dorset chiapas solidarity

April 2, 2017

Chiapas: Launch of Acteal Campaign: Roots, Memory and Hope

Filed under: Acteal, Displacement, Frayba, Human rights, Indigenous, Paramilitary, Repression, sipaz, Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 11:18 am


Chiapas: Launch of Acteal Campaign: Roots, Memory and Hope

Acteal.pngLaunch of the Acteal Campaign: Roots, Memory and Hope. Photo@: Sipaz

 On 23 March, the Acteal Campaign: Roots, Memory and Hope was launched from the offices of the Fray Bartolome de las Casas Human Rights Center (CDHFBC) in San Cristobal de Las Casas. The campaign will take place within the framework of the XX anniversary of the Acteal Massacre and the 25th anniversary of the founding of Las Abejas Civil Society to “highlight our path as survivors and victims of the Acteal Massacre and as members of Las Abejas Civil Society of Acteal, […] exchange and share experiences with men and women from towns and cities who also fight for the same cause as us” and to “point out the material and intellectual authors of the Acteal Massacre so that the Mexican State recognizes its responsibility that Acteal is a state crime, a crime against humanity. And denounce that the Mexican State has so far been unable to ensure the non-repetition of events such as that of Acteal” (sic). They affirmed that, “it is the path of the search for truth and true justice. But, it is also memory, because we will be remembering, reporting and denouncing.”

The campaign will last nine months with cultural, political and religious activities. It will culminate with the commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the massacre on December 20th, 21st and 22nd, 2017, in Acteal, House of Memory and Hope.

During the launch, Gonzalo Ituarte, Secretary of the Board of Directors of CDHFBC and Vicar of Justice and Peace of the Diocese of San Cristobal de Las Casas, shared his testimony. On the day of the massacre he reported receiving two calls from Chenalho informing him of the approach of an armed group shooting. He indicated that he had twice called the government secretary to address this situation. However, no aid was sent for which Gonzalo Ituarte denounced “the way the government had deceived us and how it had allowed, that is to say, how it had caused that massacre. The government that could stop all this did not do it and I am convinced that it did not because it was part of their plan, they wanted to kill, they wanted to destroy the heart of civil society, which sought just causes and a solution to the problem. They wanted to kill and they killed them consciously and this causes indignation and this is a crime unpunished today.”



October 22, 2016

San Sebastián Bachajón Denounces The Deeds Of The Officialist Ejido Commission

Filed under: Bachajon, Displacement, Indigenous, La Sexta, Paramilitary, Repression — Tags: , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 11:54 am


San Sebastián Bachajón denounces the deeds of the officialist Ejido Commission


Communiqué from Bachajón: “They are allowing the Police and Army into our territory!” 11th October 2016

Our organisation, the autonomous ejido San Sebastián Bachajón has been defending the Earth and our territory for many years. We have been struggling in defence of Nature since the 14th of March 2007. That’s 11 years of dignified struggle. A lot of compañeros have lost their lives defending Mother Earth and other people have also been unjustly imprisoned for doing the same. The bad government has incarcerated 130 of our compañeros simply for their uncompromising commitment to defending Mother Earth. At the moment 3 compañeros are unjustly held as prisoners in different penitentiary centres, where they are denied their freedom. For all of this, we demand that you respect our struggle, our organisation, our autonomous authorities and the spilled blood of our fallen compañeros.


To the General Command of the Clandestine Revolutionary Indigenous Committee of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation

To the Councils of Good Government

To the National Indigenous Congress

To all compañer@s in Mexico and the World, adherents of the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle

To the mass media and alternative media

To the Network against Repression and for Solidarity

To Movement for Justice in el Barrio, New York

To national and international human rights defenders

To the people of Mexico and the world.

Jmololabex ants winiketik icha spatil a wotanik ta pisilik machatik nokol skoltabel te lum kinalik te yuun ta skuenta te nokol spojbel te chopol ajwalil.

Combative greetings to all compañeros and compañeras and your organisations and communities in resistance from the ejido San Sebastián Bachajón, adherents to the Sixth Declaration. We celebrate the 20th anniversary of the National Indigenous Congress and send a combative greeting to all compañeros and compañeras who are present in Chiapas for this.

We want to use this opportunity to tell you what’s been happening in our community San Sebastián Bachajón. We want to share our outrage about what the official commissioner Manuel Guzmán Álvaro, elected by the ejidatarios’ general assembly 18 April of this year, has done. As an indigenous and organised community we are aware that the bad government wants to displace us and that Manuel Guzmán Álvaro is part of that plan. On the 23rd of September 2016 the officialist ejido commissioner Manuel Guzmán Álvaro, along with a group of ejido residents, entered into our ejido’s territory, which has access to the Agua Azul waterfall, with the intention of displacing us. Another group of compañeros headed up by Manuel Jiménez Moreno, Juan Álvaro Moreno, Daniel Moreno Gómez, Carmen Aguilar and others had been collecting the fee to visit the Agua Azul waterfalls. This is the same place where our organisation had had its headquarters until it was burned down on 21 March 2015.

Immediately after Commissioner Manuel Guzman Alvaro’s arrival, the State Preventive Police took control of our headquarters, and for this we declare our rejection of police presence and the fact that the commissioner facilitated this incursion. This act demonstrates the desire to displace us from our land, and sends signals that Manuel Guzmán Álvaro is a servant of the bad government and a threat to the autonomy of San Sebastián Bachajón.

This is the same commissioner Manuel Guzmán Álvaro, who along with his supervisory board, publicly circulated on the 30th of September 2016 via the web page “Chiapas denuncia pública” ( his version of what happened at the Agua Azul Waterfall toll booth. They demand to be recognised as the authorities and are carrying out blockades in various points in order to be heard. But in reality, they are not respecting our dignified struggle, our territory and autonomy as a community. Nor does the commissioner respect his own campaign commitment when he said he would not permit the bad government and their police entry to our land. But in reality what is happening is a trick to fool public opinion that this movement is one for truth, when in reality it is follows the same interests of the out-going commissioner Alejandro Moreno Gómez and the former commissioner Francisco Guzmán Jiménez also known as “el goyito”. Their actions are moving in the same direction as the bad government, and follow the lines as signed in agreement by Francisco Guzmán Jiménez with Juan Sabines Guerrero.

Our organisation, the autonomous ejido San Sebastián Bachajón has been defending the Earth and our territory for many years. We have been struggling in defence of Nature since the 14th of March 2007. That’s 11 years of dignified struggle. A lot of compañeros have lost their lives defending Mother Earth and other people have been unjustly imprisoned for also defending Mother Earth. The bad government has incarcerated 130 of our compañeros simply for their uncompromising commitment to defending Mother Earth. At the moment 3 compañeros are unjustly held prisoner in different penitentiary centres, where they are denied their freedom. For all of this, we demand that you respect our struggle, our organisation, our autonomous authorities and the spilled blood of our fallen compañeros. The dignified struggle is not for sale. It is built day after day, it is built in the memory of compañeros. We will continue standing and we will not permit the bad government to continuing buying the conscience of our indigenous communities.  This is actually what is happening when the ejido commissioner allows the police and army to enter into our territory. We are aware that what he wants to do is create a paramilitary force to finish off our struggle. He wants people to think that his struggle is also dignified when in reality what he does is contrary to what he says. Further he has no knowledge about what the bad government really wants to do to our community and territory.

No more unjust imprisonments. We demand immediate freedom for our compañeros Esteban Gómez Jiménez imprisoned in Cintalapa de Figueroa, Chiapas (amate #14) Santiago Moreno Pérez and Emilio Jiménez Gómez, prisoners in Playas de Catazaja, Chiapas (ceress #17) who were imprisoned for having a commitment to struggle for and defend Mother Earth. We also demand freedom for all men and women political prisoners in Mexico and the world.

The women and men from the northern zone in the state of Chiapas, from the community of San Sebastián Bachajón send combative greetings to all of you compañeros and compañeras, communities and people of Mexican and the world who struggle and resist against the bad governments.

Never again a Mexico without us

Land and Freedom

Zapata Lives!

Hasta la victoria siempre!

Freedom for Political Prisoners!

Juan Vázquez Guzmán Lives, the Struggle for Bachajón continues!

Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano Lives, the Struggle for Bachajón continues!

No to the Dispossession of Indigenous Lands!

State Police Out of Our Indigenous Territory!

Immediate return of our disappaired and murdered compañeros from the Teachers School – Normal Raúl Isidro Burgos de Ayotzinapa!

Long live the Chol compañeros and compañeras from the Ejido Tila’s dignified struggle!

