Chiapas Support Committee

Police repress parents and students in Chiapas; 4 are hospitalized

Caravan members and students flee tear gas.

By: Isaín Mandujano

TUXTLA GUTIÉRREZ, Chis. (Proceso Digital)

State Police repressed students from the Ayotzinapa Rural Teachers College and parents that search for their 43 disappeared sons with tear gas when they were attempting to carry out a roadblock jointly with students from the Mactumatzá Rural Teachers College.

With a balance of several people injured, the students were repressed at a point known as Coca Crossing, located on the Northwest Bypass of the Chiapas capital, a high-traffic highway for entering and leaving the city.

The site of the roadblock that they intended to carry out is less than 500 meters from the Mactumatzá Rural Teachers College, where they took refuge from the tear gas bombs.

The students responded with Molotov cocktails and fireworks to this attack from the state police.

The Ku’ Untic Human Rights Center, which Diego Cadenas Gordillo directs, placed responsibility on the state government of this attack that members of the Caravan of Mothers and Fathers of the 43 disappeared from Ayotzinapa suffered on their passage through Chiapas.

This non-governmental organism pointed out that: “in a traitorous way while a dialogue was taking place between Mothers and Fathers from Ayotzinapa and the commander of the Secretariat of Citizen Security and Protection, members of the Chiapas Attorney General’s Specialized Police came from behind and shot point blank at the people who were carrying out an information activity about the Ayotzinapa case.”

The arrival of the Caravan of Mothers and Fathers in Chiapas had been made public days ago as part of a national information campaign, accompanied by students from the Mactumatzá Rural Teachers College.

As a result of the aggression on the part of Chiapas anti-riot police against the caravan, the result as of this moment is four people hospitalized [1], among them a minor, the sister of one of the 43 missing Ayotzinapa students.

[1] Juan Antonio Flores García, a first-year Ayotzinapa student, was hit in the head with a tear gas canister. He was admitted to the hospital in grave condition and operated on. His prognosis after surgery is “uncertain.”


Originally Published in Spanish by

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee






The temporary suspension against the Maya Train

Meeting in Defense of Life and Territory PHOTO: MARTÍN ZETINA /CUARTOSCURO.COM

By: Luis Hernández Navarro

The screech of emergency brakes on the Maya Train turned on alarm lights for investors. Campeche communities pressed the legal button to stop the government locomotive. And the Judicial Power of the Federation granted them a temporary suspension for the execution of the project.

The request for protection of justice was presented last January 6. In it, the Peninsular Maya and Ch’ol people, settled in Xpujil, capital of Calakmul municipality, evidence “the simulated and fraudulent indigenous consulta (consultation or referendum) ordered by the federal Executive and executed to the detriment of the indigenous peoples of Campeche, Yucatan, Quintana Roo, Tabasco and Chiapas.”

The amparo (temporary suspension) –the complainants denounce– starts with the fact that the consultation process was carried out without complying with los international standards that ILO Convention 169 sets forth, as well as in contravention of what the Inter-American Court on Human Rights points out.

The consulta that the federal government organized did not comply with the character of informed or prior, “because we did not receive detailed information sufficiently in advance, nor was our right to participation respected, since the structure of the forums of the supposed information phase, was designed and implemented unilaterally, and so its forms and modes were not consistent with the communities’ forms of deliberation and making agreements.”

Instead of taking the opinion of all the people, the Fonatur and the INPI concentrated on consulting municipal and ejido representatives. The consulta was not carried out in good faith, nor was it culturally adequate.

The Indigenous and Popular Regional Council of Xpujil (Cripx, its initials in Spanish) presented the request for an amparo. The Council was founded in 1995 with more than 3,000 heads of family, indigenous and mestizo. Its members immediately butted heads with the ejido commissioners’ monopoly on agrarian and social representation. Like many other social movements in the Mexican countryside, in order to have a legal figure capable of receiving funds and to have political interlocution, they became a [nonprofit] civil association (asociación civil, AC). They displaced the pro-government Council of Zoh Laguna, which maintained political control in the area for years.

The Cripx promoters come from the experience of liberation theology and the Church Base Communities. The parish priest of Candelaria, José Martín del Campo, played a key role in their formation; between 1983 and 1984 he was transported to Xpujil with some men, who then reached their families.

Together with other residents, the new settlers formed the Cooperative called Sa’clajel Ty Maty’el (New Dawn of the Countryside, in Chol). They impelled very relevant struggles, like the April n1995 roadblock to demand water, health care and education. After the 1994 EZLN uprising, the Army multiplied its presence in the municipality. Members of the Cripx were frequently accused of being linked to the Zapatistas. As a consequence of the mobilizations, some of its leaders were arrested.

Calakmul is located in the southern part of the Yucatan Peninsula. The municipality, born in 1996, is in the hands of the PRI. Until the late 1960s, it had a low population density. But, the promotion of colonization of the jungle on the part of [former president] Luis Echeverría’s government changed the pattern. Migrants coming from more than 23 states arrived in those lands. Its inhabitants are dedicated to subsistence and commercial agriculture, and partially to tourism (about 40,000 tourists visit the area each year). Almost 40 percent are found in a situation of food poverty.

The power, decision-making capacity and resources in the municipality are concentrated in the ejido owners, leaving out the majority of the population: women, young people and settlers. The communities were divided inside. In 1989, the biosphere reserve decree further complicated the situation.

Like other migrants, Romel González arrived in Calakmul in 1989. Trained in liberation theology, he participated in the popular urban movement in San Agustín, was the leader of the National Plan de Ayala Coordinator on the peninsula, and accompanied the formation of the Cripx. Today, he is one of the organization’s spokespersons.

The New Dawn Cooperative fractured when some of its founders and advisors entered fully into party politics, several at the hand of Layda Sansores. Others refused to follow that route. They are the ones who make up part of the Cripx. They have not ceased promoting the construction of popular power, starting exemplary alternative development projects, municipal schools, community tourism and forest fire management.

Their old compañeros and now detractors work in the municipal government and, without consulting the communities, promote the Maya Train. They have pressured those who signed the amparo (for example, in Nuevo San José), so that they withdraw their signature and declare that they were forced to sign. In exchange, they offer to resolve a land problem for free.

The amparo that the Cripx promoted expresses the feeling of a wide sector of Calakmul that has no ejido or municipal representation and whose opinion was not taken in the consulta. They are a legitimate expression of discontent over a consultation that, according to the UN-HR, did not comply with international human rights standards in the matter.


Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee




Social Protest and criminalization

Miguel López Vega

By: Magdalena Gómez

In these times when the so-called Fourth Transformation is stated as a fact, it’s worth reflecting on the implications of the detention in Puebla, as a virtual political prisoner, of the community leader Miguel López Vega, councilor of the National Indigenous Congress (Congreso Nacional Indigena, CNI) and member Peoples Front in Defense of Land and Water Morelos, Puebla and Tlaxcala, an opponent of the gas pipeline and the thermoelectric plant in Huexca. At the same time, he is a community journalist for Radio Zacatepec and is incorporated into the Federal Protection Mechanism for Human Rights Defenders and journalists of the Secretariat of Governance (SG, aka the Interior Ministry).

His most recent participation is tied to the protest of the Santa María Zacatepec community, one of the three auxiliary boards of Juan C. Bonilla municipality, against the decision of the State Water and Sanitation Committee of Puebla (Ceaspue) to tube the industrial waters of the Huejotzingo Textile City Park, which will flow into the Metlapanapa River. The community posture in defense of the river has been firm, and the reasons for preventing its pollution solid. Specifically, last January 24 Miguel López Vega delivered the minutes of agreements of the community assembly effectuated one week before to the Puebla government, in which they removed the president of the auxiliary board of Santa María Zacatepec by means of uses and customs, and the people elected a new representative to continue with the river’s defense. He was detained upon leaving the government office and moved to the House of Justice in Tlaxcalancingo, Puebla, The next day, he was secluded in the prison in San Miguel, accused of obstruction of a public work, damage to the streets and roads and the use of explosives, without presenting evidence, except the statements of two Ceaspue workers. From the outset, one observes that the use of legal criminal figures to individualize penal processes is arbitrary in the case of conflicts and mobilizations resulting from community decisions. Especially serious is the accusation without evidence of the use of explosives. These criminal types are incompatible with human rights and especially with those related to indigenous peoples, and lend themselves to the discretion of the political and economic interests at stake.

As soon as the arrest was known, campesino and social organizations, business people and residents of Santa María Zacatepec blocked the México-Puebla federal highway to demand his release, which was withdrawn prior to a community assembly, in order to attend a dialogue table with the state government, which marked off the criminalization, which at least speaks to the need to investigate the Ceaspue and personnel of the state prosecutor’s office.

The immediate reaction of the CNI and the World Association of Community Radios Mexico Chapter (Amarc Mx, its Spanish acronym) and state organizations were key, as well as the Article 19 international organization. For its part, the Zeferino Ladrillero Human Rights Center announced the creation of an international observation mission made up of Front Line Defenders, Services and Advisory for Peace, the All Rights for Everyone Network.

Given the unsustainable accusations and above all the political demand, Miguel López Vega was released on January 29, but the [legal] process is still not complete; every 15 days he is obliged to sign into the San Miguel prison in the capital of Puebla. The judge set a deadline of March 29 to provide evidence and conclude the criminal process for “attacks on the roadways” (roadblocks). The legal quality of his defense is guaranteed, because his lawyer, Juan Carlos Flores Solís, was also a political prisoner in the previous government for his participation as part of the opposition to the Morelos Integral Plan’s gas pipeline and has promoted and won restraining orders (amparos) in that case. He reported that the Ceaspue did not present licenses for construction of the work, an environmental impact statement or permission from the National Water Commission for discharge into the tributary. In addition, there were anomalies in the accusatory statements of Ceaspue workers, for which the judge determined to throw them out.

In this context the project to discharge industrial waters into the Metlapanapa River was closed by the Juan C. Bonilla municipal council, with intervention from the Governor of Puebla, Miguel Barbosa, in the logic of damage control, without being a definitive cancelation, because there is talk about conducting environmental impact studies, which open the margin for manipulation. However, it was evident that the community of Santa María Zacatepec is united and organized and counts on broad social and political support. The presence of María de Jesús Patricio Martínez, Marichuy, with members of the CIG at the moment of the community leader’s release was very significant. The strength of symbols!


Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee







El español sigue abajo.

A Refoundation of the Sextas in the U.S. (Occupied Turtle Island) and 
Encuentro of Networks of Resistance and Rebellion against the Civilization of Death


To the adherents to the EZLN’s Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle in the U.S.:
To the EZLN/CNI networks of Solidarity, Support, Resistance and Rebellion, or whatever you call yourselves:
To the Congreso Nacional Indígena (CNI) and Concejo Indígena de Gobierno (CIG) in Mexico:
To the Zapatista Army for National Liberation (EZLN):
 To all those who resist capitalism from below, to the left, and feel inspired by the EZLN struggle:

Compañeras, compañeros, compañeroas, compas, sisters, brothers, relatives:

The Red Sexta Grietas del Norte invites you to the Sexta Encuentro in the U.S., “In, Against, and Beyond the Capitalist Hydra”, from where, we all know, the wheels of destruction churn towards every corner of the world.

Now more than ever it is necessary to organize collectively and, following the call of the EZLN, “to begin or continue our analysis and evaluation of the reality in which we live and to share with each other these analyses and evaluations as well as our subsequent proposals for coordinated action,” so that we may take action accordingly in our respective trincheras (trenches).

This call is for all the compañerxs who struggle and resist capitalist exploitation and patriarchal oppression within the U.S, especially to the adherents of the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle and those who identify with the Zapatista struggle and thought, as well as with the peoples of the National Indigenous Congress (CNI).

The times we are living demand that we collectively understand the changes in contemporary capitalism as a whole and what they look like in our own contexts. We propose working towards recovering our histories, traditions, and understanding our past and current struggles so we can envision and create autonomies constructed from our respective and collective analyses.

The Encuentro’s purpose is to find each other, to share our pains, our ways of confronting this civilization of death, and build and strengthen our autonomies. It is to share the paths we can walk together against and beyond the Hydra and to work together in solidarity with the communities in struggle in Chiapas, in Mexico, and the world. Furthermore, it is to organize a resistance against the multi-headed capitalist Hydra that destroys Mother Earth and attacks Indigenous communities. Our aim is to facilitate the development of collective knowledges and responses, outside Western cartographies and calendars against the powers that seek to repress all communities of resistance and that displace millions of people worldwide.

The Encuentro will consist of a two-day gathering in Oakland, California, on Saturday, March 7 and Sunday, March 8, 2020. It will consist of panels, dialogue circles, and conversatorios (conversations) on key questions, including but not limited to the following:

  • How do we face capitalism from inside of the Hydra?
  • How can we build and strengthen the networks and Sexta organizations of which we are a part?
  • How do we build and support each others’ autonomies while respecting the respective contexts and ways of each of our regions, cities, communities, or otherwise?
  • How can we strengthen the political movement for life itself that the CNI and Zapatistas have articulated as the most pressing concern of our time?

We propose we not seclude ourselves but rather turn each of our little corners of the world into cracks, fissures, chasms, and fault lines that will in turn sweep the floor from under this world and turn it on its head. Our struggle will make the earth tremble at its core when each fault line encounters the next. This is how we envision a future where our only way to survive is by working collectively with one another.

Let’s break the cogs of the capitalist wheels that sustain this artificial world. Let’s embody the spirit, dignity, justice, and dignified rage of our Mother Earth, our past, our ancestors, and all forces of the natural world; this is our collective strength that no one will ever hand over to us nor can take from us. Put another way, we must continue to resist, to dream, to build and to love at all cost! That is what brings another world into being, indeed what Life itself demands of us!

We invite all to participate, whether individually or collectively. To all adherents and to all who find themselves in these words and want to walk this path together, join us!

Sexta Grietas del Norte is a network of organizations and individuals in the United States that have been adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle. We first came together as Grietas in 2017 to facilitate the transport and delivery of coffee from Zapatista communities to U.S.-based organizations and collectives that, as per the EZLN calls, actively work to support migrant, persecuted and other displaced communities. We are committed to building collective self-organization and anti-capitalist struggle in the U.S., which includes resisting oppressive racial hierarchies and acting independently of the entrenched political party system. Our goals are to support each other’s struggles, to create a broad front of community-based anti-capitalist struggle in the US, and to act in solidarity with our compañerxs of the EZLN, CNI, CIG, and the Sexta in Mexico and elsewhere.

To register or for more information go to, Sexta Grietas del Norte facebook, or send us an email to



Una refundación de las Sextas en los E.U. (Isla Tortuga Ocupada) y
Un Encuentro con Redes de Resistencia y Rebelión contra la Civilización de Muerte


A los adherentes a la Sexta Declaración de la Selva Lacandona del EZLN en los E.U .:
A las redes de solidaridad, apoyo, resistencia y rebelión con el EZLN y el CNI, o como se llamen:
Al Congreso Nacional Indígena (CNI) y al Concejo Indígena de Gobierno (CIG) en México:
Al Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional (EZLN):
A todos aquellos que resisten el capitalismo desde abajo y a la izquierda y se sienten inspirados por la lucha del EZLN:

Compañeras, compañeros, compañeroas, compas, hermanas, hermanos, parientes:

La Red Sexta Grietas del Norte te invita al  Encuentro de Sextas en los Estados Unidos, “Dentro, Contra y Más Allá de la Hidra Capitalista, desde donde, como todos sabemos, las ruedas de la destrucción se mueven hacia todos los rincones del mundo.

Ahora más que nunca es necesario organizarnos colectivamente y, siguiendo el llamado del EZLN, “Iniciar o continuar el análisis-valoración de la realidad en que nos movemos, haciendo y compartiendo dichos análisis y valoraciones, así como las propuestas de acción coordinadas que se deriven,» para poder tomar las medidas necesarias en nuestras respectivas trincheras.

Este llamado es para todxs lxs compañerxs que luchan y resisten la explotación capitalista y la opresión patriarcal dentro de los Estados Unidos, especialmente a los adherentes a la Sexta Declaración de la Selva Lacandona y aquellos que se identifican con la lucha y el pensamiento Zapatista, así como con los pueblos del Congreso Nacional Indígena (CNI).

Los tiempos que vivimos exigen que entendamos colectivamente los cambios en el capitalismo contemporáneo en su conjunto y cómo son en nuestros propios contextos. Proponemos trabajar para recuperar nuestras historias, tradiciones y comprender nuestras luchas pasadas y actuales para que podamos visualizar y crear autonomías construidas a partir de nuestros respectivos análisis colectivos.

El propósito del Encuentro es encontrarnos, compartir nuestros dolores, nuestras formas de enfrentar esta civilización de muerte y construir y fortalecer nuestras autonomías. Es para compartir los caminos que podemos andar juntxs en contra y más allá de la Hidra y trabajar en solidaridad con las comunidades en lucha en Chiapas, en México y en el mundo. Nuestro objetivo es facilitar el desarrollo de conocimientos y respuestas colectivas, fuera de las cartografías y calendarios occidentales, en contra de los poderes que buscan reprimir a todas las comunidades de resistencia y que desplazan a millones de personas en todo el mundo.

El Encuentro consistirá en una reunión de dos días en Oakland, California, sábado 7 de marzo y domingo 8 de marzo de 2020. Habrá paneles, círculos de diálogo y conversatorios sobre preguntas clave, que incluyen, entre otras, las siguientes:

  • ¿Cómo enfrentamos al capitalismo desde el interior de la Hidra?
  • ¿Cómo podemos construir y fortalecer las redes y las organizaciones Sexta de las que formamos parte?
  • ¿Cómo construimos y apoyamos las autonomías de los demás respetando los respectivos contextos y formas de cada una de nuestras regiones, ciudades, comunidades u otras geografías?
  • ¿Cómo podemos fortalecer el movimiento político para la vida misma que el CNI y los zapatistas han articulado como la preocupación más apremiante de nuestro tiempo?

Proponemos no aislarnos, sino convertir cada uno de nuestros pequeños rincones del mundo en grietas, fisuras, abismos y fallas que volteen de cabeza el sistema actual. Nuestra lucha hará temblar la tierra cuando todas las pequeñas grietas que hagamos se unan y formen una sola. Así es como imaginamos un futuro donde nuestra única forma de sobrevivir es trabajando colectivamente.

Rompamos los engranajes de las ruedas capitalistas que sostienen este mundo artificial. Encarnemos el espíritu, la dignidad, la justicia y la digna rabia de nuestra Madre Tierra, nuestro pasado, nuestros ancestros y todas las fuerzas del mundo natural. Esta es nuestra fuerza colectiva que nadie nos dará ni podrá quitarnos. Dicho de otra manera, ¡debemos continuar resistiendo, soñando, construyendo y amando a toda costa! ¡Eso es lo que da vida a otro mundo, de hecho lo que la Vida misma nos exige!

Invitamos a todos a participar, ya sea individual o colectivamente. ¡A todos los adherentes y a todos los que se encuentran en estas palabras y quieran andar juntos por este camino! ¡Únete a nosotros!

Sexta Grietas del Norte es una red de organizaciones e individuos en los Estados Unidos, adherentes  a la Sexta Declaración de la Selva Lacandona. Nos unimos por primera vez como Grietas al llamado del EZLN en 2017 para facilitar el transporte y la entrega de café de las comunidades zapatistas a organizaciones y colectivos con sede en los E.U. que  trabajan activamente para apoyar a las comunidades de migrantes, perseguidos y otros desplazados. Estamos comprometidos a construir una auto organización colectiva y una lucha anticapitalista en los EE. UU., Que incluye resistir a las jerarquías raciales opresivas y actuar independientemente del sistema de partidos políticos de estado. Nuestros objetivos son apoyarnos en las luchas mutuas, crear un frente amplio de lucha anticapitalista basada en la comunidad en los EE. UU. Y actuar en solidaridad con nuestrxs compañerxs del EZLN, CNI, CIG y Sexta en México y en otros lugares.

Para registrarte y para más informacion, buscanos en,  facebook  o escribenos a


The Maya Train: adventure tourism

Bacalar Lagoon, Quintana Roo, Mexico.

By: Giovanna Gasparello*

On the eve of the bidding process for two stretches of the route of the Maya Train, Carlos Joaquín, governor of Quintana Roo, and Miguel Torruco, Secretary of Tourism, inaugurated the pavilion of the Mexican Caribbean at the International Tourism Fair (Fitur). They promoted the destinations of Bacalar, Chetumal and Mahahual, places of recent incorporation into the Quintana Roo tourist industry. For the current federal administration, “development” of the Mexican Southeast is definitively tied to the tourism economy, in the service of which the Maya Train megaproject is conceived.

However, faced with the exaggerated benefits of the tourist economy as a panacea for a better life, testimonies of those who live on the Quintana Roo Coast, including in locations still marginalized from mass tourism, they agree on a common concern: the increase of violence due to the presence of criminal groups. Observing the trajectory of Cancun and the tourist region called the Riviera Maya, a trend is projected in which the growth of the tourist industry is accompanied by the increase of criminal activity, among other variables. Here, the tourist industry has promoted the complementary development of the “legal” economy –marked by the systematic violations of human, cultural, labor and environmental rights – and the “illegal” economy strictly linked to the first. The criminal economy is articulated in different turns: trafficking, principally of cocaine, to the United States; direct sales in the thriving local market, which also includes a prostitution network in nightclubs; and laundered reinvestment in real estate developments of the profits obtained, favored by the administrations of Villanueva (1993-1999) and Borge (2011-2016).

Among the indicators that show the increase of violence linked to organized crime, intentional homicides are perhaps the most overwhelming data. According to the National Public Security System (SNSP, its initials in Spanish), in 2019, the number of intentional homicides in Quintana Roo reached a rate of 39 for every 100,000 inhabitants, exceeding the national average of 28.3. The other states on the Peninsula, with less tourist development, presented much lower crime rates (Campeche with 7.2 and Yucatan with 1.3 intentional homicides per 100,000 inhabitants). The city of Playa del Carmen –or Playa del Crime, as it’s known by the locals– denotes an unavoidable emergency: the rate of intentional homicides per 100,000 inhabitants reached 83.1 in 2019, almost three times the national average.

If the situation in the famous “leisure paradises” of the Caribbean is alarming, the context in the “new destinations” that Joaquín and Torruco promoted at the International Tourism Fair shown an identical trend. The confrontation that happened on January 27 between the Army and the armed group that was defending an small plane loaded with around 800 kilos of Colombian coca, is the most recent of a long series of violent acts that position southern Quintana Roo as a strategic area for the shipment of the coveted white powder. The “narco-triangle” between Bacalar and Othón P. Blanco, and that extends to the border between Belize and Campeche, has become in recent years a destination for the reception of flights coming from Central and South America. An abandoned jet was found in 2017; in 2018, there were three narco-planes that were burned in the region; while in 2019 a jet and two small planes with cocaine shipments crashed.

Bacalar is a few kilometers from the coast where the drug traffickers’ ships release the white shark, cocaine packages that are picked up and routed on land towards the state’s north, or clandestinely sent off on international cruise ships that dock at the port of Majahual. When they’re lucky, the fishermen from Xcalak, a border community, catch a lost package among the sargassum on the beach.

A study of the SNSP’s numbers reveals the elevated incidence in intentional homicides (38 for 100,000 inhabitants in 2018) in Bacalar, sparsely populated and mostly rural. Its attraction is the Lagoon of the Seven Colors, very coveted by an incipient tourist development since its declaration as a Magical Town, and that would augment exponentially with the installation of the Maya Train station. Currently, Bacalar unites on a minor scale all the problems that accompany tourism as a dispossession machine: enclosure of the shore of the lagoon and of the cenotes, privatization of access to water; despojo violent dispossession of ejido and private lands; collusion of municipal authorities, land speculation for construction, an absence of territorial and ecological ordering, environmental pollution, etcetera.

In conclusion, considering the Maya Train project’s stated objective of promoting the tourism economy and the creation or expansion of urban nuclei with an exclusively tourist vocation in the social and political context that currently characterizes the Peninsula, the tendency that the problems already present will multiply in the new “development poles” is evident, particularly in relation to the exponential growth of criminal violence. Who would be, in such a context, the beneficiaries of economic “development”? What dimensions of the economy and which businesses would prosper?

*Researcher at the DEAS-INAH


Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Friday, January 31, 2020

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee


The EZLN inaugurates new government centers

Zapatista Caracol 10, Patria Nueva, Chiapas, Mexico.

By: Angeles Mariscal

In the Jungle zone of Chiapas, the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN, its initials in Spanish) inaugurated with a celebration that their leaders attended, among them Subcomandante Insurgente Galeano -before Marcos-, two of the seven new “Caracoles” and their regional government structures that it created in recent months, which demonstrates the growth of their presence in the indigenous regions of Chiapas.

The government centers that were inaugurated are: Caracol 8 “The light that shines on the world,” in Dolores Hidalgo community [1] and Caracol 10 “Flowering the Rebel Seed,” in Patria Nueva community, both in the [official] municipality of Ocosingo.

We’re talking about places where they have schools, auditoriums, esplanades for mass meeting places, and offices where the autonomous authorities perform official business.

Just in August 2019, the EZLN announced that the new Caracoles, or Centers of Autonomous Resistance and Rebellion Zapatista (Crarez), have in their structures Good Government Juntas, which are institutions of self-government parallel to the official government. In the inauguration that took place over the weekend, there was a deployment of its military forces –known as milicianas- that thousands of men and women make up and that have military structure and formation. They marched and made representations.

Members of the Clandestine Committee and the EZLN’s General Command, which is made up of indigenous representatives of various Chiapas regions, witnessed this deployment. Among them one stands out for having been the spokesperson and a political-military operator of the insurgent group, Subcomandante Insurgente Galeano, before known as Marcos.

For two days, the Zapatistas celebrate with the deployment of their forces in the interior of the Caracol, and also with cultural and sports activities.

According to people who attended, the EZLN leaders pointed out in the inauguration speech: “Today it was our responsibility to be witnesses to this event. Some were also witnesses to other events just like this one in other places. There will also be the opening of other new caracoles in other places; and thus demonstrating that every time, that every day, we are here and that we exist as the Zapatista Army.”

“As the EZLN’s bases, we are working on autonomy, and this is the creation of Caracoles as will happen in other places and not only here. All the Zapatista peoples are celebrating, we are happy, we are celebrating this birth. Here will be the offices where the compañeros will be working during the next three years,” they said in relation to the process that they have formed ever since they announced their creation in January 1994.

Until a few months ago, the EZLN had five Caracoles – Oventic, La Realidad, La Garrucha, Roberto Barrios and Morelia- that were created in the first 15 years of political and organizational work. Now they have 12, all of them in indigenous regions of Chiapas.

[1] Dolores Hidalgo is in the autonomous Zapatista municipality of San Manuel. Back in the days of hermanamientos (partnering), the Chiapas Support Committee was partnered with San Manuel and had the amazing experience of watching the compas grow the municipality.


Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Monday, February 3, 2020

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee


The Chiapas Congress endorses the Pijijiapan-Palenque Highway Axis project

La Frailescana natural resources protected area in the Sierras of Chiapas. Mexico

From The Correspondents

Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Chiapas

The Morena majority of the Chiapas Congress approved the decree initiative that authorizes the state government to grant a concession for the Pijijiapan-Palenque Transversal Highway Axis project, a four-lane superhighway that will cross through half the state and also cross through La Frailescana, a natural resources protected area. [1]

The plan, named Connectivity Chiapas, was endorsed with 31 votes in favor, while social organizations, movements in defense of land and territory stated that they were against the megaproject during the Forum in Defense of Territory and Mother Earth, which the Zapatista National Liberation Army (Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional, EZLN) and the National Indigenous Congress (Congreso Nacional Indígena, CNI) organized in San Cristóbal de las Casas.

“We didn’t think that this would come out so quickly; we are preparing for actions in February,” the activist and human rights defender from the Chiapas Coast, Nataniel Hernández, warned in an interview. He went [to the Forum] together with members of the Autonomous Council of the Coast to participate in said gathering.

According to the drawings, the construction of the Pijijiapan-Tuxtla Gutiérrez Superhighway (104 kilometers) will link with the Tuxtla Gutiérrez-San Cristóbal de las Casas highway and the Highway of the Cultures-San Cristóbal de las Casas.

According to the Morena deputies Nolberto Farfán Solís and Juan Carlos Montes de Oca Avendaño, who went up to the rostrum to request the vote in favor, “the highway project will encourage investment, will have an impact on tourism and will generate direct job sources, as it is foreseen that at least 80 percent of the investment will be used to contract Chiapas manual labor.”

The plan establishes that the investment and financing of the Tuxtla Gutiérrez–Pijijiapan four-lane highway, which will cross the municipalities of Chiapa de Corzo, Suchiapa, Villaflores, Villa Corzo and Pijijiapan will have private capital.

The strategy contemplates the construction of “special works” such as tunnels, vehicular bridges, fords, overpasses, pedestrian bridges, rest areas, lookout points, video communication, toll booths, offices, shops, obras de protection works, retaining walls, metal defenses and protections, special structures, lighting, junctions, signs, safe drinking water and drainage.

The estimated time for construction of the work will be 24 months; the total investment for Connectivity Chiapas is $60 billion pesos; while the Tuxtla-Pijijiapan stretch will be $10 billion pesos.

“Attempts at dispossession and privatization persist”

During the Forum in Defense of Territory and Mother Earth, the Autonomous Council of the Chiapas Coast denounced that they have received threats and have been dispossessed of their lands because of the Pijijiapan–San Cristóbal de las Casas-Palenque highway construction project, in addition to the construction of a gas pipeline that seeks to cross the state’s coastal zone and Guatemala.

The Tzeltals pointed out that in their region “the intent to dispossess and privatize the territory for the benefit of private companies persists, through the so-called Cultural Highway (Carretera Cultural) [1] that before was called the Superhighway and seeks to pass through territories of the San Sebastián Bachajón ejido, Palenque and other towns.” They accused that: “in Zoque territory big capital identified an oil corridor that encompasses nine municipalities, on 84,500 hectares and seeks to cross the community of Chapultenango.

“The bad governments of all levels seek, through campaigns of confrontation, paramilitarization and impersonation, to finish with the communities that are organized autonomously, as in the case of our brothers of the ejido Tila,” they reproached.

In Chiapas “military and paramilitary harassment persists against Zapatista territories, to weaken and destroy not only the autonomous spaces that have been constructed, but also the echo that expands throughout the country and the world,” they stated during the Forum. The approval of the decree authorizing the government headed by Rutilio Escandón, of Morena, to grant a concession for the Transversal Pijijiapan-Palenque Highway, took members of the Autonomous Council of the Coast by surprise. Their communities are in the information stage [of consultation].

[1] The highway also borders on the El Triunfo Biosphere Reserve, which preserves one of the country’s most important cloud forests.

[2] What is now being called the “Cultural Highway” used to be called the San Cristóbal de Las Casas-Palenque Superhighway, the very same highway against which many indigenous peoples have been fighting for years.


Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee





The Mexican state versus the EZLN

San Andrés Larráinzar, Chiapas in 1995.

By: Magdalena Gómez

Twenty-six years after the public presence of the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN) exercising its right to rebellion, it is necessary to remember some keys to the trajectory that has marked the very prolonged suspension of a dialogue that should have concluded with the signing of peace and compliance with the agreements made in the accords.

As we know, the course of this process was the result of the decision to sabotage it by different governments, with modalities that have even led to the application of violent forms. Without a doubt, former President Ernesto Zedillo Ponce de León, who in the well-known betrayal of February 9, 1995 announced the war strategy against the EZLN that we all know, stands out in this.

To contain the crisis caused, the Mexican Congress approved the Law for Dialogue, Conciliation and Dignified Peace in Chiapas, which emphasized that the EZLN’s causes were and are just, and included a structure for dialogue that involves not only the Executive Power, but also the Legislative. In that long history, it should be noted that the EZLN has respected the cease-fire decreed at the presidential level on January 12, 1994 and accepted by this political force, proof of this is the way the Zapatista communities adopted the accords while concentrating on the organization of Juntas de Buen Gobierno and Caracoles, an unprecedented autonomous experience inside and outside the country.

Today it seems unquestionable that the only radical opposition to the government of the so-called Fourth Transformation is precisely the EZLN. The reaction of the President of the Republic to the position the EZLN expressed on January 1 is marked by a language with a personal tinge, as an offended person, rather than the position of a head of state. For the Zapatistas and the National Indigenous Congress it seems difficult to ignore that in 1994 former President Carlos Salinas de Gortari was about to celebrate the entry into operation of the North American Free Trade Agreement and just these days the signing of the T-MEC with the same countries and with related dispositions with a neoliberal trajectory is around the corner.

Even more, the Salinas government opened the surge of counter-reforms which became constitutional article 27 and Enrique Peña Nieto crowned them with so-called structural reforms. This scaffolding is in effect and today no intentions are announced to promote its abrogation. It is seeking to assume policies that moderate its effects, in some cases.

In this very generic context, the current government is committed to promoting megaprojects, such as the Mayan Train, the Transistmic Corridor and the Morelos Integral Project, with all the flow of simulated consultations.

Transnational capital is the backdrop of these megaprojects. This is strongly opposed by the Zapatistas and the National Indigenous Congress. In response, the President of the Republic disqualifies them, especially the leadership of the EZLN, by pointing out that it is an ideological opposition and, when asked about the possibility of a dialogue, with some disagreement, he said: “Yes, let the National Institute of Indigenous Peoples address it”. He said this despite a current law, such as the one that dates from 1995 and a two-chamber commission that [legislative] period after period is integrated. [1]

Of course, since the other betrayal of 2001, the EZLN has not even remotely raised the resumption of the so-called dialogue, but the head of state may well even think of a serious strategy that goes beyond rancor facing his anti-capitalist opponents, or unofficial emissaries, such as Father Alejandro Solalinde or symbolic visits to the emblematic community of Guadalupe Tepeyac.

Vicente Fox failed in his offer that in 15 minutes he would resolve the Zapatista conflict and subordinated himself to the indigenous counter-reform that violated the San Andres agreements.

Felipe Calderón and Enrique Peña Nieto kept quiet.

Today it is not enough to take refuge in the 30 million votes and in the scholarships that thousands of indigenous people will receive individually. Certainly 40 years ago the President of the Republic was an exemplary official of indigenist policies. But the insistence that communities not be stripped of their lands requires proof of the facts. The communities that will be affected are defining their legal and political forms of resistance and Zapatismo accompanies at any cost this struggle that, with good reason they define, is against the continuity of the neoliberal project.

On February 9, 1995, the EZLN denied then-president Ernesto Zedillo in a statement:

“For years we live threatened by the great lords and their private armies. Tired of this we rise in arms to demand what is just for any human being anywhere in the world: freedom, democracy and justice. The dialogue that the bad government intended was having the EZLN on its knees. He is wrong, since January 1, 1994 we live standing up. On foot we will talk or on foot we will fight, on foot we will live or on foot we will die”.

The ongoing dignity!

[1] This is a reference to the Commission of Concordance and Pacification (Cocopa), a congressional commission composed of legislators from all the political parties in the National Congress. It’s purpose is to facilitate peace in Chiapas.


Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee





Indigenous communities stop work on the Maya Train

The archaeological site of Calakmul, Campeche, Mexico.

By: Luis A. Boffil, Lorenzo Chim, César Arellano and Julio Reyna

The Indigenous and Popular Regional Council of Xpujil (Cripx) reported yesterday that indigenous communities belonging to the Peninsular Maya and Chol peoples, settled in Xpujil, municipality of Calakmul, Campeche, obtained a “provisional suspension” of the execution of the Maya Train project, which would imply stopping the bidding process on stretches initiated in the first week of January, until resolving the final suspension.

In its ruling, the first district court in Campeche agreed to concede the provisional suspension “so that things are maintained in the state in which they are found, so that the responsible authorities, independently of the result of the consultation carried out in relation to the so-called Maya Train, abstain from decreeing the approval of said project, or, upon said approval having been decreed, abstain from carrying out acts extending to the execution of said project,” until the definitive suspension is resolved.

At a press conference held yesterday in Mérida, Yucatán, Cripx representatives explained that the lawsuit points out as responsible authorities the president of the Republic, Andrés Manuel López Obrador; the director of the National Fund for the Promotion of Tourism (Fonatur, its Spanish acronym), Rogelio Jiménez Pons; the Interior Minister, Olga Sánchez Cordero, and the Director General of the National Institute of Indigenous Peoples, Adelfo Regino Montes.

The resolution

In file 12/2020 VI B, the same first district court informs the aforementioned authorities that as to the indigenous consultation, the day of citizen participative voting, ordered by the federal Executive, and the approval of the development project named the Maya Train, “the provisional suspension of the act complained of is denied, based on article 107, section X, of the Political Constitution of the United Mexican States.”

In its request for a restraining order (amparo), presented January 6, 2020, the Cripx had argued that reclama “the simulated and fraudulent indigenous consultation ordered by the federal Executive and executed to the detriment of the indigenous peoples of Campeche, Yucatán, Quintana Roo, Tabasco and Chiapas,” as well as the “illegal consultation and approval of the project named the Maya Train, whose action was carried out in flagrant violation of our human right that guarantees a prior free, informed, good faith and culturally adequate consultation.

“In the amparo we denounce that the consultation process was carried out without complying with international standards that established in Convention 169 on Indigenous and Tribal Peoples in Independent Countries, of the International Labor Organization (ILO), of which the Mexican State is a part, as well as in contravention of what the Inter-American Court on Human Rights points out”.

The official response

However, the Fonatur, in charge of the construction of the Maya Train, denied the existence of a federal court order to temporarily stop the los bidding and construction processes of the railroad project.

After the announcement of the Cripx, Fonatur explained that there is a request for a restraining order promoted by Ernesto Martínez Jiménez in the first district court of Campeche under the number 12/2020, in which it points to as the “act complained of” last December’s indigenous consultation.

Martínez Jiménez is a member of the Cripx and also of the Frente Peninsular Front for Life and Jungle.

In the record, the provisional suspension Martínez Jiménez requested is denied and Fonatur has not been notified of “any suspension,” said Fonatur.

On January 10, the Fonatur issued the bases for bidding on two stretches of the train’s route that include executive projects, supply of materials and construction of platforms and tracks. Last week it convened a workshop aimed at companies interested in the bidding process and launched two new bases for both sections of the project. The workshop reached out to almost 90 construction companies.


Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee




Racism and anti-Zapatista fallacies

Subcomandante Moisés – Photo: Isabel-Mateos-Cuartoscuro

By: Gilberto López y Rivas

This beginning of the year has been marked by an intensification –in social networks and communications media– of the campaign of lies, fibs or fake news against the Zapatista National Liberation Army (Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional, EZLN), which has been extended to the National Indigenous Congress-Indigenous Government Council, (Congreso Nacional IndígenaConcejo Indígena de Gobierno (CNI-CII), and to those who, in other areas of public life, show their support for the anti-capitalist, anti-patriarchal and anti-racist struggles of the Zapatista Mayas, in opposition to the policies of the government of Andrés Manuel López Obrador and his “Fourth Transformation.”

A good part of this campaign reveals the racism of the political elites and of some Fourth Transformation organic intellectuals, including high officials, who insist on denying all prominence to indigenous peoples, and personifying Subcomandante MarcosGaleano as the sole author and subject of the EZLN’s political initiatives. Proof of this are recent opinion articles, videos, statements, forums, cartoons and messages on Facebook and Twitter, which demonize the one who was spokesperson of this organization, ignoring or denying that, since years ago, the role of spokesperson for the EZLN falls to Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés, of Tzeltal origin.

Specifically, it corresponded to Subcomandante Moisés to read the communiqué at the 26th anniversary of the war against oblivion, on December 31, 2019, in which he endorses the commitment of his organization to resist and defend Mother Earth, even at the cost of life. In this historic address, a succinct account of these 26 years of the EZLN is made, from the moment in which they chose between “dying like animals” or “dying like human beings who struggle for life.” In spite of contempt, deception, betrayals and the counterinsurgency policies of the rotating bosses to destroy us, the Zapatista Mayas have achieved “maintaining the flag of their rebellion,” “without surrendering, without selling out and without giving up,” answering, no doubt, to those who, from ignorance, an unconditional quality or pride, question: where were the Zapatistas when such and so event in national life occurred?

Different from the institutional Mexican left and the governments with this ideological orientation, the Zapatistas have been constructing what they call “a project of life” for these 26 years, “as any person who has an honest heart can see,” Sub Moisés points out, in which “schools and health clinics flourish in their communities and the land is worked collectively and we support each other collectively.”

For the new heralds of progress and modernity, it’s impossible to understand a characteristic of the Zapatistas and of the peoples grouped in the National Indigenous Congress-Indigenous Government Council, and that Sub Moisés describes diaphanously: “We are therefore a community.

A community of communities! The Zapatista women have their own voice, their own path. And their destiny is not one of violent death, disappearance and humiliation. Zapatista childhood and youth have health, education and different learning and fun options. We maintain and defend our language, our culture and our way. And we remain firm in fulfilling our duty as guardian peoples of Mother Earth. All this has been thanks to the effort, sacrifice and dedication of the organized peoples. And all this has also been thanks to the support of individuals, groups, collectives and organizations around the world.”

Likewise, for those who defend the 4T’s clientelism development projects, it’s difficult to understand what the capitalist system means according to Zapatista perspectives and critical thinking, which Sub Moisés describes as: “that beast that wants to eat and destroy everything,” to which: “it doesn’t matter destroying nature, entire peoples, ancient cultures and complete civilizations. The Beast’s attacks even include destroying the entire planet. The capitalist hydra, the destructive beast, looks for other names to hide and attack and defeat humanity, –says Sub Moisés–. And one of those names behind which death is hidden is ‘megaproject’. ‘Megaproject’ means destroying an entire territory. Everything: the air, the water, the land and the people! (…) And the beast that hides behind the megaprojects has its trick, its lie and its trap to convince. The beast says that it’s for progress. It says that, thanks to those megaprojects, the peoples will have pay and many advantages of modernity. And with this progress and modernity we wish to remember here a CNI compañero that was murdered this year (2019): the brother and Compañero Samir Flores Soberanes. And we remember him because he wondered and asked for whom is that progress that they talk about so much.”

The EZLN implores us to stop the war against humanity, “each one in their geography, their calendar and with their styles.”


Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Friday, January 24, 2020

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee