Chiapas: Pueblo Creyente organize a pilgrimage on the seventh anniversary of jTatik Samuel Ruiz

February 3, 2018

Photo @SIPAZ

On January 25, the People of Faith (Pueblo Creyente) organized a pilgrimage to honor jTatik Samuel Ruiz, commemorating the 7th anniversary of his death. According to the newspaper Cuarto Poder, “more than five thousand Catholics of the 57 parishes of the diocese of San Cristóbal” participated in the pilgrimage through the streets of San Cristobal de las Casas before gathering in the Plaza Catedral to celebrate a mass officiated by the new bishop, Rodrigo Aguilar Martínez, who was accompanied by the bishop of Saltillo, Coahuila, Raúl Vera López. Aguilar Martinez stressed in his homily that “we learn from St. Paul and also from so many who in the history of this diocese of San Cristobal de Las Casas have spent their lives preaching with their words and their works the magnificent announcement of God’s love in Christ.”

Pueblo Creyente reaffirmed that we are aware of the reality that we live in, and we are moving in many places and in many ways, we have the firm task to go on struggling for freedom, peace with justice and dignity for the benefit of the people, uniting us in a common struggle and building alternatives; and before the indiscriminate exploitation of the Gifts of Creation, today we are also an example and a proof of organization in defense and care of Mother Earth. “

The banners that they carried during their pilgrimage were painted with texts denouncing social and political conflicts. They reflected the issues presented in thier statement, where they strongly rejected the plunder of Land and Territory and the privatization of natural ressources, the effects of the so called “structural reforms”, the corruption and impunity and the fact that “throughout the country, and particularly in Chiapas, adequate consultations are not carried out when laws are drafted or projects are developed that affect the territories and rights of indigenous peoples”. The large number of pilgrims exceeded the participation of the pilgrimages in the previous years.

For more information (in Spanish):

Realizan peregrinación en honor al obispo Ruiz García (Cuarto Poder, 26 de enero 2018)

Pueblo Creyente peregrina en el séptimo aniversario de la pascua de jTatik Samuel Ruiz (Chiapas Denuncia Pública, 25 de enero de 2018)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Chiapas/International: The Zoque Believing People to Receive 2017 Nobel Peace Prize October 28, 2017

Chiapas: Zoque People Mobilizing against Mega-projects in Chiapas July 3, 2017

Chiapas: Believing People Pilgrimage February 5, 2017


Chiapas/National: EZLN announces second level of Zapatista School

September 10, 2015

(@Espoir Chiapas)

(@Espoir Chiapas)

In a communique published on 27 July 2015 that is signed by Subcomandantes Insurgentes Moisés and Galeano, the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) announced the second level of the Zapatista School.

The dates for the new course are for 31 July-2 August 2015. However, on this occasion, “it is not a question of coming to Zapatista territories” but rather “the second level will take place universally outside of Zapatista lands.” Arguing that the economic situation and the governmental repression toward indigenous peoples makes matters difficult, the EZLN has organized levels 2 through 6 in this way, so that students do not have to come “every so often” to Zapatista territory.

The students who passed the first level will receive an e-mail between 30 July and 1 August that contains the instructions to access the video that contains the contents of the second level.

The communique ends by calling for solidarity with the struggles from below and to the left, as in Ostula and Ayotitlán, in solidarity with the families of the 47 missing students from Ayotzinapa, the families of the children who died in the ABC Nursery, as well as relatives of political prisoners and the disappeared throughout the world, in solidarity with those in struggle in Greece, and the indigenous people who care for Mother Earth.

For more information (in Spanish):

Segundo Nivel Escuela Zapatista (Enlace Zapatista, 27 de julio de 2015)

El EZLN convoca al segundo nivel de la Escuelita Zapatista (Chiapas Paralelo, 28 de julio de 2015)

Chiapas: El EZLN anuncia el segundo Nivel de la Escuela Zapatista ‪(Pozol Colectivo, 27 de julio de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Risks to the lives of Zapatista support-bases (BAEZLN) (3 July 2015)

Chiapas: EZLN pays tribute to murdered Support-base and announces organizational changes (10 June 2014)

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

Chiapas: Pilgrimage of the Believing People to observe the fourth anniversary of the death of Don Samuel Ruíz

February 8, 2015


Photo @SIPAZ

On Saturday 24 January, the Believing People of the San Cristóbal de Las Casas diocese held a pilgrimage through the streets of this city to commemorate the struggle and path of Don Samuel Ruíz García, the former bishop of Chiapas, who died four years ago.  Close to 10,000 believers, including Ch’ol, Tseltal, Tsotsil, Tojolobal, and mestizo men and women, participated in the pilgrimage which left from two points in the city toward Peace Plaza, where a mass was celebrated in honor of “jTatic Samuel.”  The banners that were carried during the event demonstrated the concern the pilgrims have for Mother Earth and the struggles they are undertaking to defend it, employing texts such as “no to mining,” “no to the highway,” and “our Mother Earth, the life-root of our people, we will defend.”



Photo @SIPAZ

The pilgrims also expressed their solidarity with the struggle for justice carried out by the families of the 43 disappeared students from Ayotzinapa, as their banners also showed.

For more information (in Spanish):

“Reconocimiento jTatic Samuel jCanan Lum”, lanzamiento de convocatoria (Koman Ilel, 23 de enero de 2015)

[VIDEO] Peregrinación del Pueblo Creyente recuerda a jTatic Samuel Ruiz(Koman Ilel, 25 de enero de 2015)

Peregrinación Pueblo Creyente (Koman Ilel, 24 de enero de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: New threats against members of the Believing People in Simojovel after their fifth pilgrimage demanding security and peace (12 November de 2014)

Chiapas: Believing People organize fourth pilgrimage in Simojovel (20 July 2014)

Chiapas: Urgent Action concerning threats to Marcelo Pérez, priest of Simojovel (28 June 2014)

Chiapas: Pilgrimage in Simojovel for the closure of “cantinas” and the end of violence; parish priest receives threats (13 June 2014)

Chiapas: Believing People holds pilgrimage in Simojovel to denounce the increase in violence in the municipality (October 26, 2013)

Chiapas: End of Mother Earth Congress

February 3, 2014
Peregrinación Congreso de la Madre Tierra. Foto @SIPAZ
Pilgrimage for Mother Earth Congress. Photo @SIPAZ
In observance of the third anniversary of the death of bishop Samuel Ruíz García and the commemoration of the 40 years since the founding of the Indigenous Congress in 1974, in San Cristóbal de las Casas from 22 to 24 January took place the Pastoral Diocene Mother Earth.  At the event close to a thousand people participating, hailing from different parishes of the state of Chiapas, as well as guests invited from other parts of the continent.

Among the principal goals of the Congress were to address the present environmental situation and to “propose agreements and actions to promote her defense and care.”

Among the agreements taken by those participating in the Congress were the work of raising awareness among families and communities regarding the existing problems, to organize communities to care for and defend Mother Earth, to pursue unity among political, ideological, and religious, differences, and to articulate and reorganize all the parishes to observe the agreements taken at the Congress.  In this way, it was decided to block mining operations and governmental policies which negatively affect the interests of communities: “We oppose mega-projects and devastating mineral exploitation.  We oppose the structural reforms proposed by the government to promote the interests of the dominant classes, in opposition to the people.  We pronounce ourselves in resistance to these more than 20 years of neoliberal agrarian reform which has ignored us completely as indigenous peoples, campesino communities, and Mexicans […].  Given the power of the transnational firms and their accomplice governments and allies, who seek to accumulate land and the resources of the air, soil, and subsoils, given to us by God, it is necessary that we realize the importance of resisting them…”

Lastly, on 25 January, the diocene organization the Believing People carried out a pilgrimage in the streets of San Cristóbal de las Casas that ended with a homily in the Peace Plaza, as presided over by the bishops Felipe Arizmendi Esquivel and Enrique Díaz Díaz.  Those present recalled the work of Samuel Ruiz and expressed their concern for the problems affecting Mother Earth.

For more information (in Spanish):

Se inicia en Chiapas Congreso diocesano sobre la madre tierra (La Jornada, 22 de enero de 2014) Más de mil 200 indígenas y mestizos en el Congreso Pastoral Diocesano de la Madre Tierra (Chiapas Paralelo, 23 de enero de 2014) Cierran filas pueblos indígenas tras concluir Congresode la Madre Tierra en San Cristóbal de Las Casas (Chiapas Paralelo, 25 de enero de 2014) Marchan y recuerdan al obispo Samuel Ruiz (Noticias, 25 de enero de 2014) Primer Congreso de la Madre Tierra en San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas (Pozol Colectivo, 27 de enero de 2014) Comunicado final del Congreso Diocesano Pastoral de la Madre Tierra (Otros Mundos, 27 de enero de 2014) A 40 años del”Primer Congreso Indígena de Chiapas Bartolomé de las Casas” (Koman Ilel, enero de 2014)

