dorset chiapas solidarity

November 30, 2016

International Day to Combat Violence against Women

Filed under: Women — Tags: , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 1:04 pm



International Day to Combat Violence against Women


mujeres1Beginning of the march in Plaza de La Resistencia. Photo@SIPAZ


November 25 is International Day to Combat Violence against Women. In Chiapas, many activities were organized within this framework. From the 21st to 24th of the month the First National Feminist Congress was held in San Cristobal de Las Casas. At a press conference on the first day, activists and organizations questioned the Declaration of a Gender Violence Alert (GVA) issued on November 18 by the federal government for seven municipalities in the state (San Cristobal de Las Casas, Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Comitan  de Dominguez, Villaflores, Tonala, Chiapa de Corzo and Tapachula), calling it “incomplete, discriminatory and insufficient.” For this reason, the Popular Campaign against Violence against Women and Femicide in Chiapas declared itself “in a permanent and civic alert to continue to carry out short, medium and long-term actions to prevent femicidal violence.” It should be remembered that women’s organizations in the state have been requesting a GVA for three years.

On November 23 and 24, the Third Assembly of the Movement for Defence of the Earth, Territory and for the Participation of Women in Decision-making was also held in San Cristobal de Las Casas in order to “share information and denunciations, but also proposals and alternatives to defend our lands, territories and organize as women, as we face the same neoliberal and patriarchal system.”

 In a statement, participants in the Assembly demanded, among other things, from the government, the ejido and community authorities, and society in general:

– “To respect women’s rights fully, to live free of violence, to really have land, to be sure that we will not be deprived of our territories, and to participate in decision-making in our communities.”

– “Cessation of femicide, femicidal violence; to release indigenous and non-indigenous women who have been unjustly imprisoned “

– That the government respects and enforces the self-determination and autonomy of the people, and stops nourishing community division, co-opting and buying leaders.”

-“The government and transnational corporations stop persecuting, intimidating, and murdering those who defend our lands and territories.”

– “To the government and the private media, stop criminalizing social protest. We are not criminals, we are women and men defending our rights, our lands and territories, which is where we live and want to continue living with respect for Mother Earth. “




On November 25, both groups met to march, coinciding also with the pilgrimage of thousands of indigenous people from the Movement in Defence of Life and Territory (MODEVITE). In a joint communiqué, they reaffirmed: “We are firmly hopeful that with our struggles the situation of violence will not be prolonged or intensified. That is why, women and men, we raise our voices calling to all the peoples of Mexico and the World to defeat the capitalist, neoliberal, heterosexual, racist state and to build another world of PEACE WITH JUSTICE AND DIGNITY where there is room for EVERYONE.”

Posted by Dorset Chiapas Solidarity



New EZLN Communiqué Clarifies Joint Proposal with CNI

Filed under: CNI, Uncategorized, Zapatistas — Tags: , , , , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 12:11 pm



New EZLN Communiqué Clarifies Joint Proposal with CNI


galSubcomandante Galeano (Photo@SIPAZ archives)

On November 17, 33 years after its foundation, the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) published an extensive communiqué titled “A History to Understand”, in which it gives further details about the proposal of consultation with the peoples that make up the Indigenous National Congress (CNI in its Spanish acronym) to examine the convenience of naming a national council of government and an indigenous woman candidate for the 2018 elections.

Subcomandante Galeano clarified that, although the proposal was launched by the EZLN, “the CNI is who will decide whether or not to participate with a delegate of its own, and, if necessary, it will have the support of Zapatismo.” But, “No, neither the EZLN as an organization nor any of its members will run for a popular election position in the 2018 electoral process. No, the EZLN is not going to become a political party. No, the EZLN is not going to present a Zapatista indigenous woman as a candidate for the presidency of the Republic in the year 2018. No, the EZLN has not altered its course to any degree, nor will it continue its struggle along the institutional electoral route.” He ratified that “the EZLN does not struggle to take Power.”

Subcomandante Galeano added that in making the proposal to the CNI, the EZLN stated “that it did not matter whether or not they won the Presidency of the Republic, that what was going to matter was the challenge, irreverence, insubordination, the total rupture of the image of the indigenous, subject to the alms and the image of pity so rooted on the institutional right and who, would say it, also on the left of ‘real change’ and its organic intellectuals addicted to the opium of social networks – that their daring would make the whole political system vibrate and that it would have echoes of hope not in one but in many of the Mexicans below … and the world.”


Posted by Dorset Chiapas Solidarity



“Political parties out, community governments in”: Indigenous peoples of Chiapas.

Filed under: Indigenous, Uncategorized — Tags: , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 11:49 am



 “Political parties out, community governments in”: Indigenous peoples of Chiapas.



22 November 2016
“Political parties, alcoholism and other religions have divided us. As if that weren’t bad enough, we are also divided by the government programmes that are a condition of the crumbs they give us. What’s more, those of us who organize are threated and those who defend us are intimidated or attacked. We demand an end to the threats and repression”. So said thousands of indigenous Choles, Tsotsiles and Tseltales in the central square of Oxchuc, Chiapas.
Thousands of indigenous people participating in the pilgramage called “11 Days for 11 Municipalities in Chiapas” arrived in the central square of Oxchuc on the 20th of November, the 7th day of their pilgrimage, where they declared themselves in favour of all the originary peoples getting rid of the political parties, and creating their own forms of self-government.
Members of the Movement in Defence of Life and Territory (Movimiento en Defensa de la Vida y el Territorio [MODEVITE]), the Believing People of the parishes of Candelaria, Huixtán, Tumbalá, Cancúc, Tenejapa, Ocosingo, Altamirano, Chilón-Sitalá, Yajalón,  Salto de Agua and Oxchuc expressed their support for the more than 100 communities, neighbourhoods and regions choosing their own municipal authorities according to their uses and customs, without the interference of the government, their elections or their political parties.

“The political parties, like idols from the Bible, receive sacrifices and offerings. These sacrifices can be the lives of the people, or individuals, who, for defending others, end up in jail. The golden calf is not innocent; it is dangerous because it has servants who take it offerings. The political parties are these idols and their servants all those who join one of them for the money they are given. They try to convince other people that they must worship their idol, and since the idols are many, everyone wants you to choose their one. In this fight for power, they use us at their convenience and cause divides among us”, said the spokesperson for the indigenous Choles, Tsotsiles and Tseltales who participated in this pilgrimage.

They pointed out that in the municipality of Oxchuc, this practice of idolatry has been led for generations by a single family, who have encouraged the veneration of their idol purely for their own benefit.

“In light of this, we wish not to perpetuate this state of division that the political parties have left us in. For this reason, today, we denounce the years of corruption enjoyed both by Norberto Sántiz López and his wife María Gloria Sánchez Gómez; a family so delirious with power that they wanted to be in power again, but this time with a different party”, said the indigenous people in support of the town of Oxchuc.

The indigenous people of the originary communities present in the square of Oxchuc agreed to elect their authorities and not accept the imposition of political parties, so from now on they will make the decisions. “We have the right as indigenous peoples to self-govern. We do not want a single family to remain in power, we want a truly communitary government”, said the spokesperson of the pilgrims.

They insisted that the indigenous peoples have the right to self-government through uses and customs and that, as such, they must be listened to and respected in the way they make decisions.

Members of the government council of Cherán, Michoacán were present at the event. They explained the way in which they have created their own form of self-government and how they got rid of the political parties.

with information and inset photo from Chiapas Paralelo/ main photo, MODEVITE

Translated by Ruby Zajac for the UK Zapatista Translation Service



November 29, 2016

Ayotzinapa: It Was the Army

Filed under: Repression — Tags: , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 10:49 am



Ayotzinapa: It Was the Army




‘The True Night of Iguala’, Book by Anabel Hernandez

Aristegui Noticias: On the orders of a drug cartel capo, soldiers of the 27th Infantry Battalion carried out an operation to retrieve a shipment of heroin with an estimated value of $2 million dollars, which was hidden in two buses taken by the Ayotzinapa normal school students in the Iguala bus station on the evening of September 26, 2014. So the book ‘The True Night of Iguala’ reveals.

Based on interviews with a key Guerrero drug trafficker and the direct testimony of others, the journalist, Anabel Hernández, broadens and deepens what was previously reported in the magazine Proceso, on how the Battalion took control of Iguala during the hours that the 43 youths from the Raúl Isidro Burgos Rural Normal School were disappeared, whose fate is still unknown.

Hernández received a hitherto hidden document from the PGR [Attorney General’s Office], in which the General Inspector of the agency called for an investigation of the 27 Infantry Battalion. By presidential orders, the investigation was stopped, the journalist says. César Chávez Alejandro Flores, the visitor who drew up the “legal technical evaluation”, was forced to submit his resignation to the Attorney General last September.

The document PGR obtained by the reporter, states: “It is instructed … that the investigation be extended with respect to Captain José Martínez Crespo such that he testify about the allegations that have been made regarding his possible links with organized crime and the result be sent to the Deputy Attorney General for Specialized Investigation of Organized Crime (SEIDO).”

In addition, it instructs that there be an assessment of the possible “remiss behaviour that may have been incurred by 27th Infantry Battalion staff, based in Iguala, Guerrero,” in order “to have data and sufficient evidence to widen the investigation regarding possible crimes which could be attributed to them, such as concealment, abuse of authority or any other unlawful act in the exercise of their functions.”

If the case of Ayotzinapa rocked the country, ‘The True Night of Iguala’ represents another jolt of great significance.

The collaboration of the military with drug traffickers is revealed in the book: “On the night of September 26, 2014, a drug dealer with a significant level of operations in Guerrero, who was in Iguala, was informed that students from the Ayotzinapa Normal School were aboard two buses in which a shipment of heroin with a value of at least two million dollars was hidden. The students did not know that they were traveling with the precious cargo and that their destiny was bound to it.

“Although the capo was accustomed to trafficking several tons of heroin, the amount that the buses were carrying was not small, and he could not allow that theft, although it was accidental. If he tolerated it, control of his turf would be lost.

“‘If you kill for twenty thousand dollars, then for two million? It’s a way of operating. The recovery of the merchandise was a matter of money and an issue of authority, if the robbery were allowed, then there would be more,’ explained one credible informant with whom several meetings were held during fifteen months of this investigation.

“The drug trafficker in question had at least eight years working in the state, first as a collaborator with Arturo Beltrán Leyva, with whom he smuggled drugs into the United States as a minority partner. He eventually acquired more power, and managed to maintain a discreet profile; his name is never mentioned in the criminal cases of other members of that cartel.

“In 2009, when Arturo Beltrán Leyva was killed [by the military] in Cuernavaca, the boss decided to continue with his own operations, using Guerrero as a basis. In order to have control of the area, he had on his payroll soldiers from the 27th and 41st Infantry Battalions, Federal Police, Guerrero State Ministerial [investigative] Police, Federal Ministerial Police, Iguala Municipal Police and various officials from nearby municipalities, as well as in the mountains, where poppies are grown and processed into heroin.

“When the loss of the precious cargo was reported to him, the boss would have made a call to the infantry Colonel José Rodríguez Pérez, Commander of the 27th Battalion, asking him to recover the goods at any cost. The Army was the security force that had the most authority in the city. Perhaps the drug trafficker didn’t realize the magnitude of the operation to recover the drugs.

“‘The Army itself was the one that led the operation to rescue the drugs,’ said the source of information who was aware of the facts.

“The expert ballistics studies obtained in this investigation, as well as the way the facts fit together, suggests that the Estrella de Oro buses #1568 and #1531 were loaded with drugs and were the target of attacks that night. They stopped the first at the intersection of Juan N. Alvarez and Periferico Norte [North Ring Road] and the second on the Iguala-Mezcala road near the Palace of Justice, with the help of the Municipal Police of Iguala Huitzuco and Cocula and of the Federal Police and the Ministerial Police of Guerrero.

“According to this version, at the time the military rescued the drugs from the buses, the students on board would have realized what they were extracting from the compartments, an unforeseen event that suddenly detonated the need to disappear them so as not to leave witnesses.”

‘The Real Night of Iguala’ indicates that the drug trafficker sought only to recover the merchandise and “left everything in the hands of the military.” “No drug cartel ignites its own turf … that’s absurd,” the journalist told Aristegui Noticias. … [the Spanish article gives further recounting of details of the night and evidence collected.]

The book, published by Penguin Random House, under its Grijalbo label, will be released at the beginning of next week and will be presented on December 1 at the Guadalajara International Book Fair.



November 28, 2016

Chiapas: Indigenous Pilgrimage shows the “Green” Government how to care for the Earth

Filed under: Indigenous, Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 5:09 pm


Chiapas:  Indigenous Pilgrimage shows the “Green” Government how to care for the Earth




Chiapas, México. 18 November. “We invite children, young people to teach them how to plant corn, beans, everything that we have in our lands. So that we don’t forget the Mayan altar which is all we have. At the Mayan altar we can thank God. We are millionaires because of the riches from our seeds and our lands.” These are the words of the original people from Tseltal, Tsotsil and Ch’ol communities as they arrived in the city of Ocosingo. on the fifth day of their pilgrimage

“We have to care for our lands, and no longer use agrochemicals because they kill everything which is in the land. Our grandparents did not use agrochemicals, they worked and it was their sweat of their labour that bore fruit, and that is what we must show young people, that it still can be done that way today,” shared Maria, a member of “Canan Lum Qu’inal” (The Carers and Protectors of Mother Earth) from the community of Bachajon.

Ana, also from “Canan Lum Qu’inal”, talked about some of the work she does in her village:  “I don’t know how to read or write, and I buy nothing. With my sweat, and alongside my husband, I work, and we have everything.” I grow 4 types of beans. My children study, and they like to work the land. They have their own corn and beans, which they plant themselves. They are on a diploma-course. From the very beginning they have been taught that we must work the land. Although I don’t know how to read, I understand what we’ve been told, what we’ve been given, and I am grateful to God. Now we continue with the other diploma-students, we are teaching them to plant and grow food.”

This pilgrimage of indigenous peoples denounces the extractive mega-projects in Chiapas just as the state executive Velasco Coello from the “Ecologist ‘Green’ party” delivered a letter of intention that “Puerto Chiapas be established as a Special Economic Zone. According to social researcher Mateo Crossa, “Big foreign and national capital are already in the southern part of the country. They over-exploit the labour force, strip the indigenous people of their lands.”  The Special Economic Zones serve to rejuvenate this model, and add fuel to the motor of exploitation and dispossession.

Pilgrims from the the parish of San Jacinto de Polania in Ocosingo said in a statement.“We denounce the influence of government agencies such as CONAFOR, FANAR (RAJAS at present) and in general of all government projects in the indigenous communities of the jungle. The end result is serious confrontation and irreparable division among the inhabitants, and this causes misery in our communities. The indigenous peoples of this area are once again demonstrating for the non-eviction of our communities of the Lacandon Jungle,” they added.

The pilgrimage in Defense of Life and our Land, which is taking place from 15 to 25 November isn’t the only signal of people’s actions demonstrating opposition to the extractive mega-projects in the state. In the past month of October, the Zoque community held mega-marches in town centre of Tecpatan, the administrative head town of the municipality. Similarly since the 26th of September coastal communities in Chiapas are occupying Acacoyagua to stop the operation and continuing work of new mining projects.

This Saturday the 19th the pilgrimage will arrive in the city of Altamirano, where a public meeting about the situation of alcoholism in indigenous communities will be held and, on Sunday the 20th in Oxchuc, the administrative head town, an exchange of community government experiences will be held.

Ocosingo, Chiapas, 18 November 2016: Statement from the “pueblo creyente” of the Parish of San Jacinto de Polonia, Diocese of San Cristóbal de las Casas.


Translated by the UK Zapatista Translation Service



Threats to Simojovel Parishioners

Filed under: Indigenous, Uncategorized — Tags: , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 11:53 am


Threats to Simojovel Parishioners


puebloMarcelo Perez (Photo@ Red TdT)


On November 4, Simojovel Believing Peoples released a statement announcing the renewal of threats and attacks against the priest Marcelo Perez Perez.

“As community human rights defenders, we also affirm, if anything happens to any member of the Believing Peoples, especially the threatened women and their children or our parish priest Marcelo Perez, those immediately responsible will be Ramiro Gomez Dominguez, Juan Gomez Dominguez and Cleopatra Flores del Carpio, in complicity with the State for protecting the Gomez Dominguez brothers,” they argue.

In the statement they say that on November 9, Gilberto Martinez Lara, 52, was kidnapped and found dead before midday.

They point out that on when Juan Gomez was released from prison on January 19 last, gunshots in the neighbourhoods increased and “on November 4 and 5 Juan Gomez Dominguez was in Simojovel and five days after Juan Gómez’s visit, the kidnapping and murder of Gilberto Martínez Lara occurred.”

Furthermore, they specify that on November 2, around 12:30 pm, in the middle of the celebration of the mass in the municipal cemetery of Simojovel de Allende, members of the Believing Peoples who were there realized that three people were photographing and recording the priest and his companions.

“Based on this fact and feeling harassed, a member of Believing Peoples approached and questioned one of them saying why do they follow us and take pictures of us? (sic). This person responding nervously: ‘We provide protection on behalf of the Attorney General’s Office and the photographs are to verify our work.’”

“We do not know if these people really are from the government or are from organized crime; in view of the risk situation in which we live, we don’t trust suspicious actions and if these people were from the Attorney General’s Office, as we have said, they are responsible for the impunity, violence and the freedom of the Gomez Dominguez brothers,” they conclude.


Posted by Dorset Chipas Solidarity



Convocation for the Second Phase of the Fifth National Indigenous Congress

Filed under: CNI, Zapatistas — Tags: , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 11:20 am

Convocation for the Second Phase of the Fifth National Indigenous Congress



Given that:

1. During the first phase of the Fifth National Indigenous Congress, we analyzed and discussed in depth the different faces of the capitalist war on our peoples. We agreed that it is urgent to halt the displacement, destruction, disrespect, oblivion, and death to which our peoples are subjected and which seek to put an end to our individual and collective resistances and leave our homeland in the hands of the capitalists that govern this country and this world.

2. It is urgent to struggle, to take serious steps and go on the offensive alongside the peoples of the countryside and the city, indigenous and non-indigenous, to construct a new nation from below.

3. We agreed to remain in permanent assembly while carrying out a consultation in all of our geographies on the resolutions reached October 9-14, 2016, with respect to the formation of an Indigenous Governing Council, to be represented by an indigenous woman who is a CNI delegate who will run for the Mexican presidency in the electoral process of 2018.




15032912_1292407087490057_6691877084545519357_nTo be held December 29, 30, and 31, 2016, and January 1, 2017, in the Zapatista Caracol of Oventik. This Congress will have decisive capacity with regard to the agreements proposed in the first phase of the Fifth National Indigenous Congress as well as with regard to any agreements reached during this second phase. The Congress will be carried out according to the following schedule:

December 29:

  1. Arrival and registration of CNI commissions.
  2. Opening ceremony.

December 30: Closed plenary session to discuss:

  1. The installation of the second phase of the Fifth National Indigenous Congress.
  2. The report on the results of the internal consultation by the commission named for this purpose.
  3. Evaluation of the results of the internal consultation in work groups.
  4. Determination of the paths the CNI will take in the face of capitalist displacement, repression, disrespect, and exploitation, and the strengthening of our resistances and rebellions.
  5. The steps to be taken toward the constitution of an Indigenous Governing Council for Mexico.

December 31: The work group discussions continue.

January 1: Plenary Session in the Zapatista Caracol of Oventik.

With regard to the above, and based on the agreements, reflections, and results that come out of the work around the internal consultation that is being carried out in each of the geographies of our peoples, we ask the peoples, nations, and tribes who make up the National Indigenous Congress to name delegates who will discuss and agree upon the steps to take. These delegates should register at the official email address:

In addition, as agreed during the general meeting of the Provisional Coordinating Commission held November 26, 2011, at the UNIOS facilities in Mexico City, we ask that the results of the consultation—as acts, minutes, pronunciations, or other forms that reflect the consensuses reached according to the methods of each people, nation, or tribe—be submitted by December 15 at the latest to the email address:

The points put forward in this convocation will be discussed in closed sessions December 30 and 31, 2016, in which EXCLUSIVELY CNI delegates may participate. Compañer@s of the National and International Sixth as well as accredited media may participate in the January 1, 2017 plenary, or in any moment that the assembly deems appropriate.

Members of the National and International Sixth, special invitees of the CNI, as well as media who want to participate as observers in the open sessions of the second phase of the Fifth CNI should register beforehand at the email address:


cni-ezln__-1November 26, 2016

For the Full Reconstitution of Our Peoples

Never Again a Mexico Without Us

National Indigenous Congress

Zapatista Army for National Liberation



November 27, 2016

EZLN: A Story to Try to Understand

Filed under: Uncategorized — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 1:43 pm


EZLN: A Story to Try to Understand



November 17, 2016.


To the national and international Sixth:


To those who sympathize with and support the struggle of originary peoples:


To those who are anticapitalists:


Compañeras, compañeros, compañeroas:


Brothers and sisters:


We wrote this extensive text together, Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés, spokesperson and current head of the EZLN, and I, consulting on certain details with some of the Comandantas and Comandantes of the Zapatista delegation who attended the first phase of the Fifth Congress of the National Indigenous Congress.


Although now, as on other occasions, the task of actually writing it down falls to me, it is Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés who reads, adds or subtracts, approves or rejects not just this text, but all those published as authentic writings by the EZLN. Not infrequently through these writings, I will use the first person singular pronoun. The reason for this will be understood later on. Although the primary audience of the following lines is the Sixth, we have decided to extend it to those who, without being with us or one of us, have identical concerns and similar work. Here goes:






0___laconsultava-copiaSome years ago, the creativity and ingenuity of some collective of the Sixth produced a phrase which, with the passage of time, was attributed to Zapatismo. As you know, we are against copyright, but we don’t usually claim words or actions that are not ours. However, although not of our authorship, the statement does in part reflect our feelings as Zapatistas.


Put forward by the Sixth, which was attacked with crude blackmail and threats (as is the case once again) for their skepticism toward the “power” of the institutional electoral ballot boxes, the phrase reaches further and defines what is lacking and limited in one form of struggle, the electoral one:

Our dreams don’t fit in your ballot boxes,” it was and is said.


As Zapatistas, we subscribed to this statement then…and now. It has the virtue of saying a lot in few words (now a forgotten art). But, from this side of the ski mask, from who we are, we add: “and neither do our nightmares.”


Sure, we could have said “and neither do our dead,” but it turns out that, in these fateful times, pain has extended even further. It is no longer just natural death that is responsible for separating us from those we miss today. In our case, for example, this includes Insurgent Infantry Sublieutenant Hernán Omar (one of our own since before the uprising, snatched from our side and that of his compañera and son by cancer; we send them a special embrace on this first birthday without him). Now this separation is increasingly caused by murder, disappearances, prisons, and kidnappings.


If you are poor, you’re vulnerable; if you are a woman, you’re even more vulnerable. It is as if the system wasn’t satisfied with attacking you for what you are, and gave itself the macabre task of eliminating you altogether. That is, you aren’t just the object of sexual assault and violence. What has happened in this system that makes “natural” and even “logical” (“yes, they were asking for it,” society says) not only rape, but also kidnapping, disappearance, and murder of women? Yes, women. The democratization of gender-based hatred equalizes ages, races, colours, heights, weights, creeds, ideologies, and activism or its absence. All differences, except that of class, are diluted in one major flaw: being a woman.


Sure, go ahead and add more possibilities according to your difference: colour, stature, weight, indigenous, afro-descendent, little girl, little boy, elder, young person, gay, lesbian, transgender, your particular way of being, whatever it might be. Yes, this is a system now devoted not just to segregating and disregarding differences, but determined to eliminate them completely. And not just to exterminate them, but to do so with all of the cruelty that modernity is capable of. Death keeps killing, but now more sadistically.


So, what we want to say is that we’re not just missing the dead, but also the disappeared [l@s desaparecid@s] (and with the @ symbol we include not just the masculine and feminine, but also all those who transcend the false gender dichotomy), the kidnapped [l@s secuestr@das], the imprisoned [l@s encarcelad@s].


How many of the missing from Ayotzinapa fit in how many ballot boxes? In which political party project can they be found? Which institutional logo incorporates those who we’re missing?

And what if we’re not even sure that they died? What if it’s not just their absence which hurts, but also the added uncertainty and anguish? (Has he eaten? Is he cold? Is he sick? Has he slept enough? Is anyone comforting him? Does he know I’m still looking for him, that I’ll always be looking for him?)?


The women who have been assaulted, disappeared, murdered across the entire ideological spectrum—in the aspiration for what office, position, or government do they fit?

How many ballots are equal to the children murdered by the PAN [National Action Party] in the ABC Daycare?


Those across the vast expanse of the geographies and calendars of Mexico below who have been exterminated by the PRI [Institutional Revolutionary Party] and its poorly-concealed replicas—whom should they vote for?


In which vote count do those persecuted by the PRD [Party of the Democratic Revolution], accused of the crime of being young people, fit?


Which political party represents the sexual differences, persecuted in public and in private, who are sentenced to a hell on earth and in death as well?


Which logos and slogans of the institutional political parties stain the walls that thousands of migrants—men, women and children—must crawl over only in order to fall into the hands of politicians/criminals/business people responsible for human trafficking?


One could find examples in chronicles, blogs, news reports, press releases, opinion pieces, hashtags, etc., but the certainty always remains that there are many more criminal deeds that get no public mention at all.


Where are the polling place where we denounce the exploitation, repression, displacement and contempt for originary peoples?


In which ballot box should we deposit the pain and rage of the…


Yaqui,                                        Mame,

Kumiai,                                      Huave,

Mayo,                                        Tepehuano,

Cucapá,                                     Matlatzinca,

Tohono O´odham                      Chichimeca,

Raramuri,                                  Guarijío,

Kikapú,                                      Chuj,

Pame,                                       Jacalteco,

Totonaca,                                  Lacandón,

Popoluca,                                  Comca´ac,

Nahua,                                      Wixárika,

Maya Peninsular,                      Kanjobal

Binizáa,                                     Chontal

Mixteco,                                    Chocho,

Hñähñü,                                    Tacuate,

Totonaca,                                  Ocuilteco,

Mazateco,                                 Kekchí,

Purépecha,                               Ixcateco,

Mixe,                                         Motocintleco,

Chinanteco,                              Quiché,

Mazahua,                                  Kakchiquel,

Me´phaa,                                  Paipai,

Téenek,                                    Pápago,

Rarámuri,                                 Cochimí,

Chontal,                                    Ixil,

Amuzgo,                                   Kiliwa,

Ópata,                                       Aguacateco,

Solteco,                                     Mame,

Chatino,                                    Chol,

Papabuco,                                Tzotzil,

Triqui,                                        Zoque,

Cora,                                         Tojolabal

Cuicateco,                                 Tzeltal?



Where does all that fit?


When did the dictatorship of terror and its perverse logic obtain legal status to invade everything and readjust the criteria?


I was lucky, says any man or woman assaulted in the street, at home, at work, on public transportation, they didn’t shoot/stab me.


I was lucky, says the woman who has been beaten and raped, they didn’t kidnap me.


I was lucky, says the child subjected to prostitution, they didn’t burn me alive.


I was lucky, says the gay, lesbian, trans, other [loa otroawhose bones were broken and skin lacerated, they didn’t kill me.


I was lucky, says the labourer, the employee, the worker subjected to more work hours and a lower salary, they didn’t fire me.


I was lucky, says the tortured social leader, they didn’t disappear me.


I was lucky, says the young student murdered and thrown in the street, my family won’t have to look for me.


I was lucky, says the displaced indigenous community, they didn’t exterminate me.


And more:

What poll takes into account the destruction of the Earth? Who do the contaminated waters, the animal species cornered into extinction, the infertile earth, the dirty air, vote for? Where should we deposit the ballot of a dying world?


So it’s true: “our dreams don’t fit in your ballot boxes.”


But neither do our nightmares.


Everyone can be responsible for their own dreams. What remains is to hold accountable those who are responsible for our nightmares. What remains is yet to come…




dsc_0286Yes, the initial and original proposal is ours, from the eezeeelen. We introduced it to the delegates of the Fifth Congress of the National Indigenous Congress [CNI]. This happened October 9, 10, 11 and 13 of the year 2016, at CIDECI-Unitierra in San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico. On these dates there were delegates from the originary peoples, collectives, organizations, barrios, tribes, and nations from the Amuzgo, Binni-zaá, Chinanteco, Chol, Coca, Náyeri, Cuicateco, Kumiai, Lacandón, Matlazinca, Maya, Mayo, Mazahua, Mazateco, Mixe, Mixteco, Nahua, Ñahñu, Ñathô, Popoluca, Purépecha, Rarámuri, Tlapaneco, Tojolabal, Totonaco, Triqui, Tzeltal, Tzotzil, Wixárika, Yaqui, Zoque, and Chontal languages. On October 13, 2016, the plenary of this Fifth Congress of the CNI decided to adopt the proposal and submit it to a consultation among its members. On October 14, 2016, in the morning hours, the CNI and EZLN made this decision public in the document called, “Let the Earth Tremble at its Core.”




No, neither the EZLN as an organization nor any of its members will run for a “popularly elected office” in the 2018 elections.


No, the EZLN will not become a political party.


No, the EZLN will not present an indigenous Zapatista woman as a candidate for the presidency of the Republic in the year 2018.


No, the EZLN has not “altered its course” to any degree, nor has it reoriented its struggle to the institutional electoral path.


So, the EZLN won’t be running an indigenous Zapatista woman for president of the Republic?


They won’t participate directly in the elections of 2018?




Why not? Because of their weapons?


No. Those who think that are categorically incorrect: we Zapatistas took up arms to make use of them, not to be enslaved to them.


So then, is it because the institutional electoral political system is corrupt, unfair, fraudulent and illegitimate?


No. Even if it were transparent, equitable, just and legitimate, we Zapatistas would not participate in order to gain and exercise Power through holding political office, position, or institutional appointment.


But, in certain circumstances, for strategic and/or tactical reasons, would you participate directly in order to be able to execute a particular job post?


No. Not even if “the masses” demand it of us; not even if this “historical juncture” needs our “participation”; not for “the Homeland,” “the Nation,” “the People,” “the Proletariat” (ok, that one is already really outdated), or whatever other abstract or concrete concept is hoisted up as a pretence (disguising, or not, some personal, family, group or class ambition); and despite the moment, the convergence of the stars, the prophecies, the stock market, the manual of historical materialism, the Popol Vuh, the polls, the esoteric, “the concrete analysis of concrete reality,” and the convenient etcetera.


Then why?


Because the EZLN does not struggle in order to take Power.




dsc_0298You think they didn’t offer us this and more before? That they haven’t offered us [political] office, perks, positions, embassies, consulates, “all-inclusive” foreign travel, in addition to the budgets that go with them? You think they didn’t offer to convert us into an institutional political party, or incorporate us into one of the already existing ones or the ones that will form in order to “enjoy the privileges of the law” (as they say)?


Did we accept? No.


We weren’t offended; we understand that ambition, or lack of imagination, or short-sightedness, or the lack of knowledge (as well as, of course, not knowing how to read) have led some to the imperative to join an institutional political party, then leave it and move on to another, then leave it and form another, and then onto whatever follows. We understand that the excuse of “changing the system from within” still works for some. For us, it does not.


But, in the case of the Zapatista leadership and troops, our negation isn’t only in the face of institutional Power, but also in the face of the autonomous forms and processes that the communities create and intensify day after day.


For example, no insurgente or insurgenta, whether from the commanding ranks or the troops, and no comandanta or comandante from the CCRI [Indigenous Revolutionary Clandestine Committee] can be authorities at the community level, or in the autonomous municipality, or in the different bodies of autonomous organization. They cannot be autonomous advisors, or Juntas de Buen Gobierno [Good Government Councils], or hold commission duties, or any of the responsibilities designated by assembly, created or yet to be created in the construction of our autonomy—that is, our freedom.

Our work, our task as the eezeeelen is to serve our communities, accompany them, support them, not rule them. Support them, yes—sometimes we achieve that. And yes, true, sometimes we get in the way, but then it’s the Zapatista communities who give us a smack (or several, depending), so that we correct ourselves.




All this would not need to be clarified and reaffirmed if there had been a close reading of the text titled “Let the Earth Tremble at its Core,” made public the morning of October 14, 2016.


No, we did not participate in the writing of that declaration. The text was written by the provisional commission named by the CNI assembly and then passed on to us. We didn’t add or take out even a single comma or period.


We made it our own exactly as the delegates of the CNI wrote it. But, as we have seen, functional illiteracy does not respect ideological borders nor political party symbols: expressions, evaluations, and opinions which vacillate between racism and stupidity have emerged from across the political spectrum. Yes, we’ve seen part of the institutional (and marginal) left intelligentsia coincide with that panista [PAN party supporter] defender of “feminism,” “honour,” “honesty,” “inclusion,” “tolerance”: Diego Fernández de Cevallos, who now dedicates himself, along with Antonio Lozano Gracia (the esoteric version of “Law and Order”) to hiding ex?governors on the run.[i] Has anyone forgotten La Calderona[ii] applauding furiously when the aforementioned Fernández de Cevallos, as 1994 presidential candidate, referred to women with the “affectionate” term of “viejerío” and to campesinos as “calzonudos”?[iii] Is La Calderona the symbol of the empowerment for women up above, or simply a front for a dissatisfied psychopath? Is anyone fooled by the fact that she still uses her “maiden” name?


As we will tell you later on, the CNI delegates to the Fifth Congress warned that the deep-seated racism in Mexican society was an obstacle to moving the initiative forward.


We told them it wasn’t just racism, but that in the Mexican political class, there is also a deep disrespect. For that class, originary peoples aren’t even a hindrance anymore, just an old piece of furniture that should be tossed to the past adorned with quotes from the Popol Vuh, multi-coloured embroideries and second-hand dolls. Politics above sees through indigenous people, as if they were the forgotten glass beads of some conquistador, or the anachronistic remains of a past trapped in “magisterial” codices, books, and conferences. For institutional politics, originary peoples do not exist, and when they “reappear” (as they say above), then it’s the dirty manoeuvring of some perverse and all-powerful mind. After 524 years, they only conceive of indigenous people as incompetent, stupid, and ignorant. If the originary peoples do something, it’s because they’re being manipulated; if they think something, it’s because someone is misleading them. For the politicians above, across the political spectrum, there will always be a “foreign enemy” behind indigenous peoples.


The world of institutional politics is not only incredibly closed-off and compact—no. It is also where “popularity” reigns over rationality, beastliness over intelligence, and shamelessness over a minimum of decency.


The fact that the paid media tamper with information in order to convert it into a commodity is common knowledge. In any case, reporters have to eat somehow, and it’s understandable that for them, the “news report” that the EZLN will run a Zapatista woman in the elections will sell more than telling the truth—that it’s the CNI who will decide whether or not to participate with one of their own delegates, and in that case, she can count on the support of Zapatismo.


We understand that the lack of information is also a commodity. Reporters and editors earned their daily bread, okay (yes, you’re welcome colleagues, no, no need to thank us, no really, I’ll pass).


But for those who claim to be educated and thinking people who supposedly know how to read and write and who have access to a minimum of information, teach in centres of higher education, have emeritus status, collect their grants and salaries without fail, and travel around selling “knowledge”—for them not to read what the document “Let the earth tremble at its core” clearly states, and then go say and write all kinds of foolishness, well that…how do I put this gently?…that makes them shameless charlatans.


It’s as if the 140 characters and the sealed glass house of the media have become a wall that negates reality, that expels it and declares it illegal. Whatever doesn’t fit in a tweet doesn’t exist, they confer and agree among themselves. And the paid media know it: “no one will read a 6-page document closely, so we’ll write a summary of whatever and the ‘opinion leaders’ on social media will accept it as truth.” Thus follows a whole string of nonsense which hastens a hysterical purging which may provoke the collapse of the immense kingdom of the blue bird.


Imagine the contempt these people hold for the originary peoples whose existence they do not even recognize. Despite the fact that the text clearly states “an indigenous woman delegate of the CNI,” the magic of stupidity erases “of the CNI” and replaces it with “of the EZLN.”

And then? Well, next comes a cascade of positioning, commentaries, opinions, critiques, condemnations, likes and dislikes, thumbs up and down, and more than a few raised middle fingers.


When someone who did take the trouble to read the original text timidly indicates that the possible candidate would be from the CNI and not the EZLN and that, ergo, it’s not the EZLN who will participate in the elections, everybody comes down on them: “nah, it’s all a crude manipulation by the sockhead.[iv]


Then there were those who demanded, almost immediately, that we first “liberate” Chiapas (yes, that’s what they wrote). Of course, since in Chiapas one can find the territories of the Yaqui, Kumiai, Rarámuri, Nahua, Zapoteco, Mixteco, Chinanteco, Totonaco, Popoluca, Peninsular Maya, Wixaritari, just to name a few. When they were mocked they tried to correct their error and at least consulted google as to who the hell were these other indigenous people “manipulated by the sockhead,” realizing then that these people don’t live in Chiapas (which, by the way, would imply that the manipulative abilities of the deceased one exceed the boundaries of the “mountains of the Mexican southeast”).


After consulting with compa lawyers, I asked Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés, and [the answer was] no. On our behalf there would be no lawsuits taken to the CONAPRED (National Commission to Prevent Discrimination) for violation of the first article of the Political Constitution of the United States of Mexico and the Federal Law to Prevent and Eliminate Discrimination, nor against the tribunals for disclosing “inexact or false” information which causes “a grievance, whether political, economic, of honour, private life and/or image.”


No, we do not know whether the National Indigenous Congress (which has in its ranks more than a few specialists in jurisprudence) will conduct any suits in that respect.


We also do not know if the students, readers, followers and those who pay their salaries and grants will proceed judicially against them for fraud (fraud: deception, giving the appearance of truth to that which is false), according to Article 386 of the Federal Penal Code: “A person who deceives someone or takes advantage of a mistaken belief in order to illegally obtain something or achieve undeserved profit, is committing fraud.”




However, there have been, are, and will be legitimate and rational doubts and questions (the great majority but not all from compas of the Sixth). In this text we will try to answer these doubts and questions to the extent we can. Our words will almost surely not be sufficient. But we will take into account all of the critiques, from across the political and ideological spectrum, made with a minimum of rationality, respect, and accurate information that correspond to us.


Here it is necessary to make one thing clear to everyone: the proposal is no longer in the hands of Zapatismo. As of October 13, 2016, the proposal ceased to be only ours and became a joint one shared by the Fifth Congress of the CNI.


What’s more, as of the day that the CNI consultation began, the acceptance, rejection, and/or modification of the proposal corresponds strictly and exclusively to the originary peoples, collectives, organization, barrios, tribes, and nations organized in the National Indigenous Congress. Not to the EZLN. The result of this consultation and the corresponding decisions, if there are any, will be made known during the second phase of the Fifth Congress, December 29, 30, and 31 of 2016 and January 1 of 2017, in Chiapas, Mexico, or before if the CNI so decides.




Of course, you might be asking why we made this proposal, if we continue to think the way we have said we do since the beginning of our struggle, and that we have once again ratified today. Well, that’s what I’m going to tell you now.


When Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés told me that it was my job to explain this to the Sixth, I asked him how I should do it. “It’s simple,” he answered, “just tell them what happened.” So that’s what I’ll do…




We haven’t been able to determine the exact date. The two of us agree that it was in the years 2013-2014. Although the deceased SupMarcos wasn’t dead yet, his death had already been decided and Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés was already the head of the EZLN and the first sightings of the Hydra began to emerge more clearly.


I don’t know how it is out there, but here ideas don’t arise in any particular moment, nor do they have a precise author. They are born and later they gain shape, sometimes managing to achieve the form of a proposal, later an initiative. Others, the majority, remain as just ideas. It takes months, years, sometimes decades to cross over from idea to proposal. And if this occurs, it is enough for the idea to become concretized in words in order to begin its stumbling path.


The idea also did not come from a formal meeting. If you pressured me, I’d say it began in the wee hours of the morning amid coffee and tobacco. We were analyzing what the various sentinel posts detected, and the profound changes that, although in existence for a while already, were now becoming manifest in the Zapatista communities.


I’d say that Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés initiated the idea. I’m almost sure something so hare-brained and absurd would not have come from me.


But whatever the case, it wasn’t until SubMoy said it out loud that we began to think about it seriously, through the famous Zapatista method of turning the idea over and over until we get to where we want to be, that is, the “day after.”


Let’s begin at the beginning, that is, with the difficulties and obstacles. If these are big enough to qualify as a challenge, then the idea goes to the second phase: what it has going against it. After that, and only after that, we analyze what it has going for it, the pros. That is, we don’t decide whether to take it forward until we know if it’s worthwhile. So first is the question of what, then the cons and the pros of the how, then the where and the when (the calendar and the geography), and at the end of the beginning, the who.


All of this doesn’t come from one person, but rather moves into larger and larger collectives. That is how, through questions, it gets rounded out, first by consulting the “elders” who are comités [CCRI] (we refer here to those of greatest seniority who know our history first hand), then consulting those who have been incorporated into the work of the organizational leadership, then those who are “suplentes” (that is, those who will replace the top ranks), then finally, those who are still training, the “candidat@s” (that is, those who are preparing to start doing this work). I’m talking here about hundreds of heads, of thoughts, of comings and goings of the word, of listening ears; I’m talking about a collective heart that begins to grow, becoming bigger and bigger.


The next step has to do with the answer to the question, “Who will do it?” If this corresponds to the autonomous authorities, then the consultation goes on to them; if it corresponds to the communities, then there is a general consultation, which includes everyone. If it doesn’t correspond to either of these entities, then we have to ask who it does involve, sometimes directly, sometimes indirectly. If that “who” answers in the affirmative, then we have to consult with everyone to determine if we support this initiative or not.


We were in this process for at least 2-3 years. That is, the idea came and went, never going further. A while later, I was told to feel it out with people close to us. I did so.


Another while later, at the dawn of this year of 2016, Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés called me and said: “There’s work at hand, we have to talk about it.”


His tone unsettled me: the last time I heard that tone I ended up dead and reborn in a single day, just a little over two years ago. Nevertheless, I went to the meeting.


It must have been the first of January of this year, 2016, the 22nd anniversary of the uprising. There wasn’t anyone else in the hut of the General Command of the EZLN, which SubMoy has occupied as of over three years ago. The coffee was cold but there was sufficient tobacco. He explained to me in broad strokes, as he tends to do, as if he was thinking out loud. He explained the cons, the pros, and then he waited. I understood that it was my turn. The idea, as I already explained, had already been maturing for a while, so I limited myself to refining the cons and adding question marks to the pros. The “who” was beyond us, and everything that doesn’t have to do directly with us is an enigma. When SubMoy responded to my question of “who” with a laconic “the one with the birthday” (that is, the CNI, which turned 20), the uncertainty lessened: we had known each other for two decades and the National Indigenous Congress was the most solid initiative that had arisen since we emerged into public. The CNI had remained, with ups and downs, faithful to its roots, and although its pain was far from media coverage, it represented the sector most battered by the Hydra. Even so, this only heightened our doubt.


“The truth is,” I told him, “We can’t really know what will happen. This idea is going to unravel various knots and what will result is totally unknown. We don’t know if the National Indigenous Congress will accept, much less if the Sixth will understand. And well, since those above don’t think but rather react from the gut, they’re going to break things that it may be impossible to put back together. It is very risky. Right now, watching and analyzing what is going on out there, I think it’s more likely that it turns out badly then that it turns out well.”


SubMoy set his coffee cup aside and lit a cigarette. “Indeed, that is where you come in. You know well that our style is to prepare for things to turn out badly—remember the uprising and everything that followed. So, if things go badly, then we will need…”


I got ahead of myself and interrupted him: “An alternate plan?”


He laughed heartily and said, “No, we need someone to blame for it turning out badly.”


In broad strokes, Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés recalled bits of the film “La Ley de Herodes,” and when I thought that he was going linger on the final speech of Representative Vargas (the history of a mediocre man who becomes a criminal and later a governing official, sound familiar?) he referred instead to the part about “There’s good news and there’s bad news.”


