Chiapas Support Committee

Autonomy, insubordination and the radical Mapuche movement in Chile

By: Gilberto López y Rivas

César Enrique Pineda’s book, The Wallmapu [1] burns: autonomy, insubordination and the radical Mapuche movement in Chile, UNAM-CIALC-Bajo Tierra editions (2018), [2] is singularly relevant within the ambit of research about social movements, original peoples and autonomic processes. It constitutes a rigorous, founded, committed and achieved theoretical-empirical effort to penetrate one of the continent’s most congruent experiences of indigenous struggle: the Arauco-Malleco Coordinator (CAM, its initials in Spanish), the movement of the Mapuche people that, between 1997 and 2003, promoted a process of disputing ancestral lands and the vindication of self-determination and autonomy, in an intense confrontation with the Chilean State, big landowners and transnational corporations.

The work, Pineda points out, proposes to “recuperate, systematize and narrate the history… [of] an extremely controversial collective actor for the Mapuche movement itself, as well as for the Chilean intelligentsia; a subject demonized in the communications media, categorized as terrorist, a radical or subversive group by the State and Chile’s dominant groups.” It attempts to “understand the complex processes of the production of rebelliousness and insubordination, as well as its subsequent stabilization and discipline,” since the Chilean State, responds to this movement “with an aggressive and sophisticated process of disarticulation, containment, social and repressive counterinsurgency that, between 2003 and 2009, would provoke the contraction and weakening of the Mapuche mobilization and, subsequently, the close of the cycle of struggle for land and autonomy.”

The book begins with a prologue from our colleague Raúl Zibechi, which is, in itself, a recognition of Pineda’s valuable contribution: “a work of years,” he says, “in which direct experience, knowledge of the people, communities and geographies, is one of the more notable aspects of a committed and absolutely neutral investigation.”

Pineda clarifies the testimonial component of his work, “which is explained from a socio-historical approach constructed from long and numerous interviews carried out with Mapuches in prison and with activists interviewed in their communities, which is contrasted and put in dialogue with that expressed by various Chilean historians and specialists.” To that is added extensive research in newspapers and the corresponding theoretical interpretations that provide the analytical basis of what was investigated, “from within, from the social struggle, from the perspective of those below.”

Starting with different autonomic processes in Latin America, we agree in the sense that: “the dispute for land, territory and the natural wealth, as well as for self-determination, social self-regulation and autonomy, are the decisive struggles of our time.” At the same time, in that “the original peoples are the heart of numerous anti-systemic alternatives and that, in the last 20 years, have demonstrated an enormous capacity as subjects for construction of an alternative project and resistance in the face of dispossession, contempt and internal colonialism.” Proof in our country is that which constitutes the political process that the Zapatista National Liberation Army initiated, beginning in 1994, and its permanent proposals for the articulation of anticapitalist struggles.

Likewise, the final reflections are very proper in the sense that: “the frameworks of kinship, relationships, affective, ethno-productive, spiritual, symbolic and material, based on the ‘community’ social form, are being activated and updated with indigenous political projects, like resistance and stoppage of invasive expansive relations of the social form of ‘capital’, but also as emancipatory aspiration and practice.” There is total agreement that, in contemporary autonomic processes, the subjects that champion them suffer “true metamorphoses” in their social relations, which empower them, as subjects of change, like “other” political subjects.

As a parallel, his warning about not idealizing these processes is beneficial. “Many times, the author points out, the organizational fabric of these movements is crossed by ideological colonialism, by numerous subaltern contradictions, by dangerous limits and errors; and on occasions, by sectarianisms, essentialisms and fundamentalist millenarianisms; by a profound fragility of their structures versus war, repression or cooptation.” Regarding the latter, it’s possible to observe, also in our country, organizations and intellectuals that have opted for supporting the neo-indigenist policy of the next government, which will be concretized with the National Institute of Indigenous Peoples.

In an academic environment dominated by pointillist and extractivist production, it’s gratifying that books are published for the struggle below and to the left.

[1] The Wallmapu is the name given to the territory the Mapuches have historically inhabited in parts of Chile and Argentina.

