dorset chiapas solidarity

December 15, 2016

Lawyer for Yaqui Tribe Fighting Mexico’s DAPL Kidnapped

Filed under: Displacement, water — Tags: , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 5:26 pm



Lawyer for Yaqui Tribe Fighting Mexico’s DAPL Kidnapped


abogada-maria-anabela-carlon-flores-jpg_1718483346Human Rights lawyer and legal representative for the Yaqui Tribe, Anabela Carlon Flores | Photo: Radio Popular Enrique Torres


Yaqui tribe lawyer was kidnapped on her way to a community meeting to plan the next steps in their fight against the U.S.-Mexico Agua Prieta pipeline.

On Tuesday a group of masked men kidnapped at gunpoint Anabela Carlon Flores, a lawyer for the Yaqui tribe, who are facing increasingly violent repression in their fight against the cross-border Agua Prieta pipeline in Northern Mexico.

Anabela Carlon Flores told reporters she was driving with her husband to a community meeting in the Yaqui community of Bacum on Tuesday at approximately 7 p.m. when their car was stopped by a group of armed masked men. She and her husband were blindfolded and put in another car where the human rights lawyer was told to “stop fucking around.” She was later dropped on the outskirts of nearby Ciudad Obregon, while the kidnappers held on to her husband, Isabel Lugo Molina, who remains captive. Carlon Flores said she fears for his life.

The incident is the latest in a series of escalating attacks on members of the Yaqui Tribe who are opposing the construction of the Texas-based Sempra Energy pipeline project, which aims to bring natural gas from Arizona to the Mexican state of Sonora, crossing Yaqui territory.

On Oct. 21, a Yaqui encampment set up to block construction was attacked by an armed group of pipeline supporters leaving one killed. Some Yaqui Tribe members from neighbouring communities support the project, but those protesting the project say they are simply acting on behalf of the government and pipeline company. Teodulo Gonzalez, commissioner for the defence of land, water and human rights of the Yaqui tribe, said at the time, “It was a provocation by the state government and the IENova company (the Mexican partner of Sempra Energy) to finish with the defence of the territory.”

In November, with the help of Carlon Flores, the community won a temporary moratorium on pipeline construction, successful arguing that the project, undertaken without full, prior, and informed consent of the Yaqui people, is a violation of Yaqui sovereignty, which is also protected under Mexican law. Despite the moratorium, construction activities reportedly continue.

Despite her kidnapping and fears for the life of her partner, Carlon Flores remained defiant, telling reporters on Wednesday, “I think no company and no public servants are interested in respecting Mexican law. What interests them here is to do business, no matter the rights of Mexicans and even less of Indigenous peoples.”


Posted by Dorset Chiapas Soldarity



December 14, 2016

From Mexico City, Mexico: Pronouncement From John Gibler In Support Of The Sexta Bachajón

Filed under: Autonomy, Bachajon, Corporations, Displacement, Tourism, water — Tags: , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 4:49 pm


From Mexico City, Mexico: Pronouncement from John Gibler in support of the Sexta Bachajón 

Week of Worldwide Action in Solidarity with the Ejidatarios of San Sebastián Bachajón, from 4th to 10th December 2016



Capitalism and its bad governments, as is well-known, have an infamous ability to turn beauty into destruction and pain. Murder, displaced communities, fallen trees, and poisoned water and land, all for so called “luxury hotels”. Everything just to be able to sell tickets to a parade of tourists who will pay to take their picture in front of Agua Azul waterfalls, beneath the subjective gaze that seeks conquest, and further disconnection from natural life.

Also well-known is the strength of the people’s ability to live among beauty, plant their cornfield beside the waterfalls, enjoy and care for life, water, and land with the work and affection typical of farming life.

And there is the struggle. The women and men, compañeras and compañeros, from San Sebastián Bachajón, are there resisting invasion, struggling against displacement, while taking care of life.

I send you all my respect and hugs, compañeros and compañeras.

The struggle continues!

John Gibler



November 19, 2016

Indigenous begin a 12-day pilgrimage against mega-projects in Chiapas.



Indigenous begin a 12-day pilgrimage against mega-projects in Chiapas.





By: Isaín Mandujano

More than a thousand indigenous Choles, Tseltales and Tsotsiles left this Tuesday morning from Salto de Agua, in a pilgrimage that will tour 11 municipalities (municipios) to denounce and protest against the mega-projects that threaten their lands and the life of their communities.

Throughout 12 days, the indigenous will be added to in each one of the municipios through which the march will travel until arriving in San Cristóbal de Las Casas. Today, they left Salto de Agua for Tumbalá where a traditional celebration will be held. They will spend Wednesday night in Yajalón, where they will hold the forum “The Original Peoples’ Fight” from the experience of Pueblo Creyente of Simojovel.

 On Thursday they will be in Chilón, where they will participate in the forum “The fight for the defence of water.” On Friday, the caravan will depart for Ocosingo, where the forum “Care of Mother Earth” will be held. On Saturday, they will be in Altamirano where they will hold the forum “Alcoholism in the indigenous communities.” On Sunday, November 20, the marchers will spend the night in Oxchuc where they will hold the forum “Community Governments.”

On Monday the 21st, they will be in Cancuc, where a traditional indigenous ceremony will be celebrated. On Tuesday the 22nd they will arrive in Tenejapa, where the auxiliary bishop of the San Cristóbal de Las Casas Diocese, Enrique Díaz Díaz, will head a traditional religious ceremony. On Wednesday the 23rd they will be in Huixtán to celebrate the forum “Government projects in the indigenous communities.”

On November the 24th, they will arrive in La Candelaria, a rural community within the municipio of San Cristóbal de Las Casas, where they will celebrate another traditional indigenous ceremony and dialogue about the situations that threaten their community life. On Friday the 25th, they will finally arrive in the central plaza of San Cristóbal de Las Casas, where the gathering of thousands of marchers that have added themselves to movement is expected.

The Movement in Defence of Life and Territory (Modevite) called for this march and pilgrimage, composed of 10 parishes of 11 municipios. For the las four years, the Pueblo Creyente of the Diocese of San Cristóbal have organized in defence of their territory. They have achieved the stopping of the construction of the Palenque-San Cristóbal superhighway, which would have crossed through their territory. Their objective now is to decide the use and destiny of their territory, principally in the face of threats from the extractive industry and the mega-projects.

“We know our rights as original peoples. We seek to unify our voices and our efforts against the ambition of the impresarios and the government that covet our natural resources,” says Father Marcelo Pérez Pérez.

“We are in a strategic place for the mega-projects. This territory is one the objectives of extractivism,” he added.

For example, Father Marcelo says, in the Tulijá (River) Valley they plan to construct an artificial lake that will flood 396 square kilometres of forests and indigenous lands. The lake would have the capacity of 24 billion 540 million cubic meters, which contemplates the construction of “modern industrial, small farming and aquifer population centres” on the sides of the dam.”

“We don’t want projects that only benefit some, we don’t want projects without consulting us, we don’t want improvements for the rich while the poor continue in the same condition,” another indigenous Ch’ol speaker said today before departing for Tumbalá.

“We seek to organize the peoples to construct our autonomy; that our right as original peoples to the life that we want is recognized. We need to join our voices in defence of our forests, our rivers. We demand the governments stop the extractive industry and the mega-projects that are being imposed without consulting us,” Father Marcelo Pérez Pérez stated.


Originally Published in Spanish by

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Re-published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee

Posted by Dorset Chiapas Solidarity




November 8, 2016

CNI, All Flying Together

Filed under: CNI, Indigenous, La Sexta, Repression, water, Zapatistas — Tags: , , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 2:02 pm



CNI, All Flying Together




Luis Hernández Navarro 

Wine consumption in Mexico has gone up in the last ten years. Its consumers have grown significantly. The sweet nectar has ceased to be the tipple of executives with high purchasing power and more and more women and young people are drinking it. But behind a few of the glasses of wine savoured in this country, lies a bitter tale of dispossession. Nearly 30% of national production comes from Baja California, and there, one of the most important wine companies in the country, LA Cetto, dispossessed and invaded lands belonging to the Kiliwa people. It intends to claim ownership of national lands that do not belong to it.

