dorset chiapas solidarity

August 30, 2016

Denunciation of Roberto Paciencia Cruz, Unjustly Imprisoned Adherent of the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandona Jungle

Filed under: Indigenous, La Sexta, Uncategorized — Tags: — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 11:45 am



Denunciation of Roberto Paciencia Cruz, Unjustly Imprisoned Adherent of the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandona Jungle



To public opinion

To the state, national and international media

To the alternative media

To the sixth

To civil society

To the brothers and sisters of the Pueblo Creyente

To the diocese of San Cristóbal de las Casas

To the independent organizations

To the nongovernmental defenders of human rights

To the national indigenous congress (CNI) and the EZLN

Unjustly imprisoned, Roberto Paciencia Cruz, adherent to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandona Jungle of the EZLN, incarcerated in the CERESO No. 5 in San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas. The unjust humiliation and psychological torture we all suffer in the different penitentiaries of the state and country is what we are daily confronting. For example, Saturday August 27, I was denied my visitors, who wanted to see me and spend some time with me. The warden Abelardo Méndez Gonzéles and the guard Isidro Manuel Vázquez Hernádez completely denied my visitors. These employees along with the director Victor Manuel Vázquez Hernández did not take into account the effort made by my visitors. As poor indigenous people this humiliates us. Because of this I am making this public denunciation, demanding the government Manuel Velazco Coello to take action against the officials who have mishandled their professional positions. At the same time, I demand that the state government to give me my freedom as soon as possible, and also the freedom of my compañero Alejandro Díaz Sántiz.

Finally, I invite all the global organizations to continue reclaiming the liberty of all of the political and unjustly imprisoned prisoners of the country.

Justice and liberty!


Roberto Paciencia Cruz

Penal No. 5 San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas

August 28, 2016


Translated by Palabras Rebeldes

Posted by Dorset Chiapas Solidarity



August 29, 2016

Demands Continue for Maximiliano Gordillo Martinez, Forcibly Disappeared in May, to be Presented Alive

Filed under: Frayba, Human rights, Migrants — Tags: , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 9:44 am



Demands Continue for Maximiliano Gordillo Martinez, Forcibly Disappeared in May, to be Presented Alive


maxPress conference to demand that Maximiliano Gordillo Martínez be presented alive (Photo @AFPTV)


Maximiliano Martinez Gordillo, 18, who left his home in the municipality of Socoltenango for Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo in search of work, was forcibly disappeared “at the hands of immigration agents” last May. Since then, the Fray Bartolome de Las Casas Centre for Human Rights (CDHFBC), along with Mesoamerican Voices (Voices), Home 72 – Refuge for Migrants (La 72), and the disappeared boy’s parents have been seeking his whereabouts. On August 21, Maximilian turned 19 and he is still missing. As part of the efforts being made to demand Maximilian be presented alive, parents, CDHFBC, Voices and the 72 have joined forces to hold several press conferences in Chiapas, Tabasco and recently in Mexico City, where they claimed that on May 7 last, the National Migration Institute (INM) “in conjunction with Tabasco State Police took Maximilian from the bus he was migrating on to another state of the republic in search of work, he was arrested, intimidated and disappeared.”

The arrests of migrants from Central America, Mexico and people on their way to the United States of America, is nothing new. The CDHFBC, Voices and 72 reported in a press conference in Mexico City that, “according to official figures, from October 2014 to April 2015, the US stopped 70,440 people, while 92,889 migrants were deported in the same period by the Mexican State. Meanwhile, in 2015, Mexico deported approximately 150,000 migrants from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras primarily, representing an increase of 44% over the previous year, making it the biggest “deporter” of people at global level.” They also say that this hardening “is added to the crime of organized groups that steal from, extort, commit sexual crimes against and kidnap migrants. There have also been documented cases of trafficking for sex work and cases of young people who are forced to work for organized crime itself. These criminal groups operate in the territories under constant and staunch presence of the immigration authorities and public security bodies; from this the participation and responsibility of the authorities of the Mexican state is inferred, although they deny it, there is an abundance of testimonies from residents and victims, who constantly point out both direct participation of public officials across all hierarchical levels in these crimes, as well as complicity, tolerance and ineffectiveness in prosecuting those responsible.”

Given this panorama, human rights organizations, together with the family, made an urgent call for national and international solidarity to demand the immediate presentation with life of Maximilian, and “a comprehensive investigation into those responsible.” Among other actions, they invited people to sign and share the urgent action on the Avaaz website, and to widely share the story of Maximilian.


Posted by Dorset Chiapas Solidarity29/08/2016



August 28, 2016

Femicides, part of the Fourth World War

Filed under: Women — Tags: , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 3:31 pm



Femicides, part of the Fourth World War




By: Raúl Zibechi

On 14th August drew attention to the 31 femicides registered in Querétaro since January 2015, with a short and frightening story.

“Games, dreams, school, friends, family, birthdays, trips, security, freedom, dignity and life are all no longer rights because they have been converted, shamefully, intolerably and lamentably into benefits that are acquired when you ‘moderate’ your manner of speaking, when you ‘are careful’ about how you look, the hours you go out, the places that you frequent, when you stop trusting people and when your life stops being your life.”

The article emphasizes that: “femicides are clearly State violence;” it denounces “the impunity that covers them and favours the repetition of harm,” and it emphasizes that the majority of the victims are usually indigenous and poor women.

The information refers directly to Silvia Federici’s book, Calibán y la bruja: mujeres, cuerpo y acumulación originaria (Traficantes de Sueños, 2010); [1] a work of lasting influence, which contributes to illuminating reality, permitting a better understanding of a social conflict. It analyses the witch-hunts in medieval society, and at the same time contributes to the understanding of what was happening in this period of history.

Federici maintains that feudalism was eroded due to the power and autonomy obtained by the popular classes, and that the response of the dominant classes was a violent offensive that laid the foundations of capitalism. Slavery and colonialism, the subjection of workers in production and the confinement of women in reproduction, the creation of hierarchies of race, gender and age, all formed part of this new domination.

Capitalism not only arrived “dripping blood and dirt from head to foot” (Marx), but also creating “an immense concentration camp,” where slavery on the plantations and the mita [2] in the mines boosted capital accumulation (Federici, p. 91). The power of women was destroyed through the witch-hunts, and the men (and the women and children) were subjected to waged slavery and servitude, in order to appropriate the commons.

Today we cross through the crisis of capitalism and the dominant class again uses violence to perpetuate itself. At the core of this crisis is the power acquired by the popular sectors organized into movements, particularly since the 1960s, when factory workers dismantled the employers’ power by overthrowing the ‘Fordist’ [3] discipline.

The capital offensive underway seeks to destroy that capacity for organization and struggle of those from below. But the popular world is now very different from before, particularly because of the crisis of the old patriarchy. Anyone who knows the antisystemic movements knows that women play a central role, even when they aren’t as visible as the men. They are the mortar of collective life; they are in charge of the reproduction of life and of the movements. Besides cooking, weaving and caring for the animals in their homes, they join together with other women to do the same, but collectively. They are the guardians of the commons, material and immaterial.

They, and their children, are the sustainers of the popular world, of extended families and organizations, from urban to campesino and indigenous communities, from Chiapas and Cherán to Wall Mapu (Mapuche Territory) and the Andes. It’s no accident that we are facing a new witch-hunt when reproduction occupies such an important place in the resistance and in the power of women within their communities.