Long live the compañeros and compañeras from San Francisco Xochicuautla’s dignified struggle!

Long live communities that fight for autonomy and freedom!




October 20, 2016

Urgent: adherents to La Sexta from San Sebastián Bachajon denounce military presence in their area.

Filed under: Indigenous, La Sexta, Paramilitary, Repression, Zapatistas — Tags: , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 3:38 pm



Urgent: adherents to La Sexta from San Sebastián Bachajon denounce military presence in their area.




19th October 2016

800 public security police and 400 paramilitaries are presently near to Zapatista territory and the ejido Bachajón

Compañeros and compañeras, organizations, receive our combative greeting.

We ask for your help to share this urgent information.

This morning, at about 9:00 am, the presence of public safety officers at the crossroads to the access road to the Agua Azul waterfalls was observed; it was reported that there were 5 buses of public safety officers, 7 large trucks and 8 small trucks which were accompanied by 25 small trucks of paramilitaries; a helicopter from the state police is flying over Zapatista territory, there are approximately 800 officers of public security and 400 paramilitaries, which makes 1200 people in total who are going to participate in the eviction of a group of ejidatarios headed by CC. Daniel Moreno Gómez, Manuel Jiménez Moreno, Juan Álvaro Moreno and  Carmen Aguilar, among others, who are in possession of the toll booth; this action is not only the eviction of those groups, but also represents a major threat to the adherents to the sixth and the compañeros support bases of the EZLN, since they are situated in indigenous territories and Zapatista territories, which favours the dispossession of our land; it should be noted that this work is organized by the ejidal commissioner C. Manuel Guzmán Álvaro, because they have held roadblocks at different points on the 17th and 18th of this month to demand the intervention of the state authorities to attend to ejidal problems; the same people issued a communiqué on 15th October this year which demands that arrest warrants are executed and requests the intervention of state authorities to evict groups of ejidatarios and address the problems of the community of Agua Azul. We as adherents to La Sexta reject the police presence in our territory, because many of the indigenous compañeros are unaware of what the ejidal commissioner is doing, making it easy for the bad government to enter into indigenous territories.


Long live autonomy.

The police of the bad government out of indigenous territories.


Posted by Dorset Chiapas Solidarity



October 19, 2016

Violent attack on indigenous Tseltal defender of the land from San Sebastian Bachajón

Filed under: Bachajon, CNI, Indigenous, La Sexta, Paramilitary, Repression — Tags: , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 6:21 pm



Violent attack on indigenous Tseltal defender of the land from San Sebastian Bachajón

October 18, 2016


14695551_1800877260127828_8900945864639347493_nEjidatarios of San Sebastián Bachajón, adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle and participants in the CNI, reported a fierce attack against Domingo Pérez Álvaro, who is now in delicate condition. According to a communiqué from the ejidatarios, on Monday 17 October, at approximately 4 pm, people belonging to the group of the officialist ejidal commission, who are pro-government and against the struggle being carried out by the ejidatarios for land, detained and assaulted Domingo Pérez at the top of Alan Sajcun when he was on his way home.

Domingo Pérez, an indigenous Tseltal, was imprisoned for five months, along with other ejidatarios, in 2011 in the prison CERESO 17 at Playas de Catazajá on false charges and multiple violations of their human rights, for his actions in defence of the land. On the day of the attack, Domingo was returning from the same prison, where he went to visit another political prisoner from Bachajón, Santiago Moreno Pérez, on behalf of the organization.

According to the statement, the people of the ejido accused Domingo Pérez of participating in collective works on lands of the neighbouring community of Bolom Ajaw and of participating in la Sexta Bachajón. Indeed, Domingo has participated in la Sexta Bachajón since its founding, acting as a promoter of human rights and participating in the National Indigenous Congress.


Here is the communiqué:

Urgent. Deprivation of liberty and physical assaults on compañero from la Sexta Bachajon

October 18, 2016




URGENT. Domingo Pérez Álvaro, one of the adherents to the Sixth from the Ejido San Sebastian Bachajon and a CNI participant, has been seriously assaulted; he is our Tseltal compañero and has struggled with his people to defend their territory against the bad capitalist governments; they attacked him when he was returning from his work visiting the prisoners from Bachajón in Playas de Catazajá. We ask please for your denouncement of the acts, and dissemination of the information, because the compañero is reported to be in a grave condition following the attack, so we send you this message:

“We hereby inform you that today at about 4 pm a group of people, followers of the officialist Ejidal Commissioner of San Sebastian Bachajon, Manuel Guzman Alvaro, arrested and physically assaulted compañero Domingo Pérez Álvaro, when he was at the top of the crossroads of Alan Sajcun travelling towards his home after performing work for the organization visiting compañero prisoner Santiago Perez Moreno at CERSS 17, Playas de Catazaja, Chiapas.

Compañero Domingo Pérez Álvaro is in a delicate condition after receiving strong blows from the people of the ejido, who claim he allegedly participated in collective work in the lands of Bolom Ajaw and participated in La Sexta Bachajón.

Comrade Domingo Pérez Álvaro participated ever since the founding of La Sexta Bachajon; he has walked in promoting human rights and participates in the National Indigenous Congress, he also participated in the 20th anniversary of the CNI.

We give this urgent word to let you know and to ask for your support through the dissemination of information. We condemn the actions of the ejidal commissioner Manuel Guzman Alvaro who we hold responsible for the integrity of our colleague Domingo Pérez Álvaro and for any attack that may take place on the compañeros of La Sexta Bachajon. We ask you to remain alert for more information we will publish.

We reject their acts of dispossession which only serve to confirm their agreements with the bad government to deliver ejido lands to them.

combative greetings

Land and Freedom


Posted by Dorset Chiapas Solidarity



September 25, 2016

The Organized Community of San Francisco, Teopisca, Denounces Paramilitary Harassment

Filed under: Indigenous, Paramilitary, Uncategorized — Tags: — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 11:36 am



The Organized Community of San Francisco, Teopisca, Denounces Paramilitary Harassment




PVEM militants intimidate and block passage to members of LaSexta in Teopisca 

Organized families from the the San Francisco community in the municipality of Teopisca, Chiapas, denounced that a group of militant people from the Green Party of Mexico blocked their way out of Teopisca, “they were a few metres from our reclaimed land, trying to intimidate us and preventing compañeros of the Sixth from passing through. Allies (of the PVEM) with another shock group, mainly from El Escalon, municipality of San Cristobal de las Casas and other communities, invade our recovered lands which we have occupied. We recovered the land because we are original people, we have been paeons and indentured servants for 200 years.”


Full Communiqué

Campesinos and campesinas of San Francisco, Municipality of Teopisca, Chiapas, Mexico

To the National Indigenous Congress

To the councils of good government

To the national and international sixth

To the free media

To the defenders of human rights

To public opinion

We are a group of organised campesinos and campesinas from the community of San Francisco, municipality of Teopisca, adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle of the EZLN, in defence of land and territory

Today, 19th September, we publicly denounce the paramilitary group made up of:

-Francisco de la Cruz Estrada

-Felipe de la Cruz Alvarez

-Martín Cruz Alvarez

-Javier Alvarez Cruz

-Jaime Alvarez Cruz

-Eduardo Geovani Alvarez Zuñiga

-Manuel Alvarez Castellanos

-Paulino Castellanos de la Cruz

-Pablo Shilón Gómez

-Juan Shilón Catellanos

-Amado Shilón Catellanos

-Bernardino Shilón Catellanos

-Manuel Shilón Catellanos

-Gilardo Cruz Estrada

-Luis Castellanos

-Marco Antonio Castellanos

-Marcos Gómez

-Luis Gómez

-Celerino Alvarez Castellanos

who are all members of the green ecologist party, for blocking our exit road from Teopisca; they were a few metres from our reclaimed land, trying to intimidate us and preventing compañeros of the Sixth from passing through. Allies (of the PVEM) with another shock group, mainly from El Escalon, municipality of San Cristobal de las Casas and other communities, invade our recovered lands which we have occupied. We recovered the land because we are original people, we have been paeons and indentured servants for 200 years.

We demand that the three levels of bad government respect out recuperated land, our rights, and our self-determination. We also hold responsible all of the people already mentioned, the shock group from the municipality of San Cristóbal de las Casas, Pedro Hernández Espinoza and the three levels of government, for all of the aggressions which may be suffered by the adherents of the Sixth in our recuperated land.




