dorset chiapas solidarity

April 11, 2016

Caravan for Peace, Life and Justice Reaches San Cristobal de Las Casas

Filed under: caravan — Tags: , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 9:46 am



Caravan for Peace, Life and Justice Reaches San Cristobal de Las Casas




The event in Plaza de la Paz, San Cristobal de las Casas, Photo @ SIPAZ

On April 7, the Caravan for Peace, Life and Justice reached Plaza de La Paz in San Cristobal de Las Casas, where it held a discussion with representatives of various civil organizations which expressed their accompaniment and solidarity. The Caravan is a broad initiative of families of victims of human rights violations, civil society organizations and social movements from different nations, which call for a “halt to the war on drugs.” On their journey, the Caravan has joined a group of some 35 people from seven countries.

It left Honduras on March 28 and will arrive in New York on April 18. According to Otros Mundos, “the route reflects the commitment to raise the voice of the victims and of the heroes of the war on drugs, and it turns out they are the same. From their pain, the victims are becoming in an organized way the people who struggle for peace and justice, for an exit from the war.”

On their way through Mexico, the Caravan entered through the border of Guatemala – Mexico at La Mesilla – Ciudad Cuauhtemoc on April 6. There they held an event in which they listened to the words and struggles in the region of the southern border of Mexico, “invaded by a growing militarization which worsens the human rights situation of the peoples in defense and care of the earth as well as migrants from Central America and Chiapas year after year.” The participants in the Caravan proposed a compilation of testimonies of violations of human rights committed combatting drugs with the aim of presenting it at the special session on narcotics at the General Assembly of the United Nations, to be held from April 19 – 21.

During the event in San Cristobal de Las Casas, some civil organizations, among them Otros Mundos, The Civil Society of Las Abejas of Acteal, and Mesoamerican Voices shared their words. They demanded “that justice be done for the killing of the coordinator of the Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations (COPINH), Berta Caceres, murdered on March 3 last in Honduras.” The Colombian Alex Serra, who coordinated the passage of the Caravan through Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala reiterated that, “one of our principal demands is that justice be done because she was part of the Caravan and with her murder, we are in mourning.” In commemoration of the Honduran leader, there was a minute of applause during the event. Las Abejas de Acteal underlined that if “there is insecurity for the life of the population of Honduras, migration and pillage of our mother earth, it is not only in Honduras, there is also a wave of violence and injustice here in Chiapas and in Mexico, the youth of Ayotzinapa being a clear example.” Marco Castillo of the Popular Assembly of Migrant Families and coordinator of the Caravan in Mexico, sustained that, “it would appear that the great gain of the war is not security but the control of territory, terrorism in the population, such that it is undeniable that the security policy has failed.”

The Caravan left at noon on the same day to Oaxaca, from where it will travel to Morelos to have a meeting with Javier Sicilia, leader of the Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity. From there it will continue its way to the seat of the United Nations Organization (UNO) in New York to demand justice and dignity.



June 9, 2014

“The Dead Are Alive” – Javier Sicilia

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 5:22 pm


“The Dead Are Alive” – Javier Sicilia

Javier Sicilia, Proceso, 8th June, 2014

For the Zapatista compañeros, for each of us who resist.


imagesmpjd“April,” T.S. Eliot wrote in the terrible poem “The Waste Land” that announced the horrors of the twentieth century, “…is the cruellest month.”

In the Mexico of the twenty-first century, April’s cruelty has become that of every month and every day. The nomenclature of the murdered, disappeared, displaced, has become increasingly commonplace, buried under “the dead land” of abstractions, statistical accounting and structural reforms. From time to time, one or two murders shake the conscience and, as Eliot says, “engender lilies” from the bottom of that inhospitable land that reminds us of the horror, the debt of a State that has abdicated its reason for being and that, under the transvestism of restorative rhetoric, doesn’t stop serving the crime of big business, whether legal or illegal.

The murder in April of Alexander Chao and his wife, Sarah, in Morelos, and the killing in May of José Luis López Solís, Galeano, in Chiapas, belong, like those of my son Juan Francisco and his friends in 2001, to these monsters. Masters who taught, conversed and sought with others a way through the disaster were murdered as murders are committed in Mexico, for nothing, for the unique and frightful act of saying that the power of money, of violence, of plunder, is the señor who wants to reign over a field of charnel houses. Their deaths, however, have returned to dig up so many names that nobody wants to know and to show that the dead are alive in the hearts and in the actions of each one of the beings who resist.

In recalling Alejandro Chao and Sarah Rebolledo, that’s what was said at the May 5 march convened by the Autonomous University of the State of Morelos (UAEM) and its summons to dialogue with the authorities. This is what the self-defence groups in Michoacán and the forum Yo Soy Autodefensa [I Am Self-Defence] held on May 28 at the Siqueiros Polyforum in Mexico City also said. It is what was presented with the profound language of poetry at the May 23 tribute to Galeano in La Realidad [Chiapas] and the letter from Subcomandante Marcos, Between light and shade.

The letter of Marcos is, like Eliot’s poem, the deep and worn expression not only of this denunciation of horror, but of the life of the dead and of the resistance that makes that life possible. She, in announcing his death and affirming with her life–the resurrection–of Galeano, and of so many others, that the system has wanted to reduce to the anonymity and silence of numbers and mass graves. It has not done anything but reaffirm what twenty years has declared: what matters is the human being, it is the life of each one.

Behind the so-called “motley” of Subcomandante Marcos; behind the ski mask, the symbols that reveal by obscuring; behind the “motley” of the leaders of pain–call him Raúl Vera, Alejandro Solalinde, Javier Sicilia, José Manuel Mireles, Alejandro Martí, etc. Behind those killed who, like the children at the ABC Nursery School, Juan Francisco, Alejandro Chao, José Luis López Solís, etc., shock the conscience of power, it is and has always been, the image not only of each of the dead–Between light and shadow names 42, which in turn names thousands others entered in the annals of victim organizations and the memorials that rise up here and there–but also of all those everywhere, even though the press and the system ignores them; nonetheless, they resist, organize, stand up and make the dead live in his or her life.

The death of Subcomandante Marcos is, against the death imposed by the political system allied with him, the life of each one. By disappearing the “hologram,” the “motley,” what appeared is not death, but what had always been there and spoken through his mouth of cloth: the faces and voices of life and its memories, those of the ordinary, of those who love and meet and organize. They resist the absurd logic of those who think to live by plunder, by the blurring of others, by the unprecedented terror, by the predation and death; the faces and voices of every mother looking at her child, of each migrant who defies fear, of those who refuse to pay dues [protection money to cartels], of the child who attends school each day facing the possibility of crossfire, of the imbecility of bullying and of the negligence of the authorities; of the soldier, policeman, the Marine who refused to work for criminals. For the last time, the “motley” said:

“(…) in order to rebel and struggle, leaders aren’t needed nor are warlords or messiahs or saviours (those that the system exalts and believes that it destroys).

“All that’s needed to struggle is a little embarrassment, a little dignity and a lot of organization.”

I would add: and a lot of love for life and for others. That is what is there, behind the “motley” that has been in the midst of the ruins of those who believe that, in the name of money and power, they can rub us out. Octavio Paz put it another way, in the other time that is the same time:

“life is not of any one, we are all / life–living sun for others / the others that we all are.” …

Proceso makes this article available online only to subscribers.

Translated by Jane Brundage





Social Activist and His Wife Bludgeoned to Death in Mexico

by Pablo de Llano (El País)


Professor Alejandro Chao at a community event. / Photo: BLOG LA HORMEGA

– The murder of a married couple respected for their social activism shocks the State of Morelos, the birthplace of Mexico’s Peace Movement

“It’s an atypical event,” Morelos’s governor, Graco Ramírez, said. The press release from the State University of Morelos defines it somewhat differently; as a high-impact crime characterized by a situation of structural insecurity: “These brutal and unspeakable murders (…) once again prick the country’s conscience about the absence of the right to life and security for citizens.” For a hurried politician what happened is an “event” but for the professor’s colleagues and friends the murders were a crime. The politician says it was “atypical” but to the friends and colleagues it was appalling evidence of a problem with shared public responsibility.

The lifeless bodies of the renowned psychology professor and social activist Alejandro Chao (77) and his wife, Sara Rebolledo (71), were found Monday morning in their home in Cuernavaca, the capital of the State of Morelos. On their heads they had marks of being bludgeoned by a stone. A window to their house was broken. Morelos’s Prosecutor, headquartered two blocks from the crime scene, has suggested an assault when the couple returned home at night and came upon the intruders. Morelos’s security chief, Alberto Capella, has said that the people who carried out the crime reacted violently because they knew the couple, and were surprised to see them arrive, “outside their routine.”

Bordering the south of Mexico City, the small state of Morelos has two million residents. It’s not one of Mexico’s regions overwhelmed by organized crime but it is an area preoccupied with small-scale criminal activity: mostly, kidnappings and extortions. In 2013, it was the Mexican state with the highest proportion of abductions: 8.5 per 100,000 people. If the states of Michoacán and Tamualipas provide the actual paradigms for the authorities for trying to combat the power of the large drug trafficking mafiosi, Morelos epitomizes the problems of structural deficiencies to protect citizens from crimes committed by smaller criminal groups. In the wake of the violent dynamics within Mexico stemming from the fight against drug trafficking and fed by the fatal combination of socioeconomic marginalization and criminal impunity, these lesser groups look on everyday citizens as a way to make money.

Professor Chao’s university has called for a march this Wednesday in Cuernavaca. Three years ago, the city’s displeased society symbolically turned itself against crime; in March 2011, poet Javier Sicilia’s 24-year old son was assassinated. A famous Mexican intellectual, Sicilia headed a march from Cuernavaca to Mexico City, sparking the Movement for Peace, Justice, and Dignity, the country’s most relevant social phenomenon of recent years. Three years later, with Sicilia retired to a supporting role after two years of unceasing activism, and because of the victims’ stature, Cuernavaca’s society finds itself with a new high impact case: a respected academic who after a life dedicated to social progress ends up murdered in his house beside his wife in an alleged assault by common criminals.

Chao continued to serve as director of the School of Social Work, after 36 years spent training psychologists, facts recognized in the University’s press release, which also mentions that Chao served as Mexico’s representative on UNESCO’s Council of Higher Education. According to the University, Chao “throughout his long and fertile life, gave voice to historically excluded communities and groups.” The press release ends by announcing this Wednesday’s march, and with a slogan: “Towards a humanity based on culture.”

Professor Chao was also a promoter of culture and edited a published collection of poetry called Voices Against the Wind (Voces al viento), bringing together young poets. He published one of his books of poetry in this collection: he called it Canticles of the Kabbalah (Cántigas de la cábala). The academic collaborated on a literary and political blog called La Hormega. After learning of his murder this Monday his fellow bloggers published one of his poems. By telephone this morning, Juan Pablo Picazo, who is responsible for La Hormega said the professor was involved in a process of re-writing his canticles. “He used to say that the more you grow, the more you learn, in the vein of Walt Whitman.” The last paragraph of the canticle published yesterday on the blog says:


The poet revives to the tune of pipes and flutes made of hemp;

I leave the garden where the fireflies excite the quantum world,

the lively rainbow colour of the hummingbird sucking bottlebrush flowers

Three years after the tragedy of Javier Sicilia’s son, Mexico proves it still has problems with poetry and life.

This article was published in El País on 6 May 2014. It has been translated without permission by the Mexican Journalism Translation Project (MxJTP).


Journalist Pablo de Llano reports for El País from Mexico. You can follow him on Twitter @pablodellano. This story first appeared under the title, “Asesinados a golpes en México un luchador social y su esposa,” available at:

Translator Patrick Timmons is a human rights investigator and journalist. He edits the Mexican Journalism Translation Project (MxJTP), a quality selection of Spanish-language journalism about Latin America rendered into English.



June 22, 2013


Filed under: Bachajon, Movement for Justice in el Barrio — Tags: , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 6:34 am

Pronouncement from


about the “Week of Worldwide Action “Juan Vázquez Guzmán lives! The Bachajón struggle continues!”

At the Palace of Fine Arts in Mexico City on the 19th of June, at the event convoked by Alberto Patishtán himself to mark 13 years of his unjust imprisonment, the following greeting was sent to the Worldwide Campaign: “Juan Vázquez Guzmán lives! The Bachajón struggle continues!”

Mexico, Federal District; June 19, 2013

Once again, the indigenous peoples are being injured. It is outrageous that our indigenous compañeros die by assassination for defending their territory and the future of our Mother Earth from the hands of those whose lives are based on greed and violence, and who are trying to destroy everything that gives sense and meaning to life.

Juan stood out for his active involvement in the defense of human rights, he was an adherent to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN), from the ejido San Sebastián Bachajón; former secretary general of the Adherents to the Sixth in his ejido, he participated in the defense of territory and in the struggle for the release of political prisoners, adding his active and sustained efforts to organizing actions for the freedom of Professor Alberto Patishtán. On countless occasions he denounced the social and political violence in his ejido, which was generated by the government in order to weaken the ejidal organization and to consummate their dispossession from their lands in order to implement an ecotourism project. Since 2011, Juan followed closely the legal defense of the ejidal territory, denouncing from the start the lack of impartiality of the seventh district judge in Tuxtla Gutiérrez, and the complicity of the Chiapas State Council of Human Rights (ECHR) with Governor Juan Sabines Guerrero with the aim of ensuring their dispossession from their lands.

Juan left his cornfield, his coffee plantation, to his family, to his two young children and, of course left an irreparable void in his struggle and in the hearts of those who had the opportunity to learn from his steps. We send from here our sincere condolences to the community of San Sebastian Bachajón and his family, and send our greetings of solidarity to the campaign “Week of Worldwide Action: Juan Vázquez Guzmán lives, the Bachajón struggle continues!”

mpjdFrom here we make our own the cry “Juan Vázquez Guzmán, your voice will not be silenced, nor will the work of your heart be ended”.

The murder of our compañero must not go unpunished. This country can no longer live without justice. But justice needs to be clearly seen, so that we can believe in it again. We will continue to demand this until it happens.

Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity

Platform for original peoples


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