Women, and their children, have broken the patriarchal nuclear family, the power of the Church and the priest, the disciplinary role of the school, the barracks, the hospital and the workshop. They have created a world where collective relations take precedence over family ones and the cooperation between them makes “the sexual division of labour” into “a source of power and protection for women,” as Federici writes about medieval society (p. 41). Paying attention to what happens in a tianguis (outdoor market), an outdoor cafe or a popular barrio makes further comment unnecessary.

The violence to annihilate the popular sectors, through the narco, femicide and the wars against the peoples, has been designed by the ruling classes to destroy our powers; not only explicitly. Federici reminds us that the workers of the 15th Century practiced multiple resistances: they stopped working when they had enough, they only accepted tasks for a limited time, and dressed ostentatiously, in such a way that they were “indistinguishable from the lords” (p. 78).

The new witch-hunt, now without trials or formalities, but rather with a clean bullet, is part of capital’s Fourth World War to eliminate us as peoples. To succeed in the class war, the bourgeoisie must raze the autonomy of the peoples, communities and individuals; violence and social policies are, in that sense, complementary. The attack on women and their children is one of the crucial points of this war.

As at the dawn of the system, in its decline violence again becomes the principal agent of capital accumulation. Far from any illusion, we must comprehend that violence is neither an error nor a momentary deviation, but rather a systemic characteristic of capitalism in decline, particularly in the zones where the dignity of human beings is not recognized.

For that reason, she says it is urgent to clarify strategies to address the systemic violence and the annihilation of the will of the peoples. If femicide and the indiscriminate murder of young people and women are systemic, what sense does it make to elect governments from different parties who are going to keep the current system going?


[1] Calibán and the Witch: Women, the Body and Primitive Accumulation [Dream Traffickers, 2010]

[2] According to Wikipedia, mit’a, a Quechua word, meant collective free labour on public works required by the Inca Empire. After the Spanish invaded, the word became mita and the practice became an oppressive system. With respect to the mines, workers were paid very low wages, with which they had to buy their food (from company stores) and pay taxes. They earned so little that they were often unable to pay their debts and were, therefore, not permitted to leave the mines and go home.

[3] Fordism is a manufacturing philosophy that aims to achieve higher productivity by standardizing the output, using conveyor assembly lines, and breaking the work into small deskilled tasks.


Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Friday, August 19, 2016

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee

Posted with minor edits by Dorset Chiapas Solidarity 28/08/2016



Fray Bartolome de Las Casas Human Rights Centre Asks for Precautionary Measures for Woman Prisoner Who Was Tortured

Filed under: Frayba, Human rights, Indigenous, sipaz — Tags: , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 2:15 pm



Fray Bartolome de Las Casas Human Rights Centre Asks for Precautionary Measures for Woman Prisoner Who Was Tortured


patriciaPatricia del Carmen Paniagua Gomez (@PGJE)

In a bulletin on August 16, 2016, the Fray Bartolome de las Casas Human Rights Centre (CDHFBC) reported that it had requested precautionary measures from the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights (CIDH) for Patricia del Carmen Paniagua Gomez, a woman prisoner since April 2014, whose life is in danger after the torture she was subjected to when arrested.

Within three months of entering prison she was diagnosed with diabetes mellitus, a chronic degenerative disease. The CDHFBC said that given the inadequate and insufficient medical care by the prison authorities, “there is no metabolic control and a persistence of psychiatric symptoms that adversely affect” her general state of health which represents an imminent threat to Patricia’s life and physical and psychological integrity, “because she can fall into a diabetic coma and / or die at any time.”

In the background to the case, the CDHFBC mentioned that, in April 2014, Margarito Benjamin Zolano Gonzalez was arrested in the municipal capital of Teopisca along with Patricia del Carmen Paniagua Gomez and Maria del Rosario Zolano Gonzalez without an arrest warrant. The three people were tortured and accused of the death of Manuel Velazquez Hernandez, leader of the National Organization of People’s Power (ONPP), whose body was found in Teopisca municipal dump in February 2014.


Note: Since this was written, Patricia has been transferred to the prison of El Amate, far from her family. Previously she was imprisoned with her mother and her aunt who were able to give her some help with her psychological needs and her daily insulin treatment.

Posted by Dorset Chiapas Solidarity on 28/08/2016



August 26, 2016

Insumisión: Schools Remain Closed as the State Amasses Forces of Repression

Filed under: Repression — Tags: , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 9:48 am



Insumisión: Schools Remain Closed as the State Amasses Forces of Repression

Originally posted on It’s Going Down
By Scott Campbell

As the strike against educational reform by teachers belonging to the National Coordinator of Education Workers (CNTE) in Mexico enters its fourth month, the conflict between the people and the neoliberal narcostate seems poised to take another turn, a potentially violent one. The government is running out of tricks, leaving the likelihood it will return to its old standby, state violence, all the more likely.

When the strike first began on May 15, the government’s tactic was to ignore the teachers, refusing to talk to them. As that failed and support for the teachers grew, it tried brute force, leading to the Nochixtlán massacre on June 19, a day when twelve were killed. That repression caused national outrage and succeeded in turning a teachers’ movement into a popular one. The government then offered up negotiations as a fig leaf, yet meeting after meeting made clear that the state had no actual interest in negotiating anything. The school year started in Mexico on Monday, August 22, but teachers remain on strike and schools have not opened in Oaxaca, Chiapas, Guerrero, Michoacán and parts of Mexico City.


oaxaca-march-school-yearMarch in Oaxaca on August 22.


Frustrated in their attempts to crush or wear down the teachers, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto announced on upon the start of classes that, “There will be no more dialogue; education first.” A day later on August 23, Public Education Minister Aurelio Nuño stated, “With complete clarity we say, there is no possibility of returning to any negotiations until all children are where they should be, in a classroom. And precisely because the future of Mexico is non-negotiable, the Educational Reform will continue.” The Defence Minister got into the act, claiming the armed forces support the reform and that soldiers want “to serve as an example for others.” Not coincidentally, that same day three airplanes full of federal police arrived in Oaxaca to join the thousands of state forces already stationed there, an indication that Peña Nieto may make good on his statement that “the government has no qualms about applying the use of force” as a means to resolve the teachers’ strike. At least 1,500 more federal police were in Oaxaca by Wednesday, August 24 and helicopter flyovers of the city had resumed for the first time since the Nochixtlán massacre.

In recent weeks, mass mobilizations and movement organizing efforts have continued. August 8, Emiliano Zapata’s birthday, saw upwards of 100,000 teachers and farmers march together in Mexico City. A day later, farmers, teachers and civil society groups took over a toll plaza on the Nayarit-Sinaloa highway, allowing cars to pass for free and asking that instead of paying the toll drivers donate to the struggle. Teachers, civil society groups and prominent academics gathered in Mexico City on August 10 for a twelve-hour national forum to discuss what a democratic and holistic education project would look like. A second forum will happen in September. During this time, for five days in a row teachers in Chiapas blockaded and shut down businesses belonging to transnational corporations and companies who are part of the neoliberal business association Mexicanos Primeros. Another business group, COPARMEX, recently lamented that the teachers’ strike has caused more economic damage than the armed Zapatista uprising in 1994. On August 12, Secretary General Rubén Núñez and Organization Secretary Francisco Villalobos of CNTE Section 22 in Oaxaca were released from prison. And the Guatemalan teachers’ union also expressed their support, shutting down an international crossing with Mexico for the second time on August 13.


nayarit-sinaloa-toll-booth-takeoverToll plaza takeover on Nayarit-Sinaloa highway.


