Chiapas Support Committee

Mexico’s historic rescue of Evo

[Mexican] Chancellor Marcelo Ebrard received the ex president of Bolivia, Evo Morales, at the stairs of the Mexican Air Force plane that transported him from Cochabamba. The former Vice President, Alvaro Garcia Linera also appears in the image. Photo: Alfredo Dominguez.

Between Monday and Tuesday (November 11 and 12), in a scenario of more than 10 thousand kilometers, a political, diplomatic, technical and aeronautic feat took place that corroborated Mexico’s condition as a guarantor of the right of asylum: the rescue of the overthrown Bolivian president, Evo Morales, and his Vice President, Álvaro García Linera, who were stranded in the department of Cochabamba and whose lives were in danger, and their transfer to national territory.

From the first hours of the State coup perpetrated in Bolivia last Sunday, November 10, the government of Andrés Manuel López Obrador offered refuge to the cornered president, who, after announcing his resignation to avoid the assault against him from deriving into a blood bath, left La Paz for the Chimoré Airport and a few hours later informed the Mexican government of his acceptance of its offer.

With the South American country plunged into violence and anarchy, the Secretary of Foreign Relations (SRE) immediately initiated an extremely complex task to achieve that some instance of command would extend safe conduct to Morales Ayma and García Linera to abandon their country. At the same time, the Mexican Air Force (FAM, its initials in Spanish) prepared an airplane for the uncertain round trip.

With Bolivia in chaos and with its neighbors governed by rightwing regimes hostile to Evo, the obstacles were almost insurmountable. The Argentina of Macri and the Chile of Piñera were not willing to permit the airplane that was to bring the refugees to Mexico to cross through its airspace, and the Brazil of Bolsonaro was ruled out from the start.

Only Peru authorized the flyover, in a way that the FAM’s small reactor arrived in Lima in the early hours of Monday and, after refueling, headed to Bolivian territory. But when it was about to enter Bolivian airspace, it was denied a flight permit, so it had to return to the Peruvian capital.

During several hours of negotiations se logró the required authorization was achieved, with which the plane could take off again and land at the Chimoré Airport, where the deposed officials were located. There were hours of extreme tension and acute danger there and, due to the unusual reluctance of the Bolivian Air Force to permit takeoff. Meanwhile, Chancellor Marcelo Ebrard, with the help of Argentine president-elect Alberto Fernández, achieved that the government of Paraguay would permit the arrival of the FAM airplane in its territory. Finally, “by millimeters,” as Ebrard himself narrated, authorization was obtained from the coup plotters, the jet departed for Asunción to make an indispensable technical stop. When the takeoff for Lima was being prepared, the Bolivian military commanders denied the use of airspace and the Peruvian government, alleging “political assessments,” communicated that the plane could fly over Peru, but not make a stop in that country.

An effort described as “almost miraculous” by the head of the SRE made it possible for the authorities of Brasilia to open a route over their territory to go around Bolivia on the return trip. Then it was necessary to bypass Ecuador before entering international waters. At the end of a day and a half trip, the FAM Gulfstream landed yesterday, a little after 11 o’clock in the morning at the Benito Juárez Airport (Mexico City) with the guests safe.

Apart from the anger of the local right over the described rescue and over the granting of political asylum to the two Bolivian leaders –and to dozens of ex officials and adherents of the overthrown government who are still in the Mexican Embassy in La Paz–, between the day before yesterday and yesterday our country starred in an honorable page in the history of political asylum, a right that together with the principle of non intervention, respect for self-determination and the peaceful solution of conflicts, has come to be a fundamental pillar of the nation’s foreign policy.

It’s thus worth recognizing the admirable effort of the commanders and personnel of the Mexican Air Force, the capability and dedication of the SRE, its head and the Under-secretariat for Latin America and the presidential determination giving value to principles over difficulties.

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Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

https://www.jornada.com.mx/2019/11/13/opinion/002a1edi

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee

 

 

 

 

36 years of clandestine life

 

By: Gloria Muñoz Ramírez

Evaluating the 36 years of existence of the Zapatista National Liberation Army (Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional, EZLN) it not an ideological issue, but rather an act of honesty. This November 17 marks 10 years of clandestine life and 26 years of having become known with an uprising that moved the board of a country that rejoiced, like today, in the honey of neoliberalism.

