Chiapas: EZLN pays tribute to murdered support base and announces organizational changes

June 10, 2014
Tribute to Galeano (@SIPAZ)

Tribute to Galeano (@SIPAZ)

On May 24, more than 4000 support-bases of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (BAEZLN) from the 5 Zapatista Caracoles (autonomous regions), militiamen, members of the Command of the EZLN, and hundreds of persons from national and international civil society organizations and adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle met in the community of La Realidad, headquarters of Caracol I. They came to give homage to José Luis Solis Lopez, alias Galeano, a BAEZLN killed by members of the Historical Independent Center of Agricultural Workers and Campesinos (CIOAC-H) on May 2.

“We came to pay homage to a comrade without size or height; we came not to bury him, we came to dig up his fighting spirit. We came to lift up every child, boy or girl,” said Comandante Tacho during the homage.

The tribute event, which was divided into three blocks, began with the appearance of Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos and other members of the General Command of the EZLN on horseback. After greeting civil society and BAEZLN, they went away. Then, through a megaphone, Subcomandante Moisés announced the progress in the investigation of Galeano’s murder. He insisted on using the rage against the system and “not against these mentally sick people that do not think for themselves and just want to comply with the order of the bad government” (referring to the aggressors).

During the main event in the afternoon, Subcomandante Moisés said that those responsible for killing Galeano were the three levels of government and persons belonging to different political institutions: “For it is they who arranged everything so that happened what they did to us. Florinda Santis who is from here in La Realidad, is anti-Zapatista and town Councillor for the PAN in Las Margaritas. She and others are the ones who called offering money given by the bad governments. That Florinda made an agreement with the Commissioner for peace. They met with former governors, the mayor, the state government, representatives, senators, and the federal government. Since before they made a plan together. The evil Luis H. Alvares, met with Florinda and that person, Carmelino, to carry out this cowardly and cruel paramilitary plan, together with the people that are easily bought in La Realidad. Subcomandante Moisés added: [the responsible is Velasco [Governor of Chiapas], and who is behind Velasco is Peña Nieto, and who is behind the traitor Peña Nieto, is “big business”. The real criminal is the inhuman neoliberal capitalism.” Subcomandante Moisés also said,The rage we feel is against capitalism. Because what they did to comrade Galeano comes from the hand of capitalism. (…) It gives us pain and sadness what they did to our fellow Galeano, but we are NOT going to take an evil through evil action (…) we will not give an excuse for the bad government to assassinate indigenous peoples and for it to say that it is an inter-communal conflict. We seek justice and not vengeance. Justice forever, and revenge will be against neoliberal capitalism”. Subcomandante Moisés finally noted the division and confrontation that the government is promoting within indigenous communities through the introduction of welfare programs and the National Crusade against Hunger: This is no plan against hunger; it is a counterinsurgency plan.”

After reading the communiqué, all the participants were invited to visit the grave of the deceased and thus to pay tribute to his family.

Late at night, Subcomandante Marcos reappeared and announced “his death.” He explained that his figure was just a media motley (pantomime) used to attract attention because it suited the interests of the EZLN. He added that at present the “Subcomandante farce” was no longer necessary, and that the organization had defined internal changes that will result in a completely indigenous direction: “this change of command is not given for illness or death, or by internal displacement or purging. It happens logically given the internal changes that the EZLN has had and has (…) But some scholars are unaware of other relays: The one of class: from the illustrated middle-class to the indigenous peasant. The one of Race: From the mestizo direction to the purely indigenous direction”. Finally, he announced: “We think it is necessary that one of us dies for Galeano to live. (…) So we have decided that Marcos should die today.” After reading the communiqué, Marcos went off-stage andthrough megaphone a voice announced: “Good morning comrades. My name is Galeano, Subcomandante Galeano.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Reporte Medios Libres desde La Realidad (24 Mayo) (Radio Zapatista, 24 de mayo de 2014)

Reporte 2 desde La Realidad (24 de Mayo) (Radio Zapatista, 24 de mayo de 2014)

La rabia que tenemos es contra el capitalismo, no contra aquellos que son engañados por él”: Subcomandante Moisés (Desinformémonos, 24 de mayo de 2014)