Organized group from San Francisco, Municipality of Teopisca, Chiapas, Mexico. Adherents to the sixth declaration of the Lacandon Jungle of the EZLN

Posted by Dorset Chiapas Solidarity



July 22, 2016

Zapatistas Reiterate Support for CNTE After Paramilitary Attack

Filed under: Paramilitary, Zapatistas — Tags: , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 11:53 am



Zapatistas Reiterate Support for CNTE After Paramilitary Attack


ezln2013.jpg_1718483346Zapatistas stand under the Zapatista flag during 20th anniversary celebrations of the armed indigenous insurgency in Oventic December 31, 2013. | Photo: Reuters


“If evicted, they will return. Time and time again. It turns out that down here, there is no fatigue,” read the letter.

Mexico’s Zapatistas stood behind the striking CNTE teachers whose blockade was attacked Wednesday by a masked group, calling the attack a “definitive disaster” in an open letter published Thursday.

Ten trucks loaded with a group of masked men came to the camp at highway San Cristóbal-Tuxtla Gutiérrez in Chiapas, where about a hundred protesters had gathered, forcefully evacuating the only camp that civil society and teachers of the National Coordinator of Education Workers, CNTE, held in the state of Chiapas, Wednesday.

The group at first identified as Zapatistas, but locals knew otherwise, according to those quoted in the letter. The “paramilitaries,” who were members of the PRI-allied Ecologist Green Party, were paid, said the letter. They were protected by policemen, according to witnesses, and “were not, nor are, nor will ever be” Zapatistas.

The Zapatistas have long endorsed the CNTE protests against neoliberal education reform, but Wednesday’s attack made them reiterate their promise to “continue to collect the food and necessities that have been denied them (the teachers) and continue to send them. Again and again.”

“We Zapatistas, will not send junk food to those who fight, but toasted non-transgenic corn, not stolen, but rather made with the work of thousands of men and women who know that being Zapatista is not to hide one’s face, but to show their heart,” read the letter signed by Subcomandante Insurgente Moises and Subcomandante Insurgente Galeano.

The letter, dripping with contempt for the actors behind the attacks, also struck a rebellious tone, saying that repression would not stop the movement.

“As the brother Indigenous peoples did in Oaxaca, if evicted, they will return. Time and time again. It turns out that down here, there is no fatigue,” read the letter.

The letter by leading figures in the Zapatista movement pledged to continue to support the striking teachers and their supporters without dictating what steps the movement should take.

“The National Coordinator of Education Workers, as well as the movements of indigenous peoples, (and) neighbourhoods that support the teachers, must understand that, whatever their decision, be it on the route, the destination, the steps and the company they keep, you will receive our respect and greeting,” said the Zapatistas.

Teachers affiliated with the CNTE have been protesting neoliberal education reforms implemented in 2013 by President Enrique Peña Nieto.

A crackdown by police, which left at least nine people dead, drew world-wide condemnation. Talks between the union and the government have failed to produce a resolution.


Posted by Dorset Chiapas Solidarity 22/7/16



May 11, 2016

New attack denounced in Ejido San Sebastián Bachajón

Filed under: Bachajon, Indigenous, La Sexta, Paramilitary — Tags: , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 3:17 pm




New attack denounced in Ejido San Sebastián Bachajón




recent information


San Sebastián Bachajón, adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon jungle Chiapas, Mexico.

Compañeros and compañeros, we ask for your help to spread this recent information.

we share information about the events which occurred in the locality of Xanil town to an adherent to the sixth, who was attacked by state police, the son of carlos jimenez gomez.

we inform you that three rank and file members of the state police remain secured, so that the bad government will to quickly attend to this case and the aggression to our compañeros ejidatarios of san sebastián bachajón.

From the northern zone of the state of chiapas the women and men of san sebastián bachajón send you combative greetings.




Adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon jungle, northern zone of Chiapas, Mexico.



informative bulletin:

government of murderers.

To the people in general.

Today we protest with our compañero against the murdering government, because one of our compañeros whose name is: Esteban Gomez Jimenez and his family, at approximately 4:30 pm. was attacked and nearly killed by the paramilitaries Carlos Jimenez Gomez and his sons who work as state police patrol who were apparently patrolling in this area of Xanil all carrying weapons and they were hit with stones, the compañeros are seriously injured, the aim of this protest is to demand:

That the paramilitaries Carlos Jimenez Gomez and his sons are handed over.

We demand justice for the state police.

We demand they leave our territory.

We demand justice and punishment of their accomplices.


Justice, Land and Liberty



April 25, 2016

Ejido Tila Chiapas denounces attempt of attack and solidarity with Xochicuautla and Ostula

Filed under: Indigenous, Paramilitary, Repression — Tags: — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 2:40 pm



Ejido Tila Chiapas denounces attempt of attack and solidarity with Xochicuautla and Ostula


new MarchaContras




Public denouncement

Ejido Tila, Chiapas, Mexico 14 April 2016

To the general public,

To national and international adherents of the Sixth,

To the mass media nationally and internationally,

To non-governmental organisations fighting for justice and dignity,

To the Network against Repression and for Solidarity,

To non-governmental human rights defenders,

To the National Indigenous Congress (CNI),

To resistance in Mexico and worldwide,


A cordial greeting to you from the comrades of Ejido Tila, Chiapas, Mexico. We want to tell you we remain as firm as ever in our resistance against the Bad Government’s efforts of dispossession.

We publicly denounce the cowardly and treasonous behaviour committed against our comrades, the Ñatho indigenous community of San Fransisco Xochicuatla, on Monday 11 April 2016. They resist the construction of a motorway between Toluca and Naucalpan and despite the fact they won an injunction against the expropriation of their lands, their peace camp was destroyed and their dignified resistance assaulted. We condemn this aggression against our comrades and now clearly see that the Bad Government’s laws only serve to dispossess and repress people. On 18 February 2016 a protection order, number 1123/2015 and 771/2015, was granted to our indigenous brothers and sisters of the community San Francisco Xochicuautla and most of the authorities notified. The marauding behaviour of the Bad Government and businesses violates this injunction.

We also condemn the 10 April 2016 assault on our comrades in the community of Santa Maria Ostula, in the vicinity of San Juan de Alima, Michoacan. One community member, Francisco Grajeda was murdered and another, Abraham Giron, was injured. This cowardly attack clearly shows that the Mexican Government’s laws only serve the powerful.

We publicly denounce Arturo Sanchez Sanchez, brother of Samuel Sanchez Sanchez, the ‘Paz y Justicia’ paramilitary leader currently incarcerated in Amate Prison. The family is made up of murderers. Arturo Sanchez Sanchez’s son, the teacher Francisco Arturo Sanchez Martinez is another one of these agitators seeking to disrupt the peace of Ejido Tila. The disruptions go back to when the grandparents, from Jolsibaquil, burned Doctora Adelaida Martinez Parcero and Evaristo Gutierrez Martinez goods in 1980 and five orders of apprehension were made, but today remains a community leader. Domingo Gutierrez Ramirez, Mariano Gutierrez Lopez, Dizque Profesor Caralampio Lopez Sanchez, Juan Lopez Lopez, Martin Decelis Guillen, Delmar Avenamar Hernandez Trujillo, brother of ‘Paz y Justicia’ paramilitary member Raymundo HernandezTtrujillo, teacher Jose Ramirez Jimenez,  from  El Limar and the teacher Florentina Jimenez Vazquez, and Mercedes Bonifaz Gutierrez, whose grandparents are from Amatan, Chiapas. All of these people mentioned here are the new paramilitaries who with high caliber weapons blocked access to Ejido Tila, Chiapas during the contentious elections of 19 July 2015, and who up until today disrupt the peace, and want to continue doing so.

We want it known that for the security of the inhabitants of Ejido Tila, and as agreed by the ejido general assembly, two entrances were blocked, and two were left open for access. This was owing to the terrible conditions the local government allowed – a growing number of ‘cantinas’, bars, and shops selling wine and spirits which was leading our young people to drink, join gangs, and become addicted to drugs.  But these agitators are bothered by this same government project and they arrived to unblock access to the ejido. The truck drivers, people with money from Tila and Yajalon, Chiapas came on 13 April 2016, but they have no reason to be here as no one is being bothered. It is the truck drivers as well as these agitators who are disturbing the peace of the ejido, for example shooting high calibre weapons into the air at 17.00 (5 o’clock in the afternoon). They are also the same ones who organised a march on 10 April, all dressed in white and saying we are people of peace but in reality they are the ones destabilising the community. They said 900 people participated in the march, but in reality it was less than 200.