They are not poorer within Zapatista boundaries than before the insurrection, as conservatives publish. They are, in many ways, larger. The organization of the communities in rebellion has endowed them with their own government and with a structure of justice, education, health, communications media and commercial cooperatives, besides a framework that has permitted, among other achievements, Maya women to develop in multiple disciplines, meet, rebel and struggle for their spaces.

The indigenous among the EZLN’s founding peoples who in 1983 were between 15 and 20 years old, should now exceed 50 or 60 at a minimum. The children of 1994 are now young men and women between 25 and 35, the majority married with children. But those who are now seen in the images of public events must have been born after 2000. They are the ones who now make up their health and education structures, the promoters who are seen with white coats and masks; those who star in dances, theatre pieces and numerous musicals.

The Zapatistas announced new caracols or centers of resistance three months ago. They spoke then about their political organizing work, and highlighted the work of young people and of women who “assume positions [of responsibility] and saturate them with their creativity, ingenuity and intelligence.” For beyond their discourse, the Zapatista reality prevails. Their territory continues being the safest to travel through in the country, because despite the ominous military presence and the offensive of projects that all the state and federal governments have absolutely promoted, their organization has allowed them to protect themselves and grow.

Long life to the organization that gave life 36 years ago and whose recognition was not spared. It is a moral issue.

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Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Saturday, November 16, 2019

https://www.jornada.com.mx/2019/11/16/opinion/012o1pol

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee

 

 

 

 

 

The insurrection in Chile and Mapuche dispossession

Firefighters put out bus set on fire by Chile protesters.

By: Edgars Martínez*

The so-called paradise of neoliberalism in Latin America burns in flames since 10 days ago. These are times of convulsions on a global scale and the ones causing such symptoms are the oppressed of Ecuador, Haiti, Honduras, Kurdistan and, recently, the Mapuche and Chilean peoples, who, in the midst of curfews, the military in the streets, states of emergency and ferocious repressive measures, continue fighting for a more dignified life.

It would be short sighted to think that the Chilean and Mapuche people have taken the streets and territories just because of the increase in the cost of public transportation in the capital. Beyond this, the popular revolt that plagues the “Latin American jaguar” today is the product of the accumulation of decades of rage and indignation in the face of the privatization and dispossession not only of basic services, but of life itself. They are the same colonial inequalities that the Mapuche movement has historically been denouncing faced with the loss of 95 percent of their ancestral territory, the product of “national development.” Thus, the neoliberal oasis of Latin America has meant a drought for the peoples. In this sense, it’s not surprising that the massive evasions in public transportation initiated by students on Friday October 18 became a plurinational rebellion.

It was in this context after three intense days of popular insubordination that President Sebastián Piñera declared publicly that: “Chile is at war against a powerful enemy.” With such words, besides defining for the media a posture that different successive governments have selectively been maintaining, he promotes the restatement of the figure of the “internal enemy,” which was necessary to fully unleash the military repression and justify it ideologically. Thus, in recent days the crudest state violence has been experienced since the times of the dictatorship, leaving a result of 19 dead, 3,193 people arrested, 1,902 injured and 88 legal actions for torture, homicide, sexual violence and other crimes.

However, this necro-political scenario is not new for some in the Southern Cone. With the so-called “democratic transition,” the internal enemy left the streets of the city and was embodies in the Mapuche that meter by meter began to recuperate its territory usurped first by the large landowners (latifundistas) at the end of the 19th century and, in the full dictatorship, by the forestry industry and multiple transnationals that gave shape to Chilean neoliberalism.

Unmeasured violence, criminalization and the application of the Antiterrorist Law was the response that the State maintained versus the processes of territorial recuperation that the Mapuche movement impelled. In this way the violence with which the State today represses the demonstrations of the Chilean people is no exception for the Mapuche people, who don’t denounce neoliberalism for 30 years, but rather 500 years of colonial violence and dispossession.

Now, through unity in struggle, the Chilean and Mapuche people have the Piñera government in check, which confronts a constitutional accusation, the request for resignation of his entire ministerial cabinet and the landing of the UN in Chile.