Reaparece el ‘subcomandante Marcos’ en un homenaje a líder zapatista asesinado (La Jornada, 24 de mayo de 2014)

Reaparece el subcomandante Marcos en homenaje a Galeano (Proceso, 24 de mayo de 2014)

Ya no es necesaria farsa del subcomandante: Marcos (Milenio, 25 de mayo de 2014)

Desaparece el Sup Marcos del EZLN y nace el Subcomandante Insurgente Galeano; el primero fue “una botarga”, ironiza (Chiapas Paralelo, 25 de mayo de 2014)

Comunicado del EZLN: Entre la luz y la Sombra (Enlace Zapatista, 25 de mayo de 2014)

Palabras de la Comandancia General del EZLN, en voz del SCI Moisés, en el homenaje al compañero Galeano. El día 24 de mayo del 2014 en La Realidad (Enlace Zapatista, 26 de mayo de 2014)

Muere Marcos surge Galeano” (Milenio, 26 de mayo de 2014)

Adiós, Subcomandante (Radio Zapatista, 26 de mayo de 2014)

Audios: Palabras de la Comandancia General del EZLN en voz del Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés (Radio Zapatista, 24 de mayo de 2014)

Entre la luz y la sombra: Últimas palabras del Subcomandante Marcos (Radio Zapatista, 25 de mayo de 2014)

Videos: Los muertos de siempre, muriendo de nuevo pero ahora para vivir (Regeneración Radio)

Homenaje Galeano Vive en La Realidad (Medios Libres)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Chiapas: indigenous organizations and communities also affected by “counterinsurgency and war of extermination” express their solidarity with the EZLN (June 9, 2014)

Chiapas: EZLN announces homage to Zapatista murdered in La Realidad and announces primary results of investigation on the case (May 18, 2014)

Chiapas: EZLN communiqué “Pain and rage” (May 18, 2014)

Chiapas: Attacks on EZLN support bases leave one dead and 15 injured among Zapatistas (16 May 2014)

Chiapas: those displaced from the Puebla ejido return to their community to harvest coffee

January 22, 2014



On 17 January, 17 families representing 98 persons from the Puebla Colony, Chenalhó municipality, who had been displaced for more than 4 months returned to their community of origin to harvest their coffee plants.  They were accompanied by Eduardo Ramírez Aguilar, Secretary General for Governance, and national and international observers.

These families fled from the Puebla ejido due to the increase in number of death-threats and aggressions resulting from a conflict over possession of land on which a Catholic church was being built.  In contrast to the failed attempt at return made in August 2013, the displaced were received in Puebla with live music provided by the ejidal commissioner, Agustín Cruz Gómez, and an Evangelical group, both of whom had previously been indicated as being the principal aggressors in the violent acts of the previous months.  White roses were given to officials as a sign of peace.

Eduardo Ramirez called on the displaced to judge whether they would remain definitively, promising his support if they did so: “We understand that you go to cut your coffee and that you will evaluate whether to stay or not in your ejido; we will be attentive to your decision.  The state executive sent me, and there are national human rights groups, in addition to the presence of non-governmental organizations that are recording everything, so that you know that for us it is important than the Puebla ejido, Chenalhó municipality, be at peace or on the way to peace.”

The Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Center for Human Rights (CDHFBC) noted in an Urgent Action published on the occasion of the provisional return that “the 10-day stay of the displaced persons who will go harvest their coffee as a means of survival constitutes a civil and peaceful act that demands principally that the state authorities immediately guarantee the necessary conditions for permanent return, in addition to the restitution of the individual and collective rights of which they had been arbitrarily deprived.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Acción Urgente: Familias desplazadas del ejido Puebla retornan para el corte de café” (CDHFBC, 17 de enero de 2014)

Blog de la Misión de Observación:

Los 98 desplazados regresan al ejido Puebla (Cuarto Poder, 18 de enero de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Those displaced from the Puebla Colony announce return for coffee harvest (15 January 2014)

Chiapas: Solidarity requested for those displaced from the Puebla Colony (16 September 2013)

Chiapas: After attempting to return, the displaced of the Puebla Colony transfer themselves to Acteal (13 September 2013)

Chiapas: Increase in violence in Puebla Colony, Chenalho (4 August 2013)

