dorset chiapas solidarity

January 4, 2016

9 Zapatista Sympathizers Jailed in Mexican State of Morelos

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 8:30 am



9 Zapatista Sympathizers Jailed in Mexican State of Morelos



The nine jailed activists are members of The Other Campaign movement connected to the Zapatista National Liberation Army or EZLN. | Photo: AFP


Members of the Zapatista-aligned movement have repeatedly suffered harassment, threats, and intimidation at the hands of security forces in Morelos.

Nine people with connections to Mexico’s revolutionary Zapatista movement have been detained in the south-central state of Morelos and claim they have been victims of police and military harassment, the Mexican daily La Jornada reported on Sunday.

A group of soldiers and Morelos state police had initially arrested a total of 12 members of The Other Campaign of the Zapatista National Liberation Army or EZLN on Saturday, but three minors have since been released. Nine remain jailed in the Jojutla municipality in the central state of Morelos, just south of Mexico City.

The 12 activists, including the three underage youth, were detained violently, according to La Jornada.



The detainees are aligned with the revolutionary Zapatista militia, pictured marching in solidarity with the 43 disappeared Ayotzinapa students. I Photo: AFP


The detainees were traveling in a vehicle when soldiers stopped them in the name of conducting a routine search.

According to information from The Other Campaign of the EZLN in Morelos reported for La Jornada, those stopped by the soldiers refused to be arbitrarily searched and called members of their movement for support, while the military officials called in police backup.

Police then detained the activists. Although only three minors have been released, La Jornada reported that it is likely that police do not have grounds to charge the remaining nine detainees with crimes to justify their arrest.

The town where the nine detainees are jailed, Jojutla, is located less than 30 miles south of Cuernavaca, the capital of Morelos, and just over 20 miles from Temixco, one of the most violent municipalities in the state where newly-inaugurated Mayor Gisela Mota was murdered Saturday one day after beginning her term in office.



Cuernavaca, Temixco, and Jujtla in the Mexican state of Morelos. I Source: Google Maps


According to the detainees’ organization, members of The Other Campaign movement have repeatedly suffered harassment, threats, and intimidation at the hands of security forces in Morelos.

The arrest of the EZLN allies comes one day after the Zapatistas celebrated the 22nd anniversary of their revolutionary struggle on Jan. 1. The movement for indigenous self-determination vowed on Friday to continue fighting for democracy, freedom, and justice.

The Other Campaign of the EZLN was launched by the Zapatistas, based in the southern state of Chiapas, in 2006 with the aim of connecting the Zapatista movement to other grassroots struggles across the country.

Subscribing to the principles of the Zapatistas’ Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle, a declaration of revolutionary movements’ vision for the country, The Other Campaign focuses on fighting capitalism and neoliberalism in Mexico.

Please note, this article follows  La Jornada and refers to the Other Campaign, which is no longer in existence. It should say they are adherents to the Sexta. This article is included here with reservations.



September 1, 2015

The Energy Reform vs the Rights of the Indigenous Peoples

Filed under: Indigenous — Tags: , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 5:50 pm


The Energy Reform vs the Rights of the Indigenous Peoples


Miguel Concha
La Jornada, 29th August, 2015

According to Convention No. 169 of the International Labour Organization, indigenous peoples are those who descend from the populations that inhabited the country, or a geographical region to which the country belongs, at the time of conquest or colonization or the establishment of present state boundaries and who, irrespective of their legal status, retain some or all of their own social, economic, cultural and political institutions.

A fundamental condition in order to be subject to indigenous rights is that indigenous peoples and their members are fully aware of their identity. In this article, I will address two rights that I consider basic in order for indigenous peoples to live in freedom under all the rights that have been recognized to them: the right to self-determination and the right to land. The first recognizes the freedom of indigenous peoples to decide the ways that allow them to continue their traditional lifestyle. The second grants them special importance with regard to their relationship with the lands or territories they occupy and use in some way or another, in particular the collective aspects of this relationship.

