Monday, February 24, 2014

Freedom for Yakiri, Imprisoned in Mexico for Defending Herself Against Rapists

"Freedom for Yakiri" 

From Yakiri Libre Tijuana:

"Colectivo Yakiri Libre Tijuana invites you to support action for Yakiri Rubio’s freedom. Yakiri is a 20 year-old activist from Mexico City, who after being raped by two men, in December 2013, is now incarcerated facing homicide charges. As one of the attackers stabbed her, Yakiri fought back to save her life and stabbed him instead. The man died after fleeing the scene along with his accomplice. In January 10, 2014, Colectivo Yakiri Libre Tijuana took action for the first time by making the video “Yo Hubiera Hecho Lo Mismo,” (I would have done the same) in which about 100 people demonstrated against gender violence and the sexist penal law process that threatens human rights, women rights. With this, we attempt to network with others in order to disclose Yakiri’s case and make it an instrument of pressure to condemn the injustice. It is clear that in this case as in others, the present Mexican authorities will not favor the citizens; therefore, if Yakiri becomes free, it would only be because of national and international civil pressure. If you are interested in collaborating, we will be connected and ready to network this Friday January 24 at 7:30 p.m. You can participate from your Twitter and Facebook accounts. These are the hashtags we will use: #24Emx, #YoHubieraHechoLoMismo,#YakiriLibre, #YakiriLibreTijuana, #NoMásViolenciaDeGénero. This event will take place simultaneously with Yakiri Libre (Mexico City). and, Subscribe to our youtube channel.YakirilibreTijuana"

Sign on to the Amicus Curiae filed by the Mexico City Human Rights Commission arguing for Yakiri Rubí Rubio Aupart's release.

"Sexist violence is a crime, so is imprisoning you for defending yourself."


Tuesday, October 8, 2013

"Chiapas Against the Grain" 10th Itinerant Program Winter 2013

San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, México.

The independent collective “CHIAPAS AGAINST THE GRAIN” in San Cristóbal de las Casas has once again organized the tenth special winter program based on reflection workshops regarding Language and Culture within the context of different visions and values of space/habitat and their contradictions in the urban/rural spatial configuration under neoliberal policies, as well as the processes of cultural recreation and appropriation within the dynamic of the challenge of constructing new worlds.  Said program seeks, in short, to encourage exchanges of experiences between nationals and internationals about shared and diverse principles and values, using Chiapas’ socio-cultural reality as a reference.  Based on the idea that THOUGHT, LANGUAGE, AND REALITY are an identity that allows us to integrate different forms of communication and interaction, we will participate in different activities from visits to talks and videos as generators of collective reflection.

The program will take place from Wednesday, December 18-22, 2013.  The cost for the week’s activities will be $2,000 pesos for internationals and $1,000 pesos for Latin Americans.  The money is used to support independent cultural spaces in Chiapas.  Those who are interested and wish to receive more information can write to chiapasacontrapelo (at) . Our web site: . Address:  Josefa Ortíz de Domínguez #34A. Barrio Santa Lucía. Telephone: +52 (678) 116-0806.

DECEMBER 18-22, 2013

Wednesday 18 Thursday 19 Friday 20 Saturday 21 Sunday 22

Registration and Introduction Plenary about reflection by previous day’s teams

Visit to a Rural City
Plenary about reflection by the previous day’s teams Work in teams: “Space and autonomy”

Tour in teams (*) of the “dual city” Work in teams:
Lekil kuxlejal.
A dignified life.
Work in teams: Autonomy and cultural appropriation: "Everything for everyone." Plenary about the reflection in teams.

Reflection in teams about the activity in the “dual city” Video and preparation for the visit to a Rural City Reflection in teams about the visit. Presentations: New worlds: coexistence and conflicts Continuation of the plenary and final evaluation

(*)  “Dual city” is the concept Andrés Aubry used to characterize San Cristóbal de las Casas (Spanish residential center, indigenous periphery)

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The Invisibilization of Indigenous Hurricane Victims in Guerrero

While the media focuses on the Mexican government’s efforts to evacuate tourists stranded in Acapulco by Hurricane Ingrid and tropical storm Manuel, Guerrero’s indigenous population is abandoned and forgotten.