Chiapas: Las Abejas Civil Society, “the government is using two weapons in its strategy, lead bullets and sugar bullets” (25 June 2013)

Chiapas: end of Zapatista “little school”

September 13, 2013

Material de estudios en la Escuelita zapatista

Material for study from the Zapatista “little school”

From 12 to 16 August, more than 2000 students from several Mexican states and other countries attended the Zapatista “little school” which was held behind closed doors in the five caracoles and CIDECI-Unitierra in San Cristóbal de Las Casas.  Some of these students could also follow the classes on “Freedom according to the Zapatistas” online, by accessing the Enlace Zapatista webpage.  The students received a package containing two CDs and several books dealing with the issues “autonomous government, participation of women in autonomous government, and autonomous resistance,” and they moreover were invited to stay with a “votán,” or an EZLN member who was especially designated to serve as comrade, teacher, and guide.

The first day examined the question of “autonomous government” in which was detailed the functioning of the Good-Government Councils (JBGs) which are based in the five caracoles, 10 years after their creation.  The Zapatistas noted that the fact that they are called JBGs does not mean that they are already good, “but rather refers to the tendency permanently to be vigilant.”

The second day explored the participation of women at the local level, in the autonomous municipalities and the JBGs.

The third day presented the paths of the Zapatista communication media, educational system, and communal organization, which include farms, stores, shoe-stores, and autonomous banking systems, all of these based on communal work.

The fourth day saw discussion of the question of justice, thus strongly challenging the failures of the official system and presenting the model of autonomous justice which the EZLN has implemented in its spaces of influence as an alternative.

On the fifth and last day, democracy was discussed, with the contrast established between the operation of the “official democracy” with its elections every 3 or 6 years and the Zapatista system, in which “the most important thing is that the people give their opinion and proposals, and if they make mistakes in electing their authorities, remove them.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Parten a los caracoles casi 1,700 alumnos que asistirán a la Escuelita zapatista (La Jornada, 12 de agosto de 2013)

Inicia clases la Escuelita zapatista en San Cristóbal de las Casas (La Jornada, 12 de agosto de 2013)

A puerta cerrada inician clases mil 700 alumnos en la “escuelita zapatista” (Proceso, 12 de agosto de 2013)

Detalla EZLN el sistema de gobierno en sus Caracoles (Proceso, 12 de agosto de 2013)

Destaca EZLN participación de mujeres en la segunda jornada de la Escuelita (La Jornada, 13 de agosto de 2013)

Presumen zapatistas sus granjas, zapaterías y banco (Proceso, 14 de agosto de 2013)

Manifiestan en la Escuela Zapatista que en el gobierno autónomo la justicia no se vende (La Jornada, 15 de agosto de 2013)

El EZLN muestra en su ‘escuelita’ los logros de 19 años de autonomía (CNN México, 16 de agosto de 2013)

La democracia se simula con elecciones cada 6 años: EZLN (La Jornada, 17 de agosto de 2013)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: EZLN denounces nocturnal military overflights above Zapatista caracoles (21 August 2013)

Chiapas: Celebration of the tenth anniversary of the Zapatista caracoles (21 August 2013)

México: COP-16 in Cancún

December 27, 2010

Many commentators have hailed the outcome of the sixteenth Conference of Parties (COP-16) of the United Nations Fund on Climate Change (UNFCC), which took place in Cancún from 29 November to 10 December of this year. To the surprise of many, COP-16 did in fact produce an agreement—the Cancún Accord—that has been endorsed by nearly all of the world’s country-government delegates present in Cancún. Hopes for the summit were for many months rather low, with scores of governmental ministers announcing that no agreement should be expected. Indeed, in marked contrast to COP-16’s predecessor in Copenhagen, Denmark, remarkably few heads of state even bothered to make an appearance at the Mexican resort-city. In having produced an agreement, though, Cancún succeeded where its predecessor failed, for COP-15 closed with a hastily produced back-room agreement endorsed by the small number of countries that are the major offenders with regard to greenhouse-gas emissions: the U.S., China, the E.U., India, Brazil, Russia, and South Africa. The majority of countries represented in the COP were not consulted regarding the content of the Copenhagen Accord but were instead expected to agree to it, despite the fact that it mandated no binding carbon-reduction path at all and made only vague promises regarding ‘climate aid,’ or resources dedicated to adaptation to climate change. Indeed, country-governments critical of the agreement’s inadequacy saw their climate aid suspended by the U.S. altogether.

