The New War against the Indigenous Peoples

Posted in Uncategorized on August 2, 2015 by floweroftheword

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Francisco López Bárcenas

La Jornada, 24th July 2015
The fight of Mexico’s indigenous people against dispossession and for security is receiving such an aggressive response from the government that several onlookers think that it amounts to a new war of extermination against them. The occurrence of many events has given credence to those who think so. One very important institutional policy is reminiscent of the mid-nineteenth century attempt to exterminate indigenous populations for the purpose of enabling landowners and surveying companies to take control of their lands and natural resources.

Today this policy seeks to strip them of their territories in order to hand them over to transnational corporations or to build public works that would later be leased to transnationals for their own eventual profits. Another common occurrence, similar to the former, is that when the peoples organize themselves to resist their dispossession, the State uses all its legal and policing power to bully them, paying no attention to any law they [the peoples] might invoke and forcing them to work outside the legal system, in which case the State can justify aggression against them.

A recent case is that of San Francisco Xochicuatla, a Hñahñu town in the municipality of Lerma, State of Mexico. Its inhabitants, like those of neighbouring towns, are opposed to the Autovan company, a subsidiary of Constructora Teya, itself a subsidiary of Grupo Higa, constructing the Toluca-Naucalpan highway, because it would destroy the forest they have so jealously guarded for years, and with it the ancestral route that year after year lets them climb the hill of La Campana where, according to their worldview, life originated. With the construction of the highway, the Hñahñu would no longer be able to cross towards the hill of La Campana. In self-defence they have lodged complaints about these aggressive actions, mobilized to halt the construction of public works and appealed to the courts to assert their rights. As reason is on their side, the courts have ruled in their favour.

Instead of respecting the judicial rulings, the President [Peña Nieto] has opted for expropriation in order to dispossess the Hñahñu and hand over their hereditary lands to the company that holds title to his wife’s house. To this end, before publication of the decrees of expropriation, he ordered the police to occupy the premises in order to prevent the inhabitants from impeding the entrance of the machinery that would begin work on the projects.

The President failed in this effort because the people responded by setting up an encampment in the area where the planned work was to take place. The people of Xochicuautla have claimed that they are mobilizing for the continuation of their people, to exercise their autonomy, to preserve the integrity of their territory and to demand that they be consulted before the commencement of the project, so that the people may determine if they desire the work to be done, and, if so, what conditions must be met.

More serious is the government’s decision to intervene militarily in the Nahua community of Santa Maria Ostula, located on the Coast of Michoacán, with the goal of apprehending Semeí Verdía Zepeda, first commander of the Nahua community’s Community Police and general coordinator of self-defence groups in the municipalities of Aquila, Coahuayana, and Chincuila. The objective of the Community Police is to provide public security for their region’s inhabitants in the face of violence from organized crime.

According to the testimony of community representatives, the military entered opening fire on the people to make them stay away and not disrupt their mission. In the process, one child died and four others were injured, including a young girl. The action is also reprehensible because it violated agreements between the communities and the state government, among them the delivery of arms, which the imprisoned community commander is accused of possessing, and the approval of Rural Force positions for the municipality of Aquila, to which the aggrieved community belongs.

Unfortunately, these are not unique cases. Many like them exist far and wide throughout the Mexican Republic. To some ears, naming these kinds of acts a war against indigenous people may sound like an exaggeration. What cannot be denied is that this is a systematic pattern of violation of indigenous peoples’ rights, in the sense that the Inter-American Court of Human Rights has characterized it: a plurality of events with the same goal and a repeated behaviour over time.

If not corrected now, the consequences of this situation may be regrettable. It is likely that this type of official action is achieving its immediate purpose of subduing rebels; but in the long term, it is incubating a social discontent and irritation the results of which cannot be predicted. For this reason, it would be best to correct course. Now there is still time. Later it may be too late.