In this atmosphere of anomalies and provocation by these people, we will continue to govern using our traditions and customs and the same community members are witness that no one is bothering these people. In fact it is those provoking us who encourage other community members to join their movement, threatening them otherwise to burn their houses. We also want to unveil the truth to the lies Doctor Adelaida Martinez Parcero is making about us blocking roads and charging tolls for passage. This is totally false, the ejido residents do not do this, but these people use lies even to trick the Supreme Court of the Nation, which is what they are accusing us of now. This indicates these people are prepared only to trample on and exploit our indigenous brothers and sisters.

We are immensely grateful to the townspeople and neighbours who have supported us and our struggle with food and supplies, and who did not join the troublemakers’ march on 10 April. They know that Ejido Tila is acting within it legal framework.

We alert the diverse social and non-governmental organisations who fight for justice and in defense of Mother Earth and land rights that they keep watch on what might happen to Ejido Tila. The situation is very tense. The above mentioned people have hired people with weapons to murder and upset the peace, and we put the responsibility on them about whatever might happen here. We know these people are capable of murder. Further it should be noted that strategy of provocation has been organised by the mayor Edgar Leopoldo Gomez Gutierrez who meets in the party hall ‘Delyben’ with Moises Alberto Cornelio Trujillo, who is the current municipal secretary.


Yours sincerely,

The Representative Body of the Ejido

Never again a Mexico without us




April 20, 2016

Narco, Zetas and Paramilitaries: The New Reality in Chiapas.

Filed under: Indigenous, Paramilitary, Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 4:52 am



Narco, Zetas and Paramilitaries: The New Reality in Chiapas.


viejo velasco 2


San Cristóbal de Las Casas. –

In the north, Los Altos and the border between Chiapas and Guatemala, there’s a fight going on between different organised crime groups, and almost no one wants to talk about it. These are areas that even the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional – EZLN) won’t get involved in, as the criminal gangs have gained strength since joining up with the paramilitaries and members of the Ecologist Green Party of Mexico (Partido Verde Ecologista de México – PVEM).

Life in some of the indigenous communities in these areas has changed radically. Cocaine and crack addiction rates have increased among the indigenous youth population since they started to circulate in their towns, communities and neighbourhoods. One of these is the infamous Hormiga, in the outskirts of San Cristóbal de las Casas, which is known as a trading ground for drugs, weapons and stolen cars. A recent incident exposed the virulence of the ongoing territorial battle. On the 17th of July, 2015, it was reported that the activist Toni Reynaldo Gutiérrez had been disappeared in the municipality of Tila, by municipal police officers and armed civilians. A week later he was found dead, with marks of torture: his eyes were missing and the skin had been removed from his face.

Magaly del Carmen Cruz Pérez, wife of Gutiérrez, and inhabitants of Tila, have denounced the presence of Los Zetas and paramilitaries in this area of the state. So too have priests Blas Alvarado, from Pueblo Nuevo Solistahuacán, and Marcelo Pérez, from Simojovel, who accuse the governor Manuel Velasco – elected in 2012 at the head of a PVEM-PRI coalition – of trying to hide the existence of organised crime in Chiapas to avoid dampening his prospects in the 2018 presidential elections.
Fading Away

Since 1994, public interest in Chiapas has focused on the EZLN, following its declaration of war on the Mexican State. But even then, the presence of powerful drug trafficking groups in the region was felt.

In May 2003, Joaquín Loera Guzmán was captured for the first time on the border between Guatemala and Chiapas. There were reports that the leader of the Sinaloa Cartel had been in San Cristóbal de las Casas (Proceso 867). In 2010 he was reported to have been sighted in the municipality of Villa Flores and more recently, after his second escape, he was seen near Comitán, having slipped through the fingers of a marine operation in Tamazula, Durango, where he had been in hiding (Proceso 2033).

Luis Alonso Abarca González, from the Chiapas based Human Rights Committee Digna Ochoa (DH-DO), maintains in an interview that the assassination of Toni Reynaldo is a clear sign of the presence of drug trafficking groups like Los Zetas, who are fighting the Sinaloa Cartel and its allies from the New Generation Jalisco Cartel for control of the area.

The social activist observes that since the municipal elections last year – in which the PVEM, governor Manuel Velasco’s party, took 57 of the 122 seats disputed – there has been a rise in the number of active paramilitary groups, such as Paz y Justicia (Peace and Justice), Movimiento Indígena Revolucionario Antizapatista (Anti-Zapatista Indigenous Revolutionary Movement – MIRA), Los Diablos, Los Gómez and Los Petules, amongst others, who have been linked to drug trafficking. He describes it:

‘It’s about disputes over strategic locations in the cartography of organised crime. They want to control Comitán and Frontera Comalapa because of their proximity to the Guatemalan border, gateways for the movement of drugs and weapons.’

‘In Tila, because of its proximity to Tabasco, there is a mew migrant route. In Nueva Esperanza they say there are migrant traffickers who have local council protection.’






‘This is the violent context. And now we’re talking about the reactivation of a paramilitary group, but with different factors compared to 1994. Then, it was formed to keep the EZLN under control, stop them amassing recruits and gaining in popular support. Now, you’ve got the additional factors of organised crime and territorial reorganisation that has everything to do with oil and mining interests.’

According to the map that certain organisations have drawn up, there have been outbursts of violence in Simojovel, Pueblo Nuevo Solistahuacán, Tila, Palenque, Ocosingo, Marqués de Comillas, La Trinitaria, Frontera Comalapa, El Bosque, Oxchuc and San Cristóbal de las Casas – formerly areas of Zapatista influence.

But now the Zapatistas have withdrawn or only have surveillance points, notes Luis Alonso Abarca González, of DH-DO.

‘What’s happened to the EZLN?’, we ask him.

‘In Tila the EZLN has stayed on the side-lines, we think they no longer play a significant role in the region. There are some support bases but the number has gone down dramatically in the last few years. The paramilitaries and organised crime groups have gained ground there. The EZLN appears to have reached a point of impasse or indefinite withdrawal. It no longer has the strength it had up until 1998 or 1999. Even in the Las Cañadas region, he observes, where the EZLN first formed in 1983, there has been a radio silence from the Zapatistas, who have said nothing regarding drug trafficking.

‘They’ve completely gone into hibernation, suddenly all we know is that there are certain contacts in the communities. I remember a compañero commenting once, that you can measure the growth of drug trafficking in the area by the kind of bands that play in Las Cañadas and even some Zapatista communities. Before, it would have been unthinkable that bands like Maguey, Calibre 50 or El Komander would play there.’

The army, he remembers, announced they had destroyed a thousand poppy hectares in Las Cañadas, but he believes this claim was intended solely to link Zapatismo to organised crime.

‘Organised crime has been present in Chiapas for a long time. But is it increasing?’, we ask him.

‘Yes, but the new factor is that there’s a strategic aim: territorial control. There’s particular interest in appropriating mineable resources, water, other natural resources, and the border.

‘From Los Zetas?

‘In Tila there are Z-40 and Z-42 tags. In San Cristóbal there are MS-13 tags, that’s Mara Salvatrucha 13. This graffiti matches the changes in migrant routes, because the Tapachula-Hidalgo City railway was shut down and people are heading inland. San Cristóbal is en route, and then they go through San Juan Chamula, Bochil, Pueblo Nuevo and Tabasco. The other route is from San Cristóbal to Ocosingo, Yajalón and Tila, heading towards Tabasco.

He explains that in Pueblo Nuevo Solistahuacán there are groups of criminals who are part of the government, and that gangs like the New Generation Jalisco Cartel are also looking for a way in. Frontera Comalapa, he says, is a strategic point because it borders Guatemala. Los Zetas control it.

“Since 2009 the government of (the then PRI governor) Juan Sabines recognised in a report that Chiapas was controlled by Los Zetas, and that was why there was no violence. But we believe that today under the PVEM things have changed and new groups have been muscling in. This has reactivated what we presume to be paramilitary violence. We think there is more going on in the background, that this is more than a series of isolated cases; rather, it is a context of organised crime much like that in other parts of the country.”

Paramilitaries and Narcos 




In Chiapas, the big organised crime groups joined up or made alliances with local gangs – whose origins can be found in the paramilitary groups that Ernesto Zedillo’s government put in place in 1996, to combat the EZLN.

The parish priest of Pueblo  Nuevo Solistahuacán is Blas Alvarado Jiménez, regional coordinator of the migrant refuge known as ‘La 72’, in Tenosique, Tabasco. In an interview, he warns that Manuel Velasco wants to hide the paramilitaries to protect his presidential aspirations.

