dorset chiapas solidarity

February 28, 2017

Tila Ejido Denounces Attempt to Kidnap President of Commission of Tila Ejido

Filed under: Autonomy, Uncategorized — Tags: , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 10:39 am



 Tila Ejido Denounces Attempt to Kidnap President of Commission of Tila Ejido


On February 6, Tila Ejido published a communiqué denouncing: “a group of inhabitants of the Cantioc community annex organized by members of the green party and the city council attempted to kidnap the President of the Ejidal Commissariat, coming to his house at dawn this Monday, February 6, after midnight to take him in that community another new attempt to provoke a conflict to strike our ejidal autonomy” (sic).

It was previously reported that on January 26, the machinery of a government project was brought into Cantioc community, which is part of the Tila ejido, and they began to work. Because of that, the authorities began to mobilize and found the “agricultural engineer Carlos Domingo Sanchez Martinez who is in charge of these jobs and who is an inhabitant of Cantioc and leader of the Green Ecologist Party who was in his Nissan pickup accompanied by three trucks full of people who were looking after them.” When the engineer and his companions realized that more trucks were coming from the ejido they began to flee, he didn’t manage to escape but his companions did. The engineer was detained for violating the agreement of the general assembly, so he began to argue and accuse the “ejido commissary that he was taken before the ejidal commissary to say his words in front of the assembly.”

To inform him well, they called a new assembly where they shared the agreements they took on May 15 and July 3, 2016, which say “not to enter more of these programmes and projects in the annexes and neighbourhoods, according to their right to self-determination in constitutional articles 1, 2, 27, articles 21, 22, 23, 31, 32,33 of the agrarian law and as a right of indigenous peoples.” After this assembly the engineer signed the Act and “In agreement that they did not process to make any claim against the commissariat that was what they expressed before the assembly and all the assembly members who were present are witnesses.” This is what the Act says and it also says that, “furthermore, if there is a paramilitary threat with the representatives of the annexes, they will also be immediately responsible for all acts that may happen, as we know these green party ecologist people are those who were hooded in the campaigns” (sic).

But instead of honouring his word in front of the assembly, on Sunday, February 5, at night, they tried to kidnap the ejido commissary. As they failed to do so, on Monday, February 6, the engineer and his group organized a demonstration in Yajalon to denounce the alleged kidnapping and physical and psychological assaults by the ejido authorities and falsely saying in their document: “that the commissariat came with ski masks, firearms, sticks and machetes”, and also saying that one of the detainees is in ill health for which they demand economic support and government action against the ejido authorities.

Tila ejido denounces:

FIRST; That by the will of our maximum authority general assembly, it determined that the entrance of all government personnel and their projects is forbidden, more so in secret, so that they will be presented to the seat of the ejido to determine its sanction.

SECOND; We hold the previously mentioned political actors responsible, C. Edgar Leopoldo as the main operator, their leaders the former president of Tila and now local deputy, Sandra Luz Cruz Espinosa, and her husband Limberg Gregorio Gutierrez and the Government of the State that propels them to violence against the ejido and Tila Ejido ejidatarios. It is their paramilitary and criminal way that they use violence, conflicts and confrontations to control the people and govern it and for that reason they want to end our ejido autonomy.

THIRD; As always they try to spread false accusations against the ejido authorities in the official media that are paid to spread their false versions and justify the repression because they were not attacked nor they were mistreated but they are aggressive and for this reason they were stopped and taken to the seat of the ejido to present them before the Assembly for their nonconformity.

FOURTH; That we will continue to build our ejido autonomy and self-government because the assembly so determines that it is the best way to live more quietly without this bad government that repressed and dispossessed us. WE DEMAND that the different levels of government leave us alone to build IN PEACE our self-determination as a Chol people.



January 23, 2017

Together We Defend Our Mother Earth: Documentary on the Ejido Tila, Chiapas, Mexico

Filed under: Autonomy, Indigenous, La Sexta, Uncategorized — Tags: , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 10:04 am


Together We Defend Our Mother Earth: Documentary on the Ejido Tila, Chiapas, Mexico



 ‘Together We Defend our Mother Earth’,‘Mi Lak Tyeñ Kotyañ Lak Ña’Lum’: Documentary on the Inseparability of Land, Culture, Governance and Sociality

Many indigenous populations in the Southern Mexican State of Chiapas have been at the forefront of the struggle for land and culture, understood by them as inseparable. For centuries they have been subjected to cultural and territorial dispossession – with territorial dispossession almost always leading to cultural dispossession. Federal, state and international governments, corporations and business couch this in a discourse of ‘development’ and ‘progress.’ Human Rights Organizations and the affected populations, in contrast, explain that dispossession has to be understood in the context, and as part, of low-intensity warfare and counterinsurgency, which has intensified in response to the Zapatista Uprising in 1994 and the establishment of the Zapatista Good Government Councils in 2003. One of the bones of contention in these struggles against dispossession is the legal figure of the ejido. The ejido is social property of the ejidatarios, and its affairs are conducted by an assembly and by elected commissioners. It was enshrined in the Mexican Constitution after the Revolution. Free Trade Agreements and policies seek to abolish or undermine this important legal figure.


The indigenous ch’ol community of Tila has been dragged into a decade-long struggle for 130 hectares of their ejido. This land is located in and alongside the small town of Tila, and it comprises agricultural as well as urban land. In the community of Tila live the (indigenous Ch’ol) ejidatarios, and the (mestizx) villagers. The former govern themselves through an assembly; until December 2015, the latter were governed by the municipal government. The legal figure of the ejido protects commonality and communal landownership; the town, in contrast, was governed and legislated according to the laws of private property.

imagesThe 130 hectares in question were unlawfully occupied in the 1960s by the non-Ch’ol municipal government. Years later, the ejidatarios won a legal case against the dispossession of their lands; however, the municipal government offered them a financial compensation, whereas the ejidatarios want the land itself because it is the basis of their social and cultural life. They have taken their case to the Supreme Court of Justice. With the decision pending, the municipal council attempted to destroy the community cohesion of the ejidatarios, and to wear out their insistence on not taking money for their land, through a campaign of everyday harassment, for example by introducing water meters and charging for water even though the springs are located on the communal land.