Translated by Chris Brown

Zapatista News Summary for July 2015

Posted in Uncategorized on August 1, 2015 by floweroftheword


1. Many letters and pronouncements are issued rejecting the paramilitary attacks denounced recently by the JBG Path to the Future (La Garrucha) in El Rosario, and expressing solidarity with the Zapatista Support Bases (BAZ). Frayba issues an Urgent Action about the risk to the life and personal safety of the BAZ in the communities of El Rosario and Nuevo Paraíso.

2. The Network for Solidarity and against Repression (RvsR) convokes global solidarity with the Zapatista communities for the week 12th to 19th July, leading up to the Chiapas elections on July 19th, denouncing the counterinsurgency strategy of the use of paramilitaries by the three levels of government. There is a large response to this call in many parts of Mexico, and also internationally in countries such as Brazil, Argentina, Germany, France and Spain.

3. The EZLN presents the book “Critical Thought against the Capitalist Hydra” volume 1 – Participation of the Sixth Commission in the Seminar, and releases a fragment of text, “Chiapas, Mexico, the World” taken from “our view of the hydra” by Subcomandante Galeano. This extract talks about urban dispossession in the city of Tuxtla Gutiérrez, capital of Chiapas, and who wins and who loses from it.

4. The tenth anniversary of the release of the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle is celebrated.

5. The CNI and EZLN issue a joint condemnation of an attack on the Indigenous Nahua municipality of Santa María Ostula, Michoacán. Following protests against the arrest of the First Commander of their community police, Cemeí Verdía Zepeda, the Mexican army opens fire, killing a 12-year old boy, and wounding six people including a six- year old girl. The arrested commander is subsequently freed on lack of evidence and immediately re-arrested on a different charge.

6. Subcomandantes Moisés and Galeano send out information about the second level of the Escuelita Zapatisia, from 31st July to 2nd August, which is for those who passed the first level, and finally leads to the sixth level. The second level will not be held in Zapatista territory, because so many students have problems with the cost and the time needed to get there, but is to be done collectively by students in the places where they live. They also send out information for any former student who has not received an email.

7. On 30th July, the CNI and EZLN issue a communique in support of the struggle of the Ñätho community of San Francisco Xochicuautla against the road project which threatens the destruction of their sacred forest. This follows the signing of a presidential decree by President Enrique Peña Nieto, cancelling a 1954 order guaranteeing indigenous community land rights in Xochicuautla, and expropriating 37 hectares of land in order to permit the construction, by the notorious Grupo Higa, of a new section of the Toluca-Naucalpan highway on the communal land of the community, slicing through the sacred Otomi-Mexica forest. The ejidatarios of San Sebastian Bachajon also issue a communique in solidarity. A march is held in Mexico City in support of both Xochicuautla and Ostula.

8. Ejidatarios of Tila, adherents to the Sixth, denounce an armed confrontation which took place there on 20th June, between supporters of the PVEM and PRI political parties. There is great insecurity in this area during the time of elections, with people fearing for their lives. They describe young people, hooded and dressed in black, carrying guns, clubs and machetes, operating roadblocks with the support of the municipal police. Post-electoral conflicts have continued in many parts of Chiapas, where the PVEM, allied with the PRI, remain the most powerful political parties.

9. On 28th and 29th July over 4,000 indigenous and mestizos from Las Margaritas and the surrounding area go on a pilgrimage against the suffering of the peoples, for peace and life and against violence and dispossession, in particular in support of the communities of Primero de Agosto, Banavil, Acteal, Ayotzinapa and Chicomuselo. They release the Pronouncement of Las Margaritas in Defence of our Right to be Peoples.

10. The Network for Peace highlights the lack of response from the Chiapas state government to the case of the displaced people of Primero de Agosto. The displaced families from Banavil also call attention to their case, and later announce they will return temporarily to work their lands.

11. On the ten-month anniversary of the Ayotzinapa attack, parents of the 43 disappeared students announce that on 30th July a caravan to the southern states of Mexico will begin in San Cristobal de la Casas. The next day a second caravan will start in Chihuahua.


