dorset chiapas solidarity

March 10, 2017

“Torture and Mistreatment Continue to Be Widespread in Mexico”, Juan E. Mendez

Filed under: Frayba, Human rights, Indigenous, Journalists, Repression, sipaz, Sustainable rural cities, Uncategorized, Zapatistas — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 11:02 am



“Torture and Mistreatment Continue to Be Widespread in Mexico”, Juan E. Mendez

tortureAmnesty International campaign against torture in Mexico


On 24 February, the current UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, Nils Melzer, presented the follow-up report on the mission carried out by his predecessor Juan E. Mendez in Mexico on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.

The report pointed out that “torture continues to be widespread on the part of security forces and investigators”; that suffocation, sexual violence, electric shocks, death threats, beatings, and psychological torture are “commonly used for obtaining information, confessions or as a method of punishment. To this is added a context of serious impunity, where the lack of investigation into these facts is the rule.”

In his assessment of the situation, the rapporteur stated that “organized crime is a challenge for the authorities and the population.” He commented that since 2006 and under the so-called “war against drug trafficking”, “militarization of public security remains as strategy.” He expressed concern about the “extremely vulnerability” of migrants by stating that “the detention of migrants by state agents is often violent and includes insults, threats and humiliations.”

 The Rapporteur regretted to conclude in his report that since his visit two years ago the situation “has not changed”, that “torture and mistreatment are still widespread in Mexico.” He noted that the “elimination of this practice is a fundamental challenge and that is why it is important to enact the General Law on Torture, with provisions that comply with the highest international standards […] so that torture, enforced disappearances, the persecution of victims and defenders of human rights and impunity cease to be part of everyday life. “ He further requested from Mexico that there be no “exceptions to the rule of exclusion of evidence obtained through torture” in that law.



February 28, 2017

Until dignity becomes the custom

Filed under: Human rights, Indigenous, Journalists, Uncategorized — Tags: — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 11:27 am


Until dignity becomes the custom

jacinta-1Francisca Francisco Marcial, accompanied bu her two children: José Luis and Estela Hernández Jiménez. Photo: María Meléndez Parada, La Jornada

By: Francisco López Bárcenas [1]

Everything was going according to what was programmed until Estela Hernández, the daughter of Jacinta Francisco Marcial, [2] took the microphone and spoke her word. It was straight to the point from the beginning. She said that it was lamentable and shameful that 11 years has passed before the Attorney General of the Republic would recognize, obliged by a judge, that the process against her mother, the same as that against Alberta Alcántara and Teresa Hernández, the three Hñahñu women accused of kidnapping six federal police in August 2006, was an error. The Jaime Torres Bodet Auditorium, in the National Museum of Anthropology, murmured, and ceded its place to a silence more solemn than the act itself. The act prepared in order that the Mexican State would recognize the innocence of the three women unjustly processed and would offer them a public apology was transformed into a space for denouncing the state’s repression, the lack of justice, the insecurity, discrimination and racism.

It’s probable that Teresa would not see the effect that her words caused among those present, above all the discomfort in which it placed the attorney general of the Republic, located at the centre of the scenario. She narrated how her mother was arrested, sentenced and then released, thanks to support from the Miguel Agustín Pro Juárez Human Rights Centre. “It’s a simple example of the many illegal arbitrary acts that authorities who have an official title, appointment and recognition commit in our country that is Mexico,” she said, and added: “Now it is known that it’s not necessarily the criminals that are in prison, it’s the poor that don’t have money, those without the knowledge to defend themselves, those the powerful subject to their will.” Next she was asked: “How many innocent people are in prison today for a crime they didn’t commit or for a non-existent crime? How many kidnappers, criminals authorized with a title and legally appointed go free, charging our taxes, incarcerating, persecuting or harassing with a fabricated crime?”

Then she referred to the motive for the event. She said that the public apology and recognition of innocence that the PGR offered her mother and the two other Hñahñu women that day was not enough to repair the damage that the false accusation and simulated process had caused them. She clarified that they did not want the money for the reparation of the damage because their wealth is not based on money: “Our existence today has to do with our solidarity with the 43 teachers college students that are missing, with the thousands of dead, disappeared and persecuted, with our political prisoners, with my fallen teacher compañeros, with my compañeros that are hunted for defending what rightly belongs to us. I ask for them because that is the treatment we receive for seeking better living and working conditions.” And she continued in that direction. “To the current victims, to my brother social fighters, to my fellow teachers that are fighting, to the fallen, the disappeared, incarcerated, exiled, persecuted, terrorized that defend and fight in favour of human rights, I want to tell you that after experiencing this State terrorism, we assume the pain and we conquer fear so that victory will be ours.”

jacinta2These are the three women that were wrongly accused, convicted and imprisoned for kidnapping 6 police agents!

While I was listening to her, I was thinking that the event was similar in many ways to the public trials that indigenous communities hold for those who violate their norms of co-existence, where when they already have the evidence they exhibit it in front of those affected. Estela Hernández, converted into the voice of Mexico’s aggrieved, pointed to the institutions responsible: the National Commission for the Development of Indigenous Peoples and the National Human Rights Commission, which were both quiet “despite knowing about the case and told us that nothing could be done because it was a very serious crime.” She demanded that they are put to work for truth, and that they not only make recommendations when other non-governmental institutions have already made them. She told the Attorney General of the Republic that they were not content or happy about the act of apology and she asked that he cease the repression against the indigenous peoples, the persecution of social fighters and demanded the liberation of political prisoners, “whose only crime is aspiring to better conditions of work, life and a just and dignified homeland.”

And she closed with a convincing phrase: “This case changed the way we look at life. We now know that it isn’t necessary to commit a crime to be disappeared, persecuted or be put in prison. For those of us that continue fighting for liberty, justice, democracy and the sovereignty of Mexico, for our homeland, for life, for humanity, we are always and forever with you, […] until dignity becomes the custom.” Her words were marked by the applause of those present that stood up and agreed with the message. At the end of the event, we all left the place thinking that the governmental apology and recognition that the rights of the three indigenous women that had been violated were important, but their greater relevance would be that we should work so that it didn’t happen again, because no reason exists for it to be repeated.


Translator’s Notes

[1] Francisco López Bárcenas is an indigenous lawyer and writer from Oaxaca

[2] Read Jacinta’s story here:


Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee



July 26, 2016

“There has been a Massacre in San Juan Chamula” says witness

Filed under: Indigenous, Journalists — Tags: , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 2:35 pm


“There has been a Massacre in San Juan Chamula” says witness



Photo caption: Removing the bodies from the plaza in San Juan Chamula

Protest, violence and death

  • Around 20 reported killed by gunfire and machete; shotguns were used
  • The mayor responded to the indigenous who were demanding support and then the shooting started
  • The police arrived three hours later; people had already taken the bodies from the square


By: Hermann Bellinghausen

San Juan Chamula, Chiapas [1]

“It was a massacre,” says a young witness to the shooting that occurred here yesterday at 8 o’clock in the morning in the central plaza of this traditional and famous Tzotzil locality.

An act of demand from various communities, something common here, turned into a lethal shootout that cost the life of Mayor Domingo López González and the council member Narciso Lunes Hernández, as well as an undetermined number of dead and wounded, although those residents present agree that around 20 could be dead, the majority from bullets, but also from machetes.

It is difficult to know the precise number, but the testimonies agree that the first shots came from the city hall.

“People met in the communities from 6 in the morning, to come to demand the programmes that the municipio promised. Everyone came, men and women. No one knew what was going to happen,” adds the witness. “At 8 in the morning President Domingo (of the Green Ecologist Party of Mexico) came out on the balcony of the city hall.”

“After listening to the dissidents he asserted forcefully that he would deliver those resources later, and he asked the people to withdraw. Then he entered the building. The people did not disperse, and then rockets and ‘bombs’ (of gunpowder) came out from inside the building, and the first gunshots.” Various subjects, some masked, who arrived with the PRIístas, had taken up positions below the municipal palace. They were carrying rifles and started to shoot at the building. This group has previously appeared with their faces covered in their protests in Tuxtla Gutiérrez.

It was then that the mayor attempted to leave through the back, but the masked men went after him and they immediately shot him. “They came for that, they were prepared.

“He also had to have others in the streets above, because some came out running and others went behind shooting,” adds the young man, who requests anonymity, but speaks with total fluency and in good Castilla. Three other men surround us and just listen. The first shots came out of the municipal presidency, according to this version, confirmed later by two other indigenous men present in the plaza, who surrounded a man standing on his feet with a bullet wound, who with a hand on his abdomen observed the police arriving in the plaza after 11 o’clock in the morning, almost three and a half hours after the events.

“How long did the shots last? No more than 10 minutes. All the people started to run to the edge of the plaza. Women? Many came, but they stayed at the edge. Yes, some of them were wounded; I don’t know if there were any dead,” the witness explains to La Jornada. Apparently there were other shots afterwards.

The municipal building, painted completely green, is barely separated by a narrow passage from the municipal building of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI, its initials in Spanish). “With red hearts,” proclaims a big sign on its facade. On the side, the presidency shows numerous bullet impacts and broken windows. High-powered weapons were used, according to what a ministerial agent said later, when the police finally arrived. They found cartridges from a 45-caliber pistol, an AK-47 and an R-15. A hole in a curtain is identified which a police agent of mature age considered to be a shot from inside.


chamulaThe photo shows the 2 municipal buildings, (one green, one red), as well as the plaza, now taken over by police.


A town in shock

The body of an older man lies over an abundant puddle of blood on the line of the small area of a soccer field traced at the western side of the plaza. His loneliness is absolute; no one is nearby. An elderly woman remains seated on the stairs at the side of the plaza, as if she is unrelated to everything, silent. Another body remains in sight on the street that goes to the market. According to the testimonies, the mayor and his councilman would have fallen (dead) behind the municipal presidency when they were attempting to flee. The number of  individuals who died in the plaza is unknown, because their family members or companions removed them before 10 o’clock in the morning. According to two Chamulans from the municipal capital, two Nissan “Estaquitas” (trucks) entered the plaza after the confrontation, some indigenous men picked up the dead and injured, and then they went away.

After the shootout, the masked men who killed Domingo López and his collaborator carried the bodies to the front of the city hall, and with gestures and shouts pointed to them and called to the people that were approaching. At least one was re-killed there. “He was already dead, you can come now,” they said. “But the people had not come to fight. They were not informed,” the witness says. By then, the hundreds of indigenous who were protesting had fled and only residents of the municipal capital remained, unrelated to the tragedy, but too deeply affected to be classified as voyeurs. The town is in a state of shock, the streets deserted, except for small groups of men.

Delete that photo

“Delete that photo,” a state police agent with a helmet demands, pointing his tear gas rifle at this reporter when he sees him taking a picture of the man stretched out on the ground. A dozen police vehicles have just entered the plaza and the police jump out onto the ground clutching their weapons, extremely nervous. “Delete it,” he insists. Upon being questioned as to why, another agent farther away aims his rifle for a few seconds, and the first agent, maybe reconsidering, points to the scanty number of indigenous who observe from the periphery of the extensive central plaza: “If you don’t, the people will hit you.” “Then why do you aim at me?”