Together We Defend our Mother Earth’,‘Mi Lak Tyeñ Kotyañ Lak Ña’Lum’

Together We Defend, co-directed and co-produced by the indigenous Ch’ol community of Tila and the independent producer Terra Nostra Films, uses the genre of the documentary as a type of public letter: initially it was meant to be sent to the judges of the Supreme Court. In the documentary the ejidatarixs explain in word and image what makes this land inherently and essentially priceless, and why the legal figure of the ejido, similar to the old English ‘Commons,’ is never only about communal land, but just as much about social and cultural life and about the possibility of self-governance. The documentary was completed before the ejido, which is an adherent of the Zapatista Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle, declared its autonomy on 16th December 2015, as a response to the decades of dispossession and in resistance to a wave of violence and repression.

The camerawork invites a way of looking at the land, landscapes, the people, the communal spaces and practices, without using the camera to capture, or the gaze to take possession. As in other previous Terra Nostra productions, there is no external narrator: the community members speak for themselves, and the viewer/listener is challenged to learn to listen to inflections and speech patterns of the people involved in the struggle for their land. This is how a visual and verbal poetics of resistance emerges as part of an ethical, political, philosophical and practice-inspired approach to living and engaging with each other, social surroundings, built and natural environments – not as a way of ‘making them our own’ or ‘accessing,’ but as an engagement with a plenitude that is inherently and essentially priceless.


The documentary is available here in original version with English subtitles:

‘Together We Defend our Mother Earth’,‘Mi Lak Tyeñ Kotyañ Lak Ña’Lum’


For information from the community itself see




December 29, 2016

What’s a town living in freedom like? The first anniversary of autonomy in Tila

Filed under: Autonomy, Indigenous — Tags: — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 5:38 pm


What’s a town living in freedom like? The first anniversary of autonomy in Tila 




by Alejandro Reyes,

Zapatista Radio Collective

The first hints of the sunrise appear behind the silhouette of the church on the top of the hill, and the semi-darkness of dawn is punctuated by hundreds of tiny lights. Community leaders, accompanied by about 40 people, then come into the room where we sleep. They light candles on the altar and sing songs of gratitude to the Lord of Tila for this year of autonomy and ask for wisdom, judgment, standards to face the difficulties to come. Copal smoke fills the room and the voices of dozens of people speaking Chol recall ejido Tila’s long struggle for its land and freedom.

It is December 16, 2016, and on a day like this, exactly one year ago, the ejido residents, tired of the injustice of the so-called Mexican “justice” system, turned a near century-long fight into reality. Three months earlier, on 16 September 2015, thousands of residents marched from the ejido house to the central plaza in the town of Tila. There they placed a ladder up the facade of the town hall building and several people went up to the balconies. They hung a banner remembering the disappeared people from Ayotzinapa. They demanded the town hall authorities leave the area and an end to police and paramilitary harassment. From the balcony, the ejido Tila authorities gave the shout of Independence. And below, thousands of indignant voices repeated over and over: “If there is no solution, there will be demolition!”


Three months later, on 16 December 2015, the chant became real. The ejido residents, fed up with decades of abuse and the inaction of the Mexican State, decided to expel the people from the town hall themselves. Since the mid-twentieth century, the town hall had illegally positioned themselves in the ejido’s territory, and their expulsion meant the ejido recovered 130 hectares that the municipal government had been trying to take from them. The town hall, which had done so much damage for so long, was destroyed. The big clock on the top of the facade was broken to bits, and so stopped “Kaxlán” (white people or Mexican mestizo) time, a time that had been imposed by Mexican authorities, a time of institutional dispossession and violence. And so began another time, an indigenous Chol time, the time of freedom. Tila’s miracle had come true.

It’s true that in Tila miracles happen, after all thousands of people don’t come here each year in pilgrimage for nothing. But Tila’s miracles don’t fall from the sky, they are made with blood, sweat and tears … and also lots of joy. The miracle of autonomy has been meticulous and tenacious work. After pushing out the town hall, the ejido residents organised themselves according to their practices and customs, and then began carrying out all the necessary activities to administer their 5,405 hectare territory. With contributions from the ejido Tila residents, they bought a truck and organised groups to collect the rubbish. They established a community-watch group, and organised all the neighbourhoods and outlying areas to ensure the community’s security. They developed a system of autonomous justice and began to resolve the numerous cases that under the authority of town hall had remained unpunished. They organised festivals, the ejido assembly became the highest authority, and delinquency, once ignored by official complicity, drastically decreased.

One year after this miracle of autonomy, another miracle took place: on 15 December, the radio station “the Miracle of Tila” began to broadcast “from some place in the ejido Tila”. On the radios at home, and from the village’s public announcement system, the ejido’s story of struggle was heard. Stories about the actions of a handful of opponents who had been doing their best to destroy the community’s autonomy, all so they could reclaim their town hall privileges like access to illicit funds, dirty business, and impunity. Girls and boys, young women and men, old women and men came to give their accounts. Messages via facebook and whatsapp arrived from people excited about the community’s new beginning. Songs of solidarity and greetings from groups that had come for the celebration were also heard.


Celebrations began around 11 in the morning with an address from the ejido commission and other traditional authorities in the central plaza, in front of the demolished town hall. Two delegates from the National Indigenous Congress (NIC) also took part. They had travelled from Campeche and Oaxaca/Veracruz. There they explained again the proposal of the NIC and the EZLN to establish an Indigenous Government Council at a national level whose voice and face will be an indigenous woman running as an independent candidate in the next presidential elections. This proposal resonated in the hearts of the ejido residents because as the NIC delegate explained “Here the earth has already shaken because the indigenous people are the ones who govern”.

The odyssey of the chol people from Tila and their struggle for autonomy over their territory begins in the 1920s, when their grandparents traveled again and again to Tuxtla Gutierrez, then a four or five days journey along footpaths, carrying their pozole and tostadas (fried Mexican tortillas), to request the legalization of their lands as an ejido. These are lands that they had been working as farm labourers for decades for foreign, German landowners who usurped the ancestral lands of the Chol people. This odyssey was told through a theatre piece recounting the tireless effort of the grandparents from 1922 to 1959.

Finally a Presidential Resolution was issued recognising the 5,405 hectares of Ejido Tila. It is impossible to express the importance of this document for the Chol ejido residents of Tila. Land is life, and the document expresses the decades of struggle, the pain, the suffering, the abuses, but also the perseverance, the tenacious effort they made to obtain official recognition of what rightly belongs to them.


But in the mid-twentieth century the municipal government transformed from an indigenous Chol town council, which ruled using traditional practices and customs, to a regime of political parties. The Town Hall has ever since been trying to strip the ejido residents of 130 hectares where the town of Tila is located. In addition to initiating the collection of land taxes and appropriating goods and services that the ejido assembly had previously administered, the town hall also served as a coordinating body for paramilitary groups, especially the extremely violent “Peace and Justice”, as part of the counterinsurgency war after the 1994 Zapatista uprising.

“Things are not as they should be,” explain two women in front of a miniature model of the destroyed town hall building. “Because when the local government functions, there is justice. And there was no justice here, I personally experienced this situation of injustice. If we don’t have money, they will not fix your problem. So for me, I like that this building was torn down, it didn’t serve us at all. We did what we did to this building because it represented total rubbish, and no one working there had a clear conscience”.

Right after that, some young people came to set fire to the model town hall building. “This is our message that those who want to bring the town hall authorities back to ejido Tila. If they come back, the same thing will happen again” said the ejido residents. Then as the model burned, a fire cracker hidden in the model exploded.


During the time when the ejido was governed by town hall, local customs were not respected. Town hall, with a marketing mentality, dressed up the local Chol traditions as some kind of folklore and introduced festivals that had nothing to do with the local culture. In today’s celebration, the ejido residents reclaim their traditions with a carnival spectacle where the “negrito” and “marucha” do battle with the little bulls and tigers. The performance caused great laughter amongst the audience, who recognised the in the story their own battle in defense of their land and territory.

There were also many happy moments of dancing with people of all ages – girls and boys, and elders, both women and men.  A mariachi band played some songs including a particularly joyous interpretation of the Zapatista anthem. A child with an extraordinary voice sang “The Blue Backpack”, and space was made for the ejido residents to share their thoughts on the celebration. A judge from the ejido’s justice system, an important step in asserting autonomy and justice, presented a very detailed report on crime and punishment during this first year of self-government.

Finally the day finished with a ceremony handing over the baton of government to the autonomous authorities. This ceremony, full of symbolism and great importance, was for the people who throughout this year have become a living example for Mexico and many parts of the world. They have demonstrated that the people can govern themselves, that it is possible to plot other roads with justice and dignity in the midst of a storm.

And of course the dance party, which lasted until late at night, a collective celebration so deserved by a community who never give up fighting.

Translated by the UK Zapatista Translation Service



December 15, 2016

Statement from the Tila Ejidatarios

Filed under: Autonomy, Indigenous — Tags: , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 2:17 pm


Statement from the Tila Ejidatarios


tilaPress Conference in San Cristobal de las Casas Photo @Sipaz

In a public complaint issued on November 24, the Tila ejidatarios, adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle, announced the threats and intimidation that they continue to suffer. They especially noted the intimidation suffered by an ejidatario on November 22 and the threats received by the parish priest of Tila, Heriberto Cruz Vera, despite the fact that “he has nothing to do with the struggle of the ejido.” It denounces a “minority group of approx. 150 people (…) throwing stones intimidating the passers-by and a string of insults against the ejidatarios.” In their statement, the ejidatarios state their nonviolent position by clarifying that they are opting for “peace and tranquillity.”

They conclude their statement warning “non-governmental social organizations to be aware of what will happen in Tila ejido” and blaming “the government of the state of Chiapas, the state congress, the public registry of property and municipal council of being responsible for deceiving people for an alleged legal fund violating Article 74 of the agrarian legislation in trying to modify the definitive plan of the ejido being unconstitutional.”


Posted by Dorset Chiapas Solidarity



October 13, 2016

Tila, Chiapas: Attempted murder of human rights defender and adherent to the Sixth denounced.

Filed under: Indigenous, La Sexta — Tags: , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 4:01 pm


Tila, Chiapas: Attempted murder of human rights defender and adherent to the Sixth denounced.











Comrades, of all genders.

United peoples for the defence of electric energy (PUDEE). Adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle. From the northern-jungle region, to which the municipalities of Tila, Sabanilla, Tumbalá and Salto de Agua belong. We denounce all three levels of the bad government: Enrique Peña Nieto, President of the Republic; Manuel Velasco Coello, Governor of the State of Chiapas; and Edgar Leopoldo Guttiérez Gómez, Municipal President of Tila, Chiapas.

28th of August, 2016. Events occurred constituting the attempted homicide of our comrade Manuel Martínez Pérez, of the Masoja Shucja community, municipality of Tila, Chiapas. At 11.30pm, as he slept in his home, a person and suspect, whose name we cannot presently reveal, entered through the undergrowth of his yard, opened the gate, and approached the window of the house with a shotgun, shooting towards the interior of the room where our comrade slept with his family. Leaving bullet-holes in the wall, with 11 munitions left scattered on the ground. Fortunately, nobody was wounded by a bullet. There was no electricity that day, as such it was impossible to identify the man responsible with certainty, there were just some traces indicating where the material author of this attempted homicide came from.

On two separate occasions, shots have been heard near the residence, but it was never thought that they were meant to intimidate and threaten him. Equally, when our comrade was participating in the CompArte that took place recently in Cideci, San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, his familiy were at home alone, when, at midnight, shots were heard close by the residence once again. Similarly, the authorities who intend to denounce these events are being threatened. We speak out against this act and regret the events that have taken place threatening our comrades, and what might happen in the future.

What we know so far is that the events were motivated by the fact that our comrade carries out celebrations in memory of those who fell in the social conflicts of 1997. He also has meetings with the families of victims of the conflict in the lowlands of Tila. We will not let them remain unpunished for this regrettable incident. Our comrade Manuel Martínez Pérez is a community human rights defender, adherent to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle, participant in different national meetings such as EZLN’s CompArte, the National Indigenous Congress, the Dignified Rage festival, the permanent Tribunal of the Originary Peoples, seminars, forums and other activities.

Brothers and sisters, we ask that you remain alert to what might happen to our comrade now. Because this is not an isolated incident; similar incidents are taking place in various communities, including organised crime, shooting of firearms, arms and drug trafficking, and the prostitution and trafficking of migrants. The municipal, state and federal police forces are turning a blind eye to this, for which we hold responsible all three levels of the Bad Governent and the political parties that have divided and harmed our orginary Ch’ol peoples. Thank you brothers and sisters.

Jolnopa Guadalupe, Tila, Chiapas, 19th of September, 2016.



Translated by Ruby Zajac for the UK Zapatista Translation Service 

Posted by Dorset Chiapas Solidarity



September 13, 2016

Ejido Tila, Chiapas, denounces violent murder of two young men in ejido territory

Filed under: Autonomy, Indigenous, Uncategorized — Tags: — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 4:06 pm



Ejido Tila, Chiapas, denounces violent murder of two young men in ejido territory





Ejido Tila, Chiapas, Mexico, 6 September 2016
To public opinion

To the National Indigenous Congress (CNI)

To national and international adherents to the sixth

To the network against repression and for solidarity

To national and international mass media

To organisations struggling for justice and dignity

To non-governmental defenders of human rights

To the struggle of Mexico and the World.

Sisters and brothers of different geographies who struggle for justice and dignity, we express our great appreciation on behalf of the ejidatarios and ejidatarias of Ejido Tila, because you have shown solidarity with us; because your words mean a lot to us and empower us to continue fighting without giving in.

Unfortunately, it is sad to have to tell you that on the afternoon of Saturday, 27 August 2016 it appears that two siblings who answered to the names of Carmita Lopez Pérez aged 19 and Rafael Lopez Perez aged 20 were killed. They were from the community of Corta Flor in Ejido Tiontiepa Benito Juarez but their grandparents are originally from the Ejido Tila, Chiapas state. They were both killed with machetes and the young woman was raped. Therefore we condemn this lamentable fact.

Members of the ejido Tila rushed to the scene at the request of the relatives and because the crime took place within our ejidal territory ruled by self-government they carried out the removal of the bodies with the assistance of the Ejido judge and ejidatarios, completing all the necessary records because the relatives of the deceased stated of their own free will that they did not want the intervention of other authorities because they never investigate anything and everything remains unpunished, especially if you do not have money, because in the courts justice is bought and sold. So they asked the autonomous Ejido to do their work. We should point out that the crime occurred at the height of Barrio Chijtieja and the path that leads to the Corta Flor community about three (3) kilometres away. This made it impossible for the ejido guard to know what was happening or give any assistance.

The ejido is investigating to find out who is responsible and there are already some people who have been identified and information about their background. For now we know that there is a group of gang members who have been using drugs that has been prevalent before the authorization when was the town hall. There was also violence taking place and killings by the local police or even the mayor, all with total impunity. We have denounced this for many years, pointing out that during the time of the municipal council there was an increase in gang members, drug use, drug dealing and alcoholism. All these problems were left by the town hall and the Ejido now have to clean all the mess that they left.

So an extraordinary assembly was held on 31 August, convened urgently to discuss issues on drug addiction and alcoholism, which have no place in our autonomous Ejido. The same assembly has determined to resolve and eradicate the growing of drugs, because our grandparents requested the lands to cultivate crops of basic necessity for everyday life, and not to plant drugs which poison young people and turn our children into gangsters, robbers, or even murderers. The promoters of the planting and sale of drugs are those people who were hired to wear hoods to maintain power during the electoral campaign of the current mayor c. Prof. Edgar Leopoldo Gomez Gutierrez and his followers.

We publicly pointed out a small group of troublemakers who want to destabilise and blame our self-government ejido for violence that was sown by the bad government of which they were part: the president c. Arturo Sanchez Sanchez and his son c. francisco Arturo Martinez Sanchez and the so-called turkeys, Dona Mercedes Bonifaz, Dr. Adelaida Martinez Parcero and her brother Rodrigo. They spend their time deceitfully calling for the intervention of the security forces and for the renewed government invasion of our territory. They are a tiny group of people who want to impose their way of life on the Ejido Tila and they have made their living from government, plundering and exploiting our people, and they are racists who are responsible for misinformation and criticise our autonomous ejido autonomy. But in spite of this we will carry on because nobody can stop us; many have opened their eyes and only a few are still being manipulated.

We note that it is these same people who are creating a conflict between the parents in the high school of Chiapas number 14, always relying on violence in coordination with operators of the Green Party. We condemn these acts that are happening at the school because there could be outbreaks of violence which they then try to blame on the Ejido. The school was peacefully closed by members of the CNTE Section 7 Chiapas and parents of that campus who are fighting against the education reform, which is one of many reforms the government has been implementing, putting at risk the rights of all Mexicans, and affecting above all our indigenous cultures, which for the rich are just rubbish.

Our autonomy carries on without discrimination; however, individuals or small groups in opposition are moving away. We report that the c. Vicente Ramirez Jimenez took his own decision to bury elsewhere his wife who died on September 4, because he declared himself to be against the ejidatarios and ejidatarias as a result of being manipulated by people dedicated to selling Ejido lands as if they were commodities.

Our people remain on alert because the threats are always present from people who want to destroy our autonomous Ejido. We will continue to keep you informed and at the same time we call on you to be alert and keep your eyes on the people who suffer harassment in their communities.