1. Actions are held against the visit of the Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto and his entourage to France, 13th to 15th July.

2. A new arrest warrant is issued against the Yaqui leader, Mario Luna, whose appeal (amparo) has recently been allowed, and whose liberation had been anticipated. The new warrant could lead to between four and ten years imprisonment.

3. Human Rights Watch publishes its 2015 report, in which it says that the government has made little progress in prosecuting the widespread killings, enforced disappearances, and torture committed by soldiers and police in the course of efforts to combat organized crime. In August 2014, the government acknowledged that the whereabouts of over 22,000 people who had gone missing since 2006 remained unknown, and no one has been convicted for an enforced disappearance committed after 2006. Mexico’s security forces have participated in widespread enforced disappearances, in some cases, collaborating directly with criminal groups.

4. Mexico’s National Social Development Policy Evaluation Council (Coneval) says that over 60 million people, half the country’s population, are living in poverty, an increase of two million in the last two years, with twelve million – and 20 million children – in extreme poverty. According to the document, while one out of every two people in Mexico lives below the poverty line, only one out of every five has their needs completely covered. The highest level of extreme poverty – 76.2 per cent – is in Chiapas. Mexico is the eleventh richest economy in the world.

5. Latest Mexican government figures show that between 2007 and 2014 more than 164,000 people were murdered. Over the same seven-year period, slightly more than 103,000 died in Afghanistan and Iraq, according to data from the United Nations.


Families forcibly displaced from Banavil in the municipality of Tenejapa return temporarily to work their land.

Posted in Uncategorized on August 1, 2015 by floweroftheword


There will be a press conference on Monday August 3, 2015 at 11:00 am in the offices of Frayba (Brazil 14, Barrio de Mexicanos, San Cristobal de Las Casas, Chiapas)

Streaming by: and

After the press conference, the displaced will return to their communities where they will remain for 15 days. We invite you to join us.

Truth, Justice and Return
No to forced displacement

On December 4, 2011, in the community of Banavil, Tenejapa municipality, Chiapas, members of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) attacked with firearms families supporting the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN). This event caused the forced displacement of 13 people, who lost everything and were prevented by threats from returning to their community.

The attack caused the murder of Pedro Méndez López, the wounding of six other people and the forced disappearance of Alonso López Luna. In addition there were two arbitrary detentions: Lorenzo López Girón who was wounded by gunfire and charged with aggravated assault; and Francisco Santiz Lopez, EZLN support base, who was in a different place to that where the events occurred. Subsequently both gained their freedom, in the case of Francisco this was achieved thanks to the efforts of a special campaign with actions of international solidarity.

Because of these serious human rights violations, justice and punishment are still being demanded for those responsible for the attacks. It is necessary to clarify the truth about the disappearance of Mr. Alonso López Luna demand his live appearance.

Words of the Banavil families during the pilgrimage from Las Margaritas to Comitan, 29th July:

Pilgrimage for Peace, for Life, against violence and dispossession pronounces for the right to be peoples

Posted in Uncategorized on August 1, 2015 by floweroftheword

July 30. Walking from their communities to Comitán de Domínguez, the peoples make a call for the defence of Mother Earth, the water, the forests and the jungles that they inhabit ancestrally and for their culture and their right to be Original Peoples.



July 29. The indigenous peoples in the municipality of Las Margaritas in Chiapas, undertook ​​the Pilgrimage for Peace, for life against violence and dispossession.

The pilgrimage and the subsequent meeting were organized by the pueblo creyente, the pastoral team, deacons and coordinators of the Tojolabal mission, to express their dissatisfaction and to unite their forces to enable them to confront the violence they experience in their communities and the issues that come with the structural reforms.

Walking from their communities to Comitán de Domínguez, the peoples made a call for the defence of Mother Earth, the water, the forests and the jungles that they inhabit ancestrally and for their culture and their right to be Original Peoples.

They are calling for the prevention of transnational corporations from plundering their territories and Say No to mines, hydroelectric dams, oil exploration and maíz criollo.

The indigenous peoples of the Las Margaritas region demand "an end to all the violence that we experience every day, such as drug trafficking, corruption and impunity, threats and displacement by organizations which are controlled by the government with their political parties which divide and confront within the communities."

The gathering of the peoples who participated in the pilgrimage agreed and asked others to consider and reflect on the reality of Mexico and continue organising from below.

Review: Hilary Klein’s Compañeras: Zapatista Women’s Stories.

Posted in Uncategorized on August 1, 2015 by floweroftheword

Alicia Swords


Zapatista collectve bakery, Olga Isabel, Chiapas, Mexico. (Hilary Klein)

Zapatista collectve bakery, Olga Isabel, Chiapas, Mexico. (Hilary Klein)

Hilary Klein (2015) Compañeras: Zapatista Women’s Stories. New York: Seven Stories Press.

When poor, indigenous people and peasants took over land and municipal governments in Chiapas, Mexico on January 1, 1994 just as the North American Free Trade Agreement went into effect, the uprising shook the world. Through individual interviews and collective interviews at women’s assemblies, Hilary Klein’s book, Compañeras, charts the changes in women’s roles, leadership, rights, and power in intimate relationships, families, and communities that the Zapatista movement brought.

The title Compañeras captures the core of Klein’s project, which both describes her subject, Zapatista women and their political relationships, as well as her approach of being a compañera herself by building relationships of trust and mutual support. From 1997 to 2003, Klein worked in collaboration with women’s collectives in Zapatista communities in Chiapas. She co-developed a project called Mujer y Colectivismo, which supported Zapatista women’s cooperatives with leadership development, popular education materials, regional gatherings, and rotating loan funds. Regional authorities asked her to teach basic mathematics to women who needed these skills to run their cooperatives. In times of heavy state repression, she joined human rights delegations to interview women after military attacks on their communities. In the process Klein developed a high degree of trust with women leaders; she “slept in their homes, worked in their cornfields with them, and played with their children” (p. xxii). The richness of the interviews and collective testimony through group interviews is based on thattrust.

Other sympathetic outsiders-with-inside-perspectives and engaged scholar-activists in Chiapas have written about the Zapatistas, including June Nash, Rich Stahler-Sholk, Leandro Vergara-Camus, Mariana Mora, and Shannon Speed, to name a few. Klein’s work in Compañeras reflects this sort of committed engagement at its best.

With so much outside interest, Zapatista authorities developed criteria for engagement and meaningful involvement for scholars. In 2001, Zapatista women authorities in Morelia and La Garrucha asked Klein to conduct a set of interviews in more than two dozen communities to document and teach about the movement’s history from women’s perspectives. It is significant that Compañeras grew out of these interviews, driven by the movement participants’ own desire to teach the history of their organizing. Unlike descriptions of movements intended solely to inform outsiders, Compañeras addresses questions that clearly matter to the Zapatista women themselves, along with questions that matter to outsiders hoping to bring lessons from the Zapatista movement to their own spheres.

Each chapter uses both individual and collective interviews. The first three chapters outline the history and emergence of the Zapatista movement. We learn the history of injustices in Chiapas through interviews with mothers and grandmothers of Zapatista insurgents. Women military commanders describe their experiences of the 1994 uprising, and insurgents discuss the challenges of clandestine organizing. Participants explain the complex relationship between the liberation theology and the Zapatista movement, women’s struggles to rid communities of alcohol, the first above-ground organizing, the 1994 uprising, and the passage of the Women’s Revolutionary Law.

Chapters four and five address how women have changed power dynamics in Chiapas through struggles over land and militarization. Building on historical struggles for land, we see how women participated in the Zapatista land takeovers and current struggles against neoliberal land privatization policies. We learn of the militarization, the failed San Andrés dialogues, and of confrontations with the military in their communities in 1998.

The remaining chapters, six through nine, reveal women’s experiences within the process and structures of the Zapatista movement. “Women who give birth to new worlds” chronicles the evolution of women’s participation and leadership in the Zapatistas’ political structure, economic cooperatives, and regional gatherings, along with changes in the Zapatistas’ own gender analysis. “Zapatista Autonomy” describes a range of women’s experiences in the emerging autonomous systems: Good Government Councils, the community justice system, health care and education. “Transformation and Evolution,”depicts the unevenness of changes in women’s rights and their ability to exercise those rights, acknowledging challenges and gaps between rhetoric and reality. It also highlights new strategies, such as consciousness-raising with men, shifting expectations for men’s involvement in domestic work, and raising children with new gender ideas. “Beyond Chiapas” shows efforts by Zapatista women to connect with women beyond Chiapas to build a broader movement for justice and dignity.

Maps, a timeline, glossary, and a list of suggested readings make this book an accessible introductory resource on the Zapatistas for students, organizers, and scholars. Throughout, Klein’s account reflects deep respect, comprehension, complexity, and nuance. She combines systematic research, a genuine desire for the movement to achieve its goals, and the honesty to carefully examine its shortcomings.’s-compa%C3%B1eras-zapatista-women%E2%80%99s-stories


CNI and EZLN Support for Xochicuautla

Posted in Uncategorized on July 31, 2015 by floweroftheword


JULY 30, 2015

To the people of Mexico and the World

To the National and International Sixth

To the Ñätho indigenous community of San Francisco Xochicuautla

Faced with the dignified struggle that the Ñätho community of San Francisco Xochicuautla has maintained for the last eight years against the Toluca-Naucalpan toll road project which threatens the destruction of their sacred forest in order to connect the wealthy zones of Interlomas to the Toluca airport, the bad government, led by the murderer Enrique Peña Nieto, signed a decree of expropriation with which it intends to snatch up the communal territory of San Francisco Xochicuautla.

Throughout the years we have seen which interests the bad governments respond to, given that their security forces escort the Autovan machinery, a company belonging to the Higa Group, with which they plan to destroy the Ñätho forest. They believe that with this decree of expropriation they can impose plunder and destruction. Today we say that we know that the bad government has always trampled our rights as indigenous peoples, that they despise us, and that they may go to every corner of Mexico to impose their death projects, but they won’t be able to do so in San Francisco Xochicuautla.

The community has carried out a legal battle, appealing to different courts and agencies of the Mexican bad government, but most of those have proven partial to protecting the powerful.

We know that San Francisco Xochicuautla has defended and will defend their territory, as well as having accompanied many peoples and communities in their struggles.

So today we call upon the people of Mexico and the World, on the brothers and sisters of the National and International Sixth, to be attentive to what happens in the struggle of San Francisco Xochicuautla.

To San Francisco Xochicuautla, we say that you are not alone in this shared journey of indigenous peoples’ resistance.


Never again a Mexico without us

National Indigenous Congress

Democracy, Liberty, and Justice

Zapatista Army for National Liberation

July 2015


EZLN: Special Cases

Posted in Uncategorized on July 31, 2015 by floweroftheword


JULY 29, 2015


If you have not received an email with a “pass” to the second grade, it could be because…

…the email address you used to register for first grade has expired, or was erased, or you have forgotten your password.

…you have the same email but you haven’t received a “pass” because we got mixed up and we need your information again…or because you didn’t pass to second grade. If after following the instructions we detail below you don’t receive a “pass” email within a month, then it’s because you didn’t pass first grade.

In either case, the way to resolve the issue is simple: it is sufficient to send a new email to this address:casosespeciales, from a new email account with the following information:

–your full name and date of birth

–where you live

–your registration code if you remember it or have it

–the dates in which you went to first grade

–the place where you went to first grade (if you went to a community, the name of the community and the caracolit corresponds to); (if it was by videoconference, the name of the place, neighborhood, city, country, and continent where you had the videoconference)

–the name of your Votán.



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