorated together the beloved compa Juan Vázquez Guzmán, community leader, spokesperson and activist from the ejido San Sebastián Bachajón.

During this commemoration in New York in honour of Juan Vázquez Guzmán, the Dorset Chiapas Solidarity Group and the Committee of the True Word for South-West England also sent their word by means of the following letter:

To the family and friends of Juan Vázquez Guzmán

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

To the families and friends of the 43 disappeared students of Ayotzinapa

To the members of Movement for Justice in El Barrio

Compañeras and Compañeros

We send you our warmest and most affectionate greetings from the United Kingdom as you gather together in homage to honour our fallen compañero Juan Vázquez Guzmán.

Our thoughts will be with you all this evening, as the memory of Juan brings us all together and helps to unite our different struggles. We will hold alongside you a small act of homage. Your continuing resistances are an inspiration to us, and we know that you will give strength and hope to each other as you bring your memories together and renew your commitment to walking the path towards dignity, freedom and justice, as compañero Juan has taught us.

It is now two years since Juan was cruelly assassinated, but his memory and example remain with us, a light of hope and dignity accompanying our struggles. His words were true and honest, his passion and dedication in defence of human rights and our mother earth were tireless, and his love for his people, their lands and territory will have no end. He gave his life for this struggle and he will always continue to inspire his sisters and brothers as their dignified resistance continues.

To the compañeras and compañeros from the ejido San Sebastián Bachajónwe in our small and humble way offer you our continuing solidarity, and will remain alert as to what happens in your territory. We energetically condemn the repression and harassment you face day after day. The assassination of Juan has not been resolved, you have once again been dispossessed of your recuperated lands, your regional headquarters has been burned down, and your amparo has been denied. We know that all this is the work of the bad government and their lackeys who seek to dispossess you from your heritage. We know also that truth and justice are on your side, along with national and international solidarity, and that the struggle will never end.

To the compañeras and compañeros the families and friends of the disappeared students of Ayotzinapa, we thank you for not giving up your search for the live presentation of your sons and for making Mexico and the world aware of the true situation in your country Mexico. People all over the world are supporting you and we welcome the forthcoming visit of three of your compañeros to London, during their European tour. Tonight we all share and unite in our pain and our rage and our struggles and our memory.

To the compañeras and compañeros of Movement for Justice in El Barrio, we warmly congratulate you on the completion of ten years of dignified struggle against neoliberal displacement in the heart of the neoliberal monster. We thank you also for the wonderful example of fellowship and companionship that has developed between yourselves and the ejidatarios of Bachajon, nourished by the memory of our beloved brother.

They tried to bury Juan Vázquez Guzmán but he was a seed which has sprouted and now grows and flourishes. There will be many Juans, because those who give their lives for the land do not die but live on in every act of freedom and rebellion. Juan Vázquez Guzmán lives, and continues to care for the mother earth, the natural world, and his people, and to give strength and spirit to their resistance. Hasta siempre compañero.

Juan Vázquez Guzmán lives! The San  Sebastián Bachajón struggle continues!

We send you an embrace of companionship

Dorset Chiapas Solidarity Group

Committee of the True Word for South-West England

23rd April, 2015



Commemoration of Juan Vázquez Guzmán (Spanish and Tseltal)



April 27, 2015

“Second Annual Commemoration in El Barrio, New York in Memory of Juan Vázquez Guzmán” Message from Raúl Zibechi

Filed under: Bachajon, Movement for Justice in el Barrio — Tags: , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 6:04 pm

“Second Annual Commemoration in El Barrio, New York

in Memory of Juan Vázquez Guzmán”

Message from Raúl Zibechi


On 23rd April, 2015, family members of the 43 disappeared Ayotzinapa students visited Movement for Justice in El Barrio in New York. During this special meeting, they commemorated together the beloved compa Juan Vázquez Guzmán, community leader, spokesperson and activist from the ejido San Sebastián Bachajón.

During this commemoration in New York in honour of Juan Vázquez Guzmán, the writer Raúl Zibechi from Uruguay also sent his word by means of the following letter:

To: Movement for Justice in El Barrio.