Following the last round of fruitless talks with the government on August 16, the CNTE agreed on August 18 to not return to classes. They were backed up in Chiapas by parents assemblies that vowed to shut down any school that attempted to open on August 22. Instead, the school year was kicked off in the rebellious south with tens of thousands marching in Chiapas and Oaxaca and the installation of 25 highway blockades for 48 hours in Oaxaca alone.

Peña Nieto is likely seeking to impose a solution to the strike before long. September 15 is Mexico’s Independence Day and an increase in state repression often occurs right beforehand to ensure the reign of social peace for an undisturbed celebration of nationalism. Just down the road, the PRI will be retaking power in Oaxaca under the governorship of Alejandro Murat on December 1, and positioning is already underway for the 2018 presidential elections, with none other than Public Education Minister Aurelio Nuño pushing to be the PRI candidate.

One last note about the teachers. Section 22 in Oaxaca previously set up a fund for the survivors and families of the victims of the Nochixtlán massacre. The Mexican government, in collaboration with Santander Bank, quickly shut it down, confiscating the 17,000 pesos it contained. There is again a way to donate to the Nochixtlán fund. For obvious reasons, it is not public. If you or your crew would like to donate/organize a benefit, get in touch at scott [at] fallingintoincandescence [dot] com.

Aside from the teachers’ strike, Peña Nieto has been having a rough couple of weeks in the realm of popular opinion. On August 11, a poll revealed his approval rating to be at a historically low 23 percent. This certainly wasn’t helped when five days later The Guardian reported that Peña Nieto’s wife, Angelica Rivera, has been enjoying stays in Key Biscayne, Florida at a $2 million apartment owned by Grupo Pierdant, a company bidding on Mexican government contracts. This news broke only a month after Peña Nieto apologized for the “perception” of wrong-doing related to Rivera’s $7 million purchase of a home in Guerrero owned by government contractor Grupo Higa. Then on August 21, a widely publicized exposé showed that Peña Nieto plagiarized nearly one-third of his university thesis. While these PR stumbles certainly don’t cast Peña Nieto in a positive light, he still maintains the support of the elite and these incidents pale in comparison to the broader devastation and exploitation he has wrought on Mexico.


michoacan-train-track-burning-protestTrucks set alight on train tracks in Michoacán.


Challenges to the status quo continue outside of the teachers’ strike as well. On August 11, students from Michoacán’s eight teaching colleges (normales) burned two trucks on train tracks and blockaded a highway. The students were acting in support of the teachers and also demanding the government guarantee a certain number of jobs upon graduation. Currently the state government refuses to hire teachers coming from normales in Michoacán. At a subsequent protest on August 15, while the normalistas were blockading a highway, federal and state police arrived and opened fire on them. Forty-one were arrested and fortunately no one was killed. Eight students remain in maximum security prison.

On that same day, to the east in the State of Mexico, police opened fire on students protesting cuts in enrolment at an extension school of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) in Naucalpan. The shooting is the first example of the use of the Eruviel Law, which allows police in the State of Mexico to fire live ammunition at demonstrations and punishes police who don’t follow orders to do so.

Atenco, also in the State of Mexico, received a solidarity visit from environmentalists Vandana Shiva and Sebastiao Pinheiro on August 13 in support of the community’s struggle against the latest attempt to build Mexico City’s new international airport on its lands. Construction of the highway to leading to the airport was ordered suspended on July 26, yet crews and machinery began operating again on August 16. Atencans ran the crews off their land and reinforced the encampment in Tocuila, designed to impede construction. On August 18 and 19, construction began again, escorted by a “shock group” of men hired by a local authority. The group tore down and burned the encampment on August 19 and threw stones at Atencans who came out to defend their land. Defiant as ever, Atenco residents rebuilt the encampment the same day.

The state of Morelos, south of Mexico City, saw a massive demonstration of 100,000 on August 16, when teachers, civil society groups and even the Autonomous University of the State of Morelos (UAEM) called for a mobilization against Governor Graco Ramírez. Protesters were demanding he be removed from office and charged for the ongoing femicides, kidnappings, murders, and corruption. Students also erected an encampment surrounding the state government’s offices. As if to make the point clearer, a report released a week later found that of the 117 bodies illegally buried in mass graves by the state prosecutor’s office in Morelos, 84 showed signs of torture. Naturally, the state’s reply was to issue an arrest warrant for the president of UAEM. In a similar case, Professor Rene Torres in Mexico City has been arrested three times in three days, only to be released without charge each time, in clear retaliation for his support of the student struggle at the National Polytechnic Institute (IPN).

A few more pieces to share to round out this latest dispatch of news. The relatives of the disappeared students from Ayotzinapa have cut off negotiations with the federal government. They say they will not return until Tomás Zerón, the head of the Criminal Investigation Agency (equivalent to the FBI in the US), is removed from his position. To mark 23 months since the disappearance, the families will be holding a cultural, artistic and political event outside of Aztec Stadium on August 26. Environmental defender and political prisoner Ildefenso Zamora was freed after nearly nine months in prison on trumped-up charges on August 13. A report on Radio Zapote documents the ongoing struggle of farmworkers in San Quintín and their primary tool: a boycott of Driscoll’s Berries. While actions are frequent in the US, a Boycott Driscoll’s protest occurred at a supermarket in Mexico City on August 18. On August 22 and 23 the first National Gathering on Forced Disappearance was held in Mexico City.


After months of organizing, 105 indigenous Oxchuc communities jointly decided to expel political parties and elected officials from their lands and to return to governing according to the indigenous practice of usos y costumbres. The final event of the Zapatista-initiated CompArte Festival for Humanity occurred in the Zapatista caracol of Roberto Barrios. Here’s a translation of Subcomandante Moisés’ statement at the end of the festival. The National Indigenous Congress, a Zapatista-inspired formation, will celebrate 20 years of existence with its fifth gathering in San Cristóbal, Chiapas in October. In other indigenous-related news, a new report noted that 80 percent of Mexico’s indigenous population lives in “poverty”. A condition that, if you’re Governor Mario López of Sinaloa, exists because of laziness. In response to a report that 822,000 Sinaloans live in “extreme poverty”, López said, “In Sinaloa, if you’re hungry, it’s because you’re lazy.”




Anarchist political prisoner Fernando Bárcenas released a call for solidarity with the prison strike happening in US prisons on September 9. We’ll have the English translation up shortly. And a group of anarchists offered a difficult but important public reflection on the events surrounding the police murder of anarchist Salvador Olmos in Oaxaca in June, which It’s Going Down has published in English.

Posted by Dorset Chiapas Solidarity on 26/08/16



August 25, 2016

Roberto Paciencia Cruz – three years in prison in State Centre for Social Reinsertion (CERSS) Number 5

Filed under: Indigenous — Tags: , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 3:06 pm



Roberto Paciencia Cruz – three years in prison in State Centre for Social Reinsertion (CERSS) Number 5 


robertoPhoto: @noestamostodxs


Three years after his arbitrary arrest, Roberto Paciencia Cruz, Tzotzil indigenous, “unjustly imprisoned” in the CERSS Number 5 of San Cristobal de Las Casas and adherent to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle, is still awaiting sentencing. Like Roberto, thousands of people are behind bars in Chiapas, deprived of their liberty by unjustified accusations without sentencing. “The prisons of Chiapas are full of indigenous, who for want of knowing how to read and express themselves, have been prisoners for years, because the first thing the authorities care about is to lock them up, then they just have to leave the file in the trash and be careful that they [the indigenous] don’t know the facts, to keep them there for life”, says sociologist Aida Cipriano, specialist in Human Rights, in Revolucion TRESPUNTOCERO

Roberto Paciencia Cruz was arrested without warrant in early August 2013 for an alleged kidnapping that could not be proved. During his detention he was tortured, and he still bears marks, scars, and physical and psychological consequences from this. In addition, he was left incommunicado for three days: “For three springs, I suffer in a dungeon, as my family also suffers, on this date, another anniversary of my imprisonment, I was saddened to see the injustices I’m living through for this fabricated crime”, Roberto Paciencia confesses to Revolucion TRESPUNTOCERO.