[2] Arde el Wallmapu: autonomía, insubordinación y movimiento radical mapuche en Chile,


Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Friday, November 2, 2018

Re-Published with English Interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee



Red ‘n’ Blues Benefit Concert

The Chiapas Support is endorsing this concert and we’ll be there to support our brothers and sisters of AIM-West.

Chomsky: Central Americans flee from horror the US created

The US linguist, philosopher and political scientist Noam Chomsky condemned the “farce” that the sending of troops along the border with Mexico to contain thousands of migrants that flee poverty and repression represents. Photo: Marco Peláez and Afp.

From the Editorial Staff

Members of the Migrant Caravan are fleeing from the misery and the horrors the United States created, the linguist, philosopher and political scientist Noam Chomsky pointed out in an interview with Democracy Now, in which he emphasized that after the State coup in Honduras, in 2009, that nation became: “the world’s murder capital.”

Amy Goodman, interviewing the academic emeritus from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) on the program, emphasized that as President Donald Trump intensifies his attacks and threats against the caravans of Central American migrants that advance towards the United States border with Mexico, his government imposed new sanctions on Cuba and Venezuela, and National Security Advisor, John Bolton, catalogued both nations, together with Nicaragua, as a “troika of tyranny.”

The US intellectual pointed out that such language “immediately reminds us of George Bush’s ‘axis of evil’ speech in 2002, which set the basis for the invasion of Iraq, the worst crime of this century, with horrendous consequences for that nation,” and emphasized that “Bolton was behind that.”

For Chomsky it’s interesting “to see this furious hysteria together with another campaign of amazing propaganda” that Bolton and his colleagues promote about “the caravan of poor and frightened people that flee from the severe oppression, violence, terror and extreme poverty in three countries: principally Honduras, in second place Guatemala and in third place El Salvador, not Nicaragua, incidentally.”

He said that it’s about three countries the United States subjected since the regime of Ronald Reagan (1981-1989). When “Reagan’s terror wars devastated particularly El Salvador and Guatemala, and in second place Honduras, Reagan attacked Nicaragua, but it was the only country that had an army to defend the population. In the others, the armies were State terrorists, backed by the United States.”

The principal sender of migrants is Honduras, which had with Manuel Zelaya a “moderately reformist” president (2006-2009), and overthrown by means of a State coup, condemned by the entire hemisphere, with the exception of the United States. Moreover, Barack Obama (2009-2017) “refused to call it a military coup,” since doing so would oblige him to withdraw financing to the military junta.

Members of the coup called some fraudulent elections, although Obama “praised Honduras for carrying out an election, advancing towards democracy and so forth. Now the people flee from the misery and horrors for which we are responsible,” he added.

In this “farce,” said Chomsky, “the world is looking with absolute amazement: the poor, the miserable, families, mothers and children flee from terror and repression, for which we are responsible, and in response we send thousands of troops to the border. The soldiers outnumber the fleeing children… they are scaring a large part of the country into believing that we are right on the verge of an invasion, as you know, of Middle East terrorists financed by George Soros, and so on.”

It’s a sort of “reminiscence of something that happened 30 years ago,” he said, upon remembering that: “in 1985 Ronald Reagan adjusted his cowboy boots” to call “a national emergency, because the Nicaraguan Army was two days away from Harlingen, Texas, about to overwhelm and destroy us. And it worked.”

In the so-called “troika of tyranny,” just like with the “axis of evil,” they insert nations that “simply don’t obey US orders,” he said, and he warned: “Colombia, for example, has the hemisphere’s worst human rights record in years, but is not part of the troika of tyranny.”


Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee


Zapatistas render homage to Gael García Bernal in the Caracol of Our Lives Film Festival

Photo: Radio Zapatista

 By the Editors

On the second day of the Puy ta Cuxlejaltic (Caracol of Our Lives) Film Festival in the Caracol of Oventic, rendered homage to Gael García Bernal, Pamela Yates, Ilsa Salas, Marta Ferrer, Rocío Martínez Ts’ujul, Concepción Suárez and Inti Cordera, directors that participate in the Ixmukané category.

Two small Zapatistas were the ones in charge of delivering the recognition to Gael García Bernal for his participation in the Puy ta Cuxlejaltic Film Festival, convoked by the EZLN, which is being celebrated from November 1 to 9 in the Caracol of Oventic, in the Chiapas Highlands.