In the streets and in the territories the breezes of victory gradually begin to organize to open and walk through the big boulevards. And, although after 10 days of historic popular demonstrations, it’s probable that the most profound colonial, patriarchal and economic-political pillars of neoliberalism to the south of the continent will not be overcome, the people of Chile and the Wallmapu will no longer face their future with the fear inherited from the dictatorship. Never more. They are those below and they are going van for those above.

* Chilean anthropologist and militant in the Mapuche cause

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Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Sunday, November 3, 2019

https://www.jornada.com.mx/2019/11/02/opinion/019a1mun

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee

Chomsky: the United States supports a State coup or the assassination of Evo Morales

Noam Chomsky

 November 10, 2019 [This was written before Morales was forced to resign.]

 Political scientist Noam Chomsky denounces that the United States is behind the State coup of the opposition in Bolivia to overthrow President Evo Morales.

“The Bolivian oligarchy promotes the coup (…) and counts on total support from the United States Government, which for a long time has been eager to expel Evo Morales and his movement from power,” warns the well-known US political scientist.

In a comunicado issued Saturday, Chomsky warned that the operations center of the United States embassy in La Paz (Bolivia’s capital) has permitted glimpsing two plans in the South American country: “‘plan A’, a State coup, and ‘plan B’, the assassination of Morales,” he indicated.

According to the political scientist, the Bolivian opposition prepares a State coup after the failure it suffered in the elections of this past October 20 against the Movement towards Socialism (MAS), led by Morales.

Such actions constitute a grave violation of the United Nations Charter and of all international norms, he lamented, before expressing his hope that the people and the Bolivian Government frustrate the plots against him.

Friday, Morales announced that opposition elements seek to remove him from power, with actions like the recent police riot in three of the country’s central cities. Given this situation, the indigenous leader called on the political parties to dialogue in order to “defend democracy” and pacify Bolivia.

Nevertheless, opposition groups don’t stop their coup plans and this same Saturday besieged the building where the Patria Nueva Network and the Bolivia TV channel (BTV) operate, in an attempt to “silence the press” to demand the resignation of the head of State in ignorance of his constitutional mandate, as Morales warns.

For its part, the Bolivian Chancellery has pointed out that the actions of radical opposition groups against the country’s communications media constitute an injury to freedom of the press and to the right to communication and to the basic principles of the rule of law.

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Published in Spanish by Desinformemonos

https://desinformemonos.org/chomsky-estados-unidos-apoya-golpe-de-estado-o-asesinato-de-evo-morales/

Taken from: https://www.aporrea.org/internacionales/n348769.html

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee

 

Joint pronouncement of the CNI-CIG and the EZLN on recent aggressions

Joint pronouncement of the CNI-CIG and EZLN on the recent aggressions of the capitalists, their governments and their cartels against the original peoples of Mexico

National Guard repression of the Native communities of the Nahua people of Juan C. Bonilla.

To the Peoples of the world:

To the Networks of Resistance and Rebellion:

To the National and International Sixth:

To the communications media:

Those of us who are are the peoples, nations, tribes and barrios of the National Indigenous Congress – Indigenous Government Council and the Zapatista National Liberation Army, we condemn the following facts that we present below.

Repression on the part of the National Guard against the Native communities of the Nahua people in Juan C. Bonilla

We denounce the attack on the Native communities of the Nahua people of San Mateo Cuanalá, San Lucas Nextetelco, San Gabriel Ometoxtla, Santa María Zacatepec and the José Ángeles colonia (district), in the municipality of Juan C. Bonilla, when last October 30 de they were repressed with blows and rubber bullets, even against children, women and elderly persons, by the federal police, the Puebla state police and the National Guard.

The deployment of repressive forces against the compañeros, is to concretize the poisoning of the Metlapanapa River as part of the so-called Integral Project for the Construction of the Sanitary Sewer System of the Industrial Zone of Huejotzingo, Puebla, known as “Textile City,” which is part of the urban-industrial infrastructure megaproject known as the Morelos Integral Project, which already cost the life of compañero Samir Flores.

National Guard Attack on Native communities of the Nahua people in the municipality of Juan C. Bonilla

We condemn the cowardly attack that the Wixárika and Tepehuana community of San Lorenzo de Azqueltán, in the municipality of Villa Guerrero, Jalisco, suffered last November 3 at the hands of the caciques (political and economic bosses) Fabio Ernesto Flores Sánchez (alias La Polla), Javier Guadalupe Flores Sánchez and Mario Flores, who aboard three vans and accompanied by armed people ambushed comuneros and authorities. Acting with complete impunity, they beat the compañeros Ricardo de la Cruz González, Noé Aguilar Rojas and Rafael Reyes Márquez until they were seriously injured; they are now receiving medical attention.

These homicide attempts, which remain brazenly unpunished, are orchestrated to stop the dignified and historic struggle for land, the same as those who feel, because of being the owners money, owners of the region covet; they have always had the full complicity of government agencies that seek to make million dollar businesses with communal land, trying to erase the history of the Tepecano people.

We demand the live presentation of the compañeros Carmelo Marcelino Chino and Jaime Raquel Cecilio of the National Front for the Liberation of the Peoples in the state of Guerrero, who have been disappeared since last October 22, after they left in the direction pf Huamuchapa, coming from Acapulco. This criminal act is added to the criminalization, persecution, murder and disappearance of those in the state of Guerrero and in all of Mexico who struggle for the respect of indigenous territories against capitalist devastation.

At the same time, we denounce the detention and disappearance for several hours of compañero Fredy García of the Indigenous Rights Defense Committee (CODEDI), at the hands of Oaxaca police agents, after he attended an alleged work meeting with government officials, accusing him of absurd charges to criminalize the dignified struggle of CODEDI and of Compañero Fredy García against the capitalist dispossession and repression. We demand the immediate and unconditional freedom of our compañero, Fredy García!!

The capitalists, their cartels and their governments, impose death with armed groups to dispossess indigenous peoples, be they from the bad government, shock groups or criminals. For us the peoples it is violence, terror and indignation; for them it’s impunity and the guaranty that their crimes will translate into profits at the expense of entire peoples.

Attentively,

November 2019

For the Integral Reconstitution of Our Peoples


Never More A Mexico Without Us

National Indigenous
Congress

Indigenous Government Council


Zapatista National Liberation Army

En español: http://enlacezapatista.ezln.org.mx/2019/11/08/pronunciamiento-conjunto-del-cni-cig-y-ezln-sobre-las-recientes-agresiones-de-los-capitalistas-sus-gobiernos-y-sus-carteles-en-contra-de-los-pueblos-originarios-de-mexico/

Celebration of Life: A December of Resistance and Rebellion

SIXTH COMMISSION of the EZLN


Mexico

November 2019.

To the women who struggle all over the world:

To the National Indigenous Congress-Indigenous Governing Council:

To the National and International Sixth:

To the Networks of Resistance and Rebellion or whatever you call them:

To all those who feel called to any of these activities:

Compañeras, compañeros, compañeroas:

Sisters, brothers, hermanoas:

The EZLN’s Sixth Commission invites you to the:

Celebration of Life: A December of Resistance and Rebellion

Including the following activities:

“Puy Ta Cuxlejaltic” Film Festival


Second Edition

To be held December 7-14, 2019, at the following locations:

Caracol Jacinto Canek (in CIDECI, San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico)

Caracol Espiral digno tejiendo los colores de la humanidad en memoria de l@s caídos (Spiral of Dignity Weaving the Colors of Humanity in Memory of the Fallen), (in Tulan Ka´u, on the San Cristóbal de las Casas-Comitán de Domínguez highway, halfway between those two cities, 40 minutes from either one, driving prudently).

Program and participants to be announced at a later date.

Register to attend at the following address:

segundofestivalcine@ezln.org.mx

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First CompArte for Dance: “Dance Another World”

To be held December 15-20, 2019 at:

Caracol Jacinto Canek (in CIDECI, San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico)

Register to participate or attend at the following addresses:

participanteprimercompartedanza@ezln.org.mx

asistenteprimercompartedanza@ezln.org.mx

-*-

Forum in Defense of Territory and Mother Earth

To be held December 21-22, 2019.

The National Indigenous Congress, which is organizing this event with the support of the EZLN’s Sixth Commission, will provide details.

To be held at:

Caracol Jacinto Canek (in CIDECI, San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico).

