dorset chiapas solidarity

February 9, 2017

Call for the jTatik Samuel jCanan Lum 2018 Recognition Award

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 10:45 am



Call for the jTatik Samuel jCanan Lum 2018 Recognition Award


samuelPhoto@Denuncia Publica

On January 26, in San Cristobal de Las Casas, the call for jTatik Samuel jCanan Lum 2018 Recognition Award was launched. This call is extended to social and civil organizations, churches and religious groups, groups and grassroots organizations to participate in the promotion and presentation of candidates to receive this recognition in 2018 as part of its sixth instalment.

The “JTatic Samuel jCanan Lum” Recognition aims at recognizing the work of women and men, organizations and groups that have been characterized by their contribution to the people in the construction of community and/or regional alternatives, as well as their work for unity and peaceful social transformation, as well as spreading and encouraging this work.

The sixth instalment will take place in January 2018. The recognition has its roots in the year 1999, when after 40 years of service in the Diocese of San Cristobal de Las Casas, of accompanying and defending the then smaller ones of the Mexican southeast, the Zoque, Chol, Tojolabal, Tsotil, Tseltal peoples of Chiapas, recognized Tatik Samuel Ruiz as jCanan Lum/Caretaker of the People.


February 9, 2015

Chiapas: Pilgrimage of the Believing People to observe the fourth anniversary of the death of Don Samuel Ruíz

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Chiapas: Pilgrimage of the Believing People to observe the fourth anniversary of the death of Don Samuel Ruíz.



On Saturday 24 January, the Believing People of the San Cristóbal de Las Casas diocese held a pilgrimage through the streets of this city to commemorate the struggle and path of Don Samuel Ruíz García, the former bishop of Chiapas, who died four years ago.  Close to 10,000 believers, including Ch’ol, Tseltal, Tsotsil, Tojolobal, and mestizo men and women, participated in the pilgrimage which left from two points in the city toward Peace Plaza, where a mass was celebrated in honour of “jTatic Samuel.”  The banners that were carried during the event demonstrated the concern the pilgrims have for Mother Earth and the struggles they are undertaking to defend it, employing texts such as “no to mining,” “no to the highway,” and “our Mother Earth, the life-root of our people, we will defend.”


The pilgrims also expressed their solidarity with the struggle for justice carried out by the families of the 43 disappeared students from Ayotzinapa, as their banners also showed.



Several activities to observe the fourth anniversary of the death of Samuel Ruiz García, bishop emeritus of San Cristóbal de las Casas


Beyond the pilgrimage and mass that were held on 24 January, several other activities were organized in observance of the fourth anniversary of the death of the bishop emeritus of San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Samuel Ruiz García.

On 27 January, the jTatik Samuel Museum was inaugurated in the El Caminante Communal Center of San Cristóbal de Las Casas (km 1.5 on the road toward Chamulá, passing Esquipulas).  The new space contains five rooms that show the life and work of bishop Samuel Ruiz García, as well as the history and religions of Chiapas, from before the Spanish conquest, Evangelization, and the most recent history after the EZLN’s armed uprising.

Maldonado Quiroga, a member of the administration of El Caminante, detailed that the museum was created after seven years of data gathering by 11 individuals who comprised the council for the space.  All 11 spent time next to Don Samuel during some point of his life.

On 26 January in Mexico City, there was held an event entitled “Sparkles in the darkness: the teachings of jTatic Samuel Ruiz four years after his passing,” in which several persons who were close to Don Samuel participated.

Raúl Vera, the bishop of Saltillo, recalled for example that “he changed my life, because I entered the indigenous world through the heart of Don Samuel.  I never stopped seeing the future that God was building, and I saw that the evidence that we could create a new world was that we were attempting to so at that very moment.”



Call for the 2015 jTatik Samuel Jcanan Lum Award


On 23 January, the 2015 public call to propose candidates for the “jTatic Samuel jCanan Lum Award” was launched.  The announcement was made by Monseigneur José Raúl Vera López, bishop of Saltillo and the honorary president of the organizing committee.

The call recalls that the award has the goal of “making known and inspiring the work of women and men, organizations, and collectives that have distinguished themselves by their contribution to the people in the creation of communal and/or regional alternatives, as well as by their work directed at unity and peaceful social transformation […].  We want to recognize their love for the people, their resistance, their service, their search for alternatives amidst the suffering and marginalization of their communities, amidst the destruction of the Earth, the defence of human rights, the defence of the dignity of all, and their struggle for peace, justice, and liberation.”