Alert by Tlachinollan Human Rights Center
Tlapa, de Comonfort, Guerrero. September 18, 2013

The Tlachinollan Human Rights Center denounces that hurricane victims in the Montaña region have been treated as though they were invisible. To date, the government has not taken action to deal with the damages caused by the recent storms in this region.

In Guerrero’s Montaña region, hundreds of communities remain cut off from the outside world, and the number of deaths caused by the storms is still uncertain. The situation that Na’savi and Me’phaa indigenous communities are facing in the municipalities of Malinaltepec, Atlamajalcingo del Monte, Iliatenco, Cochoapa el Grande Metlatonoc, Tlacoapa, Acatepec, and Copanatoyac is urgent; people there are cut off and abandoned. Deaths of children and adults have been reported in Mixtecapa, San Luis Acatlán municipality, due to a mudslide on the hill where the community is located. In the Moyotepec and El Tejocote communities in the Malinaltepec municipality, community authorities have reported over ten deaths. In Tilapa and its annex El Salto in the same municipality, three people were reported dead. In that same municipality there is flooding and damage to hundreds of homes as well as the destruction of crops. In Huehuetepec, Atlamajalcingo del Monte municipality, the Ixtle Hill has begun to slide and residents have left their homes to take refuge in the hills. Likewise, about 70 families face the serious risk that their homes will be buried.

To Tlachinollan, the rains’ impacts in the Montaña are incalculable. In addition to not having an accurate number of deaths, the loss of corn sown by subsistence farmers during this agricultural cycle means that the majority of communities in the region will face an alarming food scarcity in the immediate future. On top of that, homes have been completely destroyed in many communities. In this context, it is urgent to guarantee the human rights to food and dignified housing through emergency actions.

Nevertheless, the state’s response has not arrived to the Montaña region. The traditional community authorities who have arrived on foot to Tlapa have run into public officials’ indifference and discriminatory treatment. There is a total lack of coordination between the three levels of government [municipal, state, and federal], and there is no political representation to quickly deal with victims’ proposals and demands. It is extremely frustrating that the indigenous population that made a great effort to get to Tlapa must return without assuring that the authorities accompany them to their communities to confirm the damages.

On the other hand, Tlachinollan has confirmed that in semi-urban centers such as the municipal seat of Tlapa, the situation is becoming alarming due to the fact that the city is cut off due to the damage to highways that connect it to Chilpancingo, Puebla, and Marquelia. This is already causing a scarcity of gasoline and food, and various neighborhoods remain without telephone service and electricity.

Faced with this situation, the Tlachinollan Human Rights Center laments that the situation of the victims in the Montaña region has not received sufficient attention, neither from the public nor from government agencies, being that the region’s extremely poor suffer the worst consequences of these natural disasters. Once more, the marginalized are also the most forgotten. Therefore, Tlachinollan calls for emergency measures to deal with the situation of victims in the Montaña region and demands that the extraordinary funds that are delivered to Guerrero state authorities incorporate mechanisms of transparency and oversight in order to avoid discretional use for political gain, because such embezzlement is unfortunately frequent in the state.

Finally, the Tlachinollan Human Rights Center calls upon civil society to support the solidarity campaigns that seek to collect food for the people in Guerrero who have been affected by the rains, given that the situation the state faces is critical.

Translated by Kristin Bricker.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

“Practice First, Then Theory:” The Zapatista Little School Shares Lessons Learned During 19 Years of Self-Governance

by Kristin Bricker, Americas Program

The first night of my homestay during the Zapatista Little School, my guardian and her husband asked if their students had any questions. My classmate and I both had experience working with the Zapatistas, so we politely limited ourselves to the safe questions that are generally acceptable when visiting rebel territory: questions about livestock, crops, local swimming holes, and anything else that doesn’t touch on sensitive information about the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN).

My guardian’s husband patiently answered our mundane questions. Then he said, “Look, we entered into clandestinity in 1983, when the organization was just being formed. We walked hours at night to organize other towns, always at night so that the plantation owners wouldn’t get suspicious, and we went into the brush to train. My wife risked her life walking at night to bring bags of tostadas to the camps so that the insurgents would have food to eat during training. Now, do you have any other questions?”

My classmate and I looked at each other, our eyes seeming to say the same thing: “Oh, so that’s how it’s going to be at the Zapatista Little School.” Then our questions began in earnest, and our guardians and their neighbors enthusiastically answered every single one.