Subcomandante Galeano announced the attendance of some 4,000 Zapatistas, inside of which are girls, boys, women and men of all ages.

The second day of the festival started with a series of documentaries produced by the “Tercios compas,” a collective that was born in 2014 facing the need to have truthful information and analysis in the Zapatista communities. It’s a large collective of Zapatista communicators that have as their objective breaking the information circle producing materials for their own communities.

Afterwards, the documentary Semillas de Guamúchil, was presented, directed by Carolina Corral, a documentary work that emerge from an investigation carried out by the anthropologist Rosalva Aída Hernández with women prisoners of the Atlacholoaya Prison, in Morelos. The project resulted in the book Bajo la sombra del guamúchil (Under the shade of the guamúchil tree): stories of the life of indigenous and campesina women in prison, the creation of the Sisters in the Shadow Editorial Collective, a radio series and this documentary.

During the day, in the “Pie cinema Maya” installed in the esplanade of the Caracol of Oventic, the little girl called Defensa Zapatista and the little boy called Pedrito, accompanied by other girls and also Esperanza Zapatista, Amado Zapatista, Pablito Zapatista and their reinforcements, Yanileth Zapatista, Adelaida Zapatista, Elaide Zapatista and Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés, gave their “respects,” commemorative clappers and the “Caracol of our lives” to the collectives that make fiction and documentary film.

“As the situation is now in our country an d in the world, life is one of the most fragile things there is… also the Caracol that we are going to deliver,” Subcomandante Insurgente Galeano said.

The following collectives were also honored in the Festival: Oaxaca Cine, Ocote Sign, Water Eye Communication, Koman Ilel, La Marabunta Filmadora, Espora Kolectivo, Paliacate, Aragón Beacon, Eastern Beacon, Indigenous Videographers of the Southern Border Project, Solidarity Collective, SubVersiones, La Sandía Digital, Itinerant Audiovisual Camp.


Originally Published in Spanish by Somoselmedio

Saturday, November 4, 2018

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee

Support autonomous education in Zapatista Territory!


EZLN: “At least 4,000 masked people” at the initiation of the “Caracol of our Life” Film Festival

Chiapas, Mexico, November 1, 2018

Today begins the film festival: “Puy Ta Cuxlejaltic” (Caracol of our Lives), whose first edition will be held in the Zapatista Caracol of Oventik, in the mountains of the Mexican Southeast (with alternate projections in the CIDECI of San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas), from November 1 to 9 as the Sixth Commission of the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN) announced last October 4.

In the festival convoked by the indigenous rebel Chiapanecos you will be able to see films in categories like: Ah, do you fall? Falling and getting up; Dreaming Reality; The storm; Yesterday, Today; Resistance and Rebellion; Sing, Weave, Dance, Play, Count that memory; Meanwhile, there above; No pardon, no oblivion; “We greet you, always”; Look in the Mirror. There were also special sections: Infantile Correspondence and Ixmucané. The original peoples made the different films that will be presented, and there will also be national and international filmmakers.

“This First Film Festival “Puy Ta Cuxlejaltic,” is FUNDAMENTALLY designed for the Zapatista original peoples, for their eyes and the eyes of the people who work in or around fiction film and documentary film,” el Subcomandante Galeano reported in a comunicado. “A Zapatista audience of at least 4,000 masked people are expected in the first days,” the Chiapas insurgent indicated, who will be able to see the films in the movie theaters: Emiliano Zapata 3D Children’s Cinema and the Comandanta Ramona Film Hall; in the Caracol of Oventic, Chiapas.

For the others attending the Film Festival, the organizers report that it is the “Pie Cinema Maya” (where no cars are allowed), it is outdoors and can hold more than 10,000 moviegoers. “The exhibitions there depend on whether it rains or not, and must be seen when it gets dark. That’s why that mega hall will only be used for some exhibitions from 1800 hours (6 PM) onwards,” they point out.