The Kiliwa are one of the five originary peoples of what is now Baja California. The company LA Cetto intends to claim legal ownership of national lands in possession of the indigenous group. The winemakers are aided by the complicity of the Agrarian Bureau (Procuraduría Agraria), which on two occasions has “lost” the files that show that the native dwellers are in the right.

As the Kiliwa chief Elías Espinoza Álvarez denounced, the agrarian authorities themselves are the ones putting pressure on the indigenous people so that we give in to the businessmen and accept unjust and inequitable conditions in contracts. As if that weren’t bad enough, the National Water Commission (Comisión Nacional del Agua – CONAGUA) gives this company special treatment, having authorised it to dig a well for drinking water, while denying the same for the indigenous people. And on top of that, LA Cetto has blocked right of way on a route the locals have always used.

Something similar is going on with fruit and vegetables for export, cultivated thanks to indigenous labour in Michoacán, Sinaloa and Baja California. Behind the strawberries, cranberries, blackberries and raspberries, the rocket, endives and chicory, the many varieties of tomato that are used to create succulent dishes, lies a long history of grievances.

The names of the companies and businessmen who reap the riches of these feasts are well known. Until a short time ago it was the pleasure of the Secretary of Rural Development of Guanajuato, Javier Usabiaga, nicknamed The Garlic King. Or there’s the transnational Driscolls, who’ve been in and out of the dock thanks to popular boycotts.

The indigenous labourers who plant the seeds of these culinary riches suffer a level of exploitation equivalent to that suffered by their ancestors during the Porfiriato (turn of the century dictatorial regime of Porfirio Díaz). Pitiful salaries and interminable working days are the rule. They have no paid holidays, social security or days off. Instead of going to school, their small children work alongside them in the fields. They normally live packed into huts or in modest houses that lack basic amenities. Clean drinking water tends to be a luxury.

But the inhuman exploitation which the indians suffer goes unnoticed in Mexican society. It’s “normal”. From time to time, as with the strike by agricultural labourers from San Quintín, the world realises they exist. Once in a while, it is reported that Rarámuris or Mixtecos live in conditions comparable to slavery in ranches in Jalisco, Colima or Ensenada. But more often, they are as imperceptible as Garabombo, Manuel Escorza’s famous character.

As in the case of the wine or the blackberries, behind a cup of coffee it’s not unusual to find a story of dispossessed originary peoples. 70% of cultivators of the bean in Mexico are indigenous people, who generally have plots of no more than two hectares. Coffee-growing is their way of life and the backbone of their existence. But transnational companies, colluding with the government, are trying to have these coffee producers abandon their livelihoods, or plant low quality types of coffee.

Recently, Cirilo Elotlán and Fernando Celis, of the National Coordinator of Coffee-Growing Organisations, decried the fact that poor provision of agricultural support is trumped by government and businesses encouraging growers to lose heart and abandon their crops, so that the companies can monopolise production and the market. “We’ve had no end of threats from the big commercial brands”, they explain, “largely because they want production to go up, sacrificing the work of the growers, our fields and biodiversity, to the interests of transnational businesses.”

The old coffee plantations are being flattened by a combination of plagues and voracious businesses. Until recently, coffee plantations were protected by the shade offered by other plants (chalahuites, citrus trees, ixpepeles, gourds, banana plants and jinicuiles). Today they are but a shadow of their former selves.

Amongst others, there are two main big companies involved: Nestlé and Coca-Cola. Apart from coffee, Nestlé sells artificial flavourings and promotes the substitution of arabica for robusta, a poorer quality bean they need for their blends. Coca-Cola, through the brand Andatti, sold in their 10,000 Oxxo shops, has inundated the market with poor coffee.

In the third forum of originary peoples of the Tarahumara sierra in defence of their territories, Rarámuris and Odamis recognised that their main problems are the dispossession of their lands, the exploitation of their natural reserves and the intervention of transnational and local businesses. They agreed the need to all fly together (all the indigenous peoples), to be collectively stronger. The Kiliwas and agricultural labourers have come to similar conclusions, as have the small-scale coffee growers and hundreds of communities all over the country.

Made invisible by the powerful, the organised originary peoples together with the National Indigenous Congress (Congreso Nacional Indígena; CNI) and EZLN will today discuss whether to support the candidacy of an indigenous woman in the 2018 presidential elections. A candidacy that forces Mexican society to take a look at itself. A candidacy that speaks not only of poverty and inequality, but of exploitation, dispossession and discrimination. A candidacy that allows them all fly together, to be collectively stronger.

Twitter: @lhan55

Translated by Ruby Zazac for the UK Zapatista Translation Servive



November 2, 2016

Coca Cola is killing indigenous people

Filed under: Corporations, Indigenous, water — Tags: — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 5:44 pm



Coca Cola is killing indigenous people



By Administrador Regeneración on 5 October, 2016

An alarming epidemic of overweight and obesity is causing serious illness among indigenous populations. Big soft drinks companies like Coca Cola-Femsa and Pepsi-Pesico – with their junk food products – are the cause.

This September, a group of students studying nutrition at the Tec de Monterrey university have been carrying out blood tests among the indigenous Mazahua inhabitants from San Jose del Rincon, in Mexico State.

While there are houses in this town without a supply of drinking water, you can still find a red soft drink bottle on their table. Guadalupe Sanchez provides an example of the resulting problem. At 47 years old, the glucose level in her blood is already twice the safe limit, a common occurrence in this town.

“We find high levels of hyperglycaemia. It’s a result of the high consumption of sweet drinks and processed food, and the lack of necessary nutrients” says Yaremi Gutierrez, the professor leading the study. The Mazahua people of Mexico State are abandoning their millennia-old diet, based on vegetables and plants, in favour of junk food. This marriage of poverty, exclusion and junk food is lethal. “It affects children in particular. What we’re finding here is are two causes of illness: malnutrition combined with overweight.

Mexico is experiencing an epidemic of fat and sugar. Seven out of ten adults are overweight or obese, as are one in three children. It is the second most overweight country in the world, exceeded only by the United States. According to OMS, Mexicans consume more soft drinks than any other country – 163 litres per year – and have the highest mortality rate from diabetes in Latin America.

“Diabetes used to be a rare disease which only affected those with genetic disposition to it, and older people”, says Abelardo Avila, a doctor at the Salvador Zubiran National Institute for Medical Science and Nutrition. “But in the last 30 years, cases have grown explosively, to the extent that half a million Mexicans have died from diabetes in the last six years. Within this overall panorama, the indigenous population is the most vulnerable, and presents one of the highest incidences of the disease. Previously, they were protected by their poverty, because it meant they had to feed themselves from what they could grow. From 2010 however the soft drink companies expanded, with the aim of placing refrigerators in villages where there is electricity, and by encouraging the use of public subsidies to promote consumption of these products.”

In the small convenience shops, which are found in every village street, a litre of milk – when it’s available – costs sixteen pesos. A three litre bottle of Coca Cola costs thirty-five pesos, and unbranded soft drinks cost twenty pesos. Diabetes in turn unleashes a series of other maladies. These include blindness, caused by diabetic retinopathy, and, kidney malfunction, leading to what is known as “elephant’s foot”– where a glut of glucose affects the nerves, leading to a loss of feeling in the joints. This latter illness has led to 75,000 amputations in the last year, according to Consumer Power, an NGO.

“The worst of it is that while diabetes is a controllable illness, lack of access to medical services leaves this population very exposed” says Yaremi Gutierrez from the Tec de Monterrey. A group of women have walked an hour down the mountain from their village to reach the only clinic in the area, but the doctor isn’t there. The nearest hospital is another hour’s drive by car. Furthermore, dialysis isn’t covered by Seguro Popular, the government health insurance programme for informal workers such as peasants. Paying privately costs between 2,000 and 6,000 pesos [i.e. beyond the means of the poor].

Ildefonso Alvarez has worked for two years with communities through his NGO, Concreta. “It’s easier to find Coca Cola here than it is to find medical services, clean water or good health” he says. Oliver de Schutter, the UN’s envoy on the Right to Food has spoken of the cocacola-isation of consumption habits in Mexico. “In 2017, public services will need to spend 5.6 billion US dollars a year to treat diabetes. This is the result of public policies that have failed to address the seriousness of this problem” he said in a recent documentary produced by NGOs in Mexico.