Aida Cipriano Aida states in the same publication: “Paciencia Cruz, and the indigenous who are in prison, suffer cruel and inhuman treatment, injustice, humiliation, and discrimination daily. CERESO No. 5 is one of the main examples of ill-treatment by the authorities of prisoners. This has also been the result of the neglect that the state government has caused in the prisons, because in Chiapas, when the governor isn’t covering up or causing dispossession, extrajudicial executions, persecution, torture or fabricated crimes against the indigenous, he is covering up any violation of human rights of the prisoners.” She adds that, “They have been kidnapped by a dishonest and poor Mexican judicial system, which in Chiapas is racist, corrupt and a creator of false positives. And it is the indigenous who have become the target to follow.” Cipriano concludes that there has been no solution to Roberto’s case “due to the blindness of the authorities and the governor, who is aware of the facts, but as in similar cases, he does not care about prisoners.”


Posted by Dorset Chiapas Solidarity on 25/08/2016



CNTE Mega-march in Tuxtla

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 11:02 am



CNTE Mega-march in Tuxtla

With a Mega-March in Tuxtla, the CNTE in Chiapas Confirms that the School Cycle Isn’t Starting


DSC_0169-1-995x498CNTE March in Tuxtla Gutiérrez.


“The school cycle ought to start today, but all the teachers are protesting here because of the government’s obstinacy,” said members of the National Coordinator of Education Workers (CNTE), after a march of more than a hundred thousand teachers from the west to the Chiapas capital’s central plaza, one hundred days after the teachers initiated their strike in protest over the self-named “education reform,” which the administration of Peña Nieto has wanted to implement in the country, even using public force to achieve their objective.

During the meeting in Tuxtla’s central park, on welcoming the different contingents that participated in the mega-march, the question was if they were tired now, to which the teachers answered with a resounding NO, despite the long walk, despite the strong rain, despite the hundred days. The teachers emphasized that the reason for being part of the teachers’ movement are precisely the students, parents and public education in Mexico.

“We are challenging the state’s authoritarianism; there is not one single educational level that is not in the movement,” they stated on seeing the arrival of delegations of basic and middle higher education, as well as teachers’ college students, parents, retirees and social organizations in solidarity.

From Chiapas the CNTE spokespersons waved the checkered flag on stage three of the teachers’ movement magisterial that started last May 15, in which, despite the fact that it will be critical and complex, they will carry out more devastating actions, they assured. The CNTE movement called on the government to give an immediate response to the demand for abrogation of the “education reform,” the appearance with life of the teachers’ college students from Ayotzinapa, Guerrero and the freedom of political prisoners in Mexico.

Members of Sections 7 and 40 of the CNTE affirmed that after more than three months, the movement remains alive and seeks a “democratic education, an alternative education project that goes from below to above.” They likewise warned that the media lynching against them would increase; therefore, they will keep the parents, who as of this date have been supporting them, continuously informed. “We have the support of all the aggrieved people,” they assured.

In his participation in support of the teachers’ movement, Father Marcelo Pérez representing the parish of the Simojovel community, asked those present if they were afraid, to which those present responded with a resounding NO, even after Peña Nieto’s threats to use public force against the dissident teachers. “In the face of tyranny, the people have the right to fight for the homeland and for liberty. If they touch the teachers they touch all of us,” the Chiapan parish priest assured. “They are on alert in the different communities to defend our teachers,” the religious man added.


Originally Published in Spanish by Pozol Colectivo

Monday, August 22, 2016

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee

Posted by Dorset Chiapas Solidarity 25/08/2016




August 23, 2016

Oxchuc Expels Political Parties and Will Now Elect its Authorities with Uses and Customs

Filed under: Indigenous, Uncategorized — Tags: , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 4:37 am



Oxchuc Expels Political Parties and Will Now Elect its Authorities with Uses and Customs


oxchuc-expels-political-partiesOxchuc authorities, elected via uses and customs with their staffs of command.


By: Isaín Mandujano

Leaders of 105 Oxchuc communities agreed on the expulsion of the political parties from that municipio and from now on they will elect their authorities through [Indigenous] uses and customs; therefore they asked Governor Manuel Velasco Coello and deputies in the State Congress, for the recognition of current mayor Oscar Gómez López, because the mayor they removed, Maria Gloria Sánchez Gómez, is attempting to return to the position.

Coming from the 105 communities that make up that municipio in Los Altos of Chiapas, the indigenous authorities arrived in this city with their staff of command to show their rejection of the removed mayor and candidate of the PVEM, Maria Gloría Sánchez Gómez, who recently filed an appeal with the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation (SCJN) with which she seeks to be reinstated in the position.

After several months of protest, last February, María Gloria Sánchez Gómez was expelled from the town and obliged to ask for a definitive leave before the State Congress, local residents named as a substitute Oscar Gómez López, a bilingual indigenous teacher who headed the movement to put an end to the 15 years of political bossism of the mayor and her PRI husband, Norberto Santiz Gómez, who controlled political power in the municipality.

“We are here to ask the State Congress and Governor Manuel Velasco to intervene and that the Oxchuc issue be definitively resolved, because María Gloria continues saying that she is the current mayor and that is not true, because starting on February 11 she asked for her abdication and the woman was politically finished there and on February 15 the people on the esplanade of the municipal presidency before some 30,000 residents elected the current substitute Municipal President, who is compañero Oscar Gómez López and precisely here are the compañeros agents and this is the best showing that what María Gloria says is not true,” said Juan Encinos Gómez, President of the Permanent Commission For Indigenous Peace and Justice of Oxchuc Municipio.

All the indigenous raised their staffs of command and chanted slogans against María Gloria Sánchez and others in favour of the new mayor Oscar Gómez López, who they said has the support of all of the people.

Nevertheless, they said, from the state capital the removed mayor has been incited to file an appeal before the Judicial Power of the Federation (PJF) to be reinstated in her position. They pointed out that they would not respect a decision that contradicts the decision of the people and that if necessary they would against take to the streets and the highway in order to be heard.

Juan Gabriel Méndez López, a lawyer and one of the leaders of the Oxchuc protest movement, said that the population agreed to expel all of the political parties from the municipio, and that they no longer want political parties that only divide the communities and provoke confrontation among indigenous brothers.

He explained that from now on the municipal authorities would be elected by uses and customs, which will rescue the ancestral wisdom and knowledge to name their rulers like their ancestors did, because it has become clear to them that the parties only divide them.

He also said that on this occasion the people named Oscar Gómez López as mayor, and therefore the Executive, Judicial and Legislative Power in Chiapas must recognize the investiture that the new mayor represents.

They pointed out that if María Gloria Sánchez Gómez continues returning to Oxchuc to incite the population against the traditional authorities, she could provoke “another San Juan Chamula” and would then blame the authorities for not intervening.

