RvsR: Three years later Juan Vázquez Guzmán lives!

Posted in Uncategorized on April 30, 2016 by floweroftheword


To the compañeras and compañeros of Ejido San Sebastián Bachajón, adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle:

To the family of Juan Vázquez Guzmán:

Compañeras and compañeros:

Please receive a fraternal and collective embrace from the Network against Repression and for Solidarity. We want you to know through these words that our compañero Juan Vázquez Guzmán is still present in our struggles, in our steps and in our hearts.

The image of Juan represents all that is signified by the rebellion and resistance of the dignified Tzeltal people who decided to organize to defend their land, their territory, their memory, and their history, so that their life will not be a legacy of despair, but instead their heritage continues to be the struggle for freedom and for justice.

Freedom and justice are more than just two simple words, they are values filled with the life in community, the collective work and the strength of the women of San Sebastián Bachajón. With their hands, their toil and their sweat they have been fuelling the possibility and the necessity to continue in the construction of another world.

The pains that you carry and you bring are many. What calls us together today is the life of Juan Vázquez, yesterday it was Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano, tomorrow it will be our political prisoner compañeros, but it will always be the need to continue towards the horizon of the world which we long for and deserve.

Compañeras and compañeros of Bachajón, we do not forget your pains, they are ours too. Nor do we forget your struggle, which for years you have fought in order to make life something where you get up every morning with your only concern that of returning to work, to the milpa, to the stove, to school, to rest, to love, so that resistance and rebellion can continue to flourish in your community, which is the only way to have a dignified life.

We have no doubt that in the north of the state of Chiapas the Tseltal seeds of San Sebastián Bachajón will continue to grow down below, your roots like your hearts are strong, your fruits like your gaze continuing to illuminate the darkness of the storm in which we live. One of those seeds is called Juan Vázquez Guzmán.

These are the seeds and fruits that will enable Emilio Jiménez Gómez, Esteban Gómez Jiménez and Santiago Moreno Pérez to return to their community; where memory is not only a date to commemorate, but also an act of elemental justice.

So freedom and justice will not come from above, from those who have been our tormentors, they will come as a result of our daily struggle in community.

If the capitalist hydra seeks to put an end to life on the planet, this then is our main battle in this war: to continue weaving life, bonds of solidarity, paths of freedom where we, the peoples and organized communities, will decide the course of our lives.

Juan Vázquez Guzmán lives!

Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano lives!

Freedom for political prisoners!

Liberty and Justice for San Sebastián Bachajón!

Against dispossession and repression:


Network against Repression and for Solidarity (RvsR)


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Communiqué from Las Abejas de Acteal, April 22, 2016

Posted in Uncategorized on April 30, 2016 by floweroftheword


Civil Society Organization Las Abejas of Acteal,
Sacred Land of the Martyrs of Acteal,
Chenalhó, Chiapas, Mexico

To the independent organizations, movements, and collectives of the world

To the independent defenders of human rights

To the National Indigenous Congress (CNI)

To the national and international Sexta

To the councils of good government (JBG)

To the free, alternative, and autonomous media or whatever they are called

To los Tercios Compas

To the national and international media

To the national and international civil society

Brothers and sisters

The shadow of darkness is marked in the history of the people. All that bears fruit is planted and harvested, in the long, short and medium term. Thus we have protested before and after the massacre of Acteal, and until now violence has dominated in our municipality, but the majority of men and women of our population do not know where the violence, corruption, discrimination, incarceration, injustice and death comes from.

Sisters and brothers, the civil society organization Las Abejas is concerned and saddened for the uncertainty and violence generated in our municipality at least during the last couple of weeks results from ideological differences and the people are becoming very confused.

A state government can allocate a great deal of support and projects but that is not the solution when the people are not in agreement. It can generate more violence and death, but we as people of god and a peaceful organization, our commitment, our mission, and our vision is to announce the truth, and denounce the injustices and the violence because the governors are not willing to give a prompt and equitable solution so that peace can be established. They can only deceive the people to gain more time to bring violence.

And it is when we do not allow ourselves to be directed and used by the projects of the bad government, because the root of evil is money, because everyone wants to earn like the high officials, because ambition brings us to wickedness, as Pope Francisco says.

“We speak of the earth, of work, of homes…we speak of work for peace and care for the environment…but why are we instead accustomed to see the destruction of dignified work, the eviction of many families, the expulsion of campesinxs, the making of war and the abuse of the environment? This is because this system has taken the man, the human being, from the centre, and replaced him with something else. Because there is a worship of money, because all that matters is the logic of profit.”

