dorset chiapas solidarity

June 11, 2016

“They destroyed our houses and cornfields,” denounces San Isidro los Laureles, Chiapas.

Filed under: Indigenous — Tags: , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 2:11 pm



“They destroyed our houses and cornfields,” denounces San Isidro los Laureles, Chiapas.






Organised group of San Isidro los Laureles and communities in the municipality of Venustiano Carranza, Chiapas, adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle Mexico.

Semilla Digna.

Public denunciation.

To the good government junta.

To the adherents the the sixth, national and international.

To non-governmental organizations.

To national and international human rights agencies.

To the Indigenous National Congress (CNI).

To the alternative media.

To public opinion in Mexico and the world.

On 12th May after being evicted from the estate of el Refugio, recuperated land, by those who claim to be the owners, Rodrigo Ruiz, Francisco Ruiz, Octavin Albores, along with the bad government and white guards.

We hereby inform you that we, San Isidro and the communities, will continue resisting in struggle, until we achieve our goal; somewhere to work, somewhere to live, since it is the heritage of our families; we, men, women and children denounce the following.

We disclose and inform you that we had already planted between 50 and 60 hectares of maize, which were already close to be ready to harvest the corncobs, we inform you that all the sacred cornfield was cut in order to keep the cattle of those who claim to be the owners, leaving the 60 families who form the organized group without food, within 20 days of being evicted from the ranch el Refugio, land that is rightfully ours, as indigenous we have rights to the land.

We make known also that they destroyed our small houses, made of wood and sheets of laminate, burning all our belongings like sleeping mats, jackets, sweaters, bags, crowbars, planters, seeds and vegetables.

The owners, the white guards together with two trucks of accredited police continue to intimidate us with high-calibre gunshots, at the same time we are concerned about the wellbeing of our young compañeros and compañeras and children.

chiapas-conflicto-agrario2-e1351717042884Through this communiqué we inform you that the three levels of federal, state, and municipal government, as we know from our history, exploit people like us, the campesinos and indigenous, they humiliate us, taking possession of something which does not belong to them.

That is why through our communiqué, we call for the authorities to take into account our decision to recover our land, we announce that we will return to recover our lands and territory, which ancestrally belongs to us.

We therefore ask for support from public opinion, human rights organizations, the CNI, the alternative media, and the good government junta, because we will keep you informed, in a timely manner, of everything that comes against us and our rights. Because our decision is and will be to resist and defend what belongs to us legitimately, in advance we hold responsible the three levels of government, federal, state, municipal, along with the landowners Rodrigo Ruiz, Francisco Ruiz, Octavin Albores, the chief of the region (cacique) Jesus Orantes Ruiz and the leader of the sugarcane organization (delegation), Raquel Aguilar Castaneda, for anything that may happen to us.


San Isidro los Laureles and the communities in the municipality of Venustiano Carranza, Chiapas. Mexico.

Adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon jungle.

If a revolutionary does not act with dignity (s)he is not a revolutionary!



May 14, 2016

San Isidro Los Laureles, Semilla Digna, Denounces Eviction from their Recuperated Territory

Filed under: Displacement, Indigenous, Uncategorized — Tags: , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 10:32 am



San Isidro Los Laureles, Semilla Digna, Denounces Eviction from their Recuperated Territory




To the EZLN

To the CNI

To the free media and to all the communication media

To the national and international Sixth

To the national and international civil society

To the defenders of human rights

Compañeras and compañeros,

We want to inform you that today at seven in the morning caciques entered our territory claiming to be owners of the recuperated land that rightfully belongs to us, accompanied by their White Guards in 30 disguised trucks. They entered violently, beginning to burn our stuff and throw gases.

We, as people organized in the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle, in the space of struggle of Semilla Digna and member of the Indigenous National Congress (CNI), decided to recover these lands on the 20th of December, 2015; they rightfully belong to us, since they are the lands that we have worked for generations; those that claim to be the owners of the lands are Francisco Ruiz, Rodrigo Ruiz, and Octovin Albores.

For all these reasons, we ask you to be attentive to whatever aggression may be carried out against us, and we hold the three levels of the bad government responsible. Compañeros and compañeras, we will keep you informed of the situation.

San Isidro Los Laureles, Municipality of Venustiano Carranza


of the space of struggle Semilla Digna, Adherents to the

Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle, and

Members of the Indigenous National Congress


From a translation by Palabras Rebeldes



March 5, 2016

Denunciation from San Isidro Los Laureles, Adherents to The Sixth

Filed under: Indigenous, Uncategorized — Tags: , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 4:38 pm



Denunciation from San Isidro Los Laureles, Adherents to The Sixth




February 22, 2016

San Isidro los Laureles, Municipality of Venustiano Carranza, Chiapas, Mexico, Adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandona Jungle, from the Space of Struggle Semilla Digna, Members of the CNI

Public denunciation

To the EZLN

To the national and international adherents of the sixth

To the national and international organizations of human rights

To the national indigenous congress (CNI)

To the free and alternative media

To the public opinion of Mexico and the world

si los laurelesAfter 62 days of having recovered our mother earth, at 12:40 pm, a white double cabin Cheyenne truck with license plate DSF-73-24 passed our territory. The truck had six people inside wearing bulletproof vests and carrying high powered weapons. This truck passed our recovered lands of the municipality of Venustiano Carranza, Chiapas, led by the landowners Rodrigo Ruiz, Francisco Ruiz, Octavin Albores, and supported by some small landholders, with the intent to intimidate our compañerxs, young people, and children of San Isidro los Laureles and other communities. In consequence, we denounce the following:

998278_413225682116174_1052008252_n (1)We make it known that being gathered together in the recovered land “El Refugio”, living with our families in harmony and tranquillity; they passed showing their armed men (white guards of the landowners), creating fear in our compañerxs, youth, girls and boys. At the same time we are aware that our road sign was vandalized with great violence, that same day at 10:30 pm carried out from the orders of the owners Rodrigo Ruiz, Francisco Ruiz and Octavin Albores.

We fear that the same eviction and violence that occurred in 1994 can happen again, when we decided to recover these lands, when the state intervened unleashing repression on our compañerxs.

Through this statement we want to inform all three levels of bad government—federal, state, and municipal—that the land legitimately belongs to us, as you know we are the campesinos and indigenous people have left our footprints and scars in these lands because our grandparents worked these lands without taking anything in return.

Because of this, and through this communiqué, we demand that the authorities take into account and respect our decision to recover the land, and we ask the National Indigenous Congress, public opinion, the organizations of human rights, the alternative media, to stay alert because we will keep you informed, in a timely manner, of everything that comes against our rights and our progress.

Our decision is and will be to resist and defend that which legitimately belongs to us in order to reach our objective, which is to benefit our indigenous families, where we live, where we work, and where we sustain ourselves.

We hold the three levels of government responsible—federal, state, and municipal—with the owners Rodrigo Ruiz, Francisco Ruiz, and Octavin Albores together with Jesús Orantes Ruiz, for everything that can happen to or against us.


Community of San Isidro los Laureles, Municpality of Venustiano Carranza Chiapas

Adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandona Jungle

Members of Semilla Digna of the CNI

“A revolutionary who does not act with dignity is not a revolutionary”



Translated by Palabras Rebeldes



January 5, 2016

San Isidro Los Laureles Community reclaims lands that “our grandfathers, grandmothers and parents worked as serfs”

Filed under: Displacement, Uncategorized — Tags: , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 7:57 pm



San Isidro Los Laureles Community reclaims lands that “our grandfathers, grandmothers and parents worked as serfs”




Members of the community of San Isidro Los Laureles, municipality of Venustiano Carranza, decided to reclaim “about 165 hectares from various properties: “Tres Picos” (property of Octovín Albores, owner of 30 hectares), “Las Delicias” (property of Francisco Javier Ruíz, owner of 60 hectares), and “El Refugio’ estate (property of Rodrigo Ruíz, owner of 75 hectares)” on December 20thThe members of the community declared that, “our grandfathers, grandmothers and parents who were serfs worked these lands. Since 1940 they have worked on minimum wage and have never received loans or bonuses. We reclaim these lands for our families because we no longer have anywhere to live or work for the livelihood of the families as indigenous people.”

They also mentioned that in 1994 they had already used these lands after a failed attempt to reclaim them in which they were evicted “with convoy, the marine and helicopter,” and explained that “today the need has arisen for the families that have nowhere to live of work, nor livelihood for the family, where they can have beans to eat.”

In a communiqué issued after December 29th, ten days after reclaiming the lands, they reported they could be evicted between January 2nd and 5th from the lands that “legitimately belong to us, by those who say they are the owners, Francisco Ruíz, Rodrigo Ruíz, Octovin Albores, along with Jesus Orantes Ruíz, and other smallholders, from the three properties we have reclaimed.” Furthermore “we fear that the same eviction could occur with excessive violence as happened in 1994 when we decided to reclaim the same properties when the state intervened unleashing repression, violently evicting our people.”



May 15, 2016

Velasco evicts women and children from San Isidro but allows CIOAC to operate a roadblock in Tuxtla Gutierrez.

Filed under: Displacement, Indigenous, La Sexta — Tags: , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 1:19 pm



Velasco evicts women and children from San Isidro but allows CIOAC to operate a roadblock in Tuxtla Gutierrez.


san isidro


Chiapas Mexico. 12th May, 2016. “They are shooting at us, shooting to kill” denounce members of San Isidro los Laureles, municipality of Venustiano Carranza, who through an audiomessage report that “the police along with white guards, evicted us from the land of our ancestors we had recuperated.”

“We are 60 families and are from the collective Semilla Digna, adherents to the Sexta,” explain the campesinos who were attacked, and say that the eviction began at six in the morning, when they 40 cars, vans and three local police trucks sector arrived.

“We are concerned about the physical wellbeing of the compañeros and compañeras, and their belongings, such as clothing, household utensils and tools and seeds for cultivation” share the people originating in central Chiapas. “We are concerned because we have our crops, our maize, our corncobs, which are for the support of our families,” he added.

“We are going to carry on. We are not leaving, we have always lived here, and we will get our land back no matter how long it takes us, “say the campesinos, members of the Indigenous National Congress, and made a call for national and international solidarity.

The violent eviction of the families from San Isidro los Laureles occurred just at the same time as the Independent Central of Agricultural Workers and Campesinos (CIOAC), an organisation close to the government of Velasco Coello, was holding, with impunity, a roadblock in the capital Tuxtla Gutierrez; he did not act against them like he acted against the children, women and elderly of the community in Venustiano Carranza.


Translated by the UK Zapatista Translation Service



July 17, 2016

Communique from Semilla Digna in Solidarity with the Teacher’s Struggle

Filed under: Repression — Tags: , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 1:26 pm



Communique from Semilla Digna in Solidarity with the Teacher’s Struggle



From the teachers’ roadblock in San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas

During the delivery of supplies to the CNTE


To the teachers and students in resistance

To the parents of families

To all the organizations, collectives, and neighbourhoods present here

The communities in rebellion and resistance, adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandona Jungle of the EZLN, those of us who make up the space Semilla Digna (Candelaria el Alto, San Isidro los Laureles, San Francisco, Grupo de Trabajo No estamos todxs, Alcanfores, San Isidro del Ocotal and Cruztón), express our solidarity with your dignified struggle because we feel like you, against the structural reforms of the bad government.

Also, as indigenous communities, we have suffered humiliation, contempt, displacement and neglect. We understand well your struggle because we share the same struggle, and we share the pain and rage in our hearts. As such, we are with you in support with our presence and our word.

We want to encourage you because we already know of the aggression and violence with which the bad government represses the people in resistance. We want to say to you that you are not alone, and that we, as indigenous men and women of our lands and communities, as organizations in resistance, we are with you and we share your path.

We want to say to you that also with the action you have taken, you are raising consciousness in civil society more and more, making visible the lies that the bad government tells in response to our demands.

We demand the immediate liberty of all of the compañerxs unjustly imprisoned for protesting, and we ask that their rights be respected, and, more concretely, the liberty of all the teachers and the civil society which supports them, who in recent weeks have suffered repression and imprisonment for exercising their right to demonstrate against the misnamed structural reforms, when all these will do is to continue to deprive everyone of a dignified future.

We condemn and hold responsible the three levels of the bad government for all the harassments and assassinations that they have already committed, and for whatever future action may be carried out against the organizations, collectives, neighbourhoods, parents of families, students and teachers here present.

Forward compañeros! Your struggle is our struggle. Receive a great combative hug from all communities that make up the space of struggle known as Semilla Digna.

If you injure one of us, you injure all of us!

The people united will never be defeated!

Zapata lives, the struggle continues!


Translated by Palabras Rebeldes

Minor amendments by Dorset Chiapas Solidarity



July 1, 2016

Zapatista News Summary June 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 4:51 pm



Zapatista News Summary June 2016






1.CompARTE for Humanity: Adherents to the Sexta continue to organise events in advance of the festival, which is to be held from 17th to 30th July, first in Oventic and then in Cideci. It is noticeable that there is a general increase in the number of activities and statements promoting different art forms as a means of resistance and struggle.


2. Notes on the War: On 17th June, the EZLN release Notes on the War against the Teachers in Resistance (The Hour of the Police 3) taken from the notebook of the cat-dog. The government is losing the media war about the education reform in Chiapas, the communiqué says, and goes on to discuss how the resistance movement is growing. Foreseeing what is to come next for the teachers, it continues: “They have beaten them, gassed them, imprisoned them, threatened them, fired them unjustly, slandered them, and declared a de facto state-of-siege in Mexico City. What’s next? Will they disappear them? Will they murder them? Seriously? The ‘education’ reform will be born upon the blood and bodies of the teachers?”


3. From Within the Storm: On 20th June, a joint communiqué, “From Within the Storm,” is released from the National Indigenous Congress and the EZLN on “the cowardly police attack against the National Coordinating Committee of Education Workers and the indigenous community of Nochixtlán, Oaxaca.” In this, the peoples, nations and tribes of the CNI and the EZLN “say to the dignified teachers that they are not alone, that we know that reason and truth are on their side, that the collective dignity from which they speak their resistance is unbreakable, and that this the principal weapon of those of us below.” They demand an end to the repression and call for solidarity in the face of the storm that is upon all of us.


4. More from the cat-dog: On 23rd June, the EZLN release The Hour of the Police 4, from the Cat-Dog’s spoiler notebook. This short excerpt is about Aurelio Nuño, Minister of Public Education, who has refused to negotiate. “All memory of you will disappear.”


 B. Chiapas


1. Bersaín Hernández Zavala: The sad death in a car accident is announced of the teacher, social activist and adherent to the EZLN’s Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle, Bersaín Hernández Zavala, who founded the Autonomous Regional Council of the Coastal Zone of Chiapas in September 2006. This Council covered the municipalities of Tonalá, Pijijiapan and Mapastepec. A moving farewell and memorial is held on 3rd June, at the secondary school, where he taught in Tonalá, in honour of his important work. He is remembered for his contribution to the construction of a culture of peace.


2. The Pueblo Creyente of Simojovel: declare their full and active support for the teachers in resistance, and call for a pilgrimage on 8th June in Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Chiapas, against the repression and the so-called reforms, calling on the government to stop the violence, on the police to protect and not to repress, and on the teachers to continue to struggle peacefully. Thousands of indigenous peoples from the municipalities of Simojovel, El Bosque, Huitiupán, Amatán and Pueblo Nuevo Solistahuacán came down from the highlands for this pilgrimage, led by Father Marcelo Pérez Pérez. Further pilgrimages follow.


3. Las Abejas of Acteal open a collection for the 81 people, from 14 families, members of their organisation, who were displaced from their homes by the shooting and violence in Colonia Puebla, Chenalho, on 26th May. The displaced people are currently living in the headquarters of Las Abejas, and were previously displaced in August 2013. During their monthly commemoration of the fallen, the group denounce the repression and the context of violence towards the indigenous peoples, seen for example in the increase in mineral exploitation (mining.) On 22nd June they say “”The governments of Chiapas and Mexico have never had the mentality to establish peace. They only encourage violence and defend their own interests and those of their bosses who want to impose structural reforms.” These reforms, they add, are only to privatise education, and all the national resources.


4. Ejido Tila: Ejidatarios from the newly autonomous community of Tila denounce how “the expelled town council is still looking to finish us off and return to bad government.” For example, “a member of the municipal police cut an ejidatario with a razor,” and supplies of fuel for the ambulance at Tila have been cut. “Also the threats continue and the town council gave money to the caciques to pay thugs to kill our authorities and destroy our self-government. But here we continue resisting and slowly building our autonomy and the self-government of the ejido.” On 12th June they further announce that they have completed 70 metres of drainage by hand.


5. Prisoners: Ejidatarios from San Sebastián Bachajon demand the release of the Tseltal Santiago Moreno Pérez from the prison at Playas de Catazaja. They say he is not receiving medical attention for various diseases resulting from the conditions of his detention over the last seven years. The Tsotsil prisoner Alejandro Díaz Santiz denounces the mistreatment of prisoners through threats and abuse of power by the prison guards, as well as verbal and physical humiliation at the federal prison No. 15, Villa Comaltitlán, Tapachula. In Cereso No 5, the Tsotsil prisoner Roberto Paciencia Cruz begins a short hunger strike in solidarity with the teachers. Roberto also writes a letter of solidarity to Alejandro, to break his isolation.


6. The Lacandon Gap: Ejidatarios from the Ocosingo area, members of ARIC (not adherents to the Sexta), gathered at Ejido Candelaria, announce their complete rejection of the proposal to delimit the Lacandon Gap, a fight that has gone on for 40 years, because “the delimitation of the Lacandon Gap is about transnational companies that want to take possession of the land to exploit its valuable natural resources, found in the depths of the Lacandon zone and the Montes Azules biosphere.” “The Government does not intend to regularise this land; rather its main objective is to delimit the gap, in order to expropriate the Lacandon zone.”


7. San Isidro Los Laureles: The organised group of San Isidro los Laureles and communities in the municipality of Venustiano Carranza, Chiapas, adherents to the Sixth Declaration, known as Semilla Digna, release a communiqué informing that, during their eviction from their recuperated land, their houses and cornfields were destroyed. The 50 to 60 hectares of maize they had planted, which was almost ready to harvest, has been cut by the attackers and fed to their cattle, leaving 60 families without food. They announce their intention to return and recover their lands and territory.


8. San Francisco Teopisca: The organised group of adherents to the Sexta from the ranchería San Francisco, in the municipality of Teopisca, denounce, on 13th June, that the police are searching for seven of their members as a result of arrest warrants which were issued against them last August. This is part of an attempt to seize and sell their recuperated land, “El Desengaño,” by a shock group led by two local caciques.


9. Forced disappearance of Maximiliano Gordillo Martinez: On 13th June, one month and six days since the forced disappearance of Maximiliano Gordillo Martinez, aged 18, his relatives, representatives of his community parish of Socoltenango, along with members of “La 72” Refuge Home for Migrants, Mesoamerican Voices, Action with Migrant Peoples and the Fray Bartolome de Las Casas Centre for Human Rights, call a press conference to denounce the negligence of the authorities in this case. Maximiliano was travelling in search of work because of the poverty of his family, when he was wrongfully detained as a migrant at a checkpoint in the state of Tabasco; since then he has disappeared.


10. Banavil: The families forcibly displaced from Banavil report that Alonso Lopez Ramirez was arrested on 9th June, on the charges of homicide and wounding. He is one of those responsible for the aggression of December 4, 2011, that caused the forced displacement of 13 people and the disappearance of Alonso López Luna. The displaced families demand that Alonso Lopez Ramirez is not allowed to go free, that the seven other outstanding arrest warrants in this case are implemented and that a search is conducted to find the disappeared Alonso López Luna, because Lopez Ramirez knows what happened to him.


11. An example of autonomous justice: In a communiqué dated 14th June, ejidatarios of San Sebastian Bachajon report that after a group of around 10 people assaulted and killed a young campesino on the road on the night of 12th June, the Ch’ol and Tseltal communities of the region, “decided to organize ourselves autonomously and mobilised around 800 men to track and capture the criminal gang.” The operation was carried out by fifteen communities from different municipalities, among them the municipality of Bachajón, “knowing that there will be no justice from the state due to the complicity of the police forces with the bad government and organised crime.” The aim was “to prevent the bad government from utilizing these types of situations, with the help of the mass media, and presenting them to civil society as the result of a prevailing insecurity and division among indigenous peoples, advocating police and military intervention in territories that are the focus of government interests.” The “organized intervention of the Ch’ol and Tseltal communities to detain the criminals,” was conducted “using our customs and traditional practices and the ways and modes of community policing.”


12. Minerva Guadalupe Pérez Torres: 20th June 2016 marks the twentieth anniversary of the forced disappearance of the indigenous Ch’ol Minerva Guadalupe, who was arrested at a checkpoint of the paramilitary group Desarrollo Paz y Justicia (Development Peace and Justice) in the municipality of Tila. This case, says Frayba, “falls within the systematic pattern of forced disappearances, extrajudicial executions and forced displacement in the Northern region of Chiapas, which was part of the counterinsurgency strategy operated by the Mexican State.” The call for justice continues.


13. Second and third pilgrimages called: Father Marcelo Pérez Pérez from Simojovel announces that the base ecclesiastical communities from the parishes of San Fernando de Guadalupe, Salto de Agua, San Mateo, Tila, Santo Domingo de Guzmán, Palenque and the diocese of San Cristóbal de las Casas, along with the Pueblo Creyente of Simojovel, will hold a pilgrimage on 20th June in support of the teachers of Chiapas in Tuxtla Gutiérrez. They have to do this because their march of 8th June fell on deaf ears, he says, and to show their support for the teachers and to repudiate the violent acts that occurred in Nochixtlán, Oaxaca. “With such events we cannot remain on the sidelines, as a church we will always be on the side of the oppressed and we will raise our prophetic voice.” Father Marcelo also extends an invitation to a mega-pilgrimage in support of the teachers on 1st July with around thirteen parishes from the diocese of San Cristobal participating.


14. Healthworkers strike in Chiapas: In Chiapas, more than 2,000 workers of Health Jurisdiction Number II, which covers 18 municipalities in the Highlands of Chiapas, declare a strike on 7th June to demand equipment and medicine for patients as well as social benefits:  they have neither medicines nor equipment to tend to the patients. Thousands of health workers march in San Cristobal de Las Casas on June 14th, requesting that their demands be addressed and siding against the Health Reform Bill and in support of the teachers. They began a sit-in in the city on that date. On June 22nd, the health sector called for a national strike against the new Universal Health System, a proposal of President Enrique Peña Nieto, whose first phase came into effect the previous week.


C. Other


1. Campaign in Defence of Mother Earth: The first national video message from the National Campaign in Defence of Mother Earth and Territory is released online as part of the campaign’s overall goal to connect different urban and rural grassroots struggles in Mexico who make their priority the defence of territory, natural resources and the rights of indigenous peoples. In this message artists, poets and intellectuals amplify the voice of the more than 97 peoples who are resisting the imposition of megaprojects in their territories. “Without land and territory, life is not possible.”


2. Tata Juan Chávez Alonso: is remembered on the fourth anniversary of his death. “Corn is our blood, corn is our life, corn is our child, the corn boy and girl. It is the young person, the young corn, it is the sister and the brother corn, it is the father and the mother corn, it is the grandmother and grandfather corn. We are the people of corn who like all humanity are all the colours of the earth, because we were born in the land of all the colours that we are. Corn is represented in each of the colours of the world.”


3. The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) explains that it is facing a serious funding crisis which could result in the loss of 40% of its personnel by the end of July, and would have a devastating impact on its work. The IAHCR is the main recourse for indigenous groups facing violations of their rights and the impacts of its loss would be very severe. The organisation is essential for the scrutiny of press freedom, political violence and indigenous rights.


4. World Poetry Gathering of Indigenous Peoples: It is announced that nearly a hundred poets from different native peoples of the five continents will meet in Mexico in October 2016 as part of the first World Poetry Gathering of Indigenous Peoples: Voices of Colours for the Mother Earth, an event that aims to be a cry of warning about the environmental crisis on the planet. The festival, which will be presented in different pre-Hispanic archaeological sites in Mexico, will be adapted to the nature of ancestral cultures, where poetry plays a key role in oral culture which is used to transmit knowledge and traditions.


