Chiapas Support Committee

Macri’s war against the Mapuche people

By: Raúl Zibechi

“This is the new Desert Campaign, only not with the sword but with education,” said Esteban Bullrich, then Minister of Education and Sports upon inaugurating a hospital and school in September of last year ( Beyond the brutality of the words of the current candidate for senator, who competed with Cristina Fernández in the province of Buenos Aires, the phrase reveals what those above think about the Native peoples.

The Desert Campaign (or Conquest) was a genocide perpetrated by the Argentine State between 1878 and 1885, when it grabbed large extensions of territory from the Mapuche, Ranquel and Tehuelche peoples. The indigenous peoples defeated by the forces commanded by Julio Argentino Roca were deported by force into concentration camps, exhibited in museums or carried away for use as forced manual labor.

The underlying motive, that which cannot be expressed in public but is the dark motivating force for the actions, was the expropriation of their territories to incorporate the lands into the market and to expand the republic into zones that, before and now, are considered as “desert,” because they are little spaces fertile for the accumulation of capital.

The Bullriches (the Macri candidate and his Auntie Patricia, current Security Minister) are part of a distinguished family of the Argentine oligarchy, which played a direct role in the Campaign of the Desert.

Historian Osvaldo Bayer showed, based on documents of the Rural Society, which between 1876 and 1903 granted almost 42 million hectares (more that 100 million acres) to 1800 family members and business friends of President Roca. Some families, like that of the former Economic Minister in the last dictatorship, Martínez de Hoz, obtained 2.5 million hectares (more than 6 million acres) for free.

According to a BBC report, a good part of those lands currently belong to Benetton, which owns almost one million hectares (almost 2.47 million acres), being one of the principle owners of Patagonia, in permanent conflict with the Mapuche communities, since the multinational occupies part of their ancestral territories (

Extractivism is the continuation of the Desert Campaign. According to the journalist Darío Aranda, from the 40 mining projects in studies (in 2003), they advanced to 800 projects (in 2015); it went from 12 million hectares of transgenic soy to 22 million in the same time period. “Amnesty International counted a floor of 250 conflictive cases, among which it detected one point in common: there are always companies behind them (agricultural, oil and mining companies, among others) that act with complicity, by act or omission, with the governments” (

The media do the dirty work by linking the Mapuche to the FARC, Kurdish groups and ETA, without any proof, supported only by statements from the governor of Chubut, at the service of advancing the extractive frontier. Bullrich, the Minister of Security, took one more step by pointing out that the Mapuches are a national security problem and accusing them of being “terrorists,” at the same time that she assures that they favor a secessionist project.

“We are not going to permit an autonomous Mapuche republic in the midst of Argentina. That is the logic that they are proposing, the rejection of the Argentine State, the anarchist logic,” says one who in the seventies was active in the armed Montoneros organization (

Behind all this cackling there is a reality that is what really disturbs: in the last 15 years, after exhausting administrative and judicial bodies, the Mapuche people recuperated 250,000 hectares that were in the hands of large landowners, Aranda assures. In other words, despite the repression, criminalization and defamation, the Mapuches are winning.

The State‘s conflict with the Mapuche community Pu Lof in Resistance, in the locality of Cushamen, province of Chubut, intensified in 2015 because of the repression and criminalization of their leaders. The lonko (chief) Facundo Jones Huala, Mapuche authority of the community, was arrested on June 28 of this year, the same day on which Presidents Mauricio Macri and Michelle Bachelet met. The governments accused him of terrorism, arson, theft, threats, and even of having “declared war on Chile and Argentina” (

On August 1, members of the National Gendarmerie raided and burned the community’s installations. Within the framework of the repression the solidarity activist Santiago Maldonado disappeared when he couldn’t cross a river together with his compañeros pursued by the police. As of now, nothing is known of his whereabouts; the government refuses to respond while marches and gatherings intensify demanding his appearance alive.

There are three facts that make those above desperate and explain the repressive brutality.

One, the Mapuche people remain alive; they don’t surrender and they recuperate lands, which is the basis of their reconstruction as a nation.

Two, there is a national and international support campaign. One hundred organizations of Native peoples, Amnesty International, the Peace and Justice Service and the Permanent Assembly of Human Rights, issued a communiqué titled The indigenous struggle is not a crime, in which they say that: “the State privileges the interests of the oil companies and criminalizes the Mapuche people.”

Three is that the Mapuches have constructed the most diverse organizations, among them the Mapuche Ancestral Resistance (RAM, its initials in Spanish), dedicated to recuperating land. Daniel Loncon, a member of the Free Office of Original Peoples, said that among the Mapuches: “some prefer the diplomatic path, but we have also been witnesses to our grandparents that have died going from office to office seeking the legitimation of their lands. In that sense, the RAM is an expression of the Mapuche people that are tired of this historic injustice, but aware of where the economic power is that drives all that. Recuperation is not done to a neighbor, but rather to a multinational” (

¡Marichiweu! (We will win a thousand times!)


Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Friday, August 18, 2017

Re-published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee





They release the police that residents retained after Peña’s visit to Chiapas

Federal Police are retained in Chiapa de Corzo.

By: Isaín Mandujano

CHIAPA DE CORZO, Chiapas (apro)

In the early morning hours of this Tuesday, residents of Chiapa de Corzo released the seven federal police that were retained after a clash between demonstrators and police agents, within the context of President Enrique Peña Nieto’s visit to this colonial city. [1]

After the celebration event for International Indigenous Peoples Day, members of the federal forces maintained several clashes with residents, who repudiated the Mexican president’s presence in this location with protests.

At first, hundreds of youth armed with sticks and stones intercepted an AVC bus that was transporting the police, the majority of them women, removed them from that vehicle and took them to the El Calvario neighborhood.