Setting the Record Straight

The Zapatistas made the decision to open up their homes to their long-time supporters and teach them about their past, present, errors, victories, and advances for several reasons. During the Little School, Zapatistas repeatedly said that they hoped their supporters could learn from their experiences.

“Self-governance… is possible. If we achieved it with just a few compañeros andcompañeras, why not with thousands or millions?” asked a Zapatista woman from Oventik. “We hope you’ll tell us if our practice, our experience with self-governance is in some way useful for you.”

“Many people think that what we’re doing, our form of governance, is a utopia, a dream,” said another Zapatista in Oventik. “For us Zapatistas, it is a reality because we’ve been doing it… through daily practice over the past 19 years. And that is why we think that if we join together with millions of Mexicans, we can form our own governments.”

Years ago, a Zapatista told me that they often learn more from their mistakes than from their victories. In that spirit, the Little School curriculum includes brutally honest discussions about errors the Zapatistas have committed over the years. For example, the textbooks include a frank discussion about the demise of the Mut Vitz coffee cooperative in 2007. Even though the cooperative’s sudden, unexplained closure was felt throughout the United States and Europe when roasters suddenly found themselves without a source of Zapatista coffee, the Zapatistas had not explained the reasons for Mut Vitz’s downfall until now.

In the Little School textbooks, Roque, a former member of the cooperative and current member of the San Juan de la Libertad Autonomous Municipal Council in Oventik, reveals that mismanagement and corruption ultimately lead to Mut Vitz’s demise. The cooperative had hired an outside accountant who, for reasons unknown to the cooperative members, did not accurately declare Mut Vitz’s assets to Mexico’s tax agency, which allowed the government to freeze their bank account. As Mut Vitz underwent an internal audit to determine what money the cooperative had left outside of the frozen account to pay producers who had supplied coffee on credit pending its sale, the Oventik Good Government Council discovered that members of the Mut Vitz board of directors were stealing money from the cooperative. The Council issued an order to arrest the guilty parties and seized some of their assets to replace the money they had stolen.

The Zapatistas also hoped to use the Little School to set the record straight about the state of their movement. They read the news, and they told students that they know the corporate media reports that Zapatismo is a dying movement, that the Zapatistas have turned their guns over to the government, that Subcomandante Marcos died of lung cancer or was fired, that the Comandancia (the Zapatista military leadership) meets secretly with the “bad government” and accepts millions of pesos from it, and that the Zapatistas are closet communists, amongst other baseless claims.

Furthermore, the Zapatistas admit that there have been traitors, compañeroswho left the organization and collaborated with the government. As one European activist said at the end of the Little School, “I think they realized that it had gotten to the point where Mexico’s security agencies knew more about how the Zapatistas’ government works than their own civil society supporters did, so they decided to let us in on what they’ve been up to.”

The Zapatistas’ civilian government is, after all, not clandestine, and non-Zapatista indigenous people routinely use its clinics, justice system, public transportation permits, and other services that they can’t seem to obtain through the Mexican government. Moreover, any non-Zapatista—be it the bad government or another indigenous organization—that wants to develop an infrastructure project that passes through Zapatista territory (roads or electricity, for example) must negotiate with the Zapatistas’ “good government” and therefore understands how it is structured. With the Little School, the Zapatistas have officially and for the record explained exactly how their government works.

Perhaps one of the Little School’s most important benefits for the Zapatistas occurred during its preparation. The Little School’s four textbooks, Autonomous Government part I and II, Women’s Participation in the Autonomous Government, and Autonomous Resistance, as well as the two DVDs that accompany the books, were all created by Zapatistas themselves. The textbooks are the result of Zapatistas from all five caracoles (Zapatista government centers) traveling to regions other than their own to collect testimonies and interview fellow Zapatistas about how they self-govern.

The Zapatistas’ bottom-up approach to government means that while all of the caracoles operate under the same basic principles and towards the same goals, their day-to-day operations sometimes differ drastically. For example, every caracol has a Good Government Board, the maximum governing body in the region. However, each caracol’s Board is structured differently. Many of the Zapatistas’ questions to their compañeros from other caracoles in the interview portion of the textbooks revolved around their experiences and what has worked and what has not.

For example, a Board member from Oventik asked former Board members from Morelia, “Are the twelve members of the [Morelia] Board able to do all of their work? Because in Caracol II [Oventik] there’s 28 of us, and sometimes we feel overwhelmed.” The Morelia Zapatistas’ response was that they, too, are overwhelmed, and they feel the need to restructure the Board, but they have been unable to come up with a better proposal thus far.

Governing from Below

When the Zapatistas rose up in arms in Chiapas on January 1, 1994, they knew they wanted freedom and autonomy. “But we didn’t have a guide or a plan to tell us how to do it,” a Zapatista education promoter explained to me. “For us, it’s practice first, then theory.”

While part of the EZLN drove rich landowners off of their plantations in the Chiapan countryside in the pre-dawn hours of New Year’s day, other contingents took seven major cities around the state. “All that we’ve accomplished was thanks to our weapons that opened up the path that we are walking down today,” explains a Zapatista from Oventik on a Little School DVD. “[Since then] everything that we have achieved, we have achieved without firing a single shot.”

Immediately following the uprising, the Zapatistas implemented autonomous government at the town level. Each town named its local authorities and formed an assembly. “But since we were at war, we kept losing local authorities,” explains Lorena, a health promoter from San Pedro de Michoacán in La Realidad. “There was disorder in the communities.” As a stopgap measure, the EZLN’s military leadership had to step up and fulfill roles that civilian authorities were unable to carry out during the chaos of the war.

The military leadership held consultations with civilian authorities, and together they decided to create autonomous municipalities in order to bring order and civilian governance to the rebel territory. In December 1994, the Zapatistas inaugurated 38 autonomous municipalities comprised of an undisclosed number of towns. Each autonomous municipality had its own municipal council named by the towns, allowing for increased coordination between towns and more formal organization of civilian affairs.

As solidarity activists began to arrive in Zapatista territory to donate money and labor, the EZLN’s command realized that some municipalities were receiving more support than other, more isolated ones. “At [the command’s] urging, the municipal councils met and began to hold assemblies to start to see how each municipality was doing, what support each was receiving, what projects were being carried out,” explains Doroteo, a former member of La Realidad’s Good Government Board.

In 1997, the Zapatistas formalized the assemblies of municipal councils by creating the Association of Autonomous Municipalities, comprised of representatives from each autonomous municipality. “With the association of municipalities, tasks and work in health, education, and commerce were overseen,” recalls Doroteo. “During that time a dry goods warehouse was created… with the idea of [economically] supporting the full-time workers in the [Zapatista] hospital in San José del Río.”

During the creation of the Association of Autonomous Municipalities, the Zapatistas formally redistributed the land they had taken over in the 1994 uprising. Landless Zapatistas left the communities in which they were born to settle on recuperated land they could finally call their own, fulfilling revolutionary hero Emiliano Zapata’s creed, “The land belongs to those who work it.”

In 2003, the Zapatistas inaugurated the third level of their autonomous government, the five Good Government Boards, located in La Realidad, Oventik, La Garrucha, Morelia, and Roberto Barrios. However, the organization of higher levels of government does not mean that the Zapatistas are moving further away from direct democracy through local assemblies. On the contrary, all proposals must be approved by town assemblies.

Proposals can originate in town assemblies and work their way up the different levels of autonomous government if they affect more than just the town in which they originated. The proposals pass through the municipal councils, which then brings approved proposals to the Good Government Council, which then runs them by the command, which then sends the proposals back down through the five Good Government Boards, which send them to the municipal councils, which in turn send the proposals to the people at the town level for consultation and implementation.

The command can also create its own proposals and send them down through the three levels of civilian government to the town assemblies for consultation and approval. Therefore, even though the Good Government Boards are the highest level of the autonomous government, they have no authority to create laws. The Boards are limited to two main roles: to coordinate and promote work in their regions and to enforce and carry out Zapatista laws and mandates that have already been approved by the people.

Because the Zapatistas constructed their government from the bottom up, with people organizing themselves into community assemblies, which in turn organized municipal councils, which in turn organized the five Good Government Boards, everyCaracol is different. All work to implement the Zapatistas’ demands: land, housing, health, education, work, food, justice, democracy, culture, independence, freedom, and peace. However, the Zapatistas’ progress in implementing those demands varies from Caracol to Caracol. Some Caracols, such as La Garrucha, have collective economic projects such as stores or cattle to fund political activities at each of the three levels of government; other Caracols like Oventik only have collective economic projects in some towns.