-*-

NOTE: The following event is only for women who struggle:

Second Gathering of Women Who Struggle

To be celebrated December 26-29, 2019, at:

The Semillero “Huellas del Caminar de la Comandanta Ramona” (In the Footprints of Comandanta Ramona) in the Caracol Torbellino de Nuestras Palabras (Whirlwind of our Words), Tzots Choj zone (community of Morelia, MAREZ [Autonomous Zapatista Municipality in Rebellion] 17 de Noviembre), the same place where the First Gathering was held, it’s the official municipality of Altamirano.

Register at the following email:

estamosaprendiendo@ezln.org.mx

Note: ONLY women who struggle will be allowed to enter the semillero (seedbed), which is the site of the gathering (they can bring boys under 12). NO MEN PERMITTED at the site. Oh well. The Zapatista Women Coordinating Committee will provide details at a later date.

-*-

Celebration of the 26th Anniversary of the Beginning of the War Against Oblivion

To be held December 31-January 1, 2020, at:

Caracol Torbellino de Nuestras Palabras (Whirlwind of our Words), Tzots Choj zone (community of Morelia, MAREZ 17 de Noviembre).

Register at the following email:

visitante26aniversario@ezln.org.mx

-*-

That’s all for now.

From the mountains of the Mexican Southeast,

Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés

Sixth Commission of the EZLN

 

 

 

 

Megaprojects and rights

No to the Megaproject of the Isthmus! The Isthmus is ours, the Indigenous Peoples, the Mexican People, Not the Companies, Not the Governments!

By: Carlos Fazio

Heir of the megaproject of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec of Ernesto Zedillo (1996) –then renamed the Plan Puebla-Panamá (Fox, 2001), the Mesoamerican Initiative (Calderón, 2008) and the Special Economic Zone of the Isthmus (Peña Nieto, 2016)–, the Interoceanic [Trans-Isthmus] Corridor of Andrés Manuel López Obrador seems destined to reproduce the same neoliberal logic.

The 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) made up part of the legal-political framework for capital’s class domination. Since then, the corporate rights derived from the imposition of NAFTA meant a profound rupture of the Welfare State’s social contract, and the rights of the poor and the workers were devastated by “predatory private tyranny” (Chomsky said), which also demolished, via regulatory violence, the hierarchy and the normative pyramid of the system of protection for human rights.

NAFTA was not designed to promote the social good; nor an agreement between the people of the three countries of North America to take advantage of the mutual benefits of the exchange of products and services based on de their comparative advantages. It was a pact that elevated the legal status of big investors and, simultaneously, linked and subordinated the economic power of the State to corporate interests, thus eroding the State’s commitment and options for protecting the citizens. A central purpose of NAFTA was to disarm the original peoples in order to dispossess them of the tools of identification, expression, culture, resistance and transformative capacity that national sovereignty and the existence of a legitimate State can offer them. The disarming of the Mexican State versus corporate interests acquired tragic characteristics, upon becoming a promoter and certifier of the private operations of investors. Particularly grave was the accelerated dismantling of the 1917 Constitution, which had introduced social rights and the subordination private property rights to the common interest.

The structural violence of the capitalist system –the accumulation of wealth of a minority at the expense of poverty and the environmental and cultural destruction of the peoples– was incorporated into the treaty in a transversal way. The counter-reform of Constitutional Article 27, which modified the ownership of ejido and communal land, supposed an expropriation of rights and guarantees about the use and belonging of land and natural assets. Those practices were presented as sought-after development policies, but were really actions of dispossession that were subsequently provided legal coverage.

Under the logic of counterinsurgency, neoliberal regimes used state, paramilitary and criminal violence to generate terror and fear, as part of a strategy to control territories and populations; a scheme of institutional violence that utilized extrajudicial summary executions, forced disappearances, systematic torture, forced population displacement and land appropriation to impose economic policies that respond to the interest of the plutocracy and attack the rights and interests of the majority poor people.

As part of a process of “power diversion” −a transformation of the state apparatus that, at the same time reinforced, privatized and updated a tremendous punitive capacity−, the State, in a historic reactionary turn, abandoned all concern for the well-being of the population, abolished the public sphere, liquidated society and installed a criminal and mafia-like social-Darwinism, violating each and every one of the historic conquests of the peoples.