Later, in a second clash, the police exchanged tear gas for sticks and stones that the protesting youths threw. In this incident, the demonstrators retained a member of the federal police and took him away hitting him. Bloodied, the police officer was carried off to join the group of female police that they were holding. These acts occurred between 7 pm and 8:30 pm.

While the young people took control of the central plaza and City Hall, hundreds of state and federal police congregated at the town’s entrance to enter and rescue the police being held.

However, they sent a commission of functionaries headed by the Federal Police Commissioner, Jorge Armando Rodríguez Solorio, who dialogued and negotiated for several hours with the residents that participated in the protest and had hidden the police officers.

It was around one o’clock in the morning when the residents finally agreed to release the federal police officers in exchange for civilians that the police allegedly detained, but the authorities reported that they had not detained a single civilian.

After confirming that no civilians were detained, residents released the siz female police and the one male officer, all of whom came out walking for several blocks, went by the central plaza and headed for a white Suburban that was waiting to get them out of town and to take them for a medical exam.

As soon as they were set free, all the federal and state police agents withdrew from the zone. The withdrawal started around 1:30 am.

At the plaza, the young people set fire to the bus that burned for several hours in front of City Hall. Other official City Hall vehicles were also destroyed.

This is not the first time that residents of Chiapas de Corzo have confronted federal police. On May 25, 2016, they expelled hundreds of federal police from the town that were found staying in a hotel. Local residents threw them out of town because they considered them instruments of repression of the federal government against the teachers’ movement that lasted for more than three months in an occupation in Tuxtla Gutiérrez, in protest against the education reform.

[1] President Peña Nieto used this occasion to deliver a speech about the progress of the Special Economic Zones in Chiapas, Oaxaca and Guerrero and how they will alleviate the social and economic “backlog” (poverty, extreme poverty, lack of education and health care) in indigenous communities.


Originally Published in Spanish by

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee


The Hour for Our Peoples to Flourish Has Arrived

Zapatista performance at CompArte 2017 in Oventik


A Joint communiqué from the National Indigenous Congress and the Sixth Commission of the EZLN greeting the first members of the civil association, “The Hour for Our Peoples to Flourish Has Arrived.” This is a required legal step in order to register the candidacy of the spokesperson of the CIG [Indigenous Governing Council], the indigenous woman María de Jesús Patricio Martínez, for the presidency of the Mexican Republic 2018-2024.

August 2017

To the People of Mexico:

To the Peoples of the World:

To the National and International Sixth:

Sisters, brothers, hermanoas,

Compañeras, compañeros, and compañeroas:

The Native barrios, tribes, nations, and peoples gathered together in the National Indigenous Congress and the indigenous Zapatista communities salute this next step forward on the long road toward putting the name of our indigenous compañera María de Jesús Patricio Martínez on the electoral ballot in 2018 as candidate for the Mexican presidency.

This legal step has been possible thanks to the generous ear, respectful gaze, and friendly word of women and men who have earned, through their own history and efforts, a special place not only in Mexico and in the world but also, and above all, in the heart that is the color of the earth that we are.

The National Indigenous Congress as well as the indigenous Zapatistas express here our approval of and appreciation to:

María de Jesús de la Fuente de O’Higgins (Visual Artist and President of the Maria and Pablo O’Higgins Cultural Foundation)
Graciela Iturbide (Photographer)
María Baranda (Poet)
Paulina Fernández Christlieb (Ph.D. in Political Science)
Fernanda Navarro (Ph.D. in Philosophy)
Alicia Castellanos (Ph.D. in Anthropology)
Sylvia Marcos (Ph.D. in Sociology)
María Eugenia Sánchez Díaz de Rivera (Ph.D. In Sociology)
Ana Lidya Flores (Masters in Ibero-American Literature)
Paulette Dieterlen Struck (Ph.D. in Philosophy)
Márgara Millán (Ph.D. in Latin American Studies)
Domitila Domingo Manuel “Domi” (Graphic Artist)
Mercedes Olivera Bustamante (Ph.D. in Anthropology)
Bárbara Zamora (Attorney)
Magdalena Gómez (Attorney)
Rosa Albina Garavito (Masters in Sociology)
Elia Stavenhagen (Doctor)
Lidia Tamayo Flores (Harpist)
Carolina Coppel (Cultural Producer)
Pablo González Casanova (Ph.D. in Sociology)
Antonio Ramírez (Graphic and Literary Artist)
Eduardo Matos Moctezuma (Masters in Anthropological Sciences)
Javier Garciadiego ( Ph.D. in Mexican History)
Juan Carlos Rulfo (Filmmaker)
Juan Pablo Rulfo (Designer, Graphic Artist)
Francisco Toledo (Graphic Artist)
Paul Leduc (Filmmaker)
Mardonio Carballo (Writer, Journalist)
Luis de Tavira (Theater Director)
Juan Villoro (Writer)
Óscar Chávez (Singer-Songwriter)
Gilberto López y Rivas (Ph.D. in Anthropology)
Carlos López Beltrán (Ph.D. in Philosophy)
Néstor Quiñones (Graphic Artist)
Jorge Alonso (Ph.D. in Anthropology)
Raúl Delgado Wise (Ph.D. in Social Science )
Francisco Morfín Otero (Ph.D. in Philosophy)
Arturo Anguiano Orozco (Ph.D. in Sociology)
Carlos Aguirre Rojas (Ph.D. in Economics)
Pablo Fernández Christlieb (Ph.D. in Psychology)
Rodolfo Suárez Molinar (Ph.D. in Philosophy).
Leonel Rosales García, Monel (Musician from Panteón Rococó)
Rodrigo Joel Bonilla Pineda,Gorri (Musician from Panteón Rococó)
Marco Antonio Huerta Heredia, Tanis (Musician from Panteón Rococó)
Rolando Ortega, Roco Pachukote, (Musician)
Francisco Arturo Barrios Martínez, el Mastuerzo (Musician)
Panteón Rococó (Musicians)
Carlos González García (Attorney)

These persons, along with others who are currently being contacted, form part of the Civil Association named “The Hour for Our Peoples to Flourish Has Arrived,” a necessary body formed in order to begin the path of registration for the candidate whom, with respect and affection, we call “Marichuy,” so that for the first time in this country’s history, a woman from a Native people, an indigenous woman, contends for the presidency of the Mexican Republic.

Because of their honesty and commitment, all of these people hold our absolute trust and admiration. We thus presented their names to the first General Assembly of the Indigenous Governing Council held August 5 and 6, 2017. The Indigenous Governing Council received with joy the support of these brothers and sisters who are recognized across broad sectors in Mexico and the world due to their work in the sciences, arts, and social struggle.

In the face of the current war, our wager is for a real peace, that is, with democracy, freedom, and justice.
This is one further step on our path to find those who we want to hear to and who we want to call to organize themselves.

From the most forgotten corners of Native Mexico, for the Full Reconstitution of Our Peoples: Never Again a Mexico Without Us!

National Indigenous Congress

Sixth Commission of the EZLN

August 6, 2017

En español




“Chinga tu madre Peña Nieto…” Zapatistas in the five Caracoles

A painting in Oventik during the CompArte Festival 2017

By: Isaín Mandujano

The Zapatista CompArte Festival concluded Saturday with the slogan “Chinga tu madre Peña Nieto… and you too, Donald Trump,” indigenous of the five regions where the support bases of the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN) are grouped together.

First, there were four days in which exhibitors from different states and countries came to the al Center for Integral Development for the Indigenous Communities (CIDECI) to show the indigenous Zapatistas their most diverse artistic manifestations; such as, dance, theater, painting, film, sculpture, music and other activities.

There, from last Monday to Thursday, the masked ones, young people in the majority, were present at the presentations of the Mexican and foreign artists and participated in the offered workshops.

On Friday, August 28 and Saturday 29, the Zapatistas arrived from the five Caracoles, which are divided into the regions of the EZLN support bases, which are: Roberto Barrios, La Garrucha, Morelia, La Realidad and Oventik.

In Oventik, Comandante David of the EZLN as host welcomed all the attendees to the Second CompArte Festival for Humanity 2017 “Against capital and its walls, all the arts” and thus that first Friday began with 81 non-stop presentations all day. Activities like dances, theater works, poetry, music, as well as painting and sculpture.

The Zapatistas clarified that what they would see for two days would not be a “spectacle,” but rather the word, voice, rebellion, rage and struggle from the different regions of the EZLN support bases.

The dances, theater works, songs and poetry, remembered that past of oppression that their grandparents and great grandparents experienced; in the majority of the acts they remembered the exploitation of the indigenous on the part of caciques and cattle ranchers, for whom they worked the land.

Indigenous men and women, the majority of them youths between 15 and 24 years of age, born after the 1994 armed uprising, were the protagonists of these presentations.

Songs like “The sad history of our grandparents, ” “The mistreatments on the finca” sung by masked men from the Caracol of La Garrucha, “The exploitation of before” by singers from the Caracol of Morelia or “The tempest of the housed” sung by youths of the Caracol of Oventik, sketched the suffering of the indigenous communities in this region of the country.

In the same way, poems like “Our suffering throughout history” declaimed by indigenous of the Caracol of La Realidad, “The remote slavery of the past and present” by youth of the Caracol of La Garrucha and “The exploitation and rage that were transformed into rebellion” by masked ones in the Caracol of Morelia narrated the same history of exploitation in times of submission by the landowners.

In the songs and the poems, the top hit was always the same “Fuck you Peña Nieto and you too Donald Trump,” “We’re not afraid of you.”

The Corrido of Peña Nieto sung by masked men of the Caracol of Roberto Barrios and other songs were plagued with insults to President Enrique Peña Nieto and the president of the United States, Donald Trump.

The Zapatistas exposed how they organized to rebel against the oppression of which their grandparents were victims, how they had to confront that process of rebellion and struggle for a country with justice and dignity.

In all their artistic theater statements they aligned the struggle of Zapatismo against capitalism, the enemy to conquer now and the one that threatens extinction of the indigenous peoples that oppose the dispossession of their lands and territories.

“Art and culture are a fundamental part of our resistance, rebellion and struggle against capitalism,” asserted Comandante Insurgente David, in the name of all the Zapatistas.

“With the unity and organization of the world’s poor and rebellious, we will confront and destroy this system of death,” the host said.

“Art and culture have permitted us to survive the bad government’s harassment for more than 20 years, but now art and culture have given us life, resistance and pride in what we are. With this spirit of struggle for life we formally begin this CompArte Festival,” he added.

Even with the rain, the masked indigenous didn’t stop and staged a theater work about how the Indigenous Government Council (CIG) was formed and its spokesperson María de Jesús Patricio was elected, last October in the XX anniversary of the Nacional Indigenous Congress (CNI).

During the program they also made reference to the “43 absent from Ayotzinapa,” in reference to the normalistas from the state of Guerrero, disappeared by the Mexican State, in September 2014.

For two days, the Zapatista Tzeltals, Tsotsils, Tojolabals, Chols and other ethnicities present, also praised the role of women in this struggle of the EZLN and the indigenous peoples of Mexico. The traditional and well-known group The Originals of San Andrés didn’t stop singing the “Ballad of Marichuy” on various occasions.

At the end of the event the Zapatistas, closed with the seal of the event, Chinga tu madre Peña Nieto and you too Donald Trump.”