Last year the government introduced a special tax on sugary drinks, following the example of other countries. Though this has generated resources, consumption has barely fallen.

There’s no drinkable water in the house of Tomasa Rodriguez and Hilario Cruz. They buy a 20 litre container of water from the shop each week. They have asked the mayor to build a well for years, as other communities in the area have these. Cruz has just come out of hospital: “I was in a very bad state, I could hardly eat” he says. “He has soft drinks, and also pulque and beer” says his wife. He had to have his intestines cleaned after suffering severe constipation. He has been forbidden from drinking soft drinks or alcohol, and only drinks water and a herb known as Donkey’s Leaf. Eaten raw or taken as an infusion, its bitterness invades the mouth, and is more effective than kryptonite.



October 31, 2016

Calendar for the 5th Congress of the CNI and the Gathering “Zapatistas and ConSciences for Humanity.”

Filed under: Frayba, Indigenous, Marcos, water, Women, Zapatistas — Tags: , , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 12:49 pm


Calendar for the 5th Congress of the CNI and the Gathering “Zapatistas and ConSciences for Humanity.”





October 26, 2016.

To the invited and attending Scientists of the Gathering “Zapatistas and ConSciences for Humanity”:

To the compañeras, compañeros, compañeroas of the National and International Sixth:

Brothers and sisters:

We send you greetings. We write to inform you of the following:

First: Per instructions from the National Indigenous Congress, which at the moment is consulting with the originary peoples, barrios, tribes, and nations throughout Mexico on the proposal made during the first phase of the Fifth Congress, we inform you that the permanent assembly of the CNI will be reinstated December 29, 2016, at CIDECI-UNITIERRA in San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas.

There the CNI will hold roundtable sessions on December 30 and 31 of this year. During these sessions, or before then if the CNI so chooses, the results of the consultation will be made known. On January 1, 2017, the plenary assembly will take place in Oventik, Chiapas, Mexico, and any agreements necessary will be made there.




The compañeras and compañeros of the originary peoples, barrios, tribes, and nations who make up the National Indigenous Congress inform us that they have financial difficulties that impede their travel to this meeting, and so they request solidarity donations from the national and international Sixth, as well as from any honest people who want to support them in this way. To offer this support, the compas of the CNI ask that people communicate directly with them at the following email: From there they will explain where and how to send support.

Of course, if you think that by meeting, thinking, and deciding collectively on their path and destiny the compas of the CNI are playing into the hands of the right and endangering the u-n-s-t-o-p-p-a-b-l-e advance of the institutional left, you can make your support conditional on their obeying you, or add a note to your contribution saying something like, “I’m going to give you these 2 pesos, but don’t let yourselves be fooled and manipulated by that sockhead.” [i]

Or you can just make your donation and try, like the rest of us, to learn from them.

Second: We also take this opportunity to confirm that the Gathering “Zapatistas and ConSciences for Humanity” will be celebrated at the times and places originally announced:

From December 25, 2016 to January 4, 2017 at the facilities of CIDECI-UNITIERRA in San Cristóbal de las Casas, Mexico, with an intermission on December 31, 2016 and January 1, 2017. If you are interested in attending as a listener or observer, you can register to attend at this email:

Thus the presentations about the exact and natural Sciences and the work sessions of the National Indigenous Congress will take place simultaneously.

That’s all for now.16_16submarcos2definitivaweb2

Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés.

Subcomandante Insurgente Galeano.

Mexico, October 2016.

From the Notebook of the Cat-Dog, section titled “neither stories nor legends”:

What Doctor John H. Watson will not tell.

Mountains of the Mexican southeast. It is raining a lot. You can just barely make out the shouts of those who continue working to make holes in the wall, giving each other instructions. There are some who have poorly protected themselves from the downpour with plastic ponchos, but most are just wearing soaked shirts, blouses, skirts and pants, raining once again over the earth.

The wall extends as far as the eye can reach. Despite its apparent strength, every so often there is a crease along its long curtain. It is said that those who inhabit these lands claim that the wall is capable of regenerating itself, and so they must not cease their efforts to keep a crack open. After consulting histories and legends that circulate among the inhabitants, it is concluded that the purpose of the wall is not just to keep them from seeing or crossing to the other side; it also convinces those who encounter it that there is nothing beyond it, that the world ends there, at the feet of its solid base and in the face of the infinite expanse, in length and height, of its surface.

Outside one of the huts near the wall, a little girl watches with her chin resting on one of her hands. Her eyes aren’t focused on the arrogant wall, but rather on the feet of those who strike and scratch at the wall. Or really, she is looking at the ground covered in mud and puddles.

gato-perro-1-21A little behind her, a strange being, similar to a dog, or to a cat, shelters itself in the threshold of the hut. The little girl turns to look at it and says: “Hey you, cat-dog, what, you scared of the rain? Not me. They don’t call me ‘Defensa Zapatista’ for nothing. You think that if we’re in the middle of a game and it starts raining we’re going to say, “oh no, I better get off the field or I’ll get wet?” No way. You can just fix your hair with your hand, and since it’s wet it stays smooth and forget about the rest. But it’s not like I fix it like that so I can go around flirting with fucking men. It’s so I can see when the ball comes and goes. If I don’t fix it, I can’t see. And it doesn’t matter if you’re in the hut, even if you’re a cat or a dog, you’re still going to get wet. Look, I just got an idea.”

The little girl enters the hut and then comes out with some pots, buckets, and empty tin cans. She starts placing them beneath the little streams of water dripping from the edges of the tin roof. It would seem as if she was positioning them randomly, but no. Every little bit she changes their location. The being whom the little girl calls the “cat-dog” barks and meows. The little girl looks at it and says: “Just wait, you’ll see what I’m doing.”

The little girl keeps changing the location of the pots and cans and, with each change, she mutes the sound of the raindrops hitting their surface. The little girl listens for a moment and then goes back to changing the places and sounds of this strange symphony.

She is immersed in this task when a pair of men arrive. One is tall and gangly, the other is shorter in stature, of average build. Both carry fine umbrellas and the taller one wears an elegant coat, some type of cap, and a curved pipe between his lips. They say nothing, they just watch the little girl come and go. At some point, the gangly one with the elegant overcoat coughs and says: “Excuse me miss, will you allow me to shelter you with my umbrella? That way you won’t get wet while you…while you do whatever it is you’re doing.” The little girl stares at him with hostility and responds, “My name isn’t ‘miss,’ it’s ‘Defensa Zapatista’ (the little girl puts on her best “get away from my pots and cans or you die” face). “And what I’m doing is making a song.” The man comments as if to himself: “hmm, a song, how interesting my dear Watson, how interesting.” The other man just affirms with a nod while he shelters himself in the doorframe, eyeing the dog suspiciously…well, the cat…well, whatever it is that’s next to him in the threshold.




The man with the strange cap observes attentively the coming and going of the little girl. All of a sudden his face lights up and he exclaims, “Of course! Elementary. A song. It couldn’t be any other way.”

And, turning to the person who now shares the small space out of the rain with the cat-dog, he says, “Pay attention, Watson, here you have something which could never be found in one of those vulgar popularizations of the detective’s science with which you torment your few readers, that is, if you have any at all. Observe carefully. What the young miss…cough…cough…I meant to say, what ‘Defensa Zapatista’ is doing is combining the principles of mathematics, physics, biology, anatomy and neurology. By changing the positions of these strange metal receptacles and placing them beneath different rivulets of water, she obtains different individual sounds which together produce distinct combinations of notes which, I infer, will become a melody. Then, changing the rhythms, she will have music and from there, elementary my dear Watson, a song. Bravo!” The man has passed his umbrella to the other man under the doorframe and applauds with enthusiasm.

The little girl has left her work for a moment and stopped to listen to the man. After the applause, the little girl asks, “you mean a ton [ii] right?”

“A ton?” repeats the man, and then after thinking about it a bit exclaims: “Of course! Ton, tune. Yes, miss, a tune and not a ton, although it’s true that there are some tunes that are very heavy.”

The little girl furrows her brow and clarifies, “I already told you my name is not ‘miss,’ my name is ‘Defensa Zapatista.’ And what’s your name?