That savage regression in the exercise of power consisted in the use −on the part of governments, political representatives and de facto powers− of the economic, political, cultural and legal-institutional capacities of the State for the purpose of satisfying or benefiting plutocratic interests against or to the detriment of the public and general interest of the population, and at the expense of neglecting the minimum conditions of the reproduction and development of social life and of subjecting the exercise of individual and collective rights of the bulk of the citizenry to economic dynamics alien to their interests. The priority function of the State was reformulated to become the organizer and/or executor of the dispossession and expropriations, of the transformation and destruction of the productive structure and of the implementation of massacres, repressions and numerous violations of rights necessary for breaking the community social fabric. In Article 2, the Constitution recognizes the rights of the indigenous peoples to self-determination and autonomy, including the right to free and informed consultation, although inadequately. In any case, when Mexico recognizes international treaties, it should be understood that the State has the obligation to recognize said rights beyond the contrary constitutional restriction. The instruments where they establish those rights are Convention 169 of the International Labor Organization (ILO) on indigenous and tribal peoples and the United Nations Declaration on indigenous peoples. Those guarantees must be recognized today in an effective way, in regard to political autonomy, the ownership of their lands and being consulted about the megaprojects that can affect them directly, like the Interoceanic Corridor and the so-called Maya Train.

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Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Monday, October 21, 2019

https://www.jornada.com.mx/2019/10/21/opinion/024a2pol

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee

 

 

 

 

Day of the Dead in San Juan Chamula, Chiapas

Día de los Muertos en San Juan Chamula Photo: Isaín Mandujano

TRADITION, MUSIC and COCA COLA

 By: Isaín Mandujano

Year after year, in this community in the Highlands of Chiapas, indigenous Tsotsil people from 22 communities and spots go to the cemetery to celebrate their dead, where Coca Cola is an essential element on the graves.

Local, national and foreign tourists come to this community located a few kilometers from San Cristóbal de Las Casas, towards Tenejapa, but inside the municipality of San Juan Chamula, a little more in front of Cruztón, the mecca of posh, a traditional inebriating drink.

From early on, men, women and children concentrate on this, which is the most important holiday of this town, proud of its traditions, is the largest municipality of the more than 100 communities of San Juan Chamula, and that’s why each year the municipal president has to make his tour of this place with all his closest collaborators.

Next to the cemetery is what’s now the center of the population, a big fair is erected, mechanical games, stalls with food, clothing, and sweets; they sell posh, beer, fermented cane juice and corn beer, they say.

Among the norteño and mariachi groups that sing from grave to grave, the danzantes, kolemal max and free monkeys, in Spanish, stand out. With their wind instruments, accordion, artisan guitar made in this region, trumpets and rattles, the colorful characters dance around the graves and consume the drinks they are offered: beer, posh or whatever they give them. Some of them end up drunk.

A group of small dancers stand out. Pedro Hernández Gómez, from right here in Romerillo, [1] has a group of traditional dancing children, who he encourages not to lose the tradition of that indigenous Tsotsil town in the Highlands of Chiapas. Pedro is a young disabled man whose own children help him walk with his crutches carrying his accordion. With dreadlocks and sports clothes, Pedro strives to see that the children execute each instrument and dance to the beat of the wind music.

On the graves full of sedge, marigolds and candles, the beers also stand out. On some of the other graves they put tamales, atole [2] and agrio, [3] but many put Coca Cola, which they put next to the cross after spilling a little on the earthen grave, which they cover a board.

Photo: Isaín Mandujano

A Multidisciplinary Research Center study on Chiapas and the Southern Border (CIMSUR) reports that the state is the region of the world where the most Coca-Cola is consumed, an average of 821.25 liters per year per person. Jaime Page Pliego, a doctor in anthropology for the CIMSUR, revealed in his study that the increase in consumption was caused by a modification of the social and religious life of its inhabitants. And the most palpable proof is in Romerillo.

Concrete tombs are not allowed in this cemetery, nothing of cement, they say, no bricks; when they die, all are equal in this cemetery.

The cemetery is located on a hill, where 22 gigantic crosses are erected on the high part. There is one for each of the places and communities that has the right to bury their dead in this place.

In Romerillo this weekend is a long fiesta, musical groups liven up the nights. The quarrels are never lacking, but the mayors or police are ready to take the quarrelsome ones away to the community jail where they will spend a cold night.