Originally Published in Spanish by Chiapas Paralelo

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee


Mexico and Venezuela: submission and interference


In Caracas, security forces were very busy during the protests against the National Constituent Assembly.

In a joint communiqué, the secretaries of Treasury and Public Credit (SHCP) and of Foreign Relations (SRE) reported yesterday, with respect to the sanctions announced by the Donald Trump administration against Venezuela that the Mexican government “will proceed accordingly, in conformity with applicable laws and conventions in the matter,” and undermined the ability of Nicolás Maduro “to fully re-establish democratic rule and the state of law in a peaceful manner.” In addition, Mexican dependencies (departments and agencies) credited the Washington’s accusations against “different functionaries and ex functionaries of the Venezuelan government” in the sense that they have diminished “democracy and human rights in said country” and that they have participated “in acts of violence, repression and corruption.”

This new official position of the national authorities takes two undesirable attitudes in the management of foreign policy too far: submission to the government of the United States and interference in Venezuela’s internal conflicts, whose solution ought to depend exclusively on the citizens of that South American country.

In the first of those terms, it is regrettable, as far as we can see, that the Mexican government adopts as its own United States accusations against Venezuelan functionaries that that have not even been proven and that, as different national and international voices have pointed out, are presented within the context of an open destabilization campaign that aims to overthrow the Bolivarian government. As to the second attitude, the national institutions lack the ability to issue judgments about the performance of rulers and functionaries of other countries and of “acting accordingly,” as well as to disqualify institutional actions of other nations, such as the convocation of Caracas to a Constituent Assembly.

Anyway, such decisions will not affect the Venezuelan authorities as much as Mexico’s own diplomacy, two of whose fundamental principles, the right to Self-determination and that of Non Intervention, are gravely undermined by such misadventures. Additionally, this alignment with the dictates of the White House on Venezuela constitutes a precedent that weakens Mexico’s ability to invoke such principles in its own defense.

Thus, the position announced yesterday by the SHCP and the SRE attempts, in the first place, against Mexican sovereignty and, secondly, of course, against the sovereignty of Venezuela.

A similar demolition of national foreign policy, dating back at least to Vicente Fox’s term, is particularly dangerous and harmful in a circumstance in which the country faces a racist, anti-Mexican, rude and unpredictable United States presidency, before which it’s more necessary than ever to retake the ethical, legal and diplomatic lines that made Mexico a worldwide referent during the last century.


Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Friday, July 28, 2017

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee





Supreme councils in neoliberal times

For Everyone, Everything. For Us, a Candidacy!

By: Magdalena Gómez

Three days ago, the National Indigenous Congress (CNI, its initials in Spanish) published the denunciation of the Indigenous Council of the Trueque (CIT, in Spanish) regarding the aggression (threats of violence and provocations) at the Tianguis of the Trueque in Tianguistenco, state of Mexico, on the part of a group headed by an alleged “supreme chief” of Coatepec. The CIT is made up of Nahuas, Tlahuicas and Otomies in the la region. Every Tuesday they attend to exchange (barter) firewood for basic foods. In their story appears the tip of the iceberg of neo-indigenismo, which despite being the gatopardista [1] version of the traditional, turns out to be necessary to consider. Moreover, facing the proximity of an electoral process in 2018, in which the CNI and its Indigenous Government Council (CIG, its initials in Spanish) have decided to participate, through their spokesperson María de Jesús Patricio, as an independent candidate to the Presidency of the Republic.

So, they point out in the referenced denunciation: “Last July 1, before some 50 people, in San Nicolás Coatepec, the mayor of Tianguistenco, swore into office the ‘Pluricultural Indigenous Municipal Council of Tianguistenco’ without consulting the communities or having the corresponding assembly minutes, because of which the situation is aggravated in many municipalities where they have placed ‘tlatoanis’ and ‘supreme chiefs’ that respond to the interests of the political parties and have caused serious conflicts in the communities por su unmeasured ambition for power and converting themselves into puppets of the system.”

The indigenous governor of the state of Mexico and a member of the CNC [2] is Fidel Hernández, who together with Hipólito Arriaga Pote, “national indigenous governor,” promotes the so-called national government of the indigenous peoples, pointing out that they are elected through uses and customs and saying they are ancestral authorities.

At first blush, they evoke what was the official impulse for so-called supreme councils in the 1970s, except that now a good part of the indigenous peoples are organized and resist the onslaught of dispossession on their territories, at the same time that they construct, in fact, authentic spaces for autonomy. Also, this movement, which the CNI created 20 years ago, while it had previous trajectories, was with the Zapatista Uprising and the posture of its leadership, which contributed decisively in the struggle for the legal recognition of their rights as peoples, expressed in the (still) unfulfilled San Andrés Accords.

The paradox is that the so-called governorship wraps its discourse in what Zapatismo and the CNI achieved constitutionally, to which they had objected due to the Congress’ distortions and mutilations of what had been agreed upon in the San Andrés Accords. Through the digital networks we find said “national governorship” in the delivery of the staff of command to their supreme chief, indeed, you guessed it: Enrique Peña Nieto.

We can also know the discourse of the alleged ancestral authorities, which, not by chance, they promote their movement from the state of Mexico and, also not accidentally, they count on economic support from federal institutions. They claim to have indigenous governors throughout the country, elected by the dedazo (being fingered or selected by the powerful), which is the use and custom of the political class. They state that they struggle for the autonomy that is in the Constitution, in Article 2, and they come to argue that they are a national government parallel to the federal government. Their struggle is on two fronts: the budgets assigned to them in the states and the demand that the INE guaranty them special norms directly, without political parties to accede to federal and state deputy and senator positions.

They have advisors throughout the country that prepare legal documents for them, wherein they transcribe how much regulation exists in indigenous matters. They recently presented to the United Nations Permanent Forum for Indigenous Questions, denouncing the INE. They have close to four years with their plan; they move throughout the country and outside of it, without making too much noise, until now.