On the second anniversary of the assassination of Juan Vázquez Guzmán

Compañeros, Compañeras:

It has been a year full of resistances, of struggles, of the dignity of those from below.

It has been a year of repression and death, destruction and forced disappearances. Those from above, fearful of losing their power, want to destroy us.

It has been one of the most difficult years in the recent history of Mexico. So hard that it recalls 1968, when the Tlatelolco massacre took hundreds of students from us.

It has been the year in which they could no longer hide the war of extermination against the peoples.

Two years since the assassination of Juan Vázquez Guzmán. They want to take away the land from the community of San Sebastián Bachajón to build tourist complexes, roads, airports … to continue accumulating riches and to continue plunging the peoples into more abject poverty.

2014 has been the year of the disappearance of the 43 from Ayotzinapa, in order to destroy the normal schools, in order to disappear the teachers committed to their peoples -teachers who accompany the struggles from below, who work together to reclaim memory – and, above all, in order to prevent the teachers and peoples, together, from building a new world.

But it has also been the year of resistance with dignity, of dignified rebel rage.

In this year the common landholders of San Sebastián Bachajón not only kept up their resistance but also recuperated their lands, the lands that had been stolen from them, they defended them against the bad government and will continue to do so. By acting in this way, determined and peaceful, they became an example of dignity to other community members who decided to join the struggle.

The families and friends of the 43 of Ayotzinapa, in this very difficult year, gave demonstrations of dignity to Mexico, Latin America and the world. They turned their pain into political action by winning the streets to share their rage, which has become a collective rage, the rage of everyone. In doing so they showed us a path, the only path able to overcome fear: to move collectively, to turn ourselves into communities in movement.

In streets and fields, in cities and ejidos, we are sisters and brothers struggling, resisting, making ourselves one with others who resist. First pain brought us together. Now rage continues to unite us in fellowship. Walking in dignity, we meet each other.

Today we walk, holding hands, the common landholders of San Sebastián Bachajón, the families and and friends of the 43 of Ayotzinapa and Movement for Justice in El Barrio. We come from distant geographies, from different places, but we share the same pain and now also we walk the same steps though our rhythms are different. Walking together, we leave footprints that draw a new map, a new geography: one of the dignity that unites us, of the rage that drives us.

We are all Aytozinapa!!!

We are all San Sebastián Bachajón!!!

Raúl Zibechi

Montevideo, April 21, 2015



April 26, 2015

2 years after his assassination Juan Vázquez Lives!

Filed under: Bachajon — Tags: , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 3:49 pm


2 years after his assassination Juan Vázquez Lives!


In San Sebastián Bachajón yesterday 24th April was a day of homage to Juan Vázquez Guzmán, who was an authority of the Ejido who fought with all his good heart to defend their lands against the ferocious appetite of the bad government and of the transnationals in Mexico and the world.

Although his struggle was always peaceful, on 24th April 2013, at 9.00 pm, a group of men entered his house and, after a few minutes of discussion, gun shots were heard, and a truck leaving the ejido. Shortly afterwards his brother saw Juan lying on the ground in front of the door of his house, with several bullet wounds.

The family are still demanding justice, and 2 years later the crime remains unpunished, there have been no investigations and no one has been arrested.


On this day, family, neighbours and nationals and internationals in solidarity gathered in the humble home of Juan Vázquez to recall his memory and continue to demand justice and his firm intention to continue fighting to defend their lands. During the religious ceremony it was open to anyone who wanted to speak in Tzeltal or Castilian. Representatives of the Free Media spoke to give their support. Several statements of support were then read from various regions of Chiapas and the world. The compañera read with much emotion. The ceremony ended with a plate of food shared by everyone present.



In Ejido San Sebastián Bachajón,

April 24, 2015

By this means we allow ourselves to send you cordial greetings (…)

From the family of the late Juan Vázquez Guzmán

“Today 24th April, 2015, the commemoration is being held of Juan Vázquez Guzmán, human rights defender. His two sons, one of eight and one of six years old, are now living with his grandparents.

This compañero was killed in front of his home on 24th April, 2013, by a group of assassins from the bad government.

Also we honour his memory and remember his dignified struggle for his people.

From the northern state of Chiapas, the women and men of San Sebastián Bachajón send militant greetings.

Never again a Mexico without us.

Tierra y Libertad!

Juan Vásquez Guzmán lives, the Bachajón struggle continues!

Justice for Ayotzinapa,

Hasta la victoria siempre…”

Link to video:

Video: @MovimientoJusticia  Transcripcion video: @Pozol  Fotos: @Valk




Civil society Las Abejas denounces human rights violations in the country and shows solidarity with various processes

Filed under: Acteal, Human rights, Indigenous — Tags: — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 2:48 pm


 Civil society Las Abejas denounces human rights violations in the country and shows solidarity with various processes

Acteal (@Civil Society Las Abejas)

Acteal (@Civil Society Las Abejas)

On April 22, as part of the monthly commemoration of the masacre of December 1997 in the municipality of Chenalho, members of Civil Society Las Abejas de Acteal held an event in the same community and through a communique, denounced “the policies of the ´bad´ state and federal government against organized peoples who fight, resist, and build their autonomy” in Chiapas and Mexico.

In the same letter, they sympathized with the families of the 43 missing students from Ayotzinapa, acknowledging their current tour in Europe; with the Believing People of Simojovel,“because the fight of said community against alcohol, drugs, and violence, is fair and necessary”; and with the forcibly displaced families of Primero de Agosto (municipality of Las Margaritas, Chiapas) who demand justice and the return to their poblado (community). They warned that “we can continue with more examples of the things we know why they happen, because Mexico is kidnapped and ruled by narco-politicians.”

Despite the panorama, they rescued that,“Although the ´bad´governments have wanted to bury the truth and have tried to divide our organization, but with our memory, conviction, and hope, they have failed.” Likewise, they invited “the men and women of good hearts who also fight like us, to stay awake and organized, to defend life, to defend Mother Earth from the clutches of the ´bad´ governments and monster murderer-capitalist neoliberal system.”



Rise in threats against the priest and members of the Believing People in Simojovel

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 2:42 pm


Rise in threats against the priest and members of the Believing People in Simojovel


Pilgrimage of the Believing People of Simojovel to Tuxtla Gutiérrez (@SIPAZ)

Pilgrimage of the Believing People of Simojovel to Tuxtla Gutiérrez (@SIPAZ)

In a communique released on April 13 by the Believing People [Pueblo Creyente] of Simojovel, the movement’s members denounce an increase in the threats, persecutions, and harassment against their priest, Marcelo Pérez, as well as against members of the Parish Council and the Believing People from this municipality.  These acts were exacerbated by a mass-march held from March 23 to 26, which ended with the participation of thousands in Tuxtla Gutiérrez, the state-capital of Chiapas.  Providing a larger historical account, the Believing People reviewed the latest incidents, including the fact that a million-peso bounty has been placed on Marcelo, in addition to the presence of armed groups near the location where the Parish Council carries out its activities, the threat to“do as in Acteal,” as well as the arbitrary arrest of the catechist who read the press-release before the start of the pilgrimage.

Despite all of this, the Believing People reiterated that they will “continue to fight peacefully for the dignified life of the people, amidst so many injustices, the corruption of the authorities, drug-trafficking, drug-politicians who ambitiously seek to obtain government posts this year–amidst the arms trade, the opening of new bars, and the general decomposition of the social fabric.”


Communique from forcibly displaced families from Primero de Agosto denouncing threats

Filed under: Displacement — Tags: — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 2:35 pm


Communique from forcibly displaced families of Primero de Agosto denouncing threats


In a communique published on April 17, 2015, the forcibly displaced people of the community Primero de Agosto, released the latest harassments they´ve suffered on lands they currently occupy, next to the diversion of the road to Las Margaritas – New Momón towards Monte Cristo Viejo.

In the public denouncement, they shared that from April 9-15, members of the ejido Miguel Hidalgo have fired three shots at 500 yards from where they are currently forcibly displaced, received verbal (shouts) threats, and entered and burgled the house of one of the displaced persons.

It should be recalled that that those who are accused of the recent harassments belong to the Historic Independent Central of Agricultural Workers and Campesinos (CIOAC-H) and are also responsible for, both, the forced displacement of 57 people of the territory “El Roble” on February 23, 2015 and of the previous acts of threats, assaults, and aggressions.

In voice of the displaced women, the statement includes a description of the physical and psychological health of the displaced persons:“… we are becoming ill due to the new threats of attacks and aggressions. Where are we now there is much insecurity, we are restless, uneasy and we cannot sleep due to the fear that the authorities of Miguel Hidalgo might harm us again and because they´ve told us they will kidnap our compañeros. Our children are ill with cough, fever, stomach aches, headaches, typhoid, and they always ask us when we will return to our homes.” They also demand that the government fulfills the agreements made on February 25 – in which it was agreed to distribute the 74 hectares of the Poblado Primero de Agosto equally between the two groups – the administration of justice, the return to Primero de Agosto, the punishment to the perpetrators and masterminds of the attacks, and comprehensive compensation for the damages incurred. Lastly, they hold the three levels of government responsible for whatever could happen to the forcibly displaced Tojolabal families, in case the conflict is not resolved.



Brigade for Ayotzinapa travels to Europe

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 2:28 pm


Brigade for Ayotzinapa travels to Europe




After holding a meeting with Stravos Lambardini, representative for human rights from the European Union, the father of a normalist student, an Ayotzinapa student, and a member of the Tlachinollan Mountain Centre for Human Rights departed on 15 April to Europe.  Between that time and 19 May, the brigade plans to visit 18 cities in 13 countries to inform the European community about the continuing struggles of the parents for the presentation with life of the 43 disappeared students.  Meetings will be held with student communities, collectives, social organizations, and unionists, while there will also be held marches and rallies in front of Mexican embassies and consulates.  Talks will also be given at universities.

In a communique, Tlachinollan explains that “included within the objectives of the European brigade is support for the demands of the parents that investigative liens be opened regarding the responsibility of the Mexican Army and the federal police in the forcible disappearance of the 43 students from the Rural Normal School of Ayotzinapa, as well as to stress the international responsibility of the European governments for the grave human-rights violations committed against the students, for they have signed bilateral security and trade agreements with Mexico.  This has meant the sale of arms and training of the Mexican police and military, despite the fact that human rights are so violated in Mexico.”

“We seek real guarantees of non-repetition.  These we must construct among ourselves, with the peoples and communities, together with social organizations and collectives.  We cannot ask for these guarantees from the very same governmental institutions that contribute to human-rights violations,” says Omar García, a member of the Ayotzinapa Student Committee and a survivor of the 26 September attack.  He indicated as well that the tour seeks to bring the movement to the global sphere: “on this occasion, our counterparts in Europe are social and human-rights organizations, collectives, autonomous media (or however they are called), and organized civil society.  We come to express our gratitude for all the support, and to insist that it is necessary for us from below to continue to organize ourselves toward the transformation of this entire system of power and corruption that is based on looting, racism, exploitation, and repression against our peoples.  We must do this together, from our countries of origin, coordinated and organized.  This way, while the powerful have globalized plundering, we have the sacred right of globalizing resistance, dignified rage, and joyful rebelliousness.”



April 25, 2015

Zapatista Women Explain Things

Filed under: Women, Zapatistas — Tags: , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 2:03 pm


Zapatista Women Explain Things


Review:Compañeras: Zapatista Women’s Storiesby Hilary Klein (Seven Stories, 2015)

You think you have read everything you need about the Zapatistas, and then something else comes along that is wholly indispensable to fully understanding the Chiapas rebellion. Hilary Klein’s new book Compañeras is the product of the author’s years of work on the ground in Mexico involving the participation of dozens of Zapatista women and is a much needed study focusing on the rebellion from a women’s perspective. It is impeccably researched, narrated in a direct and unpretentious manner, and tells a marvellous story. Compañeras, which presents for the first time in the English language in such a comprehensive manner the voice of grassroots Zapatista women speaking out directly, is unique as a document of women in struggle with a scope reaching far beyond Chiapas.

The genesis of the work began when Klein — a US-born social organizer based in Chiapas for a number of years around the turn of the century — was asked by the Zapatista women with whom she was working to compile a series of women’s testimonies to be circulated within their own rebel villages. Building on this popular project, the Zapatista leadership then suggested that Klein compile a similar book for people beyond Chiapas. The project gathered momentum and after a few years Klein had gathered the testimonies and interviewed dozens of Zapatista women of all ages from around the rebel area. For most of the interviewees, it was their first experience talking ‘on the record’ and thus we are given the privilege of hearing the voices of those rarely heard, but quintessential to the whole narrative.

We learn from these first-hand accounts of just how appalling was the experience of an indigenous woman in the isolated rural backlands of the southeast of Mexico before the 1994 uprising. The women explain the circumstances that led them to joining the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN). Not only were they poor and indigenous, but the women were also positioned at the lowest tier of this marginalized society. A Zapatista called Celina explains:

“I used to think that only men have rights. I just did my work and was completely manipulated. I didn’t know anything. I was always at home and I thought the only thing women were good for was working in the house. When the organization [the EZLN] arrived, we began to wake up. I began to realize that life doesn’t have to be how I was living it. We heard that women can participate too.”

Considering the almost insurmountable challenges facing these women — existing under the triple oppression of class, race and gender — this could so easily have ended up an intersectional tale of caution. But instead it is an inspiring story of hope, accompanied by profound victories along the way.

The Before and After January 1, 1994

Klein focuses in on the period around the time of the uprising, which kicked off spectacularly on New Year’s Day 1994, as “a watershed moment” when “a tremendous amount of change was compressed into a very short period.” With women’s participation in the uprising — a reputed 40 percent of the front-line rebel forces were female — as well as a backbone of tens of thousands of women in the communities, the cause of women advanced exponentially in just a few years before and after the rebellion. Zapatista women explain how it seemed that several generations of change seemed to take place in a condensed time of revolutionary upheaval. From this period the “The Women’s Revolutionary Law” emerged, a document that captured Zapatista women’s demands. Isabel, an insurgent, explains the process that occurred among the indigenous women in opening up this space in their own society. It is worth quoting at length, as her words perfectly capture the dynamic agency of the women themselves in this accelerated process of change:

“We gave women a space to talk, to express their feelings, and how they wanted to change all this: life in the family, with their husbands, with their children. That was where the ideas came from: if things are this bad, we asked ourselves, why not change it? Change men’s ideas as well and find a way, as an organization to turn these ideas into a law. And that is how the Women’s Revolutionary Law was born: talking, venting, analysing. It is not something from outside — it came from our own ideas, our experiences in our families, and communities, with our parents, our husbands, our children.”

The book follows the development of the women’s struggle within and as part of the Zapatista trajectory over the ensuing 20 years. The women tell of the exciting years in which zapatismo flourished (developing regional autonomy, providing a wake-up call for Mexico, inspiring activists globally), as well as reflections on the lean years (the dejection arising from futile peace talks with the government, the failure of the nationwide Zapatista Other Campaign to ignite Mexico from below). Compañeras provides an exceptional array of unique material as well as behind-the-scenes insights, like when Susana recalls how Comandanta Ramona — the most well-known female Zapatista up to her death in 2006, lamented how “it made her sad to see people selling her photograph because, she said, ‘I’m not fighting so they can sell my photo.’”

A theme emerges of women fiercely proud of their organization, the EZLN, but also aware that while “the Zapatista movement has done much to promote women’s rights — as Klein points out — changes do not always come easily, inside or outside the organization.”

Zapatista women are very careful about sharing their concerns they may have with outsiders, explains Klein, “understandably, they feel protective of their organization.” Nevertheless, Compañeras has space for protagonists to express their criticism of the movement. In a key section, one (ex-) compañera criticizes the attitude of men she encountered within the EZLN.

“Most men are not willing to see a woman surpass him. He is afraid of a woman giving him orders, afraid of a woman who is smarter than him. And even at the highest levels, they’re not willing to …”. Such sentiments seems to permeate the experience of Zapatista women as their deep loyalty to the EZLN, explains Klein, “brushes up against their frustration with a commitment to equality that has yet to be fulfilled and a vision of liberation that has has yet to be realized.”

Balanced with such misgivings, other compañeras talk of remarkable transformations. A group of Zapatista women give voice collectively during a regional women’s gathering in the rebel zone in 2001: “Thanks to the organization, we have opened our eyes and opened our heart. […] Thanks to the organization, we have found compañerismo and unity. We have also found respect between men and women. Our struggle is our liberation, because it gave us courage to participate and defend our rights […] Today there is hope and freedom in our lives.”

What Is Left Unsaid

We owe Hilary Klein our gratitude for the service of bringing the word of the compañeras to an English-speaking audience. Her selfless endeavour, the years traversing the arduous territory of Chiapas, interviewing, transcribing, translating and writing drafts — ten years labour of love — have allowed the flower of the word to be shared with us. Here is something that is not apparent in Compañeras but can be detected between the lines: the fun that accompanies Hilary Klein as she is embraced into the everyday life of the indigenous communities. A work, then, informed by joy and laughter amongst the compañeras.


April 24, 2015

Message from the family of Juan Vázquez Guzmán

Filed under: Bachajon — Tags: , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 7:05 pm


Message from the family of Juan Vázquez Guzmán



Friday 24th April, 2015 marks the second anniversary of the brutal assassination of Juan Vázquez Guzmán of San Sebastián Bachajón.

On 23rd April, 2015, members of the families of the 43 disappeared students from Ayotzinapa visited Movement for Justice in El Barrio in New York. During this special gathering, they commemorated together the dear compa Juan Vázquez Guzmán, community leader, spokesperson and activist of the ejido San Sebastián Bachajón.

For this commemoration, Juan Vázquez Guzmán’s family sent the following videomessage.

Narrated by Juan’s brother Julian, the videomessage tells how Juan was shot by thugs of the bad government outside his house, and leaves two sons, aged 6 and 8, who are being brought up by their grandparents.



Legal motion denied to the ejidatarios of San Sebastián Bachajón

Filed under: Bachajon — Tags: , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 3:49 pm


Legal motion denied to the ejidatarios of San Sebastián Bachajón


Juan Vázquez Guzmán, asesinado el 24 de abril de 2013



Ejidatarios from San Sebastián Bachajón, who struggle against the imposition of tourist megaprojects on their land, have been denied the legal motion they had presented to the courts in March 2011.  After three cancellations, an attempt to transfer the case to the Supreme Court for Justice in the Nation, and despite the the detection of violations of due process, a federal tribunal denied the motion 274/2011.  In a communique released on 10 April, the anniversary of the murder of Emiliano Zapata, the ejidatarios reported their knowledge of the refusal of the motion, reaffirmed their commitment to the struggle against the State, and denounced that official authorities are meeting with party-members from the region, seeking to develop strategies to crush their own autonomous process.

This struggle over the management of lands surrounding the Agua Azul waterfalls has resulted in three violent displacement operations, two murdered communal leaders (Juan Vázquez Guzmán, killed on 24 April 2013, and Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano, killed on 21 March 2014), and several political prisoners.  Recently, the ejidatarios also had their regional headquarters burned down, in an operation that involved 600 police, who threatened two autonomous journalists and took their equipment.

In the latest communique, released on 11 April, the ejidatarios make an invitation to the commemoration of the murder of Juan Vázquez Guzmán.  On 24 April, the second anniversary of his, a mass will be held in the family home of Juan Vázquez Guzmán at 3pm.

As a means of popular pressure, a petition has been launched on, and the Chiapas Centre for Women’s Rights seeks signatures for its communique in support of the ejidatarios.



San Sebastián Bachajón: 2 years since the assassination of Juan Vázquez Guzmán

Filed under: Bachajon — Tags: , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 1:20 pm


San Sebastián Bachajón: 2 years since the assassination of Juan Vázquez Guzmán


A commemoration will take place today in Juan’s family home at 3 pm. A mass will be celebrated.

He was shot dead in the doorway of his home 2 years ago today. The crime remains unpunished.


In this, the last interview he gave, the spokesperson and community leader says “I may die, but the land remains forever.”



Older Posts »

Blog at