Chiapas: legal motion denied to the ejidatarios of San Sebastián Bachajón

April 24, 2015



Ejidatarios from San Sebastián Bachajón, who struggle against the imposition of tourist megaprojects on their land, have been denied the legal motion they had presented to the courts in March 2011.  After three cancellations, an attempt to transfer the case to the Supreme Court for Justice in the Nation, and despite the the detection of violations of due process, a federal tribunal denied the motion 274/2011.  In a communique released on 10 April, the anniversary of the murder of Emiliano Zapata, the ejidatarios reported their knowledge of the refusal of the motion, reaffirmed their commitment to the struggle against the State, and denounced that official authorities are meeting with party-members from the region, seeking to develop strategies to crush their own autonomous process.

This struggle over the management of lands surrounding the Agua Azul waterfalls has resulted in three violent displacement operations, two murdered communal leaders (Juan Vázquez Guzmán, killed on 24 April 2013, and Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano, killed on 21 March 2014), and several political prisoners.  Recently, the ejidatarios also had their regional headquarters burned down, in an operation that involved 600 police, who threatened two autonomous journalists and took their equipment.

In the latest communique, released on 11 April, the ejidatarios make an invitation to the commemoration of the murder of Juan Vázquez Guzmán.  On 24 April, the second anniversary of his, a mass will be held in the family home of Juan Vázquez Guzmán at 3pm.

As a means of popular pressure, a petition has been launched on, and the Chiapas Center for Women’s Rights seeks signatures for its communique in support of the ejidatarios.  Those interested can email

For more information (in Spanish):

En Ejido San Sebastián Bachajón Adherentes a la Sexta Declaración de la Selva Lacandona. Chiapas. México. (Blog Viva Bachajón, 11 de abril de 2015)

Piden solidaridad para habitantes de San Sebastián Bachajón (Chiapas Paralelo, 15 de abril de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Regional headquarters of San Sebastián Bachajón burned down; autonomous journalists attacked (10 April 2015)

Chiapas: new national and international brigade in solidarity with San Sebastián Bachajón (1 March 2015)

Chiapas: Tensions maintained in San Sebastián Bachajón(10 February 2015)

Chiapas: first report of the caravan of adherents to the Sixth to San Sebastían Bachajón after the violent displacement of 9 January (29 January 2015)

Chiapas: Indigenous ejidatarios from San Sebastián Bachajón are forcibly cleared from the entrance of the Agua Azul waterfalls (21 January 2015)

Chiapas: PUDEE denounces “climate of violence” generated by the CFE in the zone below Tila

April 15, 2013


On 7 April, the organization United Peoples in Defense of Electricity (PUDEE) released a communique denouncing the behavior of personnel from the parastatal Federal Electricity Commisison (CFE), following its cutting of electrical energy to several residents of the Emiliano Zapata community in the zone below Tila.  PUDEE indicated that, beyond cutting electricity, a CFE worker entered the land of a PUDEE member without permission, and when the property-owner attempted to block his entrance, the worker “raised his hand with the intent of beating him on the head.”  Before the CFE workers left, they warned the residents that “soon we will return to continue [with] mass-electricity cuts,” perhaps accompanied by the police, and they “threatened arrest-orders and the carrying out of electricity cuts in the neighboring community of Paso Chinal and the communities below Tila.”  In the denunciation, PUDEE expresses that “the ejidal and communal authorities are worried,” because the CFE is creating conflicts.  PUDEE found the leaders of the three levels of government responsible for whatever may follow, denouncing that “it is they who now are reactivating paramilitary groups and sowing terror, fabricating crimes and harassment, and administering threats of arrest-orders against the people.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Denuncia íntegra de PUDEE (07/04/2013)

Cuarto Poder: Pobladores se resisten a liquidar tarifa de CFE (10/04/2013)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: PUDEE denounces harassment and electricity cut-off by CFE (24 March 2012)

Chiapas: PUDEE denounces harassment by the CFE (25 February 2011)


Memory and repression mark the 91st anniversary of the assassination of Emiliano Zapata

April 15, 2010

Mobilizations and actions took place across México on Saturday, April 10, in commemoration of the assassination of Emiliano Zapata, Liberator General of the South during the Mexican Revolution, who was killed on April 10, 1920, in Chinameca, Morelos.

Members of the National Council of Farm and Fishing Organizations came to the Zócalo of Mexico City in the afternoon of the 10th, thus concluding the Chiapas-Mexico Caravan March for Dignity and Respect of the Peoples that began on the first of the month in Tuxtla Gutiérrez, México, the capital of Chiapas.  Arriving at the Zócalo, members of the march demanded the liberation of political prisoners and the implementation of a “new economic, political, and social model for the country, with honest politicians committed to the people.”  In particular, the group demanded the restoration of the constitutional right to ejidal propert, which was weakened by the neo-liberal reforms that took place during the last decade of the twentieth century, as well as a halt to the criminalization of social protest as well as the killing of journalists and social leaders. Fernando Lima, representative of the National Union of Electrical Workers (SME), said “in Mexico today, the demands are the same as they were 100 years ago.  The practices of the Porfiriato [ie, the period of the dictatorship of Porfirio Diaz, which took place prior to the Revolution] are reproduced by Calderón: the aim is to try to dominate the people by means of the military and the media.  If we don’t do anything, we will sadly be in the same place we were a century ago.”

In the morning of the same day, members of the women’s collective Weaving Resistance–adherents to the Other Campaign launched by the Zapatista Army for National Liberation (EZLN)–planned an event called “Zapata lives in the struggle of the peoples,”also to be held in the Zócalo of Mexico City.  Members of the collective denounced the police for not allowing them to enter the city’s Zócalo because they were said not to have the required permits.  The participants nonetheless intended to continue with the program, telling the police that “we don’t have to ask for permission to exercise our political and social rights.”  The confrontation continued as police began to hit and drag the women of Weaving Resistance; the police were also denounced for attempting to detain a member of the Zapatista Lawyers Collective (CAZ).

Additionally, other demonstrations took place in the states of Michoacan, Guanajuato, Chiapas, and Oaxaca along with commemorations in Switzerland and France.  The communiqué of the French supporters stressed that “A hundred years after [the Revolution], nothing has changed! The money and the arrogance of power continue governing Mexico, and to meet the demands of international capital, the revolutionary achievements of the early twentieth century have been dismantled […]. Land reform has been officially abandoned, so now the land returns to being a marketable good. The Mexican government continues persecuting the rebels. Corruption and patronage infect political life. ”

As for the commemoration of the assassination in Chiapas, there was a blockade of the San Cristóbal-Tuxtla Gutiérrez highway by members of the Independent Regional Campesino Movement (MOCRI) demanding the release of their member Pablo Francisco Jimenez, who was arrested in Mexico City by members of the Attorney General’s Office. Additionally, the Emiliano Zapata Proletarian Organization (OPEZ) conducted a roadblock of San Cristóbal-Comitán to protest rising fuel prices. In Oaxaca de Juarez, members of Section 22 of the National Union of Education Workers (SNTE) and members of the Peoples Popular Assembly (APPO) held a demonstration near the statue of Zapata.

Indeed, Imelda and Lucrecia Zapata Espinosa, granddaughters of General Zapata, lamented during a demonstration that took place in the Revolution Plaza of Cuautla, Morelos, where the remains of Zapata lie, that the ideals of the Mexican Revolution have not yet been realized, commenting that “few have their land now, some have nowhere to plant, and worse, no money at all, whether to purchase seeds or buy food.  The government does not help us at all.” For her part, Imelda emphasized that due to the various realities currently faced by the Mexican people, there is no reason to celebrate today, even if 2010 marks the centennial of the Revolution and the bi-centennial of independence.

The same day, an editorial appeared in La Jornada, in which the newspaper’s editors stressed that the anniversary of Zapata’s murder occurs concurrently with “a disastrous situation in the Mexican countryside.” The piece stated that in the 18 years that have passed since the start of the “counter-reforms” promoted by  then-president Carlos Salinas de Gortari in preparation for the passing of NAFTA (the North American Free-Trade Agreement), Mexico has  seen “a deepening abandonment of the countryside and the deterioration of living conditions among its inhabitants, the dismantling of state support for small production and domestic food-consumption, and the concentration of budgetary allocations to agriculture in the hands of a small group of large exporters.” The result, said the editors, was “[the] destruction of the social fabric in general. ”

Also that day, President Felipe Calderón visited Chinameca, the location of Zapata’s murder. He opened his speech by saying that “the principles, values, ideals and legacy of Zapata are still valid and should be the objectives to be realized by all Mexicans.” Noting that “it is time for profound change,” Calderón stressed that “the best way to honor the memory of Emiliano Zapata” would be “to move from a logic of possible change to the logic of the profound and necessary change. ” He added that “the cry of ‘Land and Liberty’ was raised [by Zapata] against arbitrary rule and injustice, social inequality and the trampelling of rights.” Such comments could be are perhaps ironically parallel to the words of Martín Negrete Rodríguez, leader of the Independent Popular Campesino-Worker Union in Irapuato, Guanajuato, who, in marking the anniversary of the assassination, stated that the current social situation of the Mexican people could give birth to a new revolution.

For more information (in Spanish):

Indigenous and campesino groups demand a new economic, political, and social model (La Jornada, 11 April)

Harrassment and repression against the event in the Zócalo on 10 April (Enlace Zapatista, 13 April)

Commemorating the 10th of April in Paris and Bern, Switzerland (Enlace Zapatista, 11 April)

The ideals of the Revolution have not been realized, lament Zapata’s grand-daughters (La Jornada, 11 April)

Emiliano Zapata and the devastation of the countryside (La Jornada, 10 April)

President Calderón at the Civic Ceremony for the Commemoration of the 91st Anniversary of the Death of General Emiliano Zapata Salazar (speech, 10 April)