“jTatic Samuel jCanan Lum” is a charge that the Mons. Samuel Ruíz García received in the community of Amatenango del Valle by Ch’ol, Tojolabal, Tseltal, Tsotsil, and Zoque peoples on 14 October 2009.  There, he was recognized as the protector of their people, who love and defend him for being someone who cares for life, nature, and the Earth.  With reference to the same, the jTatic Samuel Jcanan Lum Award seeks to support individuals or groups and stimulate them by giving voice to their social work.

The proposals must be made in writing, physically, or electronically before 31 October 2015 to the following address: Calle Brasil No. 14, Barrio de Mexicanos, CP 29240, San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas, México. Tel. and fax: 967 6787395, 967 6787396 E-mail:

The awarding of the next wave of Recognitions will take place in January 2016 in San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas, in observance of the Episcopal Anniversary of jTatic Samuel Ruiz García.




March 9, 2014

Bishop Samuel Ruiz on Injustice, Political Consciousness & the Zapatista Uprising

Filed under: Indigenous, Zapatista — Tags: , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 9:31 am

Bishop Samuel Ruiz on Injustice, Political Consciousness & the Zapatista Uprising


“The Church is either the Church of the Poor or it is not the Church of Jesus Christ”

Speaking in 2004 about the Zapatistas, Bishop Samuel Ruiz echoed what Raúl Vera said in the article about the injustices perpetuated by the Mexican government and the role of progressive Catholics in encouraging a greater political consciousness among indigenous communities.


ImageThe Zapatista movement, Ruiz explained, was the result of a social structure within a globalised society and a capitalist system in the hands of a small number of people. Peaceful protests against the increasing amount of inequality and marginalisation being generated by these conditions were ignored. He continued, saying “There were constant indigenous protests demanding their legitimate rights, both individually and organically collectively. The systematic response was repression. That led them to say ‘We didn’t have a path other than armed struggle’.”

Ten years on from the rebellion, Ruiz pointed out that “the causes of injustice [had] barely been touched” by the government. It should have shown “respect for the agreements signed by both sides” in the San Andrés Accords, but it didn’t. Although understanding that “the Congress has a specific function”, Ruiz believed that it “did not carry out its historic task” by enshrining the agreements in law. This failure led the Zapatistas to break all ties with the government and form its own autonomous regions (or Caracoles).

Reflecting on the Catholic Church’s view and role in events in Chiapas, Ruiz affirmed that, while rejecting the use of violence, it agreed with the “causes of justice that [the EZLN] represented”. Asked if the “option for the poor” in the Church still existed, he clarified that it was “not something optional” and that “the Church is either the Church of the Poor or it is not the Church of Jesus Christ”. He continued, saying that, to be a Church of the Poor, the church would have to “modify its structures, making sure the poor truly feel like members of that church”.

In the Catholic Church, he emphasised, a “change in consciousness” is necessary – a progressive idea that has met with resistance from conservative sectors of the institution. For example, the “simple and logical decision” to have a mass in the Tzotzil language once a week in San Cristóbal de las Casas “provoked reactions from people of ‘a certain level’ who led a coordinated effort to avoid giving money to the church so that it would have economic difficulties and would not be able to organise such a mass”.

Ruiz went on to highlight that, “throughout the continent, indigenous populations have become even more conscious of their own role as ‘subjects’ in their own stories”. And “that is irreversible”, he stressed. He would then add that, considering this increased consciousness and the continuing existence of the injustices that led to the Zapatista Uprising in 1994, there is even more need for the government to return to negotiations – and not in a superficial way” that simply makes it look like problems have been solved in order to attract foreign investment. Nonetheless, in his eyes it seemed like the government was not conscious of this need, having ceased to pay sufficient attention to the issue.

Unfortunately, ten years on, Ruiz’s assessment of the Mexican government and its current political order still ring true. But the Zapatistas haven’t been naïvely waiting for a change in government policy. They have focussed their time on autonomously building an alternative form of society – without reserving hopes that the government will suddenly come to its senses.

Translated and adapted by Oso Sabio from the article “They Weren’t Interested in Taking Power” by Salvador Corro, found between pages 22 and 24 in Proceso’s Special Edition Number 43 – “20 Years Later: The Zapatista Uprising”


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