‘What we might call peripheral groups have definitely made an agreement with one of the strong cartels, who finance them. They have goat horns (AK 47), weapons that go through armour-plating…And they don’t just traffic drugs, they also make people pay them fines to be allowed to go on working. They’ve already destroyed coffee plantations, burned down houses and displaced whole families to different communities.

‘Are the Zetas present?’, we ask him.

‘Yes, they come from north of Chiapas, from Reforma, Pichucalco, from the Teapa area. These people work and run the migrant zone there in Tenosique and they’re making an inroad into the north of Chiapas. Los Zetas don’t just do weapons trading and kidnapping, but also drugs and people trafficking. In reality, Los Zetas are everywhere here in the south-east.’

On the 1st of January this year, the Fray Bartolomé de las Casas Centre for Human Rights (CDH-BC) denounced that the PVEM is linked to the paramilitary group Paz y Justicia in Tila and Sabanilla (northern Chiapas), municipalities that it won in the June 2015 elections.

“Paz y Justicia was never dismantled as such. From the nineties up until the year 2000 they carried out offensives, and the organization was never disarmed”, accused the then coordinator of the Area of Influence of the CDH-BC, Jorge Luis Hernández. Luis Alonso Abarca González, of the DH-DO, mentions that residents from near Tila confirm that the people traffickers have municipal protection.

In this municipality, collective landholders who pertain to the EZLN have denounced ex-mayor Linder Gregorio Gutiérrez Gómez, his wife, the local PVEM diputada (MP) Sandra Luz Cruz Espinoza, and the current local government member Leopoldo Édgar Gómez Gutiérrez, of forming part of Paz y Justicia.

In this area, they maintain, the embers of another paramilitary group called Los Chinchulines is still in operation, while in the jungle, the Anti-Zapatista Indigenous Revolutionary Movement (MIRA), founded by the siblings María Gloria and Norberto Santiz, is now linked to people trafficking.


The cartels have also increased the circulation of drugs among indigenous young people.

‘In Tila it’s now a constant. Young people don’t just consume marijuana, cocaine too. What’s more, we can see a change in the aspirations of these young people. Now they want to work in organised crime, and you even see it in San Cristóbal de las Casas’, Luis Alonso Abarca comments.

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Marcelo Pérez, the priest from Simojovel, has been threatened by Juan and Ramiro Gómez – PRI ex-mayors known as ‘Los Gómez’ who are linked to arms and narcotics trafficking. In an interview, he identifies the issue of addiction to stimulants among young people in indigenous communities.

‘Simojovel and Pueblo Nuevo have already become markets. In Simojovel there’s the group Los Diablos, who have terrorised the population, provoked forced displacement and only a short time ago, killed two people.’

‘Furthermore,’ he goes on to say, ‘they collect a property tax from business owners.’

In fact, he himself has already been threatened, he denounces, and has heard that they’re offering ‘a lot of money’ for his head.

The priest of Pueblo Nuevo, Blas Alvarado, confirms the consumption of cocaine and crack in indigenous communities, not only in the north but in the centre of Chiapas:

‘The hard drugs are coming in now. Before cocaine was the limit, now they sell rocks and all of that toxic stuff. There are kids of 12, secondary school age, getting into crack.’



‘In Tila?’, we ask him.

‘Not just there, in Los Altos too, in the whole of the San Juan Chamula area…’

‘Why is it being kept quiet?’

‘Because there are big interests tied up in it and the people who deal the hard drugs are the people who finance political affairs. They’ve created an atmosphere of terror, and nobody dares get involved, so they are going to end up getting control of everything, they are going to choose who is in power and who isn’t, they are going to control everything.’

(Agencias: Proceso)

Translated by Ruby Zajac for the UK Zapatista Translation Service

– See more at:



February 13, 2016

Road of Resistance

Filed under: Autonomy, Bachajon, Displacement, Other Campaign, Paramilitary, Repression, Uncategorized, Zapatistas — Tags: , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 2:13 pm



Road of Resistance




By Telesur

A fresh, humid breeze was blowing. It was the dawn of the 1st of January of 1994 and fog still covered the mountains of southeast Chiapas, in Mexico. Juan Vázquez Guzmán was only 13 when he saw how thousands of men and women, hooded and armed, emerged from the mist of the Lacandon Jungle. “We declare war our bad government”, they said. No one expected it, although Juan had seen them prepare since he was a baby.

“We are the product of 500 years of battles. We, the deprived, are millions and today we say, enough!”. That is how the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) was born. This guerrilla force from the Mexican state of Chiapas rebelled to reclaim work, land, shelter, food, health, education, independence, freedom, democracy, justice and peace.

As most Tzeltal indigenous young men, Juan Vázquez worked with his father in the cornfields and coffee plantations located at the common lands –  in San Sebastián Bachajón, Chiapas. They had strong hands and empty stomachs. They ate whatever the soil and their sweat gave them. “We depend on our land; an ancient legacy from our ancestors and a legacy for the future generations”, ponders Juan. Since he was an adolescent he has walked on the side of the Zapatistas. He is committed to the fight for their rights as Mexicans and as indigenous people, in a region where institutions have been absent and the citizens forgotten.



The imbalance of land ownership has always been the focus of the Mexican uprisings. In 1910 only 1% of the population owned 97% of the land. In Chiapas a handful of families had taken over the land of the indigenous communities. The indigenous people from Chiapas worked as slaves in those ranches, which were mainly farms raising livestock. After the Revolution, led by Emiliano Zapata, there was an agrarian reform that established the concept of “ejidos”, State land whose ownership and use belongs to the “ejidatarios”. The journalist Luis Hernández Navarro says that “The Mexican Revolution did not reach Chiapas. Some land was distributed, but the land ownership structure remained untouched. This way the power has stayed in the landowners’ hands”.

“Even if they try to turn it into private property, we will not allow it”

“Our Ejido San Sebastián Bachajón was established in 1980 and is one of the largest in the country” assures Juan. He warns “Even if they try to turn it into private property, we will not allow it”.

The Zapatistas made an agrarian reform from below. They seized lands and distributed them. Years of negotiations with the Mexican State came, seeking the recognition of indigenous rights, culture and land. However, the main parties in the country did not comply with the various agreements reached with the movement. Meanwhile, the Zapatistas chose to build their autonomy. They created their own self-government by organizing health, education, justice and production plans in their territory.




In 2006, the EZLN started a new political initiative called “the Other Campaign”. They were trying to join forces with other movements around Mexico and the world. “Zapatismo worked as an umbrella, inspiring and covering different communities”, points out Hernández. That is what happened to the San Sebastián Bachajón ejidatarios, who decided to join the fight led by Juan Vázquez, far away from the weapons but with the same demands. “This is a project where we all fit, and where we want to defend what we are”, he stated. He became the General Secretary of the organization and later on its Human Rights Promoter. The ejidatarios were inspired by the Zapatistas’ words: “Build from below, get away from electoral calendars, fight for your land”. The greatest threat to them remains large economic projects of the Federal Government. In the end, mining, infrastructure and tourism threaten their source of life –  the land.




“Te yo taln ten nanatil lux cuxul sol xchulel ten lumaltic”

The heart of our Mother Earth lives in the spirit of our people.

National Indigenous Congress, August 2014



“What we’re experiencing is a dispossession”, explains Juan Vázquez while looking at a map. He is in one of the organisation’s offices that were built in an area “recovered” by the EZLN in 1994. “Before, the chiefs were the ones who took away our land, now it is the interests and investments of the government that threaten us”. The plans for the building of a super-road threaten the ejido where they live, San Sebastián Bachajón. The road would cross and destroy their crops and communities. “The government wants to attract foreign investors to build hotels”, says Juan. “They are trying to connect the two main tourist cities of San Cristóbal de las Casas and Palenque, as well as exploiting other areas like the waterfalls of Agua Azul.


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“Chiapas is poor, poor because of bad governments”

EZLN, june 2014

“They want to dispossess us unfairly from almost 600 hectares of land that belong to us by decree, violating our rights as ejidatarios”. The former common land commissioner, Francisco Guzmán, had assigned those 600 hectares to the Government of Chiapas and to a Commission for the protection of natural areas.

He defended the tourist development of the area: “New businesses will come, and more investment. It benefits me”. The walls of his house evidence his good relations with the regional and national authorities. He poses in photographs next to governors and senior officials. Meanwhile, he reminds us that there needs to be an investment in infrastructure to progress. Francisco Guzmán had given away the common land without the authorisation of the Ejido Assembly, the main decision-making governing body. Faced with this, the ejidatarios, led once again by Juan Vázquez, filed a protection claim in the State court.