It was the second time that María Gloria sought to serve in the position of mayor; the first time she did it on behalf of the PRI. Her husband Norberto Sántiz, also of PRI affiliation, twice occupied the position of mayor and was on one occasion a federal deputy.


Originally Published in Spanish by Chiapas Paralelo

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee




August 22, 2016

Communiqué from the FPDT against Provocation by Companies and a Shock Group in the Ejido of Tocuila

Filed under: Repression — Tags: , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 9:27 am



Communiqué from the FPDT against Provocation by Companies and a Shock Group in the Ejido of Tocuila




To organizations in solidarity

To the people of Mexico

We denounce the federal government for insisting on invading and plundering the lands of our peoples. Today they returned in violation of the suspension order resulting from the judgement of amparo no. 349/2016- III dated July 26th, 2016. As the ejido members of Tocuila we oppose, as do many of the dignified campesinxs, the sale and plundering of our land. We denounce the following:

Since a very early hour we were aware of the presence of heavy machinery in the ejidos of Tocuila which remained inactive until a few hours ago. Around four in the afternoon our compañerxs alerted us to the advance of the machinery along with a microbus full of unknown people, in the majority young, and to our surprise led by the ejido commissioner of Tocuila, Humberto Elizalde.

The compañerxs who were in the encampment from a considerable distance away tried to explain to them that they could not advance since the land is not for sale and because it is protected by an injunction (amparo) (349/2016-III). However, the explanation didn’t have any effect, and the group advanced further and further. When they arrived at the encampment, the ejidal commissioner, Humberto Elizalde, gave the order for the compañerxs to abandon the place showing some papers that they presumed were the cheques paid for the sale of the land which he himself had promoted. The youth who made up the shock group got off the microbus (as well as being violent, they were also under the influence of drugs) and immediately destroyed and took down the tarps and the truck cab that has served as refuge and the point of resistance since April 11 intensifying the threat of dispossession. The machine also advanced and began to tear into the earth as if they were leaving a warning in the eyes of our compañerxs who until the last moment remained cautious. It is obvious that the federal government would have liked a provocation to take place to give justification for repression, but the whole time the people that were defending the land remained contained.

It should be noted that after more than two hours of provocation, the shock group and the machinery were removed and positioned in the highway Peñon-Texcoco. As such, the compañerxs could return to and rebuild the encampment.

In addition to this act, we add two notes that are important to consider:

  • On Sunday August 14, an ejidal assembly took place in the community of Tocuila. This was imposed on the community similarly to what occurred in Atenco on June 1, 2014. As on that occasion, the commissioner Humberto Elizalde, manipulated the participants, transporting people in, not permitting the compañerxs who defend the land to talk. In these conditions of heavy tension and pressure, he approved the sale of the communal land (roads and bridges) for 1000 pesos per square metre.
  • On Wednesday August 17th, the Grupo Aeroportuario de la Ciudad de México (GACM) and the Cámara Mexicana de la Industria de la Construcción (CMIC) announced an agreement to create jobs in the construction phase of the airport, addressed to the inhabitants of the municipalities of Atenco and Texcoco.

Faced with this emergency situation and the government threat through the escalating provocative actions and repression:

We call on all our brother peoples, solidarity organizations, collectives and media, to come to the press conference that will take place in the reconstructed encampment. The date will be Friday August 19th to begin at 9 in the morning in the Plaza of Tocuila, to go to the camp and begin at 10am.

The land is not for sale, it is loved and defended!

Peoples Front in Defence of the Land -Tocuila

From a translation by Palabras Rebeldes

Posted by Dorset Chiapas Solidarity




August 21, 2016

Sup Moisés at the conclusion of CompArte

Filed under: Zapatistas — Tags: , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 11:49 am



Sup Moisés at the conclusion of CompArte


EZLN: “22 years later we are showing that we don’t want to use these weapons, that it isn’t necessary.”


dancers-in-roberto-barriosDance performance at CompArte in Roberto Barrios

From the Desinformémonos Editors

Mexico City

Subcomandante Moisés, commander and spokesperson of the Zapatista National Liberation Army (Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional, EZLN), stated that: “the soldiers should not have to kill us because we have not wanted to kill them.” As an example, he said, “the compañero support bases have demonstrated it (because) for 22 years we have kept our weapons stored, like tools.”

During the closing of the CompArte Festival in the Caracol of Roberto Barrios, in the Northern Zone of Chiapas, the Zapatista leader thanked the support bases for the demonstration of their art: “They have given us something great. For now, we want to tell you that we understand that the word war is using a weapon, but here we are demonstrating, 22 years later, that we don’t want to use those weapons, that it isn’t necessary. We are demonstrating that there is [another] way to achieve freedom, justice and democracy; that it isn’t necessary to kill the soldiers that the rich, the capitalist has, with which he is defended.”

The CompArte Festival, according to reports from the alternative communications media that had access, toured the five Zapatista regions (Oventik, La Garrucha, La Realidad, Morelia and Roberto Barrios), in Los Altos (the Highlands), the Lacandón Jungle and the Northern Zone of Chiapas, with demonstrations of poetry, dances, songs, paintings and other artistic activities in which Zapatista support bases and organizations and collectives from Mexico and from many parts of the world participated.

Below is the whole comunicado published by the Free Media:

“Good afternoon bases of support, the Sixth, brothers and sisters who listen to us!

We really can’t find the words to say to you because of the big surprise that the EZLN’s bases of support artist compañeros have shown us.

You have given us a lesson, an instruction, a class; that’s how we, our comandante and comandanta compañeros, feel.

We are representing our Caracoles, you have helped us a lot; you have taught us a lot; you give us strength and, well, power. We have a big task that you have given us, a big job that you have given us, and because of our practice we have to think it through collectively with our compañera comandantas and compañero comandantes.

You have given us something great. For now we want to tell you that we understand the word war is to use the weapon, but here we are demonstrating, 22 years later, that we don’t want to use those weapons; it isn’t necessary. We are showing that there is a way to achieve freedom, justice and democracy; that it’s not necessary to kill the soldiers that the rich, the capitalist has, with which he defends himself.

The soldiers would not have to kill us, because we have not wanted to kill them. The example the support base compañeros have shown, for 22 years we have preserved our weapons like tools.

We want to construct our autonomy and we are showing our brothers of Chiapas, Mexico and the world, but you aren’t going to stop, because you won’t like capitalism. You oblige us and we have to look for the way in which that doesn’t happen, but if it’s necessary to defend, one must defend oneself.

We are able to understand without killing and without dying. To finish with capitalism we need to get organized, to construct a new house or to set capitalism aside. But for now that lesson that you have given us, there is a lot of work to do and to think about.

Here in Mexico they have us so divided, into the countryside and the city, they have us so distracted so that we don’t realize how we are subjected in manipulation, but this class that you gave us, EZLN support base compañeros from the five Caracoles, we are not able to say more right now, because it was more what you told us and presented to us.

It’s really recharging the battery for us and for the comandante compañeros. We are seeing the fruits of the labour of our compañero representatives that is the EZLN’s structure.

What would happen if the thousands of Zapatista artists from the five Caracoles were seen? Something much greater would come from it. There are many types of weapons, but not the ones that kill, but rather the ones that change the life, the thinking and the idea. In all the Caracoles that we have passed through, we have met and we didn’t find the words because we need to get deeper into it, but with that material that the compañeros from the tercios compas [1] are making, that will help us a lot.