In this sense, then, that the Cancún Accord received much broader endorsement could perhaps be said to importantly reflect progress toward a more democratic and inclusive approach to climate-negotiations, but the truth of the matter is that the policy-proposals called for by the Cancún Accord, like those set forth at the end of COP-15 in December 2009, fail radically to address the problem of anthropogenic climate change, and hence imperil the welfare and even survival of much of humanity within the near term.

Photo (

In a parallel way, a Global Forum for Life and Environmental and Social Justice was organized in opposition to COP-16 in Cancún from 4 to 10 December and brought to a close by Bolivian President Evo Morales. It stressed that the important thing is that conventional approaches to the problem of climate change be displaced in favor of more rational and humane ones. Such can be found for example in the proposals made by La Via Campesina, the international association of small farmers, which quite rightly noted repeatedly at that a shift from large-scale industrial farming to traditional organic farming methods could do much to resolve the climate crisis, given that campesin@ agriculture as a whole produces a fraction of the carbon emissions brought about by industrial farming. A complementary approach is to be found in the Cochabamba Accord, the product of the World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth organized by the government of Bolivia in April 2010, which calls on Northern societies to institute radical carbon-reduction trajectories within the next 10 years, advocating that the resources presently dedicated by such societies to militarism and ‘defense’ be re-directed to dealing with climate change, and further demands the creation of an international tribunal for climate justice to prosecute country-governments that fail to fulfill their obligations to significantly reduce their contributions to global warming within the near term. Finally, the anti-capitalist grouping Anti-C@p in Cancún stressed the dire need for anti-systemic politics in light of the enormity of the threats posed to humanity by environmental destruction and climate change.

For more information (in Spanish):

Culmina COP 16 con Acuerdos de Cancún (La Jornada, 12 de diciembre de 2010)

Inevitable, el choque de trenes en la COP 16 (La Jornada, 5 de diciembre de 2010)

Arriban caravaneros a Cancún; exhibirán la grave devastación ambiental en México (La Jornada, 4 de diciembre)

Pocas expectativas en la Cop 16 (La Jornada, 29 de noviembre de 2010)

Página Web de la Vía Campesina (incluyendo fotos, audios y videos del Foro global por la vida, la justicia ambiental y social)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Hunger in Mexico – an increasingly common phenomenon likely to be resolved bymeans of profound social change (November 2010)

Chiapas: Thirteenth Anniversary of the Acteal Massacre

December 27, 2010

On December 16, as a part of the activities in observance of the 13th anniversary of the Acteal massacre in which 45 Indians were killed on December 22, 1997, the chorus of Acteal and Sak Tzebul, an indigenous rock group, gave a joint concert called “Voices that sow the seeds of peace” in the city of San Cristobal de Las Casas, in order to raise funds for the choir to record an album.

On December 20, 21 and 22, the civil organization “Las Abejas” held a Meeting named “Weaving the Resistance in favor of Autonomy and against Dependence and Counterinsurgency” in Acteal, Chenalho. Participants came from various regions of Chiapas, Oaxaca and Atenco and they explained in their final statement: “We understand autonomy as the right to live as we want, without asking permission and without others imposing on us to live as they want us to; as freedom for every people to make decisions about land, resources, organization and education; and to think for ourselves. Autonomy begins in the heart of every person, it is not just a goal, but the path in which we are already. ” They affirmed their commitment to “forge alliances as we want and to globalize our struggle from below, keeping with our own work, without relying on government aid and programs.” They reported: “Others are upset because we want to live free and they want to end our autonomy, to impose projects, to make us dependent on their programs. When that does not work out, they apply to you counterinsurgency strategies. But we keep up with the resistance. (…) [T] he government has changed color and discourse, but in reality it remains the same: it has changed its lead bullets with “bullets of sugar”, but without leaving the use of lead bullets. It has co-opted leaders, and sought to change the mind and heart of people. (…) We do not accept that because we have dignity. “

On day 22, a Mass was celebrated by the bishop of San Cristobal in the presence of hundreds of participants and many priests from different places of Chiapas. Moreover, young people and children from Acteal had prepared a play whose message was that holding memory may be something lively and promising: “Death will not have the last word but Life”, they said, and “we sing because despite the pain, joy is our strength. “

A few days before the anniversary of the massacre, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) published a report on the admissibility of the Acteal case and found that 13 years is a long enough period to apply the exception to the criteria of “exhaustion of domestic remedies”.

