dorset chiapas solidarity

June 25, 2016

Statement 0.2 Ungovernable Oaxaca. Black June, Oaxaca de Magón

Filed under: Repression — Tags: — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 11:02 am



Statement 0.2 Ungovernable Oaxaca. Black June, Oaxaca de Magón



The Constitution has Died. Photo by Xiaj Nikte


Published by Proyecto Ambulante
June 21, 2016
Translated by Scott Campbell

Our rage cannot be contained by police bullets, by the State’s jails, by the media’s lies. Our dead will not be forgotten, their combative spirit has spread so that we may take justice into our hands.

Nochixtlán and Oaxaca resisted as the Isthmus region has resisted, demonstrating to the powerful that we don’t fear them, that we will confront them, we will defeat them; in the cold Mixteca the frontline has not been neglected. In spite of the pain that invades the people, they know the worst way to remember those who died in battle is to abandon the war.

To remove a blockade and its barricades incites them to place more closures, more people in the avenues, highways, towns and in the struggle. The regions remain alert, the solidarity shows us that the struggle lives. The attempted State occupation by federal forces only heightens the tension and revives the rebellion.

The State sends winks and nods to the teachers union after the massacre; the media applauds, we condemn it. We don’t trust in any dialogue with the authorities, especially now that the CNTE has managed to agree to one, after a brutal massacre of people who acted in solidarity with them and supported them. The blood of our dead cannot be negotiated with for reform, not even for the removal of politicians from ministries and governments.

Nor will we allow for audacious politicians to hop on the tragedy. The resignations, the appearances, the support from these individuals – now – does not remove the betrayals already committed and those that they surely have planned. Organization by community, neighbourhood, groups and relationships is necessary in order to block the opportunism and leadership that those sick from power so crave.

The battle against the State should happen on all fronts. The street is ours but we have to win on the media and ideological fronts, to strengthen the resistance, to organize the rage, to spread and expand the revolt is the way; and not just in Oaxaca – which is filled with marches, barricades and protests – but elsewhere. Conflict is necessary, the placid peace of the State must be interrupted.

The siege by federal forces gathered in several positions should be acknowledged, the arrival of more reinforcements is a reality and the objective is clear: the pacification by force of the Oaxacan people. But we will not give up, we have learned that repression should not provoke fear, to the contrary it should nourish our highest ideal: freedom.

Dorset Chiapas Solidarity




June 24, 2016

Growing Support for Teachers at Home and Abroad

Filed under: Human rights, Repression, sipaz — Tags: , , , , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 1:48 pm



Growing Support for Teachers at Home and Abroad



Outside the Mexican Embassy in London



In support of the struggle that thousands of members of the National Coordinator of Education Workers (CNTE) carry on, and following the most recent repressive actions against them by federal forces on June 19 last in the Oaxaca State, many civil society organizations expressed their solidarity with the teachers, demanding a peaceful solution to the conflict from the state and federal governments.

In Chiapas, Believing People parishes called a pilgrimage on June 20 in Tuxtla Gutierrez. They showed their support for the teachers and repudiated the violent acts that occurred in Nochixtlán, Oaxaca, which left a toll of at least 11 people dead in altercations with the police. In a statement they explained that, “with such events we cannot remain on the sidelines, as a church we will always be on the side of the oppressed and we will raise our prophetic voice. The reforms are the expression of a new ‘Porfiariato’. We must struggle, we shouldn’t be conformists or slaves.” Father Marcelo from Simojovel parish extended an invitation to a mega-pilgrimage in support of the teachers for July 1 next with around thirteen parishes from the diocese of San Cristobal.

Another show of support and solidarity came from the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN). In a communiqué titled “Notes on the War Against the Teachers in Resistance (The Hour of the Police 3)”, they noted that, “There are more and more families helping the teachers, donating support for their trips and marches, becoming anxious when they are attacked, offering food, drink, and refuge.” They also pointed out the lack of educational arguments of the Secretary for Education, Aurelio Nuño Mayer, and the violence employed in repression of the mobilizations. Later, together with the National Indigenous Congress (CNI), they published another communiqué. Titled “FROM THE STORM”, both organizations expressed their repudiation of “the repressive escalation with which they intend to impose throughout the country the neoliberal capitalist reform that they call ‘educational’”. They highlighted that the resistance movement against this reform has become a mirror for more and more people, demanding an end to repression against the teachers in struggle and the immediate and unconditional release of “ALL political prisoners.” Their communiqué closed with an invitation to “all those peoples of the countryside and the cities to be attentive and sympathetic to the teachers’ struggle, to organize ourselves autonomously to be informed and alert facing this storm which falls on all.”

On a national level, Peace Brigades International (PBI) expressed their concern to state and federal authorities and the diplomatic corps over the deterioration of the situation. In a public announcement on June 20, they urged the Mexican authorities to respect the right to protest, to favour dialogue with the teachers and guarantee the integrity of teachers and defenders. On another note, in many states civil society, students, families and health workers are joining the mobilizations. Among others, in Oaxaca de Juarez, Oaxaca State, the artistic community organized a cultural event called “Cultural Barricade”, in which hundreds of artists from Mexico and other parts of the world participated on June 20, raising their voices to repudiate the repression.

On an international level, Amnesty International reminded the authorities that they have an obligation to control public order and take measures to prevent, investigate and sanction those responsible for acts of violence. Due to the events of recent days, the National Commission for Human Rights (CNDH) reinforced its presence in Oaxaca as well as in Tabasco, Chiapas, Guerrero and Michoacan, states which have also witnessed similar conflicts. The Inter-American Commission for Human Rights (CIDH) strongly condemned the serious acts of violence reported in Oaxaca State and called on the State to promote a process of dialogue in the framework of educational reform that allows the search for a solution in the context of a democratic society with full respect for human rights. Apart from the organizations mentioned, there were many actions on the part of civil society. Some examples are sit-ins and vigils organized in several cities in France, Spain, Germany, the United Kingdom, Ecuador, Argentina, and Brazil, among others, in rejection of the repressive events in Mexico.

It is worth mentioning that on July 22 there were negotiations between the CNTE and the Interior Secretary. According to the CNTE, this dialogue, obtained thanks to the broad popular mobilization, did not result in concrete agreements but they were able to table three themes: “repeal of the badly named educational reform; a route for the transformation of education; and measures for the distention and revision of the consequences of the imposition of the administrative labour reform.” A second round of dialogue is expected next week. It is also noteworthy that the 23 people arrested in Nochixtlan have been released.




Filed under: Repression, sipaz — Tags: , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 9:55 am










San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas, México
June 21, 2016


On June 19, elements of the police in the state of Oaxaca violently repressed teachers and organized civil society in opposition of the education reform of the government of Enrique Peña Nieto. Such events caused the death of at least six people, the apprehension and/or disappearance of 22, and 45 left with gunshot wounds between Nochixtlán and Hacienda Blanca. Their medical attention was not guaranteed, to which the general population responded by building “attention centers” to serve and treat those wounded. In the last few days, planes of the Federal Police and the Gendarmerie have arrived to the capital of the state.

Such event is the most recent within the escalating context of the repressive violence in all of the entities where the teachers’ movement has manifested with the support of the civil society (Oaxaca, Tabasco, Chiapas, Michoacan, Guerrero, among others) in the last few weeks. All of these mobilizations have been in demand for a dialogue with the federal government about the reform, which has maintained a stern stance of not wanting to modify such reform, and has threatened with the immediate cessation of those on strike.

Background History:

In 2013, the federal government approved the education reform, included in the packet of reforms derived from the “Pact for Mexico” -an agreement between principal political parties planting the construction of a society with human rights and liberties, economic growth, security, justice, transparency, combat of corruption, and democratic governance-. Since its announcement from the President of the Republic, Enrique Peña Nieto, the education reform caused inconformity between the teachers. It was presented by the government as an improvement in the education system from the evaluation of teachers; aimed to promote the autonomy of the families of students in terms of maintenance of the schools in practice, involving the covering of expenses of school maintenance. It was interpreted by a wide sector of teachers as a labor reform -more so than educational content- that would permit selective dismissals and the beginning of the privatization of education in the country.

As a result, dissident teachers organized multiple protests in several states in search for a dialogue with the federal government for the repeal of the reform. Various of the mobilizations were repressed by police forces, causing the death of three teachers (one from Chiapas and two from Guerrero in 2015 and 2016).

Organizations of the civil society of Oaxaca denounced the “criminalization of teachers”, with examples such as “mass media campaigns of defamation”, or the detention of at least 75 people -among which are several leaders of the movement-, who find themselves “in a situation of political imprisonment”. The Working Group on Arbitrary Detention of the United Nations assessed that several of the arrests were directed against human rights defenders and they were carried out arbitrarily. Furthermore, some of those arrested were transported to high security prisons intended for severe federal crimes.

The civil society of Oaxaca rejected the dozens of arrest warrants issued to members of the Section 22 of the National Coordinator of Education Workers (CNTE, in its Spanish acronyms) -known for demanding the cancellation of the education reform and for being a prominent part of the Oaxacan social movement-, looking to “dismantle the movement”. Before this situation, various rapporteurs of the United Nations emitted “urgent phone calls to Mexican authorities” due to the human rights violations, mainly for arrests without warrants, nor search warrants, and for the use of torture.

Since May 15 of this year, the teachers in opposition declared a labour strike, closing a large part of schools, with percentages above 95% in the states of Chiapas and Oaxaca. Adding to the strike, teachers organized marches, blocked roads, held encampments and symbolic “sit-ins” of city councils and radio stations, among other actions, which have received growing support from the parents of the families of students, as well as the general population. The teachers currently maintain an encampment in the downtown center of the city of Oaxaca de Juárez, which is being guarded by barricades in the historic center of town and by road blockades of strategic points to prevent the entry of police forces.

The Civil Society of Oaxaca published an Urgent Action reporting a Humanitarian Alert issue “for State armed civilian attacks”. They requested the removal of governmental forces and repression against teachers and the general population, a space for dialogue, immediate medical attention, a stop to the criminalization of the teachers, the cancellation of the arrest warrants, the liberation of those detained, as well as the punishment of those responsible of the human rights violations.

As the International Service for Peace (SIPAZ), we are highly concerned due to the human rights violations in the context of the teachers’ mobilizations, which is why we invite you all to sign the Urgent Action from the Civil Society of Oaxaca in the web-page of the All Rights for All Network (Red TdT, in its Spanish acronym).

We also assess that the situation of high tension is not only present in Oaxaca, but in Chiapas as well, to which we invite the national and international society remain attentive and aware of the events in the state.


June 22, 2016

The Battle of Oaxaca

Filed under: Repression, Uncategorized — Tags: , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 5:53 pm



The Battle of Oaxaca



Gustavo Esteva

La Jornada, 20th June 2016
It isn’t simply another of the many Oaxaca wars. It is part of a much deeper and wider war, which isn’t even contained in the national territory. But the battle being waged in Oaxaca has special significance in that war, in the great war.

It is a long announced battle. In Oaxaca it was known that they were postponing many aspects of the ongoing confrontation until after the elections. It was clear that after the elections the blows, provocations, final assault would worsen. They began preparations everywhere.

On June 14, all Oaxaca was remembering. It was a remembrance against the forgetting: today’s scenario seemed to be a faithful mirror of 10 years ago. We were seeing a rerun of the same movie: the teacher mobilization, the sit-in the zócalo, the marches, the teachers’ demands, a fierce media campaign … And the authorities again betting, as then, on Section 22 getting exhausted; on growing citizen irritation; on the people’s fear of violence and loss of income and jobs.

The June 14 march that arrived at Oaxaca City’s zócalo expressed residual experience. For nearly 10 hours, alongside the teachers in their encampment, many diverse sectors creatively expressed the ways in which today memory inspires action.

The Espacio Civil, Civil Space, is a new arrangement of very different kinds of groups and organizations, who are retaking the experience of 2006 to give it new forms. Their declaration “Ten Years Building New Roads” was formulated in the framework of government violence “to impose the bad so-called education reform” and in the context of “an exemplary teacher and popular resistance to the imminent risk that the black repressive night we lived through on the November 25, 2006, might return.”

Oaxaca’s civil society spoke out with conviction for the necessity of learning from 2006, “not only to close a cycle that left us full of wounds and pains but to open new stages of struggle that we might not make the same mistakes and that we might absorb the positive teachings of the movement.

“Today many people are struggling to defend their territory against mining, windfarms, and for respect of their autonomy and their uses and customs, their culture, for the care of their natural resources, their forests, the water and biodiversity. Today we consider it necessary to further the construction of a common agenda that might unify teachers, neighbourhoods, pueblos, young people, women, adults in fullness, and all those of us who aspire to and are willing to struggle for Oaxaca and a better Mexico.”

At the start of the Day of Reflection 2006-2016Espacio Civil issued a call to strengthen the teachers’ movement and the struggles of neighbourhoods, communities and pueblos to bring down the labour reform disguised as educational reform and the structural reforms and to stop the repression. Only together, it was emphasized, “will we achieve the release of our political prisoners, the safe return of our disappeared, and that a long night of pain and repression against the teachers and neighbourhoods and pueblos of Oaxaca might not be repeated.”



On that day they began to blockade the roads. In Nochixtlán and on the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, the people took to the street to close passage to truckloads of militarized police heading to Oaxaca City. Aircraft began arriving at the Oaxaca Airport. Many thousands of people, from all sectors of society, encouraged and supported the blockades, and they began to weave social solidarity.

Human Rights Groups Issue Communiqué

On Saturday afternoon, the Tepeyac Human Rights Centre of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, and the Network of Community Defenders of the Peoples of Oaxaca issued a communiqué in which they considered absurd and senseless the federal government’s response to social protest. They argued that the escalation of violence exhibits a political class that seeks to perpetuate itself

“in the logic of power and confrontation, rather than promoting opportunities for dialogue that might open channels to this fractured democracy.”

At the same time, they appreciated the wisdom of women and men of the pueblos, groups and emerging groups in

“proposing a creative resistance, pondering the meaning of life and building a just society.”

Oaxaca is burning. There is clear awareness of the moment of danger. Therefore, from every corner, an appeal is sent out today for courage—both the courage that expresses moral outrage shared by a growing number of people and the courage that means valour, integrity and the ability to walk with dignity and clarity in these dark times. The battle has just begun.
Translation by Jane Brundage



Mexican police brutally attack Oaxaca’s striking teachers

Filed under: Repression — Tags: , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 4:12 pm



Mexican police brutally attack Oaxaca’s striking teachers




Ten years after the Oaxaca Commune of 2006, teachers in the Mexican state are back on the barricades — and once again the state responds with brute force.

Scott Campbell

In a statement released on Friday, June 17, the Zapatistas posed the following questions regarding the ongoing national teachers’ strike in Mexico:

They have beaten them, gassed them, imprisoned them, threatened them, fired them unjustly, slandered them, and declared a de facto state-of-siege in Mexico City. What’s next? Will they disappear them? Will they murder them? Seriously? The ‘education’ reform will be born upon the blood and cadavers of the teachers?

On Sunday, June 19, the state answered these questions with an emphatic “Yes”. The response came in the form of machine-gun fire from Federal Police directed at teachers and residents defending a highway blockade in Nochixtlán, a town in the southern state of Oaxaca and roughly 80 kilometres northwest of the capital city of that state, also called Oaxaca.

Initially, the Oaxaca Ministry of Public Security claimed that the Federal Police were unarmed and “not even carrying batons”. After ample visual evidence and a mounting body count to the contrary, the state admitted federal police opened fire on the blockade, killing six. Meanwhile, medics in Nochixtlán released a list of eight killed, 45 wounded and 22 disappeared. On Monday, the National Coordinator of Education Workers (CNTE), the teachers’ union leading the strike, said ten were killed on Sunday, including nine at Nochixtlán.

Teachers belonging to the CNTE, a more radical faction of about 200,000 inside of the 1.3 million-strong National Union of Education Workers (SNTE), the largest union in Latin America, have been on indefinite strike since May 15. Their primary demand is the repeal of the “Educational Reform” initiated by Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto in 2013.

A neoliberal plan based on a 2008 agreement between Mexico and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the reform seeks to standardize and privatize Mexico’s public education system, as well as weaken the power of the teachers’ union. The teachers are also demanding more investment in education, freedom for all political prisoners and prisoners of conscience, truth and justice for the 43 disappeared students from Ayotzinapa, and an end to neoliberal structural reforms in general.

The state has refused to even talk to the union, instead deploying thousands of federal police and gendarmerie to areas where the strike is strongest — primarily Oaxaca, Chiapas, Michoacán and Mexico City, though also in states such as Guerrero, Tabasco and Veracruz.

A late night attack on June 11 against a teachers’ encampment blockading the Oaxaca State Institute of Public Education (IEEPO) by more than 1,000 police led to teachers and residents quickly mobilizing and establishing barricades and highway blockades in the early morning hours of June 12. Also on Saturday, the top two leaders of the CNTE’s Oaxacan branch, Section 22, were arrested in Oaxaca and Mexico City, and 24 arrest warrants issued for others in leadership positions.

The Nochixtlán blockade was one of those erected on June 12 and for a week had been successful in preventing hundreds of federal forces from reaching the city of Oaxaca. Dozens of highway blockades were in place by June 14, the day that tens of thousands came out to the streets to commemorate the ten-year anniversary of the beginning of the five-month-long 2006 rebellion.

The CNTE controlled 37 critical spots on highways throughout the state, blockaded in part with 50 expropriated tanker trucks. The blockades were so effective that ADO, a major first-class bus line, indefinitely cancelled all trips from Mexico City to Oaxaca and federal police began flying reinforcements into airports in the city of Oaxaca, Huatulco (on the coast), and Ciudad Ixtepec (on the Isthmus).

On Sunday morning, the federal and state police attack on the people and teachers of Oaxaca began in earnest. Nochixtlán defended its blockade against a four-hour police assault, resulting in the previously mentioned nine deaths. Police took over the local hospital and forbid entry to anyone not wearing a uniform. The wounded demonstrators were treated in churches and schools, likely resulting in more deaths due to lack of necessary treatment.

The next police attack on Sunday occurred at the blockade in Hacienda Blanca, 11 kilometers north of the city of Oaxaca. There police fired tear gas from helicopters, including into the school being used as a makeshift medical center, and there were reports of live ammunition being fired.

After breaking the blockade, they began going door-to-door looking for people in hiding. The police advanced into the municipal boundaries of Oaxaca and heavy clashes occurred in the Viguera neighborhood at the Juárez Monument. Police again used live ammunition, wounding a young man who later died of his wounds, making him the tenth fatality of the day. Another death occurred near the blockade in Juchitán, in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, when a reporter covering the protests was shot by “unknown subjects” in circumstances that remain unclear.

Sunday night, police began cutting power to various sections of the city and public transit was suspended, raising fears that federal and state forces would attempt to take the city and the teachers’ encampment in the main square (the Zócalo). As of this writing, such an attack has not occurred and around 30 highway blockades remain in place in Oaxaca, along with barricades in the historic city center. Police and gendarmerie did attack a blockade in Salina Cruz, a major port city, but it was successfully defended by teachers and residents.

Monday saw at least 40,000 people march in Oaxaca to protest Sunday’s state violence. Eighty-one civil society groups issued a “humanitarian alert due to the armed State attack on a civilian population.” Of note is that none of those killed on Sunday were teachers. Oaxaca Governor Gabino Cué claimed that teachers are in the minority on the blockades. This was an attempt on his part to delegitimize the struggle, but it instead speaks to the growing solidarity sparked by the teachers’ strike.



Urgent Action: Civil Society of Oaxaca emits humanitarian alert due to armed attack of the State against civilians

Filed under: Repression, Uncategorized — Tags: , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 6:16 am







Today, June 19th, we have been witnesses of the extremely violent actions of the Mexican State repressing the teachers and the organized civil society in resistance in different areas of the State of Oaxaca including the Istmus of Tehuantepec, Nochixtlán and the city of Oaxaca.

As a result of the excessive use of force, at least six persons have lost their lives and dozens have been injured and arrested. At this moment there is no information about the whereabouts of the arrested persons neither there is an exact total number of injured and killed persons. Medical attention was not guaranteed and civil society had to create points of emergency medical attention to injured persons without being able to cope with the demand.

There are happening particularly violent actions in the city of Oaxaca tonight. We have witnessed the arrival of a large number of airplanes of the Federal Police and the Gendarmerie in the city throughout the day as well as we witness that the tension is increasing every minute.

Previous events:

In the State of Oaxaca people live in a context of generalized violence in which repression and criminalization of the social movement and particularly against the teachers who belong to the Sección 22 aggravated in a particularly severe way linked to their fight against the implementation of the educational reform. By today, organizations from civil society and Human Rights organizations reported at least 75 Human Rights defenders imprisoned as political prisoners.

Within the events of criminalization of the Oaxacan teacher´s union stand out the following:

  • May 2013, detention of five teachers in Oaxaca: Damián Gallardo Martínez, Lauro Atilano Grijalva Villalobos, Mario Olivera Osorio, Sara Altamirano Ramos and Leonel Manzano Sosa.
  • In 2015, media campaigns of defamation and criminalization against the teachers increased permanently side by side with the process of dismantling of the IEEPO (State Institute of Public Education in Oaxaca) which took place in July leaving therefore thousands of teachers in a particular vulnerability due to not receiving payment for their work.
  • October 2015: Detention of Juan Carlos Orozco Matus, Othón Nazariega Segura, Efraín Picazo Pérez and Roberto Abel Jiménez García and emisión of dozens of arrest warrants against members of the Sección 22.
  • In April 2016, Aciel Sibaja Mendoza, financial secretary of the Sección 22 was arrested.
  • In May 2016 Heriberto Magariño López, another leader of the Sección 22 was arrested.
  • At last, June 11th Francisco Villalobos Ricardéz, leader of the Sección 22 was arrested and only hours afterwards June 12th Rubén Núñez Ginez, general secretary of the Sección 22 was arrested as well.

It is important to mention that arrest warrants are issued against teachers of intermediate authority, that means against teachers who coordinate and drive the teacher´s movement. This strategy is meant to disassemble the movement.

The same way diverse relators of the United Nations made urgent calls to the Mexican authorities expressing their concerns about the violations of Human Rights reported in some cases, in particular detentions without arrest warrant and without investigation, the use of torture during the posterior period of the arbitrary detention and other violations of the guarantees of the arrested persons[1].

The use of detentions, campaigns of defamation and repression against the Sección 22 have the clear aim to lessen the teacher´s movement which plays historically an important role in the social movement of Oaxaca. Dissembling the teacher´s movement impacts directly the work which all the persons and organizations of Human Rights are realizing in the State of Oaxaca and in Mexico.

We, the signing organizations, request that organisms, which are represented by you, are on the alert regarding this particularly violent situation which exists right now and that you join us in the following demands towards the federal government as well as the government of Oaxaca:

  • Cease of the wrongful and disproportionate use of force and repression against the teachers and the civil society who make use of their legitimate right of expression and free protest.
  • Immediate establishing of a round table for dialogue with the teachers of Oaxaca.
  • Immediate medical attention for all injured persons result of the violent acts of the State.
  • Cease of the criminalization of the teachers, cancelation of arrest warrants against members of the teacher´s union of Oaxaca and immediate liberation of all teachers which have been arrested in an arbitrary and illegal way.
  • Punishment of all persons responsible for arbitrary detentions, torture and other violations of Human Rights against members of the teacher´s union of Oaxaca.


Civil Society of Oaxaca

1.             Asamblea de Pueblos Indígenas del Istmo en la Defensa de la Tierra y el Territorio.

2.             Asamblea Popular del Pueblo Juchiteco APPJ.

3.             Asesoría Integral y Litigio Estratégico a Pueblos Originarios, A.C. ASER-LITIGIO

4.             Centrarte, A.C.

5.             Centro Antonio de Montesinos A.C.

6.             Centro Comunal de Salud y Tecnologías Integrales, A.C.

7.             Centro de Acompañamiento a Migrantes Caminos, A.C.

8.             Centro de Apoyo al Movimiento Popular Oaxaqueño, CAMPO, A.C.

9.             Centro de Apoyo para la Educación y Creatividad Calpulli, A.C.

10.          Centro de Atención Infantil Piña Palmera, A. C.

11.          Centro de Atención para el Desarrollo, CODICE, A.C.

12.          Centro de Derechos Humanos Tepeyac, A.C.

13.          Centro de Derechos Indígenas Flor y Canto, A.C.

14.          Centro de Desarrollo Comunitario Centéotl, A.C.,

15.          Centro de Encuentros y Diálogos Interculturales, A.C.

16.          Centro para los Derechos de la Mujer Naaxwiin, A.C.

17.          Centro Regional de Derechos Humanos “Bartolomé Carrasco Briseño”, A.C.

18.          Centro Regional de Derechos Humanos de la Costa, A.C.

19.          Circulo Profesional por la Formación con Equidad de Género, A.C.

20.          CODICE, A.C.

21.          Colectiva Mujeres Lilas.

22.          Colectivo Bolivariano Oaxaca.

23.          Colectivo Conserva A.C.

24.          Colectivo Mujer Nueva.

25.          Colectivo Musiquero “Tapacamino”

26.          Comité de Defensa Integral de Derechos Humanos Gobixha, Código DH, A.C.;

27.          Comité de Familiares y Amigas/os de Damián Gallardo Martínez.

28.          Comité por la Defensa de los Derechos Indígenas (CODEDI).

29.          Comunidades Campesinas y Urbanas Solidarias con Alternativas, CONCAUSA, A.C

30.          Consejo Indígena Popular “Ricardo Flores Magón”, CIPO-RFM

31.          Conservación, Investigación y Aprovechamiento de los Recursos Naturales. CIARENA, A.C.

32.          Consorcio para el Diálogo Parlamentario y la Equidad Oaxaca, A.C.

33.          Defensoría para la Igualdad, A.C.

34.          Defensores Oaxaqueños por los Derechos Humanos “Isabel” A.C.

35.          Diversidades y No Discriminación, A.C.

36.          Enlace Comunicación y Capacitación, A.C.

37.          Enlace de Pueblos y Organizaciones Costeñas Autónomas, EPOCA, A.C.

38.          Espacio Alternativo, YUNHITZ

39.          Esperanza Mixe, A.C.

40.          Feminismo Comunitario Tejido Oaxaca.

41.          Foro Oaxaqueño del Agua.

42.          Fundación Comunidad, A.C

43.          Fundación Ikoots, A.C.

44.          Grupo de Mujeres 8 de Marzo, A.C

45.          Grupo de Mujeres la Palma. NDACUKO, A.C.

46.          Herramientas para el Buen Vivir A.C.

47.          Ideas Comunitarias, A.C.

48.          Iniciativa Ciudadana Oaxaca, A.C.

49.          Iniciativas para el Desarrollo de la Mujer Oaxaqueña, A.C., IDEMO

50.          Instituto de la Naturaleza y la Sociedad de Oaxaca

51.          Instituto de Comunicación y Cultura, S.C.

52.          Liga Mexicana por la Defensa de los Derechos Humanos LIMEDDH-OAXACA

53.          Lunas del Sur, A.C.

54.          Manapaküy, A.C.

55.          Mie Nillu Mazateco, A.C.

56.          Movimiento Agrario Indígena Zapatista, A.C.

57.          Mungier Ndyuc Defensores del Mar A.C.

58.          Ojo de Agua Comunicación, A.C.

59.          Organizaciones Indias por los Derechos Humanos en Oaxaca (OIDHO), A.C,

60.          Palabra Radio

61.          Planeta Inclusión, A.C

62.          Planeta Rock Oaxaca.

63.          Promotora de Servicios para el Desarrollo, S.C.

64.          Radio Nahndia.

65.          Red de Análisis Multidisciplinario y Cooperación Económica Solidaria, Raíces, A.C.

66.          Red de Cafeticultores 5 de Diciembre, A.C.

67.          Red de Mujeres Activistas y Defensoras de Derechos Humanos de Oaxaca.

68.          Red por los derechos sexuales y reproductivos. DDSER Oaxaca.

69.          Seminario Mundos Rurales Tierra Territorio y Territorialidades UAM UACM ENAH.

70.          Servicios para una Educación Alternativa, EDUCA, A.C.

71.          Servicios Universitarios y Redes de conocimiento en Oaxaca, SURCO, A.C.

72.          Sinergia, A.C.

73.          Taller de Lecto-escritura Zapoteca Uken Ke Ujen A.C.

74.          Tequio Jurídico, A.C.

75.          Tianguis Indígena Multicultural del Istmo, A.C

76.          Tianguis Popular Itinerante.

77.          Unión Cívica Democrática de Barrios, Colonias y Comunidades, UCIDEBACC

78.          Unión de Comunidades Indígenas de la Zona Norte del Istmo, UCIZONI, A.C.

79.          Unión de Comunidades y Ejidos de Yautepec, para la Conservación de la Flora y Fauna, A.C.

80.          Unión de Organizaciones de la Sierra Juárez de Oaxaca, UNOSJO, SC.

81.          Universidad de la Tierra en Oaxaca, A.C.

82.          ¡¡¡Si no están ellas,…. No estamos todas!!!



June 13, 2016

After Police Attack, Barricades Reappear in Oaxaca

Filed under: Repression — Tags: , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 12:34 pm



After Police Attack, Barricades Reappear in Oaxaca




Originally posted to It’s Going Down
By Scott Campbell

In the waning minutes of June 11, federal police, the federal gendarmarie, and state police carried out a violent raid against striking teachers blockading the Oaxaca State Institute of Public Education (IEEPO). The attack comes almost ten years to the day when a similar state attack on striking teachers on June 14, 2006, led to a five-month, state-wide rebellion.

Teachers in Mexico have been on strike since May 15, demanding, among other things, an end to the neoliberal educational reforms being pushed forward by Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto. For a roundup of events during the first 15 days of the strike, see the most recent Insumisión column.




While things have been tense in Oaxaca, with Governor Gabino Cué announcing that he had hundreds of police ready to remove any teachers’ encampment or blockade, there have been no big confrontations until tonight. This is likely due to the fact that the state held elections on June 5 and did not want to take any action prior to that which might interfere. Then earlier on Saturday, federal police arrested Francisco Villalobos, the Organization Secretary of Section 22, the Oaxacan branch of the National Coordinating Body of Education Workers (CNTE). He is being charged with aggravated robbery for allegedly stealing free schoolbooks in 2015.




In response, teachers set up blockades at major intersections throughout the city of Oaxaca and elsewhere in the state. Then came the raid on the teachers’ position at the IEEPO. At the same time, electricity was cut in the Zócalo, the city’s main square, where the teachers also have an encampment.

In response, teachers and civil society began building barricades blocking off access to the Zócalo, communicating information using the union’s radio station, Radio Plantón.



They also started toppling security cameras.

Via Facebook, a compa from Oaxaca shared that “30 police trucks are headed to the Zócalo…On the edge of the city there are five buses full of riot police and more police trucks. The city centre is under siege.” Another communicated that all up and down Independencia Ave there are shoes, belongings and trash scattered about, indicating that several people have been arrested.




At around 2:30am Oaxaca time, it was announced that the Secretary General of Section 22, Rubén Núñez, was arrested on the border between Mexico City and the State of Mexico. The top two officials of Section 22 are now in state custody.

At the time of this writing, 3:30am in Oaxaca, Radio Plantón is reporting that military planes are now arriving in Oaxaca. They predict intense confrontations in the coming days. We will do our best to keep this page updated.






May 19, 2016

Joint CNI-EZLN communique on aggression against community of Álvaro Obregón, Oaxaca

Filed under: CNI, Corporations, Human rights, Indigenous, Zapatistas — Tags: , , , , , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 5:34 am



Joint CNI-EZLN communique on aggression against community of Álvaro Obregón, Oaxaca





MAY 18, 2016





To the media

To the solidarity organizations

To the Human Rights organizations

To the dignified Binizza community of Álvaro Obregón, Juchitán, Oaxaca

Sisters and Brothers

Our peoples, tribes, communities, organizations, and neighbourhoods see with rage and indignation how the bad government boasts its total lack of shame, through its political parties of every colour, as it continues to attack our peoples and its political parties continue trying to divide our communities. Our voice will not tire of denouncing and shouting, Enough!

On May 14, brutally and shamelessly, the police and bodyguards of the PAN-PRD candidate Gloria Sánchez López dared to aim their murderous weapons at the dignified community of Álvaro Obregón, Juchitán, injuring the six compañeros who were in an assembly, defending their physical and political territory from deadly wind energy projects, whose “clean” energy is filthy with blood, corruption, and death. The candidates from all of the political parties—who even though they are only candidates feel they can already benefit from the impunity they are granted for belonging to the band of criminals badly governing the state of Oaxaca and the country—believe that with bullets they will manage to change the conscience and kill the dignity of the Binizza people.

National politics makes it increasingly clear that the political class has no shame. They believe that they can attack, threaten and intimidate the dignified struggle of the people. With aggressions and violence they try to sow fear in the dignified hearts that defend the land, the water, and the wind. From the four cardinal directions of our indigenous territories we say to them: you cannot! You cannot stop the rage in our hearts from turning into solidarity; you cannot strip us of the dignity of struggling to defend our territories and the life of our peoples; you cannot intimidate the dignified struggle of the Binizza people, who have honored the National Indigenous Congress by being a member for many years now.




Therefore, brothers and sisters of Álvaro Obregón, Juchitán, Oaxaca, from the four directions of our territories we say to you, you are not alone! You are not alone! We declare ourselves against the acts that the bad government of Mexico and Oaxaca, through their henchman Saúl Vicente Vázquez, municipal president of Juchitán, carry out against the rights to self-determination and autonomy of the people of Álvaro Obregón.

We denounce that the cowardly aggressions made with firearms on May 14 and the ongoing threats. These are an attempt to intimidate the community of Álvaro Obregón, which opposes the installation of wind energy projects in their territory. The politicians get angry when they cannot make their profits by installing these projects of death and who believe that by intimidating the people they will be able to. They are mistaken!

Because of all of this we declare that:

We hold the government of Gabino Cue and Saúl Vicente Vázquez responsible for the aggressions that have occurred and continue to occur against the assembly of the community of Álvaro Obregón, Juchitan, Oaxaca.

We demand the investigation and punishment of those responsible for the shots fired by the municipal police of Juchitán and the bodyguards of Gloria Sánchez López.

[We demand] the cancellation of the wind energy projects that they are trying to impose on the territory of the Álvaro Obregón community.

We demand that Gloria Sánchez López and all of the candidates stop trying to impose their party system on the community of Álvaro Obregón.

We demand that they respect the legitimate rights of the Binizza people to elect their own authorities in an autonomous manner.

To the community of Álvaro Obregón, Juchitán, Oaxaca, we say, you are not alone; as the CNI we will be vigilant to make sure these events do not happen again and we will make our voice heard from every corner of our blood-soaked country.

For the full reconstitution of our peoples!

Never again a Mexico without us!

National Indigenous Congress

Zapatista Army for National Liberation










April 11, 2016

Oxfam Presents Inequality Report

Filed under: sipaz — Tags: , , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 9:17 am



Oxfam Presents Inequality Report


Oxfam.pngPhoto @ Oxfam

According to the international NGO Oxfam, the growing inequality crisis has become a recurring theme on international agendas due to the effects that this has on the world population. Mexico, Oaxaca and Chiapas are examples of this. On March 31, a group of researchers from the Autonomous University of Chiapas (UNACH in its Spanish acronym), from the Isitame Collective and from Oxfam Mexico presented the report “Inequality and Social Exclusion in Chiapas, a Long Term View.”

Specifically, the document seeks to “find a reason for the inequalities in Mexico that different regions of the country experience, from territorial to local constructions as well as the solutions that can be locally outlined.” The report points out that Chiapas is considered to be “the state with the highest concentration of population in conditions of poverty and extreme poverty. As a result of a historical process of high rates of population growth, recurring crises and economic stagnation, a vicious circle of poverty and inequality has been generated, which reports the highest levels in all areas of poverty and inequality in the entity.” Jorge Alberto Lopez Arevalo, one of the researchers, commented that between 1995 and 2014 almost 40 million dollars have been invested in Social Development in Chiapas, a shocking figure, but poverty has not diminished. On the contrary, it is on the increase. ” We can say that this is the failure of social policy”, he said.

Extreme Inequality and Development Tendencies. The Case of the Oaxaca State” was also presented in the report, produced in collaboration between Services for an Alternative Education (Servicios para una Educación Alternativa A.C. – EDUCA) and Oxfam Mexico in Oaxaca State on March 29. According to the report, Oaxaca not only suffers from income poverty but also lack of social rights, which prevents equal access to development opportunities for the population. According to the study carried out, “this poverty and inequality favored the growth of drug addiction and alcoholism among the inhabitants.” Although the report does not specifically address inequality among women, it reveals that some elements of social policy, such as those aimed at empowering women, in fact increase work duties for them while other programs also increase their responsibilities. It also evaluates mega-projects and points out that the refinery at Salina Cruz, for example, has not had an impact on the welfare of the population and that wind farm projects have resulted in the dispossession of lands in the region of Tehuantepec Isthmus.

Ricardo Fuentes of Oxfam Mexico said that there is a growing tendency of inequality and that it is a world phenomenon that Oxfam has been warning about since 2014, when they revealed that 85 people possess more wealth than half of the population of the world. As a result of their analysis they published the document “Extreme Inequality. Concentration of Economic and Political Power” in June 2015, in which they warned about the gap between those who have everything and those who have nothing.




January 29, 2016

Human Rights Defenders demand justice for journalist killed in Oaxaca

Filed under: Journalists, Uncategorized — Tags: — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 5:31 pm



Human Rights Defenders demand justice for journalist killed in Oaxaca




On January 21, 2016 another journalist was gunned down in Mexico recently, his name is Marcos Hernández Bautista, 38 years old, journalist from “Noticias – Voz e Imagen de Oaxaca”. Hernández Bautista was killed in San Andrés Huaxpaltepec, in the coastal district of Santiago Jamiltepec, Oaxaca. They found his body slumped by his car. He’s the fifth journalist killed under Gabino Cué’s term as governor. According to police forces, the communicator was killed instantly by a 9mm bullet in his head.

The deadly attack occurred on the Federal Coast Highway 200 leading to Santiago Jamiltepec. The deceased, also served as councillor for culture in Santiago Jamiltepec, and was a contributor to radio stations in Santiago Pinotepa Nacional and Jamiltepec. The newspaper “Noticias” demands that judicial authorities “thoroughly investigate the bloody deed which goes against freedom of expression, and also to punish the person or persons responsible.” Marcos Hernandez Bautista was also an activist of the leftist Party “National Regeneration Movement” (Morena). According to a study conducted by Reporters without Borders, Mexico was the most dangerous country for journalists in Latin America in 2015.

Press statement by the Council of United Peoples in Defense of the Green River (COPUDEVER, who struggles for the cancelation of the “Paso de la Reina Project” for Hydroelectric Exploitation in the coastal region of Oaxaca):


The murder of Marcos Hernandez joins a long list of violent incidents in the coastal region of Oaxaca, most have gone unpunished.

There are interest groups with economic and political power in the region which continue to control the life of communities.

Marcos Hernandez was a journalist close to the people, he always supported our fight for the defence of territory, always gave us a voice in the media, was always on our side, always accompanied us in our demonstrations, events, festivals, in our lives.

We regret that our region’s voice Marcos has been silenced, as he was among the few who dared to denounce, he believed in the organization of the people and their rights.

Thanks Marcos for your presence, we join the pain of your family.

As the Council of United Peoples in Defence of the Green River: We demand that the murder of Marcos does not go unpunished!

Punishment for those responsible!

We demand that the Mexican government provides guarantees for the work of journalists, defenders of human rights!

San Antonio Río Verde, Oaxaca January 23, 2016


Read more:

More about COPUDEVER (Information by Sipaz)

Reporters without Borders (Press Freedom Barometer – Mexico)

Press statement  COPUDEVER (Pdf in Spanish) 

Article by “Commitee to Protect Journalists”



Oaxaca, the fight for the air

Filed under: Indigenous, Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 5:13 pm



Oaxaca, the fight for the air




By Jaime Quintana Guerrero
January 20, 2016
Translated by Scott Campbell

Bi, in the Binnizaá or Zapotec language, means “air”, means “spirit.” “For us, air not only represents life, it also carries loved ones who have died. When one dies, their spirit becomes air and returns to the people.”

The struggles against the wind farms that abound throughout the state also, then, contain this element: “They want to change the path of the wind, of the air, of our spirits, of our loved ones.”

Carlos Martínez Fuentes, a member of Radio Totopo in Juchitán, Oaxaca, is the one who explained the above. Radio Totopo, with its nine years transmitting together with the spirits in the air, also belongs to the Popular Assembly of the Juchitecan People.

The emergence of the radio was a result of sheer necessity. On the one hand, as a tool in the resistance struggle to Plan Puebla Panama, which includes the wind farm system being put into place between those two locations.

As well, because the tradition of the indigenous peoples of Oaxaca (as with most) is oral. The radio fits perfectly, then. “In Oaxaca, 16 different languages are spoken. The indigenous oral tradition is the key reason behind the existence of community radio stations and community assemblies, their main supporters,” explains José Juan Cárdenas, member of the Integral Community Communication organization.

This organization works to strengthen and promote communal means of communication, above all, facilitating community access to the technology necessary to occupy the air: radio booths, antennae, microphones, and FM transmitters (which they install).

Specifically, spoken in Oaxaca are Mixtec, Zapotec, Chinantec, Chatino, Mazatec, Chontal, Chocholtec, Ixcatec, Amuzgo, Mixe, Triqui, Cuicatec, Huave, Zoque, Nahua, and Afromestizo, among others.

Its 94 municipalities are governed by Internal Normative Systems, through which the communities participate in the election of their authorities, using ancestral methods specific to each locale.

“The air is part of the territory, and therefore it is one way to remain and to survive as a people.”

The Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca

Oaxaca shook in 2006: from the teachers’ movement to the street barricades in which thousands of people and organizations of all types participated. From that ferment the first community radio station, Radio Plantón, emerged as a tool.

The rise of the Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca (APPO) allowed the people to reclaim their voices and later, to seek to spread them. “It was through that that the people understood the importance of the media and of the necessity of taking them,” explains José Juan.

It is also the case that the Binnizaá or Zapotec peoples (as well as many others in Mexico) rely more on speech than on text. “The most successful means of communication are radio and video, we feel more comfortable receiving information through those mediums,” explains Martínez Fuentes.

In spite of its centrality to the dissemination of information, as explained in the above quote, there is no data on how many radio stations exist in Oaxaca. It is known that the use of the radio spectrum has grown like never before in the last ten years.

“If you scan the radio dial when you’re in Oaxaca, you’ll always come across a community radio station from a nearby community, although not all of them are communal, there are many commercial ones. In Tehuantepec, for example, there are twenty stations among which few are communal,” says José Juan.

Air is the centre for Oaxacans. “It’s an element of mother earth, key for the survival of living beings on the earth. We began to fight for the air because it’s unthinkable that they want to privatize it.”

The air, private


Private investment plans (and the displacement that follows) are abhorrent to the people, as understood from the land. Neftalí Reyes Méndez, from the Service for an Alternative Education (EDUCA), gave some information to that effect: “Just for the generation of electricity and the extraction of minerals they plan to put into place 60 hydroelectric dams and 40 mining projects.”

In the community of Magdalena Teitipac, they banned mining after driving out the company that was exploiting the area, as decided by the Council of Elders, the local Committee for the Defence of Territorial and Cultural Integrity, and, who else?, the community radio station Teiti Radio-Lova.

There are different forms of financing the stations. In the case of San Juan Tabaá it comes from the municipality, elected by the Internal Normative System of each community. Another way, as in the case of Santa María Yaviche, they created a foundation to sustain it. In the case of Villa Tálea de Castro it was the community itself that pitched in to get the radio going.

Radio Totopo, an example of resistance

“In 1994, national and international businesspeople appeared, trying to commercialize the air, they started putting a price on it. This was a cause for reflection by our peoples.”

Radio Totopo inherited the name of that form of consuming maize, as shared by five First Nations: Chontal, Ikoo, Ayuuk, Zoque, and Zapotec. Each has its own way of making and eating the totopo.

“Also, among us there has been discrimination, there have been conflicts. But facing that we have united in order to defend our territory, the Isthmus of Tehuantepec. One way of expressing this common nationality is to appeal to the totopo, which represents cultural diversity as well as unity among the nations of southern Oaxaca and Veracruz,” says Carlos Fuentes. “We took the name Totopo to unite the people.”

Businesspeople and some anthropologists attack the community stations, saying their argument has no scientific basis, that there is no way to prove that there are spirits in the air. “It is part of our cosmovision, which we have preserved for thousands of years, we don’t have to support it scientifically,” he adds.

Since 2012, the Ikoos and Zapotecs have united to confront the company “Eólicas del Sur” (formerly Mareña Renovables), responsible now for trying to extend wind farm projects into the urban area of Juchitán.

From the microphone to the air or how to start a community radio station

sistema-radio-oaxaca-300x225Integral Community Communication is not the only organization which promotes (through training people) these kinds of radio stations in Oaxaca. Ojo de Agua, Palabra Radio and Acción Comunitaria do as well.

They warn that lack of knowledge can sometimes cause communities to break their equipment, “as they don’t know how to get it started, but it’s also not their fault for not knowing.”

They give some suggestions:

  • From the microphone, the audio enters through a channel on the mixer. What does that do? It is a tool that serves to mix different sources of audio that come from microphones, recorders, computers, MP3s, etc.; it mixes them and converts them into one: the output channel. “The mixer is like the brain of the radio, where all the sounds converge and it processes them.”
  • The single signal goes through the limiter compressor, which is important to maintain the signal at good audio quality, listenable, without harmonics (echoes). From the compressor to the transmitter: the device that turns the audio into electromagnetic waves. The transmitter determines the frequency on the radio dial and allows people to find it and listen to it. Identify it.
  • From the transmitter the waves pass to an amplifier, which gives power to the exciter, which through a cohesive cable finally sends the signal to the antenna.
  • The antenna, this is the key element: it controls the energy the transmitter uses and sends the message to the air. Thanks to something called a “superheterodyne receiver,” the signal stops being a wave and turns into a frequency. Only the message passes. The message sent by our radio, which we listen to in our home.



January 16, 2016

Caravan of Civil Observation and Solidarity for Chimalapas

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 1:57 pm



 Caravan of Civil Observation and Solidarity for Chimalapas





On January 10 and 11, agrarian authorities, communities and non-government organisations made up the Caravan of Civil Observation and Solidarity for Chimilapas to San Francisco de La Paz community, in the municipality of Santa Maria Chimilapa, Oaxaca. Those present noted the repeated incursions against communal territory, particularly on the property of San Isidro la Gringa. They were also witnesses to the “call for justice and respect for human rights of the town and the indigenous families who live there.”

Based on what they observed, the visitors asked the Federal Government and the state governments of Oaxaca and Chiapas to: carry out immediate joint peaceful operations to vacate the three locations currently invaded (Reforma-Pescaditos, Arroyo la Gringa-Emanuel I and Arroyo Zapote-Emanuel II); ensure that David Vega, indicated as the material and intellectual author of the kidnapping and disappearance of the comunero Pablo Escobedo be brought to justice; make a thorough investigation to locate the whereabouts of the remains of said comunero; and enable permanent federal supervision and surveillance “to prevent and avoid new invasions and looting of communal territory, as well as any acts of harassment, provocation or violence.”

The Caravan of Civil Observation and Solidarity for Chimalapas declared its support for the call for justice for the people of Chimalapa and also its rejection of government attempts to silence this resistance. By the same token, it asks the people of Mexico and the world join the call for the defence of this territory, which is “the most biodiverse in Mexico and Mesoamerica.”




December 12, 2015

Mexico, Coca Cola, Hipsters Ads and the Indigenous

Filed under: Corporations, Indigenous, Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 12:05 pm



Mexico, Coca Cola, Hipsters Ads and the Indigenous

sinembargo: Alejandro Calvillo*
Translated by Emma Brooks and
Rachel Alexander

The reaction to the commercial made by Coca Cola in the Mixe community of Totontepec, Oaxaca, presents an important opportunity to reflect as a society on the treatment of indigenous communities in our country, through advertising and concerning the exploitation of situations of marginalization and of emotions, to persuade the population to consume a product.


For a society that is deeply discriminatory of its indigenous population, like Mexico, it is difficult to recognize the actions that perpetuate stereotypes of subordination, stereotypes that place one race or culture above another, as a model. This is even more serious in advertising. It’s enough just to look at the racial profile of people used in advertising in Mexico – in practice, there is no place in advertising for the people who make up the majority of Mexico’s population by far – mestizos. Their presence is only marginal.

In a society of hyper-consumption, which is the source of the global environmental and social crisis we are experiencing, advertising ceases to demonstrate how a product or service can fill a need. What advertising sells in a society of hyper-consumption are ideas, feelings, aspirations. When the goal is to create necessities, and those necessities don’t satisfy a need in our lives, advertising instead focuses on offering emotions and feelings of belonging.

When we review advertisements for a product, it is just as important to analyse how they achieve persuasion, what strategies they follow to entice consumers to buy and consume the product, as it is to analyse the product that is being advertised, and its effect on the consumer, on their community and on their environment.

Coca Cola’s advertisements are a good example of advertising for a product that has no intrinsic value. That is to say, Coca Cola is a product that can’t offer anything more than hydration, something that water is better at providing, without the health complications and habits that can result from soft drink consumption. So, what Coca Cola really sells are feelings (happiness, love, solidarity) but, especially, a sense of belonging. A key element of this product’s success is its addictive nature, provided by high amounts of sugar and probably some other ingredient in its secret formula.

Advertising for this beverage focuses on youth, a strategic sector. Young people, as part of their development, have an intense need to belong. These products sell them that feeling, the illusion of belonging to a world of happiness, of being “cool”, of being part of something that, in most cases, is merely a sensation.

In the commercial made in the indigenous community in Oaxaca, there is a clear model of who brings happiness to the village, and how they bring that happiness. In social networks, they have been described as “urban hipsters”; this is also how they have been defined by the international news agency Al Jazeera, Telesur and in social networks.

“Hipster” has different definitions, but the one that is most fitting for the characters in this commercial is Victor Lenore’s in Indies, hipsters and gafapastas. Lenore defines them as part of a subculture that appears to be countercultural but defends individualism, competition, and that deep down is nothing more than a more ruthless and snobby form of contemporary capitalism. There are other definitions that wouldn’t fit the characters in this commercial as well, but Victor Lenore’s is appropriate for the models and clothing selected for the commercial, and the image that the advertising agency and the scriptwriters who made the commercial try to communicate.

The commercial portrays these youth totally racially different from the youth in the community. And the difference isn’t only racial, it’s also in the meeting of different social sectors in a country where social classes are divided and deeply marked by racial differences. Furthermore, it’s in the fact that some characters bring happiness to the community by bringing Coca Cola and a Christmas tree, and others only receive it, expressing nothing more than smiles. Some characters are active, and the others passive, some bring happiness, Coca Cola and a Christmas tree, and the others simply receive them, smile, let themselves be pampered, and hug the “urban hipsters”.

The soft drink company in this commercial sells happiness as synonymous with Coca Cola, and moreover, according to the company: solidarity with indigenous peoples. Apart from watching the commercial, it is important to describe it in order to understand it. When faced with criticism for this commercial, Coca Cola announced its removal from networks. The Alliance for Healthy Food created a version that preserves the commercial in its entirety, but with added statements from indigenous Mixe youth:

Coca Cola’s advertisement starts with images of an older man and woman, and a few indigenous youth, all with serious expressions, not smiling, and the superimposed text appears: “81.6% of indigenous Mexicans have felt rejected for speaking another language”. This statistic is tragic without a doubt – that the indigenous population feels rejected for speaking their own language, which means being rejected for their culture, as language is one of the deepest forms of culture. But then there is an abrupt change; cheerful music comes on, and images of young people with white skin appear, laughing, playing in a workshop, having fun while they cut wood and paint it red. These images stand out, and contrast starkly with the first images of the adults and indigenous youth, both racially and emotionally; the light-skinned urban youth are cheerful, they are happy. On top of these scenes in the workshop appears the writing: “This Christmas, a group of young people wanted to give them a very special message”.

What follows are the images of three young people we’ve seen in the shop, who pass through the mountains on a truck, overflowing with happiness. The sign on the road marks the entrance to “Totontepec,” and superimposed on the announcement is “Mixe Community, Oaxaca, Mexico.” Hands are seen waving as they enter the town, as if welcoming them. The three traveling in the truck become a score of young people with the same racial characteristics and clothing, who go down the streets of the town bringing happiness and Coca-Cola. You see the image of a pair of indigenous youngsters smiling, watching the young people running through the streets of their town.

These young people who have come to the town with happiness and Coca-Cola build a Christmas tree out of lumber, several meters high, while the indigenous young people observe them. In the following scene, they hand Coca-Cola to the young people in the village and hug them. For the first time in the ad, the indigenous young people act – they are the ones turn on the lights on the tree. The action consists in turning, as if threading, Coca-Cola bottle caps found between the boards the Christmas tree is built from. As it’s turned, each cap lights up. Each light-cap has the Coca-Cola logo.

The white-skinned young people from the city give high-fives, hug and look at and patronizingly hug the indigenous young people, with friendliness and a sense of superiority over them. The ad ends with the image of the tall Christmas tree which has the Mixe phrase meaning “Stand together.”

This short description shows the sequences of the ad. The ad uses a serious situation for the indigenous population – rejection for speaking an indigenous language. It tries to create a feeling of compassion over the rejection the indigenous population suffers and aims to break a prejudice. Nevertheless, the ad deepens this prejudice, this discrimination, this racism by clearly making the indigenous people passive in their own community, lacking in happiness which must come from outside, which comes from consuming a beverage and having the urban youth make a Christmas tree that’s not part of their tradition. The urban young people’s condescending attitude, in the negative sense of the term, towards the indigenous people, with this character of superiority, reproduces racist stereotypes of subordination.

There are some who say the company made the ad with the consent of the authorities in the community, as a way of justifying it. But the responsibility does not belong to the community authorities. It belongs to the company who made an ad and distributed it across social networks throughout the country and the world. That is to say, it’s an ad that sends a message which establishes an image of indigenous submission and reproduces stereotypes. The responsibility is with the business and also with the State, which should prevent and avoid discrimination.

The second essential piece for evaluating this ad, apart from its strategy and contents, is the product it advertises and the relationship that product has with indigenous communities in our country. We must start from the fact that regularly consuming these drinks does damage and raises the risk of being overweight, obesity, diabetes and other illnesses.

Indigenous communities suffer for more than their languages. They suffer from extreme poverty, lack of water services, education, health and more. In health, they suffer the same epidemic of obesity and diabetes as the rest of the population of the country. The difference is insignificant. It must be remembered that we Mexicans have one of the highest rates of these afflictions. Adequate attention to prevent diabetes in non-existent in these communities, and when it is diagnosed it is already well-advanced. We have seen this in people who have amputations or are blind, dying in need of dialysis they can’t pay for and the public health system won’t cover.

One of the factors that contributes significantly to this illness is the high sugar content consumed in soft drinks. Type 2 diabetes barely existed 30-40 years ago in indigenous communities, and it has now become an epidemic. In this sense, the drink represents a higher threat for the indigenous population than for the rest of the country, as much for a higher predisposition to diabetes as because a large part of this population has suffered some degree of malnutrition since a young age, as well as for an increased genetic predisposition.

In this context, it’s clear Coca-Cola uses and approves a condition of discrimination to present itself falsely as a business interested in fighting the prejudices that discriminate against indigenous communities. It uses the situation of discrimination to sell its product, which affects the health of indigenous people. Not only does it not fight discrimination, as it claims to do – it promotes reproducing stereotypes by projecting an image of subordination and making the community an object for the condescending attitudes of the urban young people who bring the community happiness, Coca-Cola and a Christmas tree, as well as promoting a product whose consumption increases the health problems that have catastrophic costs for families and communities.

It’s very easy for Coca-Cola to declare it is against discrimination against indigenous people and do so in word, but it is actions that generate discrimination. This, paradoxically, is what the soda company is doing through this ad.

To give a clearer idea of the irresponsibility and disregard soda companies have for communities, I recommend the book edited by Dr. Gian Carlo Delgado: Apropiación de agua, medio ambiente y obesidad. Los impactos del negocio de bebidas embotelladas en México [Ownership of water, environment and obesity: The impacts of bottled drinks business in Mexico], published by the UNAM. Download or view the book [in Spanishhere.

*Alejandro Calvillo is director of Consumer Power, a member of Consumers International and of the Advisory Council to PROFECO, the Federal Prosecutor for Consumers.

MV Note: Drinking soft drinks is habitual in 80% of Mexicans and 38% of them admit that they drink soft drinks daily or at least five to six times a week. Mexico is the largest consumer of these drinks in the world: 163 liters [172 quarts] per person per year. Coca Cola is the biggest seller, with 47.7% of market share. Pepsi has 15.1%.




November 11, 2015

On a Hunger Strike, the Displaced Women of San Juan Copala

Filed under: Displacement — Tags: , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 6:51 pm


On a Hunger Strike, the Displaced Women of San Juan Copala




by Debora Cerutti, SubVersiones November 11, 2015

Displaced from San Juan Copala, a Triqui indigenous community in the municipality of San Juan Juxtlahuaca, the women have begun a hunger strike. They are demanding from the government the fulfilment of the promises of return to their territory or their immediate relocation.

In 2007, the struggle for the autonomy of San Juan Copala was disrupted by the intervention of the Union of Social Welfare of the Triqui Region (UBISORT), operated by the PRI, by surrounding the community and finally the expulsion of around 700 people in 2009. Lorena Merino Martinez—representative of the displaced people whose husband (along with a 7 year old boy) was assassinated in the same year by the paramilitary group—explains:

“Among those who were expelled violently it is because the government doesn’t like autonomy, there are political parties that are in with the government. For that same reason the government sent resources to the political parties in order to put an end to the autonomy, in order to be able to take possession of the community because the government finds it more convenient to have political parties and that is why they put an end to the autonomy.”

The members of the community found themselves forced to leave their territory through violence. Their dwellings, according to Lorena, are now occupied by paramilitary members, who are, in some cases, neighbours. Her husband’s murderer, who was freed in 2012, now lives in San Juan Copala. The territory, she says, contains important mineral resources. “For that reason they expelled us and now the government doesn’t see the conditions for us to return to our community.”

Under the demand for justice and the return to the community, the Oaxacan government signed in 2013 an accord for relocation, but it remained only on paper.

“September 13, 2013 we signed an agreement with the government of the State where they committed themselves to protecting the homes of the displaced and they also agreed to relocate us short term in Central Valleys in 90 days. More than two years have already passed. In Oaxaca there are private properties but the government doesn’t consider the price very high and for that reason they haven’t been relocated to this date.”




Since [Nov. 4], members of the Triqui community have been in the corridor of the government palace in the Oaxacan capital demanding the fulfilment of the agreement of 2013, but the response, one more time, was repression and removal:

“Today [Nov. 5] at 3:30 AM we got more than 200 riot police, and they removed us with force from the corridor of the palace, and dragged old women and young sleeping children, throwing us outside and sprayed gas in the faces of our children and aimed the pistols they carry. And they treat us as if we were delinquents. Three of our companions were threatened by the riot police, and a 12-year old boy was chased by the police.”

During the removal, those who objected had their belongings taken.

The situation of the displaced, it is mean, unjust and violent. Many find themselves refugees in the homes of sympathizers or live on the streets. Lorena Merino told us that they used to have coffee and banana farms and had no problems getting permission to sell their products and handicrafts. But the current conditions are difficult and painful. She is worried about the children of the community who today, because of the displacement, neither eat nor study decently.

“The truth is, living on the street is no decent place for our children, being hungry, cold and thirsty is difficult, and for that reason things have not progressed on the part of the state, and for that reason we have chosen, this day, to go on a hunger strike, right now we have been on this hunger strike for six hours, but not one government official has approached us in order to open dialogue regarding our relocation.”

Article originally published in Spanish at SubVersiones. Republished in English under a Creative Commons (BY-NC 4.0 México) license. Translation by Heidi Bruce.



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