However, in fact, they usurp the indigenous peoples, distort the meaning and function of the elders, the wise ones, the grandmothers, grandfathers and they enjoy the not so implicit endorsement of official spaces. For example, the INE accredited its “national membership” to participate in a consultation about indigenous electoral districting, with the CDI’s support [3], planned as they know how to do, with a protocol, of course. In the end, all a contrasting scenario with the CNI, which, while it has reiterated that it will not contest in the election to look for votes, it can be affected by activism promoting the community’s vote in exchange for gifts, provoking divisionism, as to which one represents the “national indigenous governorship.” The CNI’s strategy is different, it seeks to give voice, to those above that don’t listen, less in electoral times, promoting organization with the communities, but also to show society the generalized impacts of the extractive model, not just for indigenous peoples and, on the way, approaching with them the mirror of the prevailing racism.

[1] Gatopardismo is to give the appearance of changing something when nothing really changes.

[2] The CNC (Confederación Nacional Campesina) is the national campesino organization associated with the PRI (the political party currently in power).

[3] CDI – The initials for the Mexican government’s National Commission for the Development of the Indigenous peoples


Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee



The hour of disobedience

Zapatista women and men performing at CompArte in Chiapas.

By: Gustavo Esteva

It’s only natural that Mr. Trump would boast of having several multi-millionaires in his cabinet and would add that, obviously, he doesn’t want any poor people there. What ought to worry us is that many poor people share that judgment. The rich would be there because of a personal aptitude that would also give them the ability to govern; the opposite would be applied to the poor, who would be considered inept.

This aberrant configuration of the mind, which forms entrenched convictions and general behaviors, is also applied to the belief in a supposedly democratic form of government, in accordance with which Mr. Trump was elected and that currently dominates on the planet. Discontent with existing governments increases, but doesn’t affect that generalized belief in the validity of their formative training and in their reason for being. When someone questions its legitimacy, his removal can be proposed through “democratic” proceedings, as has been done in Mexico since Calderón and is now done through Mr. Trump’s Russian dossier. But the system itself, based on a hierarchical structure that converts citizens into subjects that ignore their condition or don’t know how to get out of it.

A deviant mentality, the same one that makes the rich apt and the poor inept, would give the rulers the right and the ability to act as they are doing, at the service of the 1 percent and not of the majority of the people, who they oppress in every conceivable form. That mentality processes this fact with an illusion: the next one may be better; he will use the power we give him in our benefit.

We need to examine carefully the roots of that mentality and the conditions that made it possible. Because of that mentality, many people deposit their faith in a charismatic leader, a party, an ideology, a coalition of forces or any combination of these elements. They trust that their electoral victory will remedy our evils and will make the situation we face bearable. With a good “country project,” appropriate advisors, effective commitments and, above all, an honest and capable leader at the top, we’ll get out of the current horror actual. All that can be applied without difficulty, for example, to the millions that still continue to follow López Obrador, to militants of his party and of other institutes, to savvy analysts and to prominent intellectuals, who all share that mentality.

Its origin is clear: colonization. Having that mentality is a necessary consequence of the way in which they colonized us. Since long ago, in countries like Mexico, colonization does not necessarily suppose the loss of political sovereignty, but our “independence” has become more and more relative… and sovereignty more and more illusory.

The origin of that mentality can be traced to the formation of what we call the West. It does not seem useless to resort to a classic formulation of Plato, who wrote the following in The Laws:

“Of all the principles, the most important is that no one, be it a man or a woman, ought to lack a boss. Neither should anyone’s spirit become accustomed to being permitted to work following one’s own initiative, whether at work or for pleasure. Far from that, in war as in peace, every citizen will have to look up to the boss, faithfully following him, and even in the most trivial matters must remain under his command. So, for example, he must get up, move, bathe, or eat… only if he has ordered him to do so. In a word: he must teach his soul, through long-practiced habit, to never dream of acting independently, and to become totally incapable of it (…) There is no, nor will there ever be, a law superior to this or better and more effective for assuring war’s salvation and victory. And in times of peace, and starting with earliest childhood, that habit of governing and being governed must be stimulated. In this way, the last vestige of anarchy must be erased from the life of all men, and even from the beasts that are subjects at their service.”

This formulation is politically incorrect today. No one would dare propose the system that is called democracy and dissembles in a thousand ways the condition that Plato describes. But all those veils cannot hide the submission to a structure in which there are the rulers and the ruled, some who govern and others that obey, and even less hide the fear of “anarchy,” of resistance to being governed, the deep desire to govern themselves… which is very general.

From the West itself, however, resistance to that state of things was affirmed a while ago. Howard Zinn, for example, said not so long ago: “The world is upside down, things are completely wrong. It’s not about civil disobedience. Our problem is civil obedience. Our problem is that people are obedient all over the world in the face of poverty, hunger, stupidity, war and cruelty. Our problem is that people are obedient when the prisons are full of small-time crooks while the big crooks are in charge of the country. That’s our problem.”

That is truly our problem. And it’s not resolved changing the leader, but rather by abandoning the hierarchical system, which is truly the option that the Indian peoples that have 500 years of confronting colonization have created from below.


Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Monday, July 17, 2017

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee


CompArte 2 | The Emiliano Zapata Community Festival | Oakland, CA

compARTE2 FBCompArte 2 | The Emiliano Zapata Community Festival

Saturday, August 12, 2017 | 1:00-10:00pm | Free/Gratis

At the Omni Commons, 4799 Shattuck Ave, Oakland, California 94609

CompArtistas SCHEDULE

1:00-1:30pm Welcome & Opening by Chiapas Support Committee Oakland & Calpulli Huey Papalotl

1:30-3:30pm Workshops for human liberation
• What is Zapatismo?
Led by members of the Chiapas Support Committee, presentation & dialogue on the history of the Zapatista struggle and movement in Mexico; guiding principles & values, building an Indigenous Council of Government with Indigenous people and what Zapatismo means in the U.S.