If we talk about land, we are touching on the relationships that people have forged and continue to forge in this vital space where they develop a cultural, spiritual, social, economic and political life that, in turn, lends itself to the construction of their identity. However, with the energy reform, the imposition of megaprojects on indigenous lands and campesinos is now legal, even though unwanted by the community.

download (1)Before the reform, the strategy was to intimidate and threaten in order to scare the indigenous population and force them to give rights of way over their land, ignoring not only the will of the people, but also the community assemblies that are fully viable political institutions in indigenous communities.

Such actions on part of the State are not far from reality in some villages of Tlaxcala, which remain in resistance to imposition of the Morelos pipeline, as this project is of no benefit to the population. On the contrary, this type of infrastructure is intended to strengthen the industrial sector, which in turn, needs a lot of energy to carry out its operations.

The pipeline is part of the Comprehensive Morelos Project, which consists of a combined cycle power plant that runs on both natural gas (the pipeline) and steam (an aqueduct) to produce electricity that will lead to the installation of new industrial cities along the pipeline through branches that distribute energy. It impacts 29 municipalities in three states, Morelos, Puebla and Tlaxcala.

Despite knowing the real impact of this work, the Federal Electricity Commission and the federal, state, municipal and community governments act with trickery and complicity to facilitate and expedite the construction, thus ignoring the will of community assemblies that have said “No” to the passage of the pipeline—both through their territories and elsewhere.

Community committees in San Vicente Xiloxochitla, San Jorge Tezoquipan, San Damiano Texoloc, and La Trinidad Tenexyecac in Tlaxcala, show clear signs of a struggle waged to defend the will of their assemblies. However, the communal decision as a whole is under fire by both the Mexican State and transnational private companies Elecnor, Enagas and Bonatti.

Approved by the energy reform, right of way to access oil and gas deposits is simply a way to deprive people of their freedom to decide which projects are carried out on their lands, and to impose other ways of relating to water, land, agriculture, traditions, rites, communal life and collective work.

Right of way to access oil and gas deposits—according to the new law on hydrocarbons—will be imposed over the will of the people. So, if they choose not to give up their lands for oil or natural gas wells, pipelines, hydroelectric or wind farms, the energy projects will be carried out anyway. To do so, companies and their invasive machinery will besiege communities from different parts of their territories in order to make the work done irreversible, taking into account neither any litigation in progress nor the violated rights of indigenous communities.

download (2)None of these energy projects, driven by governments and corporations, are intended to resolve the needs of communities, but rather to extend the plight of urbanization and industrialization that displace local cultural projects. The devastating consequences for their territories and people can already be seen.

However, the indigenous communities are still standing, demanding that the agreements generated in the community assemblies are respected. The pipeline is intended to cross densely populated areas like San Vicente Xiloxoxitla in the municipality of Nativitas; San Jorge Tezoquipan in Panotla, and Trinidad Tenexyecac, in the municipality of Ixtacuixtla.

In Trinidad Tenexyecac, the indigenous community makes its living through the creation of pottery, baked in ovens that generate temperatures of 950-1050 degrees Celsius. Since the pipelines pass less than a few meters away, residents are placed at high risk. They also pass 100 meters from Emiliano Zapata Distance Learning Middle School. In San Vicente Xiloxoxitla, the people make their living by the production of soft tacos, so burners are lit the major part of the day.

This all represents a great risk to indigenous communities. With the arrival of machinery and the force of law enforcement, they want to change their tranquillity and above all, their culture and way of life. For this reason, the communities are resisting—and they will not give up in the face of these projects.

Translated by Laura Turner



March 16, 2015

Mexicans connect anti-capitalist resistances

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 7:24 pm


Mexicans connect anti-capitalist resistances

by Chiapas Support Committee

Ayotzinapa presentation at the Festival of Resistances & Rebellions against Capitalism in Amilcingo. Photo: Arturo Vazquez

Ayotzinapa presentation at the Festival of Resistances & Rebellions against Capitalism in Amilcingo. Photo: Arturo Vazquez

A surge of grassroots organizing for fundamental change is underway in Mexico. The September 26-27, 2014 police attack on students from the Ayotzinapa rural teachers college, which took place in Iguala, Guerrero, and the subsequent disappearance of 43 of those students, exposed the complicity and corruption between government officials, political parties, police and organized crime; it shocked Mexico’s conscience and left a deep wound in the nation’s heart. A few examples of the growing momentum for radical change are described below.Ayotzinapa presentation at the Festival of Resistances & Rebellions against Capitalism in Amilcingo. Photo: Arturo Vazquez

After the police attack and enforced disappearance of 43 students, the State Coordinator of Education Workers of Guerrero (Ceteg), the state affiliate of the National Coordinator of Education Workers, a lefty labor union, wasted no time in calling a meeting in Ayotzinapa. Participants in the October 15 meeting, held a mere 18 days after the attack, vowed to engage in various kinds of social protest and to organize in order to accumulate forces and grow the movement. The participants also formed the National Popular Assembly (ANP, its initials in Spanish), composed of 53 social and student organizations in the country. (Students also have a national organization.) Afterwards, parents, relatives, student survivors, teachers and friends of the 43 disappeared students attended meetings within Guerrero and in different parts of the country to gather momentum and support for their on-going search for the students and for truth and justice. The parents and student survivors split up in small groups and visited communities and social organizations around the country; it seemed like they were everywhere, and it still seems that way after five months.

One of their visits was to Chiapas, where they met with civil society in San Cristóbal and with the statewide teachers’ union in Tuxtla Gutiérrez, the state’s capital. On November 15, 2014 they met with the Zapatistas in Oventik, a Zapatista Caracol, the autonomous regional government center. The Zapatistas had also been busy organizing since their re-emergence on December 21, 2012. The Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN) initiated a new organizing phase with the Escuelitas Zapatistas (Little Zapatista Schools) in 2013, where folks were invited into Zapatista homes and communities to learn first-hand about autonomy. Escuelitas were held twice in 2013 (August and December) and the first week of January 2014. They also held a Seminar in honor of Juan Chávez Alonso, a very well known and highly respected indigenous leader that died. This was a step in renewing the relationship between the National Indigenous Congress (CNI) and the EZLN.

From August 4-8, 2014, the EZLN held a “sharing,” or exchange of struggles, thoughts and ideas, with the National Indigenous Congress in La Realidad. On August 9, they presented a joint report that, in addition to a long list of government plans to facilitate corporate takeovers of indigenous lands (dispossession), included plans to sponsor a joint global festival of resistances and rebellions against capitalism in several different locations between December 22, 2014 and January 3, 2015.

Following the November 15 meeting with the Ayotzinapa parents in Oventik, the EZLN issued a December 12 comunicado [1] in which it invited the parents to send a 20-person delegation to the Festival of Resistances and Rebellions Against Capitalism (R&R Festival) as honored guests. The EZLN stated that it would cede its spaces to speak to the parents. The parents accepted and were thus able to tell their story to indigenous representatives of many anti-capitalist struggles around the country, as well as to adherents of the Sixth Declaration that attended the Festival. The Zapatistas gave the parents their full support and urged members of the CNI to welcome the families of the 43 disappeared students into their communities and to listen to what they had to say. Besides urging everyone to struggle against capitalism and its destruction of Mother Earth, the EZLN also urged CNI members and adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle to support the struggle of the Ayotzinapa families and students for truth and justice. Subcomandante Moisés stated:

“We understand that right now, truth and justice for Ayotzinapa is the most urgent demand.” [2]

 After the Festival of Resistances and Rebellions against Capitalism

Congress of Morelos Towns forms and joins the Ayotzinapa struggle for truth and justice.

Congress of Morelos Towns forms and joins the Ayotzinapa struggle for truth and justice.

Congress of Morelos Towns forms and joins the Ayotzinapa struggle for truth and justice.

On February 1, representatives from 60 towns in the state of Morelos met to form the Congress of Morelos Towns in order to unite opposition to the Morelos Integral Project; a collection of energy and infrastructure projects intended to facilitate industrialization and mining. Some of the towns had sent representatives to the R&R Festival and one of the towns, Amilcingo, hosted the Festival. Representatives from Ayotzinapa spoke at the February 1 meeting, and the Congress of Morelos Towns voted to join their struggle.

An ambitious project called the Constituyente Ciudadana, which organizers had been working on for eleven months, made an important announcement on February 5. In Mexico City, human rights activist Bishop Raúl Vera López, [3] other activists, clergy, members of campesino, union and social organizations, as well as survivors of the violence that envelops Mexico presented the initiative of a Popular Citizens Convention, which will convoke a series of sessions throughout the country, and a March 21 meeting for discussing the political reality and to formulate a new Constitution. Reasoning that the current Constitution is “dead,” proponents of this project want citizens to agree on a new constitution that will provide economic, social and political justice to all citizens. This work takes place without political parties. [4]

Among the project’s proponents present at the Mexico City announcement, in addition to Vera López, were: the painter Francisco Toledo, Javier Sicilia, Father Alejandro Solalinde, the priest Miguel Concha, Gilberto López y Rivas, migrant defender Leticia Gutiérrez, as well as union representatives, among them Martín Esparza (Electricians Union) and members of different churches. At the start of the February 5 event, they remembered the events that occurred in Iguala, Guerrero, which resulted in 43 students from the rural teachers college at Ayotzinapa being forcibly disappeared.

  Resistance to Federal and Military Police in Guerrero.

Resistance to Federal and Military Police in Guerrero.

The ANP held a National Popular Convention (CNP) over the weekend of February 6-8. Two thousand (2,000) delegates from 244 social organizations coming from the interior of the country attended. A central purpose of the convention is to generate ‘‘a reflection within all the organizations that envisions the possibility of giving direction to the movement and grouping together and unifying all of the country’s political forces, respecting their diversity and natural dynamic, but giving it direction through a political program. [5]

The ANP held another meeting on February 22 with 153 delegates from 55 social organizations. Again headed by the Ayotzinapa parents, they agreed to make it their priority to enter military barracks to search for their missing sons and to hold a second National Popular Convention (CNP) on April 10 and 11. According to Vidulfo Rosales Sierra, a lawyer with the Tlachinollan Human Rights Center of La Montaña, “they are accumulating forces with the political movement, and will invite other actors like the National Indigenous Congress (CNI), and the Constituyente Ciudadana (Citizens Constitutional Convention) that the Bishop of Saltillo, Raúl Vera, impels, so as to be assembled in one single force that permits us to arrive at the convention with more strength.” [6]

The fact that the project for a constitutional convention had been worked on for eleven months demonstrates that the Ayotzinapa case is not what motivated that project. One possible motivation was the package of constitutional “reforms” the Congress passed last year. That package included an energy reform that now gives energy companies the right to “use” anyone’s land, whether private, ejido or communal land, for oil and gas exploration and exploitation; in other words, the right to poison indigenous and campesino land and thereby render it useless for producing crops. The package also included an education reform that takes union rights away from teachers and implements a system similar to the “no child left behind” policy in the United States. A “tax reform” requires small cooperatives and others previously not taxed to keep books and pay taxes. Collectively, these “reforms” were known as the Pact for Mexico, sponsored by the PRI.

Another major motivation was very likely the out-of-control violence and resulting insecurity caused by Drug War militarization and the actions of organized crime. At the February 1 Congress in Morelos described above, Javier Sicilia announced that organized crime has provoked the following number of victims in Mexico: “(…) more than 160,000 murders were committed in the eight most recent years and more than 30,000 disappeared and 500,000 displaced exist.” [7]

In addition to victims of organized crime, all the campesinos affected by the energy “reform” and teachers affected by the education “reform,” Ayotzinapa has added momentum for the citizens’ constitutional convention, grassroots anti-capitalist organizing and fundamental change in Mexico. What provides a hopeful sign is that so many diverse social organizations, unions and churches are coming together with a common goal: a citizens’ constitutional convention.


By: Mary Ann Tenuto-Sánchez



[3] Raúl Vera López is the Catholic Bishop of Saltillo and the president of the Board of Directors of the Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Human Rights Center (Frayba) in Chiapas. He also served as Assistant Bishop of the San Cristóbal de las Casas Diocese in Chiapas, under the late Bishop, Don Samuel Ruiz, the founder of Frayba.
















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