dorset chiapas solidarity

May 19, 2016

Chiapas: Post-election Protests in Chenalho Municipality

Filed under: Indigenous, Uncategorized — Tags: , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 6:59 am



Chiapas: Post-election Protests in Chenalho Municipality


chenalhoPeace and Transparency Commission press conference @sie7edechiapas


On May 2, members of the Peace and Transparency Commission, a group of Tsotsil from Chenalho, Chiapas, held a press conference in front of the cathedral in San Cristobal de Las Casas, calling for the resignation of the mayor Rosa Perez Perez. Representatives of the nonconformist group acccused the mayor of Chenalho of “not keeping her campaign promises, not holding council meetings, not involving the municipal union or council members in government decisions and firing trusted workers.” During her campaign, she promised to carry out public works, and give monthly dispensations of 5,000 pesos to all women in the municipality for craft production. It should be noted that this group has had a series of protests against the mayor since the beginning of April.

The opponents took over the town hall, the System of Integral Family Development headquarters (DIF in its Spanish acronym) and the Indigenous Peace and Conciliation Court in Chenalho; they closed roads to the municipal capital and took over the Tuxtla Gutierrez-San Cristobal de Las Casas highway tollbooth to demand her removal. The mayor handed in her resignation on April 13 in the face of these protests. Nevertheless, the deputies of the State Congress did not approve her request, ruling that her resignation was presented against her will. Given that Rosa Perez Perez remains in office, the nonconformists took over the State Congress on April 27 and chained its doors. Tomas Perez, spokesperson for the opposition stated in the press conference that they hope “the Congress accepts the resignation of the mayor this Tuesday 3, or on the contrary, on Thursday 5 some 15,000 indigenous from more than 100 communities will leave Chenalho and come to Tuxtla to present themselves at the doors of the State Congress.”




February 12, 2016

The Shulvó displaced begin an indefinite sit-in demanding justice and return

Filed under: Displacement, Human rights, Indigenous — Tags: , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 3:30 pm



The Shulvó displaced begin an indefinite sit-in demanding justice and return



Sit-in in Cathedral Square (@ Centro de medios libres)


Since February 4, nine Tsotsil indigenous families from the community of Shulvó, Zinacantan, adherents of the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle, have staged a sit-in in Cathedral Square in San Cristobal de Las Casas. Since December 9, 2015, they have been displaced by “PRI paramilitary-style groups”, and they demand their return. On the night of February 5, they initiated a negotiating table at the diocesan seat, under the mediation of Friar Gonzalo Ituarte, with the participation of the Shulvó displaced, the PRI supporters who have been identified as the material authors of the displacement, the mayor of Zinacantan, and a representative of the Chiapas state government. As a result, they are going to look at the possibility of the return of the nine families for February 24. “The municipal and state authorities did not question the mechanism or the date, although violent forced displacement is illegal in the light of international agreements signed by Mexico concerning human rights in general and forced displacement in particular,” the displaced commented.

Two days before they gave a press conference, in which they aired their concerns “in the face of the intense vigilance directed at the sit-in, which is becoming harassment by uniformed and plain-clothes policemen, and also people in jackets and vests that identify them as municipal employees.” After a march in the city, they read a statement in which they announced that they would stage “an indefinite sit-in until the return of the displaced families, the punishment of those responsible and payment of damages. We come to denounce the harassment, intimidation and aggression since November 3, which resulted in the forced displacement on December 9, 2015,” the displaced families recalled.

It is noteworthy that currently there are also other organisations staging sit-ins in Cathedral Square, including the Emiliano Zapata Campesino Organization form the Carranza Region (Organización Campesina Emiliano Zapata Región Carranza – OCEZ RC), who have been demanding a response from the state authorities to a series of agrarian, social and productive projects for a number of decades “that haven’t been met.” Six ex-prisoners and their families, supporters of The Voice of Amate (La Voz del Amate), ended their sit-in, which had been in place since last Thursday, after signing an agreement with the state authorities for damages caused by their “unjust imprisonment”, as well as the facilitation of the release of Alejandro Diaz Santiz and Roberto Paciencia Cruz.




August 16, 2015

“The justice system continues to operate as it did before the Acteal massace,” warn the Civil Society Las Abejas

Filed under: Acteal, Frayba, Indigenous, Paramilitary — Tags: , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 3:25 pm


“The justice system continues to operate as it did before the Acteal massace,” warns the Civil Society Las Abejas


San Cristobal de las Casas. August 12. “The justice system of the bad government, is  working in the same way as it worked both during the events prior to the Acteal massacre, and at the time of the massacre” said authorities of the organization Las Abejas of Acteal in a press conference; they said this because the Special Prosecutor for Indigenous Justice, based in San Cristobal de Las Casas, has failed to investigate those responsible for the murder of their compañero Manuel López Pérez, ambushed on 23rd June last, near the municipal seat of Pantelhó.

For the indigenous from the Highlands of Chiapas, “it is very clear that the uses and customs of the system of justice allow paramilitary aggression with impunity against members of the organization Las Abejas”. Added to this, the Tsotsiles recalled that on12th August 2009, “the Supreme Court of injustice or the Supreme Court for the rich and criminals ordered the mass release of the paramilitary perpetrators of the massacre of Acteal.”

The organisation, which is also a member of the Indigenous National Congress, warned that the family of their slain compañero Manuel López, “are in danger of losing their lives, because the murderers are loose.” Relatives of Manuel are displaced and have been living in a community of Las Abejas of Acteal, since 26 June 2015. They are four people who left their homes and lands and do not know when they can return to their community, “because the bad government does not have the political will to put a stop to the attacks,” they  denounced.

According to investigations made by the Fray Bartolome de las Casas Human Rights Centre (Frayba), the actions of the commander of the Municipal Police of Pantelhó and the Judge of Peace and Reconciliation in this municipality Pedro Girón López, “are complicit with this failure to investigate, giving, as a consequence, protection to the armed group in the region.” The modus operandi of the authorities “puts at risk the family of Manuel and members of Las Abejas and its Board of Directors,” they said.

According to Frayba the justice system in Mexico “is ineffective, complicit and deeply corrupt in the face of the crimes against humanity committed in the country,” and cites as an example “the disappearance of the 43 students of Ayotzinapa, the crimes of Tlatlaya, the murders perpetrated by organized crime and the government of Mexico with the Mexican army in Ostula, Michoacan, the unpunished murders of women, the forcibly displaced populations, the dozens of people extra-judicially executed, and the disappeared who make our land dress in mourning and pain.”



January 25, 2014

Autonomy in Chiapas, the EZLN, and Lekil Kuxlejal

Filed under: Zapatista — Tags: , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 2:01 pm

Autonomy in Chiapas, the EZLN, and Lekil Kuxlejal

By Ángeles Mariscal,                                                                                                                                 6th January, 2014

Habitantes de Chiapas han asumido la defensa de sus derechos a la tierra y al desarrollo. Foto: Ángeles Mariscal/ChiapasPARALELO

People from Chiapas, Zapatistas and non-Zapatistas, have taken on the defence of their rights to their land and development.                                                                             Photo: Ángeles Mariscal/ChiapasPARALELO


“What is autonomy?”

A 10-year-old questions his parents at a meeting between hundreds of people from around Mexico and a group of EZLN (Zapatista) members in preparation for the third cycle of the “Zapatista School for Freedom”.

His parents try to explain the concept to him in terms of political theory.

“Why does it say ‘autonomous medicine’ over there?”

The child points to some products made by Zapatista collectives, leaving his parents silent and reflective. The adjective ‘autonomous’ appears alongside the names of medicines, co-ops, and schools, and is a key word for the Zapatista movement. On the twentieth anniversary of the group’s uprising, it is worth reflecting on what ‘autonomy’ means in the Chiapan communities where it is being fostered and consolidated.

In the face of economic, political and social crises, social movements throughout the country are growing. The ‘Indigenous Reform’ proposed by the federal government, meanwhile, hopes to counteract the influence of the Zapatistas. But the fact that their movement is as strong as ever means that debate about Zapatista autonomy in Chiapas will not be silenced so easily.

So what has been achieved? And what are the challenges? The young anthropologist Jaime Schittler Álvarez discusses Chiapan autonomy in his Masters’ thesis, in which he reflects on his work as part of the Koman Ilel collective (“collective view” in the Tsotsil language) in different Chiapan communities. In his essay, he seeks to “reflect collectively on the Tsotsil and Tseltal cultural concept of ‘Lekil Kuxlejal’, understanding it as a horizon of struggle that people and collectives independently translate into practice in order to end exploitation or domination”.

This piece of work is essential reading for those hoping to understand the practical application of autonomy and the demands made by the Zapatistas and other groups in the collective to have their autonomy respected. Álvarez, reflecting on his own experiences within the social movement, describes the daily construction of autonomy which “seeks to create a just, equal, and democratic society, built from below, from a free people”.

In his introduction, he describes Lekil Kuxlejal as a way of “naming certain practices and methods of understanding, creating, and recreating the world”. The concept is based on “a relationship of respect for others and for the Earth”. Seeing life and the Earth as sacred bodies worthy of respect, it seeks a harmonious connection in which a common good is forged between people and the world they live in. In this way, it conceives an idea of wellbeing and of “what is necessary to live a just and dignified life”. While it represents cultural, political, and social practices, it is also the foundation of a socio-political project that indigenous communities in Chiapas have been pioneering for years.

Álvarez describes how Liberation Theology, born with the “Congress of 74”, led to a rebirth of popular organisation and self-discovery, which saw underground activism grow and lead to the Zapatista uprising of 1994. He goes on to discuss the San Andrés Accords, the failed process of dialogue, and the subsequent response of the Zapatistas and their supporters in “building autonomy” through the construction of ‘Caracoles’ and ‘Juntas de Buen Gobierno’ (autonomous Zapatista regions and their ‘Committees of Good Government’). In addition, organisational structures such as the ‘Bees’ Board of Civil Society in Acteal were also created.

According to Álvarez, autonomy isn’t just sought for its own sake, but as a “tool for the construction of Lekil Kuxlejal”, and the path towards a good life, with respect for nature. The horizon of hope fuels the search for autonomy. It also provides a focus, “a line of practice, an ethical posture, and a way of being in the world, and inspires us to keep working”.

Jaime Schittler Álvarez’s Thesis, Lekil Kuxlejal as a horizon of struggle, a collective reflection on autonomy in Chiapas, can be found at ‎

Translated and adapted by Oso Sabio from an article by Ángeles Mariscal, published in Spanish at on January 6th 2014

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