Is This Mexico’s Oldest Revolutionary?


“They weren’t going to give us our basic rights. We had to take them.”

Dona Fili, at the age of 90, is still a key figure in one of Latin America’s largest land occupations.

In 1971, in response to surging rent prices, she helped occupy and build a community in Pedregales de Coyoacan, just outside Mexico City.

“In Pedregales, we have the same dream as everyone else in the world: the need for housing.

"We realized the greatness of our people, when we decided to build. We built a school, houses. People are capable of anything,” she told teleSUR.

When she and her other community members first arrived, there was no electricity or water and they had to carry food in from afar. Her fellow revolutionaries built many of the houses from the lava rocks of a nearby volcano.

The Zapatista community has resisted numerous eviction attempts and a recent push to sell off the land to make way for expensive housing.

“We learnt that if you want housing, you have to fight, but the evictions always came because the government said that our land was uninhabitable,” she said.

“They weren’t going to give us our basic rights. We had to take them.”

Dona Fili continues her fight, and can still be heard leading the chants of “Pedregales won’t be sold.”

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