For now, we have enough material to get to work, to think about it and to concretize it so that if the bases approve it, it will be a real practice. That is the wisdom that we hear, see and later think about to put into practice, that is the spark of the art of seeing, of the art of listening, so that later it will be seen in practice for the benefit of one’s own people.

Art and science are really necessary to be able to destroy capitalism. We don’t know how, but we must think about it. There is no reason that we will see things differently, we are of the same original peoples in the countryside and also in the city. Our job is to think of how to unite because capitalism is going to destroy us.

And that is the importance of art and not only for Mexico. So, the instruction that you gave us hasn’t fit in our head, we have to go over it again, that is what we feel.

Thank you to the bases of support from the five Caracoles and the invitees for accompanying us. Our thinking about what we are going to tell you will arrive soon and you will decide if it’s so or not. We will look for the art of how to reach consensus on what will emerge in the practical work of what we said in this art of struggle.

Thank you brothers and sisters bases of support and compañeros of the Sixth.”

[1] The tercios compas – the Zapatista media team


Originally Published in Spanish by Desinformémonos

Monday, August 15, 2016

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee

Posted with minor edits by Dorset Chiapas Solidarity



August 20, 2016

Food Sovereignty in Rebellion: Decolonization, Autonomy, Gender Equity, and the Zapatista Solution

Filed under: Autonomy, Women, Zapatistas — Tags: , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 3:06 pm



Food Sovereignty in Rebellion: Decolonization, Autonomy, Gender Equity, and the Zapatista Solution


Food Sovereignty in Rebellion: Decolonization, Autonomy, Gender Equity, and the Zapatista Solution

Tim Russo

The battle for humanity and against neoliberalism was and is ours,

And also that of many others from below.

Against death––We demand life.

Subcomandante Galeano/Marcos


One of the biggest threats to food security the world currently faces is neoliberalism. It’s logic, which has become status quo over the past 70 years and valorizes global ‘free market’ capitalism, is made manifest through economic policies that facilitate privatization, deregulation, and cuts to social spending, as well as a discourse that promotes competition, individualism, and self-commodification. Despite rarely being criticized, or even mentioned, by state officials and mainstream media, neoliberal programs and practices continue to give rise to unprecedented levels of poverty, hunger, and suffering. The consequences of neoliberalism are so acutely visceral that the Zapatistas called the 21st century’s most highly lauded free-trade policy, NAFTA, a ‘death certificate’ for Indigenous people.1 This is because economic liberalization meant that imported commodities (e.g., subsidized corn from the U.S.) would flood Mexican markets, devalue the products of peasant farmers, and lead to widespread food insecurity. As a response, the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN), primarily Indigenous peasants themselves, led an armed insurrection in Chiapas, Mexico on January 1, 1994—the day NAFTA went into effect.

Top: Juan Popoca / Bottom: Ángeles Torrejón
EZLN guerrillas circa 1994.

The Zapatistas, primarily Indigenous Ch’ol, Tzeltal, Tzotzil, Tojolobal, Mam, and Zoque rebels, were rising up against 500 years of colonial oppression. For this piece, I draw from my experiences learning from them, not ‘researching’ them. Importantly, I neither speak for the Zapatistas nor do my words do them justice. In a sense, then, this piece is nothing other than a modest ‘suggestion’ that the Zapatistas may offer us some ideas about solutions to the problems of the food systems we find ourselves in.


The emergence of the EZLN dates back to November 17, 1983, when a small group of politicized university militants arrived in the Lacandon jungle of Chiapas to form a guerrilla army. Their efforts, which were being supported by an intricate network of solidarity organizations with links to Marxist revolutionaries and Catholic liberation theologists in the region, were subsequently transformed by the Indigenous communities they encountered upon arriving. The success of the Zapatista uprising was thus the culmination of nearly 10 years of covert organizing that unfolded under the guidance of Indigenous people within the jungles and highlands of southeastern Mexico. And during the early morning hours of New Year’s Day 1994, thousands of masked insurgents from the EZLN stepped out of the darkness to say ‘¡Ya Basta! ‘ (Enough!) to the repression and misery that colonialism and capitalism had thrust upon them.

Levi Gahman
‘You are in Zapatista territory. Here the people lead and the government obeys.’

The stunning manner in which the Zapatistas presented themselves to the Mexican government, as well as the world, saw them descend upon several towns, cities, prisons, and wealthy landowners. During the revolt, EZLN guerillas liberated political prisoners, stormed military barracks, occupied government offices, set fire to trumped-up files that unfairly criminalized Indigenous people, and announced Zapatista ‘Women’s Revolutionary Law.’ In the rural countryside, Zapatista soldiers also reclaimed dispossessed land by kicking affluent property-owning bosses off plantation-like encomiendas that had been historically expropriated from impoverished Indigenous farmers. The skirmishes and exchange of bullets between the EZLN and federal army lasted a total of only 12 days, after which a ceasefire was negotiated.


Since that time, and despite an ongoing counter-insurgency being spearheaded by the Mexican government, the Zapatista’s ‘solution’ to the problem of neoliberalism, including the food insecurity and poverty it exacerbates, has been resistance. And for the Zapatistas, resistance is comprised of revitalizing their Indigenous (predominantly Maya) worldviews, recuperating stolen land, emancipating themselves from dependency upon multinational industrial agribusiness, and peacefully living in open defiance of global capitalism. This ‘solution’ has subsequently enabled them to build an autonomous, locally focused food system, which is a direct product of their efforts in participatory democracy, gender equity, and food sovereignty.

Families in La Realidad honor Galeano, a Zapatista teacher assassinated by paramilitaries in 2014.


Food sovereignty (an intensely debated concept) loosely described means that people are able to exercise autonomy over their food systems while concurrently ensuring that the production/distribution of food is carried out in socially just, culturally safe, and ecologically sustainable ways. For the Zapatistas, food sovereignty involves agro-ecological farming, place-based teaching and learning, developing local cooperatives, and engaging in collective work.

These practices, which are simultaneously informed by their Indigenous customs, struggles for gender justice, and systems of nonhierarchical governance and education, have thereby radically transformed social relations within their communities. And it is these aspects of the Zapatista Insurgency that illustrate how collective (anti-capitalist) resistance offers novel alternatives to the world’s corporate food regime.


Autonomous Education and Decolonization 

Here you can buy or sell anything—­except Indigenous dignity.

Subcomandante Marcos/Galeano


The relationship and obligation the Zapatistas have to the land is rooted in their Indigenous perspectives and traditions. And because exercising autonomy over their land, work, education, and food is crucial to the Zapatistas, their methods of teaching and learning are situated in the environmental systems and cultural practices of where they, and their histories, are living. This is evident in the grassroots focus they maintain in their approach to education, as well as how they consider their immediate ecological settings a ‘classroom.’2

Dorset Chiapas Solidarity
One example of a Zapatista ‘classroom.’


Local knowledge of land and growing food is so central among their autonomous municipalities that each Zapatista school often seespromotores de educación(‘education promoters’) andpromotores de agro-ecología(‘agro-ecology promoters’) coming from the same community as their students. Zapatista education is therefore emplaced within the geographies where people live. This holistic ‘place-based’ focus results in both children and adults viewing themselves as active participants in, and essential parts of, local food systems.


In order to understand food security, Zapatista students are frequently taught hands-on agro-ecological techniques outside the classroom. This means they learn how to apply sustainable farming techniques while participating in the planting/harvesting of organic crops. This area of experiential and localized education stresses the importance of working the land in order to attain the skills needed to achieve food sovereignty for future generations. It also provides an overview of how transgenic modifications and privatizations of seeds/plants/life are deemed to be overt threats to, and blatant attacks upon, their culture.


