Insumisión: Community Self-Defense Against Narcos and the State
8th December 2016, section on Chiapas from the latest edition of Insumisión
Mobilizations and Repression in Chiapas
Gathering during the MODEVITE pilgrimage in Chiapas
On November 15, members of eleven municipalities in Chiapas began a twelve-day pilgrimage through communities threatened by neoliberal development projects, ending in San Cristóbal. The Movement in Defense of Life and Territory (MODEVITE) is a project of indigenous Catholic parishes practicing liberation theology, known the Pueblo Creyente, or Believing/Faithful People. “We seek to organize the peoples to construct our autonomy; that our right as original peoples to the life that we want is recognized. We need to join our voices in defence of our forests, our rivers. We demand the governments stop the extractive industry and the mega-projects that are being imposed without consulting us,” said one priest.
After traveling through 11 states, the Caravan of Mothers of Disappeared Migrants wrapped uptheir eighteen-day tour in Tapachula, Chiapas on December 3. Forty-one parents from Central America made the trip to call attention to the attacks, murders and disappearances of Central American migrants in Mexico and to denounce Enrique Peña Nieto’s Southern Border Plan, implemented at the behest of the U.S. in 2014, which has gravely increased the risk to migrants travelling through Mexico.
Caravan of Mothers of Disappeared Migrants
In the autonomous indigenous communities of Ejido Tila and San Sebastian Bachajón, statements have been issued decrying attempts by local politicians to incite violence in the communities in order to justify the entrance of the state in order to crush their autonomous projects. In Bachajón, the community has identified Juan Jiménez as the one responsible. As it happens, Jiménez is a local leader of MORENA, the “leftist” party of Andres Manuel López Obrador. In Tila, the community has barricaded the entrance to the village to prevent paramilitaries or provocateurs from entering.
During a meeting to resolve a labour dispute in Ixtacomitán, four teachers belonging to the dissident CNTE branch were shot by gunmen linked to local politicians and the mainstream, sell-out SNTE union. Roberto Díaz Aguilar was killed and the three others wounded.
And of course we can’t talk about Chiapas without mentioning the Zapatistas. They’ve released four statements – two jointly with the National Indigenous Congress – in the past three weeks. The first, “It’s Not the Decision of One Person”, is an angry rebuke to mainstream critics of their proposal to run a presidential candidate for 2018. The second outlines the schedule for the conclusion of consultations and the planned announcement on the decision of whether or not to run a candidate. The third is a lengthy “Story to Try to Understand.” At over 30 pages, I have not read it yet, but it is an explanation as to how the Zapatistas arrived at the decision to propose the idea of participating in the presidential elections. The fourth statement denounces the attacks on indigenous peoples in Mexico, and gives a nod to Standing Rock, all while confirming that the community consultations over the proposal continue.