The man responds, “You are right, what bad manners that I have not introduced myself,” and, with a brief bow, introduces himself, “My name is Sherlock Holmes, consulting detective. And my companion, who is currently shivering from the rain and the cold, is Doctor John H. Watson, a debaser of science.” Extending his hand toward the little girl, he adds “And you are…yes, of course, you told me before, ‘Defensa Zapatista.’ Strange name for a little girl. Well, it seems everything is strange in these lands.”

The little girl ignores the extended hand, but appears interested. “Consulting detective…what’s that?” she asks.

I combat crime, miss, I investigate by observing, analyzing and applying science,” responds the man with poorly feigned modesty.  

Ah, like Elías Contreras, the Zapatista investigation commission,” interrupts the little girl. The man tries to clarify, but the little girl continues:

Well, look, I already talked to Elías so he would join our team, but it turns out he’s already dead and tending to the bad and the evil, that is, he’s investigating the fucking capitalist system. I told him he can still join the team, even though he’s deceased, but he says that supmarcos sends him off on investigations and so he wouldn’t make it to practice. The funny thing is that supmarcos is dead too. I think that’s why they understand each other. Of course, right now we can’t really practice that much because the field is all muddy and the ball doesn’t roll, it just gets stuck and no matter how much it gets kicked it doesn’t move, or it moves just a little and then gets lazy again. So you get all muddy for nothing and later your moms comes with her ‘you have to wash up’ and then off to the river. Do you like to bathe? I don’t like it. Only if there’s a dance, then I like it, because you can’t be all muddy when they start playing the song ‘la del moño colorado’ [the girl with the colourful bow]. Do you know that one, ‘la del moño colorado’? That’s a good song because you dance to it like this (the little girl hums while balancing lightly on one foot and then the other). You don’t just jump around like the young people these days who like that music and end up muddier than if they hadn’t bathed at all. But you know mothers, what do they care if there’s no dance? Nothing, you still have to bathe and if you don’t, there’ll be hell to pay. Do you have a mom? Well, look, just think about whether moms know or not. They definitely know. I still don’t know how it is that they know, but they know. You should investigate how it is that they know. I told Elías to investigate it, but he just laughed, the jerk. And SupMoy is even worse, you think he helps? If he’s around and your mom gives the order to bathe, you think he’ll defend you? Forget it, you have to obey your mom, he says. I complained to him one day about why it’s like that, if the struggle says to rule by obeying, it should be that the little girls rule and the moms obey. But he just laughed, the jerk. Well, look, pay attention because I’m going to explain something to you: it turns out we haven’t filled up the team. Why not? Well, because there’s no discipline, that is, they don’t understand the organization of the struggle. One minute they tell you they’re in and the next, they’re out, they took off on another path, for one reason or another. They’re all just excuses. Or if not, they say it’s because of the work of the struggle. As if playing wasn’t part of the work of the struggle? The deceased supmarcos would say children’s work is to play. Well, he would also say it’s to study, but don’t publish that, eh? So given that, we can’t complete the team, there’s no seriousness, as someone says. But don’t you worry, don’t despair because the team didn’t fill up quickly. We know it takes time, but one day there will be more of us. Since we can’t practice right now and they don’t let me join the work of making holes in the wall because it’s raining and I’ll get wet… can you believe they say that? As if I wasn’t going to get wet bathing anyway. The other day I wanted to give my moms a political lecture and I told her it’s not good for me to bathe because I’ll get wet, and in the autonomous school they say it’s not good for little girls to get wet because what if they get sick with a cough, right?




But my moms just laughed, I think she didn’t understand the political lesson because she was just like, get yourself down to the river and make sure to wash behind your ears and this, that, and the other. Well, don’t you get distracted, whatever your name is. It turns out that, since I can’t practice and I can’t make holes in the wall, I started thinking and thinking. And now I just keep thinking and thinking. Not about silly things though, but rather about the struggle. So I thought that we need music for when we win the game. Because if there’s no music, we won’t be happy that we won, you understand? What are you going to understand, if you’re just standing there staring? Okay, I’ll explain. Look, the moms know, we don’t know how they do it, but they know. If you have a difficult question, you go to your moms and boom, they know the answer. Well, so it turns out that my moms told me something like a story the other day. She said that the deceased one said that the struggle needs science and art. I don’t know what science and art are, so then my moms explained it to me. I think I’ll explain it to you because you definitely don’t know. Look, science and art aren’t just that you do things however you want, half-assed, but rather that first you imagine how what you want to make will turn out, then you study how you’re going to do it, and then you go and do it. But not just any old way; rather you make it happy, with lots of colours and lots of music, you understand? Well, so I thought and imagined what our music should be when we win a game. Yes of course really happy music but not like for dancing, because it’s serious to win the game, even more so since my team is full of lumps, like the cat-dog here who barely obeys, it just runs and runs, and since its paws are a little twisted well, it tends to veer off to the side. So the song has to be cheerful but serious. It should be enjoyable and make your heart happy. Well so I was sitting here thinking about the music, I mean the ton of the song, and then my idea came. I was listening to the sound the rain makes when it falls, and I saw that it sounds different in each little puddle. So, I took out my mom’s pots and some cans and buckets from our women’s collective and now I’m here listening to how each one sounds and how they sound in collective. Because it’s not the same as an individual as in a collective, you see. In a collective, it’s happier, it sounds good. But each individually, it’s all the same, even if you change the bucket. Now if you put them together, it’s something else. Of course, the issue is how you put them together so that they sound good. You understand? I mean that’s where you bring in science and art and it comes out just right. Not like Pedrito who thinks he knows how to sing, but all he knows are Pedro Infante songs. You think he knows any about love? No, all songs about horses and drunks. And for nothing, because Pedrito twice over doesn’t drink, that is, he doesn’t drink because he’s a little boy, and he doesn’t drink because he’s a Zapatista. You think you’re going to find a wife if you sing to her about horses? No, never, never ever. And even worse if you sing to her about drunkards. If somebody sang to me about horses, it’d be for nothing because I already have one, it’s just that he’s one-eyed, which means that he sees out one eye but not the other. Well, the truth is that the horse isn’t mine, because he doesn’t have an owner. No one knows where he came from, he just appeared all of a sudden in the pasture. I quickly recruited him, as they say, for the team and made him goalie, but since he doesn’t see well I had to put myself on defence. But if somebody sings to me about drunkards, well yeah then, that calls for some smacks and to hell with them. My moms say that alcohol is no good, that it makes men dumb. Well okay, dumber than usual. And then they beat the women. Of course, now it’s different because we defend ourselves as the women that we are. I, as Zapatista defence, also train so that men don’t bother me when I grow up, that is when I grow into a young single woman. But don’t get distracted, write down what I explained to you in your notebook, write that science and art are really important…

At that, the cat-dog begins to bark and meow. The little girl turns around to look at him and asks, “Now?” The cat-dog purrs and growls. The little girl hurriedly enters the house, just as the rain lifts its wet skirt and the sky clears.

It’s no longer raining when the little girl runs out of the house with a ball in her hands. The cat-dog runs out behind her.

As she gets further away, the little girl manages to shout: “When you finish writing your notes, come. Don’t worry if the team isn’t full yet. It might take a while, but there will be more of us.

The man who is called “Doctor Watson” closes his umbrella and reaches his hand out to make sure that, in fact, it has stopped raining.

The man with the absurd cap keeps watching the little girl as she moves away. Then he takes a magnifying glass from his raincoat and stops to analyze each of the containers, now mute, without rain to make them sing.

Interesting, my dear Watson, very interesting. I believe it would be worth spending some time in these parts. The atmosphere is clean and the fog keeps reminding me of the London of Baker Street,” says the tall thin man as he stretches out his arms to better breathe in the air of the mountains of the Mexican southeast.

Spend some time, Holmes? Why?” asks the other man while he shakes off some lingering raindrops. “I don’t think we’d be much help, although this little girl seems to suffer from verbal diarrhoea, a tranquilizer would help…whoever has to listen to her.

No, Watson, we’re not going to help anyone. I only came to find an old acquaintance. But I think it will be difficult to find him…at least alive,” says the man as he puts away the magnifying glass and begins walking.

The other man rushes to catch up to him, asking, “Then what are we going to do here, Holmes?

Learn, my dear Watson, learn,” says the man as he takes out the magnifying glass again and stops to look at an insect.

As the two figures fade into the fog, once can hear in the distance barks, meows, and a child’s laughter, a laugh like a song.

Then, although nearly imperceptibly, the wall shudders…

I testify.



From Baker Street to the mountains of the Mexican Southeast.



Music: “Baker Street” by Gerry Rafferty, with Raphael Ravenscroft on saxophone. 1978. Photographs of Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson from the British television series “Sherlock” made by the BBC, featuring Benedict Cumberbatch (as Sherlock Holmes) and Martin Freeman (as Doctor Watson). Coproduced by Hartswood Films and WGBH, the series was created by Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss. Accompanied by embroidery (first outlined and then finished) made by Zapatista insurgents for the CompArte Festival, 2016, with the theme “Defensa Zapatista and the Hydra.” The image of the little doll on the foosball table was taken in 2013 by a 9-year-old boy who attended the Zapatista Little School. He saw the foosball table and put the little doll there just as you see it. The illustrations at the end of the video are by the CVI support team, “Tercios Compas” section.


Embroidery and drawings by EZLN insurgents for the CompArte Festival



Embroidery and drawings made by Zapatista insurgents for the CompArte Festival.

Music: “Resistencia,” from the album LDA V The Lunatics, Los de Abajo.

[i] “Sockhead” [cara de calcetín, or, alternatively, cara de trapo] is a derogatory term used by critics to deride members of the EZLN (and their use of masks) and, in this instance, refers to Subcomandante Insurgente Galeano.

[ii] Defensa Zapatista characteristically says “tonelada,” or ton, instead of “tonada,” or tune.


October 22, 2016

Ethnic groups in Chiapas have almost no water, but are drowning in Coca-Cola

Filed under: Human rights, Indigenous, water — Tags: , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 2:00 pm



Ethnic groups in Chiapas have almost no water, but are drowning in Coca-Cola




By Marco Appel, 5th February, 2016.

Coca-Cola, the Secret Formula, a French documentary aired on Belgian television three years ago, really put a bee in the bonnet of the fizzy drink giant. They even issued a complaint to the ethical advisory board of the Belgian press. The documentary relays the investigation of a French reporter to find out the precise recipe of the fizzy drink. Among her discoveries was that one of the main ingredients is…water. Lots of it. One litre of the sugary drink requires three litres of liquid. And one of the places where the multinational obtains this raw material, for next-to-nothing and to the detriment of local provision, is Chiapas.

Brussels (Proceso).

Coca-Cola: The Secret Formula is the title of a documentary that tells of the ups and downs of French journalist Olivia Mokiejewski in her mission to find out the ingredients used in the making of this fizzy drink, kept secret by the company with a military seal.

One of these ingredients is water. For this reason, part of the documentary is filmed in the area of San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas, where it is nothing if not plentiful.

The journalist, who made the journey to this part of Mexico, reveals that to produce one litre of Coca-Cola, you need three litres of water.

“There’s no shortage of water”, Mokiejewski’s voiceover tells us. “The region is one of Mexico’s reservoirs: a paradise for the makers of fizzy drinks. It’s no coincidence that Coca-Cola decided to build a factory here in the 1980s.

The journalist interviews hydrologist Antonino García, who explains that the fizzy drink giant moved in “strategically” to extract the water directly from San Cristobal’s underground channels. He tells us that every day they take 750,000 litres – enough to give daily drinking water to a population of 10,000 people.

“I suppose Coca-Cola must pay a high price to compensate the region for all the water it uses”, the young journalist remarks.

Laughing, Garcia tells her that no, Coca-Cola paid just €25,000 in 2003, all thanks to then-President Vicente Fox, who was also president of the company’s Mexico branch.

“€25,000 for hundreds of millions of litres of water”, Mokiejewski repeats. “The main ingredient of Coca-Cola costs the company practically nothing”,

The documentary explains that there are five communities that that depend on the same underground channels used by the fizzy drink company. There, the water is scarcer every day.

A family from one of these communities shows the journalist that they don’t currently have any running water, and the shortage is happening ever more frequently. They turn on the tap and nothing comes out. They must use rainwater or water from the well, which isn’t clean and makes the children ill.

Mokiejewski talks into the camera: “Deprived of water in a region in which it abounds, the residents contacted Coca-Cola. But the multinational insists that there is no link between their intensive extraction and the water shortage. And the most ironic thing about it? When there’s no water, the children are given fizzy drinks. It’s a vicious circle, one in which the indigenous people of Chiapas are trapped”, Mokiejewski reflects. Accompanying her final words is the image of a little boy, almost a baby, drinking coke from a feeding bottle.

This extract of the report specifically is included in a complaint the company Coca-Cola Belgian Services presented on the 22nd of May last year to the Belgian Ethical Advisory Board for Journalism (Conseil Déontologique Periodique de la Belge – CDPB) against the company Belgian Francophone Radio Television (Radio Televisión Belga Francófona – RTBF), which aired the French documentary in the country.

The board, created in 2009 and formed of 20 journalists and editors, receives complaints and proffers its opinion on cases related to the treatment of information in the Belgian media. Its general secretary, André Linard, told Proceso that the board had never before received a complaint of this kind.

In it, the fizzy drink giant told the CDPB that the investigation relating to Mexico contains “inexact information”, and that furthermore, the whole report demonstrates “a desire to destroy the reputation of Coca-Cola”.

Last December 1st, the ethical standards board published its conclusions: the documentary, it stated, followed a “correct” method of journalistic investigation and the journalist who carried out the work, Olivia Mokiejewski, respected professional ethical guidelines.

The board found in the documentary no violations of the Belgian ethical code; no “flaws in the investigation or respect for the truth” (article 1), no “absence of source-checking” (article 4), and no “deforming of information or deletion of essential information” (article 3).

“Factually accurate” Documentary
The documentary Coca-Cola: the Secret Formula was made in 2012 by the French producer Nilaya, and was coproduced by France Télévisions, the audiovisual organization of the French State. It was filmed in France, the USA and Mexico, and was originally aired on the French public television channel France 2 as part of the journalistic investigation programme Infrarouge. It is 65 minutes long; the part about Mexico lasts 12 minutes.
In Belgium, the documentary was shown on four occasions on the RTBF channel Uno in January 2013. Coca-Cola has stated that it was in communications with the RTBF to demand that it correct the supposedly erroneous information before the fourth reshowing of the documentary, on May 13th 2015. The television company refused the demand.

A significant part of the report takes place in the USA (Atlanta, New York and California), where through interviews with first hand sources the journalist manages to get hold of the secret Coca-Cola formula. These ingredients include coca leaf extract (imported from Peru and Bolivia and used to give the fizzy drink its bitter aroma); an amount of sugar equal to ten dessert spoons per can, and a caramel chemical, one such E.150D, which in 2007 was revealed to be carcinogenic (causing leukaemia in animals).

The public health authorities in California limited the use of E.150D to 29 micrograms per can of Coca-Cola, the French reporter is told by Mike Jacobson, director of the California Centre for Science in the Public Interest. In the documents that the expert shows the camera, we can see that in Mexico, they allow 147 micrograms of the chemical per can.

The fizzy drink company says it lost €1.6 million in sales in Belgium as a result of the first four showings of the documentary.

According to the CDPB’s conclusive statement, which the writer was able to access, the television provider argued in its defence that it had not produced the report and could not, therefore, answer every question about it in detail.

It also claimed that “the aim of the documentary was nothing other than to inform” and considered that “the (informative) result is sufficiently credible for France Télévision to air it without modifications, in spite of its criticisms”.

The Belgian television provider underlines the fact that during her investigation, Mokiejewski was given no straight answers by the firm when she sought them: “Refusing to give interviews is always risky and then it’s all too easy to complain afterwards”, the RTBF points out to Coca-Cola, who, in their statement of complaint also insisted that it was untrue that the fizzy drink company had refused to respond to her questioning and that in any case, “she had not asked the right people.”

In the documentary, the journalist mentions that for two months she requested interviews with directors of the company, to which end she sent 21 emails and made 12 phone calls. In one of them, we hear someone from the company’s PR department clearly deny her a statement of any kind.

In another scene, we see Mokiejewski go to a house in the USA to look for the president and executive director of the firm, Muhtar Kent. On the intercom at the gate of the house, she explains that she has spent two months trying to get an interview with Kent, but the person on the other end rudely hangs up on her, leaving her no choice other than to leave a note on top of the intercom, stating her request for interview.

Fizzy drink paradise
Another scene filmed in Mexico, and which Coca-Cola also include in their complaint in Belgium, is about the price of the fizzy drink, which is mentioned in the documentary.

This episode begins when Mokiejewski tells us that “Mexicans have become the top consumers of Coca-Cola in the world. And in Chiapas, they have broken records: three cans per person, per day.”

While they travel along a local road in a van, Marcos Arana, doctor and public health expert, tells the journalist that mothers in the region give Coca-Cola to their children before they reach two years of age, which damages their nutrition habits and makes them addicted to sugar. Arana invites the journalist to count the shops selling Coca-Cola: they find 166 in the 42 kilometres they travel.

We see images of indigenous young people grouped around one of these shops. “A country painted in red and white,” Mokiejewski reflects, “the perfect economic model for Coca-Cola. Even in the most remote town in Chiapas, the multinational has set in motion an unbeatable strategy.”

The journalist is talking about the rental of refrigerators exclusively for the use of products made by the fizzy drink company, which she hears about from a shop-owner she interviews.

Outside one shop there is a kind of sign, which the companies give them, with photos of the different drinks and their respective prices. It says a litre of Coca-Cola costs seven pesos, one of water costs eight. The three litre bottle of Coca-Cola is sold at 21 pesos. Arana notes that three litres of water must therefore cost 24 pesos. “Water is more expensive than Coca-Cola; that’s the problem”, the journalist concludes.

Then a voiceover tells us, “Today the indigenous people of Chiapas cannot live without Coke. It has gone so far as to insert itself into religion, replacing pox, the traditional drink, in sacred ceremonies.”

The journalist attends a family prayer where they are asking for the good health of a little boy with a fever. She describes the scene as follows: “To satisfy the gods, there are no less than seven bottles of Coke in the offering.”

The patriarch of the family, an elderly man, confirms proudly that the drink is now part of the region’s “culture”, and explains that the burps it causes shoo away bad spirits. His words are accompanied, in the documentary, by images of members of the family drinking Coca-Cola from small glasses with a ritualistic attitude, even closing their eyes.

Mokiejewski’s last comment in the Chiapan episode of her documentary is frightening: “In Mexico, 70% of the population are overweight or obese. According to the Mexican body for Monitoring Health, in 2020, this will apply to 100% of the population.”

Unfinished business
Proceso contacted Mokiejewski, who said she knew nothing about Coca-Cola’s complaint in Belgium.

For his part, André Linard, general secretary of the Belgian Ethical Advisory Board for Journalism, explains: “We do not repeat the journalist’s investigation; what we examine is how she worked: whether all the ethical rules of the journalistic exercise were respected. In this case, we won’t be going to Chiapas to check.

However, during the 80s and 90s, Linard did travel to Chiapas some seven or eight times as a journalist. Specifically, he was in San Cristobal, so he can say he “knew the context of [Coca-Cola’s] complaint”.

Linard does not understand the reasons behind Coca-Cola’s attempt to discredit the journalistic work of the French report in Belgium, but he does highlight that, “In the six years that the board has existed, we’ve dealt with more than 300 cases and I cannot remember a single one by an internationally recognised business in relation to the production of journalistic content aired in Belgium.”

Among journalists, the CDPB’s verdict has moral weight; it deals neither in sanctions nor fines.

“If the opinion of the board had been unfavourable to the RTBF, what would have happened?”, Linard is asked.

“A negative ruling means that we find an ethical misdemeanour and at that point the media in question is obliged to inform its audience of our decision through a notice on their website. There is no censorship; we’re not going to ban future showings of the report, but the RTBF would have to take our decision into account when considering further airings of the documentary. The media organization is responsible for taking that decision. We do not hold the right to ban the publication of anything. Freedom of expression is a fundamental right.

The conclusions of the board concerning the information conveyed in the Mexican episode of the documentary states, “the subject discussed sparks debates, both about the amount of water necessary and the effects of the manufacture in Chiapas on the local population.”

And finally: “The overall tone is critical, but the media has the right to be so, since they constitute a system of checks and balances. Just because a report is critical doesn’t necessarily mean it is taking sides or remaining neutral.”

Translated by Ruby Zajac for the UK Zapatista Translation Service


Posted by Dorset Chiapas Solidarity



October 8, 2016

Peña Nieto’s airport in Atenco and Texcoco poses Serious Threat of Flooding

Filed under: water — Tags: , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 1:19 pm


Peña Nieto’s airport in Atenco and Texcoco poses Serious Threat of Flooding


dsc_0570Flooded communal land in the Ejido Nexquipayac, Atenco. Photo: Sergio Grajales Ventura


By Sergio Grajales Ventura

The construction of the New International Airport of Mexico City (or as known by its initials in Spanish – NAICM) in the towns of Atenco and Texcoco poses a great risk of flooding, not just for the communities in the area, but for all of the eastern part of the Valley of Mexico. Additionally, land subsidence will accelerate, surface run-off will increase and the region’s most important regulatory reservoir, the former Lake Texcoco, would be destroyed.

I. Over-exploitation of water and subsidence

In a previous issues of El Salinero, we reported that in 2001 the Autonomous National University of Mexico’s PUMA programme (the University Programme for the Environment or in Spanish, “Programa Universitario de Medio Ambiente”) predicts that as early as 2020 the new airport and the related urban development in the area will significantly increase the extraction of the groundwater to 50.5 million cubic metres a year (2001:1), which is 23 times more than the amount the Federal Government claims the airport will actually consume. All this despite the fact the Texcoco aquifer is located in an area with strict controls and is considered a priority source of water for the region.

The over-exploitation of the aquifer will not only worsen the shortage of potable water available for our communities, but it will also cause greater subsidence of the ground. The increasing extraction of water from the aquifer causes dehydration of the surface strip of soil (called the aquitard), which consists of a thick layer of clay. This causes a reduction of the volume of the aquitard, in other words, it causes it to compact and therefore the ground sinks.

It is calculated that in the whole of the Valley of Mexico the ground sinks approximately 10 cm each year. In the eastern area, where the former Lake Texcoco is located, the subsidence is even faster, running between 25 and 40 cm annually. This means that every ten years Mexico City sinks a metre and a half on average, and the regulatory reservoir of the former Lake Texcoco sinks between 2.5 and 4 metres (Luege, 2014: 2-3).

This accelerated subsidence causes the drains (which make up Mexico City’s system of surface drainage) to lose their slant, whereas ordinarily the drains’ slant or inclination along with gravity would move large volumes of water from one point to move to another.

This is what has happened to the Churubusco, La Piedad, and Los Remedios Rivers. Previously the rain runoff flowed from the western part of the Valley towards Lake Texcoco, and that flow now only carries a small volume of sewage. Other rivers, like the Río de la Compañía, show such pronounced subsidence that water can only be extracted through the use of an expensive pumping system (Luege, 2014: 5).

Besides these rivers in the West, 11 more rivers flow into the former Lake Texcoco from the East. But since with the over exploitation of the aquifer is causing the ground to sink, ground which is covered with asphalt, this further prevents the replenishment of the aquifer, leading to further sinking.


II. Growing urban sprawl and water runoff

The chaotic development of the Valley of Mexico’s metropolitan area has meant that large areas of agricultural land, forest and flood plains have been covered with an enormous layer of asphalt. What before were areas where rain water could penetrate the ground and recharge the aquifer, now are large expanses of urban areas, waterproofed with asphalt, and where an increasing volume of water flows.

In addition to this, due to the uneven ground, runoffs are directed towards the centre of Mexico City, which has meant that the drain is mainly dependent on costly deep drainage systems.

Considering how urban growth has tended to happen and all that is attributable to the construction of an airport, it is estimated that there will be a significant increase in the total ground area covered by asphalt. This will increase the average annual runoff between 15 and 25% due to the new urban areas (PUMA:1).


III. The importance of preserving the regulatory reservoir of the former Lake Texcoco

When prolonged and heavy storms hit, Mexico City’s pumping system and deep drainage collapse. It is unable to cope with the drainage flow, and various parts of the metropolitan area flood.

