dorset chiapas solidarity

January 31, 2017

Zapatista News Summary for January 2017

Filed under: news, Uncategorized, Zapatista — Tags: , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 11:53 am



Zapatista News Summary for January 2017




Zapatista News

1. CNI and ConCiencias: With the second phase of the Fifth National Indigenous Congress finishing on January 1st at Oventic, and the Gathering “the Zapatistas and ConCiencias (ConSciences) for Humanity,” coming to an end on January 4th at Cideci, the news for January tends to be dominated by the outcome of these two events, especially the decision to set up an indigenous council for government (CGI) in whose name an indigenous woman will run as a candidate for president in 2018. A great deal of analysis and discussion takes place, with inevitable misunderstandings and opposition.

2. Closing words: The closing words of the 5th CNI are given by SCI Moises on 1st January, 2017. He speaks of the need for their project, “Today, the conditions of the Mexican people in the countryside and in the city are worse than they were 23 years ago. Poverty, desperation, death, and destruction are not only wrought on the people who originally populated this land. Now, misfortune finds everyone.” Therefore “The National Indigenous Congress has decided to fight to heal our land and our skies, and has decided to do it through civil and peaceful means.” Everyone can join together in this struggle. “Now is the time of all people, from the countryside and the city,” to struggle together for peace and justice and to create an autonomous parallel government for the country. The CGI will be formally constituted on May 18th.

3. Declaration of the Fifth National Indigenous Congress: Also on 1st January, with a joint statement from the CNI and the EZLN “And The Earth Trembled! A Report from the Epicentre”, the Declaration of the 5th CNI is released from Oventic. It announces the decision:

“WE AGREE to name an Indigenous Governing Council with men and women representatives from each one of the peoples, tribes, and nations that make up the CNI. This council proposes to govern this country. It will have an indigenous woman from the CNI as its spokesperson, which is to say a woman who has indigenous blood and who knows her culture, and this indigenous woman spokesperson from the CNI will be an independent candidate for the presidency of Mexico in the 2018 elections.” 1st January was, of course, the 23rd anniversary of the Zapatista uprising, which is symbolized in their new strategy.



4. The Zapatistas and ConSciences for Humanity: This well-attended event brings together scientists and adherents to the Sexta from many parts of the world, along with 200 Zapatiata support bases who will take their new learning back to their communities, after debating over a period of ten days. Moises says at the beginning “We don’t conceive knowledge as a symbol of social status or a measure of intelligence (…) We don’t want to go to the university, we want the university to be erected in our communities, to be taught and to learn together with our people.”

They are looking for “science for life.” Reflections by Sup Galeano, spoken at the event, are made available, such as this one for scientists; alsoavailable are accounts by people who attended.

5. “Joint Pronouncement From The CNI And The EZLN For The Freedom Of Our Mapuche Sister Machi Francisca Lincolao Huircapan” On 6th January, the CNI and EZLN issue a joint communique demanding freedom for the woman healer, religious leader and Mapuche political prisoner in Chile. This is part of the repression committed by the Chilean government against the indigenous Mapuche people. 60 year-old Francisca Linconao’s state of health is very weak following a hunger strike. She is “on a hunger strike to demand the justice that the bad government of Chile has denied her by keeping her imprisoned for the crime of continuing to defend the natural resources, sacred places, and cultural rights of her people.”



1.Anniversaries in Chiapas: January 25th, 2017 marks the 6th anniversary of the death of the belovedJtatik Samuel, Bishop Samuel Ruiz Garcia, in San Cristobal de las Casas, and the 25th anniversary of the foundation of El Pueblo Creyente (the Believing People). During that time they have been walking towards the construction of alternatives, denouncing the projects of death. A big march is held by the Pueblo Creyente. 5,000 people walk in procession to the cathedral in San Cristobal for a mass in memory of Bishop Samuel, seeking to construct their own autonomy. The occasion also marks 25 years since the creation of the Area of Women.

2.Activist murdered: Isidro Baldenegro López, a subsistence farmer and leader of the Tarahumara (Raramuri) community in the Sierra Madre mountain area is shot dead for his resistance to illegal logging and deforestation in the northern region. His father was previously assassinated for the same reason. At least 122 activists were murdered in Latin America in 2015 while trying to protect natural resources from environmentally destructive mega-projects such as dams, mines, tourist resorts and logging, according to research by the NGO Global Witness. In all, 2015 was the deadliest year on record for environmental activists globally with at least 185 killed.

 3. Atenco – more attempts to impose the airport: On 21st January members of the FPDT and inhabitants of the eastern shore of Lake Texcoco share with representatives of the United Nations their experience of human rights violations. The very next day crews of workers with two bulldozers enter the ejido of Atenco to carry out the construction of the highway Pirámides-Texcoco. With the protection of a military tank and federal police, the companies again violate the definitive suspension awarded against this project that is part of the new airport of Mexico City. The ejidatarios demand the removal of the machinery. Members of the FPDT continue to block the highway from Texcoco-Lechería to denounce the dispossession of more than 500 hectares of their cultivated lands.

4. Monsanto struggles to impose GM corn in Mexico: A Mexican court upholds a late 2013 ruling which had temporarily halted even pilot plots of GMO corn following a legal challenge over its effects on the environment. While Mexico is self-sufficient in white corn used to make the country’s staple tortillas, it depends on imports of mostly GMO yellow corn from the United States for its livestock. Several years ago, Monsanto submitted two applications for the commercial planting of GMO corn in Mexico. Progress with these has been very slow.



January 5, 2017

Zapatista News Summary for December, 2016

Filed under: news, Uncategorized, Zapatista — Tags: , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 5:57 pm



Zapatista News Summary for December, 2016




Zapatista and CNI News


1. The Convocation to the Second phase of the Fifth National Indigenous Congress is issued jointly by the CNI and EZLN on 26th November. During the first phase in October the CNI and EZLN had “agreed to remain in permanent assembly while carrying out a consultation in all of our geographies on the resolutions reached… with respect to the formation of an Indigenous Governing Council, to be represented by an indigenous woman who is a CNI delegate who will run for the Mexican presidency in the electoral process of 2018.” The convocation is a call to the second phase which will be held on December 29, 30, and 31, 2016, and January 1, 2017, in the Zapatista Caracolof Oventik and will have “decisive capacity” in regard to the agreements proposed. The results will be announced in a plenary session at Oventic on 1st January.


 2. EZLN communiqué, 2nd December: The CNI and EZLN issue a joint communiqué, ‘Despite aggressions, the consultation continues,’ to highlight the fact that the consultation continues, despite aggressions being carried out against them, for example in Santa Maria Ostula, in Tixtla, Guerrero, against the Sioux people at the heart of the originary peoples of the CNI at Standing Rock, at Chanti Ollin, and against those fighting dams in Oaxaca. They denounce the attacks and harassment, “The fears of the powerful, the extractive companies, the military, and the narco-paramilitaries are so great that our consultation is being attacked and harassed in the places where our peoples are meeting to discuss and decide the steps to take as the CNI,” but they assure that their permanent assembly and community consultations will continue.


 3. Modevite supports the Consultation: Members of the Movement in Defence of Land and Territory arrive on pilgrimage in San Cristobal de Las Casas, where they agree to consult their communities about the EZLN proposal, believing it is necessary now for the indigenous people to unite to demand self-determination over their territory and construct community governments. “We all share the same objective.”


 4. An update is released on the Encuentro (Gathering) “the Zapatistas and ConSciences for Humanity:” on 15th December. The event is to be held at Cideci from December 25th to January 4th. 82 members of the scientific community, from 12 countries, have registered to participate, working in a very wide variety of areas. 200 Zapatista bases of support will attend as students, but there will also be general sessions, information sessions, and workshops, and many people will attend as listeners/observers. Scientists and attendees may register on December 25, 2016. Activities will begin on December 26, and will conclude on January 4, 2017. There will be an intermission on December 31, 2016 and January 1, 2017. [From 29th to 31st December, the Second Phase of the Fifth National Indigenous Congress will also take place behind closed doors at CIDECI to report, discuss and evaluate the results of the internal consultation which are to be reported on January 1st in the Caracol of Oventic.]


5. Programme for the Gathering ‘the Zapatistas and ConSciences for Humanity:’ The detailed programme is released on 24th The Gathering and the meeting of the Indigenous National Congress will both take place separately at CIDECI-Unitierra, the University of the Earth in San Cristobal de las Casas. The majority of the talks in the Gathering are to be given by national and international scientists, but there will also be participation from Subcomandantes Moisés and Galeano. Registration begins on December 25th, and the gathering concludes on January 4th.


 6. Opening of Gathering ‘the Zapatistas and ConSciences for Humanity:’ The opening speech is given by Subcomandante Insurgente Moises on 26th December, giving the words of the general command of the EZLN on behalf of the women, men, children and old ones of the Zapatistas. “For us as Zapatista men and women, today begins our long walk in search of others with whom we think we share the great responsibility to defend and save the world we live in – with the art of artists, the science of scientists, and the originary peoples alongside those below from across the entire world.” “No one is going to bring us salvation,” he says. “It is up to us. Begin to dream and you will see that we can only fight capitalism with good scientific science, the art of the artist, and the guardians of mother nature together with those below from across the world…The construction of a new world is in our hands.”


7. The decision: On 1st January, 2017, the 23rd anniversary of the Zapatista uprising, more than 3,000 delegates from the CNI gather to join the EZLN, along with Zapatista support bases and adherents to the Sexta, at Oventic to hear the result of the consultation which has taken place in all the 525 communities of the CNI. 430 communities have said yes, and 80 are still consulting, many of these are currently experiencing violence. The historic announcement is made that the CNI are going to create an Indigenous Council of Government (CIG) to function as a parallel government for the country, whose spokesperson will be an indigenous woman who will run as a candidate in the presidential elections of 2018. The name of the candidate will be announced in May 2017. This resolution was approved by the CNI on 30th and 31st December 2016 in the presence of over 1000 delegates from 43 peoples, nations and tribes indigenous to the country. They are proposing the creation of a new world.


8. On 2nd January, the EZLN and CNI issue a joint statement: “And the Earth Trembled! A Report from the Epicentre,” announcing the decision to create a new indigenous council for government and to run an indigenous woman for president, and elaborating on the new proposal and its implications. “This is the time of the originary peoples, the time for us to replant and rebuild ourselves. It is time to go on the offensive and this is the agreement that we have laid out for how to do so.” “We say that the earth indeed has trembled, and we along with her, and that we intend to shake the conscience of the entire nation, and that, in fact, we intend for indignation, resistance and rebellion to be present as an option on the electoral ballots of 2018.” “Our resistances and rebellions constitute the power of below. We don’t offer empty promises or actions, but rather real processes for radical transformation where everyone participates and which are tangible in the diverse and enormous indigenous geographies of this nation.”


Other News


1. Critical Thought in the Face of the Capitalist Hydra, Volume 1: This book, the first volume of a selection of the words and contributions given at the seminar held in May 2016, consists of the words of the Zapatistas themselves, bases of support as well as commanders. It is now available in English, in the US and the UK.


2. The Week Of Worldwide Action In Solidarity With The Ejidatarios Of San Sebastián Bachajón: is held from 4thTo 10th December. Actions including demonstrations, talks, exhibitions, pronouncements, discussions and the screening and production of videos take place in Canada, England, Spain, Mexico, Germany, Peru, United States, Uruguay and Italy. The compas from Bachajon send a video message in support of the campaign. Pronouncements are made by Raul Zibechi, Gustavo Esteva, Hugo Blanco, the Manchester Zapatista Collective, John Gibler, Ya Basta from Milan, the CGT and adherents to the Sexta from Barcelona, Sylvia Marcos and Jean Robert, and Malú Huacuja del Toro. A demonstration is held at the American Consulate in New York. Further information is available on the Bachajon website.


 3. First anniversary of autonomy in Tila; ejidatarios from Tila, adherents to La Sexta, celebrate the first anniversary of taking their autonomy, while stressing the harassment and intimidation they still suffer. The first anniversary of their taking over the Town Hall is 16th December 2016.



The new step has been described as “the greatest Zapatista challenge of the last 23 years” and the analysis has hardly started. There are currently 6 communiqués waiting to be translated. There will therefore be more to follow……..



January 1, 2017

Zapatista News Summary for November 2016

Filed under: news, Zapatista — Tags: — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 5:49 pm


Zapatista News Summary for November 2016


A. Zapatista and CNI News

1. Santa Maria Ostula: The EZLN and CNI issue a joint communique in solidarity with the indigenous community of Santa Maria Ostula in Michoacan which is resisting the fabrication of criminal charges against those who struggle to defend their land and territory.

2. The fifth Indigenous National Congress (CNI) is meanwhile conducting a consultation with all its communities as to whether the fifth CNI will name an indigenous government council whose word will be materialised by an indigenous woman who will be an independent candidate, in the names of the CNI and EZLN, in the 2018 elections for the president of Mexico. This decision is a response to “the corporate globalisation which affects all of us.”

3. ‘It is not the Decision of One Person’ is the title of a communique, signed by Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés, released on 16th November in response to criticism and misunderstanding of the EZLN’s proposal, without waiting to see what transpires. He explains that they are waiting for the decision of the CNI, which is a collective and that the proposal will lay bare the sexism and racism inherent in the electoral process.

4. 33rd Anniversary. 17th November marks the 33rd anniversary of the foundation of the Forces of National Liberation (FLN,) seed of the EZLN.


5. A Story to Try to Understand: Also on November 17th, Subcomandante Galeano releases a very long communique of explanation, giving further details about the proposal for consultation with the peoples of the CNI about naming an indigenous council and an indigenous woman candidate for the presidential elections in 2018. He clarifies that the CNI will make the decision, that the EZLN will not be supplying the candidate, nor do they seek to take power. What matters is not who wins, but that “their daring would make the whole political system vibrate.”

6. The Convocation for the Second Phase of the Fifth National Indigenous Congress is released next, on 26th November, giving the dates and timetable of the events to be held in the caracol of Oventik. “It is urgent to struggle, to take serious steps and go on the offensive alongside the peoples of the countryside and the city, indigenous and nonindigenous, to construct a new nation from below.” The congress will decide on the proposal made and the next steps to be taken.


B. Other

1. Displaced families from Banavil, Tenejapa, return to their lands to remember their dead daughters for the Day of the Dead.

2. Melel Xojobal hold a demonstration in San Cristobal to highlight the fact that In Chiapas, one in every 10 children between the ages of one and four dies from preventable gastrointestinal diseases.

3. Residents Of The Lacandon Jungle Reject The Presence Of Environmental Police: Thousands of Mayan residents of the Lacandon Jungle, along with social organisations, local authorities and indigenous communities declare their opposition to the Mexican government’s policies of militarisation. They are particularly opposed to the recent formation of the Environmental Police, backing hydroelectric projects and expansion of African palm plantations. “The real intention behind the formation of the Environmental Police is “to put biodiversity, medicinal plants, water and other natural resources of the area into private hands.”

4. Viejo Velasco. On 13th November the tenth anniversary of the Viejo Velasco massacre is commemorated. The case remains unpunished.

5. Indigenous hold a 12-Day Pilgrimage against Mega-Projects in Chiapas. On 15th November, more than 1000 indigenous people embark on a 15 day pilgrimage through 11 municipalities denouncing and protesting the megaprojects which threaten their lands and life. The Movement in Defence of Life and Territory (Modevite) called for this pilgrimage, which “shows the so-called ‘green government’ how to care for the earth.”


6. San Sebastián Bachajón: The Tseltal ejidatarios, adherents to the Sixth, from San Sebastián Bachajón, denounce acts of deception, harassment, violence and intimidation made against them by the officialist ejidal commissioner and his supporters in order to get control of the toll-booth to the Agua Azul waterfalls. Community leader and human rights activist Domingo Pérez Alvaro is detained for 3 hours and savagely beaten. In response to this aggression, an international coalition of writers, thinkers, intellectuals and solidarity activists convoke a week of worldwide action in solidarity with the ejidatarios of San Sebastián Bachajón, from 4th to 10th December 2016. 10th December is International Human Rights Day.

7. Acteal. 22nd December marks the 19th anniversary of the Acteal Massacre.

8. Roberto Paciencia Cruz. On 24th November, the indigenous Tsotsil prisoner is freed after 3 years and 4 months of unjust imprisonment. “This was another case of the racist and classist state justice system for which being poor and indigenous is a crime sufficient to be incarcerated. But also, it is an example of how prison can be another trench of struggle, where one can continue the work of those who have struggled before, and set an example for those that continue struggling for their freedom.”


Posted by Dorset Chiapas Solidarity




November 14, 2016


Filed under: news, Zapatistas — Tags: , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 3:53 pm


November 8, 2016

Originally published on It’s Going Down
By Scott Campbell


ezln-cni-conferenceZapatistas at the opening of the Fifth National Indigenous Congress.

On October 11, 500 delegates from the National Indigenous Congress (CNI) and the military command of the Zapatistas (EZLN) met in San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas to mark the 20th anniversary of the founding of the CNI. The opening comments from the Zapatistas were largely a call for indigenous peoples to get organized. It was the closing statement that caught everyone’s attention though. The CNI and EZLN announced they would begin consultations with their communities on the EZLN’s proposal of naming “an indigenous woman, a CNI delegate, as an independent candidate to the presidency of the country under the name of the National Indigenous Congress and the Zapatista Army for National Liberation in the electoral process of 2018.”

The reactions were immediate. Andrés Manuel López Obrador, the darling of the liberal electorate, was furious. He blames the Zapatistas for his losses in 2006 and 2012, and now they seem poised to interfere again with his presidential plans. Meanwhile, some anarchists pointed out that this proves the Zapatistas aren’t anarchists and that those who support the EZLN have been duped. Never mind that the EZLN has never claimed to be an anarchist group. On the authoritarian left, Mexico’s Socialist Workers Party could barely contain its glee over the news, emphatically endorsing the EZLN’s proposal.

The Zapatistas responded with a defensive and irritated statement largely arguing that this proposal is valid due to the impact it would have on the spectacle of electoral politics in laying bare the racism and sexism inherent in that process. A few days later, another statement communicated that the CNI and EZLN will announce the decision to run a candidate or not on January 1. They also said the “Zapatistas and ConSciences for Humanity” gathering will begin in Chiapas on December 25.

In reading and discussing these developments with compas in Mexico, the general attitude seems to be to wait and see what happens. Some feel it is a publicity stunt, designed to provoke just the sort of reaction it did, and that this will be made clear on January 1. On the other hand, if a joint CNI-EZLN candidate is put forward, then a re-evaluation by many anti-authoritarians would have to occur. While some of what they are proposing is interesting – to have an indigenous woman as president guided by the decisions of an assembly – to consider entering the electoral arena strikes many as a betrayal and is difficult to reconcile with the EZLN’s strident critiques of the system and power. To flirt with electoral politics even with the goal of détournement is to engage with a system fundamentally opposed to liberation, designed to consolidate power and legitimize repression. Such a move seems more akin to Michael Moore and his ficus plant than the Zapatistas and their uncompromising, decades-long struggle for autonomy and self-determination. Stay tuned.

In related news, a member of the CNI from the autonomous Tzeltal community of San Sebastián Bachajón was detained and severely beaten by a group led by a local government official. Two days later, on October 19, 800 police and 400 paramilitaries positioned themselves on the outskirts of that community. Fearing a raid, the alarm was sounded, but it appeared to just be an intimidation tactic. For other Chiapas news, be sure to check out Dorset Chiapas Solidarity’s Zapatista new summaries for September and October.




Originating from an Argentinian call for a general women’s strike, on October 19 actions occurred all over Mexico to condemn the ongoing crisis of femicide in the country and the system that facilitates impunity in the face of the epidemic murders of cis and trans women. El Enemigo Común has a round-up of the events of that day and provides context on femicide in Mexico. “The State of Mexico registered 1,045 homicides of women between 2013 and 2015, out of a total of 6,488 women killed country-wide, according to government statistics. Next came Guerrero, Chihuahua, Mexico City, Jalisco and Oaxaca, with 512, 445, 402, 335 and 291 homicides of women reported, respectively, in the same period.” Those numbers a likely low, as it is estimated an average of six cis women are murdered in Mexico daily. The actions on October 19 were given additional urgency following the murder of Alessa Flores on October 13. Flores became the third trans woman to be murdered in Mexico in 13 days, and the 22nd to be killed in 2016.

A week later in Oaxaca, women organized a shutdown of a taxi stand following the sexual assault of a woman passenger by a taxi driver. “We’re very angry and outraged by the increase in sexual violence against women in Oaxaca, but above all by the impunity that reigns and continues to get worse,” an organizer said.

Femicide was also the focus of a Day of the Dead march in Mexico City on November 1. With their faces painted like Catrinas, hundreds of people marched through the city centre. Said one of the marchers, “It felt very important for us to come out today to remember all the women killed by femicide in this country. Today we gather here as feminist women, brought together by the wave of femicides happening all over the country. We came out at this time of night because the streets are ours, the city is ours, the spaces are ours, and we came to prove it.”




On September 28, four anarchist prisoners in three different prisons began a hunger strike as an act of rebellion and in solidarity with the prison strike in the US. Throughout the strike, Luis Fernando SoteloFernando Bárcenas and Miguel Peralta wrote various letters, all of which are translated on IGD. Out of concern for deteriorating health and permanent injury, the hunger strike ended after 15 days, though they continue to fast until 1pm each day.

Around the same time the strike ended, a push was underway by liberals in Mexico City to pass an amnesty law for the city’s political prisoners, specifically the anarchists. Instigated by the MORENA party of Andrés Manuel López Obrador, it was an attempt to divert attention from the anarchist prisoners’ strike toward electoral ends and was roundly rejected by the prisoners themselves. Fernando Bárcenas wrote, “We don’t need amnesties because we don’t want or need laws to govern our lives…We want to see the insurrection spread everywhere that destroys centralized power, the common yoke that all of us poor carry on our backs.” And Luis Fernando Sotelo responded with, “I do not want any institution to recognize my freedom if it means that freedom is partial, if not illusionary…I don’t want to be forgiven or redeemed by the machine that torments the people.”

Anarchists in Mexico City expressed their solidarity with the prisoners’ struggle by making it a focus of their annual combative march on October 2, marking the 1968 Tlatelolco massacre – which is distinct from the symbolic, state-facilitated commemorative march on the same day. They also called for militant actions for the following week at two of the Mexico City prisons holding the comrades.

The indigenous Nahua community of San Pedro Tlanixco in the State of Mexico is restarting efforts to fight for the freedom of several of its residents criminalized for their defence of the community’s water. Three are serving sentences of up to 54 years, while three others have been held in prison for ten years without being sentenced. Two more have arrest warrants out against them.

On October 12, hundreds marched in Chilpancingo, Guerrero calling for the release of all political prisoners, in particular the 13 members of the indigenous community police (CRAC-PC) who have been jailed for the past three years on weapons charges. A similar situation is unfolding in the autonomous indigenous Nahua community of Santa María Ostula in Michoacán, where three arrest warrants are out against the commander of their community police. At the same time, drug cartels are reorganizing and threatening the community, who successfully drove the cartels off their lands in 2009. The Zapatistas and National Indigenous Congress also released a statement in solidarity with Ostula.


Students around Mexico continue organizing for a greater role in determining their own education, against state violence, and for access to education and to employment following graduation. As usual, it has been teaching college students (normalistas) who have been taking the lead. In Michoacán, where the state discriminates against hiring normalistas, students have been taking militant actions to demand jobs after they finish school, as well as to fight back against state repression. On September 27, 49 were arrested at a highway blockade in Tiripetío where state police also opened fire on them. In the days that followed, the students escalated their actions to demand freedom for their comrades by blockading train tracks with a burning truck, shutting down the town’s bus station, blockading the highway again, and detaining five police officers. Ultimately they were victorious, as by October 3, all 49 students were released, along with eight who had been imprisoned since August 15.

But events didn’t end there. On October 17, normalistas blockaded another highway, an action that was attacked with tear gas and rubber bullets by police and where 30 students, primarily women, were arrested. They were released shortly after. On October 22 and November 5, normalistas again attempted to blockade the train tracks that run near their school in Tiripetío, only to be repelled by police. Lastly in Michoacán, as of mid-October, aspiring students had occupied Michoacán University in the state capital of Morelia for 50 days, demanding the school accept and enrol more students and reduce application fees.



To the south in Guerrero, two normalistas from Ayotzinapa were murdered on October 4 while traveling on a bus back to the school from the state capital. Gunmen on board killed John Morales Hernández and Filemón Tacuba Castro and wounded three other passengers. The state is saying it was a robbery, though survivors indicate that the gunmen knew the two were Ayotzinapa students. In other Ayotzinapa news, the state announced on October 21 it had arrested Felipe Flores Vázquez, who was the local police chief of Iguala when the normalistas were attacked and disappeared there on September 26, 2014. The lawyers and parents of the normalistas are demanding the right to participate in the legal process against Flores, though the state has rejected this request. The government is playing up the arrest as a chance to learn what really happened that night, belying the fact that for the past two years it has actively worked to conceal the truth.

Since 2014, students at the National Polytechnic Institute (IPN) in Mexico City and an affiliated high school, the Scientific and Technological Studies Center 5 (CECyT 5), have been organizing and striking against cuts and attacks on education and pushing for the removal of the university’s director. CECyT 5 students have been on indefinite strike and their encampment was attacked by 40 to 60 porros (paid thugs) on October 7, leaving many students with serious injuries. In response, students installed barricades around campus, condemning not only the attacks and the administration, but expressing solidarity with anarchist prisoners on hunger strike in Mexico and with the prison strike in the US.

After the disappearance and murder of students and an alumnus of Veracruz University on September 29, students there organized a march against violence and impunity in the state, during which an Amnesty representative commented that “Veracruz has a human rights crisis like we’ve never seen before in the history of this state or in Mexico.” And in Chiapas, 28 normalistas also demanding work were arrested on November 5 and hit with federal charges. Fortunately, word spread quickly and people mobilized, leading to their release the next day.


penasquito-blockade-mineBlockade of the Peñasquito gold mine in Zacatecas.

Actions in defence of the land continue around the country. In Acacoyagua, Chiapas, the municipality passed a declaration declaring it “mining free” and residents set up two blockades in early October to shut down the Casas Viejas titanium mine. Mining machinery was also set on fire. Around the same time in Zacatecas, twenty communities impacted by the Peñasquito mine, the largest gold mine in the state, blockaded all nine entrances to the mine. A few days later, police removed them from the main entrance, but the communities still held the eight other positions.

On October 22, the People’s Front in Defence of the Land (FPDT) in Atenco, State of Mexico, commemorated 15 years of existence. Formed to resist the construction of Mexico City’s new international airport on their lands, Atenco has come to symbolize militant self-determination and autonomy. “There were only two paths: to hand over the lands like merchandise and survive bent over, or to defend them with our lives if necessary. We decided to fight.” They defeated that attempt to build the airport, though are currently battling another. President Enrique Peña Nieto, who was formerly governor of the State of Mexico and whose police deployed severe violence against Atenco in 2006, including systematic sexual assault, the case of which is now before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, is trying again for an airport. Despite work being ordered suspended by the courts, construction continues in Atenco. On October 5, gunmen opened fire on community members as they tried to halt the project.

Clashes between indigenous Yaqui communities left one dead and eight wounded on October 21. The conflict was instigated by Sempra Energy, a corporation based in San Diego, CA, who through their Mexican proxy company, IENova, is attempting to build a natural gas pipeline through Yaqui lands. One community, Lomas de Bacúm, has installed a blockade to stop the pipeline. They were attacked by communities who support the construction, likely due to the benefits promised if they let it be built on their lands. Following the violence, the Zapatistas and National Indigenous Congress released a statement in solidarity with the pipeline resistance and condemning the internal division and violence caused by the state and multinationals.


Javier Duarte, the former governor of Veracruz who resigned on October 12, and Guillermo Padrés, the former governor of Sonora, are both on the run with warrants out for their arrests for corruption. Duarte fled in a state-owned helicopter, yet the government claims to not know where he is or how he got away. Priest and human rights defender Alejandro Solalinde indicated his likely location in Chiapas, but it has not been followed up on.

As many as 4,000 human bone fragments have been found on a five hectare site in Patrocinio, Coahuila. The state government says not to worry, they all belong to just three people. The group that searched the area begs to differ, as do the neighbors who said that SUVs drove into the site daily and huge fires were often seen burning on the land. PEMEX workers are organizing against the privatization of Mexico’s petroleum industry. A call has gone out among workers to fight back against firings and to take worker control of the Cangrejera plant in Veracruz to prevent its handover to private companies. There’s a good essay, translated into English, examining from a radical perspective the process of gentrification currently underway in Mexico City. In a recent example of that struggle, a group linked to the district government and escorted by police attacked and robbed vendors, who for 111 days had held an encampment in front of a Chedraui in Iztacalco, Mexico City. The vendors were protesting the opening of the big box chain store so close to their market.

That’s all the news for now. Insumisión will be back in about a month but keep an eye on IGD for more translations in the meantime.

Posted by Dorset Chiapas Solidarity

Insumisión: Refusing Fear, Choosing Resistance




November 2, 2016

Zapatista News Summary for October 2016

Filed under: CNI, news, Zapatista — Tags: — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 7:07 pm



Zapatista News Summary for October 2016




1. Fifth Indigenous National Congress: Marking 20 years since the launch of the Indigenous National Congress, the CNI and EZLN hold the Fifth Congress at Cideci in San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, from October 9-14, 2016. It is attended by 500 delegates of the CNI, and the EZLN’s military commanders, to analyse the national political situation and organise for what is to come. They speak of and list the mega-projects that threaten the original peoples in their regions, denounce the dispossession, discrimination and repression they face daily, share their experience of struggle and resistance, and assert the need to implement an action plan to be prepared “to face what is coming.” Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés speaks in the name of the EZLN, calling for organisation and unity. His inauguration speech can be read here.


2. The day of Indigenous Resistance in Oventic: On October 12th, delegates from 32 indigenous peoples, nations and tribes organized in the CNI arrive at the Caracol of Oventic to celebrate the 20th anniversary of “joyful resistance and rebellion” of the CNI. A large number of Zapatistas come from the five zones of rebel territory and over a hundred adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle also attend. The delegates walk between hundreds of Zapatistas formed in two rows on both sides of the road leading from the entrance to the caracol to the ballcourt, following a formation of militia marching with their usual impeccable organization. The celebration is held on the ballcourt, beginning with the words of Comandante David, of Maribel Cervantes from the CNI and of Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés, continuing with a cultural event attended by Zapatista artists, musicians and poets from the five caracoles, and ending with a demonstration of the discipline and organization of the militia troops.




3. The proposal: The proposal for discussion that is put forward by the Fifth Congress is based on the statement “Our struggle is not for power … we will call on indigenous peoples and civil society to organize ourselves to stop this destruction.” They convoke “the awakening of a great force,” because “it is the time of the peoples, so that the centres of the earth will tremble.”

On October 13, the 500 delegates of the National Indigenous Congress (CNI) reach complete consensus on the proposal presented by the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) at the opening of the fifth Congress three days earlier: the Fifth CNI will appoint an indigenous council of government which will collectively enter the 2018 Mexican presidential race with its word materialised by an indigenous woman, a delegate of the CNI, as an independent candidate on behalf of the CNI and EZLN. The Fifth Congress is now in permanent assembly while the delegates return to their communities and hold consultations to decide to either approve or reject this proposal. “We confirm that our fight is not for power, we do not seek it; rather we call all of the original peoples and civil society to organize to detain this destruction, to strengthen our resistances and rebellions, that is to say in the defence of the life of each person, family, collective, community, or neighbourhood. To construct peace and justice, reconnecting ourselves from below,” stated the CNI and EZLN in the important communiqué released at the closure of the assembly, “May the Earth Tremble at its Core.”

Not surprisingly, there has been a great deal of discussion, debate, criticism and misunderstanding arising from the proposal. An excellent article by Luis Hernández Navarro analyses previous electoral involvement of the CNI and EZLN. Sup Galeano responds to all the confusion in his usual style, in his communiqué “Questions Without Answers, Answers Without Questions, Councils and Counsel.”




4. CNI and EZLN support the dignified resistance of the Yaqui tribe: A communiqué is released on 24th October from the EZLN and CNI in solidarity with the Yaqui tribe, following confrontations over the Northwest gas pipeline on 21st October in Lomas de Bácum. The defenders have set up a camp to prevent the construction of the pipeline; the clash reportedly lasted three hours and ultimately left one dead and eight injured.


5. Calendar for Fifth congress of CNI and the gathering “Zapatistas and ConSciences for Humanity.”: At the end of October, Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés and Subcomandante Insurgente Galeano send out a calendar for these forthcoming events:



As the CNI is now consulting with the originary peoples, barrios, tribes, and nations throughout Mexico on the proposal made during the first phase of the Fifth Congress, the permanent assembly of the CNI will be reinstated on December 29, 2016, at Cideci-Unitierra in San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas. The CNI will hold roundtable sessions on December 30 and 31 and during these sessions, or before then if the CNI so chooses, the results of the consultation will be made known. On January 1, 2017, a plenary assembly will take place in Oventic, Chiapas, Mexico, and any agreements necessary will be made there. The CNI ask for solidarity donations to be made to cover the costs of travel to this meeting. Support can be offered here:

The presentations about the exact and natural Sciences and the work sessions of the National Indigenous Congress will take place simultaneously. The Gathering “Zapatistas and ConSciences for Humanity” will be celebrated from December 25, 2016 to January 4, 2017, also at Cideci, with an intermission on December 31, 2016 and January 1, 2017. Register to attend at this email:

The calendar is followed by a long section from the diaries of the Cat-Dog.



October 3, 2016

Zapatista News Summary for September 2016

Filed under: CNI, news, Zapatista — Tags: , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 2:14 pm



Zapatista News Summary for September 2016 


A. Zapatistas and CNI

1. CNI and EZLN announce Fifth Indigenous National Congress: The CNI and EZLN announce in a communiqué that the Fifth Indigenous National Congress will be held at Cideci in San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, from October 9-14, 2016. The announcement also includes the programme of events, and information about how to register. October marks the 20th anniversary of “uninterrupted work” by the CNI.


2. One House, Other Worlds: In a communiqué released in the middle of the month, Subcomandantes Moises and Galeano, on behalf of the Zapatistas “invite you to participate in the festivals ‘CompArteand ConCienciasfor Humanity’,” in order to build “a house so big that it holds not one but many worlds.”



3. Alternative grito given in Palenque: Before the mayor could give his grito (Cry of Independence,) in Palenque on September 16th, to celebrate Mexican Independence Day, hundreds of masked Zapatista supporters took over the zócalo, used a ladder to reach the balcony where the grito would have been given, and gave a cry against the state and capitalism instead. Meanwhile the governor of Chiapas Manuel Velasco Coello had to give his grito in Tapachula, because the zócalo in Tuxtla was full of striking teachers.


4. CNI and EZLN: War and Resistance Dispatch #44: The EZLN and CNI release a joint communiqué, before the second anniversary of the disappearance of the 43 students from Ayotzinapa on September 26th, in support of the Ayotzinapa struggle for truth and justice. It is a very powerful document, scathingly critical of the Mexican government, which they say “rewards those responsible for lying and trying to distort the truth even more, and it pursues and incarcerates those who seek truth and justice.” In it, the two organisations also jointly state their support for the Indigenous struggle based at Standing Rock against the Dakota Access oil pipeline (No DAPL.)


B. Chiapas News:



1. San Sebastián Bachajón: The ejidatarios, adherents to the Sixth Declaration from San Sebastián Bachajón, issue a communiqué on 15th December, announcing that their dignified struggle continues, and sending their support to the teachers, to “our Chol compañeros and compañeras from the Ejido Tila,” and “to all the communities and people in Mexico and the world who are in resistance. They also demand the release of their prisoners. One of these, Esteban Gómez Jiménez, sends a letter calling for his freedom. He says he is innocent, his crimes were fabricated, and “they imprison me for organising and for defending Mother Earth.” On 21st September the ejidatarios report a phone call from him informing them that he has been attacked, beaten and harassed in prison. At the same time, Santiago Moreno Pérez, imprisoned in Playas de Catazajá, calls for solidarity and demands his freedom. He explains that he is sick and in pain.

On 26th September, the ejidatarios release a communiqué in support of Ayotzinapa. They say they are holding a peaceful action on the highway between Ocosingo and Palenque. Following this, they release a message denouncing police presence in their territory and the takeover of their headquarters on 23rd September. “This act further demonstrates the desire to drive us from this land and shows that the ejidal commissioner is a servant of the bad government, which works to destroy the autonomy of the community San Sebastián Bachajón.” On 30th September, the ejidatarios send another urgent message, warning that a communiqué issued by the officialist [government-supporting] commissioner of San Sebastian Bachajon, just published on the website of Chiapas Denuncia Pública [Frayba] does not represent the thinking and the struggle of the ejidatarios of La Sexta Bachajon. They have been misrepresented.




2. Ejido Tila:  In the autonomous municipality of the Ejido Tila, gunmen attempt to assassinate Manuel Martínez Pérez, a local organizer from PUDEE (Peoples United for the Defence of Electrical Energy) from the community of Masoja Shucja, firing 11 rounds through the window of his home.In a statement released on September 7, the ejidatariosof Tila denounce that two siblings (a man aged 20, and a woman aged 19), whose grandparents are originally from Tila ejido, were attacked and killed with machetes and the young woman raped on August 27. They denounce drug dealing and alcohol, and say this is another attempt to destabilise their autonomy.


3. San Francisco, Teopisca:  Organised families from the community of San Francisco, in the municipality of Teopisca, adherents to the Sixth Declaration, denouncea blockade of the exit road from their reclaimed land of San Francisco, put in place against their community by militants belonging to the Green Party, the ruling party in the Chiapas. They say their land has been invaded by shock groups.


4. Oxchuc rejects the restoration of the mayor: The 115 Tzeltal communities in the Oxchuc region who recently kicked out their elected officials, in particular the mayor, Maria Gloria, and decided to return to indigenous forms of governance, mobilise to oppose the reimposition of these officials following a federal court ruling.


5. roberto-pacienciaPrisoners: On 24th September 24, as part of International Prisoners Day, Roberto Paciencia Cruz, who has still not been sentenced after three years of imprisonment, calls for support for all those unjustly imprisoned. Earlier he has denounced that he was denied visitors. Alejandro Diaz Santiz, the indigenous Tsotsil prisoner held for seventeen years, now in the CEFERESO No. 15, Villa de Comatitlan, also reiterates his demand for freedom and confirms his innocence.


6. Maximiliano is found alive: In a joint statement published on September 2, the Fray Bartolome de Las Casas Centre for Human Rights, Meso-American Voices and the La 72 Shelter for Migrants, report that the young man Maximiliano Gordillo Martinez, who has been missing since May 7 when he was stopped at a checkpoint of the National Migration Institute (INM) in Tabasco, has reappeared alive.


7. Teachers’ strike: This is now over in Chiapas, after the federal government promised to honour the 11 points it had offered verbally. The occupation encampments have been taken down and the teachers have returned to the classrooms. The teachers in Chiapas held out the longest, with great public support, and gained the most concessions. On September 19, teachers of Sections 7 and 40 of the National Union of Education Workers (SNTE) in Chiapas began the 2016-2017 school year after four months of work stoppage to demand the repeal of the education reform bill, passed in 2013. Section 22 in Oaxaca had done the same since September 7.


C. Other News.

1. For more news: on Ayotzinapa, the teachers’ strike, independence, political prisoners etc, please see:


2. 13925236_10154399648091085_2488033852233749480_nWixarika: Over 1,000 Indigenous Wixarika people, also known as Huicholes, reclaim a section of their ancestral land from ranchers in the western state of Nayarit on 22nd September, enforcing a court decision upholding Wixarika rights to the land. This long story is mentioned by the EZLN and CNI. The enforcement targets a 184-hectare plot in the Nayarit community of Huajimic, a relatively small tract of the Wixarika’s total land claim of some 10,000 hectares of territory that the group argues is under “irregular possession.” Ranchers obtained titles to the land in the early 1990s, but courts have ruled in the Wixarika’s favour on 13 out of a total of 47 land claims, the remainder of which remain pending.


3. Atenco: International opposition to the new airport for Mexico City continues, with a day of action on 1st October. In Tocuila an 89-year-old and his 56-year-old son are attacked and beaten in their home by armed men due to their opposition to the construction of the new international airport and their refusal to sell their lands for that purpose.


Posted by Dorset Chiapas Solidarity



September 13, 2016

Insumisión: Cracks in the Resistance as the Teachers’ Strike Wanes

Filed under: news — Tags: , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 6:06 am



Insumisión: Cracks in the Resistance as the Teachers’ Strike Wanes


nochixtlan-blockade-trumpetMusic on the highway blockade in Nochixtlán, Oaxaca.


Originally posted to It’s Going Down
By Scott Campbell

As the teachers’ strike in Mexico continued into the start of the school year, the last Insumisión column noted the tense situation developing, particularly in Oaxaca, with the breakdown of negotiations between the teachers union and the government and the arrival of hundreds more federal forces to the state. While there was a show of force by the Oaxaca state government before dawn on Sunday, September 11, the feared widespread repression did not occur. Instead, the struggle against the neoliberal educational reform and structural reforms in general has lost some of its consistency and coherency as various state sections of the National Coordinator of Education Workers (CNTE) take different approaches following the start of the school year.

Initially, the CNTE seemed to be holding to its stance that the strike would continue until the educational reform was repealed. When classes were to start on August 22, teachers in Oaxaca, Chiapas, Guerrero, Michoacán and parts of Mexico City remained on strike. Instead of classrooms opening, mass marches and blockades inaugurated the school year in Chiapas and Oaxaca. Teachers installed 25 highway blockades in Oaxaca that they held for 48 hours, except in Nochixtlán, which lasted for four days. In Chiapas, teachers blockaded four entry points into the state capital of Tuxtla Gutiérrez for two days, not allowing trucks belonging to transnational corporations to pass.


13256155_1108276462549543_8841167055482738318_nTeachers march in Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Chiapas.


After the first week of school came and went with the strike still on, the government retaliated by announcing it will begin fining and firing teachers. 43,231 teachers were issued fines, most from Chiapas, while 1,225 were slated to be fired in Oaxaca, 570 in Chiapas, and 80 in Michoacán. Despite the legal and military machinations unleashed against the union, the CNTE still appeared firm. A Section 22 assembly in Oaxaca on August 26 agreed that the strike would continue. They threatened that if the government didn’t negotiate seriously, “activities will be carried out that will generate country-wide ingovernability.” They pledged to put permanent highway blockades in place on August 29 and to not allow governor-elect Alejandro Murat to take office on December 1.

Also on August 26, Public Education Minister Aurelio Nuño, who was launching a nationwide speaking tour to promote the educational reform, was heckled by hundreds of teachers when he showed up to speak in Ecatepec, State of Mexico. The relentless shouting of “OUT!” by teachers in a state long considered to be loyal to the mainstream teachers’ union and thus to the state, led Nuño to cancel his inaugural speech.

The strike continued into the second week of the school year. In Chiapas, teachers shut down more than 20 Oxxo convenience stores in Tuxtla Gutiérrez on August 29. The following day, the civil resistance organization and adherent to the Sixth Declaration, Light and Power of the People, with a presence in 60 municipalities in Chiapas, urged the teachers to continue their struggle and called for a national long-term action plan to bring down the government: “The reforms will only fall when this system of government falls. So we call on all our people to unite, to organize and to fight together, to control territory and exercise our power rooted in the people. Elections are a farce, we urge you to not allow a single political party into our territories.” The state responded to this steadfastness by sending hundreds more federal police to Chiapas as August came to a close.

Then all of the sudden, Section 22 announced on September 3 it would be returning to classes on September 7. It was said this decision was made during the state assembly, yet no record of it is present in the publicly available notes of that meeting. Rather, that summary says they agreed that the national strike would continue. In a subsequent announcement, Section 22 stated that the return to classes does not mean defeat, but is rather a reorganizational moment in the struggle. It said that a national CNTE assembly on September 6 would define the new path of the movement, however, as of this writing, the results of that assembly have not yet been made public.

Meanwhile, Sections 7 and 40 in Chiapas met to decide whether or not to return to classes. The federal government verbally offered for the educational reform to be de facto suspended in Chiapas through the end of Enrique Peña Nieto’s term in 2018 if the teachers returned to class. Instead, with the continued support of parents and civil society organizations, the teachers shut down three major shopping centres in Tuxtla Gutiérrez and in an assembly on September 9 decided to continue the strike.


police-zocalo-raid-oaxacaState and municipal police in Oaxaca destroy the teachers’ encampment in the Zócalo.


Section 22 in Oaxaca was given no such offer. Rather, the return to classes seemed to be a bid to get the government to let them back to the negotiating table, though all negotiations thus far have been fruitless. At present, the state has refused to return to negotiations and said that if they do happen in the future, repeal of the educational reform remains off the table. What Section 22 was given was a pre-dawn visit by 500 state and municipal police on September 11, who evicted and destroyed the teachers’ encampment in the city centre of Oaxaca. The raid, which met minimal resistance, was likely conducted to clear the area for the upcoming Independence Day events on September 15. Responses from the communities and organizations whose members struggled and died alongside the teachers to Section 22’s decision to return to classes has thus far been muted. The comings days should reveal if the CNTE does have a plan in hand to continue the struggle or if in the end there will be little to show for the 14 dead and more than 100 days on strike in Oaxaca.

Up in Mexico City, Enrique Peña Nieto continues striving to hit new lows. First he hosted Donald Trump on August 31. The next day, he delivered his fourth annual address in what was promised to be an “innovative” fashion. The innovation was a talk show-style format where he answered vetted questions from young people. Young people, it was pointed out later, who sure looked a lot like PRI functionaries. On the streets, the people gave their response to his speech, marching to the federal congress building only to be greeted by row upon row of police, and also in Oaxaca.


Some incidents that didn’t make it into Peña Nieto’s speech are that Mexico has now surpassed dictatorship-era Argentina, Chile and Uruguay in the total number of forced disappearances, with more than 35,000. And that the Global Peace Index ranked Mexico at 140 out of 163 countries in terms of violence, displacement and militarization, only a few spots away from Syria and Afghanistan.

Nor was there mention of the ongoing gentrification projects in Mexico City. In the Copilco neighbourhood, community members are resisting the unpermitted construction of a heliport, antennae, and electrical transmitters for a new megaproject. While in the heart of the historic centre of Mexico City, anti-displacement groups have documented the illegal eviction of at least 38 buildings in the past two months. Though the tenants were in good standing and there was no official eviction order, up to 300 riot police have been showing up at peoples’ doors and forcing them immediately out into the street. In a separate raid, the federal government confiscated transmission equipment belonging to the community and student radio station Radio Zapote. Especially as there was no order to remove the equipment and no laws were being broken, Radio Zapote is condemning the seizure as a robbery.

After Mexico’s National Human Rights Commission found that federal police “arbitrarily executed” at least 22 people in Tanhuato, Michoacán during a raid on a supposed drug cartel operation in May 2015, Enrique Galindo, head of the Federal Police, was fired. Galindo most recently made news by attempting to cover up the Nochixtlán massacre in June, from which a couple new videos have surfaced, one from the police lines showing them firing at protesters, the other taken by medical staff at the Nochixtlán hospital as wounded began arriving – a hospital with five nurses, two doctors, and twelve beds for 45 gunshot victims. As a result, four died there along with seven elsewhere. On September 7, residents of Nochixtlán reinstalled the highway blockade without the support of the teachers to demand justice for the massacre. Available in English is a roughly translated interview with two members of the Citizens Committee in Nochixtlán on how that community has been self-organizing following the June 19 massacre, after which residents ran the elected officials out of town.