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Juan Vázquez Guzmán


“Corruption is found in the three levels of government: local, state and federal. And we only want to protect our natural resources”, reports Juan Vázquez.  The National Fund for Tourism has been trying to develop tourism in the area for more than a decade with a project including luxury hotels, golf courses and shopping areas. It was originally planned during the former State legislature of Juan Sabines and continues as part of the agenda of the current Chiapas governor, Manuel Velasco.

Manuel Velasco won the Chiapas state elections in 2012 after spending millions of dollars on campaign advertising. The poorest state of Mexico was heavily indebted by the end of the former governors’ tenure, yet Manuel Velasco spent 10 million dollars on personal promotion in his first year in office alone. The Mexican media speculates that he is preparing to run for president in the 2018 national elections. He has been dogged by many financial scandals: the Chiapas Organization of Independent Builders has reported cases of privileged treatment he gives to some businesses, most of them recently founded by family members and friends. They assure us that these companies have received multi-millionaire contacts for paving works.

“Chiapas has everything that tourists can look for. Whatever they’re looking for they’ll find here together with the warmth of the Chiapas people”, announced Velasco in a speech promoting private investments. “They want to use us as cheap labour: waiters taking orders from the tourists”, answers Juan Vázquez, “It isn’t true that this project will benefit us, they’re just trying to legitimize their plans”.

The Agua Azul waterfalls are turquoise and transparent. On the horizon you can see the dense, green jungle of this Chiapas paradise. A few tourists walk along the jungle trails, while others enjoy the fresh water. According to the project, miles of accommodation will be built here for elite tourism. “The super-road is for private vehicles, for tourists that will pay tolls”, says Juan, “It doesn’t benefit us because we do not depend on the road, but on the fields”.


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Different worlds breed different views of Chiapas: where some see money and development, others see water and land, as a continuation of their culture, history and existence. In an area rich in natural resources, the focus of the project are big hydroelectric plants, mining concessions and tourist development. Many transnational companies are trying to implement Velasco’s plan through Mexican government institutions while the people of Chiapas are excluded from their natural wealth.  According to official data from 2014, 76.2% of the population of Chiapas is poor, and 31.8% survives in extreme poverty. Malnutrition and death are commonplace, especially amongst indigenous people.

Money is just part of human ambition, but land isn’t. 

“Tourism in Chiapas has become a strategy of the rich and the government to break the resistance of the Zapatistas and other communities organised in “the Other Campaign”- the political initiative to defend indigenous rights- to facilitate the dispossession of their land”, explains Hermann.

According to his analysis, tourism is the first action in evicting the indigenous communities from their land, which will end their resistance and pave the way for other transnational companies to enter the area. “Of what use is a road like that to us?” asks Juan, “We do not have money to buy a pair of shoes and less even for a bike or a scooter. Money is just part of human ambition, but land isn’t. Someday I’ll be gone, but the land will remain forever”.



Violent evictions, threats, blows… Since the beginning of the resistance, the battle at Bachajón has had plenty of critical moments and more than 100 members of the movement have been incarcerated. According to Ricardo Lagunes, lawyer for the defence of Ejidatarios’ rights, Juan Vázquez was arrested in 2011 without a warrant, at the request of a former authority in the ejido. After a couple hours he was released without any legal documentation. “The government is authoritarian. There’s been harassment. We’ve been targets of repression because this organisation in defence of natural resources does not suit the government”, explains Juan, “They are trying to provoke a confrontation between indigenous people”.

“Our efforts are for peace, their efforts are for war”

EZLN, May 2014, Chiapas, Mexico

Since the first years of the uprising, armed groups related to political parties and businessmen have arisen. They have maintained a permanent low-intensity conflict and counter-insurgency. Some of the methods that they use to spread terror among organized communities include trespassing, death threats, torture, rape, enforced disappearance and murder. The Fray Bartolomé de las Casas Human Rights Centre has documented decades of the Chiapas conflict, including the forced displacement of over 12,000 people. According to their reports, “The Mexican government implements counter-insurgent strategies designed to erode autonomous organizations and deepen the expropriation of indigenous land”. The counter-insurgent tactics range from military strategies to economic ones. The first include the creation of paramilitary groups, according to the Plan Campaña Chiapas 1994 of the Ministry of Defence. The latter involve the targeted use of government grants to divide the Zapatista communities.
In 1997 the Acteal Massacre took place, setting a bloody milestone in the long history of paramilitary attacks in Chiapas.  According to the investigator Gilberto López, the counter-insurgency “became a clandestine arm of the army, able to undertake tasks that they cannot perform in the open. Zedillo was the one to push it forward, but the USA were the ones that showed him how to do it”. In 2006 there were 79 military bases in Mexico, with 56 of them located in Zapatista area. In spite of a truce with the EZLN, the pressure around the autonomous territory has intensified.




“The land saw us be born, gave us life and, finally, we rest in it eternally”

EZLN, August 2014


On the night of the 24th of April of 2013, tragedy hit San Sebastián Bachajón. Juan Vázquez had returned home late, after a long day’s work. He made himself a hot cup of coffee in his wooden kitchen, with a dirt floor and a tin roof. He heard a van pass by on the nearby street. Someone knocked on the door. He opened it and was greeted with six high-calibre bullets. Upon hearing the gunshots, his father and his brother ran out to see what was happening. They found Juan’s body in the yard, covered in blood. They could not hear his last words. He was already dead, at 32 years old.

 Authorities failed to respond to first-hand testimony warning of the threats directed at Juan.

No one has been arrested since. Authorities failed to respond to first-hand testimony warning of the threats directed at Juan “They said that he had to quit rallying the people or they’d kill him”, says lawyer Ricardo Lagunes. “Francisco Guzmán, the former Bachajón commissioner, told him in front of a large group of people”.

A mound of coffins pile up in Francisco Guzmán’s business. Just like in a noir novel, the former commissioner owns a funeral home called “El Triunfo”, the triumph. When we talked to him, far from regretting Juan Vázquez’s death, he justified it: “They didn’t rule an arrest warrant against him [Juan], and even if they had they wouldn’t have caught him.

He was free, so people say: there is no other solution. That is why there’s been death”. Simulating the action of loading a gun, he adds “There’s no other option but to… shoot at once”. Less than a year later, the organization lost another member. Juan Carlos Gómez, the 22-year-old regional coordinator, was ambushed and killed by more than 20 gunshots. Direct links between a paramilitary group (the OPDDIC) and Mexican authorities and army have been proved. The ejidatarios of Bachajón and the Zapatista people of the area have repeatedly reported harassment from this organization.



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On May of 2014, around 15 people attacked a Zapatista meeting with machetes, sticks and assault weapons in La Realidad. The armed group chased and killed José Luis Solís, a zapatista member. Another 15 Zapatistas were injured. The clinic and the community school were destroyed. “The paramilitaries from La Realidad are paid for, organized, directed and trained by the three levels of the “bad governments” in order to divide and provoke the Zapatista people and the Zapatista autonomous government”, reports the “Junta del Buen Gobierno”, the Zapatista “Good Government Council”, in a statement released a few days later. The attack on La Realidad was perpetrated by a different paramilitary group, Cioac-H, linked to the PRD (Democratic Revolutionary Party). According to an investigation made by the journalist Luis Hernández, “this organization has agreed on all kinds of agreements with the different governments of Chiapas”.


“We are the guardians of this land, of this country, Mexico, of this continent and of the world”

EZLN, August 2014

Despite this war against them, they continue to build an autonomous political proposal. The ejidatarios from San Sebastián Bachajón organized in “the Sexta” continue resisting. “They thought that if they killed Juan they’d finish us. But there’s many of us supporting this fight. We will continue defending our land”, reiterates Domingo Pérez, the current leader. The building of the road has been paralyzed for now, but the interests and the businesses that promote the project do not falter. It is a battle between two ways of living and feeling the land. It is a fight that, as Juan repeated, wants to “build a single where many worlds can fit”.






January 30, 2016

Chiapas, the darkness they won’t show the Pope

Filed under: Frayba, Indigenous, Paramilitary, Uncategorized, Zapatista — Tags: , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 11:57 am



Chiapas, the darkness they won’t show the Pope




Flor Goche, Desinformémonos

Pope Francis (Papa Francisco) will arrive in Chiapas on February 15th.  He will first visit San Cristobal de las Casas, a place emblematic in Mexico for the racism that is practised there on a daily basis, while paradoxically, the city is located in a valley surrounded by a combative indigenous population.