• Learn the basics of Danza Mexica with Patricia Chicueyi Coatl from Calpulli Huey Papalotl:
Through centuries, through millenia, Danza Danza Mexica-Chichimeca , Mitotiliztli, has been a form of education and discipline for our Native Anahuacan people. Brave guerrerx have so valiantly fought to protect these Sacred Traditions, especially Tlahtouani Cuauhtemoc, right after the European Invasion, and our beloved Tlacatecuhtli Emiliano Zapata during the Mexican Revolution.
Come learn the basics of strong and beautiful form or danza-prayer created by our Anahuacan Ancestors.

• Son Jarocho writing verses & dancing
María De la Rosa & DíaPaSon artists facilitate community art-making using son jarocho- a living tradition of music and poetry. You’ll learn some basic beats on percussive instruments and then we’ll show you how to layer them to create a basic groove and be “present” with fellow workshop participants. Once we’ve locked in, we will guide you to compose lyrical poetry that expresses collective, universal concerns of the community and set it to melodies used in “Señor Presidente” and “El Canto del Grillo”.

• From the Underground Railroad to the new codes & emblems of solidarity
Marshall Trammell of Music Research Strategies leads participants in an exploration into the ‘technologies’ of warrior ethos of the UGRR-era narratives of solidarity ‘technologies’ as a means to assess social impact methodologies for generating new “codes” and emblems of solidarity into everyday life today.

3:30-4:30 pm Music, Spoken Word & Poetry in resistance against the walls of capitalism
• Francisco Herrera, Caminante Cultural, music
• Elana Chávez, poet
• Muteado Silencio, spoken word
• Cory Aguilar, spoken word
• PoesíaMaríaArte, spoken word

4:30-5:30pm Community meal with tamales, zapatista coffee & aguas frescas

6:00-10:00pm CompArte in Concert for Humanity, Against capitalism, war & racism

• DíaPaSon, son jarocho music & dance
• Black Fighting Formations: Mogauwane Mahloele & Marshall Trammell, South African and African American percussinists perform warrior ethos ritual.
• uPhakamile uMaDhlamini, poet
• Muteado Silencio, spoken word
• Naima Shalhoub+Band
• Arnoldo García, poet
• PoesíaMaríaArte, spoken word
• Los Nadies, dance from below

* * *

Compartir ZapatistArte

CompArte is a play on the Spanish words compartir (to share) and arte (art), so it’s a festival of sharing art in all it’s forms: music, dance, poetry, painting, drawing, sculpture, etcetera, to dream a different world where we all fit.

CompArte is also an international festival, first convened by Zapatista communties in 2016 to celebrate art and culture as a catalyst for social change, in rebellion against capitalism and all its walls of exploitation and oppression: racism, sexism, classism, xenophobia, transphobia, homophobia, english-only mentalities.

Zapatista supporters created CompArte Festivals all over Mexico and in other countries in 2016. Here in the Bay, the Chiapas Support Committee held a CompArte Festival in Oakland, too.

This year, thanks to support from the Akonadi Foundation, we are able to expand CompArte to add music, dance, workshops, food and much more, free for all our communities.

CompArte brings together the culture, imagination and dreams of those who organize and resist the walls of capitalism and work to build a more just and free community where everyone belongs.

CompArte 2 The Emiliano Zapata Community Festival will be featuring rap, singers, painters, poets, thinkers, revolutionaries, bands and working people bringing their voices, visions and talent to listen to each other and dream out loud the relationships and community of communities we want to make us safer and powerful for justice, solidarity and love.

CompArte will feature a day-long art exibit with the painters and artists on hand to share their work’s relavance to resisting capitalism and constructing another world.

CompArte 2 comes together to explore how to make cracks and fissures in the walls of racism, classism, homophobia, transphobia, xenophobia, exploitation and abuse of women, girls, boys, children, the elders and youth, in other words, the planet.

CompArte 2 is a space to dream awake and aloud the world we want to live, work, study, worship and play in.


The Chiapas Support Committee will be asking those attending to make contributions that will all be given to the Zapatista communities in Mexico.

For more information or to contact the Chiapas Support Committee:
Email CSC:

Check out our blog:

CompArte 2 The Emiliano Zapata Community Festival in part is made possible by the generous support of the Akonadi Foundation and by the sacrifices, struggles for justice, the dignity and global leadership of the Zapatista communities.

Carlos Gonzalez: “We are going to reorganize the National indigenous Congress”

Carlos González of the National Indigenous Congress with Marichuy.

Carlos Gonzales, a member of the Organizing Committee of the National Indigenous Congress (CNI, its initials in Spanish) was invited on UDGTV radio, where he clarified several things, primarily about the CNI’s process, remembering the CNI’s birth on October 12, 1996, to try to join the country’s indigenous peoples together with two proposals:

  1. The recognition of the rights of indigenous peoples in the San Andres Accords (1996-2001).
  2. The reconstitution and reorganization of the Indigenous Peoples that were and continue being devastated by the conquest.

In two decades of existence, Carlos insists that the CNI served as an inspiration, and now with the proposal the struggle of the indigenous peoples becomes visible again, but also the National indigenous Congress.

The CNI did a re-organization in 2013 to form this proposal for the Indigenous Government Council. The proposal’s origin is the state of war that exists in the country. We Indigenous were destroyed, dispossessed, but above all else, since the 80s there is a decided process of physical and cultural extermination. The Indigenous Peoples are obstacles to the development of capitalism.