Chiapas: March in Palenque to defend Mother Earth and territory

October 25, 2013

Marcha 10 octubre 2013 @ Centro DH Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas

March on 10 October 2013 @ Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Center for Human Rights

On 10 October in Palenque there was held a march in defense of territory and Mother Earth that was organized in part by the indigenous organizations Committee for the Defense of Indigenous Freedom (CDLI), Tsoblej Yu’un jWocoltic, Xí’inich, and the Union of Indigenous Communities of the Jungle of Chiapas (UCISeCH).  Some 700 persons participated in the march, being from different communities and civil and social organizations.  They carried palm branches and banners, crying out that “Government, understand, the land is not for sale!”  In a press-release, the organizations noted that “we are tired of being tricked by governments and firms with their programs, such as FANAR (previously PROCEDE) and the Crusade against Hunger, by means of which they have invested money into the communities, provoking division in place of promotion of economic and social development.  With the entrance of such money, those with weak hearts are encouraged, because they are led to think that this will make everything easier, but in reality it makes us less useful still, given that we buy their seeds which destroy our lands, we buy their poisons which create more pests, and we open the door to their educational system.  With such education, our children would no longer desire to work as we have.”

The theme of the march was the defense of territory and Mother Earth.  For this reason participants declared that “it is the land where maize and beans are born, where our feet dance during parties, where we launch our prayers, where we are born, where we die, where we eat.  The land sustains us and gives us to eat.  To remove ourselves from the land is to eliminate our knowledge and fragment our community.”  With this they made reference to the “modification of article 27 of the Constitution, carried out during the presidential term of Carlos Salinas de Gortari. We do not want a change in ejidal lands becoming small properties; we continue to believe in communal territory.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Comunicado en defensa de la madre tierra y el territorio (CDLI, Tsoblej, Xí’inich y UCISECH, 10 de septiembre de 2013)

Realizarán marcha para “la madre naturaleza” (Cuarto Poder, 3 de octubre de 2013)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Presentation of the jTatic Samuel jCanan Lum Award to the Coordination of Indigenous Social Organizations XI’NICH (25 February 2011)

Chiapas: Meeting of Women in Resistance and Hope to defend Mother Earth and the land

November 10, 2010

On 6 and 7 November, women from different towns and organizations from Chiapas attended the Meeting of Women in Resistance and Hope to Defend Mother Earth and the Land, held on the campus of CIDECI-Unitierra.  The women who attended shared experiences regarding the Earth, the situation lived by their families, and how they see justice in their communities.  In the final declaration of the meeting, the Earth is defined as a source of food, customs, and traditions, and of their history as a people.  On the other hand they stress various problems related to the defense of the Earth that they have to confront as women.

In the communiqué, the women explain how they resist projects advanced by the government and big companies that affect their lands: “[the rural-cities project] requires that we leave the Earth’s natural resources in the hands of the government and firms that take these away from us so as to exploit them, thus violating our rights to live the way that our grandparents have.  Other projects htat threaten our communities are the dams that are to be built in our territory; their construction would force us to leave our lands.  But there are also other resources–specifically mineral ones–that lie below Mother Earth, and for this reason we reject the large firms that exploit our lands, that damage the health of our sons and daughters through the pollution of our rivers and communities.  They destroy the paths, divide the communities through money, and bring death to those who confront these foreign companies.”

Additionally, the women pronounced themselves against militarization and police-presence in their regions: “our territory is also affected by the presence of the police and soldiers, who supposedly arrive to help or give aid, but what we see is that they only arrive to control our daily lives.  At the checkpoints they seek information and treat us with disrespect.  In the places where they put their camps there is prostitution, alcoholism, drug-addiction, and problems in the community.” The women also indicated that the cultural patrons of their communities as being causes of inequalities between women and men: “the customs of some communities are not all good, because it is the men who continue having control and power over the land, even if it is us who work it; also in some communities in which the majority of the authorities are men there are sought agreements that exclude the word of all.  They want to control even those with whom we will get married.  They don’t recognize our rights as women.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Communiqué, sound, and video of the Meeting (Denuncia pública, Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Center for Human Rights)

Women’s meeting held in San Cristóbal de Las Casas (Cuarto Poder, 10 November)