Also in Oaxaca, students from teaching colleges (normales) last week blockaded a gas distribution terminal outside the city of Oaxaca and expropriated the gasoline. They also took over several city buses and used those to blockade a major shopping center and the first class bus terminal. The students are demanding the government hire a certain number of normal school graduates every year.

In San Pedro Apatlaco, Morelos on August 30, the community defended itself against a six-hour police attack, which saw many wounded and 14 arrested. For four years they have been resisting implementation of Plan Integral Morelos, “an example of the neoliberal politics, lies, and repression of the government of the state of Morelos, consistent with the politics of the federal government.”

Morelos is governed by the unpopular Graco Ramírez of the supposedly leftist PRD, who along with going after Apatlaco is also defending himself from “conservative forces opposed to a progressive government” in the form of the state university, the Catholic Church, and dozens of civil society organizations. That these groups may be legitimately troubled by the discovery of state-run illegal mass graves full of torture victims in Tetelcingo seems not to have occurred to him. Instead, he just had state police beat up renowned poet and author Javier Sicilia after Sicilia finished giving a press conference denouncing him.

In an incident that has gotten very little attention anywhere, eight people were kidnapped and executed in mid-August in Actopan, Veracruz. Initially reported as another massacre amidst many, it was later revealed that all eight were involved in anti-mine organizing against the planned El Cobre mine in the area, owned by the Canadian firm Almaden Minerals. Also in Veracruz, a group of families whose relatives have been disappeared announced they found 75 hidden graves in the north of the state, with each grave containing at least three bodies.

Sixty machinery operators in San Quintín, where much of Driscoll’s Berries produce comes from, went on strike last week proclaiming that “Driscoll’s wants slaves, not workers.” Recently there has been some confusion about the Driscoll’s Boycott called by workers in Washington State and San Quintín. The workers in Washington won an important victory for a union vote this week, though part of that agreement involved calling for an end to the boycott despite the fact that they previously pledged to uphold the boycott until workers in San Quintín also had a contract. The tens of thousands of workers in San Quintín are emphasizing that the boycott continues and are urging people to spread that information.


gas-expropriation-oaxacaStudents in Oaxaca expropriate gasoline.


A last few pieces of news. The 115 Tzeltal communities in the Oxchuc region of Chiapas who recently kicked out their elected officials and decided to return to indigenous forms of governance are now mobilizing to oppose the reimposition of those same officials following a federal court ruling. Compas over at Dorset Chiapas Solidarity have put together an excellent summary of recent Zapatista and Chiapas-related news. Days of action are being called for from September 19-23 in support of political prisoner Luis Fernando Sotelo, locked up since 2014 for allegedly setting a bus and bus station on fire during an action in support of the disappeared from Ayotzinapa. And here at It’s Going Down, we’ve translated anarchist prisoner Fernando Bárcenas’ statement in support of the prison strike in the US.


oxchuc-rejects-maricc81a-gloriaCommunities in Oxchuc, Chiapas rally against the imposition of politicians.





September 2, 2016

Zapatista News Summary for August 2016

Filed under: news, Uncategorized, Zapatista — Tags: , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 8:10 am



Zapatista News Summary for August 2016





A. Zapatista News

1. CompArte: On Saturday 30 July The Festival “CompArte for Humanity” finishes in CIDECI-Unitierra, with great joy, celebration, colours and flavours. Having been celebrated at Oventic on 29th July, in August it moves to the other caracoles. CompArte brings a great deal of happiness and positivity: “Without doubt this week of art and sharing was full of life, hope and creativity, wherever we are, we can feel it, and it touches our hearts and thoughts.” The festival aims a to highlight the role that creativity, imagination and art has historically played in revolutionary movements, “perhaps it could be the Arts that remind humanity that people not only kill and destroy, impose and dominate, humiliate and doom to oblivion, but can also create, liberate, and remember.” The day in Oventic is celebrated in a photo-essay and an article.


2. Opening words: The opening words of Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés at CompArte in Oventic are published, slating the lack of justice, speaking of how we need to organise, and telling some of the true story of the massacre in San Juan Chamula.


3. Closing words: The closing comments made by Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés to mark the conclusion of the Zapatistas’ contribution to the CompArte, in the Caracol of Oventic, on July 29, 2016, are also published, under the title “The Art That Is Neither Seen Nor Heard.” Speaking of their support for the teachers, he says: “We Zapatista men and women don’t ask for anyone to come and struggle for us. Each person must struggle, and we should mutually support one another, but that support cannot replace each person’s struggle. Whoever struggles has the right to decide the direction of their path and with whom they walk that path.” He concludes; “We Zapatistas think that now more than ever, we need ART, ORIGINARY PEOPLES, AND SCIENTISTS in order to give birth to a new world.”


4. CompArte in the other caracoles:



The festival is also celebrated in La Realidad, 3rdAugust, La Garrucha, 6thAugust, Morelia, 9th August, where the celebrations, opened by Comandanta Esther, include the celebration of the 13th anniversary of the birth of the Zapatista caracoles and the Juntas de Buen Gobierno, and finally, Roberto Barrios, on 12th August where it closes. During this time, the Zapatistas share their path from the 1970s to the present with us through theatre, poetry, music, paintings, and photos. At the conclusion of CompArte, Subcomandante Moisés states “22 years later we [EZLN] are showing that we don’t want to use these weapons, that it isn’t necessary. We are demonstrating that there is [another] way to achieve freedom, justice and democracy; that it isn’t necessary to kill.”


5. 20th anniversary of CNI:



In a joint convocation, the National Indigenous Congress (CNI) and the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) announce the forthcoming celebration of the 20th anniversary of the CNI, to be held from 9 to 14 October in the premises of CIDECI- Unitierra, the Indigenous Integrated Training Centre in San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas. They say that this Fifth National Indigenous Congress will be a space of unity, reflection and organization to continue “promoting the integral reconstitution of our peoples and the construction of a society into which all the cultures, all the colours, all the peoples who are Mexico will fit.” Given the adverse context of violence in our country, the CNI calls on the authorities and direct representatives of the peoples, nations, tribes, neighbourhoods, communities and indigenous organizations to meet together and, with the love and ancestral commitment to the mother, join the resistance, autonomy and rebellion “which shine in every one of the indigenous peoples”, spinning the threads of new worlds from the very bottom, walking towards collective, autonomous and rebellious hope.


6. Books II and III of Critical Thoughtversus the Capitalist Hydra have been for sale in Spanish in Mexico for several months. Gilberto Lopez y Rivas reviews vol II in two articles for La Jornada.



B. Other Chiapas News


1. 3rd anniversary of the founding of the community Primero de Agosto:


The members of this community remain displaced as they celebrate the third anniversary of the founding of their community. The 17 Tojolabal families were displaced on August 23, 2014, by an armed group from the Independent Central of Agricultural Workers and Campesinos – Historical (CIOAC-H).


2. Attack on Ejido Tila: In a communiqué issued on 3rd August, the autonomous Chol community of Ejido Tila denounces an incursion into its territory by Marines. They were photographing and taking notes, but fled when people started to gather. The National Indigenous Congress (CNI) also denounces this harassment. This month the Ejido Tila reaches its 82nd anniversary.


3. The Movement for the Defence of Mother Earth and Territory: The Movement holds a march and rally in the municipality of Pijijiapan, rejecting the establishment of toxic mining schemes, dams, wind farms, monoculture, biofuels, GM, REDD projects, predatory oil and gas schemes, and against any extractive mineral projects.


4. Roberto Paciencia Cruz, marks three years in prison: On 7th August, Roberto Paciencia Cruz has been incarcerated in CERESO 5 in San Cristóbal de Las Casas for three years for a crime didn’t commit. Sociologist Aida Cipriano writes: “The prisons of Chiapas are full of indigenous, who, for lack of knowing how to read and express themselves, have been prisoners for years, because the first thing the authorities care about is to lock them up, then they just have to leave the file in the rubbish and keep them there for life. In Chiapas, when the governor isn’t covering up or causing dispossession, extrajudicial executions, persecution, torture or fabricated crimes against the indigenous, he is covering up any violation of human rights of the prisoners.” On 27th August Roberto denounces that his visitoe have been turned away and denied permission to see him. He also calls for the liberation of fellow prisoner Alejandro Díaz Sántiz, who repeats his call for freedom.


5. Risk to life of Patricia del Carmen Paniagua Gomez, prisoner and victim of torture: On August 16, 2016, Frayba reports that it has requested precautionary measures from the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights for Patricia del Carmen Paniagua Gomez, a woman prisoner since April 2014, whose life is in danger after the torture she was subjected to when arrested. The inadequate and insufficient medical care by the prison authorities, “represents an imminent threat to Patricia’s life and physical and psychological integrity.”


6. Shock group threatens to invade the lands of adherents to the Sixth in San Francisco, Teopisca:


san francisco

Seven arrest warrants have been issued against members of the group in defence of land and territory, members of Semilla Digna and adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the EZLN, despite their being protected by an amparo (injunction). A shock group has visited their reclaimed lands showing false documents of ownership, and threatening to displace them.


7. Community of Cruztón denounces invasion of its territory and aggression: The adherents to the Sixth Declaration, and members of Semilla Digna from the municipality of Venustiano Carranza denounce a group from Guadalupe Victoria who are invading and attempting to privatise their ‘holy field’ where the community leave flowers for their dead. The invading group are blocking the path to this holy field, and a member of the Cruztόn community is beaten and taken hostage by the attacking group from Guadalupe Victoria.


8. The community of Cinco de Marzo denounce intimidation and plunder:




Members of this community, adherents to the Sixth in San Cristobal de Las Casas, say they are being threatened with having their lands dispossessed and privatised by the government, the Federal Electricity Commission, and some other people from the same community. They recuperated their land 22 years ago in 1994. The residents are now being threatened with eviction if they do not pay a large amount of money.


9. Oxchuc expels political parties: Following disputes over the mayoral elections in the municipality of Oxchuc, and after a long period of preparation, 105 indigenous communities from the municipality jointly decide to expel the political parties and elected officials from their lands and return to electing their authorities according to the indigenous practice of usos y costumbres. However, despite this decision, on 1st September the electoral tribunal orders the return of the previously-expelled mayor, María Gloria Sánchez.


10. The Pueblo Creyente of Simojovel convoke people to a megamarch in support of the teachers. On 22nd August, the Pueblo Creyente from Simojovel join another huge march in solidarity with the CNTE in Tuxtla, on the supposed day of the return to classes. Las Abejas offer their support to this march.


11. Disappearance of Maximiliano Martinez Gordillo: Frayba, Mesoamerican Voices, the La 72 hostel and Maximiliano’s parents hold several press conferences to draw attention to the forcible disappearance “at the hands of immigration agents”last May of Maximiliano Martinez Gordillo, who would now be aged 19. In May, he left his home in the municipality of Socoltenango to go to Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo in search of work. During the journey, he was arrested and he has not been seen since. Good news! On 1st September the news was released that he has been found.



C. Other


1. Atenco and the airport:


Well-known environmentalists Vandana Shiva and Sebastiao Pinheiro visit Atenco on August 13th, and tour their lands with members of the FPDT. Vandana Shiva calls on people to join the movement against the NAICM which she says will lead to a shortage of drinking water. Although it was announced on July 27 that the highway being built for the new international airport for Mexico City had been definitively suspended, crews and machinery begin operating again on 16th August in Tocuila. The people drive the crews off their land but they return escorted by a “shock group” who on August 19th tear down and burn the encampment in Tocuila. The camp is reconstructed and reoccupied.


2. The teachers’ strike: There is an excellent summary of the current situation here.




August 13, 2016

Insumisión: Amidst the Barricades, Building a Movement for the Long Run

Filed under: news, Uncategorized — Tags: , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 10:40 am


Insumisión: Amidst the Barricades, Building a Movement for the Long Run




Originally posted to It’s Going Down
By Scott Campbell

Next week, teachers in Mexico belonging to the National Coordinator of Education Workers (CNTE) will mark three months on strike. Three months without pay, of sleeping in encampments far from home, of funerals, arrests, disappearances, beatings, fear, uncertainty, and endless hours of marching. Yet the union has remained steadfast in its demand for the repeal of the educational reform and by doing so has created space for a much larger movement to emerge alongside it. What appeared at first as solidarity is increasingly moving toward coherent unity, as the people see their demands reflected in those of the teachers and vice versa. This mutual identification is rooted in an understanding that the forces responsible for creating the innumerable injustices occurring in Mexico can be traced back to neoliberal capitalism as deployed by a corrupt narcostate operating with impunity.

While events in Mexico haven’t been making headlines in the past couple of weeks, the struggle is still on. Along with mobilizing effective displays of its vitality, the movement has been using the decline in repression after the Nochixtlán massacre and the ongoing negotiations with the government to build sturdier foundations for the inevitable confrontations that lie ahead – be they during this phase of resistance or ones that will follow.

Teachers have been particularly active in Chiapas, where on July 25 and August 1, they blockaded access to the international airport in Tuxtla Gutiérrez and during the last four days of July, blockaded the three major shopping malls in that city. They followed those actions up by blockading Torre Chiapas, a skyscraper housing private and government offices in the state capital, on August 2.


chiapas-airport-blockadeTeachers in Chiapas blockade the international airport in Tuxtla Gutiérrez.


Numerous Chiapan civil society groups and networks primarily organized around human rights and territorial defense issued a statement on July 25 announcing their support and unity with the teachers’ movement. And three days later the Democratic State Committee of Parents in Chiapas warned that if the educational reform is not repealed, the school year will not start. They also said they were sending a commission to Nochixtlán to participate in the National Gathering of Parents in Defense of Education and Against Structural Reforms, stating, “we’re going to structure ourselves, above all, to map a path of action to throw out all these reforms and we will walk not just with the teachers, but also with the farmers, the workers, the doctors, the transportation workers, the churches.”

In Oaxaca, the Solidarity Caravan for Freedom and Autonomy, comprised of students from several Mexico City universities and the Supreme Indigenous Council from Xochicuautla, which fought back against significant state repression earlier this year, arrived in Juchitán on July 23 to help out on the barricade and deliver supplies.

As well, the Municipal and Agrarian Authorities Front of Oaxaca held a gathering and decided to build an encampment in front of the old state capitol building in the city of Oaxaca to demand justice for Nochixtlán, the repeal of 12 structural reforms, and freedom for political prisoners. The 97 authorities, seven parents groups, and 19 organizations also agreed to hold a megamarch on August 13, regional assemblies to unite the movement on August 20, create committees to defend education and health care in their communities, visit community radio stations to spread information about structural reforms, and build a union of communities and communal landholders to strengthen territorial defense.

There were large marches in Oaxaca on July 28 and on August 1, when women held a march to mark ten years since a similar march led to the takeover of the state TV station, which was held for the duration of the 2006 uprising and run by women’s collectives.

Also on August 1, the CNTE got up early and installed barricades blocking access to the Cerro del Fortín, the site of the government-run Guelaguetza. As a result, the state-appropriated cultural festival happened in front of a largely empty auditorium.

In Mexico City, 70 people traveled from Nochixtlán to hold a press conference at the monument to the 1968 Tlatelolco Massacre on July 25. They denounced that after all this time and despite three meetings with the federal government, the more than 150 wounded have not been provided access to adequate medical care. And in a symbolic victory, on July 28, the teachers finally made it into the Zócalo in Mexico City for the first time in more than a year. Instead of marching towards the Zócalo en masse only to be blocked by police before arriving, they carried out “Operation Ant,” sending people in a few at a time until there were hundreds of them there.

Elsewhere in Mexico, July 29 saw a teachers march in typically quiet Tlaxcala and on August 3, state police attacked demonstrating teachers in Zacatecas, beating, batoning and tasing them.

The actions are clearly having an impact. On August 3, major business associations held a press conference urging the government to take the “difficult actions” necessary against the “impunity” of the CNTE and claiming they will take legal action against the union for “human rights violations.” They also hinted at halting payments to the government’s health care and housing programs. On August 8, with no appreciation for irony, business owners in Oaxaca attempted to hold a strike to demand the use of government force against those on strike. Solidarity among capitalists didn’t materialize and most businesses remained open.


cnte-march-chiapasAugust 3 march in Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Chiapas.


On the same day as the press conference, teachers in Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Chiapas held a huge march and replied that, “They’re wrong when they stupidly have a press conference and talk about the damage the teachers have done. Those who have done harm to the Mexican people and who have brought misery, exploitation and subjugation are these rapacious business groups behind the so-called educational reform.”

Meanwhile, negotiations between the state and the CNTE continue. Following a July 27 meeting, the CNTE communicated that the Interior Ministry actually agreed to a few items, including reaching out to the legislature to identify a way to repeal the educational reform, to release political prisoners, to pay teachers their withheld salaries, and to rehire teachers fired for disobeying the reform. On August 11, the CNTE’s negotiating team will be meeting with representatives from all political parties in the Mexican Congress to propose a legislative path to repealing the reform. Where all this will lead and whether or not the government will keep its word remains to be seen.

To demonstrate the careful line the CNTE must walk, following the relative success of the July 27 meeting, it was rumored that the union may remove its barricade in Juchitán, Oaxaca. In response, parents and the Popular Assembly of the Juchitecan Peopleorganized a march urging the CNTE not to do so.

Lastly, the CNTE is organizing a National Forum Toward the Creation of a Democratic Education Project on August 9 in Mexico City to build proposals with input from a variety of sectors of civil society as to what a holistic and democratic educational program would look like. And beginning on August 18 and running through November, Okupa Che is hosting a series of weekly seminars and workshops examining “Education in Our Neighborhoods”


As always, there is much going on in Mexico outside of the popular and teachers’ mobilizations around neoliberal reforms.

July 26 marked 22 months since the students from Ayotzinapa were disappeared. There was a march in Mexico City and in Jalisco demonstrators took over three toll plazas in the state, allowing cars to pass for free. On July 29, the Inter-American Human Rights Commission approved a new mechanism for monitoring the Ayotzinapa case, following the withdrawal of its previous efforts due to harassment and non-cooperation from the Mexican state. Both the parents of the Ayotzinapa students and the Mexican government have signed on to the mechanism.

In some good news from Atenco, it was announced on July 27 that the highway being built for the new international airport for Mexico City has been definitively suspended. The communities of Atenco had mobilized against the construction of the highway, burning or appropriating the construction materials, which led to the army and paramilitaries escorting in construction workers, occasionally attacking residents.

On August 7, the Callejón de San Ignacio in Mexico City was taken over for the day and night for a series of cultural performances hosting a variety of relatively well-known artists. The theme was Building the Commons.

Community spaces have come under attack in Mexico City. Radio Zapote, a community radio station on the grounds of the National School of Anthropology and History (ENAH) first had the administration try to break in using a locksmith and then cut the electricity to their offices.

And on July 31, six members of Okupa Che, an occupied auditorium on the campus of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), were severely beaten by campus security, with five requiring hospitalization, and then arrested. Fortunately, the compas were released on August 2, though one of them was deported to Chile. They have been given 15 days to pay UNAM 40,000 pesos for damage UNAM says happened to three of their vehicles, or else they will face charges.

The eight teacher training schools in Michoacán (normales) have been holding down a barricade for a month in the state, taking 116 vehicles during that time to protest the fact that upon graduation the government refuses to hire them. The Mexican state hates normales because they train rural and working class students to teach in rural and working class areas, complete with a political analysis as to the conditions of their marginalization. Recently, former president Vicente Fox said in an interview that, along with Felipe Calderón making him vomit, when he became president he was told that some normales are nothing more than Trotskyist guerrilla training centers. The Trotskyist part might be true in some cases, but that’s about it.

The cold world of numbers revealed in a series of reports over the past two weeks helps demonstrate just why social revolt is spreading so rapidly. An Oxfam report states that 54.4 percent of Mexicans live in “poverty,” with two million joining that category under Enrique Peña Nieto. One percent of the nation owns 39 percent of the wealth, making it one of the 25 most economically unequal countries in the world. Remittances sent by Mexican migrants abroad are the second largest source of the country’s funds. In the first half of 2016, they sent 13.156 billion dollars, an 8.9 percent increase from last year. Through June of this year, 9,615 murders have been reported, an increase of 16 percent from the same time last year. Only 15 percent of the more than 30,000 children who are internal migrants in Mexico have access to education. Sixty percent work in the fields. 13,156 people have been disappeared in Mexico under Peña Nieto, a rate higher than the most violent periods of the “drug war” under Felipe Calderón. On average, a journalist is murdered every 26 days in Mexico, a fact leading the two main journalist associations to come together and in a cry of “¡¡¡YA BASTA!!!” demand an end to the murders. July 31 was the one year anniversary of the Colonia Navarte massacre in Mexico City, when journalist Rubén Espinosa, activist Nadia Vera, and visitors and housemates Yesenia Quiróz, Olivia Alejandra Negrete, and Mile Virginia were executed, likely under the orders of the Veracruz government. Nadia Vera’s mother issued a powerful text on the eve of that commemoration. Speaking of Veracruz, which under Governor Javier Duarte has seen the murder of 17 journalists, a report came out that Duarte annually earns 1,372,744 pesos more than allowed by law.


chava-vive-anarchyGraffiti in Oaxaca commemorating Salvador Olmos, anarchist and community journalist, murdered by police in Huajuapan.



A few more pieces of news. Five hundred miners in Tamaulipas have gone on strike as of July 27 due to unsafe working conditions and worker injuries. The Zapatista-initiated CompArte Festival for Humanity began and is still going on. There are a series of statements pertaining to that on Enlace Zapatista. The autonomous Chol community of Ejido Tila and the National Indigenous Congress are denouncing an incursion into its territory in Chiapas by Marines. A total of 12 events are being held this month in Mexico City to commemorate Black August and mark the release of the book “Agosto Negro: Presos Politicos en Pie de Lucha,” the first book in Spanish to document the Black liberation struggle in the US and its political prisoners. It’s Going Down has translated a couple of recent anarchist texts from Mexico, one examining Telmex’s involvement in the construction of prisons and the acts of sabotage against it. The second is a reflection piece by former members of the Autonomous Cells of Immediate Revolution – Praxedis G. Guerrero, an informal grouping that for five years carried out primarily explosive attacks in and around Mexico City.

Posted by Dorset Chiapas Solidarity on 13/08/2016 .


August 1, 2016

Zapatista News Summary for July 2016

Filed under: Zapatista — Tags: — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 1:43 pm



Zapatista News Summary for July 2016


news summary


A. Zapatista News and CompArte festival

“For us Zapatistas, the arts are the hope of humanity…. And in the most difficult moments, when disillusionment and impotence are at a peak, the Arts are the only thing capable of celebrating humanity.”

“If the machine imposes a perverse logic in which every tragedy numbs rather than enrages, perhaps it could be the Arts that remind humanity that people not only kill and destroy, impose and dominate, humiliate and doom to oblivion, but can also create, liberate, and remember.” 

On 4th July, a communiqué entitled “Lessons from June” is released, signed by Subcomandantes Moisés and Galeano and with a note from the Cat-Dog. The EZLN reiterate their support for the teachers’ struggle, and thank the teachers in rebellion and the people who support them for the free public seminar in resistance they have given during the month of June, which has resulted in more and more people joining their fight. It is necessary to concentrate all energies on this struggle. “This is the time of the teachers in resistance. It is necessary and urgent to be with them.”

Therefore, they say, the EZLN has reached a difficult decision: they have decided to “suspend our participation in the CompArte festival, in Oventic as well as in CIDECI ….” and to “donate all of the money and food we have saved for our transportation to and from Oventic and CIDECI and for provisions while we are there to the teachers in resistance.” They report that 1,127 artists from every corner of Mexico, and 318 artists from other countries have registered for the festival, and ask for their understanding.

This message is interpreted by some of the registered participants as saying that the entire festival has been cancelled, so another communiqué, “the CompArte Festival And Solidarity,” follows two days later, to clarify: “We didn’t say that the festival itself was suspended. We merely indicated that we as Zapatistas would not be able to contribute.” A list follows of the states of Mexico and countries of the world that the artists registered to participate come from, and all the different artistic activities to be shared.

The Zapatistas also “want to let you know what our artistic contribution was going to be like,” and include a video of a choreographed dance called Resistance. From the 5 caracoles, 1,819 artists and 1,566 listener-observers were due to participate, a total of 3,385 men, women, children, and elders, Zapatista bases of support.

Viveres_EZ-CNTE_ComitAn_2The total cost of food and supplies put together for this participation came to 290,000 Mexican pesos (approximately £11,700.) “The money came from the work of the production collectives across the communities, regions, and zones, as well as from the MAREZ [Zapatista Autonomous Municipalities in Rebellion] and the Good Government Councils.” Each caracol has gathered together supplies equivalent to what they would have used, and delivers this as material support to the teachers in resistance on the 8th, 9th and 10th July, in a wonderfully symbolic act of solidarity.

“Chiapas is beautiful. And now even more so with the teachers’ resistance flourishing in the streets, roads, highways, and communities.”

Their question “Should CompArte happen? That question is for all of you,” is answered very quickly, as the compas from CIDECI-Unitierra announce that “the CompArte Festival is on.” “We want to inform you that we are continuing preparations to celebrate this sharing-exchange from July 23 through July 30. Our CIDECI-Unitierra community will keep its doors open to receive all of the persons, communities, and collectives that have felt in their hearts this call to come share experiences of art, struggle, and resistance.”

The Subcomandantes respond on 13th July with “For La Maestra, With Affection”. They include “two videos dedicated to women below and to the left, and especially to the maestras in struggle.” These are both choreographed dances, “the Dance of the Rights of Women,” and “Las Musiqueras.”

A second communiqué follows on the 17th: “The Geography? Oventik. The Calendar? July 29, 2016,” inviting everyone to come to Oventic on 29th July to participate in a condensed presentation of the artistic works the Zapatistas had prepared for the festival, as a mark of admiration and respect for all the artists who have committed to participating in CompArte.

“We want them to know of our conviction that in the dark hours of the present and the dark hours to come, their work and creativity will be required to find the path that we, humanity as a whole, want, need, and deserve…. We as Zapatistas think that it is wonderful that there are artists who know how to bring forth, from the depths of the darkest calendar, a light for humanity.”

13781928_1032900840078664_7589481646360594812_nThe first welcoming ceremony to the CompArte festival takes place on 19th July with an event at the camp and roadblock of the people and the teachers which had been blocking the exit to the highway to Tuxtla Gutierrez in San Cristobal de Las Casas for over a month. Local artists and spectators arrive, both from Mexico and other parts of the world. 19 pieces of poetry, music, acrobatics and theatre are presented as well as two projections of indigenous resistance, in the Cauca (Colombia) and the Kurdish revolution. On the 20th the camp is violently attacked and evicted, but participants regroup and it is restored.

On 21st July, the EZLN, in the names of Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés and Subcomandante Insurgente Galeano, publish an “Open Letter On The Aggressions Against The People’s Movement In San Cristóbal De Las Casas, Chiapas,” addressed to the governor of Chiapas, following this attack on the people’s resistance encampment. The attackers were masked in an attempt to identify them as Zapatistas, but as the letter points out, the locals knew otherwise. “If you destroy their camps they’ll build them back up. Time and time again.”



The main festival gets underway on the 23rd July at the Indigenous Centre for Integral Training-University of the Earth, Chiapas (CIDECI-Unitierra), based in San Cristobal de Las Casas, offering a wide variety of artistic performances, with more people attending every day.

On 26th July, “the EZLN Confirms And Extends Its Participation In CompArte is released. This communiqué confirms the invitation to Oventic for 29th July, with performances from indigenous artists from Los Altos, and adds that a Zapatista delegation will attend CompArte on 30th July at Cideci as listener-viewers. In addition, performances by Zapatista artists will take place at the other Zapatista caracoles as follows: La Realidad, 3rd August, La Garrucha, 6th August, Morelia, 9th August, including celebration of the 13th anniversary of the birth of the Zapatista caracoles and the Juntas de Buen Gobierno, and finally, Roberto Barrios, on 12th August.

On 29th July, CompArte moves to Oventic for the day, where the Zapatistas share their struggle and creative resistance through many forms of music, dance, theatre, painting and poetry. The dancing is often to live music, which varies from ska and hip-hop to rancheros and corridos. There is a photo-essay of the event in Spanish here.

Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés gives the opening and closing words. At the inauguration his words are full of power and emotion. The Zapatistas are deeply hurt by the paid media who have misrepresented the recent events in Chamula.

“We know perfectly that the paid media says that in Chamula the municipal president from the Verde Ecologista (PVEM) was killed. Because this is the party of the overseer Velasco the paid media are there crying and lamenting what happened, but they say nothing of the rest of the dead. They say nothing of those who later died in their homes or of those whose dead or dying bodies were taken away by their families. For the government and the press those deaths don’t matter. There were actually dozens of dead, not just five corrupt officials.”

His speech reinforces the theme, seen in many of the performances and works of art, of the long history of oppression and resistance, from the time of colonisation to the present day. He speaks of the lack of justice for indigenous people throughout history.

“Better for us to organize ourselves to build a new house, that is a new society. No one is going to fight for us. Just like for us Zapatistas, no one came here and struggled for us. In other words, we had to give our lives because we want more than just our lives.”

In his closing speech, Moisés invites all attendees to go to the rest of the caracoles over the coming days to enjoy the work of “thousands of artists.” His message focuses on talking about the meaning of art for the Zapatistas, the art of solidarity and the art of organization to make that solidarity possible.





B. Other events in Chiapas

July 2016 was a very intense month in Chiapas, and this news summary can only give an overview of some of what took place, and provide more detail of important happenings already mentioned.


1. Increasing indigenous and popular support for teachers’ struggle: It is clear that, especially in the south of Mexico, a region with a high indigenous population and levels of poverty, the teachers’ struggle against the education reform has become a peoples’ struggle against all the neoliberal reforms. As well as support from the Zapatistas, more and more groups in Chiapas, such as Las Abejas, Xi’Nich, Pudee, Banavil, Bachajόn and Semilla Digna, are making pronouncements, thus broadening and strengthening the struggle.


yuun4-995x4982. Pueblo Creyente continue their series of pilgrimages: On 1st July people from more than 15 parishes from the south-eastern region of the diocese of San Cristobal de Las Casas march on their third pilgrimage in Tuxtla Gutierrez to show their support for the teachers’ movement. Then, on July 18, about 30,000 members of the Pueblo Creyente, representing 52 parishes from throughout the state, hold a pilgrimage together with thousands of teachers in Tuxtla Gutierrez demanding that the government discuss in “public dialogue” not only the education reform, but also the so-called structural reforms that they have been promoting. They also deliver food supplies to the teachers in Tuxtla. At this huge march concerns are expressed that the federal government might negotiate and then betray its word, as it already did with the EZLN after the agreements from the dialogues in San Andrés in 1996.


3. Ejido san Sebastian Bachajón supports teachers: On 4th July members of the ejido San Sebastian Bachajón, adherents to the Sixth Declaration, issue a communiqué in support of the teachers. A second communiqué on 21st July reports that they have just delivered material supplies to the teachers in resistance after a drive of more than six hours.


4. Attack on the encampment and blockade on the road between San Cristobal de Las Casas and Tuxtla Gutierrez: This roadblock has grown and become organised as a popular assembly, gathering up to 3,500 demonstrators at any one time, including teachers and parents from impoverished neighbourhoods, medical students, indigenous associations and grassroots movements. It is the only roadblock that remains, by decision of the assembly, after the others are dismantled.

A violent attack occurs on this roadblock and encampment/occupation on 20th July, when, accompanied by state and municipal police, armed and masked members of the Green Party (PVEM) from the indigenous municipality of San Juan Chamula are driven to the blockade, where the police provide cover and watch while the paramilitaries attack and burn the tarpaulins and tents of the encampment, setting them on fire and destroying them with machetes. According to La Jornada, the attack is perpetrated by several dozen people who are officials of San Juan Chamula, and also involves over a hundred indigenous men from San Cristóbal, led by their mayor. The men from Chamula are led by the mayor of San Juan Chamula, Domingo López González. There are no deaths, though one teacher is shot in the shoulder by a paramilitary, and another participant is run over. The total number of injured has not been released, and there are also attacks on the press.

In response, teachers and supporters regroup in the city centre of San Cristóbal, taking over the old city hall They then march back to the site of the roadblock and build it up once again. The restored blockade consists of several hundred people. It remains until 29th July, when it is taken down.

Several communities in the municipality of Chamula release a statement condemning the attack and expressing their support for the teachers. Tellingly, The Zapatistas issue a warning in their 21st July communiqué: “And some unsolicited advice: don’t play with fire in Chamula. The unrest and division you are inciting in that town with your stupidities could provoke an internal conflict of such terror and destruction that you wouldn’t be able to quash it with social network bots or paid “news” articles or the little money Manuel…Velasco… has left in the state treasury.”


5. Massacre in San Juan Chamula:

localidad-chiapaneca-habitantes-presidencia-resguardada_MILIMA20160724_0017_8San Juan Chamula is a very large Tsotsil municipality near to San Cristóbal, frequently visited by tourists who go mainly to view its famous traditional customs. It forms a group of communities deeply divided by religion, by political party affiliation, by local power factions and as a result of the tourist income and of visits by evangelical missionary organisations over many years. A group of Green Party (PVEM) supporters from Chamula, described as “paramilitaries” and led by the mayor, were among those who attacked the teachers’ blockade on 20th July.

On 23rd July, a group of individuals affiliated with the PRI go to the town hall demanding that the mayor, who as previously stated is affiliated with the PVEM, pay them the money he owed them which had been given for public works and for their craft work, and which had been withheld from them. The mayor refused to do so at that time and the PVEM supporters, along with the mayor and his bodyguards, opened fire on the people in the town square; a very long shoot-out commenced in the centre of the town. In the end, “dozens of people” are killed, although only five of these are named, including the mayor and another town hall worker. The total number of dead has not been revealed as families claimed the bodies and took them away privately. Some estimates suggest as many as twenty were killed by gunfire and machete. There were also a substantial number of injured. Subcomandante Moisés at Oventic is scathing about the coverage of the massacre by the ‘paid media’: “for the government and journalists these deaths don’t matter.”

The Zapatistas and alternative media sources hold Manuel Velasco Coello, governor of Chiapas, responsible for these events, blaming his administration for encouraging and fomenting conflicts. The governor recently declared in a campaign event that whichever party won Chamula would win the governorship of Chiapas.

In the words of Subcomandante Moisés at Oventic: “We do not care if they are not Zapatistas in the village of Chamula. They are our brothers. They are indigenous and those who were killed in the village of San Juan Chamula are part of our indigenous people, of our original race.”

The mayor of Chamula, Domingo López González, used to campaign with the PRI, but was elected as a candidate for the PVEM last year. Chamula had been PRI-controlled for 80 years until López González assumed office as mayor for the PVEM in October 2015. There have been an increasing number of clashes between supporters of political parties, primarily the PRI and the PVEM, in Chiapas communities this year. For example, another conflict between the PRI and PVEM led to the deaths of two people and the displacement of 81 in ejido or colonia Puebla, Chenalhó, on 26th May. It is easy for political parties to manipulate and foster internal divisions, and this has been one of the factors leading to indigenous communities organising to construct their own autonomy, banning political parties and returning to making decisions using their own community assemblies, according to customary practices, and following the Zapatista example.



C. The Teachers’ Strike:

This small monthly summary of the Zapatista/Chiapas news cannot attempt to encompass all the struggles underway in Mexico at the moment, merely to provide some indicators which can be followed up further.

The teachers have now been on strike for 2.5 months. Since the massacre in Nochixtlan, Oaxaca, on June 19th, there has been an increase in direct actions, marches, material support and expressions of solidarity.

As examples of this, Section 22 of the CNTE in Oaxaca calls for a gathering of teachers and indigenous leaders to “build a peoples’ agenda against structural reforms,” based on discussions and agreements reached in community assemblies, and an Indigenous Peoples Caravan travels from Oaxaca to Mexico City from 17th to 19th July.

Meanwhile CNTE leaders hold ongoing talks with the government, so far without progress. Government officials have shown no willingness to negotiate the reforms which have so far led to the dismissal of nearly 10,000 people.


On the subject of the Zapatistas, readers may be interested in this article, re-printed from Counterpunch:

It should be noted that at the time of publication of this news summary, the closing words of Subcomandante Moises in Oventic were not available in any language.



June 1, 2016

Zapatista News Summary May 2016

Filed under: news, Uncategorized, Zapatista — Tags: — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 6:35 pm



Zapatista News Summary May 2016





1. Galeano: 2nd May marks the second anniversary of the attack on the Caracol of La Realidad in which the teacher Galeano was murdered, before being reborn as Subcomandante Galeano, and one year since the homage to him.


2. CNI and EZLN denounce repression in Chablekal, Yucatan: In a joint communiqué, the EZLN and CNI condemn an attack on 3rd May by police who beat and use tear gas against the Maya residents of Chablekal, Yucatan, who are trying to prevent the eviction of an elderly couple. Seven people are arrested but freed after intense protests. The police intrusion is seen to be “violent and disproportionate.” The inhabitants of the community are being attacked for defending “what remains of their territory from the theft and displacement they have suffered over the last few years on behalf of speculators and new landowners.”


3. CNI and EZLN issue a joint communique on aggression against Álvaro Obregón, Oaxaca: The EZLN and CNI denounce an attack made on 14th May on the Binizza people of Álvaro Obregón, Juchitán, Oaxaca, who are struggling against a wind energy project being imposed on their territory. The police and bodyguards of the PAN-PRD candidate Gloria Sánchez López fire gunshots at members of the community, injuring six people who are attending an assembly.  One municipal police officer is killed after the community police intervene to defend the community members under attack, leading to fears of an attempt by the government to crush the entire autonomous project.


4. Zapatista Autonomous Justice: An important new book is published in Spanish, Zapatista autonomous justice: Tzeltal jungle zone,by Doctor Paulina Fernández Christlieb.


5. The books Critical Thought against the Capitalist Hydra: Volumes II and III of Critical Thought against the Capitalist Hydra are published in Mexico and are presented at various events. They represent the rest of the contributions made at the seminar/seedbed of the same name which was held in May 2015, and are published in the order the presentations were made. Volume I is now being translated into English, French, Italian, German and Greek.


6. ‘Comparte for Humanity’ Festival: Various preparatory events are being held for this festival, in towns and cities in Mexico, and in Barcelona (where it will be held on 29th and 30th July). The EZLN’s words are “We are hoping that the compas of the Sixth in Mexico and in the world understand what you might call the subliminal message of the convocation, and organize activities—in their own geographies and in accordance with their own calendars—either before, during, or after the festivals/gatherings convoked by the Zapatistas.”

The festival will take place from 17th to 22nd July in the Caracol of Oventik, when only Zapatista bases of support will participate, and then from 23rd to 30th July, 2016, in CIDECI, San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, when all registered artists will be able participate. Attendance is open for listeners and viewers for both parts, but requires registration. Entry is free. Registration closes on 15th June.


7. “May, between authoritarianism and resistance”: On 30th May, the EZLN issue a communiqué about the teachers’ movement, signed by Subcomandantes Moisés and Galeano, putting an end to various pieces of apocryphal information that have been circulating. The communiqué makes clear that the EZLN fully supports the teachers in their fight against the education reform, and asserts that with the repression and the refusal to dialogue and negotiate, the government is violating the law and the constitution, while the teachers are “in resistance and rebellion.” There is a good summary in English about the teachers’ resistance here.


B. Chiapas


1. Droughts: According to the National Water Commission (Conagua), rainfall in Chiapas during April was 19% down compared with figures for the previous twenty years. At least 40 municipalities in Chiapas are seriously affected, and the impact on food production is a matter of great concern. In the indigenous municipalities of the highland region of Chiapas this drought is affecting the supply of drinking water, and has led to the drying up of rivers and wells.


2. Collective work in the Ejido Tila: Chol ejidatarios of Tila announce how they are moving forward in their newly established autonomy, and the collective work they are doing as agreed in their assembly, such as cleaning up the town, recuperating public spaces, acting against drugs, and other work for the community such as maintaining the water and sanitary systems. 26th May is the festival of the Lord of Tila, and they say they are well prepared for the arrival of many pilgrims.


3. Meeting in Chicoasen: A declaration is issued, the Declaration by Original Peoples, Organisations and Communities in Defence of Mother Earth and our Territory, following a meeting held in Chicoasen in April. All megaprojects for the building of mines or dams are rejected, and the withdrawal of arrest warrants against the residents of Chicoasen demanded. The ejidatarios of Chicoasen are in struggle against the building of a second dam in their territory.


4. Members of CIOAC take possession of Tojolabal indigenous lands: Residents of the Ejido Guadalupe Victoria, municipality of Altamirano, denounce the invasion of their lands by 15 people who abandoned the community voluntarily after the 1994 uprising, led by caciques from the PRI, saying they are there under orders from the government. Sixteen years after abandoning their land, these former community members applied to the land court in Comitan to get the land back. The ejidatarios say that the invaders are supported by members of CIOAC and by the government, and that they threaten to attack them when they go to the city. They issue a “demand that the government does not support those ex-ejidatarios so as to avoid confrontation.”


5. The Pueblo Creyente of Simojovel give thanks for water and face serious attack: In a ceremony held on 3rd May, the Pueblo Creyente of Simojovel bless and pray at their springs, giving thanks for the sacred gift of water. They pledge to plant trees to protect the springs. Then on 4th May an urgent communiqué is issued following an armed attack on the town of Simojovel by up to 150 paramilitaries and members of the PRI who throw tear gas, molotovs, stones and rockets in the streets and the central park, which are thronged with people. This is condemned as a direct attack on the population, aimed to spread terror, and as a threat to the parish council and priest, permitted with impunity by the government. They reveal that two similar attacks happened during the previous month.


6. Authorities do not allow the displaced of Banavil to return: The displaced families from Banavil, Tenejapa, hold the ejidal authorities of their community responsible for their physical safety, after the authorities circulate a video saying they will not permit the displaced people to return to Banavil. The displaced Tseltales repeat once again that the government of Velasco Coello has been “deaf and blind” to their situation of forced displacement and the forced disappearance of their father, and call for justice.


7. Recuperation and attacks in Bachajón: On 5th May, ejidatarios, adherents to the Sexta, from San Sebastián Bachajón denounce in a communiqué that political party members have taken over the tollbooth and impeded the officially elected ejidal commissioner’s access to the ejido. At the same time, they announce that they have recuperated some hectares of land belonging to them in the San Juan region, in the municipality of Chilon. On 8th May, they denounce an attack on a community member and his family in Xanil by the leader of a group of paramilitaries and his two sons who also serve as state police. Three policemen are detained by the ejidatarios until those responsible are punished. At the same time the Bachajón prisoners thank everyone who supported them on Political Prisoners’ Day.


8. Seventeen years of unjust imprisonment: On 11th May, Alejandro Díaz Santiz completes seventeen years of unjust imprisonment for a crime he did not commit. That is the equivalent of half his life. “His only crime was to be poor and indigenous.” Alejandro spends the day fasting.


9. Cruztón celebrates and then denounces: On 5th May, the community of Cruztón in the municipality of Venustiano Carranza in the highlands of Chiapas, an adherent to the Sexta and a member of the CNI and of the group Semilla Digna, celebrates the ninth anniversary of the recuperation of 249 hectares of its lands. A few days later, a member of the organization is detained and tortured by the group Nuevo Guadalupe Victoria in the community of the same name in a long-standing dispute over the road to a burial ground (panteón.)


10. Unresolved conflict among Las Abejas of Acteal: In October 2014, a small group, the Consejo Pacifista Sembradores de la Paz (Pacifist Council of Sowers of Peace,) split from the main Civil Society Organisation Las Abejas, which was founded in 1992. Recently the newly separated group has been claiming to be the main organization in Acteal, and attempting to discredit both the original Las Abejas, and the Fray Bartolomé de las Casas Human Rights Centre (Frayba.) This has caused a lot of confusion, and a press conference is called to attempt to clarify the situation. Hermann writes an article explaining what has happened in more detail.


11. Attack on San Isidro los Laureles: The Tsotsil community of San Isidro los Laureles, adherent to the Sexta and member of Semilla Digna and the CNI, recuperated 165 hectares of its land, known as El Refugio, in the municipality of Venustiano Carranza last December. On 12th May, the community is raided by 40 trucks of police and paramilitaries who invade the community and open fire. They then ransack homes, burn possessions and destroy crops. The “white guards” are led by local caciques who claim the land as theirs. The community is displaced, because the attackers are “shooting to kill.” The 60 families have regrouped on nearby land. They have lost 70 hectares of corn which have been harvested and stolen by the attackers. Among those sending messages of solidarity are the community of Candelaria el Alto, and the CGT who highlight the recent increase in acts of government repression against the peoples in movement. Candelaria el Alto itself receives threats after offering its solidarity.


12. Expansion of CIOAC in Chiapas: The paramilitary-style group Central Independiente de Obreros Agrícolas y Campesinos (CIOAC), an organisation closely linked to the Chiapas government, has been growing in power and “expanding its actions and its tentacles in Chiapas.” When the above eviction (item 11) was taking place, CIOAC were holding, with impunity, a roadblock in the state capital Tuxtla Gutiérrez. It needs to be understood that certain municipalities in Chiapas are in a state of almost permanent conflict among caciques and their supporters as to who holds power, and an increasing number of paramilitary-style attacks are happening and scarcely being reported.


13. Zinacantán Mobilizes Against Water Privatization: On 15th May, the Pueblo Creyente of Zinacantan declare an alert against water privatisation. They say the municipality plans to tax water use. A pilgrimage in thanks for water is held to the main spring to denounce this.


14. Chicomuselo communities denounce mining companies in their territory: Residents of several communities in Chicomuselo, who remain alert to the risks of mining exploration in the region, arrest four people on 17th May who say they are promoting a mining project in the Ejido Grecia. The communities denounce that the mining companies continue to divide the communities by offering money to set up projects in the region, which could lead to great social and environmental damage.


15. Primero de Agosto: The people of this community have now experienced one year and three months in forced displacement, without any justice for the aggression perpetrated by CIOAC. They express their solidarity with the peoples of Simojovel and Banavil.


16. Conflict in Chenalho: A violent conflict has been going on in the municipality of Chenalho over the election of a woman as mayor last year. For the last two months a faction has been trying to force her out of office. After they kidnapped two state Congressmen on 25th May, she was forced to resign. A fight between supporters of the two candidates from the community of Ejido Puebla resulted in the death from gunshot wounds of a fourteen-year-old girl and an elderly man. Several others have been seriously injured, and houses burned. Two people are disappeared, and 257 people (80 families) are displaced from ejido Puebla – 80% of the population. The Diocese of San Cristobal de Las Casas has denounced the serious situation of social division that exists in the municipality of Chenalhó along with an uncontrolled use of weapons that could lead to even more violent events, and has offered mediation.


17. Dams: Information published in La Jornada and other publications last month stated that work had started on building the Boca del Cerro dam on the Usumacinta river. Activists have since visited the site and confirmed that no work is yet underway, and that the communities are strongly opposed to any work taking place on the river. If built, this dam would be an environmental catastrophe.


18. Water: Coca-Cola are now digging their third well near their plant in San Cristobal de Las Casas. More than 5,000 people living in the vicinity already have no water supply and have to buy their water.


C. Other


1. San Salvador Atenco, the struggle continues: The Peoples’ Front in Defence of the Land (FPDT) from Atenco and members of the surrounding communities, members of the Fire of Dignified Resistance, who are all threatened with losing their lands to the new Mexico City airport, are much in the news this month. 3rd and 4th May mark the tenth anniversary of Mayo Rojo (Red May) and the terrible attack and brutal repression unleashed on the town of San Salvador Atenco by now-president Enrique Peña Nieto in 2006. Two days of marches, concerts and activities mark the continuation of the struggle. The members then return to fighting and blocking the construction of a new road to the airport, by planting trees and removing construction materials along with other actions. Among the risks posed, the new airport threatens the water supply for Mexico City and surrounding areas.

On 23rd May, the FPDT declare themselves on maximum alert. They denounce that workers from the airport group have illegally entered the territory of Nexquipayac, escorted by more than 200 members of the federal, marine, state and municipal police, with the intention of marking out the perimeter fence of the airport. This violates their court-ordered injunction (amparo.) “These illegal incursions are acts of provocation that the government is mounting to stir up the people and thus justify the repression against the communities and members of the FPDT. The utilization of workers for the airport who come from our own peoples is being used as a tactic to divide the people and make us fight amongst each other.” Similar incursions continue to take place in the various communities affected. On 29th May, the Fire of Dignified Resistance hosts the First Popular Encounter against the Eruviel Law.


2. Mining: Me’phaa Indigenous communities in the state of Guerrero, accompanied by their advisers from the Tlachinollan Human Rights Centre, have urged the Supreme Court to set a legal precedent and declare the 1992 mining act unconstitutional, arguing that it violates international treaties that Mexico has signed and ratified.


3. Kidnappings increase: During the current administration of Enrique Peña Nieto (from December 2012 to April 2016), kidnappings increased by 19 percent, according to a monthly report by the civil organization Stop Kidnapping. During this period, an average of six people a day have been kidnapped, and that is just the ones we know about.


4. Disappeared Activists: The Committee of Relatives of Disappeared Detainees denounces that the Mexican state security forces have disappeared 83 political activists — among them students and human rights defenders — since President Enrique Peña Nieto took office in December 2012.


5. The teachers’ struggle: Huge demonstrations and battles with police are ongoing in many parts of the country, especially in Mexico City, Oaxaca, Guerrero, Michoacan and Chiapas, with the levels of repression increasing. Running street fights are occurring in Tuxtla and San Cristobal, with many parents coming out on the side of the teachers in their opposition to the education reforms as support for the strike continues to grow. In Chiapas, teachers’ marches on 19th and 25th May are attacked by police firing tear gas and rubber bullets from the ground and from helicopters. The government has frozen the union’s bank account, and says it has fired more than 3,000 striking teachers from the CNTE union, whose strike started on 15th May. The president refuses to negotiate. Various apocryphal statements attributed to the Zapatistas and photos of non-existent demonstrations are circulated, until, on 30th May, a communiqué signed by Subcomandantes Moises and Galeano is published on the Enlace Zapatista website, entitled “May, between authoritarianism and resistance.” Civil human rights organisations have condemned the use of violence and called for an end to the harassment, repression and criminalisation of the teachers’ movement. They call on the international community to show solidarity and condemn the human rights violations committed by the Mexican state.


6. Human Rights crisis: The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) reveals that it is going through a severe financial crisis that will have serious consequences on its ability to fulfil its mandate and carry out its basic functions. In 2015, the IACHR received 1,164 complaints from its 35 member-states, 849 of which involved Mexico, constituting 73 percent of all complaints. Mexico has 32 human rights organizations at the local level and one national human rights commission, which means that although the Mexican government spends more than US$200 million every year to address human rights, it is the country with most complaints for human rights violations filed before the IACHR, which the IACHR say reveals a deep mistrust of Mexico’s human rights institutions. The human rights situation in Mexico has come under heavy scrutiny, with many international organizations lambasting the Mexican government for allowing impunity to reign.




Insumisión: Strike!

Filed under: Repression — Tags: , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 6:06 am






Originally posted to It’s Going Down
By Scott Campbell

The last edition of Insumisión started with news of the national teachers strike in Mexico and that’s where we’ll kick things off here. It’s been an intense fifteen days since the National Coordinating Body of Education Workers (CNTE) began an indefinite strike on May 15, primarily against plans by Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto to implement neoliberal reforms to the country’s education system.

Since being selected as president in 2012, Peña Nieto has attempted to privatize and standardize the Mexican education system, along with instituting policies to disempower Latin America’s largest union, the National Union of Education Workers (SNTE), and its dissident and more radical faction, the CNTE. In 2013, the CNTE mobilized its base to fight back against similar reform efforts. An article I wrote then gives some context to the developments occurring now, as well as clarifying the distinctions between the SNTE, the CNTE, and their relationships to the state.

The current strike is strongest in Mexico City, Oaxaca and Chiapas. On May 15, which is Teachers’ Day in Mexico, 20,000 teachers marched to the Interior Ministry (SEGOB) in Mexico City and several hundred installed a plantón, a massive encampment, on its doorstep. Ever since, the union and the federal police have been playing an elaborate and slow-motion game of cat and mouse in Mexico City. At 2am on May 20, hundreds of federal police rousted the teachers, demanding they leave. Outnumbered, the teachers moved their plantón to Santo Domingo Plaza, where a day later police showed up again at 2am, this time with buses, and notifying the teachers that many of them had arrest warrants out against them, they “invited” them to remove the plantón and get on the bus with the name of their state to be driven home. The teachers said “thanks, but no thanks,” to the ride and instead moved the plantón to Ciudadela Plaza, then for a day back to the SEGOB, then back to Ciudadela, where it is currently located.




At the moment, the conflict is in a holding pattern of sorts, with each side remaining firmly entrenched in their positions while making limited shows of force, hoping that eventually the opponent will blink first. The CNTE operates under the framework that at some point it will have to negotiate with the state, if not during this strike then in future years, and wants to ensure it maintains enough clout and respectability to do so effectively. For its part, the government is aware that it has the military capability to physically remove the teachers from public spaces, but also that it is under increased scrutiny internationally and domestically since the Ayotzinapa disappearances and the universal condemnation of its handling of that act of state terror. And ten years ago, when one state government tried to crush a teachers strike, it led to a five-month uprising known as the Oaxaca Commune. The fallout of conducting a multi-state operation along those same lines is more than the government is willing to risk at this stage. (For a look back at the Oaxaca Commune and an excellent interview with a striking teacher from Oaxaca, check out subMedia’s latest episode.) That could all change quickly, however, as the only negotiations the Mexican state knows how to conduct, in particular the government of Peña Nieto, is through the barrel of a gun – a reality I examined in an article back in February.

In lieu of outright confrontation (with the exception of Chiapas), the state has refused to even meet with the teachers. The Interior Minister and Education Minister both say there is nothing to discuss, while Peña Nieto said he’ll sit down for negotiations only after the teachers accept the educational reform. The government has frozen the CNTE’s bank accounts, meaning teachers are not getting paid and loans, which many teachers acquire through their union, are not being processed or disbursed. Aurelio Nuño, the Education Minister, announced that any teacher missing three days in a row of work will be fired, and so far has announced the dismissal of 3,119 teachers from Oaxaca, Guerrero and Michoacán. Along with harassing and threatening teachers in Mexico City, police have also been blocking and turning back buses of teachers attempting to enter the city to join their comrades. In Chiapas, teachers’ marches on May 19 and May 25 were attacked by police firing tear gas and rubber bullets from the ground and helicopters.

While the state has the guns, the teachers have the numbers, and they’ve been using them. Massive marches have been held in Mexico City, Oaxaca and Chiapas. Following the May 19 repression, as well as earlier repression in April, 200,000 came out to protest in Chiapas on May 23. This was followed up by a megamarch in the state capital of Tuxtla Gutiérrez on May 27, with coinciding marches in 30 municipalities. During the march in the capital, teachers briefly took over eight different media outlets, getting on the air to directly communicate with the people. As well, parents’ committees from 82 of Chiapas’ 122 municipalities announced they are joining forces with the teachers. This is up from the parents in 60 municipalities who last week pledged to shut down any school that attempts to open with scab teachers. When the strike started, a spokesperson for the CNTE in Chiapas vowed that for each teacher arrested, the union would detain a government official and hold them in the central plaza of Tuxtla Gutiérrez. Eight protesters were arrested during clashes on May 25 and charged with a litany of serious offenses, only to be promptly released before the marches on May 27.

In Oaxaca, Governor Gabino Cué said he had hundreds of police at the ready to remove any plantón or blockade installed by the teachers. The CNTE went ahead an installed them anyway, calling Cué’s bluff (for now). On May 27, they blockaded access to the state’s international airport for eight hours, as well as the highway connecting the city of Oaxaca with the tourist destination of Puerto Escondido. After the federal police showed up at the airport and ordered them to disperse, a group of teachers managed to sneak around police lines and encircle a bus carrying police reinforcements. The teachers refused to let them go until the police stood down. Meanwhile, the head of the CNTE in Oaxaca, Rubén Núñez, warned the governor that, “If there is no dialogue, there will be no elections.” Elections are slated for June 5.




A key to the success of the strike will not only be the ability of the CNTE to sustain its momentum, but to expand its base of support. Despite the mainstream media’s abject loyalty to the Mexican state and its narrative, the CNTE has been able to do just that. In part, this is due to the fact that the CNTE’s demands extend beyond wages and reforms and encompass broader social, economic and political issues, such as freedom for all political prisoners and prisoners of conscience, increased investment in education, truth and justice for Ayotzinapa and against neoliberal reforms in general. The strike has spread from Oaxaca, Chiapas, and Mexico City, to Guerrero, Veracruz, Mexico State, and Michoacán. Like in Chiapas, 300 representatives of parents’ organizations came out in support of striking teachers in Guerrero on Friday. Commemorating 20 months since the disappearance of their children, the families of the students from Ayotzinapa marched in support of the teachers in Mexico City on May 26. On May 27, the Peoples’ Front in Defense of the Land (FPDT) from Atenco announced their backing of the CNTE strike. While on May 16, students from Chapingo Autonomous University in Texcoco, Mexico State, borrowed some buses and tractor-trailers and blockaded a main road in support of the strike, the ongoing student struggle at the National Polytechnic Institute (IPN), and against the recent incursion of hundreds of police into Atenco to facilitate the construction of a new international airport. Even the Autonomous University of Mexico City’s University Council proclaimed all striking teachers will be accorded the status of Distinguished Guest should they visit the school.

As for what comes next, the teachers have promised more protests and mobilizations, including a plan to march on Mexico City’s International Airport on Friday, June 3. The state is likely planning to hold off on any major move against the teachers until after the June 5 elections. Regardless, even a small spark could elevate an already tense situation to another level.



While most of this edition has been focused on the strike, there is of course a lot more happening in Mexico, some of which I’ll cover briefly here. Mexico lost its sixth journalist of the year when Manuel Torres was killed in his home in Veracruz on May 14. Torres is the 18thjournalist to be murdered in Veracruz during the rule of Governor Javier Duarte. Also in Veracruz, students and staff at Veracruz University are considering a general strike to force the Duarte regime to pay the 2.5 billion pesos it owes the school. May 18-30 saw events nationwide as part of the International Week of the Detained-Disappeared. Yesterday in Toluca, Mexico State, the Fire of Dignified Resistance hosted the First Popular Encounter against the Eruviel Law – the recently passed legislation allowing Mexico State Police to use live ammunition against gatherings and protests. And around Mexico, 215 communities from 17 states have signed onto the National Campaign in Defense of Mother Earth and Territory. One of those communities is Coyotepec, in Mexico State, which for years has autonomously administered its water supply and resisted efforts to privatize it. Last week, six of its members were detained and the community was besieged by 600 riot police. In response, thousands came out to demand their release and the removal of the police. A day later the police left, but the six remain in state custody.

In southern Mexico, indigenous communities continue to be attacked and continue to resist. The Júba Waijín community in Guerrero won a victory when the courts blocked two mining projects from moving forward. After being displaced from their reclaimed land by police and paramilitaries in Chiapas, the autonomous community of San Isidro Los Laureles is not giving up. Meanwhile, in Oaxaca, the autonomous community of Eloxochitlan de Flores Magón mobilized to demand freedom for its eleven political prisoners. Also in Oaxaca, the Zapatistas and the National Indigenous Congress released a statement condemning the police attack on the autonomous community of Álvaro Obregón. One municipal police officer was killed after community police intervened to defend the community members under attack, leaving many to fear an attempt by the government to crush the entire autonomous project.

Lastly, in memory of Chilean anarchist Mauricio Morales, vehicles belonging to the National Migration Institute were torched in Cancún and a squatted social center bearing Mauricio’s name opened its doors in Tijuana.

May 16, 2016

Insumisión: Reclaiming Life in a Panorama of Death

Filed under: news, Uncategorized — Tags: , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 9:15 am



Insumisión: Reclaiming Life in a Panorama of Death




Originally posted on It’s Going Down
By Scott Campbell

As the violence and repression instigated, permitted and perpetrated by the Mexican State continues to grow, it can become overwhelming to summarize it in these pages in a way that does justice to the victims and survivors of state terror and impunity. Yet as the grim tallies multiply and impact more and more lives, so does the clarity that what the state offers even in its best moments is no solution at all, and from that point resistance flourishes. The sparks of refusal and defiance despite the odds ignite around the country, making meaning out of that which seems so senseless, breathing reclaimed life into a panorama of death. As América del Valle of Atenco said earlier this month, “Even with everything they did to us, we don’t come here today as martyrs. We don’t come to cry…We’ve come here to say NO!” Lxs insumxs. Let’s see what they’ve been up to over the past two weeks.

May Day in Mexico was a fairly calm affair this year, though a few bits of news are included inIt’s Going Down’s roundup. Hopefully folks were just conserving their energy for today, May 15, when teachers affiliated with the National Coordinating Body of Education Workers (CNTE) begin an indefinite strike against neoliberal education reforms and many other issues, building to a planned boycott of the June 5 elections. The strike could impact the 23 states with CNTE affiliates, though the focus appears to be on Oaxaca, Chiapas and Mexico City. Tens of thousands of teachers will be camped around the Department of Public Education (SEP) in Mexico City.

The SEP has responded by saying that any teacher missing three days of classes will be fired. To which the CNTE said, “We dare them to try. We’re ready for what comes.” Teachers in Oaxaca go on strike annually at this time of year, though usually as a tactic to influence negotiations. This year, there are no current negotiations and Governor Gabino Cué has refused to receive their demands, a stance reminiscent of former governor Ulises Ruiz Ortiz in 2006, before he sent the police after the teachers and kicked off a five-month rebellion in the state.

A report by Human Rights Watch from last October has been making the rounds in some Mexican media outlets this month, documenting two massacres by federal police in the state of Michoacán. One in January 2015 in Apatzingán left at least eight dead, while the other, in Tanhuato in May, left 42 dead. “In both cases,” the report reads, “multiple witnesses reported that they saw police officers shoot dead unarmed civilians after the initial confrontations were over.” No police have been held to account.

Since the launch of the so-called “war on organized crime,” much of Michoacán has been contested terrain as competing cartels, the police and military, and more recently, armed community self-defense groups – both legitimate and illegitimate, with some being incorporated into the new “Rural Police Forces” – have attempted to impose their will and entered into constantly shifting alliances. Meanwhile, indigenous communities such as Cherán and Santa María Ostula seek self-determination and autonomy in the midst of threats from cartels and the state. Since reclaiming 1,200 hectares of their land from the Knights Templar cartel in 2009, Ostula has seen 34 members of its community killed and six disappeared.

The National Human Rights Commission released the results of a survey this month finding at least 35,433 Mexicans have suffered forced internal displacement, a phenomenon not recognized by the state. The displacement is particularly concentrated in southern Mexico, where even locations previously considered “safe” are seeing drastic increases in violence, usually as the result of an increased presence of the army or federal police. Acapulco, in Guerrero, has experienced 347 killings related to the “war on organized crime” so far this year. A major shootout in the tourist center of the city on April 24 was extensively covered by reporter Francisco Beltrán Pacheco, who for his efforts was gunned down hours later in the doorway of his home.




Also in Guerrero, on May 12 six members of the Regional Coordinating Body of Community Authorities – Community Police (CRAC-PC) were freed after being held for nearly three years on false charges. Gaining their freedom was a major initiative of CRAC-PC commander and recently released political prisoner Nestora Salgado. Speaking of false charges, in another blow to the “historical truth” that the federal government has been offering as explanation for what happened to the 43 disappeared students from Ayotzinapa, an investigation found that 32 of those detained by the government for supposedly being involved in the disappearance and (they claim) killing of the students were systematically tortured into signing confessions corroborating the government’s version. This information corresponds with that already put forward by the United Nations, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, and Argentina’s Forensic Anthropology Team.

In another case of forced disappearance in Guerrero, one year ago this month, 300 paramilitaries, police and soldiers invaded the city of Chilapa de Álvarez for five days and disappeared 16 people. Local, state and national organizations working on the matter have released a call for all groups seeking justice for the disappeared in Guerrero to unite and organize jointly. Nationally on May 10, Mother’s Day in Mexico, the fifth annual march by the mothers of the disappeared was held in Mexico City and around the country.

In neighboring Oaxaca, the town of San José del Progreso installed a blockade at the main entrance to the Fortuna Silver mine, demanding its removal. Ten other indigenous communities in the state held a gathering at the end of April and announced they will begin, through community assemblies, organizing to oppose several mining concessions on their lands, build cross-community solidarity and strengthen their cultural identity.

Upon news that a major investor pulled out of plans to build yet another multinational wind farm on their lands, the Binni’za in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec noted, “Our struggle isn’t over, the debt that PGGM [the investor] and the rest of the multinationals that have invested in our region, that they have with our communities, is large and growing. We will not tire until they recognize our right to live with dignity as the indigenous peoples that we are.”

Also in the Isthmus, word is coming out of Juchitán that on May 14, local police severely beat two members of the community assembly of nearby Álvaro Obregón. When community police and others from the Zapotec community arrived to intervene, the local police opened fire, seriously wounding three, including a 14 year old.

To the east in Chiapas, attacks on defiant communities have become more frequent and violent. On May 4, as many as 150 paramilitaries entered the town of Simojovel, inciting panic as they stormed the streets and main park shooting fireworks and tear gas and throwing stones and Molotovs. The town has been organizing through its local church to eradicate corruption and combat drug trafficking.

San Sebastián Bachajón, a Tzeltal community adhering to the Zapatista’s Sixth Declaration, announced on May 5 it had recovered more of its communal lands from large landowners. Three days later, off-duty state police attacked a community member. In response, the community detained three state police, saying they would be held until those responsible were punished. At this time it’s not clear how that situation was resolved.

Also on May 5, the Tzotzil community of Cruztón, adherents to the Sixth, celebrated nine years since the recuperation of 249 hectares of its land. Again, days later, one of its members was detained and tortured by paramilitaries from a neighboring town. In response, a community member warned, “Our own hands are the ones that will administer justice, like we told the Public Prosecutor, if they don’t do it…The land is ours, the territory is ours, it is our right and this will be ours, whatever the cost.”

Most recently, on May 12, police and paramilitaries conducted a joint raid on the Tzotzil community of San Isidro Los Laureles. Mentioned previously in this column, this community – adherents to the Sixth – reclaimed 165 hectares of their land in December of last year. Thirty-five trucks entered the community and the passengers opened fire. The community’s homes were ransacked, belongings burned and crops destroyed. As of this writing, San Isidro Los Laureles’ residents are camped nearby and “creating strategies to recover the land taken by the White Guards [private gunmen].”

Not all is bleak in Chiapas, as the Chol community of Ejido Tila has been sending out inspiring updates and maps on its autonomous project. On May 1, it shared news about the collective work being carried out, as agreed upon by its community assembly. This includes: remodeling public buildings, cleaning up rivers, holding children’s festivals, street and highway cleaning, and community security. “Our town is now safer and cleaner, although there are filthy people belonging to political parties who continue to throw garbage in the street to screw things up and because their father, the bad government, got them accustomed to it. They don’t want to take out the trash when the truck comes, but to throw it in the street instead. We gave them a warning that a green pig will be wheatpasted on their homes if they keep acting uneducated, and although they say they are professionals and that it is us peasants who are dirty and ignorant, well, here it shows what their discriminatory, racist, and conflictive educational discourse is good for.” A second update shared improvements on access to water and the communal justice system, among other items.




Some final pieces of news to share. Earlier this month, San Salvador Atenco marked ten years since the brutal repression unleashed on the town by now-president Enrique Peña Nieto. With marches and concerts, they rededicated themselves to seeking justice for the attacks of 2006 and to continue resisting the latest effort to building an international airport on their lands. To that end, they started planting trees in the path of the new highway for the airport, as well as digging ditches and appropriating and destroying construction equipment.

In Chabelkal, Yucatán, the Maya community turned out to stop the eviction of an elder from his home on May 3. The police showed up in 30 to 40 trucks and began beating residents and firing tear gas. Seven were arrested but all were released after 48 hours following intense mobilization and a statement from the Zapatistas and the National Indigenous Congress denouncing the police violence.

On May 4, around 150 people were arrested at various metro stations in Mexico City during a coordinated action by #PosMeSalto (So I’ll Jump), a movement encouraging fare evasion that began in 2014 when the metro fare was raised from 3 to 5 pesos. Also on May 4, the Informal Feminist Commando of Anti-Authoritarian Action claimed responsibility for placing an explosive device at Sacmag de México, an investment and construction consulting firm in Mexico City. And lastly, a new report found that the minimum wage in Mexico should be 16,400 pesos per month ($903 USD), as opposed to the current amount of 2,191 pesos ($121 USD).

This edition has been a bit of a downer. To end with some ánimo, here are some compas discussing the anti-authoritarian practices being utilized in the struggle at the Scientific and Technological Studies Center Number 5 (CECyT 5), a vocational school in Mexico City.



May 2, 2016

Insumisión: Battles Lines Are Drawn in the Face of the Looming Storm

Filed under: Autonomy, news, Political prisoners, Repression — Tags: , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 2:22 pm



Insumisión: Battles Lines Are Drawn in the Face of the Looming Storm




Originally posted to It’s Going Down
By Scott Campbell

Around Mexico on May Day numerous marches are held, primarily organized by the National Education Workers Union (SNTE) and its more radical tendency, the National Education Workers Coordinating Body (CNTE). These marches are usually large, as the teachers’ union requires their members to show up. That extra incentive probably isn’t needed this year, as the teachers are fed up with the state’s repression and attacks on public education. The CNTE has already announced an indefinite national strike for May 15, and as a warm- up held the largest march in its 37-year history in Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Chiapas on April 22. Stretching more than three miles with 100,000 participants, the march was in response to the repression faced by teachers there the week before. While the CNTE base has consistently demonstrated its militancy, the leadership remains stuck in the politics of respectability, as demonstrated during the April 22 march when they ordered that “no one should commit acts of vandalism and that anyone caught would be detained; that no one would be masked or cover their face.” The gap between the two seems likely only to widen as the union’s actions intensify.

When it comes to teachers and protests, fresh on everyone’s mind is Ayotzinapa. When it comes to a relentless dedication to preserving impunity at all costs, the Mexican state is quite impressive. This was on full display last week as the Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts (GIEI) sent by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (CIDH) released its final 600-page report in a four-hour press conference on April 24. The GIEI’s mandate was cut short by the CIDH following the Mexican government’s consistent harassment, subterfuge and non-cooperation. “The experts assured that the authorities have not followed key lines of investigation, evidence has been manipulated, obstructed and investigative work rejected, officials that would have participated in the disappearance protected, and alleged suspects tortured to obtain confessions that support the government’s version.” The details are too expansive to explore here, but the short version is that the GIEI found the students were under surveillance, the attack on them was recorded and coordinated among local and state police and the army, and that the head of the Criminal Investigations Agency (akin to the FBI in the US) had a personal role in manipulating evidence and illegally detaining and torturing someone who later “confessed” to involvement in the disappearance.



In response, Tomás Zerón, the head of the Criminal Investigations Agency and confidant of President Enrique Peña Nieto, gave a press conference where he lied unapologetically and presented doctored footage to support his deceit. The GIEI immediately responded, notifying Zerón that he is “distorting reality.” The UN High Commission for Human Rights in Mexico “denied” and “disassociated” itself from Zerón’s statements. And to pile on, just days prior, the Argentinian Forensic Anthropology Team released its report, noting that the government’s version of events “is not possible.” Nineteen months after the disappearances, the students’ relatives continue to mobilize and are now demanding the resignation of Zerón and for the Mexican government to accept a new investigatory mechanism proposed by the CIDH after the GIEI was essentially run out of the country. The government has yet to reply to the CIDH’s offer.

The UN Commission has also been visiting several communities under attack in the State of Mexico, including Xochicuautla and the National Commission for Human Rights has announced it will be taking that state to the Supreme Court in an attempt to block the recently approved Eruviel Law, which allows police to open fire on protests and meetings. One Mexiquense community that knows what it’s like to have the police open fire on them is Atenco – or “riot town” if you’re the BBC – where the government is again trying to move forward with plans to construct Mexico City’s new airport. When construction materials were moved onto their lands, Atenco’s residents responded by appropriating those materials. They have released a call for people to gather in Atenco on May 3 – marking ten years since the brutal attack on their town spearheaded by Peña Nieto – to dig trenches to block the entry of more construction equipment. “The only thing we have to do is to defend our land…we’re not going to let them have even a single fucking meter, let that be clear.”


Mayo Rojo 10 años programa


12963777_1074417585933266_9070676278172917819_nInspired the Basque and Palestinian struggles for their prisoners, social movements in Mexico also mobilized on April 17 to call for freedom for their political prisoners. The ejido of San Sebastián Bachajón, adherents to the Zapatista’s Sixth Declaration, called for the release of its three political prisoners in Chiapas. “To be committed to your people doesn’t mean to commit a crime. They are jailed and treated inhumanely for their struggles. They demand their rights, but the government turns a deaf ear.” Relatives and comrades of Alejandro Diaz Santíz, whose case was mentioned in last month’s Insumisión, marked the day by establishing an encampment in San Cristóbal de las Casas. In a statement they said, “To support the resistance of political prisoners in Chiapas, as well as that of Leonard Peltier and Mumia Abu-Jamal, jailed in the U.S., of the NO TAV Movement prisoners in Italy, of Marco Camenish and the other persecuted and jailed anarchists in Operations Pandora and Piñata by the Spanish State or of the hundreds of political prisoners of Euskal Herria [Basque Country], is to support the humanity that flourishes and struggles even in the blackest darkness of the dungeons of power.”

Also on April 17, in a community assembly the Otomí town of San Francisco Magú in the State of Mexico decided to not recognize or allow the authorities appointed by the municipal government to operate in its territory. They have taken a building from which to operate their autonomous project, and with it seizing the local water utility. In their next assembly, they vowed to take actions to ensure that their “autonomy is not only respected but deepened.”

In ejido Tila in northern Chiapas, the five-month long autonomous project in the Chol community continues. A recent article, available in English, discusses what the community has done to ensure everything from security and justice to keeping the sewers and streets clean. Without mentioning the autonomous project another translated article provides context about the “new reality” in Chiapas, in particular in Tila, and the inability of the Zapatistas to counter the growing power of narcos and paramilitaries, leading communities such as Tila to take matters into their own hands. A similar situation is unfolding in Simojovel, where a local priest organizing against corruption and drug trafficking reportedly has a one million peso bounty against him. If you have 30 minutes and speak Spanish (or Russian), check out this interview with Subcomandante Moíses from last week talking about the current situation of the Zapatistas. It’s one of, if not the, first interview he’s given since becoming the EZLN’s spokesperson.

In other struggles for autonomy, twelve members of the community assembly from the autonomous Mazatec municipality of Eloxochitlán de Flores Magón in Oaxaca have been held prisoner for 18 months. The community has begun to organize a new initiative to demand their release and preserve its autonomy. “Our struggle is for the defence of communal territory. And for the defence of our traditional communal system of assembly and direct democracy, and so that the political parties are unable to establish themselves in our communities…to be not divided and corrupted.” One of the most powerful examples of self-determination and autonomy in Mexico continues to be the small Pur’épecha city of Cherán in Michoacán, who in April celebrated five years since they rose up against the government and organized crime. They stated:

The civilizational crisis we had, that we were looking at before April 15, and that the whole country is still living, a reification and destruction of the environment and of human relationships, made us wake up as a community, as an autonomous process, as rebellion, as a social movement, we can find a thousand names but offer one solution, to return to our roots, to our own principles, to return to something we knew and were living, to set 186 bonfires, to make barricades and community patrols, these aren’t by chance, it is all a response to the cry of depredation and inhumanity we were living in.




On April 24, 27 of Mexico’s 31 states, as well as Mexico City, saw demonstrations to mark the National Mobilization Against Sexist [Machista] Violence. What began as a suggestion by one woman on social media in Tuxtla Gutiérrez was seized upon and led to tens of thousands taking to the streets to protest the relentless wave of gender-based violence in Mexico. A report by Revolution News noted the following grim statistics: “63% of Mexican women report having experienced some kind of sexual violence. The statistics increased to 72% in Mexico City. El Pais reported that various prosecutors’ offices have registered more than 15,000 complaints of rape per year, around 40 women per day. At least six Mexican women die per day at the hands of men. 50,000 women have been murdered over the past 30 years.”

A few more pieces of news to round out this edition. On April 14, all major political parties voted to approve new “Special Economic Zones” in southern Mexico, establishing “preferential conditions for national and foreign private companies” including tax and customs concessions. In Caborca, Sonora, police arrested 11 members of the community resisting the Penmont gold mine, claiming they somehow stole “more than 120 million gallons of a gold-rich cyanide solution, which if managed without proper equipment causes death and requires at least 15,000 cistern trucks to move.” On April 23, journalist Francisco Beltrán Pacheco became the fifth member of his profession to be killed this year in Mexico, in Taxco, Guerrero. And in a couple of attacks on the social peace, Informal Anarchic Individualities claimed an explosive attack against the government-run CORTV media outlet in Oaxaca, while days later in Mexico City the Green Child Cell, Blue Child targeted a car dealership with explosives:

Today, April 26, 2016, at approximately 3-3:30 AM, while the stinking slave masses gather energies in their bedrooms to rise early and work, while many people dream of saving money to buy luxuries and climb the social pyramid, we scurry our plague towards one of the most widely diffused and accepted symbols of techno-industrial, modern, capitalistic society: the car.

Three students remain hospitalized in critical condition in Michoacán after police violently attacked their protest of an appearance by the Secretary of Public Education. Fifty-two other students were arrested. Six years ago, on April 28, 2010, a solidarity caravan headed towards the besieged autonomous Triqui municipality of San Juan Copala in Oaxaca was attacked by government-backed paramilitaries. Bety Cariño, head of Community Support Center – Working Together (CACTUS) and Jyri Jaakkola, a solidarity activist from Finland, were killed. Despite issuing 11 arrest warrants and having knowledge of where the wanted individuals are, the Federal Attorney General’s Office on April 27 instead decided to close the file on the attack and no longer pursue their version of justice. Bety’s relatives stated, “We also want to say that we don’t believe in their justice, which is merely a mask that creates an illusory idea that justice is possible in the capitalist, patriarchal system of death.”



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