We Indigenous Peoples have a millennial collective relationship with the land. In 12 years we see how indigenous languages have been extinguished, as Indigenous Peoples had to migrate in massive numbers to the cities or to the United States.

War of extermination

 To the question of whether it’s exaggerating to talk about a war of extermination, Carlos Gonzales answered clearly that the Kochimia peoples have lost their language, the Kumiai Kiliwa peoples only have 50 men and women, the Ukapa people are less than 200 and their territory is occupied by foreign companies for mining projects, toxic waste dumps, and wind farms. The Raramuris say that in the last 10 years 30% of their population has lost their language. It’s a cultural extermination that accompanied the physical and material extermination, which has as its goal the dispossession of territories.

Losing the language is losing a relationship that humanity has with nature, the way in which we name things, implies unique thought. Losing a language is to lose a way of naming, relating, becoming familiar with and knowing our world.

Dispossession is not only for the indigenous peoples, but also in the cities (…) like water, housing, exploitation, low salaries, intense work, poverty… it’s the same problem, it’s dispossession and exploitation.

The proposal that we are making, and successfully attained, is to make the indigenous peoples visible. We have now made up our CIG, with one man and one woman from each people of the CNI, and that CIG is a candidate to the presidency of the republic. We want to put the indigenous problem on the national agenda, like the Zapatistas did in 1994, so that their poverty and exploitation are known in the entire world.

We want that proposal to create a bridge to the indigenous peoples that do not participate in the CNI and to Civil Society in order to construct a different Mexico. We are going to construct that program. What’s certain is that we no longer want that capitalism and we no longer want that political class. We want to say that there is another form, another way of governing this country. We don’t want to give money to that gang of thieves so that they leave us in violence and give the country’s resources to foreigners. Better we govern ourselves!


We think about forms of Self-government, each community, each people according to their culture, each non-indigenous urban society according to their historic walking, to their own identities, can and must construct self-government; that’s what we think. Look at the Zapatistas and their Good Government Juntas and their autonomous municipalities, those of Cherán have a council of Elders, the Yaquis have a traditional guard, those in Ostula have a communal guard. Those are definitely models and there are many proposals of autonomy. Autonomy is the exercise of freedom.

What’s important is the organization of those below. We say that the conditions for human life are being destroyed by capitalism, we propose that we can govern ourselves and from below. We are going to occupy the electoral space that is the space of those above, of the rich, of the capitalists, of those who have the monopoly on the political life of this country or think they have, but that space isn’t useful for approaching the common people, the urban and indigenous collectives that are below, within the logic of organizing ourselves.

Knowing whether we win or not is secondary. What interests us is to construct something new.

What’s coming

In the coming weeks we are going to elaborate a work proposal. We are going to present it to the CIG to be revised, modified and approved within the logic of generating a territorial political structure for 2018, and to bring together the signatures that are now almost one million. We are going to reorganize the National Indigenous Congress the same way; before it was only a place for assembly, now it must re-vitalize its organization fundamentally to generate a successful communications policy, indigenous or non indigenous, to be able to articulate with civil society organizations and finally for going out beyond the country, to Latin America and proposing those themes.


The organizational challenge is first, we are being diminished in the organization that we have had; a national organizational structure must be formed to be able to articulate with all the peoples and communities of civil society. One must not fall into the temptation to accumulate votes, to compete with other parties, to not fall into the temptation of the vote, of the power, of wanting to win. One must generate the idea and awareness; that is what we want.


Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee




Indigenous Me’phaa set precedent in victory over mining project


Residents of San Miguel el Progreso Photo: Tlachinollan Human Rights Center of La Montaña

By: Hermann Bellinghausen

The Me’phaa (Tlapaneca) community of San Miguel el Progreso, or Júba Wajiín, in the municipality of Malinaltepec, Guerrero, literally triumphed over the Heart of Darkness mining project through a legal decision of national transcendence. Upon deciding in favor of the petition for a judicial order of protection (an amparo) [1] that said community requested against mining exploitation in that territory of La Montaña of Guerrero, first district judge Estela Platero Salgado conceded as well-founded the concepts of violation of their rights, and that they demonstrated the failure to fulfill the Mexican State’s constitutional and conventional obligation to respect the rights of this indigenous-agrarian community. [2]

In conversation with La Jornada, Valerio Mauro Amado Solano, president of the commission of communal wealth of Júba Wajiín, describes the extractivist spiral that began to hang over that and other neighboring communities since 2010: “First, pure rumors that they were going put mines without any notification from the government. We were the last to know what they sought to do on our lands. It was said that the Secretariat of Economy (SE) granted the concessions. The commissioners investigated and the SE delayed giving a response for one year, and then telling us that yes, it was true. In 2011, an act of the assembly rejected mining and presented it to the agrarian authority. We sought the protection of Tlachinollan (a human rights center with headquarters in the city of Tlapa), and in 2013 our first request for a protective order was filed.”

Miguel Santiago Lorenzo, a Ñuu Savi (Mixteco) representative who presides over the Regional Council of Agrarian Authorities in Defense of Territory, reminds us that the San Javier, La Diana and Toro Rojo concessions remain in effect on Iliatenco and Malinaltepec lands, granted to Hochschild Mining and Camsim Mines. “In the Council we will remain vigilant about what the government seeks to do.”

As an exception, in the Me’phaa agrarian nucleus of Paraje Montero (Malinaltepec) the assembly gave its approval to the Camsim Company. Totomixtlahuaca (Tlacoapa), Colombia de Guadalupe and Ojo de Agua (Malinaltepec) and the communal wealth (commission) of Iliatenco rejected the projects and announced that they would do everything possible so that the exploitation was cancelled.