EJIDAL COUNCIL                                                                    COMMITTEE OF VIGILANCE







Translated by the UK Zapatista Translation Service for Dorset Chiapas Solidarity


August 7, 2016

National Indigenous Congress Strongly Condemns the Harassment that the Chol Community of Ejido Tila in Chiapas is Suffering

Filed under: CNI, Indigenous, Repression, Uncategorized — Tags: , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 2:14 pm



National Indigenous Congress Strongly Condemns the Harassment that the Chol Community of Ejido Tila in Chiapas is Suffering





To the peoples of the world

To the national and international sixth

To the free media


The people, nations, neighbourhoods and tribes that make up the National Indigenous Congress strongly condemn the harassment that the Chol community of the Ejido Tila in the state of Chiapas is suffering. We are speaking specifically of the provocation that occurred through the orchestrated operation between military and police forces around 6:20 pm on August 2, 2016. The objective was to intimidate the compañerxs who were located near the ruins of the facilities that had been illegally built by the City Hall.

With three military vehicles and accompanied by political parties and members of the City Council, the bad government sought to produce fear in the dignified pueblo of Tila, which continues constructing its autonomy from free determination and from below, where the people have regenerated their self-government through commitment to the defence of their land.

We warn that the party members and the City Council have encouraged the reformation and strengthening of the paramilitary group Paz y Justicia, which, accompanied by the military invasions in recent days, highlights the counterinsurgency war that persists in the zone against the original peoples of Chiapas who decide to organize and not permit more displacement by the bad government.

We hold all three levels of government responsible for whatever aggression that our hermanxs of Tila suffer, whose autonomy and territory are fully supported in agrarian law and in their ancestral rights as an Indigenous community.

To the Chol people of Tila, we say that you are not alone, that the Indigenous National Congress knows that your struggle is important and that in every moment we are with you.

For the Integral Reconstitution of Our Peoples

Never More a Mexico Without Us

August 2016

Indigenous National Congress


From a translation by Palabras Rebeldes

Posted by Dorset Chiapas Solidarity on 07/08/2016



Communiqué from the Ejido Tila, Chiapas, Mexico: August 3, 2016

Filed under: Autonomy, Human rights, Indigenous, Repression, Uncategorized — Tags: — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 1:52 pm



Communiqué from the Ejido Tila, Chiapas, Mexico: August 3, 2016

Ejido Tila denounces entry of marines into their pueblo and call for maximum alert




Public denouncement

Ejido Tila, Chiapas, Mexico: August 3, 2016

To the Indigenous National Congress

To the national and international adherents to the Sexta

To the Network Against Repression and for Solidarity

To the Councils of Good Government

To the free media

To the national and international mainstream media

To the organizations that struggle for justice and dignity

To the honest non-governmental human rights defenders

To the struggle of Mexico and the world


Receive a strong embrace and greetings from the compañerxs of Ejido Tila, Chiapas, Mexico, who are daily constructing our ejidal autonomy and self-government as a way to rebuild what those from above have kept on the edge of a precipice, displacing us from our mother earth, doing whatever they please with us.

We publicly denounce the intrusion of the marines into the Ejido Tila, Chiapas, Mexico at 6:20 pm on 2nd August, 2016, in this way violating the constitution, the agrarian law, and international Indigenous rights. These members of the military arrived in the centre of the community of Ejido Tila to photograph the ruins of the city hall which was destroyed in pieces, and they were taking notes and photos terrorizing our Indigenous compañerxs in our own lands, aboard three military vehicles. However, they fled when the people began to become aware of the situation and to alert others and began to gather, escaping to the town of Limar. Two municipal police vehicles were seen waiting on the outskirts of the town coordinating this aggression in our community.

We energetically reject this act of provocation and we will not play their games. But we do not want them to continue provoking us because we only want to live in peace, in spite of the people who sympathize with the municipal president while he wages violence, constantly intimidating us in our Ejido Tila, where the local government was expelled because its rule was totally illegal. All of this has been promoted by a small group of pro-government people of the Ejido, dissatisfied with the ejidal autonomy. Under false pretences they are promoting the entry of the army and the judicial sector and they are organizing in the communities an attack on the ejido. We say it clearly, that this is a small group and that if they continue acting as such, they will be expelled from the town, because we have had a lot of patience, but we will not permit them to continue sowing their shit in our community.

It should be noted that in article 1 and 2 of the constitution our right to self-determination and self-government is to be respected. Along with article 39 where the general will of the people is said to be legitimate. Because this was the only manner in which we could recuperate what is ours, our mother earth that the authorities arrive to displace without respect to our ejido. They discriminate against us saying that we are stupid, and we do not want progress when our territory has served to enrich them and this mentality has been instilled in our political leaders to discriminate against us in our own land. No longer though, never again a Tila without us.

In the Ejido Tila they have to do nothing because we are now governing ourselves, without the necessity of a corrupt governmental system. These lands that we occupy belong to us ancestrally and because of this we defend them whatever the cost may be, because it is this heritage that feeds us and gives sustenance to our families. In a general agreement, we do not accept the projects that have tried to divide the people, we do not want their development nor accept the political parties. We have thus sent them a letter of explanation about our autonomy to all the governmental officials who have been put in the ejidal house and hidden secretly in our communities.

We send a maximum alert to all the honest organizations who struggle for a dignified and truth justice and ask that you do not keep your solidarity pending; we are already living in critical times and as such, we will block the entrances to the town again.


Land and Liberty

Ejidal Organs of Representation

Never Again a Mexico Without Us

Long Live the People and Their Autonomy

Long Live the Comparte Festival for Humanity


From a translation by Palabras Rebeldes

Posted by Dorset Chiapas Solidarity on 07/08/2016



June 11, 2016

Chiapas: Police wound an ejidatario of Tila for “expelling the town council.”

Filed under: Autonomy, Indigenous, Uncategorized — Tags: — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 3:09 pm



Chiapas: Police wound an ejidatario of Tila for “expelling the town council.”




Ejido Tila Chiapas. June 6th. Brief report from our ejidal autonomy and self-government.

From outside [the ejido,] the expelled town council is still looking to finish us off and return to bad government. This Saturday a member of the municipal police cut an ejidatario with a razor in another community, saying to him while he was attacking that he was one of the damned ejidatarios who expelled the town council.

Another issue is that they cut the supplies of gasoline to the ambulance in the hospital at Tila, in order to mess up the services, so now as an ejido we put in the gasoline and here we are supporting a brother from another community, who requested support from our authorities to transport his dead relative.

Also the threats continue and the town council gave money to the caciques to pay thugs to kill our authorities and destroy our self-government. But here we continue resisting and slowly building our autonomy and the self-government of the ejido.

Land and Freedom.



Chiapas: Policía hiere a ejidatario de Tila por “expulsar al ayuntamiento”.



April 29, 2016

The journey’s only just begun: The ejido Tila

Filed under: Autonomy, Indigenous — Tags: , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 7:30 am



The journey’s only just begun: The ejido Tila




By Ratarrey

It’s been five months since the ejido Tila (area of common land) gave their local government the boot and declared ejidal autonomy. Five months of self-determination, of organised community restructuring, of thinking about how to create a government where the people are in charge, of making collective decisions about the direction the community is going in. Nearly half a year on the path to autonomy. “Autonomy is a lifelong process. The fight never ends. And the journey’s only just begun”, said a compañero ejidatario (common land shareholder).

Three compañeros ejidatarios tell us about the progress they have made, the accomplishments and the obstacles. When the community realised they couldn’t keep waiting for the local government coup and the police and paramilitary forces that would accompany it, the idea for a new kind of self-governance and territorial take-over began to take shape. The assembly’s first decision was to name security commissioners and coordinate surveillance of the entrances into the town. It’s a surveillance rota in which women and young people also participate; every citizen takes their turn at some point. The community is looking out for itself: “On the 16th of January there was a dance and we commissioned 50 people to act as security, in the end there were 150 of us. People were surprised that the dance was so safe. Before, when the local government was here, anything from mobile phones to children would be stolen, and people were scared. But this time, nothing happened.”

Another decision taken by the assembly, suggested in a proposal put forward by the compañeras, was to close the cantinas and stop the consumption of drugs in the community. “Before, when the [municipal] police were here, they were the ones who sold [drugs] and after a year here they’d already have their brand new car.” Today, if the security commission of the ejido finds anyone taking drugs, they ask them where and who they bought them from, in order to get to the person responsible.




Like so many other decisions taking by the assembly, this way of resolving internal problems comes from one of the community’s fundamental beliefs: that they must educate young people to defend their territory, to be alert and to be focused. For now, state schools and their curricula are respected; the community understands that community training and territorial defence can be learned collectively: on guard duty, doing community work, around the kitchen table. Young people also have an obligation to participate in community work. The ch’ol language and organised defence of the land can be learned and shared outside the school walls, in daily community life.

To administer justice, the assembly designated an ejidal judge (judge of the common lands). Punishment consists not of fines and prison sentences but of community work. Instead of an irrefutable and corrupt legal system, decisions are made according to customs and experience, case by case. “If a man hits his wife, he’ll be sent to work as a cleaner or carry wood; others are sent to clean drains. If somebody steals, he has to repay what he took. The punishment is given according to the crime. For example, drunks are shut away for a night, but in the morning their personal possessions are returned to them. Respect underlies everything. Not like when the local government was here, who would take away their things and even charge them a fine.”

The assembly also created designated cleaning and water committees. Apart from taking care of administrating rubbish collection and looking after the drains and pipes, these committees are responsible for keeping an eye on how rubbish is being dealt with: making sure people don’t produce too much waste and that they don’t leave it outside. Self-governance also means looking after the streets, being aware that space is shared and must be looked after by everyone.




The different commissions and committees alternate, the men and women of the ejido describe themselves as ‘multi-use’. Sometimes someone is a policeman and then he collects rubbish, or sometimes it’s his turn to go and collect wood for cooking. Each family in the community contributed fifty or a hundred pesos towards the purchase of a three-ton truck, for use by the collective workforce.

And the building where the town hall used to be? The assembly gave permission for all the street-sellers who had stalls around the main square to set themselves up in it. “The local government actually wanted to expropriate the ejido casino to turn it into a shopping mall, and, well, we decided that the town hall would become a place where people could sell their products.”

There was an example of the new collective organising last March. Every year, hundreds of people make a pilgrimage to the alter of the Black Christ (Cristo Negro) in Tila. This year, members of the Partido Verde ran a smear campaign about the state of the town. “They said there were fights, that there was no water, no electricity, that it was dirty.” Yet everyone duly came, from Tabasco and all over the northern part of Chiapas. The visitors were surprised to see a Tila that was so safe and so clean; a Tila, furthermore, were there was no police intimidation or corruption, as in previous years. “We wanted to give people a good impression of Tila, so they know that life is better for us in autonomy.” Tila showed the visitors that without the government, life is better.

The gradual building of ejidal autonomy has been achieved, furthermore, in the midst of a constant climate of threats and harassment: on the 8th of February last year, the state government of Chiapas gave orders for the arrest of twenty ejidatarios on the charge of riots and breach of the peace. The assembly decided to increase vigilance across the ejido to make sure, at all cost, that no compañero was taken prisoner. This involved implementing a radio communications system between the different look-out points and installing speakers in different parts of the town to keep the whole community informed.




“Loud speakers are our greatest weapon, not the weapons the paramilitaries have”, says one ejidatario. “And, well, they also say we have sticks with nails in. That’s true too. But that’s just to put punctures in the wheels of any cars used to try to abduct a compañero.” They’ve also dug trenches at the entrances into the town so that military and federal vehicles can’t get out – their tyres withstand nails without puncturing. The guards are on watch all night and people know that we have to be on constant alert, because our enemies don’t sleep either. “As the saying goes, you’ve got to be more of a tiger than the tiger (hay que ser más tigre que el tigre)”, says another ejidatario.

Thus the assembly is vigilant. As one compañero ejidatario says, “the storm is coming”. The paramilitarisation of the area has increased because of a uranium mining project which, rumour has it, is already in construction. The seam is 25km from the town, in the ejido of Tumbalá, inside the official limits of the municipality of Tila. This mine does not appear on maps available to the public because uranium mines come under the remit of ‘National Security’. The mine is in the so-called highlands of Tila, which seriously worries the ejidatarios: it’s highly probable that the land and water will be contaminated, threatening their health and their way of life. Faced with this prospect, the assembly have started talking about what to do and how to respond to it. The compañeros recognise that they’re at the start of a long journey: health, education and an increased involvement of women are some of the key areas to work on. Even so, the ejidatario men and women know that the path to autonomy is long and must be taken step by step. That the struggle never ends.


Translated by Ruby Zajac for the UK Zapatista Translation Service



April 25, 2016

Ejido Tila Chiapas denounces attempt of attack and solidarity with Xochicuautla and Ostula

Filed under: Indigenous, Paramilitary, Repression — Tags: — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 2:40 pm



Ejido Tila Chiapas denounces attempt of attack and solidarity with Xochicuautla and Ostula


new MarchaContras




Public denouncement

Ejido Tila, Chiapas, Mexico 14 April 2016

To the general public,

To national and international adherents of the Sixth,

To the mass media nationally and internationally,

To non-governmental organisations fighting for justice and dignity,

To the Network against Repression and for Solidarity,

To non-governmental human rights defenders,

To the National Indigenous Congress (CNI),

To resistance in Mexico and worldwide,


A cordial greeting to you from the comrades of Ejido Tila, Chiapas, Mexico. We want to tell you we remain as firm as ever in our resistance against the Bad Government’s efforts of dispossession.

We publicly denounce the cowardly and treasonous behaviour committed against our comrades, the Ñatho indigenous community of San Fransisco Xochicuatla, on Monday 11 April 2016. They resist the construction of a motorway between Toluca and Naucalpan and despite the fact they won an injunction against the expropriation of their lands, their peace camp was destroyed and their dignified resistance assaulted. We condemn this aggression against our comrades and now clearly see that the Bad Government’s laws only serve to dispossess and repress people. On 18 February 2016 a protection order, number 1123/2015 and 771/2015, was granted to our indigenous brothers and sisters of the community San Francisco Xochicuautla and most of the authorities notified. The marauding behaviour of the Bad Government and businesses violates this injunction.

We also condemn the 10 April 2016 assault on our comrades in the community of Santa Maria Ostula, in the vicinity of San Juan de Alima, Michoacan. One community member, Francisco Grajeda was murdered and another, Abraham Giron, was injured. This cowardly attack clearly shows that the Mexican Government’s laws only serve the powerful.

We publicly denounce Arturo Sanchez Sanchez, brother of Samuel Sanchez Sanchez, the ‘Paz y Justicia’ paramilitary leader currently incarcerated in Amate Prison. The family is made up of murderers. Arturo Sanchez Sanchez’s son, the teacher Francisco Arturo Sanchez Martinez is another one of these agitators seeking to disrupt the peace of Ejido Tila. The disruptions go back to when the grandparents, from Jolsibaquil, burned Doctora Adelaida Martinez Parcero and Evaristo Gutierrez Martinez goods in 1980 and five orders of apprehension were made, but today remains a community leader. Domingo Gutierrez Ramirez, Mariano Gutierrez Lopez, Dizque Profesor Caralampio Lopez Sanchez, Juan Lopez Lopez, Martin Decelis Guillen, Delmar Avenamar Hernandez Trujillo, brother of ‘Paz y Justicia’ paramilitary member Raymundo HernandezTtrujillo, teacher Jose Ramirez Jimenez,  from  El Limar and the teacher Florentina Jimenez Vazquez, and Mercedes Bonifaz Gutierrez, whose grandparents are from Amatan, Chiapas. All of these people mentioned here are the new paramilitaries who with high caliber weapons blocked access to Ejido Tila, Chiapas during the contentious elections of 19 July 2015, and who up until today disrupt the peace, and want to continue doing so.

We want it known that for the security of the inhabitants of Ejido Tila, and as agreed by the ejido general assembly, two entrances were blocked, and two were left open for access. This was owing to the terrible conditions the local government allowed – a growing number of ‘cantinas’, bars, and shops selling wine and spirits which was leading our young people to drink, join gangs, and become addicted to drugs.  But these agitators are bothered by this same government project and they arrived to unblock access to the ejido. The truck drivers, people with money from Tila and Yajalon, Chiapas came on 13 April 2016, but they have no reason to be here as no one is being bothered. It is the truck drivers as well as these agitators who are disturbing the peace of the ejido, for example shooting high calibre weapons into the air at 17.00 (5 o’clock in the afternoon). They are also the same ones who organised a march on 10 April, all dressed in white and saying we are people of peace but in reality they are the ones destabilising the community. They said 900 people participated in the march, but in reality it was less than 200.

In this atmosphere of anomalies and provocation by these people, we will continue to govern using our traditions and customs and the same community members are witness that no one is bothering these people. In fact it is those provoking us who encourage other community members to join their movement, threatening them otherwise to burn their houses. We also want to unveil the truth to the lies Doctor Adelaida Martinez Parcero is making about us blocking roads and charging tolls for passage. This is totally false, the ejido residents do not do this, but these people use lies even to trick the Supreme Court of the Nation, which is what they are accusing us of now. This indicates these people are prepared only to trample on and exploit our indigenous brothers and sisters.

We are immensely grateful to the townspeople and neighbours who have supported us and our struggle with food and supplies, and who did not join the troublemakers’ march on 10 April. They know that Ejido Tila is acting within it legal framework.

We alert the diverse social and non-governmental organisations who fight for justice and in defense of Mother Earth and land rights that they keep watch on what might happen to Ejido Tila. The situation is very tense. The above mentioned people have hired people with weapons to murder and upset the peace, and we put the responsibility on them about whatever might happen here. We know these people are capable of murder. Further it should be noted that strategy of provocation has been organised by the mayor Edgar Leopoldo Gomez Gutierrez who meets in the party hall ‘Delyben’ with Moises Alberto Cornelio Trujillo, who is the current municipal secretary.


Yours sincerely,

The Representative Body of the Ejido

Never again a Mexico without us




February 26, 2016

Chiapas: Organizations warn of possible repression in Tila ejido

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



Chiapas: Organizations warn of possible repression in Tila ejido


tila (1)

Photo @ SIPAZ

On February 22, dozens of human rights and peace organizations, among them International Service for Peace, SIPAZ, sent a letter to the Chiapas and federal authorities in which they warned of possible repression of the Chol ejidatarios of Tila, who declared their autonomy last year in defence of their territory. Seven years ago, the ejidatarios won a protection order for the restitution of 130 hectares of their territory that were illegally taken by the municipal authorities for the establishment of an urban zone. With the refusal of those responsible to return the land, the ejido lodged a Non-compliance of Sentence case 1302/2010 with the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation, which has been unresolved for five years.


“We know that in the commemoration of the 7th anniversary of the concession of protection, inhabitants of the ejido held a demonstration on December 16, 2015, which ended in front of the Town Hall, turning into a confrontation between the authorities and the demonstrators. This act culminated in a Declaration of Autonomy and Self-determination”, the organizations stated. The signatory organizations recognized the “legitimate” process of defence of territory that the ejido of Tila has exercised for more than 50 years. The Home for Migrants in Saltillo, the United Nations Professor of Human Rights of UNAM, The Montaña Tlachinollan Centre for Human Rights and the Friar Francis of Vitoria Centre for Human Rights, among other signatories, expressed their concern over the possibility that there may be a repressive reaction against the Choles by the federal, state and local authorities.



January 25, 2016

Xochicuautla community condemns highway project and expresses its solidarity with the indigenous peoples of Chiapas who face eviction

Filed under: Frayba, Indigenous, Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 1:47 pm



Xochicuautla community condemns highway project and expresses its solidarity with the indigenous peoples of Chiapas who face eviction



@Resistencia indígena otomí (Miguel Ángel Xenón)


On 12th January, 2016, at a press conference at the offices of the Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Centre for Human Rights (CDHFBC, better known as Frayba), authorities of the Otomí-Ňätho indigenous community of San Francisco Xochicuautla, located in Mexico State, and members of the Indigenous Peoples’ Front in Defence of Mother Earth condemned the “illegal imposition of the Toluca-Naucalpan highway project by Enrique Peña Nieto and the Higga Group.” 

They stated that the project would destroy 3,900,000 square meters of Bosque Sagrado. Xochicuautla community, adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation and part of the National Indigenous Congress, also condemned the constant aggression suffered by the community “from the State: political prisoners, persecution, attacks, death threats, military encircling of the community and the continuation of works in spite of the protection orders that oblige the company to stop.”

They also expressed their solidarity with various struggles in defence of land and territory in Chiapas. They condemned “the murders of indigenous Tsotsils and Tseltals in Bachajon”, in Chilon municipality, “with the objective of imposing a tourist complex” at Agua Azul waterfalls. Moreover, they demanded the immediate release of Santiago Moreno Pérez, Emilio Jiménez Gómez y Esteban Gómez Jiménez from San Sebastián Bachajón, “political prisoners” and adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle. They recalled that San Isidro Los Laureles community, in Venustiano Carranza municipality, that decided to reclaim some 165 hectares of their land “as is their right, in accordance with that stipulated” under Convention 169 on Indigenous and Tribal Peoples in Independent Countries of the International Labour Organization.

They greeted Las Abejas de Acteal,  who were recently victims of an ambush against three of its members in San Joaquin community, Pantelhó municipality, on December 29, 2015, and the attack resulted in the murder of Manuel López Pérez. “The thirst for justice of our people is a channel that waters and keeps our hearts moist”, they addedFinally, they acknowledged “the efforts for autonomy” of “our sisters and brothers in Tila”, who in their search for freedom had decided on the autonomy of their ejido and “their right to govern themselves.”

They called on “indigenous and campesino communities, students, teachers, feminist organizations, and in general, the collectives of Mexico and the world to declare themselves against the ecocide in San Francisco Xochicuautla.



January 15, 2016

Ejido Tila denounces “paramilitary cell and government lies”

Filed under: Autonomy, Indigenous, Paramilitary — Tags: , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 12:23 pm



Ejido Tila denounces “paramilitary cell and government lies”



@La Otra Ejido Tila


In a public statement on January 5, 2016, the Tila ejido, adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle, reported the names and surnames of those who form “a small cell of paramilitary groups who have been organizing inside” their ejido. They also claimed that, “the political landscape is full of lies” on the part of the “current mayor of Tila, Chiapas Prof. Edgar Leopoldo Gómez Gutiérrez,” and that “on a number of occasions the removal of the town council had been requested and this request had not been heeded.” As a result, on December 16, 2015, they noted that, “the general assembly that makes the agreements has tired of so many problems that the town hall brings us, and decision making was being done by the assembly, which was working peacefully, formed by thousands of ejidatarios (communal landholders). The ejidatarios also publically denounced “Oscar Sánchez Alpuche, government undersecretary […] as being one of those responsible for reorganizing and regrouping the paramilitary groups to attack the social organizations that struggle in defence of land and territory […] jailing and disappearing as a strategy to subdue social campaigners.”

In spite of the difficulties within their ejido, they assured that they will continue to demand respect and we will not tire, because here is an ejido community and head of the non-municipal Ch’ol people of Tila, it [the town hall] does not certify its legal possession so to find a solution it must respect our rights because we have all our documentation. Our highest authority, which is the general assembly of the ejidatarios as a people, expelled the town hall council and it was not the decision of the Commissioner for Communal Lands as the bad government is saying, let that be clear.” They asked that, “the various non-government organizations and defenders of human rights be alert to what is happening in the Tila ejido.”



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