In fact, the only time that some indigenous attempted to question the reporters was when a state functionary headed to a group of his acquaintances and indicated: “remove the journalists;” the indigenous were limited to preventing us from approaching the presidency, the PRI and the market.

Vehicles from the municipal police of San Cristóbal de Las Casas, the state police and investigative agents arrived sounding their sirens towards 11:30 in the morning and they cordoned off the front part of the plaza with anti-riot equipment and regulation weapons. The extreme nervousness of the agents and functionaries is the most alarming of all. They immediately proceed to collect cartridges and other evidence, and only later do they use latex gloves and bags. Rather than investigating, they are cleaning up the plaza.

From early on, the social networks were flooded with a lot of photographs of the dead functionaries. One of every two Chamulans must have a cell phone. “A lot of photographers were there,” relates the witness quoted above.

Nevertheless, the first press images are from the air and from when the patrols were already at the place. All the images that circulated in the networks and some media were from local residents and are late scenes.

Towards noon, a pick-up truck goes into the plaza. Two women are in the box. One, an older woman, cries inconsolably. Two men get out of the cabin, pick up the body and hastily throw it into the vehicle’s box, face down. So that the doors can close, they bend the knees up, only his feet and the soles of his huaraches are seen once they close the back door of the box. The second woman gets in to the cabin and the pick-up departs. Various police surround the scene without daring to intervene. The woman looks briefly at the feet of the body, turns the face and cries desperately. Nearby, a white truck picks up another body.

Soon, only police agents and patrol cars were in the proximity of the buildings of the PRI and of the municipal council. Not one business is open in the entire town. The people are sheltered in their homes. Some families remain on the flat roofs of the houses near the plaza.

At the border between San Cristóbal and Chamula, in the middle of the road a little sign warned in the morning: “Don’t go to Chamula. There’s a problem.” To say the least!


Translator’s Note:

[1] San Juan Chamula is close to the tourist mecca of San Cristóbal. Chamula is the home of “traditional” religious practices, or at least that’s what they tell the tourists. Day trips for tourists to Chamula are very popular and the municipio (municipality, or county) makes a lot of money from these tourists trips. Chamula is also home to some of the thugs who attacked, evicted and destroyed the encampment and occupation of the “people’s movement” in San Cristóbal. In its Open Letter to the Governor of Chiapas, the EZLN warned the Governor of the danger of stirring up the rivalries in Chamula.


Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Re-published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee

Minor edits for UK audience by Dorset Chiapas Solidarity




June 27, 2016

Community radio journalist and activist killed by police in Oaxaca‏

Filed under: Journalists, Repression, Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 9:49 am



Community radio journalist and activist killed by police in Oaxaca‏



Igavec Noticias
June 26, 2016

HUAJUAPAN DE LEÓN- Salvador Olmo García, a 27-year old vendor, community journalist, activist, defender of lands, vocalist and pioneer of the anarko-punk movement in Huajuapan, was found seriously injured this Sunday morning in the Las Huertas neighborhood of the city.

Around 4:40 this morning, rescue workers of the National Emergency Commission (CNE) were alerted by local police agents that that there was a seriously wounded person at an unnumbered building on Naranjos Street, so Ambulance 06 of District 020 was immediately dispatched to the spot.

When the paramedics arrived, they saw someone lying by the side of the road. They immediately gave him first aid and put him on a stretcher.

When they noted that he had serious wounds on his arms, legs, head and torso, they decided to take him to the Emergency Room at the Pilar Sánchez Villavicencio General Hospital of Huajuapan, so he could get the necessary medical care.

After trying for several minutes to save his life, however, the medics reported that Chava, as he was known by his family and friends, had breathed his last due to the presence and accumulation of outdoor or pulmonary air in the chest cavity (pneumothorax), a fracture of the right arm and a broken nose.

After the death of Salvador, who was also a reporter for the Tuun Ñuu Savi community radio, fellow broadcasters accused local police agents of being both the perpetrators and the masterminds of this crime. They said that Chava had previously been arrested and then run over by an official police vehicle.

The reporters also demanded a speedy investigation to determine exactly what happened and punishment for the responsible parties. They warned that if these demands are not met, alternative measures will be taken to see that justice is done for this and other acts that they consider fascist and oppressive by uniformed policemen.

Salvador Olmo García had been struggling for 15 years in defense of Mixteca lands and communities and against the exploitation of natural resources and the granting of concessions to foreign mining companies by government authorities.

After this terrible attack, dozens of friends, acquaintances and family members gathered at the Tuun Ñuu Savi radio station to show their support and demand that the responsible parties be punished.

“Members of the Huajuapan society, we hope you understand what they did to our comrade. We don’t want to incite violence, but we are outraged about this attack and we want justice. Chava always struggled for equality. He was a productive, supportive person in the society, and as an anarchist, always protected others around him.”

“He was a good man with the soul of a child, with his black t-shirts, dreadlocks and boots. This was the only space he found where he could freely grow and develop,” said one of the activists who was a close comrade of Salvador’s.

Dorset Chiapas Solidarity 

Translated by Scott Campbell



January 29, 2016

Human Rights Defenders demand justice for journalist killed in Oaxaca

Filed under: Journalists, Uncategorized — Tags: — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 5:31 pm



Human Rights Defenders demand justice for journalist killed in Oaxaca




On January 21, 2016 another journalist was gunned down in Mexico recently, his name is Marcos Hernández Bautista, 38 years old, journalist from “Noticias – Voz e Imagen de Oaxaca”. Hernández Bautista was killed in San Andrés Huaxpaltepec, in the coastal district of Santiago Jamiltepec, Oaxaca. They found his body slumped by his car. He’s the fifth journalist killed under Gabino Cué’s term as governor. According to police forces, the communicator was killed instantly by a 9mm bullet in his head.

The deadly attack occurred on the Federal Coast Highway 200 leading to Santiago Jamiltepec. The deceased, also served as councillor for culture in Santiago Jamiltepec, and was a contributor to radio stations in Santiago Pinotepa Nacional and Jamiltepec. The newspaper “Noticias” demands that judicial authorities “thoroughly investigate the bloody deed which goes against freedom of expression, and also to punish the person or persons responsible.” Marcos Hernandez Bautista was also an activist of the leftist Party “National Regeneration Movement” (Morena). According to a study conducted by Reporters without Borders, Mexico was the most dangerous country for journalists in Latin America in 2015.

Press statement by the Council of United Peoples in Defense of the Green River (COPUDEVER, who struggles for the cancelation of the “Paso de la Reina Project” for Hydroelectric Exploitation in the coastal region of Oaxaca):


The murder of Marcos Hernandez joins a long list of violent incidents in the coastal region of Oaxaca, most have gone unpunished.

There are interest groups with economic and political power in the region which continue to control the life of communities.

Marcos Hernandez was a journalist close to the people, he always supported our fight for the defence of territory, always gave us a voice in the media, was always on our side, always accompanied us in our demonstrations, events, festivals, in our lives.

We regret that our region’s voice Marcos has been silenced, as he was among the few who dared to denounce, he believed in the organization of the people and their rights.

Thanks Marcos for your presence, we join the pain of your family.

As the Council of United Peoples in Defence of the Green River: We demand that the murder of Marcos does not go unpunished!

Punishment for those responsible!

We demand that the Mexican government provides guarantees for the work of journalists, defenders of human rights!

San Antonio Río Verde, Oaxaca January 23, 2016


Read more:

More about COPUDEVER (Information by Sipaz)

Reporters without Borders (Press Freedom Barometer – Mexico)

Press statement  COPUDEVER (Pdf in Spanish) 

Article by “Commitee to Protect Journalists”



October 10, 2015

Latest wave of violence and attacks against communications media in Mexico

Filed under: Journalists — Tags: , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 1:08 pm


Latest wave of violence and attacks against communications media in Mexico


Installations of Regeneración Radio @RegeneraciónRadio Facebook

Installations of Regeneración Radio @RegeneraciónRadio Facebook


On 21 September, members of the shock-group Third of March violently entered the hall of the College of Arts and Sciences (CCH) at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), attacking the activists who operate Regeneración Radio, destroying and robbing material and equipment.

In a communique, representatives from the university condemned the events and reported that a penal denunciation would be presented to local and federal authorities whom they hold responsible for the acts and the damages incurred by the university. Students indicated to La Jornada that before 3pm, approximately 100 militants forcibly entered the hall and beat the activists who attempted to block their passage. UNAM reported that the confrontation left three injured, “none of them gravely.” José Luis Suaste, member of Regeneración Radio, said that members of the collective had been threatened and attacked for several days, and for this reason he reported on the existence of an “increase in violence,” the cessation of transmissions from the radio station, and called for the space to be defended.

It bears mentioning that Heriberto Paredes, a photojournalist from the Autonomous Agency for Communication Subversiones, denounced a death-threat made against his person on 31 August in Mexico City. Previously he had received three death-threats on the phone on 15 May and 7 and 13 July, while on 10 June he was harassed at the same Metro station as this last occasion. In this way, another member of Subversiones received a death-threat via telephone on 2 June. Moreover, in September the home of journalists and reporters from Desinformémonos and the magazine Contralínea were broken into, while in August the journalist-activist Rubén Espinosa Becerril and Nadia Vera Pérez, human-rights defender, were murdered together with three other women in Mexico City.



April 11, 2015

Chiapas: Regional headquarters of San Sebastián Bachajón burned down; autonomous journalists are attacked

Filed under: Bachajon, Displacement, Indigenous, Journalists — Tags: , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 2:12 pm

Chiapas: Regional headquarters of San Sebastián Bachajón burned down; autonomous journalists are attacked


Photo @ Pozol Colectivo

Photo @ Pozol Colectivo


On 21 March, ejidatarios from San Sebastián Bachajón denounced that more than 600 state security forces burned down the regional headquarters of San Sebastián, with the participation of the ejidal commission and the security council.  They explaiend that “after the violent displacement of 9 January 2015, we founded a regional headquarters for San Sebastián to continue caring for the lands and demand the withdrawal of the bad government.  We will continue, as we are indigenous to these lands, and we will not allow the bad government come to rule over the people.”  They also indicated that the group from the ejidal commission “has blockaded the highway between Ocosingo and Palenque at the Agua Azul crossing in an attempt to blame us for the blockade.  Also, these stooges from the bad government are cutting down trees, and we know that they seek to fabricate crimes of ecocide with which to imprison the autonomous authorities of our organization.”

They demanded “the withdrawal of public forces from our lands, which have been plundered since February 2011, and of the National Commission on Protected Natural Areas,” besides the “release of our political prisoners Juan Antonio Gómez Silvano, Mario Aguilar Silvano, and Roberto Gómez Hernández, and of the unjustly imprisoned comrades Santiago Moreno Perez, Emilio Jimenez Gomez, and Esteban Gomez Jimenez.

Beyond this, two members of autonomous-media collectives denounced having been attacked by the ejidal commissioner’s group of San Sebastián Bachajón. They reported that they were surrounded, arrested, beaten, and threatened with machetes, so that they would hand over a Canon 70D camera and a tripod on 21 March, when they sought to document the displacement and arson of the regional headquarters.  Beyond this, they indicated that, upon passing the control-point and continuing toward the regional autonomous headquarters of San Sebastián, they found four state police trucks and more than 200 “officialists armed with machetes, some of them inebriated.”



March 30, 2015

Attacks Against Mexican Journalists up 80% Under Peña Nieto

Filed under: Journalists — Tags: — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 12:00 pm

Attacks Against Mexican Journalists up 80% Under Peña Nieto

Journalist Alberto Lopez Bello was recently found dead, along with a policeman, near Oaxaca. | Photo: Reuters

Journalist Alberto Lopez Bello was recently found dead, along with a policeman, near Oaxaca. | Photo: Reuters

According to a report by a human rights group, since the start of Enrique Peña Nieto’s administration a journalist is attacked every 26.7 hours. Attacks and threats against Mexican journalists increased by 80 percent over the past two years, according to a report published Tuesday.

Article 19, a human rights organization focused on the defense and promotion of freedom of expression, presented the report titled “state of censorship.” The document states that under the administration of President Enrique Peña Nieto, an attack against a journalist occurs every 26.7 hours, compared to one every 48.1 hours during the presidency of Felipe Calderon.

During the first two years Peña Nieto’s government there were reported 656 assaults, 10 murders and 4 disappearances, including 122 attacks on female journalists.

The release of the report comes as controversy continues to swirl around the firing of Carmen Aristegui, one of Mexico’s most well-known journalist. Aristegui has stated that a dispute with her employer, MVS Radio, began as a result of a story she aired implicating Peña Nieto and his wife with the purchase of a house from a government contractor. She has also stated that she thinks the firing could only have come with Peña Nieto’s “blessing.”

According to international organizations, Mexico is one of the most dangerous countries in the world for journalists with on of the highest levels of unsolved crimes against the press. Authorities say criminal organizations target journalists to silence the press in the areas they operate. “Fear, impunity and violence are things that are too common for the press in Mexico,” Article 19 said.

Reporters Without Borders says at least 100 media workers have been killed since 2000, most of which remain unsolved.

February 27, 2015

Murders, threats and duopoly: the state of press freedom in Mexico

Filed under: Journalists — Tags: , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 7:26 pm


Murders, threats and duopoly: the state of press freedom in Mexico


Deadly attacks on journalists are on the rise in Mexico, and perpetrators operate largely with impunity

In June 2011, Mexico was named the most dangerous country in the Americas for communicators. Photograph: Reuters

Luis Hernández Navarro  Wednesday 25 February 2015

On 2 January, journalist Moisés Sánchez was kidnapped by an armed group. Nine people with covered faces stormed into his house in Medellin de Bravo, a town in the wealthy eastern state of Veracruz. They searched and grabbed documents, and took Sánchez, along with his camera, laptop, mobile phone and tablet. The police took hours to come to the house. Sánchez was found dead 23 days later on the outskirts of the town.

Sánchez, editor of La Unión, is the eleventh journalist to be murdered in Veracruz since Governor Javier Duarte de Ochoa took office on 1 December 2010. As well as murders, four media professionals have gone missing and there have been 132 attacks against the local press in the same period.

Events in Veracruz state are serious, but they are far from exceptional. In vast zones of Mexico, especially on the United States border and in areas where drug trafficking prevails, journalists at all levels have been threatened or attacked. Victims include some of the most nationally well-known commentators but more frequently are reporters writing for regional and local media, online and on social media.

The free press defence organisation Article 19 documents three chilling facts: attacks against communicators are rising in Mexico, in most cases impunity prevails, and in more than half of cases the perpetrators are linked with the state.

During the investigation into Sánchez’s disappearance, the entire police force of Medellin de Bravo was detained by state prosecutors. A former police officer confessed to participating in the murder, claiming he did so “by direct order” of Martín López Meneses, deputy director of the municipal police in Medellin. Sánchez had been threatened by the mayor three days before being kidnapped.

In June 2011, Frank William La Rue – then UN special rapporteur on the right to freedom of opinion and expression – warned that Mexico was the most dangerous country in the Americas for communicators. La Rue documented 66 cases of murders against journalists between 2000 and 2010, and 12 disappearances between 2005 and 2010, of which few have been solved.

As with diseases that have a new outbreak after they were believed eradicated this evil came back to life eight years ago, when then-President Felipe Calderón, of the conservative PAN party, declared a “war on drugs”, with logistical support and funding from the US. Violence against the press walks hand-in-hand with the violation of human rights, the criminalisation of social protest, and the so-called war on drugs. Impunity gives criminals carte blanche. Organised crime and its networks of complicity with those in political power have further aggravated the tense situation in Mexico.

Many reporters and media organisations are terrified. With increasing frequency, journalists are seeking asylum in the US. Others choose to publish anonymously and many avoid writing about events that could endanger their lives.

“There is a border where dirty money becomes apparently clean … and it is on that border where the journalist runs a greater risk,” states a report by Article 19. “It is not the consummate criminals who threaten the journalists. It is the apparently legal powers and seemingly reputable businesses that feel most threatened by the journalist’s work, precisely because it is on that border where the journalist may denounce the politician, policeman, soldier, or businessman that is in collusion with organised crime.”

On April 2012, a new law, Ley para la Protección de Personas Defensoras de Derechos Humanos y Periodistas, was approved and certain mechanisms to protect journalists were implemented, including the adoption of cautionary actions and, in some cases, police protection of individuals under threat.

But far for diminishing, violence against journalists keeps growing. In 2013 alone 330 attacks against journalists, media workers and offices were documented, making it the most violent year for journalists in Mexico since 2007.

On 3 February, the Washington Office on Latin America and Peace Brigades International described the new legislation as insufficient, and said it does not provide for timely responses to demands of protection. They blame the Mexican government for discrediting and criminalising human rights defenders and organisations, and highlight the levels of impunity enjoyed by perpetrators of crimes against journalists and human rights defenders.

The flip side of the lack of freedom of the press in Mexico is the high concentration of mass media ownership and control. Almost all (96%) of Mexico’s commercial television channels are in the hands of two corporations, Televisa and TVAzteca, and 80% of radio broadcasters are owned by 13 commercial groups. Some of those groups control dozens of networks.

This duopoly simultaneously provokes an enormous absence of information as well as great scepticism about the news broadcast in Mexico. During the general election campaign in 2012, thousands of young people mobilised outside the studios of Televisa and TVAzteca to protest the manipulation of information. The government passed new legislation but the rules of the game essentially did not change.

A new federal law of telecommunications and radio broadcasting was enacted in 2014, aiming to break down the media duopoly by creating a new private television network. It has not yet materialised. Civil society organisations were strongly critical of the new law, stating that it limits the powers of the regulating body (which should be autonomous), avoids the necessary mechanisms to fight monopolies efficiently, restricts public and social media, and ignores the rights of audiences.

Press freedom in Mexico faces severe obstacles. To give guarantees allowing journalists to exercise their profession, to fight impunity, limit the power of monopolies and open spaces to public communication media are important challenges. International attention is essential. More murders like that of Moisés Sánchez must be prevented.




December 24, 2014

The Zapatistas and Hope

Filed under: Indigenous, Journalists, Lacandon/ montes azules, Marcos, Zapatista — Tags: , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 4:50 pm



The Zapatistas and Hope

December 18, 2014

*We think that it is necessary for one of us to die so that Galeano lives. 


Marcos becomes Galeano

Marcos becomes Galeano

To satisfy the impertinence that is death, in place of Galeano we put another name, so that Galeano lives and death takes not a life but just a name – a few letters empty of any meaning, without their own history or life. That is why we have decided that Marcos ceases to exist today.

And death will go away, fooled by an indigenous man whose nom de guerre was Galeano, and those rocks that have been placed on his tomb will once again walk and teach whoever will listen the most basic tenet of Zapatismo: that is, don’t sell out, don’t give in and don’t give up.

Given the above, at 2:08am on May 25, 2014, from the southeast combat front of the EZLN, I hereby declare that he who is known as Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos, self-proclaimed “Subcomandante of stainless steel,” ceases to exist.

Passages from Between Light and Shadow, Subcomandante Galeano, May 2014

Dear Friends & Supporters of the Chiapas Support Committee:

2014 has been a turning point year for Mexico and the U.S.

We are asking you to join us in building grassroots support and solidarity with the Zapatista communities. Please make a generous donation to directly support the Zapatista efforts in constructing autonomy. Why?

2014 was the 20th anniversary of the EZLN-led indigenous uprising in Chiapas. The Zapatistas began marking this momentous anniversary launching “La Escuelita Zapatista,” the Little Schools of Freedom according to the Zapatistas, in 2013, where they invited community leaders, youth, elders, women, children and even world-class intellectuals to learn from them how they organized their revolution.

In 2014, the Zapatistas also shared the deep changes they have accomplished, making historic transitions consolidating the Zapatistas communities’ power from below. This includes:

  • Indigenous leadership of the EZLN
  • Building community-based autonomy and self-determination
  • Indigenous women’s and girl’s power and direct participation; and
  • At the centre of these changes, “from revolutionary vanguardism to ‘rule by obeying;’ from taking Power Above to the creation of power from below; from professional politics to everyday politics, from the leaders to the people….”

To us, the Zapatistas are synonymous with hope. How do we persist and build our own resistances in the long struggle for justice across borders? The Zapatista communities have shared their own experiences and consistently organized spaces for international dialogue to build connections and movements against neoliberalism, war and racism and for humanity and a different way of being together.

Compañero Galeano Lives!

With love, pain and rage the Zapatistas laid the body of Compañero Galeano to rest while at the same time ensuring that his name and spirit would live on. The person we had known as Subcomandante Marcos for a little more than 20 years died symbolically and resurrected as Subcomandante Galeano so that the memory of the brutally murdered compañero would live on. Although it had been coming gradually, the May 2 murder of Compañero Galeano in La Realidad provided the stepping stone for a transition to Indigenous leadership of the EZLN in the person of Subcomandante Moisés, a natural and foreseen transition despite what the corporate press may have said.

The Zapatistas consider that transition and symbolism to be of such importance that they questioned two members of the Chiapas Support Committee (CSC) about our understanding of it during our visit in September and were pleased that we paid no attention to the interpretations of the corporate (“for pay”) media, but rather the direct word of the EZLN.

Originally intended to be a brief visit to clarify an education project in the region of La Garrucha, the purpose of our visit expanded when we received the news about the attacks and forced displacements in San Manuel municipio (county), with which the CSC has had a close relationship since 2002. After clarifying the education project with regional education coordinators, attention turned to the more than 70 Zapatistas displaced from their homes in 3 San Manuel communities. The Good Government Junta gave us permission to visit San Manuel.

We travelled to San Manuel and met with the autonomous municipal council, the health care promoters, warehouse workers and education promoters (teachers). We learned that the displaced families lost everything when they fled to save their lives and avoid a massacre. The autonomous council stated that the government paid the paramilitaries to attack and displace the three communities, just as the EZLN’s investigation revealed regarding the murder of Galeano. According to Subcomandante Moisés, San Manuel was attacked in retaliation for the Exchange (Sharing) between the National Indigenous Congress (CNI) and the EZLN, just like Compañero Galeano was murdered in retaliation for the very successful Little Zapatista Schools during 2013 and at the start of 2014. The government’s message: You’re going to pay a price for organizing!

Build Grassroots Solidarity! Support Zapatista Autonomy & Schools

Despite the Mexican government’s counterinsurgency and severe repression, we also have some good news to report from San Manuel. The municipio and its more than 40 communities remain together, well managed and in resistance. Autonomous authorities specifically stated that the projects the CSC constructed with them continue to thrive, thereby enabling the municipio to function and succeed.

This year we completed a three-year autonomous primary education project in the region of La Garrucha, which included the construction and or re-modelling of schools, continuing education for the teachers and teaching materials for both the education promoters and the students. We also provided emergency financial support to those displaced from the three Zapatista communities in San Manuel.

While in La Garrucha the Junta told us about an education project that is currently being developed for the region: one or more secondary (middle) schools.

In contrast to the other Caracoles, the La Garrucha region has no secondary school. The debate is whether to have one secondary school for the entire region or one in each autonomous municipio. Whatever the region’s decision may be the Chiapas Support Committee is committed to supporting the secondary school project. We need your help to do that.

Please join us and give a generous donation that will go in its entirety to help the Zapatistas build schools and autonomy!

Los 43: They were taken alive! We want them back alive!

Compañero Galeano’s murder marked the opening of a new wave of political repression and killings carried out in collusion between Mexican government forces and narco-drug cartels and paramilitaries.

Mexican youth bore the brunt of the carnage left by organized crime and drug trafficking gangs in various states of Mexico. Local police and politicians with organized crime have been responsible for the extrajudicial executions of 22 arrested and disarmed youths by Mexican Army soldiers in Tlatlaya (June) and, finally, the unspeakable crime committed against students of the Ayotzinapa Teachers College that resulted in six dead and 43 forcibly disappeared –a crime against humanity– still not clarified (since September).

The Chiapas Support Committee continues to translate and publish educational information about Mexico and the Zapatistas through our various social media outlets.

This year we met with students that attended the Little Zapatista Schools (Escuelitas Zapatistas). We worked with other collectives to organize a successful demonstration at the Mexican Consulate following Compañero Galeano’s murder.

Afterwards, we participated in forming a Zapatista urgent response network in order to have a larger and more coordinated response to any future attacks against the Zapatistas.

Our challenge in the coming year is to extend that coordination beyond emergency response.

Help Us Keep Zapatista Hope Alive

As the Chiapas Support Committee enters its 16th year and the EZLN turns 21, we are asking you to make a generous donation so that we can continue strengthening our work in support of the Zapatista communities and their construction of autonomy, as well as to support our local organizing efforts.

For your convenience, you can make your contribution online. Just go to our main website and click on the Donate button to make your contribution via PayPal.

Alternatively, you can send a check payable to the Chiapas Support Committee to our Post Office Box: Chiapas Support Committee, P.O. Box 3421, Oakland, CA 94609

And, we are registered with Amazon Smile and The Network for Good.

We thank you for your continued interest in and support for the peoples of Chiapas and assure you that your support makes a critical difference in the lives of many and that we and the Zapatista communities will thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

For peace & justice without borders,

Chiapas Support Committee





August 26, 2014

EZLN Press Conference, August 10, 2014

Filed under: Indigenous, Journalists, La Sexta, Marcos, Zapatista — Tags: , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 7:02 pm

EZLN Press Conference, August 10, 2014

Transcription of the EZLN Press Conference with the free, autonomous, alternative, or whatever-you-call-it media, August 10, 2014, in La Realidad Zapatista, Chiapas, Mexico.


First part: the words of SubGaleano


CNI441Good morning Gotham City… whenever you finish taking pictures of the stage over there, we’re going to start the press conference over here.

Please take your seats so that we can start in a few minutes, and so that afterward you can take your departure. Please find your places compañeros, compañeras. Please sit down.

Good morning Gotham City (that is a greeting to a compañero who uses that as a twitter handle).

What you just saw a few moments ago is what in military terms is called a diversionary tactic, and in laymen’s terms is called magic. And what took just a few minutes to actually happen, took someone 20 years of work to make happen that way.[i]

We want to begin, taking advantage of the fact that we have the free, autonomous, alternative, or whatever-you-call-it media here, as well as  compañeros from the national and international Sixth, by thanking you. And in order to thank you, I am going to tell you the story of a death.

This August 25 marks the 10-year anniversary of the death of Infantry Lieutenant Insurgente Eleazar. In 2004, really in 2003, he began to show signs of the kind of illness that only appears on Doctor House or stuff like that. It is called Guillain-Barré, and it consists of a gradual decline of all systems of the body until the patient dies. There is no cure, and the patient must be kept connected to life support.

When he began to get sick they took him to a hospital in Tuxtla Gutiérrez. They diagnosed him with this illness and told him that he should just go home, that it wasn’t that serious. But when I heard what he had I knew what they meant by those instructions. The doctors, when they saw that he was indigenous, knew he would not be able to pay for treatment. It’s really treatment for survival, not a cure.

#&*%^$*… let’s see if the milicianos can be moved into the shade, they’re going to be cooked alive out there, Lico…

10636006_785753564803798_7111103125650397781_nThe eye patch is so everybody thinks I have a glass eye, but I don’t. Me and my damned ideas, now I have to walk around with this thing on.

So, this illness… in Chiapas, and I imagine in the rest of the country, doctors calculate whether the patient is going to be able to pay for treatment or not. If, according to their calculations, the answer is no, then the doctor tells the patient they don’t have anything, gives them a few placebos so they think they are going to get better, and sends them home to die.

But we refused to accept that. We began to spend from the war funds, the resistance funds, until we couldn’t maintain him any longer. At that point, we’re talking about 2003 when a certain artistic intellectual sector still loved us, we asked them for help so that we could keep our compañero alive. They laughed at us. Apparently the indigenous can die of smallpox, measles, typhoid, all these kinds of things, but not of such an, shall we say, aristocratic illness, as Guillain-Barré, which happens to only one in a million.

When we couldn’t maintain him any longer, we took Lieutenant Eleazar to Oventic and, with the equipment we were able to get there, we kept him alive until one August 25, ten years ago, when he died.

Ten years later, along with the tragic assassination of the compa Galeano, paramilitaries from the CIOAC-Histórica destroyed the autonomous school and clinic here in La Realidad, the ones that belonged to the local Zapatistas. In order to rebuild, we didn’t go to those people [the artist-intellectual sector] for help, but to the people below, our compañeros, compañeras, and  compañeroas of the national and international Sixth.

Compañero Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés, present here, and Comandante Tacho, along with the Zapatista authorities of La Realidad and the compañeros who do carpentry, calculated the necessary materials and came up with 209,000 pesos and some change. At that point we were thinking:

Well, this crowd is really down and out, maybe really scraping the bottom of the barrel they will be able to come up with half of the money and we can take the rest out of the resistance fund or ask for support from the other caracoles.

You already know the story of what happened next, because you are the protagonists. And by “you” I don’t just mean those of you who are here, but all of those who, through you, find out what happens here, that is, our compañeros, compañeras, and compañeroas of the Sixth all over the world. You quintupled the request; in the last accounting we did, the support that had come in quintupled the budgeted amount.

We want to say thank you for this; never before has the EZLN received so much support, and this support from below was more than those who do have money had ever given. Because we know that the compañeros of the Sixth didn’t give what they had leftover; they gave what they didn’t even have. We have been reading in your free media, your twitter accounts and on your facebook pages, stories that fill us with pride.

We know that many of you struggled to come up with the funds to come here, that some even struggle to feed themselves every day and to have a fresh pair of—I was going to say underwear—of clothes, and that despite that you made the effort to find a way to come and demonstrate what support between compañeros looks like, as opposed to hand-outs from above.

DSC7758So the first thing I want you to tell your compañeros and compañeras all over the world in your languages, tongues, ways, times, and geographies, is thank you, for real. You have given a beautiful lesson not only to those above who divvy up crumbs as hand-outs, to the governments who abandon their obligations and even promote destruction, but also to us; it is the most beautiful lesson that we Zapatistas have received since the Sixth Declaration was released.

The point of this press conference is to honor a promise. Originally this press conference was going to be held in Oventic, along with the exchange with indigenous peoples that was meant to happen there. Later it was going to happen when we had the funeral for compañero Galeano, the homage that is. And it was principally meant to say the last words or the farewell of Subcomandante Marcos, and the first words of Subcomandante Insurgente, now Galeano—at that point it was going to be another name.

It’s important that I tell you what this event was going to be, that is, how we had conceived it, in order to propose to you another possible reading of the homage to Galeano and this transition between death and life that was created by the disappearance of the late Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos, due to whom the devil is holding his nose. Now it must be said, that was one good-looking guy, to each their own… That was sarcasm, I don’t know if you got it… I can still distinguish these things.

Look, compañeros, in order to understand what happened in the wee hours of that morning of May 25, you have to understand what had happened before, what was going to happen. I have read and heard various interpretations that are more or less correct, and a whole bunch that are absolutely ridiculous, about what that May 25 morning meant. Some are quite clever, such as for example the one that proposed that it was all a trick to avoid paying child support.

But most accounts completely disregarded everything that had happened. For example, they said that the Zapatistas had said that the paid media don’t exist, that they were now the enemy, that this was an action aimed against the paid media, etc. But if you have even a little bit of memory, you’ll recall that in the original invitation the event was open to everyone, when it was to be held in Oventic. That meant the paid media could also attend.

What was gong to happen originally was that Marcos was going to die and bid farewell to the paid media, explaining how we viewed them and thanking them kindly and then he was going to speak and introduce himself to the free, alternative, autonomous, or whatever-you-call-it media. What I am implying is that one reading, perhaps not the most correct, is that what happened in the wee morning hours of May 25, 2014, meant that the EZLN was changing interlocutors. That is why I told you the history of the late Infantry Lieutenant Insurgente Eleazar, war veteran, who fought in 1994.

Yes, the Zapatistas have not only not said that the paid media don’t exist—somebody out there circulated that stupidity—but we said something entirely different: that what is happening with the paid media has nothing to do with us and has everything to do with the advance of capitalism at a global level.

The paid media present something truly marvellous within capitalism, because they represent one of the few times that capitalism has managed to convert non-production into a commodity. Supposedly, the job of the communications media is to produce information and circulate it for the consumption of its various audiences or listeners. Capitalism has managed to pay the media to not produce, that is, to not inform.

What has happened over the past few years is that with the advance of mass communications media that are not privately held—that is, they are currently being litigated or disputed, such as the battleground of the internet—the traditional press has lost power—both the power of dissemination and of course, the capacity to communicate.

I have a few facts here and I am going to cite the author because he asks that he is cited any time his information is used, Francisco Vidal Bonifaz. He does an analysis of the print runs of the principal newspapers in Mexico (note: it is probable that the speaker is referring to the book “Los Dueños del Cuarto Poder”, published by planeta editing house, where the author Francisco Vidal Bonifaz does an exhaustive analysis of the press in Mexico. In this book and in the blog “The Wheel of Fortune,”, you can find this information, the print run of each publication, as well as the economic and educational levels of their readerships, etc. The book and the blog are recommended for anyone who wants an in-depth understanding of the situation of the Mexican Press. Note courtesy of “Los Tercios Compas,” “The Odd Ones Out”). The newspapers classified as the principal newspapers in Mexico, in that inverse provincialism characteristic of chilangos [people from Mexico City], are the ones that are produced in Mexico City, even though the print run of newspapers produced in the states may be greater.

Compas9In 1994 they put out, sometimes in a more than a figurative sense, more that a million copies of the principal newspapers. In 2007, production had fallen to 800,000, and the number of readers had gone down scandalously. One way or another, investigative journalism and journalistic analysis, which is the ground on which the paid media would have been able to compete with the instantaneous information possible through the internet, was abandoned or left aside.

The paid media, which really isn’t an insult, it’s a reality; it is media that lives off of money, right? Some may say “no, the thing is that “paid media” sounds really bad, it’s better to say ‘commercial media’.” But commercial media sounds worse than paid media.

Newspapers don’t live off their own circulation, that is, off the sale of their paper; they live off of advertisements. So in order to sell advertisements they have to show those buying advertising space what public they are targeting, who their readers are. For example, they say—and this is data from before and up to 2008 because after that all of the newspapers censured any information about their own publications—that El Universal and Reforma took about 70% of the paid advertising in Mexico City, and the other newspapers fought over the remaining 30%.

So each newspaper has a profile, we could call it, of its readers—a particular class strata and educational level it targets—and that is what it presents to companies buying advertising space. So if I am El Despertador Mexicano and my primary consumers are indigenous people, then I’m going to sell one page of advertising space to El Huarache Veloz [The Fast Huarache] in order to sell huaraches or pozol or whatever.[ii]

The thing is that all of the newspapers, absolutely all of them, including those that say they are leftist, present an analysis of their readership profile that has 60 to 70% of their readers in the upper ranges of buying power. The only ones who openly recognize that their readers are of low buying power and low educational background are Esto, Ovaciones, and La Prensa. All the others target the upper class, that is, those above.

It is evident that this class with high buying power can reach information via a more instantaneous route. Why wait for the newspaper to come to see what is happening in another part of the world if in an instant I can know what’s going on in Gaza, for example? Why I am I going to wait for the TV news or the newspaper if I can see it immediately?

There is no competitive terrain there, because what the super-high speeds of these forms of media means is that the idea of first or exclusive access to news vanishes in the face of high speed competition. So all of these media outlets, including the progressive ones, are fighting for a rating, that is, for an upper middle class and upper class audience. There is another class that is very rich, beyond every measure; I think they’re the ones that produce the information.

Paid media have only two options in order to survive, precisely because they are paid. They can contract their survival with those who can still pay, that is, the political class, in return for its commercials and propaganda, but in its own way. You can see this in the fees that each newspaper charges for a full page ad, a half page, three quarters page, down to the smallest section you can buy, and there is a special charge for non-commercial advertising, which are the governmental advertisements, and another fee for the “miscellaneous” news, for example those interviews that no one knows why appear in the newspaper because nobody cares what that person has to say—those are paid. The highest fees are for the non-commercial ads, that is, the ones paid by the government, and the miscellaneous news—paid insertions disguised as information.

The other option they have is to develop investigative journalism and journalistic analysis that isn’t offered on the internet. Well, it wasn’t offered on the internet until spaces like what we now call free, autonomous, alternative, etc. media existed. What they could do is make an analysis, a dissection, of the information that is flowing through incoherently, and investigate what’s behind it, for example, the Israeli government’s policy in Gaza or Manuel Velasco’s policy in Chiapas and so on, wherever the case may be.

No one with even minimum standards informs themselves about what is happening through the newspapers. (You are all a bad example because you are neither upper nor upper middle class, if you were you wouldn’t be here.) But, who says, “well I want to understand what’s going on in Chiapas, I’m going to read the profound journalistic analysis of Elio Henriquez.” Nobody.

Nobody says, “what’s happening in Gaza?” I’m going to read Laura Bozzo to see how it is being explained.” No, that terrain has been completely abandoned [by newspapers], now it is webpages and blogs that cover that terrain.

This lethargic withdrawal or disappearance of the paid media is not the responsibility of the EZLN, nor of course of the late SubMarcos. It is the responsibility of the development of capitalism and the difficulty of adapting to the new terrain. The paid media are going to have to evolve into entertainment media, that is to say that if I can’t inform you, then at least I can entertain you. Because, as any honest reporter from the paid media will tell you, they can’t have an impact via investigative and analytical journalism, “the thing is if I write that, they won’t publish it.” And the newspaper earns more for not publishing those kinds of articles than for publishing them.

That’s what I mean about how non-production becomes a commodity; in this case, silence itself. Any reasonably decent journalist with even minimal ethical responsibility who does an investigation on the involvement of the state governments of Salazar Mendiguchía, Juan Sabines Guerrero, and Manuel Velasco with the CIOAC-Histórica will find that there is a lot of money moving around there, including the money that Mrs. Robles distributes from the National Campaign Against Hunger.

But it is more marketable to not publish that article than to publish it, because who is going to read it, the enemies of these heroes of the homeland? On the other hand, keeping quiet about that and talking instead about how nice the capital Tuxtla Gutiérrez is looking with the new urban developments that municipal president Toledo and Manuel Velasco are putting into place will sell well, even if it’s all a lie. We check the twitter accounts of the paid journalists, those who work for the paid media that is, and they are in fact reporting on this, on the image of war presented in the Chiapan capital by these totally anachronistic and absurd constructions.

But for example, people from Veracruz come here, and I think if we said, “Well, if we want to see what’s going on in Veracruz we read the Xalapa Herald” (if that even exists), they would say, “Man, Sub, don’t fuck around, those people have nothing to do with anything.”

10599578_10201438822852193_624194127798891647_n (1)So the problem the whole world has is that if there is no longer information, nor analysis, nor investigation in the communications media – if there indeed at some point ever were – then where are we going to find these things? There is a gap, then, in the media sphere that is currently in dispute.

What we were also trying to signal in that farewell was that the media that had so prided themselves on creating media figures—they were so proud of having themselves created Marcos—now, despite their efforts, can’t manage to create an international figure much less a national one, even when they are paid to do so, as in the case of López Obrador.

It can’t be done. Now the figures that have emerged, that have moved people or moved information at a national level, are created not by the media but despite them. I don’t know if I’m saying it correctly, but Julian Assange became a referent when his revelation of documents showed the communications media at a global level that they were not reporting what was happening. Although he is part of a collective, the media only report on him. There is even a film about him as a person, even though we all know it is a collective at work.

The young woman Chelsea Manning, who underwent an operation to become Chelsea Manning, and Snowden—what all of these people have done is uncover what was hidden and what should have been the work of the communications media to reveal. But those who have truly disrupted the world of information are the collectives where the individual is completely dissolved, like Anonymous. You hear it said “but nothing is known about Anonymous anymore, they don’t show themselves,” which is absurd because if they are anonymous how are we going to ask them to show themselves.

In sum, what we have seen is that the anonymity of the collective is coming to replace and to put into crisis that penchant of those above to find, and make in the media, individuals and personalities.

We think that this has a lot to do with the form or structure of the media. If the structure of the paid media is the envy of any army in terms of verticality, authoritarianism, and arbitrariness, the media collective—that is the alternative, free, autonomous, etc. media—has another structure of being and way of working.

In the paid media, what matters is who does the reporting. If you look at what came out in the paid media on the 20-year anniversary of the uprising in January of this year, the majority of the articles were about what journalists did 20 years ago, not what happened during the anniversary: “I interviewed Marcos,” “I did such-and-such interview,” “I was the first to get in,” “I wrote the first book.” What a shame that in 20 years they haven’t done anything else worth remembering.

But this is the kind of thing that carries weight. The exclusive. You have no idea how important it is and what a journalist will do to get “the exclusive.” The exclusive right to have the last interview with Marcos or the first with Galeano has a value and a cost, even if it is not published, because as I said, keeping quiet is also a commodity and can be sold.

In contrast, I want to think that in the collectives to which you belong and in others that couldn’t come, the way you work makes the information more important than who produced it. There are of course those who still have to learn to write properly, but the great majority can compete with their ingenuity, analysis, depth, and investigation of what is happening.

What we see is that in this shitstorm that is the capitalist world, the question is, where do we get information? If we go to the internet and google something, such as Gaza, we can find there that the Palestinians are a bunch of murderers that are burning themselves alive just to demoralize the Israeli army, or the reverse. You can find pretty much anything. Where are you going to find information about what is really happening? Ideally, the Palestinians would tell us what was happening themselves, not through others.

In this case, for example, we say, wouldn’t it be better to know what the Zapatistas themselves are saying? Wouldn’t that be better than someone else saying what they think we should have said, not even what they think we said, but what we should have said. Like those who say that in the text “The Light and the Shadow,” Marcos says he’s not going to write anymore, which means Galeano isn’t going to be able to write. But they didn’t notice that when everyone else bid farewell, the cat-dog remains. There are a lot of things one can examine there, but that doesn’t matter right now.

What we want to point out is that the best information is that which comes from the actors themselves, not from the person who is reporting on the event. Those who can do this are the free, autonomous, and alternative media. What I am explaining to you, compañeros and compañeras and compañeroas, is still a tendency, not something that is happening right now. Meaning, don’t start acting like peacocks saying, “now we’re the shit and the whole world depends on us.”

It is a tendency that we see due to that curse we’re under of seeing things before they happen. We see that the paid media, as information media, are in free fall, not through any fault of their own, but because they embraced a political class that is also in decline. They did this in order to survive and that is understandable.

We do not criticize those who work for the press and make their living from this. We do think that dignity and decency have a limit and there are limits that are being crossed, but this is something for each person to evaluate for themselves; we are not going to judge them. But what we do see is that the problem for the paid media is survival, and while their [long-term] possibilities for survival indicate one direction, they are going in another, one of more immediate concern.

In the long run that paid media, like anything you buy and consume, is going to disappear. Why would you buy the newspaper if you can check the internet? But additionally, you aren’t going to look for information there, you aren’t going to look there for analysis of what’s happening.

So we think, if we want to know what’s happening in Michoacán, ideally it would be people from Michoacán who would tell us. We think that if people in other parts of the world or the country want to know what’s happening with the Zapatistas, there should be at least some space where they can find out.

What I mean is that we are not looking for militants for that work, militants of Zapatista communication; for that we have the cursed idea of the “Odd Ones Out” Press [Los Tercios Compas]. What we want are listeners, so that people who want to find out what is going on can find something that is true, or they can find an in-depth analysis or a real investigation, keeping in mind that the important thing is the news or the information, not who produces it.



10403510_10201438883173701_7222386691308783711_nWe think that in the long run the free, autonomous, alternative media are going to fill—or could fill—this gap that is occurring in the exchange of information at a global level. The internet can’t fill the gap, though you may think it would; on the internet you can find anything you want, if you’re in favor of something you can find arguments in favour, if you’re against you can just as easily find arguments against.

What is needed is for this information to have a space where it becomes legible. And this is what, in broad strokes and at this point still tendentially, we think the alternative, autonomous, free, or whatever-you-call-it press can provide.

That is what we had wanted to tell you when this press conference was going to be in Oventic, that you have no fucking idea of the task that awaits you. It isn’t that we are going to keep you running around: come to La Realidad, now go to such and such place, and the “Odd Ones Out” Press are going to go, or the Even Ones, or whoever. Okay not the even ones, it’s a pun, we chose “Odd Ones Out” Press for a reason…(Note: clearly the speaker is affected by his one-eyed condition, because he should be saying “Odd Ones Out Compas” not “Odd Ones Out Press.” We hereby energetically protest this error and insist that this correction be published in the same space and with the same importance as the original blunder. Note courtesy of “Odd Ones Out Compas.”)

The hopes of many people await you. We ourselves don’t place our hope in you, but rather our trust. Not just in you who are here, but in the tendency that you are part of that can in fact fill that gap.

The problem that we see is the pay, now we do have to talk about pay. The majority of people who work in the free, autonomous, etc. media have another job. So the autonomous, free, alternative media is like the “Odd Ones Out Press” (note: error and protest to error reiterated. Attentively, “Odd Ones OutCompas”), everyone participates as they can because they all have to work, to put in their time in order to make a little money. Or they participate as long as there is money, and when the money runs out the media disappears. It can also happen, and I hope it doesn’t, that the media lasts only until the calendar imposes its logic on the members; that is, when they grow up and mature, as they say above, and leave behind such rebellion and craziness.

We think that you are going to have this problem and that you have to figure out a way to resolve it, I don’t know how. I see that on some [web] pages there are ads with advice about how to lose weight, how not to get old, how not to get wrinkles, something about that what’s it called, lifting, that thing they do to themselves, well stuff like that and other esoteric nonsense. And well, people who are looking at the alternative media aren’t going to pay attention to things like that and the media can make a little money that way. Some handle the income question like that, although in order to be able to do that you’d have to demonstrate that someone other than yourselves goes to your webpages.

We used to joke many years ago with those who were in charge of our page before all of this, who said “look at this, such-and-such communique had this many hits.” And I would say, “that’s a lie, it was us going click, click, click, click, click… not really.”

I don’t know, maybe the same thing that compelled you to work as a collective, in addition to those of you that do urban artisan work or whatever you call it, who make things, maybe you can also collectively find a way to resolve this issue so that your media doesn’t collapse, so that it endures and grows. You don’t have another choice, compañeros, I’m sorry to say: you either grow or disappear. This includes those who only sporadically publish information. This is your only choice, because even among yourselves disparities will start to develop. I hope that any disparity in development occurs because of the depth of your analysis and investigative abilities and not because some manage to resolve the issue of pay and some don’t.

I hope you figure it out, because there are a lot of people who are expecting more of you than you can imagine.

So, just in order to clarify and summarize: The paid media exist, they are real, they have a certain importance, this importance is tendentially diminishing, and what the EZLN has done is radically change its media policy. We do not want to talk with those above, as Subcomandante Moisés will further explain in the question and answer session, which is going to consist of the Zapatista media asking the questions and you providing the answers, rather than the reverse.

What the EZLN has done is to say: now we don’t care about those people we had to address through Durito, or through Old Antonio, those of the paid press that is. Now we are interested in the people who understand the fact of the cat-dog; who recognize difference and recognize that there are things that we don’t understand, but just because we don’t understand them does not mean we are going to judge or condemn them—like a cat-dog that exists; you’re not going to believe me but it’s real.

What we are interested in is talking and listening to you, and by that I mean the people who talk and listen to us through you. If we want to know what is happening in any particular place, we look first to the alternative free media. There isn’t that much information really, but even the little that exists is much better than any paid media source. Plus, you have to subscribe with a credit card to read whatever the Laura Bozzo types publish anywhere.

What happened then that changed this farewell plan? This plan to tell the paid media “thanks for everything…” (although the majority of them were involuntarily and unwillingly complicit in what you saw here a little bit ago, the diversion tactic or magic act), and to tell you all the curse that awaits you?

The majority of you are young. We think that rebellion has nothing to do with the calendar, that it shouldn’t have anything to do with the calendar, because we see people who are older, not in their right mind because (inaudible), but they continue to be rebellious. And we have the hope that you all continue, even if it isn’t you who are here anymore. Maybe you divide up the work, “you guys figure out how to get money and we dedicate ourselves to this, and we rotate or something like that,” but don’t abandon this work, it is truly important.

23So what happened? Take into account the original plan, where the paid media were going to be present too. This was still the plan two weeks before, it was only 15 days before the event that we said no, they’re not coming to the homage for Galeano.

What happened was a death. On this fact I have only read, and I’m not saying there aren’t other things out there, an article by John Gibler, who happens to be here somewhere. He wrote that he was telling someone about the homage to Galeano and that person said, “but all this for one dead man?” And he tried to explain the best he could what one dead man meant. And we want to to say how important one death is to us.

If we let one death go, then we let two go, and if we let two go then there will be ten, and later a hundred, later a thousand, later tens of thousands, like in the supposed war on narcotrafficking waged by Calderón, who permitted one death and later permitted tens of thousands. Not us. Yes, we will die of natural causes or just causes – in struggle that is – but we are not going to permit anyone, any of our compañeros and compañeras and compañeroas to be murdered in impunity. We will not allow it. And we will move all of the forces in our power even if it is for just one person dead, even if that person is the most ignored, the most disdained, the least known.

The rage we felt with Galeano—this compañero Galeano was the one who was in charge of receiving the paid press, he carried their bags and brought them on horseback to where the interviews or reports were done, he received them in his house and fed them. These people who ignored or disrespected his death, who heroized the paramilitaries as victims of arbitrary judgement, they didn’t even bother to ask him his name all the times they came here—and for 20 years he was in charge of receiving and hosting them. He even made bets with one of them on who would win the World Cup each time it came around.

We were waiting for a reaction from those who had that kind of relationship with him, but they didn’t even know who he was. They came to interview Marcos, to see Marcos; they saw the horse and the gun, they wanted to know what he read, although everyone already knew what books the late Marcos had read. All of these things interested them, but not the man who was receiving and welcoming them here.

Perhaps we can understand that he didn’t matter to them because he was another indigenous person, without a face, who fed them, carried their things, helped them onto the horse, accompanied them, told them where to step, what to watch out for, all of that. We understand that he did not matter to them, but to us he does, Galeano and each and every one of the Zapatistas. We created all this ruckus and we will do so again and again because we will not permit a single death to go by with impunity.

So that’s why we changed everything, and out of our rage Subcomandate Moisés, who now commands those things, said that no press were going to come in, no paid press, even though originally everybody was going to be allowed.

The cadaver of compañero Galeano was here in this room [gesturing behind him]. There is a video where you can see the cadaver, surrounded by compañeros reproaching the CIOAC for Galeano’s death. They didn’t touch them, compañeros. I, who am supposedly a controlled being, with all that had happened I would have least given them a shove. But the compañeros didn’t, they were yelling at them but they didn’t touch them. Anywhere else there would have been a lynching right there on the spot, because they were responsible for the death and the cadaver was right there.

Then we arrived. We had been in Oventic getting ready for the events to be held there, I was practicing with a wheelchair. Today I came in on a horse, but there I was going to enter in a wheelchair in order to feed the rumors about me being really sick and in bad shape. Later I was going to stand up because my knees were hurting me from practicing.

When we found out what happened we came here and we saw what was going on—and look, what didn’t and won’t come out in the press was that that guy that lives there [gesturing outside the caracol] right outside, and there, and there, and there, and there, are those that were involved in the conflict, and they came here to the door of the Caracol to mock the compañeros who were enclosed here to avoid being accosted, just where you are now, that’s where the compañeros were.

They were mocking how the deceased danced with the blows they were dealing him, they made fun of how they shot him, cut him with machetes, all of this that we have edited from the investigation because it is our pain. Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés has now finished the investigation, but we will not make it public in order to avoid acts of revenge. We will hand it over to Frayba with all of the names and everything; we already know who did the killing.

That is the situation we found ourselves in, compas, and we couldn’t allow ourselves even the slightest reaction because it was like a dry prairie here, with even a spark everything was going to go up in flames and there would have been a river of blood. We had to withstand the rage and keep bearing it and we still have not released it. We have not yet released this rage.

So the answer, John Gibler, is that for the Zapatistas one unjust death is too many, and that is why we were willing to do anything and everything.

This kind of media management imposes an inhuman, absurd logic, uncalled for in any part of the world. Look, for example at the little girls and little boys in Palestine who have demonstrated a great patience in dying, because one dies and nobody pays any attention, and the cadavers keep piling up until finally the mass media turns to see what’s happening and the children keep dying so that there are images to print. They keep dying so that the image is seen and they have to die in the most scandalous ways, outrageous ways, so that the people above begin to say, “hey wait, what are we doing there,” that is, to do something.

We as Zapatistas are always surprised at how little humanity there is in the humans who exist above. Why is so much spilled blood necessary for them to say something? And even then they qualify their position: “fine, kill them but don’t show it because it implicates us.”

Robert Fisk, who writes in The Independent of Great Britain, put what we are saying now another way: the large mass media outlets are in crisis because the people who read them—which is the upper classes, well-informed and of high consumption capacity—are indignant because that same media treats them like idiots, trying to present the massacre in Gaza as if it were a confrontation between two sides or as if the fault lay with Hamas. If people feel insulted—and just because they have a salary doesn’t mean that they are dumb, well some are—but they have intelligence and they feel insulted. Fisk recognizes this in an article, saying “we are in crisis, people don’t believe us anymore, they don’t take us seriously, and what’s more, they’re openly complaining about us.” In some places this has been going on for years, like here in Mexico.

10445492_496518493825114_3708759350344714158_nWhat is happening in Palestine that nobody talks about—this mortal patience of the Palestinian children—is the responsibility of the Israeli government. We always distinguish governments from the people, we understand the temptation to conflate them, but we’ve said on another occasion that the problem isn’t between Zionism and antisemitism, even if the big heads continue spouting such silly things.

We can’t say that because the Israeli government murders, the Israeli people are murderers, because then they will say that the Mexican people are idiots because the Mexican government is idiotic, and we, at least, are not idiots. There are people in Israel, we don’t know how many, who are noble, conscientious, honest, and they don’t have to be leftist because the condemnation of what is happening in Palestine has nothing to do with a political position; it’s a question of human decency. Nobody can see that massacre and say nothing is happening or that it is somebody else’s fault.

What I am explaining about the crisis of the paid media and the emergence of the free, alternative, or autonomous media is a tendency in which, over the long haul, you will run into a lot of problems. I didn’t want to tell you this but it has to be said.

There are people who are going to desmayar [falter or faint] — the compas say desmayar when someone gives up, when they leave their work, the struggle—when they say desmayar they mean someone has left the struggle.

There are people [among you] that the paid media are going to summon, to say come over here—to eat shit, as one newspaper assistant editor said, but they’re going to pay you to eat shit—maybe because they write well, or they have a good analysis, or because they frame the photos nicely or the video or whatever.

And some are going to go. Others are going to betray you, they’re going to say “no, hell no, that text isn’t real, they made it up,” or whatever. And others are going to give up [claudicar]. Claudicar is a word that the compas understand very well, which means that you are on a path and you say, “ah no, I don’t want to do this after all, better that I take this other path.” In these cases it doesn’t usually have anything to do with leaving a job per se—sometimes one has to work a job to live—but rather with leaving a particular position with respect to how information is treated, in this case the position of the free, autonomous, or alternative media.

The problems you are going to have are money-related. That is, you are going to have to survive. And survival will be a problem not just as media but as human beings who still have to eat, right? Though some of you are overcoming this, but…

Compas7What we also want you to know, and for other free media to hear through you, is that we recognize this effort and this sacrifice. We know it is a huge pain to get here for people who have a salary, for someone who doesn’t have one it is practically heroic. We recognize this, we know it, we understand it, and we appreciate it. You can be sure that if anyone is going to take into consideration what this requires of you, it’s us.

So where are we going to look for information? In the paid media? No. Through the social networks. No. On the unstable and choppy sea of the internet? No. There, like I said, anything goes.

So there is a gap regarding where to find the information. The medium you are using now is also limited: it gets to more people but also has a limit because people who don’t have internet of at least medium speed—and I challenge you to try to open any of your own pages here, sonofa… we could have another uprising, and win the war and that page still wouldn’t have opened completely. There should be a lighter version or something like that, the smartphone version or whatever. But the majority of your interlocutors, or at least those who should be your interlocutors, don’t have this [fast internet], although that could change.

We think that at this time the principal means of communication has to be to listen; that’s why we were referring to you all as “listeners.” There are people, I was just telling Moi, that have this need to talk, and they don’t care if anyone is listening, they just have to talk, it doesn’t even matter what what about. But there are also people who are concerned as to whether they are being listened to, and this matters to them because they want their words to go further out into the world.

The compañeros and compañeras of the CNI came here with the charge to be heard. This is different than during the Other Campaign; I remember those multiple nightmares—the collective divan of “get comfortable, cause here we go”—that was the Other Campaign, where everybody said whatever crossed their mind. They didn’t care if anyone was listening or not, or understanding or not; the point was that they could go on and on about whatever they wanted. And it was free! Imagine what that would cost you to do that with a psychoanalyst or a psychiatrist or whatever you call them these days.

So the point is to remind you that the medium is also the limit and you have to look for ways to get past this. Right now, the direct source currently seems to be the primary one and we have to tell you that the originary peoples are the real specialists in listening. My point here is to warn you about what is coming with the World Festival of Rebellion and Resistance, and to exhort you not to let it become the show-off spectacle that the meetings of the Other turned into, and that includes the preparatory meetings and all that. The compañeros and compañeras of the originary peoples are specialists in the art of listening, in communication par excellence.

That the person who is the subject of a particular issue, or suffering, or action is the one who tells you how they see things should not be an impediment to providing an analysis. I take what you say at face value but then I see these other things. That is the job of those who dedicate themselves to providing information.

We also see, ever since the tragedy of the death of Galeano, how different types of media handle their work either as charity or support. In the paid communications media, if they pay attention to you then you should be grateful, and this is something for which they cannot forgive the Zapatistas. “We’re still trying to lend you a hand,” they would say “and you bite the hand that feeds you.” Well we aren’t looking for indigestion; we would spit on that hand, because what they are offering with that kind of media attention is a charitable handout.

10557435_10201449157670557_6196591864970131195_nOn the other hand, for the free, alternative, autonomous, etc. media, your reporting is not a hand-out. It is a duty that you are honoring, despite all of the difficulties you may have in doing so. That is what we call “the compa media,” I know Tacho tore them to pieces and that’s why we published that stuff about the Odd Ones Out Compas (note: the speaker finally said it correctly. Attentively, “Odd Ones Out Compas.”)

That is the difference between the paid media and the compa media. It’s not that one has money, or receives a salary or not. The difference is that for some we are a commodity, whether they are reporting on us or purposely not reporting on us, and for others we are a space of struggle, like they have themselves and like there are in every corner of the earth.

Yesterday’s event was open to the press, and only three journalists came. Well, four, but one was one of the three journalists that have been given noble titles for having lied about the death of Galeano, that one we didn’t let in. Of the other three, one was from Proceso, one does media work on the southern border, and another works with Aristegui. As of now only Proceso has printed something, but no other media came, I don’t know if this is all Paquita La Del Barrio[iii] style, that is, out of spite, but either way.

How many dead—because it wasn’t an EZLN event, it was the CNI’s event—how many dead would the CNI have to have for the media to pay attention to them? “A lot,” the media would say, in order to really become a commodity. Later they would decide if they were going to market the fact that they covered it or market the fact that they didn’t.

The difference for us is that support from a compañero doesn’t come with conditions, because they know they are part of the same struggle.

So what we see in this chaotic panorama that I have described is that with the super-speed saturation of jumbled information out there, paradoxically, the highest or supreme level of communication that exists is the exchange, this direct sharing.

The compas have discovered something that you have also discovered in your work, which is the power of listening. If it isn’t possible for us all to listen at the same time, then it is necessary to have someone who takes these words and spreads them further, to the people, which is what the “escuchas” [listeners, a job or duty assigned for EZLN events, usually to young people in the Zapatista communities] do. And one way or another it is what you all do too.

But if this kind of exchange is now the supreme level of communication (this is according to us, but as you know, we don’t know anything about communications media), then those who are best at such things are those who need to be listened to. It seems to me that the originary peoples are pretty fierce at this—having the necessary patience and all of that—but Subcomandate Moisés is going to talk to you more about that.

That is what I wanted to tell you. Compañeros and compañeras, there won’t be any questions for me, as it seems to me that in the last 20 years you’ve asked me everything you need to ask me, and I think I have in fact received a Certificate of Impunity to not answer anything anymore, but we’ll have to show that to you later.

We were still going to do this in the wee hours of the morning last time, but since they now have me working as an Odd Ones Out Press (note: hmm… the speaker just doesn’t learn. Odd Ones Out Compas!) and I was checking and seeing that they were pirating everything off of you, we decided it was better for you all to be able to get going because it wasn’t fair what the paid media were doing. It wasn’t just theft, it was a dispossession out of disrespect. That is, it was as if they were saying I’m going to take this and not say who it came from because who gives a shit about that tweet or that page that nobody sees anyway.

That was what they were complaining about, according to what we are told; the paid media got to San Cristobal and were saying “that Marcos is crazy, how is he going to pick people that don’t have 10 visitors to their pages” (hey so click on them more (inaudible) so you can at least get to a hundred) “and not pick us who have millions of readers.”

So we owed you this conference, compañeros, and here it is. Galeano is not going to be quiet, sometimes Tacho is going to talk, sometimes Moisés, sometimes Galeano, sometimes somebody else, the cat-dog, whoever. The important thing here is that: one, we have changed interlocutors; and two, we recognize the importance of the tendency that we see in your appearance as free, autonomous, alternative, etc. media.

margua-ff2We have created the Odd Ones Out Press (note: aaaarrrrrrghhhhh! T-h-e  O-d-d  O-n-e-s  O-u-t  C-o-m-p-a-s!) so that you don’t have to bust your asses to get here every time; this way we can send you material. It’s not just that we recognize and value your work, above all we recognize and value the sacrifice and incredible effort you put out to turn toward us and see what’s happening here.

For this, to you in particular and to all of the compañeros of the Sixth in general, thank you.

That’s all, Gotham City. (note: the speaker wanted to imitate the voice of the evil villain Mr. Bane, but it didn’t really come out right).

End of SubGaleano’s discourse.


(Transcription from the original audio by “The Odd Ones Out,” under some protest and somewhat pissed off because of all the blunders, but oh well, that’s the way the work goes, let them suffer).

Copyleft: “The Odd Ones Out Compas” August 12, 2014. Reproduction permitted without resorting to auto-eroticism. Underground circulation allowed as well as overconsumption of the “go for it there’s more where that came from” kind.


[i] Before the press conference started, Zapatista authorities moved tables and chairs to the raised stage at one end of the caracol. The independent media rushed over to set up their cameras and equipment there, squeezing into the best positions for filming or photographing. Then activity on stage ceased and the media eventually sought refuge from the fierce sun under the stage. When a familiar tune was heard over the sound system (“La Cigarra”, the song that the late SubMarcos has included in various communiques in the past and which marked his entrance on horseback to the homage in La Realidad in May of this year), they scrambled back up to the cameras. The doors of the caracol opened and a formation of Zapatistas on horseback ceremoniously entered the caracol, including Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés and Comandante Tacho. Some of the media clustered around them, obstructing their path, and SubMoisés gestured repeatedly for them to step aside so the entourage could continue to the stage. Between the effect of the music and the masked commanders on horses, almost none of the media noticed what was going on at the other end of the caracol, where Subcomandante Galeano had quietly emerged from one of the rooms of the Junta de Buen Gobierno offices and sat down at a table on the small raised patio in front of the building. He finally summoned the media’s attention by speaking into the microphone with the initial remark of this discourse.

[ii] Huarache comes from the Purépecha word for a traditional sandal made from leather. It is also, as used here, the name a popular Mexican dish consisting of an oblong corn masa base with meat and/or bean and vegetable toppings. Pozol is a highly nutritious drink made from ground corn mixed with water. It is commonly consumed in the Mexican countryside as a midday meal.

[iii] A well-known Mexican singer of rancheras and other styles, known for her songs about being wronged by men.



August 10, 2014

Mexico Government Dismantles Two Community Radio Stations in Puebla

Filed under: Journalists, Repression — Tags: — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 1:23 pm


Mexico Government Dismantles Two Community Radio Stations in Puebla

Gabriela Hernández

Proceso, 5th August 2014



Puebla, Puebla – Representatives of the Federal Telecommunications Institute (IFETEL), supported by plainclothes Federal Police, dismantled community radio stations serving the towns of Santa María Zacatepec and San Bernardino Tlaxcalancingo.In a raid conducted last night that included street closings, Federal Police removed computers, official documents, microphones, consoles and all devices used by Radio Axocotzin and La Voz [The Voice] in the Town of Zacatepec to broadcast programs with social, cultural or agricultural content.

According to IFETEL representative Raúl Leonel Mulhia, both broadcasters were shut down because they violated the law and affected the signal of commercial stations and even the flight of helicopters and airplanes.

Recently, both stations addressed issues that the state government deemed “uncomfortable,” including the detention of political prisoners protesting gas pipelines and thermo-electric plants, and citizens’ assemblies organized over the disappearance from village councils of civil registries, which is related to the repression of the Chalchihuapan’s citizens.

In fact, State Deputy Roxana Luna Porquillo was interviewed on the news program “The Cactus Thorns” about the death of 13-year old José Luis Tehuatli, considered to be a fatal victim of the “Bullet Act.”

According to the government of Rafael Moreno Valle, Luna incited Chalchihuapan villagers to stage the July 9 demonstration, which led to the violent police response.

Further, activist Juan Carlos Flores Solís, imprisoned since April for being part of the opposition movement to theMorelos Gas Pipeline, took part in establishing the two now-dismantled stations.
The Tlaxcalancingo station broadcast on 104.5 FM and online; Santa María Zacatepec broadcast on 100.7 FM.One of the programs broadcast from the Tlaxcalancingo station was led by Ricardo Pérez Avilés, professor-researcher at the Autonomous University of Puebla (UAP), who was harassed and intimidated for supporting the opposition by small farmers to the Morelos Gas Pipeline.

 Posted by Dorset Chiapas Solidarity 10/08/2014

August 5, 2014

Inauguration of the First Exchange of Indigenous Peoples of Mexico with Zapatista Peoples

Filed under: Indigenous, Journalists, Zapatista — Tags: , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 7:01 pm


Inauguration of the First Exchange of Indigenous Peoples of Mexico with Zapatista Peoples

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe words of Comandante Tacho, on behalf of the Indigenous Revolutionary Clandestine Committee – General Command of the EZLN, at the Inauguration of the First Exchange of Indigenous Peoples of Mexico with Zapatista Peoples.

August 3, 2014.



We greet you hoping that everyone has arrived safely to these Zapatista lands.

You have made a long journey from distant lands to meet us here in this corner of rebellious Zapatista lands of the Mexican Southeast.

Compañeras and compañeros:

Welcome, compañeras and compañeros of the originary peoples, the guardians of Mother Earth.

Welcome peoples, nations, and tribes.

Welcome brothers and sisters:



Welcome to all of the bases of support, representatives of the Zapatista communities.
Welcome compañeros Subcomandantes Insurgentes.
Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés.
Subcomandante Insurgente Galeano.

From the General Command of the Zapatista Army for National Liberation.

We hope that you have all arrived safe and sound in order to carry out this first very important exchange between the National Indigenous Congress and the Zapatista communities.

This exchange carries the name of the compañero “David Ruiz García”.

We send our most sincere greetings to all of our compañer@s insurgentes.

And to the compañeras and compañeros – elders, young people, and children – who are bases of support of the Zapatista Army for National Liberation.

As well as to all of the compañeras and compañeros of the Fuerzas Mexicanas de Milicias [Mexican Militia Forces] of the EZLN.

To the members of the MAREZ (Autonomous Zapatista Municipalities in Rebellion) and to all of the compañer@swho make up the Good Government Councils.

Compañeros and compañeras of the National Indigenous Congress.

We come to share our suffering and pain caused by the Neoliberal system.

But not only this.

We also come to share valuable knowledges, our experiences in struggle and organization, and our goals and challenges.

We do so in the face of the neoliberal capitalist invaders that have done us so much damage.

These invaders were not satisfied with the theft and looting carried out by the conquistadors in 1492.

Those conquistadors encountered the resistance of the peoples, tribes, and indigenous nations of these lands of this country called Mexico.

They killed those who opposed subordination to the Spanish monarchy.

These wicked invading tormentors stained their hands with indigenous blood and stole the richness cared for by our oldest ancestors.

They persecuted the Indian peoples of Mexico and all of Latin America with the goal of eliminating the indigenous peoples completely and banishing their existence.

They did not achieve this. That we are here now is proof.

However, communication from the communities of our ancestors was lost; the relations of these communities were lost.

But the wisdom and intelligence of our oldest grandparents was hidden from the Spanish invasion.

And with that the indigenous peoples remade their existence.

We grew, forgotten by the powerful, for 500 years in all of the corners of our Mexican homeland.

We as originary peoples were ignored, deceived, forgotten, exploited, and enslaved in their dominion for more than 500 years.

And now, through the rise of the neoliberal powers, the machine of destruction appears once again to disappear our peoples.

They have made it bigger and more modern, supported by laws and bad governments, in order to invade us once again.

It has a new plan of dispossession, dispossessing us of our mother earth using the machinery of the power of money, looting the riches that mother earth has held and kept safe for millions of years.

With this machine comes the death and destruction of our peoples and our mother earth.

When we say these two words so well known by our peoples—these words of death and destruction—our heart and our gaze goes to the PALESTINIAN people. We hear and read what they say about “the conflict in Gaza,” as if there were two equal forces confronting each other, and as if saying “conflict” would hide the death and destruction such that death would not kill and destruction would not destroy.

But as the indigenous people that we are, we know that what is happening there is not a “conflict” but a MASSACRE, that the government of Israel is carrying out a war of extermination upon the PALESTINIAN people. Everything else is just words to try to hide reality.

But we also know, as the indigenous people that we are, that the PALESTINIAN people will resist and will rise again, that they will once again begin to walk and that they will known then that, although we are far away on the map, the Zapatista peoples embrace them today as we have before, as we always do, with our collective heart.

And here on our map, the power of money’s machine of war of is without a brain, without memory, wicked, like a savage animal unleashed against our indigenous peoples of Mexico.

They do not care about the destruction and death of our entire peoples, tribes, and nations.

We as the indigenous peoples of Mexico are not protected by laws and by bad governments.

Our hope lies only in ourselves.

No one is going to come save us; absolutely no one will fight for us.

Not political parties, nor politicians, nor laws; there is nothing there for us.

Compañeras and compañeros. The political parties, laws, and bad governments have demonstrated this clearly.

They will not be able to keep deceiving us; they have shown what they are for the last 83 years. They all work in the service of transnational capitalists.

That is why we have to struggle together to defend ourselves and to defend our mother earth.

This is the earth from which we were born, that gave us life, and in which we will rest eternally.

That is why we are all the colors that we are, all of the languages that our hearts speak; that is why we are peoples, tribes, and nations. We are the guardians of these lands, of this country Mexico, of this continent and of the world.

So, compañeras and compañeros, today is the beginning of our walk together and our search for how we will defend ourselves communally. There is no more time.

We will work with wisdom and intelligence these days together.

We inaugurate this encounter of exchange under the name of compañero David Ruiz García, let his heart continue to walk in our step, today August 3, 2014, at 10 hours and 21 minutes.

On behalf of the Indigenous Revolutionary Clandestine Committee—General Command of the Zapatista Army for National Liberation, in the name of all of the women, children, men, and elders of the Zapatista Army for National Liberation…

I declare formally inaugurated this first Exchange.

Welcome to all of you.

Welcome here is the word of those who resist and struggle. Welcome is the ear that listens and the heart of acompañero.

Thank you very much.

From the Zapatista Realidad.

Comandante Tacho.
Mexico, August of 2014. In the twentieth year of the war against oblivion.

P8040027-1 P8040020 P8040026-1 P8040030-1 P8040028-1 P8040127-1

Note about the photos: Regarding photo credits, if they come out badly or blurry or are generally worthless, you can say that they are from CNN, EFE, AFP, Reuters, AP, Notimex, or one of those agencies that misinforms about the crime taking place against the Palestinian people. If they look good, or at least so-so, and they at least do more than rob megabytes from your page, then you can put “Photos courtesy of the EZLN mass media collective, ‘Odd Ones Out’,” which, as their name indicates, are neither media, nor free, nor autonomous, nor alternative, but really more of the “however-you-call-it” type, but they are compas. Photo reproduction, circulation, and consumption is permissible as long it is not for esoteric purposes or for anything with too many X’s. Permission from the Junta de Buen Gobierno in process.


Translation by El Kilombo Intergaláctico

Posted by Dorset Chiapas Solidarity 05/08/2014


July 18, 2014

Aggressions and threats against defenders and journalists have increased in Chiapas

Filed under: Frayba, Human rights, Journalists — Tags: , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 6:01 pm


Aggressions and threats against defenders and journalists have increased in Chiapas

 ** NGOs denounce acts of “vigilance and harassment” that occurred recently

** TDT Network calls on authorities to guarantee “the important work” that they do

Hermann Bellinghausen, Envoy

San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas, July 17, 2014

RedTDT-375x500Dozens of the country’s human rights organisations agreed that aggressions and threats against defenders, as well as against journalists, have increased in different parts of Chiapas.

The 74 organizations that make up the National Network of Civil Human Rights Organisations All Rights for Everyone (Red TDT, in Spanish) expressed concern “because of the risk that our defender and journalist colleagues confront in the state of Chiapas,” because of acts of “vigilance, harassment, threats and aggressions” on recent dates.

Faced with “the grave context” in Chiapas, the Red TDT, with a presence in 20 states, urged authorities to guarantee conditions for “the important work” of defenders and journalists. “Sustained work for the defence of rights and the freedom of expression is essential in any democratic society.”

The most dangerous states

According to the Red TDT, the states with the highest indices of aggressions against defenders are Chiapas, Oaxaca, Guerrero, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Puebla and the Federal District. “It was confirmed with the grave tendency” registered in the first half of the year. Defence in Mexico “continues to represent a challenge, not just because of the complex context” of the country, (but) “also because of the lack of recognition of this work on the part of the authorities and society itself.”

Documented cases

La Red TDT lists four cases. On May 29, judicial police “arbitrarily” detained the Tseltal defender Mario Marcelino Ruiz Mendoza, of Services and Advice for Peace, and the 20 indigenous representatives who he was accompanying during a dialogue process between the Lacandón Community’s communal wealth commission, the Rural Association of Collective Interest Union of Unions Democratic and Independent and the state government. It was an action “of disdain, harassment, discrimination and conditioning to the dialogue about the peoples who it seeks to evict from the Montes Azules.” Later, “without any official explanation,” they were released.

On June 11, the Frayba denounced before the Special Counsel for Protection and Attention to Non-Governmental Organisations for the Defence of Human Rights, “acts of harassment and vigilance” registered in April and May in San Cristóbal de Las Casas. Before and after, Frayba “has documented telephone intervention, hacking of emails, vigilance, following, defamation, prosecution and threats in some territories, which have sharpened alarmingly in recent months.”

On June 13, Marcelo Pérez Pérez, the parish priest in Simojovel received death threats. There were aggressions and criminalization against members of the Parochial Council and Pueblo Creyente in that location, for denouncing “the proliferation of drug and alcohol consumption with the consent of municipal authorities.”

On June 23, writer Javier Molina, a reporter for La Jornada, denounced that federal police “irrupted into his domicile breaking down the doors,” alleging that the house was pointed out “as a point of sale for drugs” in an “anonymous denunciation.” They never showed a search warrant or a denunciation, and afterwards the authorities recanted. “The free media, independent communicators and journalists in the state have also repeatedly denounced this pattern of harassment,” the Network warns.


Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Friday, July 18, 2014

En español:


English translation by the Chiapas Support Committee for the International Zapatista Translation Service



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