There will also be, thanks to the support of citizen artists, musical activities, theatre, dance, photographic exposition and storytelling, in pavilions installed around the “Pie Cinema Maya,” the former Subcomandante Marcos adds in his comunicado, and they announce the e-mail for attendees to register:

EZLN: “Look and listen from/to below”

“Looking is a way of asking, we, the Zapatistas, say. Or of seeking,” argued Sub Marcos in February 2013, in the comunicado THEM AND US. VI. – GAZES 1. – Looking to impose or looking to listen. “And it’s in the looking where the other appears. It’s in the gaze where fears nests, but also where respect can be born. If we don’t learn to look at each other, what is the meaning of our gaze, our questions: Who are you? What is your story? Where are your pains? When are your hopes?” the Zapatista spokesperson questioned.

In the comunicado THEM and US VI – Gazes, Part 2: Looking and listening from/towards below, the now Sup Galeano wondered: Can we still choose towards where and from where to look? And he pointedly described the sufferings of a working class increasingly exploited and despised.

In the message THEM AND US, VI – Gazes. Part 3: Some other looks, the Zapatista spokesperson stressed that the view from/towards below: “It doesn’t want to convince you yes or no; it doesn’t want to co-opt you; it doesn’t want to recruit you; it doesn’t want to direct you; it doesn’t want to judge-condemn-absolve you; it doesn’t want to use you; it doesn’t want to tell you what you can or cannot do; it doesn’t want to give you advice, recommendations, orders; it doesn’t want to reproach you because it doesn’t know, not because it does know; it does not despise you; it doesn’t want to tell you what you should or should not do; it doesn’t want to buy your old car, your face, your body, your future, your dignity, your will; it doesn’t want to sell you something…”.

“The look that we provoke with this will no longer be that of pity, pain, compassion, charity, alms. There will be joy in those who are like we are, but courage and hate in the Big Bosses. They are going to attack us with all their means,” the then Sup Marcos shared in the comunicado THEM AND US. VI. – Gazes. Parte 5: Look at the night in which we are. (From the new moon to the crescent quarter.) “Yes, I told them. They looked at each other, but said: “We want to look and see ourselves as what we are although we don’t know nor do they know what we are. We want them to look at us. We are ready and willing, we are ready for the Big Bosses,“ abounded the Insurgent about the look.


Originally Published in Spanish by Pozol Colectivo

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee


EZLN, CNI and CIG: Joint communiqué rejecting the new airport and supporting migrants

Joint Communiqué from the CNI, CIG, and EZLN Rejecting the NAIM (New International Airport of Mexico) and in Support and Solidarity with Migrant Populations

October 26, 2018

En español:

To the People of Mexico:

To the People of the World:

To the National and International Sixth:

To the CIG Support Networks:

To the communications media:

The peoples, nations, tribes, and barrios of the National Indigenous Congress (CNI) and the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN) respectfully address the Mexican people and the original peoples and campesinos that wage dignified resistance against the megaproject of death they call the New International Airport of Mexico (NAIM). These peoples have sustained hope without giving up, giving in, or selling out, and they are a light for all of us who dream and work to build justice.

We also respectfully address those who have been forced to seek in other lands what was stolen from them in their own geographies; those who migrate in search of life, as well as those who, without self-interest and in their own ways, times, and means, support those migrants.


We have seen, experienced, and closely followed the struggle of the peoples of Texcoco Lake and the surrounding areas. We have witnessed their determination, dignity and pain, which have also been ours. We have not forgotten the repression in May 2006 that included sexual torture; the unjust imprisonment of compañeros and compañeras of the Frente de Pueblos en Defensa de la Tierra (People’s Front in Defense of the Land) and of the national and international Sixth; and the murders of our compañero Ollin Alexis Benhumea and 14-year-old Francisco Javier Cortés Santiago. Vicente Fox and Enrique Peña Nieto gave the order for this repression with the full approval of the entire political spectrum from above, including those who today claim to represent “change.”


Today, with complete disregard for our rights as original peoples, the bad governments claim to consult the Mexican people as to whether they prefer the airport be built at the Texcoco Lake site or in Santa Lucía, but we know that both, through their so-called aerotropolis [1], imply environmental devastation, dispossession of adjacent territories and the commodification of community life. Both options further turn our country into the necessary link for the free flow of transnational capital, facilitating the entry and exit of commodities and the exploitation of everything we have for the benefit of the few. Both options are aimed at setting us more firmly on the path of death that today threatens all of humanity. Both more firmly entrench neoliberal capitalism as our people’s executioner.

The government should not be asking us where to put the new airport. In the face of the millions of people suffering displacement, poverty and repression; the thousands forced to migrate because of the destruction wrought across the world; and our Mother Earth who can no longer withstand the disease imposed on her by capitalism, had they any shame at all, the question would be whether or not we agree to continue down this path that is leading us all toward death, war, and extermination.

We know they won’t ask that question, though, because their path is mandated by the powerful ones who actually rule over them. The NAIM is not the only missing piece in their plan to disfigure the country and shape the tragedy that is only just beginning. Thus our word and our call is to continue to organize ourselves in resistance and rebellion, which is our struggle for life.

We original peoples cannot vote in favor of our own extermination. As much as the bad government might pretend to carry out a referendum (committing fraud, buying votes and deceiving the people of Mexico), this attack on freedom and on the territories that sustain life will not be carried out in our name.

The CNI-CIG and the EZLN reiterate our unequivocal rejection of the construction of the New Mexico City Airport, whether it be built at Texcoco Lake or anywhere else. This project will strengthen big capital and benefit a few tycoons like Carlos Slim, Carlos Hank Rhon, Bernardo Quintana, and Hipólito Gerard Rivero (Carlos Salinas de Gortari’s brother-in-law), or whatever name the capitalist hydra takes on; all of their wealth is based on the suffering and exploitation of millions of us below. This project, like all the other mega-projects imposed in our geographies, is aimed at taking from us what is ours, at the cost of the life of whoever resists.

We recognize, respect, and salute the struggle of all those who, in walking their autonomy, decide whether to participate or not in the so-called referendum on the NAIM, and we call on everyone to unite efforts, to grow and strengthen our unity across our diversity from below in order to stop the destruction of our indigenous, campesino, and urban territories.


These so-called “megaprojects” are nothing but another element of the system’s war against everything, sowing violence, destruction, and death all over the world and forcing populations to migrate in search of the life that was denied them in their places of origin.

This is the situation of those who today migrate from their Central American territories, who are being attacked, harassed, and slandered on orders from the big boss in an attempt to feed hatred toward difference and extract even more profits from the tragedy it has provoked.

The system pursues today what it provoked yesterday.

Our own tomorrow hovers in the painful steps of these “migrants” if we do not organize ourselves in defense of life.

We have long supported, respected, and maintained solidarity for these sisters and brothers and will continue to do so, however limited our capacities.

Now as before, we will share with these migrants the little that we have in our communities, homes, paths, and territories, and they can count on our encouraging word and dignified rage to ease their path and help them to carry on.

The world does not belong to any flag.

It belongs to all of us who we make walk with our work, who make it flourish, who sow life where the system harvests death; who, like the relatives of those absent from Ayotzinapa, walk the world in search of truth and justice; in other words, in search of life.


October 2018

Never Again a Mexico Without Us

National Indigenous Congress

Indigenous Governing Council

Zapatista National Liberation Army

[1] Aerotrópolis is the idea that the most significant money to be made through the New Mexico City Airport project lies not in the construction contracts for the airport itself, but rather in the larger-scale and longer-term construction of roads, housing, hotels, and industrial and business parks around the airport, as well as plans to link the NAICM to the New Port of Veracruz and other highway megaprojects throughout the country. See





Donate to decolonize education for Indigenous Zapatista children

Art from the Zapatista communities. The building in the foreground is a primary school. The lettering on the school reads: Autonomous School: “Without education there is no revolution.”

The Chiapas Support Committee (CSC) received some long-awaited news from the Good Government Board (Junta) and the regional education coordinators in the La Garrucha region of Zapatista Territory: they are ready to begin a secondary (middle) school project. The CSC has been working with the Junta and the education coordinators on primary education for the last 7 years. Some of you have donated to support that work, and now we’re asking you to donate to this essential education project.

Many of you may be familiar with the secondary school in Oventik, which is supported economically by the Zapatista Language School project (CELMRAZ). Some of you may have learned Spanish or a Mayan language there. Or, perhaps you read Raúl Zibechi’s article reporting that the Caracol of Morelia had a secondary school in each of its autonomous counties.

Secondary schools are very important to a child’s formal education and overall learning experience. Unfortunately, the La Garrucha region does not have and has never had a secondary school. Parents throughout this region are passionate about having this educational opportunity for their children and the education coordinators have wanted to get this project underway for several years.

La Garrucha is located in the Patihuitz Canyon to the east of the city of Ocosingo, in Chiapas, Mexico. It is one of five regional centers of autonomous government in Zapatista territory called caracoles and it’s also the seat of government for the Tseltal Jungle Zone. That region stretches from Ocosingo into the lowlands and mountains of the Lacandón Jungle. When the Zapatista Uprising took place in 1994, the only access to La Garrucha was via a dirt road that didn’t really deserve to be called a road. Giant ruts and potholes created by large trucks and military vehicles in the rainy season made passage very difficult for any vehicle and some communities in this zone were and still are only accessible on foot or horseback.

The difficult access discouraged teachers from reaching government primary schools in the zone’s ejidos, and there were no government secondary schools in rural areas. “Sometimes the government teachers would only come three days per week, but they were paid for 5,” a resident of La Garrucha told a Chiapas Support Committee delegation. “They taught the children in Spanish, but many of the children only spoke Tseltal and didn’t understand Spanish,” he continued. “They taught the history of the invaders from Europe,” he concluded, speaking in past tense because he also said that the government teachers stopped coming to La Garrucha and many other communities with government schools after the January 1, 1994 Zapatista Uprising.

After the Uprising, the Zapatistas prioritized the construction of their own autonomous government, which includes developing an autonomous education system that decolonizes teaching and learning. Education trainers came from the northern states to help with the development of a curriculum and the capacity building of indigenous peoples in the communities to become teachers, or education promoters as they are called in Zapatista Territory, and also to become trainers (formadores) of teachers. Each community selects its own teacher in a community assembly. The curriculum falls within four basic categories (subjects): mathematics, language, history and environment. The same subjects are taught in both primary school and secondary school at an age-appropriate level.

Mathematics is taught using examples from the children’s daily life, rather than from a book with pictures of children that don’t look like them or live like them. Language is taught in both Spanish and the Mayan language of the community or micro-region where the school is located. Children learn to read, write and speak in both languages.

History is taught from the perspective of those who were invaded and oppressed by Europeans, their relationship to the rich and the history of their ancestors: those who built the ancient temples, those who were serfs on plantations, those who organized powerful campesino organizations and those who rose up against their oppressors in 1994.

Environment is taught from the perspective of their culture; that is, the cultural belief in what it means to live well. Living well is to live in harmony with Mother Nature and with one’s community and with all one’s neighbors. This subject includes learning about the health of humans, plants and animals.

The education coordinators have asked the Chiapas Support Committee to fund the training of secondary school teachers from the four autonomous Zapatista municipios (counties) that comprise the Caracol of La Garrucha. They have also asked us to fund the construction of 4 classrooms, one in each of the four middle schools to be constructed (one in each county belonging to the Caracol of La Garrucha). The total cost of their request is approximately $25,000.00 US dollars and we’re asking you to make a generous contribution to that crucial project.

Your donation will help Zapatista children obtain an autonomous and de-colonial education at the middle school level. These children are the ones who will carry on the Zapatista resistance to neoliberalism and will move into positions of responsibility in another 5 or so years. It is important to maximize their potential to contribute to this alternative organizational model.

You can make your donation online via PayPal by going to our website and clicking on the donate button. Or, you can send a check made payable to the Chiapas Support Committee to the address below:

Chiapas Support Committee

PO Box 3421

Oakland, CA 94609

The Chiapas Support Committee is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, so your donation is tax deductible if you itemize. We’ll send you a receipt and thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

In solidarity,

Chiapas Support Committee Members

Alicia Bravo

Carolina Dutton

Arnoldo Garcia

Roberto Martínez

Jose Plascencia

Laura Rivas-Andrade

Mary Ann Tenuto-Sánchez

Amanda Stephenson







The new Honduran exodus

Migrant Caravan walking from Ciudad Hidalgo to Tapachula, Chiapas, Mexico on October 21, 2018.

By: Luis Hernández Navarro

Honduras, wrote Gregorio Selser, is a republic rented to the empire; it is the United States aircraft carrier in Central America. Today it is also a flagship of the continental narco-politics that carries water. The thousands of Hondurans that make up the Migrant Caravan are passengers on that ship that are looking for solid ground to avoid the shipwreck. [1]

Ironies of neoliberal globalization, those migrants who want to reach the United States flee from the violence and extortion of the criminal gangs settled in Honduras formed of those deported by Uncle Sam; cliques that sow terror with weapons smuggled from that country, and dedicated to exporting drugs to US consumers.

Those migrants long to cross borders to the metropolis that converts them into victims in their own country, because they hope to get employment there to earn a decent living that is denied to them in their country by transnational capital, which sucks their blood and condemns them to the gallows.

According to official numbers (questioned by several citizen observatories), 14 people are murdered in Honduras every day. Their homicide rate per year is 56.7 for each 100 thousand inhabitants. San Pedro Sula, the second Honduras city, the administrative capital and the point from which the Migrant Caravan departed last October 12, has been, for years, the world’s most violent city. The homicide rate there is 142 for every 100,000 inhabitants. The principal cause of the crimes is drug trafficking.

The migrant wave that has it’s the caravan in its crest, is precipitated by violence. Gangs, insecurity and criminality push people with few resources to leave the country and minors not accompanied by adults that would prefer to remain in their land to live.

The Mara Salvatrucha and the Barrio 18 gang dispute neighborhoods, territories and routes for moving drugs. They are transnational organized crime gangs. Each year, thousands of Hondurans must leave their homes and lands to flee from their extortion and persecution.

These cliques have been nourished and strengthened by gang members that the United States deported. They are the offspring of globalization. Many of their members are children of those who migrated due to the combined effect of natural disasters and because of Washington policy that impoverished and prevented the economic growth of that country. The mix of discrimination, segregation, poverty and quarrels with United States gangs in a country that they are not familiar with pushed many Latino young people to form their own gangs in order to defend themselves.

The Honduran gangs are allied with the Mexican drug cartels. Sinaloa, Jalisco Nueva Generación, Los Zetas and the Gulf cartels have agreements with local [Honduran] criminal groups to move cocaine, heroine, methamphetamines and chemical precursors. Honduras is, to those cartels, much more than passage area; it is a base of operations. Those cartels also participate in the trafficking of migrants to the United States.

Honduras is the second poorest country in Latin America: 68.8 percent of its population lives in poverty and 44.2 percent in extreme poverty. The maquiladoras (sweat shops) employ, at miserable wages, 120,000 workers, mostly women between 18 and 30. Ten families control the vast majority of the national wealth. The United States is lord and master of that territory. The special economic zones aggravate this situation.

In 2009, a State coup that Washington supported overthrew President Manuel Zelaya (, because of being close to the continent’s progressive governments. In 2013 and 2017 electoral frauds were perpetrated to avoid the victory of progressive candidates that wanted their country to stop being a banana republic (

The Migrant Caravan responds to that dramatic situation. It emerged from a self-convoking, not from the convocation of a political party. “We’re not leaving because we want to, the violence and poverty expel us,” its members say. “We are not criminals, but rather migrants,” “We want to work,” they assure.

This caravan is the latest wave of a storm that started in the form of massive displacements of migrants that cross borders, at least since two decades ago. It is composed of pregnant women, minor children, young and not so young people. Instead of leaving their country in secret, alone, exposed to criminal violence and to the extortion of the Mexican police, dependent on polleros, (or coyotes), its members decided to travel in day light, in a group, accompanied by others like them. Like an avalanche, their example begins to be repeated: today there are 7,000 Hondurans in Mexico and many more aspire to come.

The shameful role of the Mexican government, converted into United States’ immigration police, is an offense to the whole country and a mortgage of the national sovereignty. Every year they return some 200 caskets of that country’s citizens murdered in Mexico to Honduras and thousands more are disappeared. The new Honduran exodus reminds us than no one human being is illegal.

[1] When you hear people use the word “invaders” in reference to the Migrant Caravan, please refer them to this article or inform them of the information in this article. Many thanks to Luis Hernández Navarro for writing these important words!


Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee


The anticapitalist struggle of the EZLN and the CNI-CIG

Art from the Zapatista communities. Note the building with a vegetable garden next to it. On the side of the building it says: “autonomous school” and below that: “without education there is no revolution.” A Casa de Salud (House of health) is in the background.

By: Gilberto López y Rivas

The Second National Assembly of the National Indigenous Congress-Indigenous Governing Council-Zapatista National Liberation Army held from October 11 to 14 at the Cideci-Unitierra, in San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, constituted a historic event. The extraordinary organizational ability, is shown in an ascending spiral (dialectic) methodology of axes of work-operative-resolving commissions and positioning; the democratic forms of reaching consensus; the coherence and political awareness of delegates and councilors, refer to a movement characterized by its anti-capitalism and the strengthening of autonomies unfold as an invaluable instrument of struggle against the re-colonization of the capitalist corporations and the bad government’s repressive groups, both “legal” and clandestine.

The meeting revealed the polychromatic richness of a movement that with its operational commissions and its now 10 axes of work: 1) Land and territory, dispossession and defense; 2) Autonomy; 3) Women; 4) Youth; 5) Sexual diversity; 6) Justice; 7) People with disabilities; 8) Migrants; 9) Work and exploitation; and 10) Education, art and culture, is disposed to “undertake new steps for the construction of the new world that we need.” (

The Second National Assembly ratifies a political subject, –that cannot be made invisible by the racism of the political class–, ”and that defines itself as original peoples that in the “struggle against the profound disease caused by capitalism, we weave life, because it is the charge we received from our ancestors… What we weave, we call organization, and it is the territory that we defend, it is the language that we speak and refuse to lose, it is the identity that we don’t forget and that we magnify with struggle. But it turns out that it’s also what the owners of money need to destroy and convert into more money, in order to make merchandise with exploitation, with poverty, disease and with the death of many other millions of people that are not from our peoples and that live in the cities and in the countryside. In other words, it’s not true that death, repression, dispossession and contempt are only for we original peoples.”

The Second National Assembly endorsed autonomy as the “only door to continue making life our unwavering path.” The manner in which the EZLN-CNI-CIG has assumed the autonomic process is extraordinary. The diverse and stimulating speeches of the participants in the Assembly, including those of the Zapatista comandantes, testify that the so-called “autonomic subject” is a predominant reality in national territory, and those who seek to continue considering the original peoples as victims and passive subjects of the “events of history” commit a grave political error.

The political position that the EZLN-CNI-CIG signed in relation to the incoming government is clear and unambiguous: “Lies abound when the Binniza, Chontal, Ikoots, Mixe, Zoque, Nahua and Popoluca peoples of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec are threatened with its trans-isthmus projects and the expansion of the Special Economic Zones, and the Maya peoples with its project of the capitalist train that dispossesses and destroys the land in its pass. Lies abound faced with the announced planting of a million hectares with fruit and timber trees in the country’s south, faced with the illegal and rigged consultation for the construction of the New Mexico City Airport, or the offer for the mining companies that have been granted large extensions of indigenous territories to continue investing. Lies abound when without consulting our peoples the future government imposes the creation, in the style of the old indigenismo, of the National Institute of Indigenous Peoples, commanded by deserters from our long resistance struggle. Lies abound when we see the cynicism with which the peoples of Mexico are delivered to the interests of the United States through the Free Trade Agreement, which the future government of López Obrador promises to ratify. In one of his first speeches López Obrador did not hesitate to confirm continuity in the current monetary and fiscal policy, in other words, continuity in neoliberal policy, which will be guaranteed with the announcement that the military corporations will stay in the streets and with his intention to recruit 50,000 young people into the ranks of the armed forces that have served to repress, dispossess and sow terror throughout the nation.”

The CNI-CIG-EZLN proposes to continue constructing “the organization that becomes a self-government, autonomous and rebellious, with compañeras and compañeros of other geographies …until our fabric is joined with others that sprout up in all corners of Mexico and the world so that councils are made…”

So be it.


Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Friday, October 19, 2018

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas



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