5. GM soya in Campeche: Beekeepers, Mayan communities and environmentalists warn of the possible planting of transgenic soybeans in Campeche despite the suspension of this activity decreed by the Supreme Court of Justice. They demand that the law enforcement authorities ensure that businesses and private producers comply with the ruling, and warn that they will initiate citizen monitoring in high-risk areas in Campeche and denounce any cases found.


6. Shocking new report from Amnesty International: Torture is widespread in Mexico’s “war on drugs”, but the impact on women has been largely ignored or downplayed. This report analyses the stories of 100 women who have reported torture and other forms of violence during arrest and interrogation by police and armed forces.


D. The Teachers’ Strike


The Mexican government’s neoliberal education “reform” represents the privatisation of education, the removal of workers’ rights, the weakening and even criminalisation of trade unions and the virtual exclusion of poor and indigenous regions from the educational system. The teachers have been on strike since 15th May. Huge protests continue despite violent clashes, police brutality and arrests. The arrests of the CNTE leaders along with a dozen other teachers led to mass demonstrations across Mexico, particularly in the states of Chiapas, Oaxaca, Guerrero and Michoacan – the poorest states with the largest indigenous population.

On 19th June violent repression by the Peña Nieto government and a brutal attack lasting over four hours on demonstrators at a roadblock in the southern state of Oaxaca resulted in the killing of at least 12 people, including nine people in the town (population 15,000) of Nochixtlan. See the report by John Ackerman here and an article about the teachers movement in Oaxaca here. Following this attack, residents of Nochixtlán are living in a virtual state of terror. The massacre has sparked a local and global condemnation against state repression in Mexico.

There are also great fears of further acts of repression and indiscriminate violence by the state, in an atmosphere of impunity, and there are many calls for dialogue.

You can sign an urgent action humanitarian alert issued by civil society in Oaxaca following the armed attack by the state on the civilian population here.


Massive support for the teachers

Thousands of local and international social organizations and grassroots movements have endorsed the teachers’ cause.

More than 200,000 doctors and nurses joined the teachers in a 24-hour strike against Peña Nieto’s administration attempts to privatize the federal social security and health systems, and students at major Mexican universities boycotted classes to mark the massacre and to oppose the ongoing efforts by the government to increase costs of higher education.

Generalized roadblocks against the education reform are set up throughout Chiapas, in Tuxtla, San Cristobal, Comitan, Ocosingo, Oxchuc, Ixtapa, and Suchiapa, and a succession of indigenous and cultural groups are joining the marches. On 29th June, more than eighteen roads in Chiapas were reported as having been blocked for three days, and by 30th June, twenty in the state of Oaxaca. The mobilisations continue, because no agreements have been reached through negotiation. Osorio Chong is talking about removing the roadblocks by force. However, on 30th July, Mexican authorities agreed to pay reparations for the dead in Nochixtlan.

Indigenous groups have come out very strongly in support of the teachers, notably the Pueblo Creyente of Simojovel, Las Abejas from Acteal, the Mixe from highland Oaxaca, who are carrying out massive mobilisations, and, of course, the Zapatistas, along with the Indigenous National Congress.


Finally, a summary of the situation from the Manchester Zapatista Collective:

Teachers in different parts of the world are fighting against what neoliberal governments are doing to education: governments abandon education for the most marginalized sectors of societies, they privatize education for everyone else, they remove critical thinking from
curricula and turn education into their own tool for forming compliant and obedient servants of the existing system. We’re seeing it in Britain, in the U.S., and in Mexico. Dispossession is not only about land; it is also about knowledge which should be there for everyone. As
Gustavo Esteva puts it, ‘the teachers’ territory is the classroom.’

In Mexico teachers have been striking in the Mexican state of Oaxaca. This last weekend (18/19 June) the police cracked down on them; as far as we know nine people have been killed and over 100 injured. This is an extension of the crack-down on teachers and teacher training students in Guerrero, another part of Mexico, which led to the enforced disappearance of 43 students from Ayotzinapa two years ago.

Here is an interview with Gustavo Esteva, who has been with the Sixth, on the reasons for the actions of the teachers in Oaxaca, on the abandoning of education by the government, and on the links between education and the struggle for land and territory:


Dorset Chiapas Solidarity



June 1, 2016

Zapatista News Summary May 2016

Filed under: news, Uncategorized, Zapatista — Tags: — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 6:35 pm



Zapatista News Summary May 2016





1. Galeano: 2nd May marks the second anniversary of the attack on the Caracol of La Realidad in which the teacher Galeano was murdered, before being reborn as Subcomandante Galeano, and one year since the homage to him.


2. CNI and EZLN denounce repression in Chablekal, Yucatan: In a joint communiqué, the EZLN and CNI condemn an attack on 3rd May by police who beat and use tear gas against the Maya residents of Chablekal, Yucatan, who are trying to prevent the eviction of an elderly couple. Seven people are arrested but freed after intense protests. The police intrusion is seen to be “violent and disproportionate.” The inhabitants of the community are being attacked for defending “what remains of their territory from the theft and displacement they have suffered over the last few years on behalf of speculators and new landowners.”


3. CNI and EZLN issue a joint communique on aggression against Álvaro Obregón, Oaxaca: The EZLN and CNI denounce an attack made on 14th May on the Binizza people of Álvaro Obregón, Juchitán, Oaxaca, who are struggling against a wind energy project being imposed on their territory. The police and bodyguards of the PAN-PRD candidate Gloria Sánchez López fire gunshots at members of the community, injuring six people who are attending an assembly.  One municipal police officer is killed after the community police intervene to defend the community members under attack, leading to fears of an attempt by the government to crush the entire autonomous project.


4. Zapatista Autonomous Justice: An important new book is published in Spanish, Zapatista autonomous justice: Tzeltal jungle zone,by Doctor Paulina Fernández Christlieb.


5. The books Critical Thought against the Capitalist Hydra: Volumes II and III of Critical Thought against the Capitalist Hydra are published in Mexico and are presented at various events. They represent the rest of the contributions made at the seminar/seedbed of the same name which was held in May 2015, and are published in the order the presentations were made. Volume I is now being translated into English, French, Italian, German and Greek.


6. ‘Comparte for Humanity’ Festival: Various preparatory events are being held for this festival, in towns and cities in Mexico, and in Barcelona (where it will be held on 29th and 30th July). The EZLN’s words are “We are hoping that the compas of the Sixth in Mexico and in the world understand what you might call the subliminal message of the convocation, and organize activities—in their own geographies and in accordance with their own calendars—either before, during, or after the festivals/gatherings convoked by the Zapatistas.”

The festival will take place from 17th to 22nd July in the Caracol of Oventik, when only Zapatista bases of support will participate, and then from 23rd to 30th July, 2016, in CIDECI, San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, when all registered artists will be able participate. Attendance is open for listeners and viewers for both parts, but requires registration. Entry is free. Registration closes on 15th June.


7. “May, between authoritarianism and resistance”: On 30th May, the EZLN issue a communiqué about the teachers’ movement, signed by Subcomandantes Moisés and Galeano, putting an end to various pieces of apocryphal information that have been circulating. The communiqué makes clear that the EZLN fully supports the teachers in their fight against the education reform, and asserts that with the repression and the refusal to dialogue and negotiate, the government is violating the law and the constitution, while the teachers are “in resistance and rebellion.” There is a good summary in English about the teachers’ resistance here.


B. Chiapas


1. Droughts: According to the National Water Commission (Conagua), rainfall in Chiapas during April was 19% down compared with figures for the previous twenty years. At least 40 municipalities in Chiapas are seriously affected, and the impact on food production is a matter of great concern. In the indigenous municipalities of the highland region of Chiapas this drought is affecting the supply of drinking water, and has led to the drying up of rivers and wells.


2. Collective work in the Ejido Tila: Chol ejidatarios of Tila announce how they are moving forward in their newly established autonomy, and the collective work they are doing as agreed in their assembly, such as cleaning up the town, recuperating public spaces, acting against drugs, and other work for the community such as maintaining the water and sanitary systems. 26th May is the festival of the Lord of Tila, and they say they are well prepared for the arrival of many pilgrims.


3. Meeting in Chicoasen: A declaration is issued, the Declaration by Original Peoples, Organisations and Communities in Defence of Mother Earth and our Territory, following a meeting held in Chicoasen in April. All megaprojects for the building of mines or dams are rejected, and the withdrawal of arrest warrants against the residents of Chicoasen demanded. The ejidatarios of Chicoasen are in struggle against the building of a second dam in their territory.


4. Members of CIOAC take possession of Tojolabal indigenous lands: Residents of the Ejido Guadalupe Victoria, municipality of Altamirano, denounce the invasion of their lands by 15 people who abandoned the community voluntarily after the 1994 uprising, led by caciques from the PRI, saying they are there under orders from the government. Sixteen years after abandoning their land, these former community members applied to the land court in Comitan to get the land back. The ejidatarios say that the invaders are supported by members of CIOAC and by the government, and that they threaten to attack them when they go to the city. They issue a “demand that the government does not support those ex-ejidatarios so as to avoid confrontation.”


5. The Pueblo Creyente of Simojovel give thanks for water and face serious attack: In a ceremony held on 3rd May, the Pueblo Creyente of Simojovel bless and pray at their springs, giving thanks for the sacred gift of water. They pledge to plant trees to protect the springs. Then on 4th May an urgent communiqué is issued following an armed attack on the town of Simojovel by up to 150 paramilitaries and members of the PRI who throw tear gas, molotovs, stones and rockets in the streets and the central park, which are thronged with people. This is condemned as a direct attack on the population, aimed to spread terror, and as a threat to the parish council and priest, permitted with impunity by the government. They reveal that two similar attacks happened during the previous month.


6. Authorities do not allow the displaced of Banavil to return: The displaced families from Banavil, Tenejapa, hold the ejidal authorities of their community responsible for their physical safety, after the authorities circulate a video saying they will not permit the displaced people to return to Banavil. The displaced Tseltales repeat once again that the government of Velasco Coello has been “deaf and blind” to their situation of forced displacement and the forced disappearance of their father, and call for justice.


7. Recuperation and attacks in Bachajón: On 5th May, ejidatarios, adherents to the Sexta, from San Sebastián Bachajón denounce in a communiqué that political party members have taken over the tollbooth and impeded the officially elected ejidal commissioner’s access to the ejido. At the same time, they announce that they have recuperated some hectares of land belonging to them in the San Juan region, in the municipality of Chilon. On 8th May, they denounce an attack on a community member and his family in Xanil by the leader of a group of paramilitaries and his two sons who also serve as state police. Three policemen are detained by the ejidatarios until those responsible are punished. At the same time the Bachajón prisoners thank everyone who supported them on Political Prisoners’ Day.


8. Seventeen years of unjust imprisonment: On 11th May, Alejandro Díaz Santiz completes seventeen years of unjust imprisonment for a crime he did not commit. That is the equivalent of half his life. “His only crime was to be poor and indigenous.” Alejandro spends the day fasting.


9. Cruztón celebrates and then denounces: On 5th May, the community of Cruztón in the municipality of Venustiano Carranza in the highlands of Chiapas, an adherent to the Sexta and a member of the CNI and of the group Semilla Digna, celebrates the ninth anniversary of the recuperation of 249 hectares of its lands. A few days later, a member of the organization is detained and tortured by the group Nuevo Guadalupe Victoria in the community of the same name in a long-standing dispute over the road to a burial ground (panteón.)


10. Unresolved conflict among Las Abejas of Acteal: In October 2014, a small group, the Consejo Pacifista Sembradores de la Paz (Pacifist Council of Sowers of Peace,) split from the main Civil Society Organisation Las Abejas, which was founded in 1992. Recently the newly separated group has been claiming to be the main organization in Acteal, and attempting to discredit both the original Las Abejas, and the Fray Bartolomé de las Casas Human Rights Centre (Frayba.) This has caused a lot of confusion, and a press conference is called to attempt to clarify the situation. Hermann writes an article explaining what has happened in more detail.


11. Attack on San Isidro los Laureles: The Tsotsil community of San Isidro los Laureles, adherent to the Sexta and member of Semilla Digna and the CNI, recuperated 165 hectares of its land, known as El Refugio, in the municipality of Venustiano Carranza last December. On 12th May, the community is raided by 40 trucks of police and paramilitaries who invade the community and open fire. They then ransack homes, burn possessions and destroy crops. The “white guards” are led by local caciques who claim the land as theirs. The community is displaced, because the attackers are “shooting to kill.” The 60 families have regrouped on nearby land. They have lost 70 hectares of corn which have been harvested and stolen by the attackers. Among those sending messages of solidarity are the community of Candelaria el Alto, and the CGT who highlight the recent increase in acts of government repression against the peoples in movement. Candelaria el Alto itself receives threats after offering its solidarity.


12. Expansion of CIOAC in Chiapas: The paramilitary-style group Central Independiente de Obreros Agrícolas y Campesinos (CIOAC), an organisation closely linked to the Chiapas government, has been growing in power and “expanding its actions and its tentacles in Chiapas.” When the above eviction (item 11) was taking place, CIOAC were holding, with impunity, a roadblock in the state capital Tuxtla Gutiérrez. It needs to be understood that certain municipalities in Chiapas are in a state of almost permanent conflict among caciques and their supporters as to who holds power, and an increasing number of paramilitary-style attacks are happening and scarcely being reported.


13. Zinacantán Mobilizes Against Water Privatization: On 15th May, the Pueblo Creyente of Zinacantan declare an alert against water privatisation. They say the municipality plans to tax water use. A pilgrimage in thanks for water is held to the main spring to denounce this.


14. Chicomuselo communities denounce mining companies in their territory: Residents of several communities in Chicomuselo, who remain alert to the risks of mining exploration in the region, arrest four people on 17th May who say they are promoting a mining project in the Ejido Grecia. The communities denounce that the mining companies continue to divide the communities by offering money to set up projects in the region, which could lead to great social and environmental damage.


15. Primero de Agosto: The people of this community have now experienced one year and three months in forced displacement, without any justice for the aggression perpetrated by CIOAC. They express their solidarity with the peoples of Simojovel and Banavil.


16. Conflict in Chenalho: A violent conflict has been going on in the municipality of Chenalho over the election of a woman as mayor last year. For the last two months a faction has been trying to force her out of office. After they kidnapped two state Congressmen on 25th May, she was forced to resign. A fight between supporters of the two candidates from the community of Ejido Puebla resulted in the death from gunshot wounds of a fourteen-year-old girl and an elderly man. Several others have been seriously injured, and houses burned. Two people are disappeared, and 257 people (80 families) are displaced from ejido Puebla – 80% of the population. The Diocese of San Cristobal de Las Casas has denounced the serious situation of social division that exists in the municipality of Chenalhó along with an uncontrolled use of weapons that could lead to even more violent events, and has offered mediation.


17. Dams: Information published in La Jornada and other publications last month stated that work had started on building the Boca del Cerro dam on the Usumacinta river. Activists have since visited the site and confirmed that no work is yet underway, and that the communities are strongly opposed to any work taking place on the river. If built, this dam would be an environmental catastrophe.


18. Water: Coca-Cola are now digging their third well near their plant in San Cristobal de Las Casas. More than 5,000 people living in the vicinity already have no water supply and have to buy their water.


C. Other


1. San Salvador Atenco, the struggle continues: The Peoples’ Front in Defence of the Land (FPDT) from Atenco and members of the surrounding communities, members of the Fire of Dignified Resistance, who are all threatened with losing their lands to the new Mexico City airport, are much in the news this month. 3rd and 4th May mark the tenth anniversary of Mayo Rojo (Red May) and the terrible attack and brutal repression unleashed on the town of San Salvador Atenco by now-president Enrique Peña Nieto in 2006. Two days of marches, concerts and activities mark the continuation of the struggle. The members then return to fighting and blocking the construction of a new road to the airport, by planting trees and removing construction materials along with other actions. Among the risks posed, the new airport threatens the water supply for Mexico City and surrounding areas.

On 23rd May, the FPDT declare themselves on maximum alert. They denounce that workers from the airport group have illegally entered the territory of Nexquipayac, escorted by more than 200 members of the federal, marine, state and municipal police, with the intention of marking out the perimeter fence of the airport. This violates their court-ordered injunction (amparo.) “These illegal incursions are acts of provocation that the government is mounting to stir up the people and thus justify the repression against the communities and members of the FPDT. The utilization of workers for the airport who come from our own peoples is being used as a tactic to divide the people and make us fight amongst each other.” Similar incursions continue to take place in the various communities affected. On 29th May, the Fire of Dignified Resistance hosts the First Popular Encounter against the Eruviel Law.


2. Mining: Me’phaa Indigenous communities in the state of Guerrero, accompanied by their advisers from the Tlachinollan Human Rights Centre, have urged the Supreme Court to set a legal precedent and declare the 1992 mining act unconstitutional, arguing that it violates international treaties that Mexico has signed and ratified.


3. Kidnappings increase: During the current administration of Enrique Peña Nieto (from December 2012 to April 2016), kidnappings increased by 19 percent, according to a monthly report by the civil organization Stop Kidnapping. During this period, an average of six people a day have been kidnapped, and that is just the ones we know about.


4. Disappeared Activists: The Committee of Relatives of Disappeared Detainees denounces that the Mexican state security forces have disappeared 83 political activists — among them students and human rights defenders — since President Enrique Peña Nieto took office in December 2012.


5. The teachers’ struggle: Huge demonstrations and battles with police are ongoing in many parts of the country, especially in Mexico City, Oaxaca, Guerrero, Michoacan and Chiapas, with the levels of repression increasing. Running street fights are occurring in Tuxtla and San Cristobal, with many parents coming out on the side of the teachers in their opposition to the education reforms as support for the strike continues to grow. In Chiapas, teachers’ marches on 19th and 25th May are attacked by police firing tear gas and rubber bullets from the ground and from helicopters. The government has frozen the union’s bank account, and says it has fired more than 3,000 striking teachers from the CNTE union, whose strike started on 15th May. The president refuses to negotiate. Various apocryphal statements attributed to the Zapatistas and photos of non-existent demonstrations are circulated, until, on 30th May, a communiqué signed by Subcomandantes Moises and Galeano is published on the Enlace Zapatista website, entitled “May, between authoritarianism and resistance.” Civil human rights organisations have condemned the use of violence and called for an end to the harassment, repression and criminalisation of the teachers’ movement. They call on the international community to show solidarity and condemn the human rights violations committed by the Mexican state.


6. Human Rights crisis: The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) reveals that it is going through a severe financial crisis that will have serious consequences on its ability to fulfil its mandate and carry out its basic functions. In 2015, the IACHR received 1,164 complaints from its 35 member-states, 849 of which involved Mexico, constituting 73 percent of all complaints. Mexico has 32 human rights organizations at the local level and one national human rights commission, which means that although the Mexican government spends more than US$200 million every year to address human rights, it is the country with most complaints for human rights violations filed before the IACHR, which the IACHR say reveals a deep mistrust of Mexico’s human rights institutions. The human rights situation in Mexico has come under heavy scrutiny, with many international organizations lambasting the Mexican government for allowing impunity to reign.




Insumisión: Strike!

Filed under: Repression — Tags: , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 6:06 am






Originally posted to It’s Going Down
By Scott Campbell

The last edition of Insumisión started with news of the national teachers strike in Mexico and that’s where we’ll kick things off here. It’s been an intense fifteen days since the National Coordinating Body of Education Workers (CNTE) began an indefinite strike on May 15, primarily against plans by Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto to implement neoliberal reforms to the country’s education system.

Since being selected as president in 2012, Peña Nieto has attempted to privatize and standardize the Mexican education system, along with instituting policies to disempower Latin America’s largest union, the National Union of Education Workers (SNTE), and its dissident and more radical faction, the CNTE. In 2013, the CNTE mobilized its base to fight back against similar reform efforts. An article I wrote then gives some context to the developments occurring now, as well as clarifying the distinctions between the SNTE, the CNTE, and their relationships to the state.

The current strike is strongest in Mexico City, Oaxaca and Chiapas. On May 15, which is Teachers’ Day in Mexico, 20,000 teachers marched to the Interior Ministry (SEGOB) in Mexico City and several hundred installed a plantón, a massive encampment, on its doorstep. Ever since, the union and the federal police have been playing an elaborate and slow-motion game of cat and mouse in Mexico City. At 2am on May 20, hundreds of federal police rousted the teachers, demanding they leave. Outnumbered, the teachers moved their plantón to Santo Domingo Plaza, where a day later police showed up again at 2am, this time with buses, and notifying the teachers that many of them had arrest warrants out against them, they “invited” them to remove the plantón and get on the bus with the name of their state to be driven home. The teachers said “thanks, but no thanks,” to the ride and instead moved the plantón to Ciudadela Plaza, then for a day back to the SEGOB, then back to Ciudadela, where it is currently located.




At the moment, the conflict is in a holding pattern of sorts, with each side remaining firmly entrenched in their positions while making limited shows of force, hoping that eventually the opponent will blink first. The CNTE operates under the framework that at some point it will have to negotiate with the state, if not during this strike then in future years, and wants to ensure it maintains enough clout and respectability to do so effectively. For its part, the government is aware that it has the military capability to physically remove the teachers from public spaces, but also that it is under increased scrutiny internationally and domestically since the Ayotzinapa disappearances and the universal condemnation of its handling of that act of state terror. And ten years ago, when one state government tried to crush a teachers strike, it led to a five-month uprising known as the Oaxaca Commune. The fallout of conducting a multi-state operation along those same lines is more than the government is willing to risk at this stage. (For a look back at the Oaxaca Commune and an excellent interview with a striking teacher from Oaxaca, check out subMedia’s latest episode.) That could all change quickly, however, as the only negotiations the Mexican state knows how to conduct, in particular the government of Peña Nieto, is through the barrel of a gun – a reality I examined in an article back in February.

In lieu of outright confrontation (with the exception of Chiapas), the state has refused to even meet with the teachers. The Interior Minister and Education Minister both say there is nothing to discuss, while Peña Nieto said he’ll sit down for negotiations only after the teachers accept the educational reform. The government has frozen the CNTE’s bank accounts, meaning teachers are not getting paid and loans, which many teachers acquire through their union, are not being processed or disbursed. Aurelio Nuño, the Education Minister, announced that any teacher missing three days in a row of work will be fired, and so far has announced the dismissal of 3,119 teachers from Oaxaca, Guerrero and Michoacán. Along with harassing and threatening teachers in Mexico City, police have also been blocking and turning back buses of teachers attempting to enter the city to join their comrades. In Chiapas, teachers’ marches on May 19 and May 25 were attacked by police firing tear gas and rubber bullets from the ground and helicopters.

While the state has the guns, the teachers have the numbers, and they’ve been using them. Massive marches have been held in Mexico City, Oaxaca and Chiapas. Following the May 19 repression, as well as earlier repression in April, 200,000 came out to protest in Chiapas on May 23. This was followed up by a megamarch in the state capital of Tuxtla Gutiérrez on May 27, with coinciding marches in 30 municipalities. During the march in the capital, teachers briefly took over eight different media outlets, getting on the air to directly communicate with the people. As well, parents’ committees from 82 of Chiapas’ 122 municipalities announced they are joining forces with the teachers. This is up from the parents in 60 municipalities who last week pledged to shut down any school that attempts to open with scab teachers. When the strike started, a spokesperson for the CNTE in Chiapas vowed that for each teacher arrested, the union would detain a government official and hold them in the central plaza of Tuxtla Gutiérrez. Eight protesters were arrested during clashes on May 25 and charged with a litany of serious offenses, only to be promptly released before the marches on May 27.

In Oaxaca, Governor Gabino Cué said he had hundreds of police at the ready to remove any plantón or blockade installed by the teachers. The CNTE went ahead an installed them anyway, calling Cué’s bluff (for now). On May 27, they blockaded access to the state’s international airport for eight hours, as well as the highway connecting the city of Oaxaca with the tourist destination of Puerto Escondido. After the federal police showed up at the airport and ordered them to disperse, a group of teachers managed to sneak around police lines and encircle a bus carrying police reinforcements. The teachers refused to let them go until the police stood down. Meanwhile, the head of the CNTE in Oaxaca, Rubén Núñez, warned the governor that, “If there is no dialogue, there will be no elections.” Elections are slated for June 5.




A key to the success of the strike will not only be the ability of the CNTE to sustain its momentum, but to expand its base of support. Despite the mainstream media’s abject loyalty to the Mexican state and its narrative, the CNTE has been able to do just that. In part, this is due to the fact that the CNTE’s demands extend beyond wages and reforms and encompass broader social, economic and political issues, such as freedom for all political prisoners and prisoners of conscience, increased investment in education, truth and justice for Ayotzinapa and against neoliberal reforms in general. The strike has spread from Oaxaca, Chiapas, and Mexico City, to Guerrero, Veracruz, Mexico State, and Michoacán. Like in Chiapas, 300 representatives of parents’ organizations came out in support of striking teachers in Guerrero on Friday. Commemorating 20 months since the disappearance of their children, the families of the students from Ayotzinapa marched in support of the teachers in Mexico City on May 26. On May 27, the Peoples’ Front in Defense of the Land (FPDT) from Atenco announced their backing of the CNTE strike. While on May 16, students from Chapingo Autonomous University in Texcoco, Mexico State, borrowed some buses and tractor-trailers and blockaded a main road in support of the strike, the ongoing student struggle at the National Polytechnic Institute (IPN), and against the recent incursion of hundreds of police into Atenco to facilitate the construction of a new international airport. Even the Autonomous University of Mexico City’s University Council proclaimed all striking teachers will be accorded the status of Distinguished Guest should they visit the school.

As for what comes next, the teachers have promised more protests and mobilizations, including a plan to march on Mexico City’s International Airport on Friday, June 3. The state is likely planning to hold off on any major move against the teachers until after the June 5 elections. Regardless, even a small spark could elevate an already tense situation to another level.



While most of this edition has been focused on the strike, there is of course a lot more happening in Mexico, some of which I’ll cover briefly here. Mexico lost its sixth journalist of the year when Manuel Torres was killed in his home in Veracruz on May 14. Torres is the 18thjournalist to be murdered in Veracruz during the rule of Governor Javier Duarte. Also in Veracruz, students and staff at Veracruz University are considering a general strike to force the Duarte regime to pay the 2.5 billion pesos it owes the school. May 18-30 saw events nationwide as part of the International Week of the Detained-Disappeared. Yesterday in Toluca, Mexico State, the Fire of Dignified Resistance hosted the First Popular Encounter against the Eruviel Law – the recently passed legislation allowing Mexico State Police to use live ammunition against gatherings and protests. And around Mexico, 215 communities from 17 states have signed onto the National Campaign in Defense of Mother Earth and Territory. One of those communities is Coyotepec, in Mexico State, which for years has autonomously administered its water supply and resisted efforts to privatize it. Last week, six of its members were detained and the community was besieged by 600 riot police. In response, thousands came out to demand their release and the removal of the police. A day later the police left, but the six remain in state custody.

In southern Mexico, indigenous communities continue to be attacked and continue to resist. The Júba Waijín community in Guerrero won a victory when the courts blocked two mining projects from moving forward. After being displaced from their reclaimed land by police and paramilitaries in Chiapas, the autonomous community of San Isidro Los Laureles is not giving up. Meanwhile, in Oaxaca, the autonomous community of Eloxochitlan de Flores Magón mobilized to demand freedom for its eleven political prisoners. Also in Oaxaca, the Zapatistas and the National Indigenous Congress released a statement condemning the police attack on the autonomous community of Álvaro Obregón. One municipal police officer was killed after community police intervened to defend the community members under attack, leaving many to fear an attempt by the government to crush the entire autonomous project.

Lastly, in memory of Chilean anarchist Mauricio Morales, vehicles belonging to the National Migration Institute were torched in Cancún and a squatted social center bearing Mauricio’s name opened its doors in Tijuana.

May 16, 2016

Insumisión: Reclaiming Life in a Panorama of Death

Filed under: news, Uncategorized — Tags: , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 9:15 am



Insumisión: Reclaiming Life in a Panorama of Death




Originally posted on It’s Going Down
By Scott Campbell

As the violence and repression instigated, permitted and perpetrated by the Mexican State continues to grow, it can become overwhelming to summarize it in these pages in a way that does justice to the victims and survivors of state terror and impunity. Yet as the grim tallies multiply and impact more and more lives, so does the clarity that what the state offers even in its best moments is no solution at all, and from that point resistance flourishes. The sparks of refusal and defiance despite the odds ignite around the country, making meaning out of that which seems so senseless, breathing reclaimed life into a panorama of death. As América del Valle of Atenco said earlier this month, “Even with everything they did to us, we don’t come here today as martyrs. We don’t come to cry…We’ve come here to say NO!” Lxs insumxs. Let’s see what they’ve been up to over the past two weeks.

May Day in Mexico was a fairly calm affair this year, though a few bits of news are included inIt’s Going Down’s roundup. Hopefully folks were just conserving their energy for today, May 15, when teachers affiliated with the National Coordinating Body of Education Workers (CNTE) begin an indefinite strike against neoliberal education reforms and many other issues, building to a planned boycott of the June 5 elections. The strike could impact the 23 states with CNTE affiliates, though the focus appears to be on Oaxaca, Chiapas and Mexico City. Tens of thousands of teachers will be camped around the Department of Public Education (SEP) in Mexico City.

The SEP has responded by saying that any teacher missing three days of classes will be fired. To which the CNTE said, “We dare them to try. We’re ready for what comes.” Teachers in Oaxaca go on strike annually at this time of year, though usually as a tactic to influence negotiations. This year, there are no current negotiations and Governor Gabino Cué has refused to receive their demands, a stance reminiscent of former governor Ulises Ruiz Ortiz in 2006, before he sent the police after the teachers and kicked off a five-month rebellion in the state.

A report by Human Rights Watch from last October has been making the rounds in some Mexican media outlets this month, documenting two massacres by federal police in the state of Michoacán. One in January 2015 in Apatzingán left at least eight dead, while the other, in Tanhuato in May, left 42 dead. “In both cases,” the report reads, “multiple witnesses reported that they saw police officers shoot dead unarmed civilians after the initial confrontations were over.” No police have been held to account.

Since the launch of the so-called “war on organized crime,” much of Michoacán has been contested terrain as competing cartels, the police and military, and more recently, armed community self-defense groups – both legitimate and illegitimate, with some being incorporated into the new “Rural Police Forces” – have attempted to impose their will and entered into constantly shifting alliances. Meanwhile, indigenous communities such as Cherán and Santa María Ostula seek self-determination and autonomy in the midst of threats from cartels and the state. Since reclaiming 1,200 hectares of their land from the Knights Templar cartel in 2009, Ostula has seen 34 members of its community killed and six disappeared.

The National Human Rights Commission released the results of a survey this month finding at least 35,433 Mexicans have suffered forced internal displacement, a phenomenon not recognized by the state. The displacement is particularly concentrated in southern Mexico, where even locations previously considered “safe” are seeing drastic increases in violence, usually as the result of an increased presence of the army or federal police. Acapulco, in Guerrero, has experienced 347 killings related to the “war on organized crime” so far this year. A major shootout in the tourist center of the city on April 24 was extensively covered by reporter Francisco Beltrán Pacheco, who for his efforts was gunned down hours later in the doorway of his home.




Also in Guerrero, on May 12 six members of the Regional Coordinating Body of Community Authorities – Community Police (CRAC-PC) were freed after being held for nearly three years on false charges. Gaining their freedom was a major initiative of CRAC-PC commander and recently released political prisoner Nestora Salgado. Speaking of false charges, in another blow to the “historical truth” that the federal government has been offering as explanation for what happened to the 43 disappeared students from Ayotzinapa, an investigation found that 32 of those detained by the government for supposedly being involved in the disappearance and (they claim) killing of the students were systematically tortured into signing confessions corroborating the government’s version. This information corresponds with that already put forward by the United Nations, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, and Argentina’s Forensic Anthropology Team.

In another case of forced disappearance in Guerrero, one year ago this month, 300 paramilitaries, police and soldiers invaded the city of Chilapa de Álvarez for five days and disappeared 16 people. Local, state and national organizations working on the matter have released a call for all groups seeking justice for the disappeared in Guerrero to unite and organize jointly. Nationally on May 10, Mother’s Day in Mexico, the fifth annual march by the mothers of the disappeared was held in Mexico City and around the country.

In neighboring Oaxaca, the town of San José del Progreso installed a blockade at the main entrance to the Fortuna Silver mine, demanding its removal. Ten other indigenous communities in the state held a gathering at the end of April and announced they will begin, through community assemblies, organizing to oppose several mining concessions on their lands, build cross-community solidarity and strengthen their cultural identity.

Upon news that a major investor pulled out of plans to build yet another multinational wind farm on their lands, the Binni’za in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec noted, “Our struggle isn’t over, the debt that PGGM [the investor] and the rest of the multinationals that have invested in our region, that they have with our communities, is large and growing. We will not tire until they recognize our right to live with dignity as the indigenous peoples that we are.”

Also in the Isthmus, word is coming out of Juchitán that on May 14, local police severely beat two members of the community assembly of nearby Álvaro Obregón. When community police and others from the Zapotec community arrived to intervene, the local police opened fire, seriously wounding three, including a 14 year old.

To the east in Chiapas, attacks on defiant communities have become more frequent and violent. On May 4, as many as 150 paramilitaries entered the town of Simojovel, inciting panic as they stormed the streets and main park shooting fireworks and tear gas and throwing stones and Molotovs. The town has been organizing through its local church to eradicate corruption and combat drug trafficking.

San Sebastián Bachajón, a Tzeltal community adhering to the Zapatista’s Sixth Declaration, announced on May 5 it had recovered more of its communal lands from large landowners. Three days later, off-duty state police attacked a community member. In response, the community detained three state police, saying they would be held until those responsible were punished. At this time it’s not clear how that situation was resolved.

Also on May 5, the Tzotzil community of Cruztón, adherents to the Sixth, celebrated nine years since the recuperation of 249 hectares of its land. Again, days later, one of its members was detained and tortured by paramilitaries from a neighboring town. In response, a community member warned, “Our own hands are the ones that will administer justice, like we told the Public Prosecutor, if they don’t do it…The land is ours, the territory is ours, it is our right and this will be ours, whatever the cost.”

Most recently, on May 12, police and paramilitaries conducted a joint raid on the Tzotzil community of San Isidro Los Laureles. Mentioned previously in this column, this community – adherents to the Sixth – reclaimed 165 hectares of their land in December of last year. Thirty-five trucks entered the community and the passengers opened fire. The community’s homes were ransacked, belongings burned and crops destroyed. As of this writing, San Isidro Los Laureles’ residents are camped nearby and “creating strategies to recover the land taken by the White Guards [private gunmen].”

Not all is bleak in Chiapas, as the Chol community of Ejido Tila has been sending out inspiring updates and maps on its autonomous project. On May 1, it shared news about the collective work being carried out, as agreed upon by its community assembly. This includes: remodeling public buildings, cleaning up rivers, holding children’s festivals, street and highway cleaning, and community security. “Our town is now safer and cleaner, although there are filthy people belonging to political parties who continue to throw garbage in the street to screw things up and because their father, the bad government, got them accustomed to it. They don’t want to take out the trash when the truck comes, but to throw it in the street instead. We gave them a warning that a green pig will be wheatpasted on their homes if they keep acting uneducated, and although they say they are professionals and that it is us peasants who are dirty and ignorant, well, here it shows what their discriminatory, racist, and conflictive educational discourse is good for.” A second update shared improvements on access to water and the communal justice system, among other items.




Some final pieces of news to share. Earlier this month, San Salvador Atenco marked ten years since the brutal repression unleashed on the town by now-president Enrique Peña Nieto. With marches and concerts, they rededicated themselves to seeking justice for the attacks of 2006 and to continue resisting the latest effort to building an international airport on their lands. To that end, they started planting trees in the path of the new highway for the airport, as well as digging ditches and appropriating and destroying construction equipment.

In Chabelkal, Yucatán, the Maya community turned out to stop the eviction of an elder from his home on May 3. The police showed up in 30 to 40 trucks and began beating residents and firing tear gas. Seven were arrested but all were released after 48 hours following intense mobilization and a statement from the Zapatistas and the National Indigenous Congress denouncing the police violence.

On May 4, around 150 people were arrested at various metro stations in Mexico City during a coordinated action by #PosMeSalto (So I’ll Jump), a movement encouraging fare evasion that began in 2014 when the metro fare was raised from 3 to 5 pesos. Also on May 4, the Informal Feminist Commando of Anti-Authoritarian Action claimed responsibility for placing an explosive device at Sacmag de México, an investment and construction consulting firm in Mexico City. And lastly, a new report found that the minimum wage in Mexico should be 16,400 pesos per month ($903 USD), as opposed to the current amount of 2,191 pesos ($121 USD).

This edition has been a bit of a downer. To end with some ánimo, here are some compas discussing the anti-authoritarian practices being utilized in the struggle at the Scientific and Technological Studies Center Number 5 (CECyT 5), a vocational school in Mexico City.



May 1, 2016

Zapatista News Summary for April 2016

Filed under: news, Zapatista — Tags: — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 3:46 pm



Zapatista News Summary for April 2016




In Chiapas 

1. Judgement about the tourist highway: The Tsotsil communities of Los Llanos and San José el Porvenir in Los Altos de Chiapas reveal publicly that on January 18th 2016 they were granted an amparo (order for legal protection) against the San Cristóbal de Las Casas-Palenque highway, which the government has been trying to impose on them since November 2013. In the sentence the judge orders the cancellation of the outlines of the construction project, or any other programme, for the highway between the municipalities of San Cristobal and Huixtan, in particular on the lands of the two communities. The communities call for the cancellation of the entire project.


2. Great pilgrimage in defence of Mother Earth. A pilgrimage of more than 200 kilometres in defence of Mother Earth and in memory of the still unpunished and unresolved Viejo Velasco massacre of 13th November, 2006, takes place from 3rd to 10th April 2016, in the Northern region of Chiapas, with indigenous Chol, Tseltal, Tsotsil and Zoque participants. The pilgrimage, starts in the community of Arroyo Granizo and finishes in Oxchuc. The pilgrims denounce the lack of justice for the Viejo Velasco massacre and denounce the dispossession caused by megaprojects; it is made clear that the pilgrimage is intended to set a precedent for the defence of and struggle for the Mother Earth, which is seriously threatened by megaprojects already planned in this zone, which will directly affect many communities. Such is the case of the hydroelectric dam at Boca del Cerro which will affect at least 30 communities in the vicinity of the Usumacinta river. These communities have not been consulted or taken in to account in any way.


3. The displaced of Banavil: On 4th April, Frayba denounces the unjustified delay in dealing with the case of the displaced families of Banavil, Tenejapa, and the fact that the authorities of the Chiapas government are protecting the perpetrators. The displaced families issue a communiqué and join the National Campaign in Defence of Mother Earth and Territory.


4. Risk in Simojovel: On 7th April, Frayba again expresses concerns about the continuing imminent risk to community human rights defenders in Simojovel, especially Father Marcelo Pérez Pérez and members of the Simojovel parish council and the Pueblo Creyente.


5. Primero de Agosto: The displaced families from Primero de Agosto denounce in a communiqué that on 7th and 8th April, members of CIOAC-Histórica from Miguel Hidalgo started to enclose with barbed wire part of the lands of Primero de Agosto. The cioaquistas were carrying firearms and machetes and wearing the “yellow caps of the PRD.”


6. San Isidro Los Laureles: On 9th April, adherents to the Sexta, members of Semilla Digna and the Indigenous National Congress (CNI) from San Isidro Los Laureles, in the municipality of Venustiano Carranza, denounce acts of intimidation in the form of a helicopter overflight with cameras, followed by the firing of gunshots from a vehicle in their community, and call for solidarity with their struggle.


7. The National Campaign in Defence of Mother Earth and Territory: is launched on 10th April, the 97th anniversary of the assassination of Emiliano Zapata. The objective is for everyone to unite in defence of the Mother Earth. Caravans from Chiapas, Oaxaca, Guerrero, Puebla, Veracruz and Tlaxcala converge in Mexico City for this launch. The campaign is made up of 179 organizations, collectives and associations. It aims to denounce dispossession and share struggles for the defence of Mother Earth, to denounce the corporations profiting from dispossession and to show alternative ways of life.


8. Fourth Forum of Resistances and Alternatives of the Peoples of the Northern Zone of Chiapas: During this forum more than 300 people from more than 60 communities from seven municipalities in the Northern and Jungle regions of Chiapas and from the Petén Front against Dams in Guatemala come together. They reject the construction of the bi-national Boca del Cerro hydroelectric dam on the Usumacinta river, which will lead to the invasion and dispossession of their territories. Work has already started on this dam, the first of five such dams planned for this river, which forms the border between the two countries.


9. Ejido Tila: Ejidatarios from Tila hold a march on 10th April in memory of Emiliano Zapata, and to celebrate the realisation of their ejidal autonomy and free self-determination since the expulsion of the municipal authorities last December. On 13th April a group of around a hundred people come to the ejido in six lorries, led by caciques (political chiefs) from the area, intending to provoke a confrontation, to give the government an excuse for repression. This leads to a very tense situation. The group are expelled, and return a second time.


10. Declaration from EZLN and CNI: On 12th April the EZLN and CNI issue a Joint Declaration on “the cowardly betrayal of the Indigenous Ñatho community of San Francisco Xochicuautla in order to implement the highway project Toluca Naucalpan,” as well as on the assault on community police in Ostula. They call upon all peoples, organizations, and individuals in solidarity to be attentive and to heed the call made by the community of Xochicuautla. The CNI declares itself on maximum alert. Statements in support of Xochicuautla are also issued by Las Abejas and by the ejidatarios of Bachajόn and Tila.


11. Las Abejas of Acteal call a press conference to denounce the usurpation of their name, stamp and logo by a different group from Acteal, Consejo Pacifista Sembradores de La Paz, who are spreading false information and want to take over the physical and symbolic spaces of Las Abejas in Acteal, House of Memory and Hope. In another communiqué a few days later, they offer solidarity to ‪‎Xochicuautla, Bachajón and Primero de Agosto, and denounce megaprojects and the destruction of Mother Earth.


12. International Political Prisoners’ Day is marked in Chiapas by events in support of political prisoners in Mexico and the world, including a press conference for Alejandro Díaz Santis from Solidarity with the Voice of El Amate. The release is called for of Santiago Moreno Perez, Emilio Jimenez Gomez and Esteban Gomez Jimenez, prisoners from the Ejido San Sebastián Bachajón, which issues a communiqué in their support.


13. A gathering is held in the Ejido Chicoasen (where they are struggling against a dam) from 12th to 15th April, for the Non-violent Transformation of Conflict in Defence of our Territory, attended by representatives of communities in Chiapas affected by dams, mines, gas pipelines, and other megaprojects. They issue a pronouncement denouncing these megaprojects and demanding the cancellation of projects which affect life and damage the mother earth and calling on communities not to allow transnational companies to enter their lands.


14: Third anniversary of the assassination of Juan Vázquez Guzmán. The community spokesperson from the Ejido San Sebastián Bachajón was killed by six gunshots in the doorway of his home on 24th April, 2013. He was killed for defending his people’s land and territory from dispossession by the government and transnationals in order to build a luxury tourist development.  The third commemoration of his death is held at his family home, all in solidarity are invited to attend or contribute, and letters are received and read aloud from Mexico, North and South America and from Europe.


15. Repression of teachers: The National Coordinating Body of Education Workers (CNTE), called a national day of mobilization on 15th April against the federal government’s plan to privatize and standardize public education. In San Cristóbal de las Casas there were running street battles after federal police attacked the demonstrators with tear gas and beatings. Similar repression also occurred in the state capital of Tuxtla Gutiérrez, involving tear gas fired from helicopters. At least 24 people were arrested and tortured. In response to this state brutality, on 22nd April, 100,000 teachers marched in Tuxtla in a peaceful and orderly demonstration. Frayba denounces the repression, torture and arbitrary arrests of teachers along with the “generalised violence implemented by the Mexican state.”


16. Poverty figures: An Oxfam report shows that despite the investment of 40 million dollars since 1995, poverty in Chiapas is increasing. Since the Zapatista rebellion, Chiapas has received the most funding of any state to combat poverty, yet still remains the poorest state in Mexico. A study by INEGI shows that in the state of Chiapas 43.8% (754,000) of children live in extreme multi-dimensional poverty.


17. Interview with Sub Moíses: An interview with Subcomandante Moíses, spokesperson of the EZLN, by Ukrainian journalist Oleg Yasinsky, with the group Chto Delat from St Petersburg, Russia, is released on YouTube.


18. 3 major rivers have dried up in the state of Chiapas. The State Director of Civil Protection Luis Manuel Garcia tells Reforma that 40 Chiapan municipalities have been affected, of which four are experiencing extreme drought. “All of the biggest rivers in the coastal area of Chiapas have been practically dried up. The wells from which water for the population is extracted are eight metres below their normal level.” In light of the extreme circumstances, Garcia says they will send a petition to the federal government requesting that they issue a state of emergency decree for three of Chiapas’ municipalities in order to get financial resources from the National Disaster Fund.



1. Caravan against the drug war visits Chiapas. The Caravan for Peace, Life and Justice departs from Honduras on 28th March and travels to New York City for the special session on drugs of the General Assembly of the United Nations on 19th April. It crosses the border with Guatemala on 6th April and visits San Cristobal on 7th April where there is a meeting with movements and organisations dealing with issues such as migration and the defence of land and territory. It moves on to Mexico City. The Caravan is a broad initiative of families of victims of human rights violations, civil society organizations and social movements from different nations, which call for a “halt to the war on drugs.”


2. Major disturbances in indigenous territories to allow the entrance of megaprojects

a) San Francisco Xochicuautla: This Otomi-Ñatho community, in the municipality of Lerma, Mexico State, has been resisting the construction of the Toluca-Naucalpan highway and won the definitive suspension of a presidential decree to expropriate almost 38 hectares of its lands. In spite of this, on April 11th, between 700 and 1,000 state police forcibly enter the community, in order to permit the entrance of bulldozers from the construction company Autovan-Teya, a subsidiary of Grupo Higa. They demolish the camp of Peace and Dignified Resistance and a number of houses which are on the planned highway route, beating and evicting people. There is a huge response to this attack, and the state suspends construction and offers damages on 13th The new National Campaign in Defence of Mother Earth and Territory is one of many organisations to respond. At the same time as this attack the community police of the autonomous Nahua community of Ostula in Michoacán are ambushed, and one person is killed.


b) San Salvador Atenco: On 12th April, the Peoples Front in Defence of the Land (FPDT) from Atenco report the forced entrance of an army tank into the communally owned lands of Atenco, Mexico State, escorting a group of workers “from a private company that carried out studies for the construction of the new airport. This was all done illegally and intimidating the inhabitants who had met on becoming aware of the incursion. Nevertheless, we managed to expel them pacifically.” The people of Atenco are continuing to prevent work on building the road from taking place, blocking the road and removing construction materials.


In response to this attack, and that on Xochicuautla, Jose Antonio Lara Duque, general director of the Zeferino Ladrillero Human Rights Centre states: “We believe that, given the facts, the local government is trying to justify the Eruviel Law. That is to say, to provoke the peoples who have been defending their land, territory and natural resources. If anybody falls into [the trap of] provocation, it would legitimize the use of lethal force to control the people who are defending themselves.”


3. Special Economic Zones: On 14th April, the Senate passes the Federal Law for Special Economic Zones (SEZ.) The law establishes preferential conditions for national and foreign private companies, to whom it gives concessions for 40 years, renewable for 40 more, and tax and customs exemptions for eight years. In effect, the law plans the expropriation of all territories required to establish investment projects, which will be administered by businessmen, who will be able to operate their own surveillance and security companies. The law has been condemned for being designed only to benefit the rich. One of the five zones is Puerto Chiapas, designed to facilitate exports to Asia.


4. The major issue of dams:

After recent news from Brazil and Honduras, dams are, like mining becoming a major international issue which cannot be ignored. Please read some of the links given in this news summary. The forthcoming dams on the River Usumacinta will soon become a major issue for anyone who cares about the Zapatistas and the communities of Chiapas. The threat goes far beyond the 60 communities which are already being affected. We strongly urge people to start mobilising now, before it is too late.

Dorset Chiapas Solidarity has received the following message from Chiapas: “The situation with these dams is urgent… if they are allowed to be built it means the destruction of Chiapas as we know it completely and the end to movements and to indigenous culture.”


The information below comes from Telesur:

According to researchers, some 200,000 people have been displaced by the construction of dams across Mexico, while advocacy groups warn that the country’s new water law will only continue to make the situation worse. Many of Mexico’s 4,462 dams registered in official records are located on land belonging to indigenous and campesino communities, which are not only located near main water sources but also vulnerable to exploitation, and the communities rely heavily on river resources. Over 660 of the dams are considered to be large.

Some of the largest mass displacements took place in the early 1980s, with tens of thousands of people pushed off their land for large dam projects. Thousands more have been forcibly displaced by new construction since then. Even when families are not forced from their homes, hydroelectric projects impact the entire social fabric of a community, as well as compromising food production and local public health.

Resistance against dam projects also takes a heavy toll. Since 2005, over 40 activists fighting to defend rivers have been killed in Mexico, Central America and Colombia, according to GeoComunes. Among those killed in connection with dam projects in the past decade, at least eight were killed in Mexico and 13 in Guatemala.

Also, with this year’s drastic droughts having a grave effect on the hydroelectric dams on which countries such as Venezuela and Colombia depend for their electricity, dams would not seem a sensible source of future energy supplies. Meteorological predictions from the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warn that extreme weather events such as prolonged droughts are likely to steadily increase.


Other sources of news

Boca en Boca has not been produced this month

Followers of Movement for Justice in El Barrio may like to read their latest news:

We draw your attention to this report on the deteriorating social situation in some communities in the northern, highland and border regions:

We recommend this summary of all the news from Mexico, produced for It’s Going Down:  This is the fourth edition of this report, which hopefully will be printed regularly.

Thank you.




April 19, 2016

Insumisión: The State Responds with Force

Filed under: Autonomy, news, Uncategorized — Tags: — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 6:13 pm



Insumisión: The State Responds with Force




Originally posted to It’s Going Down.
By Scott Campbell

Several victories for social movements in Mexico were recounted in the Insumisión posted on March 17. This edition focuses on the state’s response, which in the first part of April has been expressed through two of the state’s inherent qualities: force and coercion.

One of the victories mentioned was that of the Otomí community of San Francisco Xochicuautla in the State of Mexico. After years of organizing, in February a court suspended the expropriation decree issued by the federal government for a highway to be built through their forest and town. The community celebrated, but in a case of foreshadowing, said they would not rest until the entire highway project was cancelled. The state emphatically made clear that the project was still on, when on April 11th it besieged and invaded the town with 800 to 1,000 riot police. In complete disregard for the court ruling, the police escorted in heavy machinery belonging to Grupo Higa (the owner of which is a close friend of Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto), that began clearing land for the highway and also demolished the home of one of the movement’s leaders. The solidarity extended to Xochicuautla was powerful and immediate, which included the Zapatistas and the National Indigenous Congress issuing a “Maximum Alert” both for Xochicuautla and Ostula in Michoacán, due to an ambush against the Community Police of that autonomous Nahua community, which killed one. This seemed to catch the state off-guard, as on April 13 they ordered the construction be stopped and promised to pay for the damages. But they also said they would be leaving a number of state police nearby to guard the machinery in the meantime. In response, the community has organized 24-hour patrols in case of renewed construction, and the situation remains tense.





With all eyes on Xochicuautla, on the other side of the State of Mexico, the army invaded the community of Atenco on April 12, escorting in workers planning the construction of Mexico City’s new international airport. In 2002, Atenco and its People’s Front in Defence of the Land (FPDT) successfully defeated a previous effort to build an airport on their lands. In 2006, they sustained an exceptionally brutal attack by the forces of Peña Nieto, who was governor at the time. Twelve of their members were imprisoned, with sentences of up to 112 years. Yet all gained their freedom in 2010 following relentless mobilizations. To take his revenge, in 2014, Peña Nieto resurrected the proposal to build an airport on Atenco’s lands. And just last month, as was mentioned in the last Insumisión, Peña Nieto’s handpicked successor, Eruviel Ávila, oversaw the passage of what has been called the Atenco Law or the Eruviel Law, allowing police to open fire on protests, guaranteeing their impunity, and punishing those who don’t. In response, dozens of organizations have formed The Fire of the Dignified Resistance to fight against the law, a mobilizing effort that contributed to the quick response to the attack on Xochicuautla.

On April 15, the National Coordinating Body of Education Workers (CNTE), a more radical faction inside of the National Union of Education Workers (SNTE), the largest union in Latin America, called for a national day of mobilization against the federal government’s plan to privatize and standardize public education. In San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, federal police brutally attacked the demonstration with tear gas and beatings, and on one occasion live ammunition, leading to running street battles with teachers throughout much of the day and all over the city. Similar repression also occurred in the state capital of Tuxtla Guitiérrez. Helicopters were used to fire tear gas at the teachers, and in one instance, the police fired tear gas inside of a hospital. The Fray Bartolomé Human Rights Center reported that at least 24 people were arrested, tortured and held incommunicado, with 18 teachers being flown across the country to a maximum security prison in Nayarit. Such fierce repression is likely a message being sent by the state as to what awaits CNTE teachers next month should they follow through on their announced plan for an indefinite strike beginning on May 15 that would impact 23 states.

As always, many other developments have unfolded in Chiapas. On April 3, Chol, Tzotzil, Tzeltal, and Zoque communities began a 200 kilometre march to demand justice for the November 13, 2006, Viejo Velasco massacre when four people were killed in a paramilitary attack designed to stoke tensions between Zapatista and non-Zapatista communities. Nine years later, those who carried out the attack have warrants out for their arrest, yet the state has not detained them. In San Isidro Los Laureles, an indigenous community that reclaimed 200 hectares of their ancestral land in December and who are adherents to the Zapatista’s Sixth Declaration, experienced helicopter flyovers on April 8, followed by an incursion of armed men into the community who fired seven shots before fleeing. Meanwhile, the autonomous Chol community of Ejido Tila was attacked twice last week, when 100 men, led by the local officials the people booted out of town on December 16, entered the community and on the second occasion fired four shots, seeking to create a confrontation in order to justify the use of state force to crush the autonomous project.

The sixty displaced members of Primero de Agosto denounced the intimidation and interference they are experiencing from the paramilitary group CIOAC-Histórica. This is the same group that displaced them more than a year ago and who also attacked the Zapatista community of La Realidad, destroying several buildings and killing compa Galeano in 2014. In some good news, the Tzotzil community of Los Llanos announced that back in January the courts ruled that the planned San Cristóbal-Palenque tourist highway could not be built through their lands. This ruling will hopefully lead to similar judgements for other indigenous communities resisting construction of the highway, such as Ejido Candelaria, though we’ve seen just how much the Mexican state respects its court rulings. Sixty Chol and Tzeltal communities from Guatemala and Chiapas announced their plans to oppose the construction of a binational dam on the Usumacinta River, the arbitrary border between Mexico and Guatemala. The group Women and the Sixth released the first edition of their new magazine, organized around the theme of “Patriarchy is Violence, Machismo Kills.” Dorset Chiapas Solidarity has a great roundup of Chiapas-related news from March. Keep an eye out for the April edition at the end of this month. Finally, a recent Oxfam report found that since the Zapatista rebellion in 1994, Chiapas has received the most funding of any state to combat poverty, yet still remains the poorest state in Mexico. Well, Governor Manuel Velasco has to pay for his wedding and propaganda somehow.

To the west in Guerrero, residents of several communities have blocked access to the Media Luna gold, silver and copper mine in Nuevo Balsas since March 30, protesting the contamination produced by the project owned by the Canadian company Torex Gold Resources. On April 1, 3,000 residents from 185 indigenous communities in the mountains of Guerrero blockaded roads leading into and out of the city of Tlapa de Comonfort. They were demanding the government actually implement the plan it developed after more than 4,000 homes were damaged in 2013 during Hurricanes Ingrid and Manuel. The Amuzgo community radio station in Suljaa’, Radio Ñomndaa – The Word of the Water – announced on April 3 that it was restarting transmissions after two years off the air. They write, “We want to say that we are staying alert to your struggles and resistances, this station, humble and simple, dignified and rebellious, also belongs to those who defend and care for their territory, to those who organize for the dignity of their peoples and communities, to those who decided to say enough with their contempt and to not allow them to continue trampling on us.” On April 10, ex-political prisoner Nestora Salgado launched the campaign “Putting a Face and a Name on Political Prisoners in Mexico,” urging people to mobilize to free the political prisoners in Mexico, in particular those arrested for carrying out their duties as community police in Guerrero.

A video surfaced on April 14 of two military police torturing a woman in Ajuchitlán in 2015, pointing weapons at her and repeatedly suffocating her with a plastic bag [trigger warning]. The Secretary of Defence says those involved have been detained and will be tried in military court. The likely result: see Tlatlaya below. Such brutality is not an isolated incident, which is why residents of Atoyac and Tecpan blockaded a federal highway on April 4 demanding that the military leave their communities as they are tired of the constant abuse.




The case of the 43 disappeared students from Ayotzinapa, Guerrero is back in the news as the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (CIDH) announced on April 15 that it was withdrawing the Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts (GIEI) from the country. The GIEI was formed to investigate the disappearance of the students and their work is supported by the students’ families. In theory and on paper, the Mexican government agreed to the GIEI’s presence and pledged to cooperate with them. Yet they have consistently undercut the GIEI’s investigation, especially once the GIEI rejected as “scientifically impossible” the government’s “historical truth” that the students were killed and then burned in a dumpster. Since that time, the government has largely ceased to coordinate with the GIEI, has released statements intentionally undermining the GIEI’s work, and issued claims that the head of the GIEI had embezzled two million dollars. In response, the current students at Ayotzinapa have started an open-ended strike to demand the GIEI stay, and on April 15, the students’ relatives outwitted the federal police to begin a 43-hour encampment in front of the Interior Ministry in Mexico City, chaining themselves to the building’s fence.

Back in June of 2014, the Mexican army reported that it had killed 22 members of a kidnapping gang during a firefight in the rural municipality of Tlatlaya in the State of Mexico. An investigation later showed that at least 15 of those killed were civilians who were detained, tortured, interrogated and then executed. In a rare occurrence, seven soldiers faced charges related to the killings, though in a closed military court and with no officers indicted. It took a court case by a survivor of the massacre for the military court’s verdict to be made public. On March 30, it was revealed that six of the seven soldiers were found innocent with the seventh found guilty of disobedience and sentenced to one year.

A piece by Business Week has created a bit of a stir in Mexico after it revealed, to few people’s surprise, that President Enrique Peña Nieto dropped $600,000 to hire Andrés Sepúlveda, a hacker from Colombia, to help him win the 2012 election. Sepúlveda “led a team of hackers that stole campaign strategies, manipulated social media to create false waves of enthusiasm and derision, and installed spyware in opposition offices, all to help Peña Nieto, a right-of-centre candidate, eke out a victory.”

A recent article summarized some of the chilling tallies reflecting the reality of violence in Mexico under Peña Nieto. It notes that between 2012 and 2014 the number of girls under 18 who were disappeared rose by 191 percent. In Morelos, mass graves containing 150 remains were recently discovered. And the federal government acknowledged that in the search for the 43 disappeared students from Ayotzinapa, 60 mass graves have been found, with the remains of at least 129 people. The Disappeared Persons Search Brigade, a national group formed to locate disappeared people without the assistance of the state, found eleven gravesites in San Rafael Calería, Veracruz on April 15. Earlier this month, organizations commemorated five years since the discovery of a mass grave containing the bodies of 72 migrants from Central America in Tamaulipas on April 7, 2011. A total that rose to 265 remains following the uncovering of more graves. A report by Radio Zapatista documents the increased use of torture against migrants and Mexicans who “look” like migrants, in particular indigenous people, by National Migration Institute officials as a means to dissuade other migrants from attempting the journey.

There are several additional stories to mention from the past few weeks. Reyna Gómez Solorzano, an undocumented immigrant from Belize who has been living in Quintana Roo for the past thirty years, was sentenced to 25 years in prison on March 23. Eight months prior, Reyna defended herself with a knife against one of the frequent beatings from her husband. Upon wounding him, she immediately called an ambulance, but he ended up dying. The Network of Feminists of the Peninsula has been organizing demonstrations and legal support for Reyna. On April 5, Miguel Ángel Castillo Rojas, a member of the Veracruzan Popular Teachers Movement, was assassinated in his home by three masked men in Las Choapas. Also in Veracruz on April 5, fifteen Nahua women were arrested and dozens wounded when police in Orizaba attacked as they were selling their wares near a local market. The women fought back and support for them was quickly mobilized, leading to their release two days later. Vendors in Mexico City who operate in a space desired by capital for commercial development were attacked by 500 riot police, who beat them and destroyed their shops, leaving 120 families without a source of income.  For four days in April a forest fire raged in Tepoztlán, Morelos. When the state did nothing but put helicopters with no fuel on a field for a photo op, the people organized themselves into brigades to put out the fire. Check out the video. Anarchists in Tijuana have announced the opening of a new social centre in May. The Mauricio Morales Squatted Social Centre has the intention to “agitate/build ideas and practices antagonistic to power and whatever form or expression of authority and domination.” Mauricio, aka Punky Mauri, was an anarchist in Chile who died on May 22, 2009, when an explosive meant for the Gendarmerie School went off in his backpack.

In Pachuca, the capital of Hidalgo, a police attack wounded tens of protesters and led to seven arrests. People came out on April 2 to oppose plans to shut down several combi routes (low-cost microbus transport) and replace them with commercial service operated by Tuzobus. Farther north, in Creel, Chihuahua, whose Copper Canyon is a popular tourist destination, the Tarahumara community started a blockade of the airport last week, shutting it down in protest of the destruction caused by its construction. Police used live ammunition, tear gas, Tasers, and rubber bullets against students blockading train tracks in Tiripetío, Michoacán. The students, from a nearby teachers’ college with a tradition of militant action that is often met with brutal repression, were demanding the payment of scholarships owed to them by the state. One hundred were wounded and ten were arrested. The Zapotec community of Álvaro Obregón in Oaxaca, who for years have resisted the imposition of multinational wind farms on their land, released a statement that they will not allow ballot boxes to enter their community for the July 5 state elections. In 2013, their community assembly decided to ban political parties, stating that “the number one enemy of our struggle are the political parties, be they the PRI, PAN, PRD or any other name.” Since this recent campaign ad discloses what the Oaxacan branch of the PRI thinks of indigenous people, such animosity is not surprising:


propaganda-racista“Internet for all: So Chatino children can learn Spanish”




April 16, 2016

Fly-overs and gun shots around recovered land in Chiapas

Filed under: Displacement, Indigenous, Uncategorized — Tags: , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 12:30 pm



Fly-overs and gun shots around recovered land in Chiapas


san isidro


Public Denouncement 

9 April 2016

San Isidro Los Laureles, municipality of Venustiano Carranza, Chiapas. Members of the “Semilla Digna”(*) and the National Indigenous Congress (CNI as known by its acronym in Spanish) and adherents to the EZLN’s Sixth Declaration of the Lancandon Jungle.

We want to publicly denounce that yesterday, the 8th of April 2016, at approximately 12pm, a helicopter flew over the land that we recovered on the 20th of December 2015. For about 10 minutes the helicopter, flying at about 80 metres off the ground, circled over the main house of the hacienda. They took our photographs and videoed us. Later, between 2 and 3pm, a red, double cabin, Chevrolet pick-up truck drove past the recovered land and two guards. Seven 9mm shots were fired towards the trees in order to intimidate.

We ask the public, human rights bodies, the CNI, the alternative media and the Councils of Good Government to stand in solidarity with our just struggle for a place to live and work in order to sustain our families. We will keep you up-dated on this situation and the violation of our rights, because our decision is and will be to resist and defend what legitimately is ours. In advance, we put the responsiblity on the State if anything should happen to us.

Yours sincerely,

San Isidro Los Laureles, municipality of Venustiano Carranza, Chiapas, adherents to the EZLN’s Sixth Declaration of the Lancandon Jungle.


Long live the EZLN!

If a revolutionary does not act with dignity, she/he is not a revolutionary.

(*) The group “Semilla Digna” is made up of communities adherent to the Sixth in Chiapas to defend land and territory.




Translated by the UK Zapatista Translation Service




March 11, 2016


Filed under: Uncategorized — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 1:32 pm





Originally posted to It’s Going Down
By Scott Campbell

Welcome to the first edition of “Insumisión,” a new regular column here on It’s Going Down, bringing you news and analysis from social movements and struggles in the territory referred to as Mexico. Let’s get started.

As readers of It’s Going Down might already be aware, in Mexico City last Wednesday, Yorch, a member of Okupa Che, was kidnapped by police in the latest round of repression to face the autonomous, anti-authoritarian space on the campus of the National Autonomous University of Mexico, held since the 1999-2000 student strike. Police planted a backpack full of drugs on Yorch, who is now captive in a federal prison in Sonora. The morning after the arrest, compañerxs blockaded access to UNAM with burning dumpsters, and Molotov cocktails were unleashed on the UNAM Campus Security offices and patrol cars. The clamour to evict Okupa Che has steadily grown since Yorch’s arrest. Okupa Che released a statement, calling for solidarity and for people to be on alert to respond to any eviction attempt. Anarchist political prisoner Fernando Bárcenas (who received acts of solidarity from Tijuana to Bloomington earlier this year) sent an open letter in solidarity with Yorch, which reads in part:

It is not my intention to send a message of sympathy or pity, on the contrary, I intend to send a message of war, insurrectionary love and solidarity…In the streets or in the jail, we have to do nothing more than keep moving forward until all are free…Although along the way we stumble upon death…Unconditional and revolutionary solidarity with compa Yorch, prisoner of war…



From the mountains of the Mexican Southeast, the Zapatistas released a flurry of statements over the past week. The first two contrasted the conditions in communities affiliated with political parties with the situation in Zapatista communities. These were followed by a brief, and literal, “fuck you” to the Mexican judiciary following news that the statute of limitations had expired on charges of terrorism, sedition, riot, rebellion, conspiracy, etc., that Subcomandante Marcos was facing for the past twenty years. An open letter from Subcomandante Galeano to Mexican journalist and writer Juan Villoro Ruiz reflected on the role of art and sciences in effecting change, giving particular attention to women’s liberation: “So if they ever asked me, the ghostly shadow of an impertinent nose, to define the aim of Zapatismo, I would say: ‘To create a world where women are born and grow without fear.’” All these were rounded out by a short statement outlining public Zapatista events that will be held in 2016, focusing on the arts and sciences.

February 16 marked twenty years since the signing of the San Andrés Accords between the Mexican government and the EZLN. Accords that were gutted before they were passed by the Mexican Congress, and where even a cursory look at the current situation in Chiapas shows the government’s complete disdain for indigenous self-determination and autonomy. The indigenous Chol village of Tila, in the Chiapan jungle, declared its autonomy on December 16 of last year following clashes with local authorities, announcing that the municipal government was no longer permitted in their territory. Several human rights groups issued a statement warning of possible state repression as a result of their declaration.

A few days later, on December 20, the indigenous community of San Isidro Los Laureles – adherents of the EZLN’s Sixth Declaration and members of the Zapatista-created National Indigenous Congress – reclaimed 200 hectares of ancestral land. Last month, the supposed landowners sent six heavily armed men to drive through the land, raising fears of a possible attack. The indigenous Tzotzil village of Candelaria is organizing against a plan to construct the San Cristóbal-Palenque tourist highway through their communally held lands, as well as working with each community along the planned route to oppose the entire project. The village released a statement condemning the “neoliberal and patriarchal capitalist system” and in particular the Mesoamerica Project (formerly known as Plan Puebla-Panama) that seeks to create a neoliberal wasteland from the Mexican state of Puebla all the way to Panama.



On February 22, Las Abejas Civil Society Organization, a religious pacifist group that supports the Zapatistas’ demands, issued a message reflecting on 18-plus years since the massacre of 45 of their members by paramilitaries in Acteal: “We don’t trust in the laws dictated by the senators and representatives as they are not for the benefit of Mexican society. The laws they pass are to benefit the rich criminals and big businesses who exploit mother earth. Today we cry out our pain and anguish because the majority of the peoples in resistance are persecuted by armies, are spied on by paramilitaries. The government is seeking a strategy to do away with human rights defenders and indigenous peoples.” The autonomous municipality of Vicente Guerrero, also adherents of the Sixth Declaration, was attacked in December by political party-affiliated groups who destroyed several houses. At the same time, the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE) cut off families’ access to electricity and water. Nine families of 47 people have been displaced and are demanding an end to repression and the right to return to their lands in the Shulvó area. And in the indigenous Zoque village of Chicoasén, the community is escalating its efforts to stop a third hydroelectric dam from being built on their communal lands. As a result of their opposition, most members of the community have arrest warrants out against them, despite nearly all of them being more than 70 years old. Last year, the CFE and government arrested the community’s lawyer, holding him in jail for three months on the false charge of starting a riot.

In Campeche, the CFE is going after members of the Civil Resistance Against High Electricity Rates in Candelaria. Two members currently have arrest warrants out against them. In 2009, five of their members were jailed on trumped up charges. Electricity rates in Mexico are often exorbitant and fluctuate with seeming arbitrariness. All this while in Oaxaca, the government, in collusion with multinationals, continues to try to force indigenous peoples off their lands to build wind farms in order to provide cheap electricity to companies like Wal-Mart. Also in Oaxaca, the government issued three more arrest warrants, in addition to the 27 that already exist, against members of the state’s teachers’ union, Section 22 of the CNTE. Section 22, which has its own internal issues with corruption and nepotism, was at the forefront of the Oaxaca Rebellion of 2006 and has since resisted attempts to privatize and standardize the education system. They have also been militant supporters of the Ayotzinapa struggle, including leading a boycott of the 2015 elections where they stormed and set fire to a National Electoral Institute office and burned ballots. Four members of the Section 22’s Political Commission are currently in federal prison.

February 26 marked 17 months since the disappearance of 43 students from Ayotzinapa and the police killing of six other people in Guerrero. For the first time in those seventeen months the parents of the students were able to meet with one of the judges presiding over the case, but not before their protest caravan was attacked by Federal Police in Aguascalientes. Meanwhile, the Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts investigating the disappearances denounced the various obstacles the Mexican government has put in place to impede their investigation.

In other news, SubVersiones has released a 50 minute documentary on the resistance of the indigenous Nahua community of Zacualpan in Colima to a mining project. In Mexico State, Venancio Queupumil Cabrera, a Chilean doctor and activist persecuted under Pinochet was assassinated in his clinic. In Puebla, organizations are expressing alarm at the increase in violence, in particular femicides, after fourteen women were killed in the first two months of 2016. Political prisoner Nestora Salgado, head of the Community Police in Olinalá, Guerrero, is awaiting a ruling from a judge that could see her released in the coming days. And of course the Pope was in Mexico last month. Also on SubVersiones, Alejandro Amado noted, “The visit of Jorge Mario Bergoglio, Pope Francis, has left much to be desired regarding the coherence of his discourse with his practice. He claims to be on the side of the poor, yet attends lavish ceremonies with the first line of corruption in Mexico, then come the public baths… [In Morelia], Pope Francis described it as ‘childish to blame the State’ for the disappearance of the students [from Ayotzinapa]. ‘One, two, three…’ an anonymous shout began counting, which was seconded by the larger part of those present; the count stopped at 43 and with a request for prayers for the students disappeared at the hands of State forces since September 2014.”




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