Isaac Guzman / Colectivo Tragameluz


Here he will officiate mass in the municipal sports centre, where in the entrance they will re-create the frontage of the Cathedral of San Cristobal, colourful standard of the city with its plaza full of craft workers from the area.  The official protocol is that, following the homily, the head of the Catholic church in the world will receive a Bible translated into Tsotsil from a select group of indigenous.

Afterwards, Pope Francis, during his first official visit to Mexico, will be visiting Tuxtla Gutierrez, the city that is the headquarters of the public authorities of Chiapas, where he will meet with an equally select group of believers in a sports centre of 60 thousand square metres.

Representing Mexican society, the “good indigenous” and the “good Mexican” will be there: the fragmented reality that the Mexican government wants to show the pope.

Around 100 million pesos have been allocated for the organization of the visit, all that money coming from the public purse. This represents another paradox because in Chiapas the poverty index is rising, while the education, health and infrastructure index is falling, according to the national statistics. However, the government is working hard to embellish the image of the urban city; in the field trips to identify and attack possible risks; and in the recruitment of more than 30 thousand volunteers.

However, the Catholic church no longer has hegemony in Chiapas. 60 per cent of the indigenous population are not Catholic – the indigenous population represents 50 per cent of the total population and they live in more than 70 per cent of the territory of Chiapas. Many of the indigenous are now evangelical, “an important growth” said the anthropology expert in Chiapas, Arturo Lomeli Gonzalez. In fact, the municipal president of San Cristobal de las Casas, Marco Antonio Cancino, is an evangelical.



Noe Pineda / Colectivo Tragameluz


Given that the discourse of the leadership of the Catholic Church is one of forgiveness and forgetting, we will have to be attentive to the main paradox of the papal visit to Chiapas, an entity which like many other regions of Mexico and Central America carries long-term problems, the resolution of which has been postponed for the convenience of interests of a diverse nature.

One of the main examples of this paradox is the specific case of the Maya-Tsotsil group Las Abejas of Acteal. According to Arturo Lomeli, Las Abejas is the most vulnerable organization in the whole state because, even though they keep up a fight of resistance against the government, they are not Zapatistas.

The basic demand of Las Abejas is for justice for the massacre that took place on December 22nd 1997, when 45 members of their community who were praying in church were brutally murdered. The ideology of Las Abejas “has gone beyond evangelical Catholicism” to “create their own form of religion.” They have incorporated indigenous elements and some elements from the classical Maya into traditional Catholicism.

Catholic discourse is based on the principles of forgiveness and forgetting, but Las Abejas go further and include the principle of justice. However, conservative preachers tell them that they have to leave their dead to rest in peace without justice. This is the main paradox. The Pope speaks of justice “but let’s see what happens with this case,” says Arturo Lomeli, author of Las instituciones político religiosas de los pueblos indios de Chiapas.

According to Pedro Faro Navarro, Director of the Human Right Centre Fray Bartolome de las Casas (Frayba) located in San Cristobal de las Casas, in the Chiapas of governor Manuel Velasco Coello -current president and member of the Green Ecologist Party of Mexico (PVEM)- “the whole picture is fairly dark and it seems to be getting more complicated through a sustained, corrupt and evil institutional action to generate violent scenarios.”

As a consequence, among the 13 indigenous Maya and Zoque peoples in the state there is “a strong humanitarian and human right crisis and a persistent denial and concealment of the conflicts, which are being administered, instead of resolved.”

This dark scenario is one that the Pope Francis is not going to see. Nor will he see that of the control and continuous plunder of their land, which exists today due to the imposition of the structural reforms, and is worsening and becoming “fertile ground.”

However, faced with this difficult situation, different ways arise of defending territory, which is “the backbone of the indigenous communities” and life: the ways of the Zapatista movement, and those of the adherents of the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandona Jungle, and, in general, all the movements and efforts that support autonomies.



Carla Morales / Colectivo Tragameluz


In contrast, with the leadership of the Catholic Church far away from the reality of the people, Frayba –a secular organization inspired by Catholic Church and founded by Bishop Samuel Ruiz Garcia- articulates itself with “the church of the faithful people (el pueblo creyente)” which according to Pedro Faro “is strong, dynamic and active because it is a church that asserts the historic demands of the indigenous communities.”

In an interview with Desinformémonos, both Arturo Lomeli and Pedro Faro talk about the main problems of the southern Mexican state and its people, who are mainly indigenous. This scenario, however, is not going to be shared with the Pope in his visit.

Territorial dispossession caused by mega-projects, militarisation, paramilitarism, ungovernability, forced displacement, surveillance and harassment against those who defend human rights, torture, unjust imprisonment, feminicide, migration, presence of criminal groups.

Arturo Lomeli said that “not even with all the prayers of the Pope, will the violence and all the problems stop.”


Over the Chiapas landscape an increasing number of mega-projects that involve dispossession are currently being planned. Mining, infrastructure, tourism, highways and renewable energy, these projects are reinforced by the new structural reforms.

Referring to mining concessions, it is well known that already 200 concessions have been given, mainly in the region of the frontier with Guatemala and the northern part of the state. According to Arturo Lomeli, mining itself is not the main issue, but the way they exploit the landscape. It is “extractive capitalism that destroys the territory.”

Pedro Faro says that mega-projects violate the communities which defend their autonomy. They also violate the rights of the indigenous communities, such as the right to consultation, which have been granted by national and international laws. “Indigenous communities are clear that they don’t want these projects because they mean that their sacred territories, their ancestral lands and their forests will be taken away.”


Even though, as Arturo Lomeli says, “in political terms there is a respectful discourse towards Zapatismo, the reality is different.”

Frayba affirms that incursions by the Mexican Army, particularly in Zapatista territory, continue, along with the monitoring and military harassment towards the Zapatista Junta de Buen Gobierno in la Realidad.

To date, Pedro Faro confirms, Chiapas is the state which has the largest number of military camps. Just in the grey area or conflict zone there are around 72 camps. The military occupation is like the “war strategy of the hammer and the anvil, whose main objective is to fence in the Zapatista movement.”

Paramilitarism and new forms of counter-insurgency

At least six paramilitary groups have been acknowledged in Chiapas since the emergence of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN). Their worst actions date from the 1990s, a period in which they were strongly supported by the State, when paramilitary groups were responsible for the displacement, execution and disappearance of people, but they were never fully dismantled.



Noe Pineda / Colectivo Tragameluz


Paramilitarism is maintained thanks to the “wall of impunity” which is sustained by the Mexican State. The groups and the weapons are still there and they reappear when the government considers it necessary, as in the case, for example, in the municipality of Tila, says Pedro Faro.

Since 2000, Frayba has identified a change in the official counter-insurgency strategy, which in the past was operated in a privileged manner through paramilitary groups. Now co-optation and social programmes are the favourite tools used by the government.

In respect of co-optation, Pedro Faro says that several organizations that previously were identified as left wing, have dramatically changed the orientation of their politics in exchange for handouts. This, for example, is the case with the Central Independiente de Obreros Agrícolas y Campesinos Histórica, which in 2014 declared itself to have self-defence groups, which today, with all the support of the government, are responsible for aggressions and displacements against various communities.

These groups prevail, above all, “in Zapatista regions or where there are new projects claiming autonomy or generating an alternative to the capitalist system”, he points out.

Arturo Lomeli elaborates on this theme. He says that in the 1990s, around 70 thousand hectares were occupied by Zapatista groups. Some of them were occupied with the help of certain left wing organizations. However, following the co-optation by the Government of the leaders of these organizations (among them, the Organización Campesina Emiliano Zapata, the Coalición de Organizaciones Autónomas de Ocosingo and the Asociación Rural de Interés Colectivo), at the beginning of the year 2000 they started evicting Zapatista families from around 70 places located in the municipalities of Chilón, Tila, Yajalon, Sitalá, Ocosingo and Las Margaritas.


In seven communities in Chiapas: Oxchuc, Chanal, Huixtan, San Juan Chamula, Ixtapa and Altamirano, there is, to a greater or lesser extent, a situation of ungovernability and violence perpetrated by the State.

The conflicts originate in struggles between the political elites that have to do, for example, with the imposition of various municipal presidents from the PVEM, the political party that is governing the state.

These are places where “simulated democracy”, “neo-liberal democracy”, is more apparent. Places where the official positions are inherited between families, either congenitally or through political relations; in addition, in these places the manipulation and purchase of consciences rules, in line with the worst practices of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), says Pedro Faro.

In this regard, Arturo Lomeli clarifies that alongside the indigenous world of the Zapatista left, there is also an important sector articulated with the political system, which depends on the projects and on government support. It is the indigenous pro-government world; the one that participates in the “receiving things fairs” in exchange for votes.