Since March 2005, the Commission had received a complaint submitted by the civil organization “Las Abejas”, to which the victims belonged, and by the Fray Bartolome de las Casas Human Rights Center. It alleged the international responsibility of the Mexican State in the massacre. Considering the non-exhaustion of domestic remedies, it was until earlier this year that the IACHR admitted the case.

The CDHFBC stated that the Commission report confirms the value and proof of the testimony of the victims’ relatives and survivors of the Acteal massacre. He added that the documentation published by the IACHR confirms the responsibility, by act and omission, of the Mexican State in the Acteal massacre, as well as the subsequent denial of justice, leaving unpunished this crime against humanity.

For more information (in Spanish):

- Masacres como la de Acteal suceden ahora todos los días, denuncian Las Abejas (La Jornada, 24 de diciembre de 2010)

- Conmemora Las Abejas 13 años de Acteal con acto sobre autonomía (La Jornada, 23 de diciembre de 2010)

- “13 años de la Masacre de Acteal” (Pronunciamiento de la Organización de la Sociedad Civil las Abejas, 22 de diciembre de 2010)

- “13 años de la Masacre de Acteal” (Pronunciamiento de la Organización de la Sociedad Civil las Abejas, 22 de diciembre de 2010)

- Homilía del obispo de San Cristóbal Felipe Arizmendi Esquivel en la misa en Acteal el 22 de diciembre de 2010

- Recuerdan con misa masacre en Acteal (el Universal, 22 de diciembre)

- “El gobierno apuesta al olvido en Acteal” (El Universal, 22 de diciembre de 2010)

- ONG: Acteal, 13 años de impunidad (La Jornada, 22 de diciembre de 2010)

- Pronunciamiento del Encuentro tejiendo Resistencia y Autonomia frente a la Contrainsurgencia y la Dependencia (Acteal, 21 de diciembre de 2010)

- Acteal bajo el signo de la impunidad (La Jornada, 21 de diciembre de 2010)

- CIDH: aún no se ha identificado a todos los responsables de la masacre de Acteal (La Jornada, 21 de diciembre)

- Boletín: CIDH presenta informe sobre la admisibilidad de la Masacre de Acteal (CDHFBC, 20 de diciembre de 2010)

For more information from SIPAZ:

- Chiapas: “Las Abejas” present the event “Voices that sow the seeds of peace” (December 14, 2010)

- Chiapas: “Las Abejas” and Fray Bartolome de Las Casas Human Rights Center celebrate admission of the Acteal case in the IACHR (November 26, 2010)

- Chiapas: Las Abejas indignant over the release of 15 of those responsible for the Acteal massacre (October 26, 2010)

Chiapas: “Las Abejas” present the event “Voices that sow the seeds of peace”

December 14, 2010

Las Abejas Press Conference (December 13st, @SIPAZ)

“In the Maya cosmology the number 13 means: The marriage of heaven and earth.
There are 13 levels to go to heaven
And with 13 candles pray the Elders
13 years of the Acteal Massacre
13 years of impunity … …

Our struggle is constant as the wind blows us life, and it continues daily such as the cycle of planting corn. “

During a press conference held in San Cristobal de Las Casas on December 13, “Las Abejas” invited to various activities to be performed in observance of the 13th anniversary of the massacre of Acteal. On December 16, there will be a cultural event in San Cristobal de las Casas with the presentation of the documentary “Acteal 10 years of impunity; how many more?” and a concert by the Choir of Acteal and the Rock group in Tzotzil Sak Tzevul. The Acteal Choir consists of 28 young people from different communities in the municipality of Chenalho. It was born in 1996 with the translation of the Bible into Tsotsil, and nowadays, in addition to religious music, it also sing about Las Abejas’ struggles, justice and peace.

On December 20, 21 and 22, activities are planned in Acteal. On Monday, December 20 cultural events will be held, including the presentation of the book Batik Tajimol ta! By Maruca Hernández and music of the choir with Sak Tzevul group.

On Tuesday 21, a Regional Meeting “Weaving the Resistance in favor of Autonomy and against Dependence and Counterinsurgency” will be held. Part of the goal is “to know one another and exchange experience and wisdom to continue building the autonomy of our people. To know that we are not alone, each organization walking side by side, we need to forge alliances between our peoples. “

December 22 will mark the anniversary of the Acteal Massacre (in which 45 Tsotsiles Indians were killed, mostly women and children) with a Mass at 10:00 am.

For more information (in Spanish):

Invitación al concierto 16 de diciembre

Conferencia de prensa 13 de diciembre de 2010 (video)

Invitación a los eventos en Acteal 20-22 de diciembre

Acteal 10 años de impunidad ¿y cuántos mas?

Sak Tzevul

Oaxaca: Events in observance of the commemoration of the repression in 2006

December 14, 2010

November 25 marked the fourth anniversary of the repression that members of the teacher and popular movement of Oaxaca suffered at the hands of federal agents and local police, leaving 100 detainees. In this context, and since previous days, there were a series of activities to commemorate those violent events.

Between the 18 and 20 of November, the section 22 of the National Union of Education Workers (SNTE) and organizations affiliated with the Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca (APPO) held a Democratic State Convention to begin a process of dialogue among peoples, communities, organizations and other political actors to build “from below” a new social, political and organizational pact. The general secretary of section 22, Azael Santiago Chepi, reported that objectives were defined so as to punish the governor Ulises Ruiz Ortiz and other officials involved in the repression of 2006 and so as to develop a new state constitution.

On November 22, the Human Rights Committee “25 de Noviembre” organized an event called “Oaxaca: evaluation of the human rights situation, 2006-2010”, where SIPAZ made a presentation and aimed at ” reflecting collectively on the situation of human rights in Oaxaca, especially during the period of 2006-2010, and with it, to highlight the issues of urgent attention for civil society and governments. “

On another hand, on November 24 , EDUCA presented the report “Social Movements and Democratic Change in Oaxaca 2010.” This study identified four main historical stages of these struggles: the germ of a social movement, the teachers’ movement, the indigenous movement and the emergence of civil society, and the Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca. It analyzed its origins, demands, claims and its main achievements. The report also provided an analysis of current conflicts, the identity of these social movements and their complex political alliances.

On November 25 , thousands of supporters of the Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca (APPO) took to the streets of Oaxaca City. During a meeting in the historic center, Azael Chepi Santiago said that participation in the protest is an example of the relevance of this process up to date for state and federal governments. Members of Section 22 of SNTE said they would continue demanding justice for the teachers’ conflict of 2006 and recognized that there are great expectations for the new administration of Gabino Cue. At the end of this event, Chepi said in an interview that there will be another protest on December 1st from the monument of Juárez to the Zocalo, so as to repudiate Governor Ulises Ruiz Ortiz leaving government and to ask Gabino Cue for a response to popular demands.

For more information (in Spanish):

Realizan convención la APPO y la sección 22 (La Jornada, 19 de noviembre)

Audios de Balance de Derechos Humanos (evento convocado por el Comité 25 de Noviembre realizado en la ciudad de Oaxaca el 22 de noviembre)

Informe “los movimientos sociales y el cambio democrático en oaxaca 2010″ (página Web de EDUCA)

EDUCA presenta informe público “los movimientos sociales y el cambio democrático Oaxaca 2010” (El Piñero de la Cuenca, 24 de noviembre de 2010)

Maestros del SNTE exigen cárcel para Ulises Ruiz (El Universal, 25 de noviembre)

Conmemora la APPO represión en Oaxaca (La Jornada, 26 de noviembre)

For more Information from SIPAZ (in English):

Oaxaca: Supreme Court decision in Oaxaca case (October 23, 2009)