We are 2500 meters above sea level. The alcohol is mostly what’s left over in this place. And not to doubt it, its neighbors are its brothers from the indigenous town of Cruztón, the posh capital, the mecca of posh. They come from many communities, many municipalities and from other states of the country to this place where the majority of its inhabitants produce posh based on wheat, raw sugarcane and sugar. Others use corn as the basic element.

Now they even make flavors to lower the intensity of the alcohol. Román, a young man who attend to his posh store in the center of Cruztón, says that people come from very far away to even buy tubs of the posh that his family produces. Román says that his neighbors from Romerillo are his main clients in these festivities, where those from Cruztón also have their dead.

Between the pre-Hispanic syncretism, Christianity and new additional elements of modernity, they make sure that the uses and customs, as well as their traditions are preserved in Romerillo, where thousands arrive to see their dead, but also to celebrate family life.

Notes:

[1] Romerillo is where the cemetery is located in San Juan Chamula municipality.

[2] Atole is a sweet hot Mayan corn drink.

[3] Agrio is a bitter beer drink from corn.

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Originally Published in Spanish by Chiapas Paralelo

Saturday, November 2, 2019

https://www.chiapasparalelo.com/noticias/chiapas/2019/11/dia-de-muertos-en-san-juan-chamula-tradicion-musica-y-coca-cola/

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee

 

A great disorder under the skies

Daily protests in Santiago, Chile after a rise in the cost of public transportation. Photo: Edgard Garrido/ Reuters.

By: Raúl Zibechi

The increase in the cost of bus fare in Santiago, Chile was 30 pesos (720 pesos equal one dollar), raising the cost to 830 pesos. It’s evident that the popular reaction was not because of the $0.04 per ticket, but rather was due to very deep causes that have a name: neoliberalism/ extractivism/ accumulation by dispossession.

The Quito Uprising was, formally, against the end of the fuel subsidies, which always make food prices more expensive and prices rise. The original peoples and the workers took advantage of the gap opened by transport carriers, who don’t have popular interests but corporate ones, for throwing themselves into the jugular of the model.

In both cases, and in many others, what’s happening is that the peoples are fed up with an inequality that doesn’t stop growing under governments of the most diverse signs. Because the inequality is structural and is closely tied to the extractive model, which is summed up in social polarization, increasing poverty and concentration of power in the financial elites and big multinational companies.

The gigantic popular mobilizations in Quito, Santiago and Port-au-Prínce, not to mention Barcelona, Hong Kong and Paris, show two things that are guiding the situation: the power that popular mobilization has acquired, capable of configuring deep political turns, and that collective actions transcend governments, questioning a model that produces misery below and luxury above.

Protests in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Photo: The Nation.

To be more precise: June 2013, with 20 million Brazilians in the streets of 350 cities, was a cry against inequality that buried the governability of Lula by the government not having comprehended the depth of the cry. December 2017 was key, but in an opposite direction, since it buried the conservative and classist governability of Macri.

However, these assessments continue being general and don’t touch the core. Walking through the streets of Quito these October days, where the sticky smell of smoke from burned tires remains, forces you to reflect. The exchanges with people from the most diverse movements, rural and urban dissipate the fog of the systemic confusion in which we move.

The first assessment is that women and youth played a decisive role in the uprising, which overflowed to the historic leaders. They starred in the largest march of women in the history of Ecuador, contributing the knowledge of reproduction and the care of life, adding lucidity to the fervor of youth without diminishing the combativeness.

The second [assessment] is the difference between an organized uprising and a spontaneous explosion. The Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (Confederación de Nacionalidades Indígenas del Ecuador (Conaie) is a community-based organization, very well structured, and that’s why it had the capacity to get the provocateurs out of the marches, including the masked ones. That’s something that is not being possible in Chile, where police agents systematically infiltrated the demonstrations and encourage looting, which turns the population against the protests.

The third [assessment] is that the uprising was possible thanks to the rural communities in the first place. They provided what was necessary to ensure permanence for 12 days in distant Quito. Two forces stood out: the communities of the central sierra, to the north and to the south of the capital, and the Amazonian peoples, whose arrival organized as an indigenous guard was decisive in the final days final.

Pro-Independence protests in Barcelona, Spain. Photo: El Pais.

There was also an important presence of urban communities, the poor neighborhoods where the young people played an active and decisive role. A sector of the urban middle classes overcame the racism promoted by the media and supported the original peoples with water and food.

Finally, there is the interpretation of what’s happening. Among the different analyses, I believe the most profound is the one that Juan Cuvi and his colleagues write, in a work entitled “The exhaustion of a social control model” (El agotamiento de un modelo de control social). This model was born in the early 2000s with Lucio Gutiérrez and was developed throughout the decade of Rafael Correa.

In effect, the model is in crisis, but nothing is seen that can replace it in the short term. That’s why the chaos is underway, which will last for an unpredictable time, until the forces capable of overcoming it mature. We must think in terms of decades, more than of years and, even less, compress the changes underway to electoral times. Nor can we think that what’s coming is necessarily better that what expires.

A great disorder, as Mao Zedong pointed out, can be something positive. A great order is the social cemetery capital needs to continue accumulating. Disorder isn’t enough to modify things. The system counts on social protest social for redirecting it towards its interests, taking advantage of the confusion that may be functional, if we don’t find ways of converting the current situation into a scenario favorable to the peoples.

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Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Friday, October 25, 2019

https://www.jornada.com.mx/2019/10/25/opinion/020a2pol

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee

 

 

They demand breaking up the armed groups in Chenalhó

The Displaced of Chalchiuitán Photo: Ángeles Mariscal

By: Isaín Mandujano

From this community in the Chiapas Highlands, indigenous people from a dozen communities that experienced a massive displacement in 2017, today asked the state and federal government to break up the civilian armed groups that operate in Chenalhó municipality that terrorized them for two years with their weapons and patrols in the region.

Just two days after the two-year anniversary of the murder of the indigenous Tsotsil Samuel Luna Girón, which triggered an armed attack on the residents of Chalchihuitán, on the part of civilian armed group in Chenalhó, today his widow, family members, friends and compañeros of the man riddled with shots, asked for justice and punishment of the murderers and that the government comply with the corresponding indemnifications for all the damages that they caused them, by not having guaranteed the security of those who suffered forced displacement.

Elicia Gómez García, Samuel Luna Girón’s widow, recalled that October 18, 2017, when a group of armed men murdered her husband in front of her and their children, and began to evict them from their homes and burn the houses, as well as those of others neighbors and relatives.

All of that derived from the dispute over territorial limits between the municipalities of Chenalhó and Chalchiuitán, where the comuneros of both places fought each other over some lands where Tsotsil comuneros of both localities grow coffee and corn. This is an agrarian conflict that has several decades now.

It was in October 2017, when more than 5,000 residents of some 11 Chalchiuitán communities bordering on Chenalhó, were obliged to leave their homes and take refuge in the mountains, while some were able to reach other communities or the municipal capital. The displaced had to leave 11 communities.

From the end of October until December, the 5,023 indigenous people, men, women, elderly and children, survived in precarious conditions, in overcrowded conditions, suffering cold and hunger. Some 12 people died of diseases, or because of not having food to give to their children. The dead were the weakest ones, newborns and elderly.

María Pérez Paciencia, from one of the nine communities abandoned on that occasion, recalled the miserable conditions that they had to endure for two months given the indifference of the state government of Manuel Velasco and the federal government of Enrique Peña Nieto. And although there were no conditions for returning, little by little they were returned to their homes, with the permanent threat of being attacked.

Javier Luna Girón, said that the civilian armed groups in the region that forced them to leave their homes continue operating with impunity, and that their dead continue without having justice.

Ausencio Pérez Paciencia, said that two years have already passed and they continue waiting for the payment the state and federal governments promised the 5,000 displaced for everything that they lost: crops, backyard and farm animals, household goods, burned houses that have not been reconstructed and many other material damages that they suffered.

Marcos Pérez Gómez lamented that the state and federal governments have just deceived the population, that these civilian armed groups that are patrolling the roads they continue terrorizing them, that they enter the cornfields (milpas) to intimidate the campesinos of Chalchiuitán. The government has not dismantled them and they have operated since 1997 when they organized as a paramilitary group to perpetrate the massacre of 45 campesinos on December 22, 1997 in Acteal, Chenalhó.

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Originally Published in Spanish by Chiapas Paralelo

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

https://www.chiapasparalelo.com/noticias/chiapas/2019/10/demandan-desarticular-grupos-armados-de-chenalho/

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee