Category Archives: Chiapas

Photo essay: zapatistas show dignified rage and demand justice and an end to violence targeting their communities

By Tim Russo, June 3, 2014. Source: Upside Down World

Photo Tim Russo

Photo by: Tim Russo

Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos rides horseback in front of the Zapatista support base members in La Realidad during an homage to fallen compañero – Galeano – killed in a paramilitary attack against Zapatista members in La Realidad on May 2, 2014.  Thousands gathered in La Realidad to show there digna rabia, dignified rage, demand justice and an end to the on-going violence directed towards Zapatista indigenous communities in Chiapas. The May 2nd attack was the first such attack directly in a Zapatista Caracol – Cultural Center of Resistance and Autonomous Governance. SupMarcos made his final speech as spokesperson for the EZLN and announced that he was being relieved of duty, bringing an end a character that had become a “distraction” to the movement. Continue reading

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BREAKING: Marcos to step down as leader of Zapatista army, says he no longer exists

Note: While the main stream coverage below (all we could find in English) insufficiently explains this momentous announcement, this article in Spanish explains that Marcos’ stepping down is related to the recent assassination of Galeano, a Zapatista teacher and the desire for a new generation of Zapatista leaders to take hold.

From Marcos’ final communique:

“Pensamos que es necesario que uno de nosotros muera para que Galeano Viva. Así que hemos decidido que Marcos debe de morir hoy”

We think it is necessary that one of us dies so Galeano may live.  So we decided that Marcos should die today

¡Galeano presente!

-The GJEP Team

By Michael O’Boyle and Tomas Sarmiento, May 26, 2014. Source: Reuters

The leader of the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN), Subcomandante Marcos (C) smokes a pipe during opening of the forum to mark the fifteenth anniversary of the Zapatista uprising in San Critobal de las Casas in Mexico's state of Chiapas, January 2, 2009. Photo: REUTERS/JORGE DAN LOPEZ

The leader of the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN), Subcomandante Marcos (C) smokes a pipe during opening of the forum to mark the fifteenth anniversary of the Zapatista uprising in San Critobal de las Casas in Mexico’s state of Chiapas, January 2, 2009.
Photo: REUTERS/JORGE DAN LOPEZ

Subcommandante Marcos, who led an indigenous uprising in southern Mexico and became one of Latin America’s most iconic revolutionaries, on Sunday said he was stepping down as spokesman for the Zapatista rebels and would disappear.

The ski-masked, pipe-smoking guerrilla leader became an idol of the anti-globalization movement after he led the 1994 Zapatista rebellion in the southern state of Chiapas, but he had avoided public appearances in recent years.

“We have decided that today Marcos no longer exists,” he wrote in a lengthy statement published on the Zapatista website that he said was his last message as the rebel leader.

Marcos denied rumors he had become ill, saying he was making way for a new generation to take over speaking for the rebels, who still hold a handful of communities deep in Chiapas.

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Filed under BREAKING NEWS, Chiapas, Corporate Globalization

Justice for Galeano: Stop the war against the Zapatista communities!

Source: An attack on the Zapatistas is an attack on us all

Image: An Attack On Us All

Image: An Attack On Us All

Week of action: May 18th-24th, (Day of remembrance May 24th)

SUMMARY OF RECENT EVENTS:

On May 2, 2014, in the Zapatista territory of La Realidad, Chiapas, Mexico, the group CIOAC-Histórica [with the participation of the Green Ecological Party and the National Action Party (PAN)], planned and executed a paramilitary attack on unarmed Zapatista civilians. An autonomous Zapatista school and clinic was destroyed, 15 people were ambushed and injured and Jose Luis Solis Lopez (Galeano), teacher at the Zapatista Little School, was murdered. The mainstream media is falsely reporting this attack on the Zapatistas as an intra-community confrontation, but in fact this attack is the result of a long-term counterinsurgency strategy promoted by the Mexican government.

Given the experience of the 1997 massacre at Acteal, we are concerned about the mounting paramilitary activity against Zapatista bases of support. It is clear that if we do not take action now, the current situation in Chiapas may also lead to an even more tragic end. Continue reading

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Chiapas, Indigenous Peoples, Latin America-Caribbean, Political Repression, Rights, Resilience, and Restoration

Women in the Zapatista movement

Note: A belated celebration of International Women’s Day!

-The GJEP Team

March 7, 2014. Source: Schools for Chiapas

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Filed under Chiapas, Indigenous Peoples, Latin America-Caribbean, Rights, Resilience, and Restoration

Zapatista support bases under attack: Call for a week of national and international solidarity

By Jessica Davies, February 14, 2014. Source: Upside Down World

Photo: Upside Down World

Photo: Upside Down World

Following recent events in Chiapas, the Network for Solidarity and against Repression has urged “adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle, and every organization, collective, and honest person in Mexico and the world who, from your own places, extend your embrace to the dignified rage of the Zapatistas,”  to participate in the Week of National and International Solidarity, “If they touch the Zapatistas, they touch all of us”, to be held from February 16 to 23, to “denounce the counterinsurgency war” and express that “the Zapatista communities are not alone.”

This call results from great concerns about recent events, denounced by the Fray Bartolomé de las Casas Human Rights Center as: “the Chiapas government’s failure to prevent attacks on the support bases of the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN) from the 10 de Abril community,” leading to “an imminent possibility of new attacks and an intensification of the violence, which would be a risk to life and personal integrity, in addition to the violations of the right to territory and autonomy of the Zapatista peoples.” Continue reading

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Chiapas, Food Sovereignty, Indigenous Peoples, Land Grabs, Latin America-Caribbean, Political Repression

Chiapas: Localities declare ban against mining, hydroelectric development

December 29, 2013. Source: World War 4 Report

Eight municipalities in southern Mexico’s Chiapas state on Dec. 10 were declared territories free of mineral or hydro-electric development, asserting principles of local autonomy and prior consultation. The joint statement was issued by 56 communities, ejidos (communal agricultural settlements) and popular organizations in the municipalities of Tapachula, Motozintla, Huehuetán, Cacahoatán, Mazapa, Comalapa, Chicomuselo and Tuzantán.

The officially notarized statement directed to President Enrique Peña Nieto, Chiapas Gov. Manuel Velasco Coello and other authorities protested illegal entry onto communal lands by personnel from development interests, attempts at corruption of local officials, the pending neoliberal reform of the energy sector, and high electric rates. The statement was read aloud in a public gathering in the central plaza of Tapachula—after which, hundreds of attendees occupied the town’s municipal palace to demand that the mayor endorse the statement.

“Official” authorities in the eight municipalities generally did not endorse the statement. The municipalities are in the state’s rugged Sierra Madre, headwaters of the Rio Grijalva, already under major hydro-electric exploitation. The Grijalva hydro-dams are a major source of power for Mexico, yet impoverished Chiapas is the state’s least electrified state, and high rates have repeatedly sparked protests. (Rebelión, Dec. 24)

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Chiapas, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Hydroelectric dams, Mining

Notes on “Freedom according to the Zapatistas”

By Gilberto López y Rivas, 23 September, 2013. Source: Chiapas Support Committee

Photo: Chiapas Support Committee

Photo: Chiapas Support Committee

It was a privilege to attend the first grade course “Freedom according to the Zapatistas” as a student, which was paralleled in various territories of the autonomous governments, as well as in the Indigenous Center of Integral Capacity Building –Unitierra, in San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas, from August 12 to 17.

Because of its multiple political, strategic, programmatic and tactical meanings in the current tragedy of a country devastated by the government of national treason and its corporate-repressor associates (including organized crime), the course imparted by Indigenous peoples from the different ethnicities that make up the autonomous Zapatista governments constitutes an urgent call to the national conscience, to men and women with dignity and integrity to organize, resist and struggle for a better world where those that govern obey the peoples, departing from the seven principles: 1. Serve and don’t self-serve, 2. Represent and don’t supplant, 3. Construct and don’t destroy, 4. Obey and don’t order, 5. Propose and don’t impose, 6. Convince and don’t conquer, 7. Go down and not up, and based on the maximum ethic that reigns in the EZLN: “Everything for everyone, for us, nothing,” that is, the opposite poll of conduct with which the Mexican political class acts. Continue reading

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Filed under Chiapas, Independent Media, Indigenous Peoples, Latin America-Caribbean, Rights, Resilience, and Restoration

EZLN communiqué: Military airplanes over the five caracoles

August 15, 2013. Source: El Enemigo Común

Transcription from Audio:

Zapatista Commandante Tacho in La Realidad, Chiapas, Mexico. photo: Langelle/GJEP

Zapatista Commandante Tacho in La Realidad, Chiapas, Mexico. photo: Langelle/GJEP

Compañeros, Compañeras, Good day. We always make our appearance in urgent situations. Allow me to read this communiqué that we are issuing at this time. It says:

August 14th, 2013, mid-morning.

Communiqué from the Indigenous Revolutionary Clandestine Committee – General Command of the Zapatista Army for National Liberation, Mexico.

To the people of Mexico:
To the people of the World:
To the Sixth:
To the students of the Zapatista Little School across the world:

Compañeros and Compañeras:

We are notifying you that on August 12th and 13th 2013, during the night, military planes were doing flyovers over the zones of the five Zapatista caracoles, the places where they are teaching the course “Freedom According to the Zapatistas.”

Maybe, serving their masters, the Mexican soldiers are spying for the US government, or, the North American planes are doing the work of spying directly. Or maybe the soldiers want to see what is taught in the Zapatista communities that they have attacked so much, but have been unable to destroy.

We say to the government of Peña Nieto, that if your soldiers want to learn in the little school, they should ask to be invited. We won’t, however, invite them. But then they can use the pretext that they are spying because we didn’t invite them. That’s all.

Democracy, Liberty, JusticeFrom San Cristóbal de las CasasChiapas, MexicoFor the Indigenous Revolutionary Clandestine Committee – General Command of the Zapatista Army for National Liberation, Mexico.

Comandante Tacho

México, August 2013

Thank you compañeros. That’s all.

Okay…well, continue studying compañeros, you’ve heard the communiqué.

That’s all, Thank you.

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Filed under Chiapas, Forests, Indigenous Peoples, Latin America-Caribbean, Political Repression, War

Solidarity from Chiapas with California prisoners hunger strike

August 2, 2013. Source: El Enemigo Común

pelican-bay_rashid-johnsonFrom the United States, the heart of the empire that imposes its laws on the entire planet, thousands of voices of the most scorned and forgotten people are now being raised to show millions of men and women what dignity really is.

San Cristóbal de Las Casas, July 30, 2013

The 30,000 prisoners who have launched a hunger strike in the prisons of California in the United States are our brothers and sisters. All these men and women who refuse to be silent, who are right to rebel, who defend their dignity by defying a powerful government to which the European governments have bowed down, deserve the respect and admiration of the whole world.

The United States is a country where freedom is reserved for the rich and well-to-do classes, big businessmen, financiers, and the political class. They are free to earn as much money as possible through the business of war and prison after having caused people to become obsessed with the danger of terrorism and criminality.
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It begins with respect: The meaning of living well for the Tseltal and Tsotsil Mayans of Chiapas

Note: Jeff Conant is the former Communications Director for Global Justice Ecology Project.

-The GJEP Team

By Jeff Conant, July 30, 2013. Source: Intercontinental Cry

A dialogue with Pedro Hernández Luna and Miguel Sanchez Alvarez concerning el lekil kuxlejal, June 29, 2013

Throughout the Americas and the world, the name of Chiapas, Mexico, has become synonymous with struggles for indigenous resistance. From the First Indigenous Congress held in San Cristóbal de las Casas in 1974 to the 1994 uprising in which the Zapatista Army of National Liberation launched a struggle for land and liberty that would change the political geography of Mexico and shake loose historical memory across the continent and around the world, to the 2001 March for Indigenous Dignity in which thousands descended on Mexico City to demand that the congress of the nation amend the constitution to include a Law of Indigenous Rights and Culture, Chiapas has been at the vibrant heart of the construction of new forms of indigenous struggle and territorial autonomy.

One set of beliefs, generally translated as el buen vivir, or living well, is at the heart of indigenous resistance. A similar concept, the Quechua notion of sumak causay, gained a certain recognition among climate justice activists following the Cochabamba People’s Summit on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth convened by President Evo Morales of Bolivia in 2009. Assumak causay was brought to the awareness of the non-indigenous by Andean social movements a few years ago, now in Chiapas a generation of autocthonous scholars is bringing to light – theorizing, they would say – the local understanding of buen vivir: a concept articulated in Tseltal and Tsotsil as el lek’il kuxlejal.

I first encountered el lekil kuxlejal in 2009 in a book by scholar Antonio Paoli called Education, Autonomy, and lekil kuxlejal. Paoli resists a simple definition of lekil kuxlejal in favor of giving its socio-linguistic context amidst related concepts such as k’inal, (meaning environment, including both ecosystem and mind) and the broader slamalil k’inal, a tranquility of mind on which the state of lekil kuxlejal depends. “lekil kuxlejal, or buen vivir,” Paoli writes, “is not a utopia, because it is not a non-existent dream. No, lekil kuxlejal has been degraded but not extinguished, and it is possible to recover it.”
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Filed under Chiapas, Climate Justice, Indigenous Peoples, Latin America-Caribbean, Rights, Resilience, and Restoration, Solutions