SIPAZ: Documenting 20 years of peacebuilding in Mexico

June 23, 2015


SIPAZ is celebrating its 20th anniversary!

Support our crowdfunding campaign

SIPAZ was founded in 1995 as an international team of volunteers to reconstruct peace in the communities in the mountains of Chiapas. Today, we want to share the fruits of our work through a documentary film that showcases our experiences of 20 years of active non-violence in the south of Mexico. The women and men who appear in the film are indigenous campesinos from the southern states of Chiapas, Oaxaca and Guerrero who share their strengths and weaknesses, as well as the difficulties they face as peacemakers in their rural communities. The film will be showcased during a day of celebrations in November.

Click here to learn more about the makings of the film and get enthusiastic to support us financially!

You can also contribute your donation:

– Through Indiegogo by creditcard (Visa/Mastercard)
– Through Paypal:
– Or by sending a cheque (mentioning “crowdfunding campaign”) to:
P.O. BOX 20067

Chiapas: EZLN and members of the National Indigenous Congress (CNI) united against the plundering of their peoples

August 29, 2014


Between August 4 and 9, there was held in La Realidad, municipality of Las Margaritas, the “First Exchange between the Zapatista Peoples and the Native Peoples of Mexico”. 1,300 Zapatista delegates and over 300 indigenous representatives from different groups of the National Indigenous Congress (CNI) participated. On Saturday 9, they issued a declaration regarding the agreements of the Exchange to national and international adherents of the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandona Jungle and a new Declaration on the plundering of indigenous peoples was read. It is signed by the EZLN and 28 groups of the CNI that participated in the meeting.

In the act of closure, they emphasized that: “the current political leaders are delivering territories and assets designated for the nation to the large domestic and foreign companies, seeking the death of all the peoples of Mexico and of Mother Earth”. The enemy, they reported, is the dispossession “that has a single name, and that name is capitalism.”

At the same time, through the reading of “29 Mirrors”, different situations of dispossession of indigenous peoples from across the country, as well as their experiences of struggle, rebellion and resistance were shared. In addition, they said: “These are the plunders that we suffer, we know ourselves in an emergency that threatens our lives. So today we say to the powerful, to the companies and bad governments led by the criminal supreme leader of the paramilitaries Enrique Peña Nieto that we won’t surrender, we won’t sell out, and we won’t give up. […] Like the corn, today we will renew ourselves in our decision to build from below and to the left a world where there is room for many worlds”.

Finally they informed that between December 2014 and January 2015 they will organize the “First World Festival of Resistance and Rebellions against Capitalism.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Declaración de la Compartición entre el CNI y el EZLN sobre el Despojo contra Nuestros Pueblos (Radio Zapatista, 11 de agosto de 2014)

Primera Declaración de la compartición del Congreso Nacional Indígena y el Ejercito Zapatista de Liberación Nacional sobre Represión en contra de nuestros pueblos (Radio Zapatista, 11 de agosto de 2014)

EZLN a Peña: “No nos rendimos, no nos vendemos y no claudicamos” (Proceso, 10 de agosto de 2014)

EZLN invita al Festival Mundial de Las Resistencias y las Rebeldias contra el Capitalismo “Donde Los De Arriba destruyen Los de Abajo Reconstruimos” (Pozol Colectivo, 10 de agosto de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: EZLN announces dates for the exchanges between Zapatistas and indigenous peoples of the CNI (June 12, 2014)

Chiapas: EZLN announces upcoming activities (June 10, 2014)

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 supportbases 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)


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