This perspective is held because the Zapatistas are ‘People of the Corn,’ a reality passed down from their Maya origin stories.3 And given that their autonomous education is anchored in defending, protecting, and preserving their Indigenous histories, languages, and ancestral territories, the Zapatistas effectively practice decolonization—the re-establishment and repatriation of Indigenous land, life, and realities—in every aspect of their teaching and learning.

Levi Gahman and Dorset Chiapas Solidarity
Scenes from Zapatista agro-ecology. In the top left, a generator depicting an Indigenous origin story: ‘They cut our branches, and they cut our trunks; but they cannot cut our roots.’



In practical terms, the Zapatistas are decolonizing their food system through applied/experiential learning, communal subsistence farming, collectivizing harvests, refusing chemicals, and equitably distributing labor. This approach thereby provides communities the ability to eschew the profit-motives promoted by capitalist conceptions of ‘productivity,’ in favor of foregrounding their local Indigenous notions of knowledge and nature.4


Through their refusal to participate in the commodification and privatization of learning and land, the Zapatistas have created an integrated system of education and food security that functions as a solidarity economy. This means their efforts in both food and knowledge production/distribution are guided by an ethical imperative that takes into consideration the health and well-being of individuals, communities, and ecologies alike.


Given what the Zapatistas have created in rural Chiapas, one is left to wonder how local food systems might look if Indigenous peoples’ perspectives and (anti-capitalist) placed-based education were implemented into our own communities.


Womens Struggle and Gender Equity


Cuando Una Mujer Avanza, No Hay Hombre Que Retrocede

(‘When a Woman Advances, No Man is Left Behind’)


Women do two-thirds of the world’s work, produce roughly 70 percent of its food, and are responsible for over 80 percent of its domestic (socially reproductive) labor. Despite this, they earn only about 10 percent of the world’s income, control less than 10 percent of all its land, own less than one percent of the means of production, and comprise nearly two-thirds of all its part-time and temporary worker positions.5 In disaggregate, the vast majority of these statistics apply to women who are rural, working class/poor, racialized/Indigenous, not ‘formally educated,’ and living in the Global South.6 It thus appears that capitalist exploitation has both a pattern and preferred target. Interestingly, all of these descriptors directly apply to Zapatista women, yet, it seems someone has forgotten to tell them…because they do not seem to care.

Dorset Chiapas Solidarity
Collective work.

One of the most groundbreaking aspects of the Zapatista insurgency has been the strides it has made in destabilizing patriarchy. This social transformation has largely been born out of the indefatigable work ethic and iron will of the Zapatista women. Given their recognition that any struggle against colonialism and capitalism necessitates a struggle against patriarchy, Zapatista women implemented what is known as ‘Women’s Revolutionary Law’ within their communities. The conviction they maintain regarding equality was poignantly captured in a communiqué written by Subcomandante Marcos (now Galeano) released shortly after the 1994 rebellion, which states: “The first EZLN uprising occurred in March of 1993 and was led by the Zapatista women. There were no casualties—and they won.”7


Broadly speaking, Women’s Revolutionary Law solidifies the recognition of women’s rights to self-determination, dignity, and having their voices heard. More specifically, the laws mandate that women be equitably represented in the guerrilla army (i.e., the EZLN), theJuntas de Buen Gobierno (‘Councils of Good Government’), efforts in land recuperation (agro-ecological projects/work outside of the home), and the development of food/artisan/craft cooperatives.8 These laws have restructured everyday life throughout Zapatista territory, as it is now not uncommon to see women involved in the public sphere (work outside the home), in addition to seeing men participate in socially reproductive labor (i.e., ‘women’s work’).

Levi Gahman
Murals painted on the walls of a women’s cooperative.

Women’s Revolutionary Law has also merged with the way in which the land and local environment is viewed and tended to. As a result of up-ending rigid patriarchal notions of what type of work women ‘should do’ and ‘could not do,’ as well as undermining regressive ideas that men are less capable of performing emotional labor, household chores, and nurturing children, Zapatista communities now have women exercising more influence over decisions being made surrounding food security and agro-ecological projects.9


In recently attesting to the gender equity the Zapatistas are advancing towards, Peter Rosset, a food justice activist and rural agro-ecological specialist, commented on the impact of Women’s Revolutionary Law by stating:


Yesterday a Zapatista agro-ecology promoter was in my office and he was talking about how the young Indigenous women in Zapatista territory are different from before…

…he said they no longer look at the floor when you talk to them—they look you directly in the eye.10


In light of the emphasis the Zapatistas place on justice via both recognizing women’s struggle, as well as men’s responsibility to perform socially reproductive/emotional labor, one cannot help but further wonder what agricultural production would look like if gender equity was promoted within the global food system.


Final Thoughts

A Zapatista child – one of most important ‘seeds’ the community is nourishing for a better tomorrow.

When viewed in its geopolitical context, the Zapatista insurgency has opened up space for a wide range of alternative ways of re-organizing societies, economies, and food systems. Consequently, what the Zapatistas prove through their resistance (i.e., efforts in autonomous education, decolonization, and gender equity) is that a recognition of Indigenous people’s right to self-determination, in conjunction with anti-capitalist collective work and movements toward food sovereignty, can indeed provide viable alternatives to the world’s neoliberal food regime as well as revolutionize the struggle for food security.



I offer my gratitude to the Zapatistas for accepting me into their school as well as the Mexico Solidarity Network for enabling it. I also thank Schools for Chiapas and the Dorset Chiapas Solidarity Group for sharing photos, as well as The University of the West Indies Campus Research and Publication Committee (Trinidad and Tobago) for their support.



  1. Marcos, S & de Leon, JP. Our Word is Our Weapon (Seven Stories Press, New York, 2002).
  2. Anonymous Zapatista. Personal communication, Fall 2013.
  3. Ross, J. ¡Zapatistas!: Making Another World Possible: Chronicles of Resistance, 2000–2006 (Nation Books, New York, 2006).
  4. Lorenzano, L. Zapatismo: recomposition of labour, radical democracy and revolutionary project in Zapatista! Reinventing Revolution in Mexico (eds Holloway, J & Pelaez, E), Ch. 7, 126-128 (Pluto Press, London, 1998).
  5. Robbins, RH. Global Problems and the Culture of Capitalism (Allyn & Bacon, Boston, 2007).
  6. Benería, L, Berik, G & Floro, M. Gender, Development and Globalization: Economics as if All People Mattered (Routledge, Abingdon, 2015).
  7. Marcos, S. The First Uprising: March 1993. La Jornada (January 30, 1994).
  8. Klein, H. Compañeras: Zapatista Womens Stories (Seven Stories Press, New York, 2015).
  9. Marcos, S. Zapatista Women’s Revolutionary Law as it is lived today. Open Democracy [online] (July 2014).….
  10. Rosset, P. Zapatista Uprising 20 Years Later. Democracy Now! [online] (January 2014).


Community of Cruztón denounces invasion of its territory and aggression

Filed under: Displacement, Frayba, Human rights, Indigenous, La Sexta — Tags: , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 2:28 pm



Community of Cruztón denounces invasion of its territory and aggression


Photo: The Community of Cruztón in defence of the land. (Frayba)

Community of Cruzton, municipality of Venustiano Carranza, August 15th, 2016

We would like to inform all our brothers and sisters, such as

the Good Government Juntas (JBG)

adherents to the Sixth Declaration

compañeros from Semilla Digna

human rights centre

to the free media

to the media

to the Indigenous National Congress “CNI”

To all independent organizations


we are Adherents to the Sixth Declaration and we make you aware of everything that is happening in our community. We ask for your support to stay alert to what might happen.

1) We demand the right to our territory and within this our holy field, which we have reclaimed since 1920, by right of our forefathers, we demand and we know that no one can privatize it as today an invading group from Guadalupe Victoria are doing.

2) On 5 March 2013 an invading group from Guadalupe Victoria put flags on the twelve small landholdings identified, so that they could soon take possession of them.

3) On 16 April 2015 they seized 3 small properties of Manuel Huel Cruz, Fernando Lopez Bautista and Mario Perez Nucamendi.

4) On May 8, 2015 at 6.00 pm they blocked the path leading to Venustiano Carranza, stopping our compañeros from transporting a sick person, privatising the path, and they detained them for two hours, threatened them with high-calibre weapons, telling them that they still wanted to know where they were.

5) On February 1, 2016 they privatized our path which leads to our field holy sealing it off with a heavy chain and saying that none of the community is to enter their land and that once the government had given them a solution, the land of the holy field would be taken for land for cultivation

6) On May 10, 2016 a decision was taken by own community to rise up up to open the path that leads us to our holy field so we could go there to leave flowers for our dead which we have the right to do.

As 7 am on the same day, our compañero, Agusto de la Cruz Pérez, was heading to Guadalupe Victoria to leave his wife at the house of her mother, on his return he was taken hostage without having committed any crime. The attacking group from Guadalupe Victoria who kidnapped him were heavily armed with high calibre weapons, they beat him, hung him for an hour, and after five hours he was released but they threatened him telling him that those who had kidnapped him “no one messes with us, or it will be worse for them.”

Given all this, we demand from the state government of MANUEL VELASCO COELLO, and all its departments, that they respect our rights to land and territory, since until now the harassment from the aggressor group has continued and we hold them liable for any confrontation that may happen.




Posted by Dorset Chiapas Solidarity on 20/08/2016



A Glimpse Inside the Zapatista’s Rebel Capital of Oventic, Two Decades on

Filed under: Autonomy, Indigenous, Women, Zapatistas — Tags: — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 11:05 am



A Glimpse Inside the Zapatista’s Rebel Capital of Oventic, Two Decades on

Ryan Mallett-Outtrim – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal
go to original
August 17, 2016

Sign reads, “You are now in rebel Zapatista territory. Here, the people command, and the government obeys.” (Ryan Mallett-Outtrim)

The line of guards clad in the guerrilla movement’s iconic balaclavas was a sign we had found the place. For anyone who did not get the hint, there was a half rusted sign across the road that read, “You are now in rebel Zapatista territory.”

“Here, the people command, and the government obeys,” it stated.

Less than an hour from the nearest city, and I had already arrived at Oventic. This small, unassuming community in the highlands of Mexico’s Chiapas state is often known as the de facto capital of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN), a leftist guerrilla movement that has been a thorn in the side of the Mexican government since the 1990s.

A decade ago, Oventic was easily accessible to outsiders, and gringo tourists hoping to catch a glimpse of the EZLN in their heartland were generously accommodated. Today, things are different, and the Zapatistas are more reserved about who they allow to peek inside their world. In late July, I was given the privilege to visit Oventic, and see how the community was doing two decades after the EZLN first shocked the world with its fiery entrance into Mexico’s already complex political landscape.

The Zapatistas’ debut act came in 1994, when seemingly out of nowhere, they seized control of a handful of towns across Chiapas, one of the country’s consistently poorest states. Among the towns captured was the highland city San Cristobal, which is today the heart of the state’s booming tourism sector. The offensive was accompanied by a declaration of war against the Mexican government by the EZLN. They accused the federal government of losing touch with ordinary Mexicans, and called for a nationwide revolt.

Their sudden offensive was timed to coincide with the signing of the controversial North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). In their early communiques, the Zapatistas warned NAFTA would fail to deliver on its promises of economic prosperity, and would only widen the country’s wealth gap. Any gains under NAFTA would not be seen by the already impoverished indigenous farmers of rural Chiapas, they claimed.

Reminiscing on the time, veteran Mexican journalist Olivier Acuna said the uprising “caught us all by surprise”.

“Basically, nobody outside Chiapas saw it coming; other than, I suppose, intelligence agents,” he said.

However, he argued the EZLN didn’t really come from nowhere.

“Chiapas is a highly marginalized and poverty stricken state, and if you add the long history of massive caciquismo you have a very resented and abused population,” he said.

Caciquismo refers to regional authoritarianism, where local leaders such as mayors weld huge power over their constituents, often in remote rural areas. In hindsight, Acuna said, the uprising was a long time coming. He pointed to decades of local and federal governments abusing the highland population.

“[It’s] majority indigenous people who have been stripped of their lands, and in many cases turned into almost slaves on their own land,” he said.

Today, the EZLN has long since retreated from the city of San Cristobal, though it retains a following in the highlands. An uneasy ceasefire exists, with the Mexican military mostly avoiding contact with EZLN communities, which remain dotted across the countryside. Meanwhile, the Zapatistas themselves have adopted a defensive strategy, focusing on consolidation rather than expansion.

During my time in Oventic, I spoke with Roy Ketchum, an associate professor in Hispanic studies from the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University. Ketchum has been observing the EZLN for years, though this was the first time he was able to visit Oventic, after being turned away on a previous trip.

“There’s a vibrant, community based participatory democracy,” he said. “Everyone participates, and everyone is heard.”

Read the rest at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal



CNTE causes more economic damage than the EZLN Uprising

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 9:03 am



CNTE causes more economic damage than the EZLN Uprising


walmart-office-depot-blockshutting down business in Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Chiapas.


By: Isaín Mandujano


The president of the Employers Confederation of the Mexican Republic (Coparmex) in this state, Enoc Gutiérrez, said today that the economic damages caused by the teachers’ conflict “are worse than those of 1994,” after the armed uprising of the Zapatista Nacional Liberation Army (EZLN).

Enoc Gutiérrez reminded that on Tuesday August 2, the Employers Centre, affiliated with  Coparmex, presented a legal demand for an amparo (protective order) to the Judicial Power of the Federation (PJF) against the state and federal authorities due to “omissions” in attending to the teachers’ conflict that, after more than 90 days, have allegedly caused million dollar losses in Chiapas and other states in the country.

Although the case could be resolved in the coming days or weeks, Gutiérrez maintained that: “this is one of the worst situations that reflect economic damages and affectations, we evaluate and tell you that they are even worse than those in 1994. And we have an international context much more complex and a devaluation in the Mexican economy.”

He also clarified that the business owners “are not enemies” of the government authorities or of those who head the institutions of the Mexican government, but neither will they be accomplices in permitting that conflict situations cause damages to third parties that affect the economy and above all that impair the education of the state’s children.

Later he said that they would not promote the repression of movements when they are conducted with unrestricted adherence to the law, and that they will always make use of the laws that they have at hand for defending their right to free movement and the free exercise of labour and free enterprise.

He also pointed out that the demand for an amparo is so that the Mexican State will act and re-establish the peace and respect the constitutional guarantees, like the right to education.

Lastly, he demanded that the federal government and the CNTE go further in their tables of dialogue and negotiations and produce concrete results to put an end to the conflict.


Originally Published in Spanish by

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Re-published in English by the Chiapas Support Committee

Posted by Dorset Chiapas Solidarity 20/08/2016




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