(Superfluous note: “La Ley de Herodes” is a film by Luis Estrada, with Martín Torres as directing assistant; story and screen play by Jaime Sampietro, Fernando León, Vicente Leñero, and Luis Estrada himself; photography by Norman Christianson; music by Santiago Ojeda; makeup by Alfredo Mora and Felipe Salazar. Along with “El Infierno,” also by Luis Estrada, with the great Joaquín Cosío in the cast in the role of “Cochiloco,” these are the only films that have managed to displace those of Jean Claude Van Damme from the top of the movie fan list in the Zapatista communities and encampments).


Later he added: “We have to plan first how to deal with the bad news.”


It didn’t take much to guess that the bad news was the failure of the initiative. And I’m not referring to its lack of success per se, but rather that it could be rejected by the CNI, who, if they accepted it, would become the indisputable protagonist of something that would astonish Mexico and the world.

Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés continued with the details.


“Look, the first thing that will worry the CNI is that they will be accused of betraying their word, that they will be stepping into shit, that they will be straying from their path, that they will be giving in. That they will be accused of letting themselves be convinced by the system and wanting money, that is, Power, to rule, to be like everybody else. They will be accused of surrendering, selling out. They will most certainly hear these critiques, but I am sure that they have the clear-headedness and thinking to respond adequately. But the problems is who will listen to them. They will be attacked harshly and won’t be given the opportunity to defend themselves.


But that is where we can help out. If we, that is, you, put yourself forward to receive the critiques and attacks, then the CNI will be able to see not only those who emerge to say something, but also the points in favor or against that they couldn’t make out until the proposal became public. All of this is going to help them decide yes or no.”


He continued on. He created something like a spoken portrait of exactly what has happened over the last 4 weeks. He said who would say what, who would be against and why, what the Ruler would think, who would be confused, who would be hopeful, who would extend their vulture’s wings, and who would support the whole process because they knew exactly what was at stake.


After several hours of questions and answers, I said, “But for this I don’t need to be present. A few communiques, maybe an interview would be sufficient. That’s how the media is, they will think that nothing has changed, that they can do the same as always. Those above, well, they are so predictable it’s boring. They’ll come out with their accusations of protagonism, manipulation, division. You’re right about one thing, they’ll definitely concentrate on one person. But, I repeat, none of that requires that I be in attendance. What’s more, they’re so predictable that even if I don’t say anything at all they’ll come out against me.”


“No,” said SubMoy, “you have to present the proposal. Not only because when they see you there they’re going to say it’s all your sleight of hand and the cons we expected will play out just as we expected, but also because the compas of the CNI will understand that it isn’t something that only has to do with the indigenous peoples. It’s bigger, much bigger.”


He lit another cigarette and continued:


“As big, or bigger, than January 1, 1994.”


That was no small claim, given who it was coming from. Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés is not only a war veteran, but came to the EZLN long before the beginning of the war. On January 1, 1994, he was responsible for commanding the regiment that took the plaza of the municipal seat of Las Margaritas, while carrying the already lifeless body of Subcomandante Insurgente Pedro. Years later, he would become responsible for the Zapatista communities. On October 26, 2010, he was promoted to the rank of Subcomandante Insurgente, the highest rank in the EZLN’s military hierarchy. In 2012, “the day of the end of the world,” he was the one who organized and coordinated the silent mobilization of more than 40,000 men, women, children, and elder Zapatistas who, on that date, surprised the world. On February 14, 2013, he became Zapatista spokesperson and chief. Since then, all of our public words and any national or international initiative we make must have his approval.


He was and is right: the task is so, so terrible and marvellous that it could be bigger than that January 1, 1994 that marked us so indelibly.


“Even if the CNI rejects the proposal, just the act of thinking about it, discussing it, the dialogue itself will mean that they are no longer the same, because they will move from the “this is being done to us,” to “we are going to do something,” and this will take them to a new manner of thinking,” Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés continued.


“And they won’t be alone,” he said almost at the end, “in addition to us, they will have at their side the arts and the sciences.”


Before leaving, I asked him why the National Indigenous Congress. Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés got up to accompany me to the door and answered:


“Because they are the only ones who can do what we can’t.”


Later on what happened, happened. The democratic teachers’ organizations reaffirmed their rebellion; the originary peoples continued to suffer attacks, displacements, disrespect; the Hydra continued devouring worlds; and the CompArte exploded in colours, sounds, shapes, and movements that were merely the prelude to what was to come: a terrible and marvellous earthquake.


Still on the eve of the events, I asked Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés if there were any changes. “What we said before, prepare yourself to head out,” he answered me without adding anything else.


We arrived at CIDECI on October 9, when the afternoon was already hanging its stained clothes on the trees and houses. Later, when the night became master of calendar and geography, the CNI delegations began arriving. The road they had to travel to arrive was not a short one.


We had followed closely each and every process of the CNI, their public and private words. The CNI is the only space where the originary peoples can be heard. We knew that soon, to the number of murdered, disappeared, imprisoned, and beaten, would be added the cadavers of entire territories.


“When the territory of an originary people, nation, tribe, or barrio is displaced or destroyed,” our Tata Grande Juan Chávez Alonso used to say, indigenous Purépecha who was master and guide of the CNI and the EZLN, “the originary peoples who have their roots and home in it die with it. And when an originary people dies, a world is extinguished.”


We knew already at that point that in the work sessions and minutes of this Congress there would be fewer worlds. More than a few had arrived to say goodbye, although they did not know it yet.

We have to start, now,” Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés told me, “we have to share the load….”




On October 9, 2016, it was already night-time when we asked to have some initial meetings with those who were arriving. We met in one corner of the CIDECI-Unitierra facilities. The Zapatista delegation sat across from the arriving CNI delegates. Let me tell you a little about the Zapatista delegation: there were 34 people, 17 women and 17 men. Of those, only 7 were “the elders”; the other 27 were comandantas and comandantes who had been children or youth when we rose up on the f January 1, 1994.


We greeted one another with a handshake. Everyone sat down except for Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés and me. He gave me a signal. I started to speak, trying to remember everything that we had previously discussed, explaining what, more or less, would have to be repeated the next day, October 10, in the closed plenary, and then again in the open plenary on October 13:


We think that we must make a decision as the CNI and the EZLN. We have to decide if this Fifth Congress is like other meetings where we speak of our suffering, discuss our resistances, complain, curse the system, declare that we won’t give up, and then each of us goes back to our land to continue to keep track of the aggressions, displacements, injustices, and deaths.


Our pain reaches less and less people. Our dead don’t find the same echo that they once did. And this isn’t because people from the outside have become cynical or apathetic. It’s that the war that we have been enduring for a long time as originary peoples has now reached them too, it is in their streets, in their houses, in their schools, in their workplaces. Our suffering is now one among many others. Yet despite the fact that this pain now extends further and deeper, we are more alone than ever. There will increasingly be fewer of us.


Soon the CNI will not even be able to meet because they will not be able to leave their territories, either because of a lack of money, because of the bad government, because of the corporations, because of crime, or because of death that comes naturally or is imposed. A little further down the road we will only be talking amongst ourselves, knowing in advance what we are going to say.


You, delegates to the CNI, are here because you were sent here, because your peoples, nations, tribes, and barrios seek help, they seek words and listening ears to relieve and comfort them. You come to speak and listen. Your responsibility is to your people, not to anyone else. Everything is very bad and, you and we both know, it’s going to get worse. We have to do something.”


I told them an anecdote about something that happened to the deceased SupMarcos during the Other Campaign 10 years ago.


He explained that, in an originary nation in the Northwest of Mexico, he met with an indigenous leader. As in other situations, the deceased was criticized because that leader had previously received representatives of the institutional government. The deceased said that he had not been sent to judge, condemn, or absolve this man, but to listen because one day he would be needed. The indigenous leader met with him, separately and in private.


The leader said to the deceased: “I know very well that they didn’t want you to meet with me, that they have put pressure on you to not be here. They have also pressured me not to meet with you. I don’t know why you are here. I imagine that those who sent you here told you to come and see and listen. I don’t know. But I will tell you why I am meeting with you. I have met with the different government representatives. All of the different colours and sizes have shown up here. They come, they get their picture taken, they say a few words, they go, and they don’t come back. I have received them here because those that came before me told me that my duty was to make sure that my people, my community, does not die, to make sure that we survive. That is why I met with them, and that is why I am meeting with you. I don’t believe that you bring me advice or lessons, although it is good that you are not trying to get a picture and you listen instead of talking. I met with them because I think that doing so will allow my people to survive for a while longer, and not to die. That is why I am meeting with you, because I believe that you will see something of what we are, and that gaze, even if just for a little while, will help my people survive.” The deceased wrote all of this down in his notebook, that is why he had the exact words of the indigenous leader.


After saying these words, the leader was quiet. The deceased then asked for permission to speak. The leader granted him the right to speak. The deceased said, more or less (he didn’t write it in his notebook because he couldn’t speak and write at the same time): “Thank you for meeting with me. I only have one question: are you not worried that you have been wrong, that by meeting with the government or with me you have not helped to stop your people from dying and that you will be judged as a bad leader?”


The indigenous leader waited to see if that was the entire question, and then responded: “The only ones who can judge me are my own people. If my people condemn me for what I have done and what I do, that would mean that I wasn’t wrong. Because in order for them to judge and condemn me, my people will have to have survived. And that would mean that I have carried out my duty, and I can show the dead that I have done so, even if the living condemn me.”


That is the end of the deceased’s anecdote.


I continued speaking:


That is why you have to be very clear about who you are accountable to. You don’t owe anything to the EZLN. Nor to the Sixth. Nor to anyone but your own people, who you represent. You have to do something, because soon, for many people there will be nothing left and it will be too late.”

We told them that they had to do something, that their duty was to their originary peoples, barrios, tribes, and nations, to their collectives and organizations.


We told them to do something, anything; to join, if they thought it necessary, Morena[v] (this is in the recordings and the attending delegates can confirm it. That was the only time that, for our part, we mentioned the person who would later, before anyone else, delegitimize and condemn the proposal, demonstrating stupidity, racism, intolerance, disrespect, and frank schizophrenia.[vi] Yes, the first option that Zapatismo presented to the CNI was to support the political party Movimiento de Regeneración Nacional) [Morena]. Or to join any other political party. Or to make their own political party.


We said that we would not follow them in this, but we would understand why they did it and that they would not hear judgement or condemnation from us.


We said that if the Sixth got in their way, to leave it behind.


That if the EZLN held them back, to cut off relations with us.


We don’t need to tell you that, in response to each of these options, the delegates gestured as if they were swatting away impertinent flies. They all remained quiet. I continued:


Do something, be it this or something else.”


Here I looked back at Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés. He gestured that I should continue:


We came to propose something else to you: we are battered, with deaths, disappearances, kidnappings, incarcerations, displacements, injustices, entire territories destroyed and others on their way to extinction. We are cornered, without hope, without strength, without support, weak and agonizing. For the politicians and the media, even those on the left or progressives, we don’t exist.


That is why we Zapatistas think that it is time to go on the offensive. The time has come to counterattack. And we have to begin by striking one of the hearts of the system: politics from above.


That is why we propose that the CNI form an Indigenous Governing Junta (that is what we called it in our original proposal; in assembly, as proposed by a Magonist indigenous delegation from Oaxaca, it became “Indigenous Governing Council”), a collective made up of delegates from the CNI which aspires to govern the country. It should compete in the 2018 presidential elections running an indigenous woman from the CNI as an independent candidate.”


No, in response to this proposal the delegates didn’t act as if they were swatting away an annoying insect. Rather, they got openly angry. Some were really annoyed (well, more precisely, they were pissed). Others said that it was a very bad joke, that it didn’t make them laugh and instead gave them a stomachache. But the majority waited in silence.


I should tell you that, for originary peoples, silence does not mean agreement, persuasion, or a lack of argument. It means listening, and—take note—thinking and analyzing before speaking (yes, it would do others well to follow this method).


Why did they listen to us? Because they consider us brothers and sisters. The mutual respect that we have for one another made them hear us out until the end.


And they understood that it wasn’t a passing thought, but an idea that could become a proposal. So they started to think about it.


After a long silence, someone began to speak, saying something like: “I’m thinking that this could be how we reconstruct the CNI, that this initiative could give visibility to the indigenous people once again. Because compas, we have to be honest, we don’t exist for the political class. They no longer even talk about us anymore as an object of charity. I think that with this proposal we could encounter not only other indigenous people, but we also many people from below who are screwed. There is much discontent all over the country, and there is no alternative for indigenous people, nor for those who are not indigenous. Of course, the proposal has many things going against it that we must analyze seriously.”


Someone else took up the word and mentioned two things working against the proposal: the racism that exists in Mexican society; and that they would be criticized and attacked for seeking Power. Both points against were repeated in later assessments as well. But no, not in this meeting nor in the ones to follow, did anyone mention as a point against the proposal that they would be accused of wanting to “divide the left.”


That is how the idea stopped being only our idea. That is how the CNI began to think about it and make it their own. The word spread far and wide. Soon, all of the delegations were thinking, offering opinions, and evaluating the proposal. The absurd idea began to be transformed into a collective proposal.


Words came and went during the closed plenary assembly on October 10 during the work sessions on October 11. Without failing to comply with the mandate the delegations had, the central theme of the meeting ceased to be denunciation. The possibility of going on the offensive became the most important thing. During the work sessions (there were 4) in which observers could attend, whenever the topic came up, some of the compas of the Sixth would move nervously in their seats, looking at one another (they weren’t allowed to speak, only to listen), turning to look at the Zapatista delegation (we had divided ourselves across the four work sessions in order to be able to have a complete account of all of the denunciations and experiences of the CNI delegations). More than one of them left, their irritation apparent.


A feverish movement ran through the meetings, large and small. Whoever was able to do so called their communities, explaining to them what was being discussed and asking for their opinions and feedback. The pros and cons were analyzed and discussed. They made lists of each. They weighed them. They sought an answer to the question, “Will it be worth it?”


The idea had already ceased to be the EZLN’s. It now belonged to the National Indigenous Congress. In the collective heart of the originary peoples, the echo grew of the initial words spoken by Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés, in the name of all of the Zapatista men and women:


Now is the time of the National Indigenous Congress. With its step, let the earth tremble at its core. With its dreams, let cynicism and apathy be vanquished. In its words, let those without voice be lifted up. With its gaze, let darkness be illuminated. In its ear, let the pain of those who think they are alone find a home. In its heart, let desperation find comfort and hope. In its challenge, let the world be seen anew.” But what was missing was yet to come.


Beyond evaluating the pros and cons, it had to be clear for the CNI what the role of Zapatismo was in this initiative.


Far in advance, Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés and the Indigenous Revolutionary Clandestine Committee had organized a small party to celebrate the birthday of the National Indigenous Congress which commemorated, on October 12, 2016, 20 years of being home, ear, word, and echo of the originary peoples of Mexico.


The place? The caracol of Oventik, in the mountains of southeastern Mexico.


The delegations of the CNI were received according to the Zapatista protocols for special invitees. Of course, there was an extra effort made to honour these visitors. It isn’t every day that we receive our closest relatives, those who share with the Zapatista peoples blood, pain, rage, resistance, and rebellion—that is, history.