Forced Displacement

According to Frayba, there have been at least four recent forced displacements in Chiapas which involved some 70 families: Viejo Velasco (2006), San Marcos Avilés (2010), Banavil (2011), Primero de Agosto (2012). These displacements are mainly related to internal armed conflicts organized by the State through power groups.

There are other displacements related to religious conflicts or the imposition of mega-projects.

As a consequence of the construction of the Chichoasen II hydroelectric dam, the people of the municipality are currently living with the risk of forced displacement

Monitoring and aggression against defenders

A symbol of “State terrorism”, in 2015, Frayba was aware of the following cases of vigilance and aggression against defenders of human rights: harassment toward the Centro de Derechos Humanos de la Mujer de Chiapas; three raids and various damages against the Servicio Internacional para la Paz; a raid on the home of Julio Ortega, member of the Comisión Sexta of the EZLN; assaults, death threats and defamation against Father Marcelo Perez and the Parish Council of Simojovel, who have revealed the criminal powers that operate in the region; infiltration by some members of the Army in order to engage in espionage, as happened in a caravan of solidarity with La Realidad.

Frayba, in fact, has many precautionary measures from the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights, due to the constant surveillance they have experienced, not to mention the obstruction of their work documenting the inside of the prisons.


In 2015, Frayba documented 17 cases of torture, mainly against males. The pattern identified is as follows: before the torture begins, local authorities use excessive physical force to make an arbitrary detention. Their main objective is incrimination for certain prefabricated criminal offences.

Previously, the favourite targets for torture were the social fighters. Today it is generalized and used indiscriminately against anyone who expresses any claim, or even against those who were accidentally just passing by a protest.

Unjust Imprisonment

Although Frayba is not aware of any recent case of political prisoners in the state, Pedro Faro says that prisons in Chiapas are full of people who are unjustly imprisoned. Many of them, he explains, are indigenous imprisoned because they don’t have a lawyer, through false accusations, or simply because of their condition of marginalization and poverty.

The defender highlights the poor prison conditions and the violations of due process which are characteristic of these cases. And he adds: “The state prisons are being transformed into areas of torture and terror to break a human being”.


Currently Frayba is following two cases of feminicide perpetrated in the state. Pedro Faro comments on the increasing number of these cases where “government actions are derisory” since the state institutions, “grounded in a patriarchal system”, allow and tolerate violence toward women.



Fabian Vidal / Colectivo Tragameluz



Although migration took an upturn at the end of the 1990s, between 2000 and 2005 the phenomenon has seen a decline, derived from various causes. Even so, most of the income of families in Chiapas comes from remittances, comments Arturo Lomeli.

Migration is an excuse for the prolongation of the military presence in Chiapas and also brings other problems as a consequence, such as crime and people trafficking.

Criminal groups

Despite the official discourse that Chiapas is one of the safest states in Mexico, Frayba states that the presence of criminal groups is evident, particularly in the border area: in Tapachula and Palenque. Pedro Faro says: “state authorities are not doing anything to dismantle these groups. The Army and the local government protects them and the local press hides them.”

Translated by the UK Zapatista Translation Collective



January 15, 2016

Ejido Tila denounces “paramilitary cell and government lies”

Filed under: Autonomy, Indigenous, Paramilitary — Tags: , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 12:23 pm



Ejido Tila denounces “paramilitary cell and government lies”



@La Otra Ejido Tila


In a public statement on January 5, 2016, the Tila ejido, adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle, reported the names and surnames of those who form “a small cell of paramilitary groups who have been organizing inside” their ejido. They also claimed that, “the political landscape is full of lies” on the part of the “current mayor of Tila, Chiapas Prof. Edgar Leopoldo Gómez Gutiérrez,” and that “on a number of occasions the removal of the town council had been requested and this request had not been heeded.” As a result, on December 16, 2015, they noted that, “the general assembly that makes the agreements has tired of so many problems that the town hall brings us, and decision making was being done by the assembly, which was working peacefully, formed by thousands of ejidatarios (communal landholders). The ejidatarios also publically denounced “Oscar Sánchez Alpuche, government undersecretary […] as being one of those responsible for reorganizing and regrouping the paramilitary groups to attack the social organizations that struggle in defence of land and territory […] jailing and disappearing as a strategy to subdue social campaigners.”

In spite of the difficulties within their ejido, they assured that they will continue to demand respect and we will not tire, because here is an ejido community and head of the non-municipal Ch’ol people of Tila, it [the town hall] does not certify its legal possession so to find a solution it must respect our rights because we have all our documentation. Our highest authority, which is the general assembly of the ejidatarios as a people, expelled the town hall council and it was not the decision of the Commissioner for Communal Lands as the bad government is saying, let that be clear.” They asked that, “the various non-government organizations and defenders of human rights be alert to what is happening in the Tila ejido.”



January 9, 2016

Paramilitaries in Mexico Silencing Indigenous Community

Filed under: Acteal, Indigenous, Paramilitary — Tags: , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 12:16 pm



Paramilitaries in Mexico Silencing Indigenous Community



Hundreds of Indigenous people demonstrate to mark the anniversary of the 1997 massacre. Experts say the same climate of fear exists in Tila today. | Photo: Reuters


Paramilitary groups have long been used by the state in Chiapas to deal with social conflicts in the region, specialists say.

The Indigenous population near the town of Tila in Mexico’s southern state of Chiapas say they will not stop fighting for their land to be returned to them, even when faced with violence and intimidation from paramilitary groups.

teleSUR correspondent Fernando Camacho reported Thursday that tension was mounting in the town of Tila as the Chol Indigenous community continue to fight for their land in the face of the growing presence of paramilitary groups.

“We live in fear because many masked paramilitaries entered here and the population could not go out into the streets because we had to be careful,” one Chol community member told teleSUR.

According to the Chol community, some 130 hectares of land was illegally taken from them three decades ago in order to create the municipality of Tila. They argue this is a violation of their rights.

When the community “started to raise their voices for the return of their land, irregular armed groups began to appear,” reported Camacho, adding that paramilitaries have acted in violent ways to fix problems in the community that local authorities failed to resolve.

“Historically in Chiapas, paramilitary groups have been the means of counterinsurgency used by the state government, with the endorsement of the federal government obviously, to deal with conflicts in the region and to support the argument that they are conflicts between communities,” Magdalena Gomez, a specialist on indigenous issues in the region, told teleSUR.

The latter, added Gomez, was one tactic used by the government to explain the massacre in 1997 in the nearby town of Acteal. Paramilitaries entered the town and killed 45 men, women and children, in what authorities said was a conflict between communities.

The same climate of confrontation and threats exists in Tila today, said the academic.

Mexican authorities have denied the existence of paramilitaries in the region.–20160108-0021.html



January 6, 2016

Ejidatario shot in Tila amid accusations of revival of Peace and Justice paramilitary group

Filed under: Autonomy, Indigenous, Paramilitary, Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 6:27 pm


Ejidatario shot in Tila amid accusations of revival of Peace and Justice paramilitary group



Photo @ La Otra Ejido Tila


Between December 18 and 26, ejidatarios (communal landholders) from Tila, adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle, released a number of communiqués updating information about the situation in the area after the announcement of the collapse of the municipal presidency. They denied reports from local media that they attacked the homes of residents of Tila, stating that, “It is completely false as they are used to lying and the residents themselves are witnesses that this never happened.” They also denied that the general secretary of the Ch’ol-Tseltal government intervened in a dialogue for social peace “because there was no violence and, even less, confrontation.” They noted that “There is no group of ejidatarios with Molotov cocktails and neither were there threats from any group and it is regrettable to have an authority without legality that wants to confuse the population with lies and deceits.”

 On another note, they complained that on December 20 the current chief of the municipal police of Tila started filming the ejidatarios while they were carrying out cleaning work, provoking unrest “and the people began to gather and this was when he fled by taxi,” but when he was reached “he took out his pistol” and shot a landholder, who is still recovering, in the stomach. The indigenous and peasant farmer Ch’ol women who organized in defence of social property produced their own communiqué in which they implied that the said chief of the municipal police “takes his orders from the town hall, the same that has reactivated masked and armed paramilitaries who patrol at set times of the night intimidating the ejidatario authorities, women and men who struggle and resist.”

Likewise, they accused the lord mayor of reviving the paramilitary group Development, Peace and Justice (Peace and Justice) along with a number of people from the area of Tila, where, between 1995 and 2000, Peace and Justice were responsible for 86 executions (79 men and seven women), 37 forced disappearances (32 men and five women), and the forced displacement of over 4,000 people.




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