Chiapas: Las Abejas of Acteal reject dams and high electricity prices, affirming “Free Rivers and Living People” instead

April 10, 2015

Foto @ Blog Las Abejas de Acteal

Photo @ Blog Las Abejas de Acteal

On 14 March, in observance of the International Day of Action against Dams and for Rivers, Water, and Life, the Las Abejas Civil Society published a communique “against the looting and plundering of our lands in Chiapas and in Mexico.”  Said plundering “which is imposed by the rich and the bad governments of Mexico is the principal cause of forcible displacement, forcible disappearance, torture, arbitrary arrests, and massacres,” as they say.

In this way, they reaffirmed their “civil resistance to paying for electricity.  Why do we not pay the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE)?  For the following reasons:

a)  the San Andrés Accords have not been faithfully observed.

b) justice has not been done in the Acteal massacre

c) the prices are unjust

d) there are firms in Mexico and federal enterprises that do not pay for electricity, as has been confirmed by the secretary general of the Mexican Electricians’ Union (SME), as revealed in La Jornada in 2009.

e) Chiapas produces 45% of the hydroelectric power of the country, and it unjust and shameful that we should have to pay so much for electricity, while many communities and families lack this service altogether,” Las Abejas noted.

They added: “the CFE says that we ‘owe’ them a lot of money, but we tell them that it is they who owe us much, because they do business in our lands and fail to consult us.”  Las Abejas rejected the plans for more hydroelectric projects, “because the CFE and the bad governments of Chiapas and Mexico only seek more dams for their own economic benefit, while we poor people in communities suffer the consequences.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Rechazo total a los megaproyectos del mal gobierno (Las Abejas de Acteal, 14 de marzo de 2015)

Rechazo total a los megaproyectos del mal gobierno:Abejas de Acteal(Chiapas Denuncia Pública, 19 de marzo de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Las Abejas Civil Society expresses solidarity with the relatives and comrades of the disappeared students from Ayotzinapa, Guerrero (5 February 2015)

Chiapas: During the XVII anniversary of the Acteal massacre, Las Abejas denounce impunity and affirm, “They could not kill our roots” (30 December 2014)

Chiapas: Three of the remaining five prisoners held for the Acteal massacre are released (6 December 2014)

Chiapas: New communique from Las Abejas, five years after the release of those responsible for the Acteal massacre (2 September 2014)

National: Forum advances legislative reforms for observance of San Andrés Accords on indigenous rights and culture

March 2, 2014

Foto: archivo SipazPhoto: SIPAZ archive

On Wednesday 26 February, there was held the Forum “Indigenous Rights and Legislative Harmonization” as organized by Jaime Martínez Veloz, head of the Commission for Dialogue with Indigenous Peoples (CDPI) from the Secretary of Governance, who affirmed that “Today, given the protection of new national and international laws regarding indigenous rights, there exists no valid argument to impede the observance of the San Andrés Accords (…) We meet in observance of a national context in which the indigenous peoples of Mexico reclaim a profound change in their relation with the Mexican State.  The San Andrés Accords are the result of a process of construction of greater horizontality and participation that we have experienced in the recent years of Mexican history.”

The forum was attended by 150 persons, 70 of them indigenous, who saw it necessary to harmonize the international laws which deal with indigenous affairs with the international accords ratified by Mexico.  In this way, they agreed on the need for the creation of a General Law on Free Prior and Informed Consent, that would allow indigenous people to know about the decisions and projects that affect their lands and natural resources.

Sebastián de la Rosa Peláez, president of the commission of the Center for Social Study and Public Opinion (CESOP) from the federal congress, indicated the necessity of creating a single law on the rights of indigenous peoples that would have constitutional validity.

There was agreement on the part of the participants to have the accords debated at the forum sent to the legislative bodies so as to take the necessary initiatives to have these constitutional reforms be realized and the rights of the indigenous recognized.

Beyond this, according to data from a CESOP poll, more than 70% of citizens perceive that little to nothing is done in favor of indigenous peoples.

For more information (in Spanish):

Los Acuerdos de San Andrés son un referente político, histórico y moral, coinciden expertos (La Jornada, 28 de febrero de 2014)

Los Acuerdos de San Andrés, sin obstáculos legales (La Jornada, 27 de febrero de 2014)

Analizan en foro pendientes con pueblos indígenas (Milenio, 27 de febrero de 2014)

Perciben ciudadanos que se hace poco por los pueblos indígenas (Diario rotativo, 26 de febrero de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: 18 years after the signing of the San Andrés Accords on Indigenous Rights and Culture, these continue not to be recognized by the State (1 March 2014)

Chiapas: new governor calls for observance of San Andrés Accords (8 January 2013)

National: Reactions by state and federal governments to the Zapatista mobilization of 21 December (27 December 2012)

Chiapas: “We are convinced that he is innocent (Patishtán),” Martínez Veloz

September 13, 2013

Jaime Martínez y Sandino Rivero @ SIPAZ

On 27 August, the Commissioner for Dialogue with Indigenous Peoples of Mexico, Jaime Martínez Veloz, visited Alberto Patishtán Gómez in prison no. 5 of San Cristóbal de Las Casas, seven days into Patishtán’s hunger strike, which he had been engaging in with his comrade Alejandro Díaz Sántiz.

In press-conference, the Commissioner said that the release of Patishtán, among other things, “is fundamental so as to generate the minimum conditions of trust” with the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) toward the observance of the San Andrés Accords, adding that Osorio Chong, Secretary of Governance, “is in agreement that this is the path forward.”

Martínez Veloz recalled the conclusions of the project of justice Olga Sánchez Cordero in which she mentions that Patishtán Gómez “is totally innocent, and his case is not a juridical question, but rather one of justice.”  Jaime Martínez emphasized that, with regard to the case of Alberto Patishtán, “[w]e are convinced of his innocence; we have reviewed the process, and there is no basis at all for his incarceration.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Firma la petición de Amnistía Internacional: Acción Urgente: Por Alberto Patishtán ni un día más sin justicia

Vital, la liberación de Patisthán para diálogo con el EZLN: Martínez Veloz (La Jornada, 27 de agosto de 2013)

Comisionado para los Pueblos Indígenas visita hoy a Patishtán (La Jornada, 27 de agosto de 2013)

Comisionado para el Diálogo Jaime Martínez Veloz visitará a Alberto (Blog de Alberto Patishtán, agosto 2013)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Global action to demand the release of Alberto Patishtán and justice for political prisoners (20 August 2013)

Chiapas: 9 prisoners in solidarity with the Voz del Amate released, but Patishtán will remain imprisoned (20 July 2013)


Chiapas: Celebration of the tenth anniversary of the Zapatista caracoles

August 21, 2013

(@SiPAZ archivo)

From 8 to 10 August, members of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) celebrated 10 years since the founding of their autonomous governments, corresponding to their form of implementing the San Andrés Accords, which were signed by the EZLN and the federal government in February 1996.  At the cultural, political, and sport events that accompanied the celebration, there were present many intellectuals and activists from Mexico and other countries.  In 2003, the EZLN announced the creation of five Good-Government Councils (JBGs) corresponding to 5 autonomous regions in the state of Chiapas, based in La Realidad (border zone), La Garrucha and Morelia (Jungle highlands), Oventic (central highlands), and Roberto Barrios (close to Palenque).  Starting on 12 August, they will share the advances and difficulties of their form of self-government with the students at the “Escuelita” (little school).

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)

La cruzada contra el hambre, plan de ataque a nuestra autonomía: zapatistas (La Jornada, 11 de agosto de 2013

EZLN agradece acompañamiento en 10 años (El Universal, 9 de agosto de 2013)

Celebran zapatistas 10 años de las juntas de buen gobierno en Chiapas (La Jornada, 9 de agosto de 2013)

Simpatizantes del EZLN celebran 10 años de Juntas del buen gobierno (CNN México, 9 de agosto de 2013)

Alistan festejos por los 10 años de Los Caracoles en Chiapas (Proceso, 8 de agosto de 2013)

Nada es igual que antes (Desinformémonos, agosto de 2013)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: EZLN communiques “Them and Us,” parts II-V (29 January 2013)

Chiapas: new governor calls for observance of San Andrés Accords

January 8, 2013

Marcha silenciosa zapatista del 21 de diciembre de 2012, Palenque (@SIPAZ)

Silent Zapatista march on 21 December 2012, Palenque (@SIPAZ)

On 1 January, the 19th anniversary of the insurrection undertaken by the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN), governor Manuel Velasco Coello made a call for the observance of the San Andrés Accords regarding indigenous rights and culture.  These agreements were signed by the EZLN and the federal government in 1996.  By means of a public letter, Velasco Coello made public his view of the “vehement silence” of the EZLN during its march through 5 municipalities on 21 December, considering it to be “an opportunity for peace and justice.”  “The ultimate word of Zapatismo is constructive, peaceful, and political; it strengthens plurality,” he noted.  The governor announced a series of actions by the government, including as regards the “tense situation in Zapatista communities such as Comandante Abel and San Marcos Avilés” and the demand for the release of the Tzotzil professor Alberto Patishtán Gómez and that of Fancisco Santiz López (a Zapatista support base from the Tenejapa municipality).  Velasco Coello affirmed that he felt this release is necessary.Beyond this, the governor announced his position regarding two questions having to do with local community conflict: “We will respect the possessions of Zapatista lands that now are being used with social benefit, as regards the respect for all forms of property in land.”  Lastly, he assured that “all state development programs in communities with Zapatista presence will be careful in their propositions and implementation.  It is not our aim to divide communities, but rather to benefit them, to develop them and promote unity among all indigenous peoples of Chiapas.”

Para más información:

Demanda el gobernador de Chiapas cumplir los acuerdos de San Andrés (La Jornada, 2 de enero de 2012)

Chiapas hace un llamado a reconocer los Acuerdos de San Andrés con el EZLN (CNN México, 1ero de enero de 2012)

Carta de MVS al EZLN (Cuarto Poder, 1ero de enero de 2012)

Congreso indígena celebra aniversario del EZLN (El Universal, 1ero de enero de 2012)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: a communique and two letters from the EZLN (8 January 2013)

National: Reactions by state and federal governments to the Zapatista mobilization of 21 December (27 Decemer 2012)

Chiapas: Tens of thousands of Zapatistas mobilize themselves in 5 cities in Chiapas (27 December 2012)

Chiapas: AMLO calls for reconciliation with EZLN and commits himself to observe the San Andrés Accords

April 13, 2012

Andrés Manuel López Obrador, San Cristóbal, 4 April 2012 (

On 4 April, in the Cahtedral Plaza of San Cirstóbal de Las Casas, before nearly 10,000 persons, Andrés ManuelLópez Obrador (AMLO), presidential candidate for the Progressive Movement, promised that if he won the elections on 1 July he would observe the San Andrés Larráinzar Accords on Indigenous Rights and Culture that were firmed in 1996.  He called on the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) to reconcile its differences with him, so as to “progress together, Chiapas and the country entire.”  “I want to call on those who in 1994 rose up in rebellion due to oppression, authoritarianism, and poverty; I call on those who participate in teh Zapatista movement so that we can find a way of uniting ourselves, of working together, to reconcile and so jointly finding ways to improve the living and working conditions in Chiapas and throughout the country.”

Since the beginning of the presidential campaigns, this has been the first time that a candidate has directly addressed the EZLN, despite the differences that have existed between AMLO and this organization since 2005, when Subcomandante Marcos released several communiqués and presented discourses that were critical of López Obrador.

For more information (in Spanish):

Promete AMLO al EZLN aprobar “Los Acuerdos de San Andrés” (Proceso, 4 de abril de 2012)

López Obrador llama a la reconciliación al EZLN, para sacar adelante al país (La Jornada, 5 de abril de 2012)

AMLO llama al EZLN a la reconciliación (El Universal, 4 de abril de 2012)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Mexico: “A death… A life.”  Fourth letter from Subcomandante Marcos to Don Luis Villoro in the Exchange on Ethics and Politics (13 December 2011)

Chiapas: Las Abejas’ communiqué denounces construction of rural cities in the Chiapas Highlands

June 4, 2010

During the monthly commemoration of the Acteal massacre, the civil organization Las Abejas published a communiqué indicating its opposition to the construction of new rural cities in Chiapas, like those that are being created in Santiago El Pinar; the communiqué also denounced the state’s plans to open another such project in Chenalhó.  Both Santiago El Pinar and Chenalhó are municipalities of the Chiapas Highlands.

The communiqué explains that “[the governments] believe that because we are poor they can intervene in our homes and in our lands without permission and later claim to bring development projects for our benefit […].  If they truly want our best interests, the first thing they should do is RESPECT US–but no, they interfere and act as they like with our lands and our resources […].  The government’s plan is for us very clear.  They want to control our organizations so as to gain control of our lands and negotiate with transnationals.  The counter-insurgency against independent organizations finds its basis in this.  For this reason Zedillo and later the Congress of the Union didn’t want to approve the San Andrés Accords, since these demanded that they respect us.  If the Accords had been passed, the Constitution would have had to include what is said in the ILO’s Convention 169: the governments cannot engage in projects or exploit the resources of the lands of the indigenous without first CONSULTING THESE COMMUNITIES.”

Las Abejas denounced also that in Chenalhó, “the brothers of the Puebla Colony, Chenalhó, are being obligated to accept PROCEDE.  This is another way the government acts to make it easier to later take our lands from us.” Las Abejas lament the role played “by our brothers who have left Las Abejas to join the government and its money […].  To our brothers we say: if the government doesn’t respect us, you at least should.  If you no longer want to struggle against impunity and prefer to receive government programs, that’s all right; we respect you; it’s your decision.  But respect us, and don’t allow the government to manipulate you.”

Las Abejas close by expressing their support for other struggles–with the Triqui people of San Juan Copala, Oaxaca, as well as the Civil Resistance Movement against high-electricity prices in Candelaria, Campeche.  They warn that “the government employs in other places the same counter-insurgency strategies that they use against us.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Complete communiqué of the civil society Las Abejas (22 May 2010)