Chiapas: Sixth Meeting of Builders of Peace and Reconciliation

November 26, 2010

Between the 16th and 19th of November 2010, the Sixth “Meeting of Builders of Peace and Reconciliation” took place in the community of San Salvador, autonomous municipality of Francisco Villa. The event was organized and facilitated by brothers and sisters from the area of Zapata, in the Estrella region of Ocosingo, with the support of the the Commission of Support for Unity and Community Reconciliation (CORECO). It brought together 268 people (220 men and 48 women) arriving from 74 communities and 17 municipalities in Chiapas, such as Tenejapa, Ocosingo, Bachajón, Chamula and the autonomous municipalities of Francisco Villa and San Manuel. The participants belonged to 26 different civil and social organizations, including Pueblo Creyente (Community of Faith), the Other Campaign, the Organization of Relatives of Prisoners of Ocosingo, the Rural Association of Collective Interest – Independent and Democratic (ARIC-ID) and the Rural Association of Collective Interest – Historical (ARIC-Historical).

The event served as a forum for reflection for women and men that are engaged in conflict mediation and peacebuilding activities in their communities. The participants valued as a key result of the previous meetings the exchange of knowledges and stories that they are able to share in their communities afterwards. To know that ‘they are not alone in the struggle for a fairer world and that, on the contrary there are many people organized in different regions of Chiapas” helped to cheer them up to go on with this struggle. As mentioned by Jose Alfredo Gordillo Martínez from Comitan: “I participate in this meeting for the first time and I came alone from my community, but arriving here I do not feel alone at all.” “Learning from other’s work helps us to organize ourselves better”, said Joan Santiz Hernández, president of the Organization of Relatives of Prisoners of Ocosingo: “The meeting helps to open up the thinking, because we are still a bit lost [... ] it teaches us many ideas. ” Another important result is the increased participation of women in the meetings. In the first event of this kind 6 years ago only men participated. Now women and men participated not only in the preparation of the event, but also in its realisation.

The cultural values of their ancestors was a recurring theme in the working groups and plenary sessions. Many people expressed concern about the loss of these values and the desire to recover them. During a plenary session, the group from the Highlands of Chiapas shared: “Just as our ancestors built the peace by peaceful means, the builders of reconciliation now build the bridge that leads to peace, a place where problems can be solved peacefully.” The recovery of local varieties of maize, traditional medicine and respect for Mother Earth in the same way as their ancestors did were also valued as necessary.

To draw attention to the situation in prisons, a member of the Organization of Relatives of Prisoners of Ocosingo, on the second day, shared the contents of a letter sent on September 30 to the State Government stating their concern about the problems within the prison of Ocosingo. The organization calls for a respectful manner to treat visiting relatives and fair legal proceedings for the prisoners.

During a pleany session, Jorge Santiago, president of the CORECO, suggested five steps to follow to move forward in building peace. He emphasized that in Chiapas the core of the conflicts are government programs. He also mentionned that we need to analyze what are the interests of the different parties in the conflict, including our own: “Sometimes we can be clear about what the others want, but we do not know what we want. Taken into account our own position, it is important to ask ourselves what are our interests? ” Similarly, he stressed the richness that comes from the diversity of peoples, languages, cultures and religions: “The difference between us is an asset. The challenge is to see how we join together our differences to make a single force. “

Aside from the working groups and plenary sessions that took place, there were also spaces for community activities. To cheer us up in times of fatigue, several creative dynamics, songs and short exercises were proposed. Every day the meeting began with a prayer before the Mayan Maya which was assembled during the welcoming ceremony the first day. Meal times were opportunities for people to talk and exchange experiences, and at night, the bodies and souls could relax dancing with live music. Matthew Mendoza Díaz, a member of the organizing committee was happy with the way the event developed: “I am pleased with the participation of people, all were very active. The difference from 2007 when the event was in this same region Estrella is that there is now much more participation of women, and young men and women. We leave here with the heart stronger”.

For more information:

Realización del Sexto Encuentro de Constructoras y Constructores de Paz y Reconciliación

More information from SIPAZ:

Fifth Meeting of Builders of Peace and Reconciliation – Beyond stressing the need for peace,let us construct it!(SIPAZ Report, March 2010)

Chiapas: Meeting of Organization of Relatives of Prisoners of Ocosingo (OFPO) (October 6, 2010)

Chiapas: in Masojá Shucjá, memory and demands for justice for the victims of paramilitaries in 1995 and 1996

October 7, 2010

Photo: relatives demand justice for Romeo Pérez Pérez, Minerva Guadalupe Pérez Torres, Mateo Hernández López, Juan Ramirez Torres, Hector Pérez Torres, Encarnación Pérez Pérez, and Sebastián Pérez López (@SIPAZ)

On 29 August 2010, in the community of Masojá Shucjá, municipality of Tila, in the Northern Zone of Chiapas, there was held a commemoration of the victims of conflict during the years 1995 and 1996–some from Masojá Shucjá, others from neighboring communities.  Some of the victims were buried, while others continue disappeared to date.

People from several communities of the municipality came to Masojá Shucjá to join the residents of the community in this act of memory.  After a celebration held in the church, all joined a rosary-prayer in the pantheon where, together with members of their family, lies Mateo Hernández López, ambushed and killed by Paz y Justicia while en route to his milpa in 1996.

Due to the recent rains and landslides experienced in recent days, not all the invited reached the community.  The absence of the Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Center for Human Rights (CDHFBC) in particular was lamented, given that it is the CDHFBC that is taking the case before the Inter-American Court on Human Rights and that accompanies the community in its efforts of historical memory.  All the children of the community’s primary school attended the event, so that they come to know what it is that happened, and that it continues in impunity.  There it was explained that, although justice does not come from above, memory is a means by which to make justice from below.

On this occasion, not only was justice demanded for the victims of the conflict and their relatives, but also for the losses of possessions that occurred during that time.  As was claimed in a poster exhibited in the pantheon, “in the community of Masojá Shucjá, municipality of Tila, Chiapas, we demand that the possessions we lost during the time of conflict with Paz y Justicia and the bad government in the year 1996 be compensated”: 424 cattle, 23 horses,a number of farm-birds, and 20 burnt houses.

For more information (in Spanish):

Chiapas: 14 years after the forced disappearance of Minerva Pérez Torres by Paz y Justicia paramilitaries (30 June 2010)

Chiapas: commemoration of the victims of Paz y Justicia in Masojá Shucjá (3 September 2009)

Chiapas: call announced for the 2011 “jTatic Samuel jCanan Lum” Honor

August 2, 2010

On 27 July was announced the call for the 2011 “jTatic Samuel jCanan Lum” Honor, an award presented last January to the Diocesene Coordination of Women (Codimuj), the Mayense-Indian Ecumenical Theology group, the social organization Las Abejas of Acteal, and professor Patishtán Gómez, the last being a prisoner unjustly held for 10 years, a founding member of the political-prisoner organization “The Voice of Amate.”  In a public event carried out by the recognized actors together with the organizations involved in the process–the Fray Bartolomé de las Casas Center for Human Rights (CDHFBC), the Commission to Support Communal Unity and Reconciliation (Coreco), Social-Economic Development of Indigenous Mexicans (Desmi), the Institute of Intercultural Studies and Investigations (INESIN), Services and Assessment for Peace, the International Christian Service of Solidarity with the People of Latin America (Sicsal), and the International Service for Peace (SIPAZ)–this year’s recipients shared their lived-experiences since Samuel Ruiz García, bishop emeritus of the diocese of San Cristóbal de Las Casas, granted them the recognition on 24 January 2010.

The “jTatic Samuel jCanan Lum” Honor aims to recognize the work of women and men, organizations, and collectives that have contributed to the people in their construction of communal alternatives, and/or regional such alternatives, as well as for work in promotion of unity and peaceful social transformation, in addition to making-known and encouraging such work. The charge of “jTatic Samuel jCanan Lum” was given to Samuel Ruiz García on 14 October 1999 in Amatenango del Valle from the tsotsil, tseltal, ch’ol, tojolab’al, and zoque peoples as a recognition of his role as protector of the people, who love him and defend him, beyond its recognition of his dedicating his life to the service of others.  jTatic Samuel has recognized that his work is part of a historical process from the communities and peoples that seek liberation; he has also declared that the recognitions he has received are also for the people who act as subject of their own history and who, with their work, love and defend the people.

For more information (in Spanish):

Call for “jTatic Samuel jCanan Lum” Honor 2011 (pdf)

Cuarto Poder: jTatic Samuel Honor (28 July 2010)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Presentation of the “jTatic Samuel jCanan Lum” Honor (26 January 2010)


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