And not only in the pueblos neighbouring Chenalhó and Chiapas do we see this destruction, but also in other parts of our country like what is happening in the indigenous Otomí community of San Franciso Xochicuautla, state of Mexico, where the machinery of the rich in alliance with the government has entered to continue the construction of a highway megaproject destroying the houses of campesinos.

How many compañeros suffer today through the total destruction of their homes and the plundering of their territories by the megaprojects of the great capitalists who have attempted to destroy our mother earth!

It is urgent to address the demands of the people, because in our constitution are enshrined the right and the individual and social guarantees, and also the convention 169 of the International Labour Organization (OIT) of the right to land and territory.

Compañeras and compañeros, it is necessary to be attentive and to stand in solidarity with our brothers who have suffered so much through displacement, incarceration, violence, and dispossession from their lands. We also have the cases of the compañeros of the community “Primero de Agosto” in the municipality of Las Margaritas who have already completed a year of forced displacement, and the case of those unjustly imprisoned from the ejido of San Sebastián Bachajón, the repression against the teachers’ movement in Tuxtla Gutiérrez and San Cristóbal. Beyond the borders of Mexico is the case of Berta Cáceres assassinated in Honduras, her relatives were in April 7th of San Cristóbal on their way to the United Nations to present their demands and petitions. The people in general are tired of so much violence and injustice.

Sisters and brothers we must have love for our people and be aware in our peaceful struggle. Because justice doesn’t come from above but is constructed by the people from below. It is necessary to maintain unity and harmony so that the future of our children will be one of peace that they can enjoy, as well as remembering the great heroes who defended our land, like Emiliano Zapata, whose birthday we remembered on April 10, who struggled and gave his blood so that we the campesinos can have “land and liberty.”


Justice for the Acteal Case!

No more crumbs to deceive the people!

No to the megaprojects that destroy the environment and displace the campesinos!

Freedom to the prisoners of Bachajón and all of the political prisoners

No more massacres and persecutions of our people!

Justice in the case of Berta Cáceres!

Love live resistance and autonomy!



The voice of the civil society organization of Las Abejas!

For the board of directors:

Sebastián Pérez Vásquez José Ramón Vásquez Entzin

Mariano Jiménez Gutiérrez Vicente Sánchez Ordóñez

Juan Pérez Gómez

Based on a translation by Palabras Rebeldes


Armed with machetes, residents protest road

Posted in Uncategorized on April 29, 2016 by floweroftheword
Obras-pista240416-600x390Connector road for new Mexico City airport crosses community-owned lands

Mexico News Daily | Tuesday, April 26, 2016

The machete-wielding foes of Mexico City’s new airport are back.

When the government of Vicente Fox attempted to build a new airport for the city in 2002, residents of ejidos, or community-owned lands, successfully quashed the plans.

Fourteen years later, inhabitants of San Salvador Atenco are protesting once again.

On Saturday, protesters blocked construction of what is to become a 17-kilometer connecting road between the new airport (NAICM) and the Pirámides-Texcoco highway.

After noting the start of preliminary work the previous night, they turned up with machetes at noon on Saturday to prevent workers from continuing.

Residents of both San Salvador Atenco and Tocuila, under the banner of the People’s Land Defense Front (FPDT), claim the road will cross community lands. They said the towns have filed an amparo against construction of the road.

“We’ve grown tired of warning the government, asking them to stop harassing us and to stop trying to take our territory.”

Earlier this month the FPDT removed a group of workers who were placing posts to mark the road’s path. The workers at the time were accompanied by military officials, a detail FPDT leader Ignacio del Valle considered “a provocation.”

“We remain calm because what [the government] wants is to break that tranquility; they’re engaging in something we do not want, and still we remain respectful,” he said.

The people from Atenco and Tocuila managed to seize several front-end loaders and steamrollers, and stopped 15 dump trucks from reaching the construction site and depositing their loads of gravel.

After some tense moments between FPDT members and construction workers, the latter decided to withdraw and remove their machinery and construction supplies from the site.

Work on the 17-kilometer-long road started over a year ago. A four-kilometer stretch has been completed and is now in use. The remaining 13 kilometers cross the ejidos of Tocuila, La Magdalena, Francisco I. Madero, Atenco, Acuexcomac and Nexquipayac.

The company in charge of the construction, Pinfra, said work will continue in order to fulfill its contract. “We’re sure that the government will do its part, we only request that the safety of the workers be guaranteed,” an anonymous representative told the newspaper La Jornada.

The construction budget for the US $9.4-billion airport this year is 5 billion pesos, or $288 million. The first phase should be largely finished by 2020 when the terminal building and three runways are expected to be in operation.

Source: Reforma (sp), AlianzaTex (sp)


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The journey’s only just begun: The ejido Tila

Posted in Uncategorized on April 29, 2016 by floweroftheword


By Ratarrey

It’s been five months since the ejido Tila (area of common land) gave their local government the boot and declared ejidal autonomy. Five months of self-determination, of organised community restructuring, of thinking about how to create a government where the people are in charge, of making collective decisions about the direction the community is going in. Nearly half a year on the path to autonomy. “Autonomy is a lifelong process. The fight never ends. And the journey’s only just begun”, said a compañero ejidatario (common land shareholder).

Three compañeros ejidatarios tell us about the progress they have made, the accomplishments and the obstacles. When the community realised they couldn’t keep waiting for the local government coup and the police and paramilitary forces that would accompany it, the idea for a new kind of self-governance and territorial take-over began to take shape. The assembly’s first decision was to name security commissioners and coordinate surveillance of the entrances into the town. It’s a surveillance rota in which women and young people also participate; every citizen takes their turn at some point. The community is looking out for itself: “On the 16th of January there was a dance and we commissioned 50 people to act as security, in the end there were 150 of us. People were surprised that the dance was so safe. Before, when the local government was here, anything from mobile phones to children would be stolen, and people were scared. But this time, nothing happened.”

Another decision taken by the assembly, suggested in a proposal put forward by the compañeras, was to close the cantinas and stop the consumption of drugs in the community. “Before, when the [municipal] police were here, they were the ones who sold [drugs] and after a year here they’d already have their brand new car.” Today, if the security commission of the ejido finds anyone taking drugs, they ask them where and who they bought them from, in order to get to the person responsible.


Like so many other decisions taking by the assembly, this way of resolving internal problems comes from one of the community’s fundamental beliefs: that they must educate young people to defend their territory, to be alert and to be focused. For now, state schools and their curricula are respected; the community understands that community training and territorial defence can be learned collectively: on guard duty, doing community work, around the kitchen table. Young people also have an obligation to participate in community work. The ch’ol language and organised defence of the land can be learned and shared outside the school walls, in daily community life.

To administer justice, the assembly designated an ejidal judge (judge of the common lands). Punishment consists not of fines and prison sentences but of community work. Instead of an irrefutable and corrupt legal system, decisions are made according to customs and experience, case by case. “If a man hits his wife, he’ll be sent to work as a cleaner or carry wood; others are sent to clean drains. If somebody steals, he has to repay what he took. The punishment is given according to the crime. For example, drunks are shut away for a night, but in the morning their personal possessions are returned to them. Respect underlies everything. Not like when the local government was here, who would take away their things and even charge them a fine.”

The assembly also created designated cleaning and water committees. Apart from taking care of administrating rubbish collection and looking after the drains and pipes, these committees are responsible for keeping an eye on how rubbish is being dealt with: making sure people don’t produce too much waste and that they don’t leave it outside. Self-governance also means looking after the streets, being aware that space is shared and must be looked after by everyone.


The different commissions and committees alternate, the men and women of the ejido describe themselves as ‘multi-use’. Sometimes someone is a policeman and then he collects rubbish, or sometimes it’s his turn to go and collect wood for cooking. Each family in the community contributed fifty or a hundred pesos towards the purchase of a three-ton truck, for use by the collective workforce.

And the building where the town hall used to be? The assembly gave permission for all the street-sellers who had stalls around the main square to set themselves up in it. “The local government actually wanted to expropriate the ejido casino to turn it into a shopping mall, and, well, we decided that the town hall would become a place where people could sell their products.”

There was an example of the new collective organising last March. Every year, hundreds of people make a pilgrimage to the alter of the Black Christ (Cristo Negro) in Tila. This year, members of the Partido Verde ran a smear campaign about the state of the town. “They said there were fights, that there was no water, no electricity, that it was dirty.” Yet everyone duly came, from Tabasco and all over the northern part of Chiapas. The visitors were surprised to see a Tila that was so safe and so clean; a Tila, furthermore, were there was no police intimidation or corruption, as in previous years. “We wanted to give people a good impression of Tila, so they know that life is better for us in autonomy.” Tila showed the visitors that without the government, life is better.

The gradual building of ejidal autonomy has been achieved, furthermore, in the midst of a constant climate of threats and harassment: on the 8th of February last year, the state government of Chiapas gave orders for the arrest of twenty ejidatarios on the charge of riots and breach of the peace. The assembly decided to increase vigilance across the ejido to make sure, at all cost, that no compañero was taken prisoner. This involved implementing a radio communications system between the different look-out points and installing speakers in different parts of the town to keep the whole community informed.


“Loud speakers are our greatest weapon, not the weapons the paramilitaries have”, says one ejidatario. “And, well, they also say we have sticks with nails in. That’s true too. But that’s just to put punctures in the wheels of any cars used to try to abduct a compañero.” They’ve also dug trenches at the entrances into the town so that military and federal vehicles can’t get out – their tyres withstand nails without puncturing. The guards are on watch all night and people know that we have to be on constant alert, because our enemies don’t sleep either. “As the saying goes, you’ve got to be more of a tiger than the tiger (hay que ser más tigre que el tigre)”, says another ejidatario.

Thus the assembly is vigilant. As one compañero ejidatario says, “the storm is coming”. The paramilitarisation of the area has increased because of a uranium mining project which, rumour has it, is already in construction. The seam is 25km from the town, in the ejido of Tumbalá, inside the official limits of the municipality of Tila. This mine does not appear on maps available to the public because uranium mines come under the remit of ‘National Security’. The mine is in the so-called highlands of Tila, which seriously worries the ejidatarios: it’s highly probable that the land and water will be contaminated, threatening their health and their way of life. Faced with this prospect, the assembly have started talking about what to do and how to respond to it. The compañeros recognise that they’re at the start of a long journey: health, education and an increased involvement of women are some of the key areas to work on. Even so, the ejidatario men and women know that the path to autonomy is long and must be taken step by step. That the struggle never ends.

Translated by Ruby Zajac for the UK Zapatista Translation Service


Letter from Gustavo Esteva for Juan Vázquez Guzmán of Bachajón

Posted in Uncategorized on April 28, 2016 by floweroftheword


From Oaxaca, Mexico: Letter from the writer and social activist Gustavo Esteva

We do not forget, compañero Juan Vázquez Guzmán. We will never forget.

Every year there are more of us who remember. And there are also more of us who find in your story inspiration to live, that is, to struggle. There are increasingly more of us who turn their indignation over your murder into the energy and strength to move forward.

Thanks to you, compañero, the Bachajón struggle became ours. We are not going to give up. It is the fight back we are giving everywhere against criminal governments and against those who own them, who maintain a war of plunder and aggression against the people and use all means at their disposal to oppress and take away what is ours. It is they who have been destroying Mother Earth, causing damage that can no longer be tolerated.

Your example is spreading, compañero. It is true that your death hurts, and that all murders affect us, all aggression, all the dispossessions that are committed daily. But it is also true that they do not intimidate us. They want to control us by fear, they want to paralyze us with anxiety, they want us to sink in our pain. They have produced the opposite. As it is said, they took away so much that they took away the fear. We are still standing. We are getting better at organising. We’re are interweaving to gather all our struggles together, to circulate among us so that we will be united when the time comes to reconquer all that is ours and to build, as you said, that world in which many worlds fit, a world that dawned with our Zapatista compañeros…

Your death and that of many other compañeros and compañeras does not discourage us. Quite the opposite. Our heart is made strong, it takes courage, it is reinforced in your example, in your life. Because ours is and has always been a struggle for life against the campaign of death waged by governments and capital.

We do not forget, compañero Juan Vázquez Guzmán. We will never forget.

Gustavo Esteva


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Juan Vazquez Guzmán – Letter from Uruguay from Raul Zibechi

Posted in Uncategorized on April 27, 2016 by floweroftheword

3 (1)

From Uruguay: Letter from the writer and social activist Raúl Zibechi

The family, friends and compañer@s of Juan Vasquez Guzman:

Receive a greeting from southern Latin America, full of solidarity and appreciation.

Receive also congratulations for continuing to honour the memory of compa Juan, three years after his death.

Keep on, despite all the difficulties, resisting and challenging the powerful from our collective dignity, it is the only way we have to keep being who we are: peoples who struggle and work for another world where the Juans do not have to give their life for something as basic as life with dignity,

Raúl Zibechi


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From Peru: Message from the indigenous social activist Hugo Blanco for the commemoration of Juan Vazquez Guzmán

Posted in Uncategorized on April 27, 2016 by floweroftheword


I confirm, through Movement for Justice in El Barrio, my solidarity with the third annual commemoration of the death of compañero Juan Vázquez Guzmán, killed on April 24, 2013.

The murder was committed by the Mexican authorities and large corporations who are seeking to seize the communal land for tourist megaprojects.

Juan Vázquez Guzmán is a symbol of the defence of the indigenous community, of the defence of life and nature against the large transnational corporations that rule the world, killing nature and humanity, with the only sacred goal they have: "to make as much money as possible in the shortest time possible."

Long live the undaunted struggle of the ejido Bachajón in defence of nature and humanity!

Hugo Blanco



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