Maribel González Pedro, Tlachinollan defender, remembers that there were exploration flyovers of that area in 2011. The SE and the state government divulged that the mining potential in Guerrero represented “a great attraction for national and foreign investment.” It’s appropriate to mention that in 2008 the Goldcorp Company occupied Carrizalillo (municipality of Eduardo Neri) for a succulent extraction of gold. Today, the Carrizalillo zone suffers a strong presence of criminal organizations, one of the secondary effects of mining.

In the heart of darkness

The Observatory of Territorial Institutions reported in 2013 that the affiliate in Mexico of the Hochschild Mining Company of Peruvian origin and British capital received two concessions from the SE: Reducción Norte of Heart of Darkness and Heart of Darkness, which encompassed more than 145,730 acres in the municipalities of San Luis Acatlán, Zapotitlán Tablas, Malinaltepec and Tlacoapa, in which they presumed the existence of gold and silver deposits.

Heart of Darkness would be the largest concession in La Montaña, with 108,084 acres, affecting the indigenous agrarian nuclei of Totomixtlahuaca, Tenamazapa, San Miguel el Progreso, Tierra Colorada, Tilapa, Pascala del Oro and Acatepec.

The number of concessions began to grow in 2005, until involving a third of La Montaña, in other words, 19 municipalities that encompass 1,709,240 acres. The majority of its more than 361,000 inhabitants belong to the Nahua, Me’phaa and Ñuu Savi peoples.

The Tlachinollan Center documents that in La Montaña “the federal government has been granting concessions without the consent of the communities.” For 2016, the SE listed 44 concessions in the Costa-Montaña region. Before the violations of their rights, seventeen agrarian communities decided not to give their approval to mining exploration and exploitation. Júba Wajiín adopted the decision in April 2011. In September 2012 it obtained its registry on the National Agrarian Registry.

Valerio Solano emphasizes that the ancestral community of Júba Wajiín was demanding the titling of its lands since the 1940s, and it wasn’t until 1994 that the Unitary Agrarian Tribunal decided in its favor and the presidential decree was issued. “The process took six decades of struggle.” In 2009, the community joined the Community Police (CRAC-PC). Faced with the threat of mining, their conflicts are usually about boundaries with neighbor communities, and about security.

In 2012, the government decrees a biosphere reserve of 387,790 acres in La Montaña, Armando Campos, also of Tlachinollan, remembers. Since 2004, the Secretariat of Environment and Natural Resources and the National Forest Commission implanted a UN program that promoted community reserve zones. The same agencies and the Guerrero Intercultural Universidad impelled the reserve, which “restricted activities of the communities on their own lands and made them lose the administration of that territory.” The reserve would affect 13 agrarian nuclei in five municipalities. As a reaction, the communities met in October 2012 and ran into the problem of the mining companies.

Santiago Lorenzo, of the Regional Council, recounts that the indigenous blocked the Intercultural University and achieved the rector’s resignation for impelling the reserve behind the backs of the indigenous peoples. The government cancels the reserve. Then the organized communities start planning to resist mining. The council spreads to encompass 200 communities of 20 agrarian nuclei in eight municipalities of the Costa and La Montaña. The Me’phaa, Nahua, Ñuu Savi, Amuzgo and Afro Mexican peoples champion a resistance that has not been defeated. They have in common that they did not react against mining companies on their ground, but rather before their arrival.

Armando Campos, of Tlachinollan, points out: “There have been five years of legal achievements and declarations about territories free of mining. The legal pincers are closed so that no mining company has a margin of entry.” These peoples had previously refused to pay for environmental services. In 2014, they file their first legal action requesting a protective order, and they win it. The SE appeals the decision to the SCJN in 2015. The companies granted the concession to the Heart of Darkness desisted. In November of that year the SE publishes in the Official Journal of the Federation the declaration of freedom of the land.

“Thus, they stopped a protective order that would set a precedent for declaring the Mining Law unconstitutional,” explains Maribel González. “The SE and the Mining Chamber coordinate with each other to throw out the amparo and avoid an analysis of the Mining Law.” In December, the communities ask for protection against the declaration of freedom of lands, which opens the possibility of granting concessions to other mining companies. “The SE argues that Júba Wajiín ‘is not an indigenous community’ and therefore the right to prior consultation does not apply to it, which offends the Me’phaa.” The judge in Chilpancingo receives the amparo and orders an anthropology expert that favors the indigenous. Although the Mining Law does not recognize such a right, the Constitution and international treaties do.

New achievement

Tlachinollan emphasizes that the judge’s decision in the protective order 429/2016, “is a new achievement for an indigenous community and recognition for the tireless and millennial struggle of San Miguel el Progreso to defend its territory and its life faced with the threat that open sky mining represents.” For the first time, a federal court orders that, if the SE should seek to grant new mining concessions there, “it must comply with its constitutional and conventional obligation in matters of indigenous peoples’ rights.”

The Mining Chamber reacted by presenting to the SCJN the Amicus Curie “Study about the Right to Prior Consultation of Indigenous Peoples and Communities and its problem around mining concessions,” where it requests: “the order of protection be denied” that Júba Wajiín requested, and questions whether prior consultation is necessary in a granting of concessions since “there is no susceptibility of real or potential affectation to the rights of indigenous peoples or communities.”

Valerio Solano proudly expresses: “In our territory we have controlled the violence. Neither the narco or the mining companies enter.” And the defenders from Tlachinollan conclude: “The Regional Council and its struggle are referents for what can be attained when the peoples get together to defend common territory.”

[1] An amparo (protective order) has the practice al effect of a restraining order or an injunction. It prohibits someone from doing something in order to protect someone or something. In this case it prohibits mining on Júba Wajiín lands in order to protect people and land in that community against the adverse effects of mining.

[2] This decision seems to have been issued on June 28, 2017.


Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee