Chiapas People of Faith march in support of the teachers


Religious leaders from the region of Los Bosques, at the front of the Pueblo Creyente (Believing People)

Religious leaders from the region of Los Bosques, at the front of the Pueblo Creyente (Believing People)

By Isaín Mandujano

This Wednesday (June 8), thousands of indigenous Tsotils from different communities in the municipios of Simojovel, El Bosque, Huitiupán, Amatán and Pueblo Nuevo Solistahuacán, carried out a procession in the state capital in order to demonstrate their support for the teachers’ movement in Chiapas against the education reform.

Headed by the parish priest of the Church of Simojovel, Marcelo Pérez Pérez, the men, women and children that left their communities and went down from Los Altos of Chiapas and started a pilgrimage from the east side of Tuxtla and walked several kilometers to the central plaza where the teachers of the National Coordinator of Education Workers (CNTE) have their encampments.

With the music of drums and whistles, with the banner of the Virgin of Guadalupe in the hands of Father Marcelo Pérez Pérez and with the Mexican flag that an indigenous woman at his side carried, the indigenous left their communities in the early morning hours to reach this city and realize the procession in the midst of a human wall of teachers that welcomed them with applause and signs on which they thanked them for the support.

Along their route the teachers like neighbors in houses in the city’s center were giving fresh water and sandwiches to the indigenous. Some teachers were in tears with emotion as the march passed.

Upon reaching the central plaza, CNTE leaders Alberto Mirón and Pedro Gómez Bámaca received the Believing People and thanked the more than 4,000 indigenous that came from from the region also called Los Bosques for this gesture.

Father Blas Alvarado from the parish of Pueblo Nuevo Solistahuacán and Father Gustavo Andrade from the Venustiano Carranza parish were with Father Marcelo Pérez Pérez.

In the message read to the teachers, Father Marcelo Pérez Pérez asked the federal government, President Enrique Peña Nieto and Aurelio Nuño for: “no more repression because that generates revolution.”

“If you continue sending police to repress the people, we will come again to march not only with representatives of the church communities, but that would animate us and we will rise up all the people of God,” he said in the letter he read.

He demanded that a real and dignified dialogue be established between the teachers and the federal government, with the mediation of some of society’s groupings that enjoy a moral authority.

They came here as a church, not to generate violence, but rather they came in peace and to demand peace, but a peace founded on truth, justice, freedom and love as Papa John XXIII expresses.

“We say “No” to the mass firing of the teachers, because this is doing violence to their labor rights, for which they have been fighting for so many years. We demand that the deputies don’t approve laws that generate institutionalized violence. Now, the deputies have a crisis of credibility and of being representatives of the people, because they are not passing laws under the true principles and needs of the people, but rather under the stimulus of money that the President of the Republic gives them to approve what he wants, and the legal initiatives that he sends to the Congress is under the interests of foreign investors, which is therefore treason to the Homeland,” he indicated.

The priest sent a message to the police forces: “You come from simple families, you are also poor, you are human, each teacher that you hit with your clubs, with rubber bullets, hurt with tear gas, you are hurting your brothers, because all of us are children of God, you are not obliged to obey an order to repress that you receive from your superiors.”

“The teachers are not criminals, they are not kidnappers, drug traffickers, murderers or traitors to the country; we see that the government sends them to repress innocents, but traffickers of arms and drugs are the real criminals and you don’t say anything to them, although you find the drugs and arms; the government responds to them with stopping criminal action. A concrete case if the Gómez Family of Simojovel, who have stolen so much from the people,” he added.

“Police brothers, you have relatives in the teaching profession, you received classes thanks to the teachers, you have your job because of the studies that you got from teachers. Police brothers, you are protectors not repressors” he emphasized.

“And if the repression doesn’t stop, Pope Francisco tells us: “A Christian, if he is not revolutionary, at this time, he is not Christian! He must be a revolutionary for grace,” he concluded.


Originally Published in Spanish by Chiapas Paralelo

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee

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