At first I didn’t understand why Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés had arranged the positions of the delegations the way he did: the CNI delegations were seated on the main stage, and in front them he put a small wooden platform for the Zapatista leadership, which he led himself.


I could see everything because I was moving from side to side, trying to convince the compañeras and compañeros of the CNI to stand up on the benches to see better. “But I have mud on my shoes and I’m going to get the bench dirty,” argued a delegate. “Compañera” I said, “here if there is one thing that we have plenty of, its mud. Don’t worry about it.


The CNI named an indigenous woman to speak in the ceremony. Comandante David gave the welcome. Then the compañera from the National Indigenous Congress spoke. She spoke as one does among family: with her heart in her hand. I won’t repeat her words, nor the ones that Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés shared on our behalf. The compañera from the CNI was about to leave the stage when Subcomandante Insurgente Moises asked her to stay.


The compañera stayed there for the entire proceedings, surrounded by the indigenous Zapatista leadership, facing the delegations of the National Indigenous Congress.


And then I understood.


I was looking from off to one side, but with the visual perspective of the CNI delegations who could see how an indigenous woman just like them, from the National Indigenous Congress just like them, was accompanied by the highest authority of the EZLN who were sheltering her, protecting her, accompanying her, and supporting her, taking note of what made us different, but compañeras and compañeros all the same.


That was how, with this symbolism, Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés responded to the question that had circulated through the CNI delegations from the very first day: “What role would the EZLN have in this initiative if it is approved?”


Afterwards there were dances, theatrical performances, songs, and poems.


At the end of the proceedings, a troop of Zapatista milicianas performed a whole communiqué without saying a single word.


And afterwards? The food: beef and turkey, with the choice of coffee or pozol. Everyone left soon after.


On the following day, October 13, was the general resolution assembly…



October 13th started off auspiciously: one of the work sessions hadn’t finished yet and the plenary assembly was delayed. When it did begin, it started with a reading of the minutes from each work session. And yes, one of the sessions hadn’t finished transcribing yet. There was further delay, as there should be for any important decision. Oh, I know. It’s pointless to say it; we ourselves are the constant and ongoing update of the software “la rebelión de los colgados.[vii]


On Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés’ orders, the Zapatista delegation sat in the back of the auditorium at CIDECI-Unitierra during the three plenary assemblies (the closed assembly, the inauguration, and the final plenary). That was to make clear what this was about: it was the hour of the National Indigenous Congress.


When we finally got to the topic of “Proposals to strengthen the CNI,” Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés asked for the floor on behalf of the Zapatista delegation. It was granted him and he went to the front of the auditorium. He began more or less like this:


“I’ve heard about a movie, I think it’s called “La Ley de Herodes” (general laughter, and a grimace from me because I knew what was coming). So in this movie they told me about there’s a part where Vargas says, ‘I’ve got good news and bad news (more general laughter, more personal grimaces). So we have to see what we’re going to do about the bad news. In other words, we have to see who we’re going to blame if this turns out badly. That said, I’m going to ask SupGaleano to come explain the proposal (more general laughter, now no grimaces from me).


I went to the front of the auditorium. After clarifying that I was happy to do my duty as “punching bag,” or “alternative plan,” and that being the target of critique and insults was a powerful aphrodisiac for me (well, I used more mundane terms, but that was the idea), I said what I was charged with saying. I will repeat it here in summary form, as this text is already several pages long and if you’ve gotten this far, you deserve special consideration. What’s more, now you will know why the eezeeelen made this proposal and why we made it to the CNI.


First we insisted that the original proposal was for an indigenous woman, a CNI delegate, who spoke her indigenous language and knew her culture. We started there because the designation that it be “a woman” had been diluted in conversation and throughout the work sessions. First people began to say “the candidata or candidato,” later “the candidato or candidata,”and then just “the candidato.”


Then we reminded everyone that they could not make a decision there, in that Fifth Congress, because the National Indigenous Congress, as of their formation as such, had made a commitment to consult their peoples on proposals made in their meetings. The seven principles obligate the CNI to consult its own bases, each group according to its own ways.


Then we said what we believed with respect to the initiative:


That the Indigenous Governing Council should be composed of delegates (men and women) from all of the originary peoples, collectives, organizations, barrios, tribes, and nations that make up the National Indigenous Congress.


That they wouldn’t win, because the electoral system in Mexico is made to benefit the political parties, not the citizens.


That if they did win, the victory wouldn’t be recognized because fraud is not an anomaly in the Mexican electoral system, but rather its backbone and essence.


That if they won and were recognized, they wouldn’t be able to do much at all, because up there above there is nothing that can be done. The fundamental issues of the battered Mexican nation will not be solved by the executive power, nor the legislative powers, nor the judicial power. The Ruler has no visible post and operates in the catacombs of international financial Power.


And not in spite of all of the above, but precisely because of it, they could and should carry out the proposal.


This is because their action would imply not just a statement of their disagreement, but a challenge that would find echo in the many belows of Mexico and the world. It could generate a process of combative reorganization not just for the originary peoples, but also for workers, campesinos, employees, poor city dwellers, teachers, students, in effect, all of the people whose silence and immobility is not a synonym of apathy, but rather because they haven’t been convoked.

In response to what had been said about the initiative being impossible, that it had too much going against it, that they wouldn’t win, we answered that if we had gotten together on December 31, 1993, and told them that in just a few hours we were going to rise up in arms, declare war on the bad government, and attack the barracks of the police and the army, they would also have said that such a thing was impossible, that there was a lot going against us, that we weren’t going to win.


We told them that it didn’t matter if they won the presidency of the Republic or not, that what mattered was the challenge, the irreverence, the revolt, the total rupture with the image of the indigenous as object of pity and charity (an image deeply rooted in the right and, who would have thought, also in the institutional left of “true change”[viii] and its organic intellectuals, addicted to the opium of the social networks). What mattered was that their audacity would shake the entire political system and that they would hear echoes of hope not from one but from many of the Mexicos below… and the belows of the world.


We told them that the initiative allowed time for them to decide, with total freedom and responsibility, where and how far they wanted to take it.


We told them that they could decide in any given moment what they would do, because it was their pace and path, and that the destiny they charted would rupture every existing schema, above all those represented by those who believe themselves to be the vanguard of change and revolution.

We told them that if they were willing to challenge a racist society, they should go further and challenge a patriarchal and machista one as well (which isn’t the same thing, as those in the feminist struggle can tell you).


We told them that the Zapatista comandantas had said that they would be responsible for setting up support for the compañeras who became part of the Indigenous Governing Council and the compañera who became spokesperson and candidate, caring for their children in Zapatista communities. They said they would take good care of the children, as if they were their own. That the children would go to the autonomous schools so they didn’t get behind in their studies, and the solidarity doctors would watch over their health. That if they had pets, they’d take care of those too. They said the compañeras of the CNI could do their work without worry if that was the mandate of the agreement the CNI came to.


We told them not to worry if they didn’t know how to speak Spanish very well. Peña Nieto doesn’t either and there he is.


We told them that we would reorient the savings we keep for our resistance and make a call to individuals, collectives, and organizations in Mexico and the world to raise money for them to go wherever they needed to go. That way they would have the freedom to refuse the institutional economic resources that the system gives to independent candidates.


We told them that we thought they could not only govern our country of Mexico, but the entire world.


We told them to take this opportunity to speak and listen to other originary peoples, and to others who aren’t indigenous but are suffering without hope or alternatives all the same.


We told them that there are things that we as Zapatistas can do that the CNI can’t. And that there are things the CNI can do that we as Zapatistas can’t.


We told them that they, the collective that is the National Indigenous Congress, could do what nobody else (including Zapatismo) could do: unite. Because a legitimate movement like that of the originary peoples can and should be a point of unity among many different people with a common resolve.


But this wouldn’t be to “unite” under one particular acronym, or hierarchy, a whole list of real or fake acronyms. No. We mean unite as a point of convergence, to be the footing where differences and rivalries find a common point, a place to meet. The ground, that is, the earth. And who better for that task than those who are the colour of the earth.


We told them that this Council and this indigenous woman could generate a movement that could shake the entire political system.


A movement where all of the belows would converge.


A movement that would make the earth tremble at its cores.


Yes, cores as plural, because there are many worlds that lie within the earth and await a good shaking to be born.


We told them that perhaps, then, it wouldn’t matter if they got the signatures together, if the money to be able to travel was raised or not, if they managed to meet the requirements for candidate registry, if the other candidates showed up for debate, if they participated or not in the elections, if they won or not, if their victory was recognized or not, if they could do something there above or not.


We said none of that would matter because the problems would then be different ones, the questions different ones, the answers different ones.


We told them that we would not pass on to them our phobias and philias, that we would respect their decisions, their steps, their paths.


We told them that as Zapatistas we would be one more force among the many who would surely feel convoked by this challenge.


And we told them that the most important thing that we had come to tell them was this: that we were ready to support them with all of our strength. We told them that we would support them with everything that we have, which, although small, is what we are.




The interventions in the conversation continued, now all of them oriented toward making the proposal theirs, as the CNI. Here and there someone requested that they decide on the spot. The great majority insisted that they had to consult.


The commission transcribing the minutes gave us a copy of the final resolution.


I instinctively grabbed a pen in order to start adding commas and periods.


Subcomandante Insurgente Moises stopped me and murmured, “No, this is their word. And their word is big, much bigger than we are as Zapatistas. Like the deceased one used to say: we are the smallest, and it is our turn to step to the side and wait…”




We could just give you the results and leave it at that. But we think if we tell you about the process you might understand it, and us, better.


As of October 15, 2016, the Zapatista delegation to the Fifth Congress of the National Indigenous Congress, along with the CG-CCRI [Indigenous Revolutionary Clandestine Committee—General Command] of the EZLN began the work of organizing an internal consultation to determine the opinion and decision of the Zapatista bases of support with regard to the principal proposal.


We carried out the internal consultation in each and every Zapatista community, collective, region, and zone. We also consulted the compañerascompañeros, brothers, and sisters from the city who participate in the various support teams for the EZLN’s Sixth Commission. We did not include the Zapatista insurgent troops in the consultation because it is not our job to make those kinds of decisions.


We carried out the consultation according to our ways of doing things and following a guide that Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés developed the morning of October 14, 2016, before the text “Let the Earth Tremble at its Core” was made public.


  1. Information: In each community, collective, region and zone, the first thing we did was provide information on what was said during those days of October, 2016. That information included the suffering of our brother and sister communities of the National Indigenous Congress, and all of the terrible things the capitalists do to originary peoples—exploitation, repression, disrespect, theft, and the killing off of entire peoples. But that wasn’t all; this information also included how those peoples organize and resist that politics of death and destruction. For that task we used the information provided by the provisional commission of the CNI in the text entitled “Let the Earth Tremble at its Core,” as well as the summaries made and notes taken by the Zapatista delegation during this first phase of the CNI’s National Indigenous Congress.


This point is very important because it is with this information that we converted our sisters and brothers, compañeros and compañeras, into an ear and a heart for the suffering and resistance of others like us in other places. This point is very important and urgent because who will listen to us if we don’t listen to each other.


  1. The proposal: We stated and explained the proposal: that the National Indigenous Congress name an Indigenous Governing Council (which is like a Good Government Council, but at a national level, that is, in all of Mexico), made up of men and women who are representatives of each of the collectives, organizations, barrios, tribes, nations, and peoples who are organized in the National Indigenous Congress. That is, this Council would be made up of indigenous peoples who would govern the country.


This Indigenous Governing Council would be collective, that is, not with one person ruling, but rather together making agreements in order to govern. This Indigenous Governing Council wouldn’t just do whatever it wanted, but rather would listen to the peoples throughout Mexico, indigenous and non-indigenous.


In other words, this Council would function on the seven principles of Rule by Obeying: to serve others, not serve oneself; to represent, not supplant; to construct, not destroy; to obey, not command; to propose, not impose; to convince, not defeat; to work from below, not seek to rise.


This Indigenous Governing Council would have as its spokesperson an indigenous woman from the CNI (not the EZLN), that is, a woman of indigenous blood, who speaks her originary language and knows her culture. So the spokesperson would be an indigenous woman from the CNI.


This indigenous woman from the CNI is the person who would be the candidate to the Mexican presidency in 2018. This is because it is not possible to list all of the names that compose the Indigenous Governing Council because of the confusion that would create, so the name listed would be that of the Council spokesperson. This indigenous woman would not be part of a political party, but rather an independent candidate. That’s what you call someone who is in an election but does not belong to a political party.


So this Indigenous Governing Council, alongside the Indigenous woman from the CNI, would travel through as much of Mexico and the world as possible in order to explain the situation that we are living because of the capitalist system which exploits, represses, steals, and disrespects the people from below, the poor of the countryside and the city, and that in addition is destroying nature and killing off the world in which we live.


This Indigenous Governing Council would try to speak and listen to all of the Indigenous people of Mexico in their own communities, regions, zones, and states in order to convince them to organize, not to give in, to resist and to govern themselves as we Zapatistas do, and to not let anyone tell us what we have to do or how to do it but that it be the people themselves who decide and rule.

This Indigenous Governing Council would also try to speak and listen to those who are not indigenous but who are also exploited, repressed, robbed, and disrespected in Mexico and the world. It would take them a message of organization and struggle, resistance and rebellion, to be carried out according to their own ways, calendars, and geographies.


For this indigenous woman, CNI delegate, to be recognized as a candidate by Mexican law, they would have to get almost a million signatures of people who are registered to vote. If they managed to reach that many signatures, then she would be recognized as independent candidate for the Mexican presidency and her name would appear on the ballot in 2018 when people decide if they will vote or not and for whom. So the proposal is that the Indigenous Governing Council and the indigenous spokesperson travel throughout Mexico and wherever there are Mexican people in order to acquire the necessary signatures to be able to register a candidate. Later they would again travel around to generate support and get people to vote for the CNI indigenous candidate.


As Zapatistas we think that when the Indigenous Governing Council and their spokeswoman make this journey, they will see much of the pain and rage that exist in Mexico and the world. This is the pain and rage of indigenous people but also of people who are not indigenous but suffer and resist all the same.


So that’s what it’s about. The goal isn’t that an indigenous woman of the CNI become president, but rather that a message of struggle and organization be taken to the poor of the countryside and the cities of Mexico and the world. It’s not that if we get enough signatures or win the election then everything will have turned out well. Rather, things will have gone well if those who nobody speaks to or listens to are actually addressed and heard. That is how we will know if things go well or not—if many people gather their strength and hope in order to organize themselves, resist, and rebel.

How far can this go? As far as the National Indigenous Congress decides.


  1. Later we stated and explained the points the proposal has against it. For example:


—they will criticize us saying that as Zapatistas we have said that we don’t struggle for Power but now we are trying to get Power.


—they will criticize us saying that we have betrayed our word that we do not want to hold office.


—they will criticize us saying that we speak badly of the political parties and now we’re going to do exactly what we have been criticizing.


—they will accuse us of supporting the PRI because we would divide the votes for the left and thus allow the right to win.


—they will criticize us saying that indigenous women aren’t educated and don’t know how to speak Spanish.


—they will disrespect us saying that we indigenous people don’t have the thinking skills to govern.


—they will mock us and speak badly of us as indigenous people.


(Note to racists and sexists: before you began your attacks, we indigenous Zapatistas already knew what you were going to say. And you think that we are dumb and ignorant and you are intelligent and wise.)


The compañeras and compañeros participated in the assemblies, commenting on other things that could be points going against the proposal.
For example, they mentioned security, that the government could launch an attack on the National Indigenous Congress and the candidate so that they wouldn’t win; that the bad governments could attack the Zapatista communities so that we wouldn’t support the CNI; that the government might try to pull some dirty tricks so that the struggle of the CNI couldn’t move forward, because the bad governments are indeed tricksters and traitors; that the political vultures might come around to see what kind of individual profit they could make off the struggle of the indigenous peoples; that there would be people who want to detour the struggle of the indigenous peoples to another path, and so on.


  1. Then they provided the points in favour of the proposal. For example:


—it could serve to let Mexican society once again see and hear the Indian peoples of Mexico, which now they don’t even mention.


—it could serve to help hear and speak to indigenous peoples throughout Mexico who are not organized and are being destroyed by the damned capitalists.


—it could serve to help the indigenous recreate a sense of pride and honour in being indigenous, in their colour, their language, their culture, their art, their history.


—it could serve to help indigenous women lift their voices and organize, just as the Zapatista women have risen up and organized.


—it could serve to explain to people below the magnitude of the destruction and evil that the damned capitalists are carrying out.


—it could help others learn about the National Indigenous Congress and their ways of organizing and urge other indigenous peoples, nations, tribes, and barrios to join the CNI and get to know each other as indigenous people and see each other’s pains and strengths.


—it could help us Zapatistas find a way to support our indigenous brothers and sisters in other places so that they can continue their struggle and live with freedom and dignity.


—it could help us as Zapatista peoples by letting more people come to know our history of struggle and how we have organized, and thus be encouraged to so, too.


—it could serve the Zapatista peoples in helping us learn to organize not only to help each other internally, but to be organized to support others who struggle, like we did for the democratic teachers’ organizations.


  1. Then we went on to think about whether the proposal would serve the purposes of the National Indigenous Congress or not.
  2. Then we went on to think about whether this idea would serve the Zapatistas or not.
  3. Then we went on to discuss whether or not we support this proposal, and if so, how we as Zapatistas would not be able to offer support, and then how we as Zapatistas could offer support.


For example, we couldn’t offer support in the form of signatures because we Zapatistas aren’t registered to vote. We also couldn’t be candidates because as Zapatistas we do not fight for Power. We could not vote because we don’t vote by putting a piece of paper in a box, but rather by making agreements in our assemblies where everyone participates and offers their word.


But we could support in other ways, for example: we could help explain this good idea and convince those who do register to vote to use their registration to support the indigenous woman from the CNI. We could speak with people from the city who support us as Zapatistas to support the Indigenous Governing Council also. We could organize ourselves as collectives and autonomous governments to raise money to support the CNI’s travels wherever they need to go. We could speak and convince people in the cities to also organize themselves to raise money for the CNI. We could explain in Mexico and the world how we govern ourselves so that people of good thinking can see that we as indigenous do know how to govern.




We also informed all of the communities about another agreement made at the Fifth Congress: that if in the Zapatista internal consultation (or that of any of the originary peoples, collectives, organizations, barrios, tribes, and nations) the decision is not to support the proposal, that it is a bad idea and they are not in agreement, then the National Indigenous Congress will respect that decision, even if the majority has said that they do support it. That is, that group will continue to be part of the CNI; it isn’t the case that if a group disagrees then they are obligated to do what the majority decides. The autonomy and ways of each group will be respected.


We do the same thing in the Zapatista indigenous communities. We don’t look badly upon or expel from being Zapatista those who think differently; rather we respect them and take them into account. That is how it is in our assemblies—just because someone’s thinking goes against what the majority says doesn’t mean we kick them out, they continue on as one of us.


As you can see, the internal consultation was focused on whether we would support or not the result of the CNI consultation. These are the results:


Tens of thousands of Zapatista men and women were consulted. They immense majority advocated for supporting the decision made by the CNI to the extent of our abilities. Those against supporting the decision numbered 52 compas (26 compañeras and 26 compañeros). Those who said “I don’t know” or “undecided” numbered 65 compas (36 compañeras and 29 compañeros). The reasons given by those who were against were varied: from one compa who said “I’m going to vote against to see if it’s true that they’re going to respect my opinion and not expel me from being Zapatista,” to those who argued that they weren’t going to be in their community and didn’t want to make a commitment they couldn’t keep with regard to the work implied. Those who said they were undecided said, among other things, that if we didn’t even know what the CNI was going to say yet, then what if we supported the proposal and they decided not to do it.






This is the last part. Thank you to those who got this far…wha?…yes of course, stay tuned… yes… doubts, of course…questions, of course…what? What will be the result of the CNI consultation? You want a spoiler?…okay, okay, okay, let me ask…okay…I am told to tell you the truth, so here goes:


To be sincere, we don’t have the slightest idea.


In all seriousness.


We have seen before how a proposal gets shaped by the work of the word, according to the ways of the originary peoples. It is as if an idea was just a shapeless lump of clay and it is collective hands that go about giving it shape, size, colour, destiny.


So, just like you, we’re waiting.


Although, it’s true, we Zapatistas aren’t waiting for the same thing that you all are.


You all, we think, are waiting to see what the result of the consultation is and everything that will derive from that.


We Zapatistas are waiting for what will happen later, the day after. And we are already preparing ourselves for that calendar.


From the mountains of the Mexican Southeast.



Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés


Subcomandante Insurgente Galeano




November 2016


From the Notebook of the Cat-Dog


Don’t think I haven’t prepared myself for the possibility that the result of the CNI consultation is to reject the proposal. And no, I’m not worried. I have taken the appropriate measures. For example: I have a medical certificate that says I am on the waiting list for a sex change operation, and I have an application in process for my adoption into a Zapatista indigenous family. So you can say it was all a trick so that I would be the candidato…okay, okay, okay, the candidata for the presidency of the Republic.


Oh, my perversity is sublime, is it not?


Of course, that path would wreck my correspondence with the females. Oh wait, there isn’t any correspondence anymore, not female nor otherwise. Ah, if I was on the social networks I’d create a few alternate accounts (oh please, you know you do that) and I’d give myself likesfollows and retweets; I’d even troll myself to make it clear that everything was t-o-t-a-l-l-y-l-e-g-i-t. Is there a limit to how many alternative accounts one can create? Oh please, you know you’ve already looked this up.


Anyway, something will come to me.


Now then, if the proposal is approved, well I’ll have to get to work to raise money. So I’m going to get in contact with loas compañeroas from Brigada Callejera so that they hold a corner for me in La Meche. After all, the street belongs to those who work it. I’m sure my little belly will be all the rage… wha?…okay, okay, okay, my belly…huh? Oh fine, my big belly… didn’t I tell you? You guys are so mean.


SupGaleano, busting out of various girdles (fajas).


(no, thank you, no for real, I don’t need anyone to come stuff me into a girdle (fajar)[ix] ….ooooooh listen to that, now we’re showing our true colours, that was a total 60-something pun…ooh but hey listen, that’s why the well behaved goody two-shoes don’t like you, eh…huh? A reality show to raise some cash? With Trump, Macri, Temer, Putin, and Rajoy exchanging nude photos? Sonofa…you shouldn’t watch TV anymore… better to watch TV series acquired through alternative production…yes, the vendors on Eje Central [avenue in Mexico City] already have the new season of Game of Thrones…yup, turns out that Tyrion and Snow are relatives of Daenerys…however you say it… yes, a dragon for everybody, a message of equity…yes, united on the new shield are the lion, the wolf, and the dragon …well yes, some version of the Hydra… yes, as if you united big financial capital with industrial and commercial capital…yes, the system recomposes itself and everybody above is happy and everybody below is fucked…yes, but you are watching an alternative ending… yes, while everybody is grabbing their glass to celebrate who knows what, an indigenous woman shows up, shits on the iron throne and melts it with a blowtorch … well okay, they’re considering taking out the blowtorch out and giving her a box of matches, so it takes a little longer, for suspense you know… yup, maybe even another season, depends on how many matches she’s got…yup, that’s where it ends… well because of the Brexit thing, costs were going through the roof. And now with Trump, well, even worse…What? I should quit with the spoilers? Well jeez, why do you invite me then, you know how I am).


I testify.



[i] Refers to Veracruz governor Javier Duarte currently on the run from the law after a warrant was issued for his arrest on charges of links to organized crime and money laundering.

[ii] A reference to Margarita Zavala, the wife of ex-president Felipe Calderón (2006-2012) and likely PAN candidate for the presidency in 2018.

[iii] Viejerío is a derogatory term that could be translated as something like “a gaggle of broads.” Calzonudos is a pejorative term used against Indigenous peoples whose traditional style of pants were mocked by the Spanish and their descendants for supposedly resembling underwear.

[iv] “Cara de trapo” or “sockhead” is a derogatory term used by critics to deride members of the EZLN (and their use of masks) and in this instance refers specifically to Subcomandante Insurgente Galeano.

[v] Movimiento de Regeneración Nacional (MORENA), is the party founded by Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) and acolytes after leaving the PRD in 2014.

[vi] This refers to comments made by López Obrador in response to the CNI communique “Let the Earth Tremble at its Core.”

[vii] Rebellion of the Hanged, the fifth in B. Traven’s six-volume series of novels set in the lead up to and dawn of the Mexican Revolution.

[viii] MORENA’s campaign slogan.

[ix] Technically fajar means swaddle or wrap up, but as slang means to grope or feel up.





After Three Years of Unjust Imprisonment, Indigenous Tsotsil Obtains His Freedom, Thanks to National and International Solidarity

Filed under: Human rights, Indigenous — Tags: , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 10:25 am



After Three Years of Unjust Imprisonment, Indigenous Tsotsil Obtains His Freedom, Thanks to National and International Solidarity



San Cristóbal de Las Casas, November 24th, 2016

To the Zapatista Army of National Liberation

To the Councils of Good Government

To the National Indigenous Congress

To the Sexta,

To the Free, Alternative, and Autonomous Media

To Those that Struggle From Below and to the Left

Today, our hearts are filled with joy and we want to share the happiness of receiving our compañero Roberto Paciencia Cruz in liberty. It has been three years and four months of struggle and resistance inside and outside the prison walls. Moments like this demonstrate that walking and planting the seeds of social and collective justice will end giving a harvest of the fruits of liberty.

Roberto, ex-prisoner and adherent of the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandona Jungle of the EZLN, is one of those people who will not remain silent, who will not legitimize barbarism, and who is willing to assume the consequences of his scream of consciousness and rebellion. Through his voice, Roberto has denounced the violations of human rights that the incarcerated population suffers at the hands of the prison authorities and he has inspired the awakening of other prisoners inside the prison walls.

This was another case of the racist and classist state justice system for which being poor and indigenous is a crime sufficient to be incarcerated. But also, it is an example of how prison can be another trench of struggle, where one can continue the work of those who have struggled before, and set an example for those that continue struggling for their freedom.

This week various events have taken place to spread information and accompany the case of Roberto. This was particularly important, as tomorrow was the deadline for the judge to give his sentence of conviction or acquittal. Yesterday an event was held where families and compañerxs of Roberto gave testimonies, inviting the people that move below and to the left to maintain alert to the impending judicial resolution. Today, since 9am, a concentration of people was maintained in front of the cathedral in San Cristóbal de Las Casas to make the case visible. Simultaneously, a commission was sent to the Central Estatal de Reinserción Social de Sentenciados (CERSS) No. 5 to accompany Roberto in person, and to provide pressure before the resolution of the judicial process. At one in the afternoon, the judge acquitted our compañero and at 5:30 they opened the doors for him to leave the prison behind, and to newly recover his freedom.

Amongst screams of “Freedom, freedom to the prisoners in struggle”, tears of excitement, happiness, and the sound of the Zapatista hymn, Roberto Paciencia arrived at the Plaza of Resistance at 6pm to reunite with his family, compañerxs, and friends. Today we managed to overcome a serious obstacle, but still, we reaffirm our commitment to struggle until everyone obtains their freedom.

Until all the walls are torn down!

For freedom to everyone!

Down with the prison walls!


Working group “No Estamos Todxs”

Translated by Palabras Rebeldes

Posted by Dorset Chiapas Solidarity



November 26, 2016

Chanti Ollin Denounces Violent Eviction

Filed under: Autonomy, Displacement, Uncategorized — Tags: — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 4:34 pm


Chanti Ollin Denounces Violent Eviction




In Mexico City, the autonomous cultural space Chanti Ollin withstands a violent eviction and continues in resistance.

x  carolina

Have you ever visited a community space in Mexico City called the Chanti Ollin? Its name means “House in Movement,” and there’s always movement of different kinds here: workshops on urban agriculture, bici-machines, alternative health, massage, video creation, painting, theater, production of educational and artistic materials, and transmission of free and alternative media collectives.  It’s a space for playing and enjoying great music and painting incredible murals, for baking bread and giving classes on vegetarian cooking, for screening documentaries and organizing forums on past history and current reality. Members of collectives and peoples in struggle from communities like Atenco, Xochicuatla and Ayotzinapa are invited to tell about their resistance against the plunder of their lands and efforts to eliminate their people. And ongoing resistance is organized at the Chanti Ollin. Maybe you’ve had the good fortune to participate in some of these activities, of if you come from another city or country, maybe you’ve found a place to stay for a while.




The Mexico City government doesn’t want this recovered space to exist as an alternative way of living in the nation’s capital. During the 13 years of its existence, threats against Chanti Ollin and attempts to eject its members have been common. The most recent, which occurred last Tuesday, was especially violent. A total of 26 people were rounded up and arrested, including five visitors from other countries. As of now, all have been released except one comrade who was deported.

Far from being intimidated by Tuesday’s attack, on Wednesday morning, November 23, several comrades from Chanti Ollin took the initiative of interrupting an official act of the city government with a performance called “City of the Future” ––a direct challenge to the presentation of legislation regarding a “new city” by the head of the Mexico City government Miguel Mancera and a group of public officials and academicians supporting future gentrification projects.




That same day, independent media reporters were invited to a press conference where the spokesperson for the Chanti collective underscored their support “for the Zapatista communities and communities all over the country that continue to resist and continue to denounce the ongoing plunder, which is the motor of the accumulation of wealth of the few who live at the expense of the misery and impoverishment of all.”

The compañero further explained that “these individuals supposedly have the power to attack us, yet we continue to show that the power from below, the ability and potential of the poor, the ability and potential of honourable people, is worth more than the power of money”.




In response to a question about the planned destruction of the building by the government, the spokesperson said that a protective writ is being filed to avoid that. He didn’t discard the possibility of working in other spaces but reiterated the intention of the Chanti collective to keep on existing and resisting in the same space that they’ve been constructing for the last 13 years:

“We want to make it clear that we aren’t going to give up this space. It’s a space that we’ve won. It’s a space that has showed that the society can govern itself. This space is here to stay. This space is going to be open again. This space is going to keep on being the Chanti Ollin”.




For now, people haven’t been able to go back into the house and have set up camp outside, while calling on all supportive artists to help defend the space with a cultural barricade.

At the press conference, the following statement was read:

To the people of México 

To the CNI and the EZLN 

To brotherly and sisterly organizations 

To our comrades in struggle 

To the free and independent media:

 On Tuesday, November 22, 2016 at 2:30 am, the odious government presided over by Miguel Ángel Mancera once again ordered the repression of a political-cultural movement. In an enormous police operation ––a reflection of the authoritarianism and militarism that we’re living through––, the cultural autonomous space  Chanti Ollin was taken by storm. The Chanti is located at Avenida Melchor Ocampo 424, at the corner of Río Elba, Col. Cuauhtemoc, in Mexico City. 

Approximately 500 riot police, investigatory agents, tanks, trucks with floodlights and helicopters forcefully and violently broke into the building, smashing windows and balconies on the third floor and threatening our comrades at gunpoint. They stole personal items including laptops, cash, and cameras. They broke in without showing any kind of warrant issued by a court and gave no previous notice of the eviction. They even searched neighbouring buildings on their way in. It only took a few minutes for them to enter and begin to carry out a search of the building. 

The police arbitrarily arrested 26 comrades without an arrest warrant, including a three-year-old girl who was there at the time. They wounded two comrades, a man and a woman, who were both searched some time after being arrested. Violence was used against the woman. The doctor demanded that she totally undress for the search, which she refused to do.  She asked the doctor if the bone in her leg was fractured, but he said he couldn’t tell her that without doing a full body search, so the comrade left the office without having her leg examined.  The comrades ejected had not committed any crime whatsoever. They were just there in the building organizing the Autogestival event scheduled to be held in their cultural space a few days later. 

The Chanti, like many pieces of property in Mexico City, was abandoned by its previous leaseholders after the devastating earthquake of 1985. After the death of the owner, the leasing company went bankrupt and the property was intestate.  It was then, in 2003, when a group of young people took on the task of bringing cultural, political and economic life to the building, which was occupied with art, culture and ecology, thereby opening the space as a gathering point for youth groups and social movements. During the 13 years that the Chanti Ollin has existed, hundreds of workshops, discussion groups, musical presentations, and plays have been organised by young people who had formerly lacked a place for their artistic, community work. People from the Chanti have organised numerous voluntary work brigades and caravans in indigenous and campesino communities, and in many barrios in the metropolitan area.   The Chanti Ollin has maintained a leftist political position that has nothing to do with official political parties, and for this reason has been a target of political persecution and investigation, smear campaigns in the media by pre-paid journalists, and several violent eviction attempts. 

At the present time, due to the Mexico City gentrification project, initiated by sold-out city government officials in collusion with rapacious businessmen, there is an attempt to sell and privatise public spaces for the benefit of the financial and political elite.  We are in the middle of a treacherous process in which the downtown area has already been sold off, and now the powers that be are using evictions, repression and decriminalisation to take over community spaces that have been constructed through self-direction by many honest people. 

The Chanti Ollin is a reference point for resistance to this voracious project, which aims to do away with a people’s economy and forcefully impose commercial corridors for the pseudo-modernisation of the city. These forces aim to do away with the Chanti as a community project because it is an obstacle to their continuous efforts to despicably enrich themselves. The Chapultepec “cultural” corridor, previously rejected by the people in a public consultation is one example of their project. Mancera aims to impose it come what may, because it would be too costly to cancel government commitments already made to big businessmen. 

We are totally opposed to the continuous enrichment of big businessmen and public officials who take advantage of the needs of the people and turn political repression into a dirty business. 

We demand the immediate and unconditional release of our comrades from other countries: Virginie M, Carolina Manqui y Vicente Baez Costa, Ana Laura Rodriguez y David Alexander Hidalgo [four of whom were released and one slated for deportation shortly after the press conference.] 

We stand in defence of our mother the Earth, our culture, and our people and in total opposition to ruthless capitalism that intends to turn life into merchandise. 

We will continue to defend our tight to free organization and self-determination as an independent, autonomous community from this city. 

We call on all of you to take a stand with us if you feel in your hearts the injustice being committed by the bad government its attempt to close or demolish this autonomous, self-directed cultural centre. 

We call on all conscious people, organisations and communities to publicly support the continuity of this autonomous cultural project. The Chanti will resist as long as the people support us. 

We call on the conscious and independent cultural community to defend this collective space by setting up an indefinite cultural barricade, and we invite musicians, painters, theatre companies, dancers and artists in general to express your solidarity in your work and to defend liberated spaces. 

Just as the land belongs to those who work it, a house belongs to those who live in it!! 

The Chanti Ollin is an inalienable common good, and it will never be private property. 

Long live self-directed autonomous spaces ¡! 

Mancera out of the Chanti Ollin ¡!



November 23, 2016

Judge to Deliver Sentence for Roberto Paciencia

Filed under: Frayba, Human rights, Indigenous — Tags: , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 11:57 am

!24 de Noviembre, 2016. Roberto Paciencia ya esta libre!

Judge to Deliver Sentence for Roberto Paciencia


 paciencia1Press conference for Roberto Paciencia Cruz. Photo@ChiapasDenunciaPublica

On November 10, relatives of Roberto Paciencia Cruz, Sympathizers with The Voice of Amate and the Working Group “No Estamos Todxs” (GTNET in its Spanish acronym) announced at a press conference at the Fray Bartolomé de las Casas Human Rights Centre (CDHFBC or Frayba) that on November 26, William Hernandez Ovando, Judge of the Criminal Law Section of San Cristobal de Las Casas District, will deliver a sentence on the case of Roberto.

Roberto Paciencia, indigenous Tsotsil, campesino and adherent to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle; “Victim of Torture, Cruel, Inhuman and/or Degrading Treatment, Arbitrary Deprivation of Liberty and Violations of Due Process” was arrested on August 7, 2013, in the municipality of Pantelho, Chiapas, and transferred to the premises of the Specialized Prosecutor against Organized Crime’s Office (FECDO in its Spanish acronym) in Tuxtla Gutierrez. In this place, Roberto was physically and psychologically tortured for two days and locked in a punishment cell. He was later transferred to the State Centre for Social Reintegration of Sentenced Persons (CERSS) No. 5 of San Cristobal de Las Casas, where he is currently held, without sentence.

According to the CDHFBC, Roberto Paciencia, as a result of torture, “has physical and psychological scars, without receiving adequate medical care, and his prolonged detention has affected his life project, especially his family.” On numerous occasions “he has used his voice to denounce the injustices that the prison population lives in the prison where he is held” and the existence of other cases of human rights violations in CERSS No. 05. Relatives, the Sympathizers and the GTNET stated that regarding the delivery of a sentence, “the compañero’s innocence has been legally demonstrated on various occasions: the only prosecution witness has not appeared at any of the numerous hearings, and, on the contrary, there are witnesses who stated that Roberto was not present at the time at the scene of the crime of which he is falsely accused.”

In Chiapas, human rights violations committed against vulnerable populations “is a daily practice in the system of administration of justice, which keeps persons whose right to personal integrity and security is violated in jail in inhuman conditions.” Due to this, the relatives, Sympathizers and the GTNET denounced “the injustice of the deprivation of liberty of Roberto Paciencia and we make a call to stay alert to the judicial decision of the next few days demanding that finally justice be done for our compañero.”




Convocation for the Week of Worldwide Action in solidarity with the Ejido San Sebastián Bachajón:

Filed under: Uncategorized — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 10:22 am


Convocation for the Week of Worldwide Action in solidarity with the Ejido San Sebastián Bachajón:

From Sunday, 4th December to Saturday, 10th December, 2016




To our sisters and brothers of the ejido San Sebastián Bachajón

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

To our Zapatista compañer@s

To the National Indigenous Congress (CNI)

To the people of Mexico and the world 


Compañeras and compañeros,

We send you all warm greetings and embraces of solidarity from Canada, Estados Unidos, England, Mexico, Peru, United States and Uruguay.

We, Hermann Bellinghausen, Hugo Blanco, Circulo de las Primeras Naciones de l’UQAM, Gustavo Esteva, John Gibler, Dorset Chiapas Solidarity Group, Malu Huacúja del Toro, Sylvia Marcos, Movement for Justice in el Barrio, Jean Robert and Raúl Zibechi, wish to share with you a humble proposal and hope that you will wish to join with us from your own places and in your own ways to carry out the Week of Worldwide Action in solidarity with the Ejido San Sebastián Bachajón from Sunday, 4th December to Saturday, 10th December, Human Rights Day 2016.

This initiative is supported by the adherents to the Sixth from San Sebastián Bachajón.


Compañeras and Compañeros,

The indigenous Tseltal communities of the ejido San Sebastián Bachajón, like so many originary peoples throughout the world, are under attack from the forces of capitalism and transnational corporations who will not rest until they have destroyed the entire planet with their megaprojects of death.

In San Sebastián Bachajón, the greed of governments and businesses covets the ownership of the beautiful waterfalls of Agua Azul, in order to construct an elite tourist destination. The ejidatarios of San Sebastián Bachajón are obstacles to their plans and their profit, as they inherited the lands from their ancestors and care for them as a great treasure of humanity. For this reason, they have been recipients of threats, aggressions, arbitrary detentions, forced disappearances, imprisonment, torture, and attacks from state forces and paramilitary groups.

On 17th October 2016, a brutal attack took place against the tireless community organiser and human rights defender from La Sexta Bachajón, the indigenous Tseltal Domingo Pérez Alvaro. He was detained for three hours before being savagely beaten and threatened with death by the group of supporters of the official Ejidal Commissioner of San Sebastian Bachajón, Manuel Guzman Alvaro, who left him gravely injured and unable to speak.

It is time to raise our hands, words and voices in solidarity with the adherents to the Sixth Declaration from the ejido of San Sebastián Bachajón who are an inspiration to us all in their dignified struggle, and who are currently experiencing serious acts of violence and police and military occupation, along with eviction, deceit and plunder, in the continuing attempt to dispossess them of their ancestral lands and sacred places. These recent threats and acts of brutal aggression compel us to offer our solidarity.


As a direct result of the determination of the ejidatarios of San Sebastián Bachajón to defend their lands, their beloved community leader and spokesperson Juan Vázquez Guzmán was savagely assassinated with high velocity firearms on 24th April, 2013 and community organiser Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano was murdered with over 20 gunshots on 20th March 2014.

Domingo Pérez Álvaro is now being threatened with a similar fate.

We demand an end to the killings, attacks and threats of violence!

As part of the bad government’s policy three compañeros from San Sebastián Bachajón are now in prison. Over 150 people have been imprisoned since 2007. We demand freedom for the unjustly imprisoned Esteban Gómez Jiménez, Santiago Moreno Pérez and Emilio Jiménez Gómez!


Compañeras and Compañeros:

The bad governments and their allies in multinational business corporations wish to destroy the indigenous peoples and all those who struggle from below and to the left, because it is only the organized resistance of autonomous communities against their wars and the destruction of our natural resources that can save the Mother Earth for our children.

For this reason, we call on you all to join together to continue the dignified struggle of the ejidatarios of San Sebastián Bachajón, so that all ways and forms of life may have their place.

In honour of all the work in the defence of human rights undertaken by Domingo Pérez Álvaro, let us raise our voices on World Human Rights Day, 10th December 2016, in solidarity with our compañer@s from La Sexta Bachajón. We therefore call on all who strive to build another, better, world, one of freedom, justice, democracy and dignity, to join our forces together to organize activities –from your own area and according to your different methods of struggle- to carry out the Week of Worldwide Action in support of the Ejido San Sebastián Bachajón from Sunday, 4th December to Saturday, 10 December, 2016. 


Let us help make a global echo of the following demands:

  • Respect for the fundamental human rights of the indigenous Tseltal peoples of San Sebastián Bachajón, and guarantees for their security and integrity
  • Respect and guarantees for their right to the full use and enjoyment of their territory and to self-determination and the construction of their autonomy
  • An end to the plunder and dispossession and the theft of commons,
  • An end to the permanent police presence and the militarisation of the area, and to the threats and violence which are being experienced
  • A full and fair investigation into the material and intellectual authors of the assassinations of Juan Vázquez Guzmán and Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano and the savage attack on Domingo Pérez Álvaro, and punishment of those responsible

We ask you also to remain alert and aware and responsive as to what may take place in the ejido San Sebastián Bachajón and to hold the three levels of government and their lackeys responsible for any acts of aggression

We ask you to please let us know as soon as possible if you are able to accept our proposal and if you will participate. You can contact us by email at:


Resistance is Life! Dispossession is Death!

Land, Freedom and Justice for the Ejidatarios of San Sebastián Bachajón!

State police out of indigenous territory!

Stop the Aggressions against the Adherents to the Sexta!

Freedom and Justice for Esteban Gómez Jiménez imprisoned in Cintalapa de Figueroa, and for Santiago Moreno Pérez and Emilio Jiménez Gómez, prisoners in Playas de Catazaja!

Juan Vázquez Guzmán Lives! The Bachajón struggle continues!

Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano Lives! The Bachajón struggle continues!

Long Live the EZLN! Long live the CNI!

With embraces of Love and Solidarity,

Hermann Bellinghausen, Mexico

Movement for Justice in el Barrio, United States

Raúl Zibechi, Uruguay

Sylvia Marcos, Mexico

Jean Robert, Mexico

Gustavo Esteva Figueroa, Mexico

Dorset Chiapas Solidarity Group, England

Hugo Blanco Galdos, Peru

Malú Huacuja del Toro, United States

Circulo de las Primeras Naciones de l’UQAM, Canada

John Gibler, Mexico




Galeano: Make no mistake, The EZLN will not bet on electoral means to achieve power, far less force of arms

Filed under: CNI, gal, Zapatistas — Tags: , , , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 10:02 am


Galeano: Make no mistake, The EZLN will not bet on electoral means to achieve power, far less force of arms


galeano-600x431Sup Galeano of the EZLN. Photo: from Chiapas Paralelo


By: Isaín Mandujano

33 years after the foundation of the Forces of National Liberation (Fuerzas de Liberación Nacional, FLN) in the Lacandón Jungle, the seed of which would later be the Zapatista Nation Liberation Army (EZLN), Subcomandante Galeano clarified today that he does not struggle to take power and once more made clear that the independent indigenous woman candidate in 2018 is a proposal the armed group made to the National Indigenous Congress (CNI) who made it theirs and will drive I forward.

And it does not matter whether or not they win the presidency of the Republic, “what matters is the challenge, the irreverence, the refusal to submit, the total breakdown of the image of the indigenous as an object of alms and pity.”

Faced with the controversy unleashed, Subcomandante Galeano clarified that the indigenous woman postulated will not come from the EZLN’s ranks, and that nobody will supplant the initials of the armed group for those of the CNI, because the EZLN continues firm in its word of not betting on the electoral path, that it will not convert into a political party and that it will not seek to attain power through the armed route, because they took up arms to make use of them and not to become enslaved by them.

On November 17, 1983, that first armed group arrived, headed by Fernando Yañez, alias Comandante Germán, who in the heart of the Jungle planted the first seed of what would become the EZLN; the group was called the FLN, an organization which was persecuted and repressed since the seventies in different parts of the country. It had a Marxist-Leninist philosophy, with visions of achieving power and installing socialism.

In recent weeks, the EZLN as an integral part of the CNI has caused a controversy, because they proposed a consultation to postulate an indigenous woman as an independent candidate in the 2018 presidential elections, a theme that has provoked the most hostile reactions from the Mexican political class, the media and Mexican analysts.

In his letter, “A story to try to understand,” Galeano himself made it clear that they were the ones who made this proposal last October 13 to the CNI, a conglomerate of indigenous peoples from different regions of the country. This took place within the framework of the 20th anniversary of that national body, but in no way will they [EZLN] have an active participation in nominating that candidacy.

“No, neither the EZLN as an organization, nor any of its members, are going to participate” for a “popular election position” in the 2018 electoral process. No, the EZLN is not going to convert into a political party. No, the EZLN is not going to present a Zapatista indigenous woman as a candidate for the presidency of the Republic in the year 2018. No, the EZLN “has not taken a turn” of any degrees in its path, nor is it going to continue its fight through the institutional electoral route,” Galeano said.

So, is the EZLN not going to postulate an indigenous Zapatista woman for president of the Republic?  Are they not going to participate directly in the 2018 elections? To answer, he responds with a “No.”

“Why not; because of the armed option?

 No. Those who think that is why are profoundly wrong because: the Zapatistas took up arms to serve them, not to be enslaved by them.

 Then, because the institutional electoral political system is corrupt, inequitable, fraudulent and illegitimate?

 No.  Even if it were transparent, equitable, just and legitimate, the Zapatista men and women would not participate to attain and exercise Power from a post, a position or an institutional appointment.

 But, in certain circumstances, for strategic and/or tactical reasos, would you not participate directly to hold office?

 No.  Although “the masses” may demand it; although the “historic conjuncture” may need our “participation;” although “the Homeland,” “the Nation,” “the People,” “the Proletariat,” (ok, that’s very out of style now) may demand it, or any concrete or abstract concept (behind which is hidden, or not, personal, family or group or class ambition) that is hoisted as a pretext; although the juncture, the confluence of the stars, the prophesies, the stock exchange index, the manual of historic materialism, the Popol Vuh, the polls, the esotericism, “the concrete analysis of concrete reality” and the convenient etcetera.


 Because the EZLN does not struggle to take Power.

Galeano said that the postulation of the indigenous woman as an independent candidate is no longer in the EZLN’s hands. Therefore he asked that they stop awarding it to the armed group, because they are only a part of that big body which is the country’s indigenous peoples.

He insisted that no one from the EZLN seeks a position through popular election and that the independent indigenous woman candidate will not come from their ranks.

“No insurgent, male or female, whether from the command or from the troops, nor any comandanta or comandante of the CCRI can even be authorities in the community, nor in an autonomous municipio, nor in the different autonomous organizational bodies.  They cannot be members of the autonomous councils, nor of the good government juntas, nor of the commissions, nor take on any of the responsibilities that the assembly designates, that is created or to be created in the construction of our autonomy; in other words, of our freedom,” Galeano explained.

“Our work, our task as the EZLN is to serve our communities, to accompany them, support them and not to command them.  To support them, yes.  And sometimes we achieve this.  And yes, certainly, sometimes we hinder them, but then the Zapatista peoples give us a slap (or several, accordingly) so that we can correct ourselves,” he clarified.

When the EZLN made the proposal to the heart of the CNI, they told them: “it doesn’t matter if they win the presidency of the Republic or not, but what would matter was the challenge, the irreverence, the refusal to submit, the total breakdown of the image of the indigenous as the object of alms and pity –an image so ingrained in the right, and also in the institutional left of “real change” and its organic intellectuals addicted to the opium of the social networks-, that their daring would move the entire political system and that it would have echoes of hope not in one, but in many of the Mexicos of below… and of the world.”

He said that they are not seeking for an indigenous woman from the CNI to be president, but rather that what is desired is to carry a message of struggle and organization to the poor in the countryside and the cities of Mexico and of the world.

“It is not that we consider that, if we get together the signatures or win the election, it will go well, but rather that it will go well if we can talk and listen to those who nobody talks or listens to.

Here we will see whether it will go well or not, if a lot of people are going to find the strength and hope to get organized, to resist and rebel,” Galeano said.



Originally Published in Spanish by Chiapas Paralelo

Thursday, November 17, 2016


Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee

Posted with minor edits by Dorset Chiapas Solidarity



November 20, 2016

10 years after the Viejo Velasco Massacre impunity continues

Filed under: Displacement, Human rights, Indigenous, Lacandon/ montes azules, Uncategorized — Tags: , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 6:43 pm



10 years after the Viejo Velasco Massacre impunity continues



Ten years after the Viejo Velasco massacre the crime remains unpunished. On Sunday 13th November in Palenque, Chiapas, various people, some from organisations or on their own, marched together in the “Pilgrimage for Memory, Justice and Truth”

Participating in the Palenque march were communities such as Nuevo Tila, Lacanjá Tseltal, Limonar, Chamizal, Francisco León, Arroyo Granizo, Ojo de Agua, Chamizal, Nuevo Jericó and national and international human rights observers. More than 500 people came together to denounce impunity in the country.

“We march to commemorate our pain and our memory which fights and is justice.”


Viejo Velasco: Massacre, torture, disappearances and forced displacement

Ten years ago, on 13 November 2006, at approximately 6 o’clock in the morning, a group of about 40 civilians heavily armed and dressed in military- and Public Security-type uniforms violently entered the community of Viejo Velasco. Coming from the communities of Nueva Palestina, Frontera Corozal and Lacanjá Chansayab, they are members of the so called “Lacandona Community”.

These 40 armed civilians were accompanied by 300 agents from the Chiapas State Public Security forces, who were armed with high powered weapons that are for the exclusive use of the army and known as “goat’s horns” (AK-47) and R-15. They were also accompanied by 5 Prosecutors from the Public Prosecutor’s Office, 2 specialist detectives, the Commander of the State Investigation Agency Jungle Zone along with 7 subordinates and a representative from the Secretariat of Social Development. Displaced people’s testimony agrees that the coordination of this brutal aggression was led by Engineer Rafael Armando Arellanes (then Sub-secretary of Political Action for the Chiapas state government) and Professor Gabriel Montoya Oceguera (who was serving as a government delegate for the Lacandon Jungle).

All of these hostile parties encircled the community, where later they looted the houses and committed 4 extra judicial executions, 1 illegal detention along with torture, 4 people were forcibly disappeared, and the forced displacement of 20 men, 8 women, 5 boys, 3 girls who had to escape to the mountains to survive the attack.


15078510_1858139431085096_9058695910574950240_nCommunities from Palenque, Ocosingo and Chilon, and members of the X’inich organisation gather in the rain at the Mother Chol statue in Palenque from 8 in the morning to begin the Pilgrimage for Memory


Between the ecological pretext and the agrarian conflict in Montes Azules



The goal of this massacre was to plant seeds of terror in the families living in the community of Viejo Velasco, Ocosingo municipality. The aggressors wanted these families to abandon their land, and they framed it as a regional agrarian conflict in the Lacandon Jungle. And this is also how state policy using the ecological pretext to “guarantee the conservation of the Montes Azules Biosphere Nature Reserve” has been transformed into an intense process of territorial dispossession. More than 30 indigenous villages – Tseltal, Tsotsil, Chol and Tojolabal communities – have suffered forced relocations and violent evictions. At the beginning of 2006, negotiations with this small village Viejo Velasco broke down, owing to the fact that the residents would not accept forced relocation. On the 28 of March 2006, the Secretary of Agrarian Reform announced its decision about this unjust agrarian process, and the beneficiaries were only the people belonging to the so-called Lacandon Community (whose members are Maya Caribe and Tseltal people from Nueva Palestina and Chol people from Frontera Corozal). The government then began a process of forced relocations and threats of violent eviction in all of the Lacandon Jungle. In the area of Valley of Santo Domingo and La Cojolita, the repression was concentrated in four villages:  Viejo Velasco, Flor de Cacao, Ojo de Agua Tsotsil and San Jacinto Lacanjá.

The State is Responsible

According to a denouncement before the International Tribunal of Conscience of the Peoples in Movement the state is responsible both in action and neglect.
On 4 November 2010, the Viejo Velasco massacre case was presented before the International Tribunal of Conscience of the Peoples in Movement to demonstrate and denounce the responsibility of the Mexican State in the events which took place on 13 November 2006. According to the compliant the State is responsible for:

– action, for ordering and carrying out on 13 November 2006, an operation in the community, as indeed the government itself confirms in response to an application for information by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. This operation was provoked by the failure to resolve in a just manner, and one following international law the situation recognising and regularising the community lands of Viejo Velasco and the “Zona del Desempeño”.

– omission, further, despite all the calls sent to the Federal and State government bodies by the Xi’nich Committee for the Defence of Indigenous Freedom, “Maderas del Pueblo”, and the Fray Bartolomé de las Casas Human Rights Centre among other organisations about the risk of violent aggression in the area, the State neglected to respond and never intervened to prevent this violence and resolve a situation which every day grew more tense. In addition to all this, after these horrendous events, the official investigations have proven to be insufficient and ineffective. There was a long, unexplained delay in sharing the findings of the analysis of the skeletal remains found 6 July 2007, as well as obstacles planted by the intervention of independent specialists.


15078640_1306098326109220_7146175537536653577_nSymbolic act in front of the Jungle District Attorney General’s Office. “Justice will not come from above. We, the people, are the peace-builders. Here we have only seen impunity. It was from here that the protectors of the 40 civilians dressed in official uniforms left to go massacre our brothers and sisters in Viejo Velasco.”

To finish, a communique was read:

Communique Ten Years after the Massacre

Palenque, Chiapas

13 November 2016

“…it is very hard to remember that terrible violence that we lived through, because the day it all happened, I was there.”

“…I was four months pregnant, I left running towards the mountains, in the road I met some people from Palestine community, and they began to shoot at me. I don’t know how many shots they fired at me, but thanks to God none of them hit me.” (Testimony from the families and victims)



To the General Public:

Ten years after the cruel massacre in the community of Viejo Velasco in Ocosingo municipality, Chiapas, we are making this pilgrimage with pain and outrage in memory of our brothers and sisters who were murdered at dawn on the 13th of November 2006. This massacre was perpetrated by 40 civilian sub-comuneros from Nueva Palestina and from the Lacandon community. They were accompanied by a group of 300 agents from the Chiapas State Sectoral Police, five Prosecutors from the Public Prosecutor’s Office, two specialist detectives, the Commander of the State Investigation Agency Jungle Zone along with 7 subordinates and a representative from the Secretariat of Social Development. They carried high calibre weapons. The outcome of this injustice was the death of:  Antonio Mayor Benito Pérez, Filemón Benítez Pérez and María Núñez Gonzáles and four people missing:  Miguel Moreno Montejo, Antonio Peñate López, Mariano Pérez Guzmán and Pedro Núñez Gonzáles. All are indigenous Ch’ol and Tseltal community members who lived in Viejo Velasco.

Owing to these violent events, one day after the attack, health promoter Diego Arcos Meneses, and other good-hearted residents from the community of Nuevo Tila, which is located an hour away, came to help the victims. They cleaned the wounds of the injured; fed people with beans and fruit from the countryside. They brought clothing to cover the children and adults. During this, the community was overcome by surprise by the State Police who unjustly detained our brother Diego Arcos Meneses.  Arcos Meneses was in jail for a year accused of homicide, and arrest warrants were issued for Juan Peñate, Antonio Álvarez, Domingo Álvaro and Alejandro Álvaro, all from Nuevo Tila community.

Eight months after the massacre, in June 2007, skeletal remains along with a rope and clothing were found covered in overgrowth on the road from Viejo Velasco to Paraíso. The Public Prosecutor’s office took charge of recovering the remains. Without respect or compassion they collected the bones, treating them like animal bones. The two remains were put in a single blanket and taken away, then they denied us the right to know the truth for four years.

As a first attempt, we pushed our petition to the Public Prosecutor that they give us the studies of the skeletal remains that they had found. They only thing they told us was that the disappeared from Viejo Velasco massacre had gone to the United States to work. On top of that, they give us bones with bits of fresh flesh on them, which did not match what we had found in June 2007. For us, this was a complete mockery, and what the Public Prosecutor has done is not respectful. Denying these families their legitimate right to the truth is abuse on the part of the Public Prosecutor.

Faced with the neglect and inability of the three levels of government:  Federal, State and Municipal, in 2011 the communities, families and victims succeeded, with the support of the Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team, in having the studies from the remains found in the massacre zone identified as  Pedro Núñez Gonzáles and Miguel Moreno Montejo. We gave them a Christian burial in November 2012. The other two brothers remain missing until now.

Ever since the first days after the massacre, we have gone to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) to request precautionary measures to ensure that the Mexican State look for our disappeared brothers and protect all those affected in the attack. From that time until now, in all of 10 years, we have not had any result. In 2010 the IACHR raised the precautionary measures to a formal complaint against the Mexican government, who now must respond about their responsibility.

Owing to all this, we demand:

  1. The return of our disappeared loved ones alive, “You took them alive, we want them back alive.”
  1. The clarification of the massacre which took place in the community Viejo Velasco, in Ocosingo municipality, Chiapas.
  1. Investigation and punishment of the intellectual and material authors of this crime, among them Professor Gabriel Montoya Oceguera (who was serving as a government delegate for the Lacandon Jungle), Engineer Rafael Armando Arellanes (then Sub-secretary of Political Action for the Chiapas state government), the 2006 Special Commissioner of Agrarian Reform Marta Cecilia Díaz Gordillo and the sub-comuneros of the communities Nueva Palestina and Lacandona.
  1. An end to the harassment of families and survivors of this case by the office of the Chiapas Procurator of Justice


  1. We place the blame for the 2006 massacre in Viejo Velasco on the three levels of government.
  1. We ask that national and international civil society remain informed about the case before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.
  1. We invite all Mexicans to open your eyes to the terror and crime which comes from the three levels of government.
  2. We call on the National Indigenous Congress to keep informed about what happened, and to echo our struggle for memory and truth.


Families of victims and survivors of the Viejo Velasco massacre,
Coordinating team of social organisations  CDLI- Xinich’, Tsoblej Yu’un Jwocoltic, UCISECH and Misión Santísima Trinidad.

Posted by Dorset Chiapas Solidarity



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