The long and heavy rain of tropical storm Arlene at the end of June 2011 exceeded the capacity of the drainage and pumping systems, and caused severe flooding in the eastern part of Mexico City. The only way to prevent catastrophic flooding for the residents of Ecatepec and Nezahualcoyotl was to flood the regulatory reservoir of former Lake Texcoco.

To avoid tragic flooding, the Constitution protects the floodplains of lakes and lagoons as “inalienable and imprescriptible” and the National Water Act declares “natural reservoir of national waters” and prohibits construction or any change to how the area is used.


dsc_0558Ponds, Ejido Nexquipayac, Atenco. Photo: Sergio Grajales Ventura


The federal government has turned a blind eye to all of this. The environmental impact report for the airport project completely omits consideration of environmental risks associated with the possibility of flooding due to wet weather.

And as if this were not enough, the “Unión de Científicos Comprometidos con la Sociedad” states that the report also lacks the technical know-how to demonstrate that the hydraulic works being done to divert the runoff will be enough to prevent the flooding in the area of the new airport and the surrounding communities (UCCS) (UCCS: 11).

In conclusion, building the New International Airport of Mexico City in Atenco and Texcoco will increase the area’s vulnerability to flooding. This will be caused by the rising volume of runoff water, as well as a quickening rate of subsidence, while the regulatory capacity of the reservoir will shrink.


Sources cited:

  • Córdova-Tapia F., Straffon-Díaz A., Ortiz-Haro G. A., Levy-Gálvez K., Arellano-Aguilar O., Ayala Azcárraga C., Zambrano L., Sánchez-Ochoa D. J. y Acosta-Sinencio S. D. 2015. Análisis del resolutivo SGPA/DGIRA/DG/09965 del proyecto “Nuevo Aeropuerto Internacional de la Ciudad de México, S. A. de C. V.” MIA-15EM2014V0044. Grupo de Análisis de Manifestaciones de Impacto Ambiental. Unión de Científicos Comprometidos con la Sociedad. México.
  • Programa Universitario de Medio Ambiente (PUMA), UNAM, 2001. Estudios específicos: Descripciones y predicciones ambientales. Evaluación ambiental comparativa de dos sitios considerados para la ubicación del Nuevo Aeropuerto Internacional de la Ciudad de México (NAICM).


Translated by the UK Zapatista Translation Service




August 15, 2016

“The project of the NAICM will lead to water shortage” Vandana Shiva in Atenco

Filed under: Displacement, water — Tags: , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 12:49 pm



“The project of the NAICM will lead to water shortage” Vandana Shiva in Atenco




Mexico City. 14 August 2016. “At some point it will lead to a water shortage” said Vandana Shiva and Sebastiao Pinheiro during their visit to Atenco yesterday.   With members of the Peoples Front in Defence of Land (FPDT) they toured the lands of Atenco that the government intends to dispossess in order to be part of the new airport in Mexico City (NAICM).  They arrived early in the camp that is located in the area where they intend to build one of the access roads.

Vandana, winner of the alternative Nobel prize for the environment, asked Mexicans not to allow life to be exterminated and to come to support the movement of the FPDT and all those who oppose the construction of the airport in these lands.

Meanwhile, members of the FPDT told the environmentalists that in these lands they grow crops of pumpkins, olives, corn and rosemary, among other products that represent their subsistence and survival.




Sebastiao Pinheiro said that the cause of FPDT is a common cause because, both in Brazil and Mexico they are destroying the environment: “We live together, we die together.”

Vandana Shiva and Pinheiro and were invited to Mexico by the Department of Agroecology of the Univeristy of Chapingo (Uach) and by the environmental organizations Karen Hansen of the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy and Without Corn there is no Country.




With their symbolic machetes of the members of FPDT led by Ignacio del Valle and Trinidad Ramirez, held high, Vandana Shiva cried “Zapata Lives!”


Posted by Dorset Chiapas Solidarity on 15/08/2016

“El proyecto del NAICM implicará falta de agua”: Vandana Shiva en Atenco



July 12, 2016

Mining Giants Rob Water From Millions of Mexicans Every Year

Filed under: Corporations, Displacement, Mining, water — Tags: , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 11:40 am



Mining Giants Rob Water From Millions of Mexicans Every Year


mexico_contamination_water_mining.jpg_1718483346Greenpeace activists kayak in front of the El Salto waterfall in Juanacatlan, Mexico, to protest contamination and promote water conservation, March 22, 2012. | Photo: EFE


While nearly 14 million Mexicans do not have taps in their home, transnational mining corporations suck up billions of gallons of the precious resource.

Over 400 mines in Mexico use enough water to meet the annual needs of 3.2 million people, more than one-fifth of the Mexican population without running water in their homes, according to an investigation reported by local media Monday.

With a whopping 115.3 billion gallons (436.6 million cubic meters) of annual water used annually by 417 mining companies doing business in the state, researchers are increasingly concerned about rising water scarcities, not to mention the water rights of 13.8 million people across the company without access to running water in their homes.

What’s more, transnational companies, mostly based in North America, are the biggest beneficiaries of Mexico’s mining industry.

Water shortages are particularly felt in the northern part of the country, where the state of Sonora sees the largest volume of water go towards mining, at about 28.5 billion gallons per year. The smaller states of Zacatecas and Michoacan, divert about half as much water to mining as does Sonora.

Together, the three states—which are dominated by mining projects by Canadian companies, according to data from Mexico’s Interior Ministry—account for half of the total annual water use by mining companies in the country, according to the study.

And the mining corporations in Zacatecas use more water than the entire local population. The Canadian mining giant Goldcorp, through its local subsidiary Peñasquito, is far and away the biggest water consumer in the region with a total of nearly 12 million gallons of groundwater use every year.

The main researcher in the new study, Manuel Llano, stressed that the industry impacts both water availability and quality due to high consumption, contamination, and destruction of important water sources through mining activities in the country, the Mexican daily La Jornada reported.

According to public data from Mexico’s Interior Ministry, the country is home to 926 transnational and local mines in various stages of exploration, development, and production. A total of 293 foreign-owned mining companies operate in the country, many with multiple projects. Canadian transnationals make up the vast majority with 205 of the foreign companies operating in the country, followed by the United States with 46, China with 10, and smaller numbers from other countries including Australia, the United Kingdom, and Peru.

Canadian mining corporations have a notorious record in Latin America and Africa. Earlier this year, over 200 environmental, Indigenous, and human rights organizations petitioned Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to make Canadian mining corporations more accountable for human rights violations and environmental destruction caused in overseas operations, scores of cases of which have long gone unpunished.



July 6, 2016

Zibechi: Communities stand up for life



Zibechi: Communities stand up for life

The National Campaign in Defence of Mother Earth and Territory



dsc0018_550The campfires in Cherán, Michoacán, Mexico.


By: Raúl Zibechi

Dozens of communities in resistance from 17 states of Mexico have started a long campaign that seeks to coordinate struggles, denounce extractivism and offer a space for mutual aid among those who are being attacked by capital and the State.

“The campaign seeks a dialogue and common actions that construct a fabric,” explains Gerardo Meza of the Acapatzingo Housing Community, in Mexico City. “Because the State takes advantage of the lack of information about what happens to the megaprojects it impels against the peoples. Therefore, we seek to construct non-organic organizational spaces for generating identity in the neighbourhoods and to weave a process of autonomy in Mexico City.”

Gerardo refers to the National Campaign in Defence of Mother Earth and Territory that started on April 10 and will culminate on November 20, two dates with deep rebel content in Mexico. The Francisco Villa Popular Organization of the Independent Left participated in it along with 180 organizations from 17 states, grouped into nine regions. A Committee for Mother Earth made up of 40 musicians, actors, religious men and women and professionals supports the campaign, which at each activity united hundreds and thousands of people: from the 1,500 that went to the launch in Mexico City on April 10, to the hundreds who mobilized in support of Xochicuautla, where the community resists the construction of a superhighway in the State of Mexico.

“The spearhead of the extractive model is mining,” Meza reasons, “levelling entire communities, taking territory away from them and destroying their identities.” The campaign places affected communities in a relationship with other affected communities in a direct, horizontal relationship, not mediated by representatives but rather of people to people. Of the campaign signers, 97 communities and barrios have conflicts with extractivist capital and the State, and resist often with very high human costs.

In the Mexican capital, for example, the barrios are being affected by urban infrastructure and communication projects, through the construction of metro lines, inter-urban trains and real estate speculation, one of the most destructive and least analysed facets of the extractive model. We’re able to talk about an “urban extractivism,” which is connected with the general model and in many cases acts to complement the mode of accumulation, since the enormous profits from mono-crops and mining are apt to be invested in urban speculation, which results in the gentrification of the cities and the expulsion of the poorest inhabitants.

From Norte to South: young and brave women

The Campaign reports that the most of the conflicts are produced by the construction of hydroelectric dams and other energy generation projects (34%), followed closely by mining projects (32%). Transportation projects like highways and trains (12%) and urbanization (11%) appear at more distance. The privatization of water embraces 15% of the conflicts, but many mining and energy projects also appropriate the commons, like water, therefore this must be one of the principal motives for the community resistances.

In the north, in the state of Sonora, the Comcáac Nation resists the destruction of 100 kilometres of Pacific littoral, where fisherpeople seek to save their sources of work from the La Peineta mining project. Gabriela Molina, of the Comcáac Territory Defenders organization, assures that half of his peoples’ territory has been conceded to a mining company that seeks to extract iron, copper and silver at sites that are sacred to his nation. “The nation is a place where deer and bighorn sheep reproduce, because of which we don’t want an extractive activity on our territory, which is also very close to the Canal del Infiernillo, where there are plants that we use for our artesanía, like jojoba and elephant tree (torote), and it is thus a site of material spiritual importance for the survival of our people.”

As happens all over the world, mining succeeded in dividing the Comcáac people with promises and a few resources. “Our group is made up of 22 women who organize against mining and we are dedicated to informing the peoples of the Sonora Sierra who are not familiar with what mining is,” Gabriela says. As Comcáac Nation, they are supported with the Traditional Guard, armed self-defence that was born in 1979 for the protection of autonomous territory. The guard is elected by the council of elders and the traditional governor and is composed as much by men as women.

“Until we added ourselves to the campaign our people were invisible,” Gabriela finished; she also denounces hydric extractivism that diverts water for business production and tourist projects in zones her people inhabit.

Since 2008, the town of San José del Progreso, in the state of Oaxaca, has opposed the arrival of a mining company in a campesino population that cultivates corn, beans and garbanzos. According to official data of the Secretariat of the Economy, since the approval of the 1992 Mining Law, Mexico delivered 31,000 concessions on almost 51 million hectares to more than 300 companies that manage around 800 projects. Rosalinda Dionisio, who is a member of the Coordinator of United Peoples of the Ocotlán Valley, suffered an attack when members of the organization were ambushed for opposing the mining Cuzcatlán, a subsidiary of the Canadian Fortuna Silver Mines, which exploits 700 hectares for extracting uranium, gold and silver.

The mine is located near the San José del Progreso municipality, one of the three poorest in the state. Although the better part of its six thousand inhabitants reject mining, the mayor supports it and heads a group that attacks members of the Coordinator. In February and March 2012, the activists were attacked, in one case by the municipal police and in another by unknown persons, with a result of two dead and various injured, among them Rosalinda. That was the reaction to the community protests, when tubes were installed to carry water to the mine, diverting it away from the campesinos’ crops.

A monster that is called the State

“With the campaign we seek to speak clearly with other communities, since we must redouble in the face of repression, and be able to inform other peoples about what is happening to us,” Rosalinda explains. “We have a monster State that has hit us very hard, with disappearances, with repression, and therefore we need a network to support each other, based on mutual aid, for confronting the monster that takes life away from us,” says this young and brave woman, survivor of the war against the peoples. She has still not completely recovered her mobility after various surgeries, but she shows an admirable combative spirit.

The resistance of the community of Cherán doesn’t need presentation, because since 2011 it has been an example for peoples who resist the extractive model and the armed groups (state or paramilitary) that promote and protect it. Severiana Fabián, a member of the High Council of the P’urhépecha indigenous community of Cherán, also forms part of the National Campaign in Defence of Mother Earth and Territory. Her community rose up to expel the criminal woodcutters supported by local caciques.

“We fight to defend a commons that is Mother Earth,” explains Severiana. The key to the success of this community is its organization, extensive and profound, which reaches all corners, is open and transparent, solid and convincing. “We are organized by uses and customs (traditional indigenous governing practices) and we have attained that Cherán is calm and secure by the force of our community organization,” says a woman who feels proud of the work accomplished in five years, which she considers an example for Mexicans.

The form of organization, from below to above, begins by the campfires. There are four barrios (neighbourhoods) and in each one there are between 50 and 60 campfires (fogatas), at the rate of one per block. There are 53 campfires in Severiana’s barrio, which speaks of a way of outdoor organization, in which families can participate, from the children to the elderly. Each barrio elects three individuals to the High Council, in which there are currently three women.

Cherán has a population of 20,000 inhabitants and in each one of the 240 campfires installed on each corner there are some one hundred people. “This organization is the key to everything,” exclaims Severiana. The campfires are meeting places among neighbours, spaces where the community is re-created, but they are also organs of power in which collective decisions are made and where the participation of women is decisive.

As the synthesis of these years of struggle, Severiana assures that in Cherán “courage overcame fear.” Maybe it will be the legacy of this community that it can gather and expand the National Campaign in Defence of Mother Earth and Territory.


Originally Published in Spanish by Rebelión

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Re-published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee

Minor edits for UK audience by Dorset Chiapas Solidarity




June 3, 2016

Zinacantan against the Privatization of its Water and the Dispossession of its Spring

Filed under: water — Tags: , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 9:54 am



Zinacantan against the Privatization of its Water and the Dispossession of its Spring



Z.pngStart of the pilgrimage at San Lorenzo Church @ Koman Ilel


On May 15, 2016, the catechists of the parish of Zinacantan called a pilgrimage to protest against the privatization of its water and the dispossession of its spring. Indeed, according to a documentary by the collective Koman Ilel, a privatization project for Zinacantán spring with the aim of installing some hydroelectric plants is threatening the people. Today, the people of Zinacantan have free access to spring water and use pipes to bring water from the spring to their homes. The privatization project will involve collecting a “tax” on water use. “We have never paid tax for water, water belongs to everyone. Whatever your religion, political party or thinking; no one is forbidden to take water from here”, said one of the catechists interviewed.

Catechists of the parish of Zinacantan are organizing to inform the other inhabitants of the town that the water must be defended so that the spring is not privatized.



May 23, 2016

Global demonstration convened for Berta Caceres next June 15th

Filed under: Dams, Displacement, Uncategorized, water — Tags: , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 2:37 pm



Global demonstration convened for Berta Caceres next June 15th


Following the murder of indigenous leader Berta Caceres, the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH) has convened a Global Action on 15th June 15 to demand justice through demonstrations in that country and in front of the embassies of Honduras around the world.

The protests aim to demand the immediate establishment of an independent investigation group led by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (CIDH), to clarify the crime and ensure the prosecution of all those responsible.

In addition, the demand is for the immediate and definitive cancellation of the concession granted to the company DESA for the construction of the hydroelectric project “Agua Zarca” on the Rio Blanco.

Berta Caceres, coordinator of COPINH, was killed on 3rd March at her home in La Esperanza, when unknown individuals entered in the morning. The environmental leader fought for the cancellation of Agua Zarca project because it is a threat to the indigenous peoples and nature.



May 21, 2016

Zinacantán mobilizes against water privatization

Filed under: water — Tags: , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 9:24 am



Zinacantán mobilizes against water privatization




On May 15, 2016, villagers from the pueblo of Zinacantán went on a pilgrimage which started from the church of San Lorenzo and went as far as the spring which is located in the area of the municipal headquarters. Here it ended with a Mass to thank the spring for providing the possibility for the population to have water.

The main reason for this action was to denounce the fact that the municipality wants to privatize water through the collection of a “tax” on water use. “We have never paid tax for water, water belongs to everyone. Whatever their religion, political party or ways of thinking, water is available to everyone here,” said one of the coordinators of the action in an interview.



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