Likewise, methods and success in implementing the Zapatistas’ Revolutionary Women’s Law varies. Morelia, for example, struggles to find ways to promote women’s participation in the higher levels of autonomous government. However, Morelia is unique amongst the Caracols because its Honor and Justice Commission (the judicial system) has a special plan for dealing with rape that aims to reduce re-victimization and encourage women to report crimes.

Constant Progress

Many have referred to recent Zapatista mobilizations such as their December 21, 2012, silent march and the creation of the Little School as a Zapatista “resurgence.” The Little School left one thing very clear: this is not a resurgence, because the Zapatistas never went away. During the school, students learned about the seemingly endless new cooperatives, the Zapatistas’ experiments in collective governance that are always being fine-tuned, and how donations from supporters were invested in livestock and warehouses so that they would pay dividends that would provide a steady long-term budget for hospitals and clinics.

The Little School’s lesson is clear: if the Zapatistas aren’t talking to the press, don’t commit the error of thinking that they are losing steam or have faded away. They are simply working extremely hard to advance their autonomy, and are too busy to get bogged down in countering the naysayers.

After all, their success is measured in their achievements and not their rhetoric. As one Zapatista man said at the end of a Little School class in Oventik, “We are demonstrating to the bad government that we don’t want it and we don’t need it, and it’s not necessary, for us to provide for ourselves.”

Kristin Bricker is a reporter in Mexico. She is a contributor to the CIP Americas Program

Photos: Santiago Navarro F

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Mexico: Indigenous Oaxacan Political Prisoners Caught in the Drug War Prison Boom

by Kristin Bricker and Santiago Navarro, Upside Down World  

After spending nearly 17 years in the same prison cell just outside of Oaxaca City, seven indigenous Loxicha political prisoners were transferred this month—twice. The transfers, which enraged and frightened their families and supporters, were part of a nationwide shuffle of existing prisoners to fill beds at newly opened facilities that were financed by Mexican and United States drug war money.

The prisoners, Agustín Luna Valencia, Eleuterio Hernández Garcia, Fortino Enriquez Hernández, Justino Hernández José, Abraham Garcia Ramirez, Zacarias Pascual Garcia López, and Alvaro Sebastián Ramirez, are Zapotec indigenous men from Oaxaca’s Loxicha region, one of Oaxaca’s poorest and most marginalized regions.

The seven Loxichas are accused of participating in the August 29, 1996, Popular Revolutionary Army (EPR) uprising in la Crucecita, Oaxaca, in which 11 government agents were killed. The indigenous men say they were tortured into signing hundreds of pages of blank paper that were later filled in with confessions. The Loxichas were convicted of murder (of the federal agents), terrorism, and conspiracy, and they were sentenced to up to 31 years in prison.

This past June 7, the Loxicha prisoners were transferred to the new private medium security federal prison Cefereso #13 in Miahuatlan, Oaxaca, located three hours from the Ixcotel state prison where they spent the past sixteen years. The publicly financed, privately managed prison opened this past March. It is Oaxaca’s first federal prison and Mexico’s first private prison.

In response to increasing prison overpopulation throughout the country, the federal government has promised to transfer federal prisoners out of the state prisons where they are currently incarcerated and into new federal prisons. As part of this reshuffling, the seven Loxichas—all held on federal charges—were transferred to the Miahuatlan prison along with 186 other federal prisoners from state prisons around the country. When prison officials didn’t notify the prisoners’ families about the transfer, this led to fears that the Loxicha political prisoners had been disappeared.

When the Loxichas’ families located them in Miahuatlan’s new private prison, they attempted to visit them there in order to assure that the prisoners were not abused during the transfer. The families were shocked to discover that the prison prohibits face-to-face visits. The prisoners are only allowed 30-minute visits via closed-circuit television. “My father thought that I was calling him from somewhere else,” recounted Erica Sebastián, Alvaro Sebastián Ramirez’s daughter, following a televised visit. “He told me that all of the other prisoners were surprised because we were the first people to visit that prison. That’s how we know that was due to political pressure that we were allowed to see them.”

Contrary to the government’s claims that its new “modern” private prison would “offer clinic services, education, and recreation areas to the prisoners,” as well as “job training” and “dignified facilities,” Erica found her father and the other Loxichas living in “degrading and inhumane” conditions. “They went a whole week without any toilet paper,” complained Erica. “They had to bathe themselves in front of female guards.”

In a press release, the families denounced that the prisoners had gone “13 days without seeing the sun, without leaving their cells, without being able to change their clothes, drinking [dirty] tap water, eating small rations of only beans and a piece of bread, suffering from chronic illnesses and not having access to neither medicine nor medical attention.” The families also discovered that Federal Police abused the inmates during the transfer. “[Federal Police] violently removed them from cell #22 in the Ixcotel prison, they stole their money and valuables, [and] they left them outside exposed to the elements for several hours with their hands tied behind their backs and in uncomfortable positions.”

On June 21, the same day the families held a press conference to denounce the inhumane conditions at the Miahuatlan prison, the government transferred the prisoners yet again—this time, to a maximum security federal prison in Tabasco, which is located over 12 hours from their families in Oaxaca. “The government is mocking us,” commented Erica after learning of the new transfer. “It wants to wear us down.”

During a three-hour face-to-face visit in the Tabasco prison on June 26, Alvaro told his daughter that the conditions there were better than in Miahuatlan’s private prison. “They’re thankful to be out of that place,” reported Erica after leaving the prison. “They aren’t thinking of [the transfer] as retaliation. They think of it as a victory that they were transferred out of Cefereso #13, because whoever gets sent to that prison goes crazy.”
Nonetheless, the families are upset that their loved ones were sent so far away because the trip is prohibitively expensive. The relatives had to beg for donations to cover travel costs for their first visit, and they borrowed a vehicle from the Oaxacan teachers union to get to the prison in Huimanguillo, Tabasco.

The Tabasco and Miahuatlan prisons are two of 12 new federal prisons that are financed in part by funds from the United States government’s Merida Initiative drug war aid package. Under the rubric of “prison reform,” the Merida Initiative aims to increase federal prisons’ capacity from 6,400 to 20,000 prisoners by funding new prisons, training prison guards in the United States, and establishing a corrections academy and canine training facilities in Mexico.

The construction of new prisons has been a priority due to concerns that Mexico’s overburdened, corrupt prison system could not handle the influx of new prisoners that officials hoped the drug war would create. The 12 new prisons constitute a veritable boom for Mexico’s budding industry, bringing the total number of federal prisons up to 25.

Legal Recourses Exhausted

The seven Loxicha prisoners deny that they belonged to the EPR and participated in the uprising. Furthermore, Erica argues that the government’s charges against her father are contradictory and unlawful: “The State accuses my father of participating in a rebellion, but he was judged as a common criminal.”

Erica points out that Article 137 of Mexico’s Federal Penal Code states, “When the crimes of homicide, robbery, kidnapping, looting, and other crimes are committed during a rebellion, the rules of combat apply. The rebels will not be responsible for the homicides nor injuries occasioned by the acts of a combatant…” If the Loxichas were tried and convicted as rebels—as the government claims they are—instead of common criminals, they would have been sentenced to 1-20 years for rebellion instead of thirty years for homicide and terrorism. In other words, they could have possibly already served their sentences instead of living in federal prison alongside some of the drug war’s most ruthless convicts.

The Loxicha prisoners have exhausted their legal options within the Mexican court system. On May 6, 2013, Alvaro Sebastián filed a complaint with the Inter-American Human Rights Commission in the hopes that the Inter-American Human Rights Court will hear his case. Because the Mexican government is legally required to abide by all Inter-American Human Rights Court verdicts, a favorable verdict is his only remaining legal recourse.

However, Sebastián and his supporters, known as the Voice of the Zapotec Xiches Collective, are not idly waiting for the Inter-American Commission to review his case. They believe political pressure from civil society will ultimately free Sebastián and the other Loxicha prisoners.

Sebastián has followed in the footsteps of other high-profile indigenous political prisoners and publicly declared his support for the Zapatistas. During his tour of Mexico in 2006, the Zapatistas’ Subcomandante Marcos appealed to supporters to create a national campaign for the liberation of the country’s political prisoners. Since then, dozens of indigenous political prisoners and their supporters, particularly in the Zapatistas’ home state of Chiapas, have united under the Zapatista banner to agitate for their freedom.

The strategy gives political prisoners access to the Zapatistas’ supporters around the world. The resulting political pressure has forced the government to release dozens of imprisoned Zapatista supporters, including Gloria Arenas and her husband Jacobo Silva Nogales, both former commanders of the Guerrero-based Revolutionary Army of the Insurgente People (ERPI).

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

"Chiapas Against the Grain" 9th Itinerant Program Summer 2013

If you're already planning on coming to Chiapas for the Zapatista events this August, consider extending your trip so that you can participate in this valuable program.

The independent collective “CHIAPAS AGAINST THE GRAIN” in San Cristóbal de las Casas has once again organized the ninth special summer program based on reflection workshops regarding Language and Culture within the context of different visions of space/habitat and the contradictions in the urban/rural spatial configuration under neoliberal policies. Said program seeks, in short, to encourage exchanges of experiences between nationals and internationals about shared and diverse principles and values, using Chiapas’ socio-cultural reality as a reference. Based on the idea that THOUGHT, LANGUAGE, AND REALITY are an identity that allows us to integrate different forms of communication and interaction, we will participate in different activities from visits to talks and videos as generators of collective reflection.

The program will take place from Monday, July 29 to August 2, 2013 (*). The cost for the week’s activities will be $2,000 pesos for internationals and $1,000 pesos for Latin Americans. The money is used to support independent cultural spaces in Chiapas. Those who are interested and wish to receive more information can write to chiapasacontrapelo (at) . Our web site: . Address: 16 de Septiembre #28.

JULY 29 TO AUGUST 2, 2013

Monday 29 Tuesday 30 Wednesday 31 Thursday 1 Friday 2

Registration and Introduction Plenary about reflection by previous day’s teams

Visit to a Rural City
Plenary about reflection by the previous day’s teams Work in teams: “Space and autonomy”

Tour in teams (*) of the “dual city” (**) Work in teams:
Lekil kuxlejal. Good life.
Work in teams: Autonomy and the 7 Zapatista principles Plenary about the reflection in teams.

Reflection in teams about the activity in the “dual city” Video and preparation for the visit to a Rural City Reflection in teams about the visit. Talk about Chiapas’ political and social situation. Continuation of the plenary and final evaluation

(*) There will be three teams: Spanish, Tsotsil, and Tseltal
(**) “Dual city” is the concept Andrés Aubry used to characterize San Cristóbal de las Casas (Spanish residential center, indigenous periphery)

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Constructing a community police in the town of Álvaro Obregón, Oaxaca

Strengthening the Struggle to Defend Territory on the Isthmus of Tehuantepec 

Published on February 11, 2013 in Isthmus of Tehuantepec, Juchitán

by Daniel Arellano Chávez, Proyecto Ambulante
translation by El Enemigo Común

March in Álvaro Obregón. February 10, 2013
March in Álvaro Obregón. February 10, 2013
Today, February 10, 2013 is certainly a watershed in the struggle for the defense of the land and territory on the Isthmus of Tehuantepec. After the successful resistance against the repression ordered by Oaxaca state governor Gabino Cué to shield Mareña Renovables, the peoples of the Isthmus are at a decisive moment in their struggle to defend their territory. The Assembly held today and the sizeable march in Álvaro Obregón has provided the ideal setting for announcing townspeople’s decisions, expelling false political leaders and their political parties, and beginning the construction of a Community Police.
At the old General Charis military quarters, the scene of the historic resistance of February 2, men and women from San Dionisio del Mar, San Mateo del Mar, Xadani, Emiliano Zapata, San Blas Atempa, Unión Hidalgo, and Juchitán, among other communities, came together in the morning to ratify their total rejection of the wind projects in the region and demand the immediate expulsion of Mareña Renovables from the territories of the Isthmus.

The Assembly and march come on the heels of the desperate, venomous statements made by Gabino Cué Monteagudo last February 6, when he said: “They’re just tiny groups of people who spend their time drinking, attacking the police, and holding up social projects that the company is committed to implementing for the benefit of the community.”

The decisive actions taken by community people are a clear demonstration of the resistance against the advance of transnationals in regional towns.

The Community Assembly of Álvaro Obregón states: “In the full exercise of our right to self-determination and autonomy as Binnizá indigenous people of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, and in view of the violations of our territorial rights by the state government and corporations, we have resolved that as of tomorrow we will begin to organize the first detachment of our Binni Guia’pa’ Guidxi’ (community police) in defense of the land and territory; it will be made up of people from our communities.” During the march, this decision was underscored with signs, banners and chants demanding the exit of all repressive forces, making it clear that no kind of state or federal police is welcome and that access to the Mexican Army and Navy will be blocked.

Upcoming resistance actions are proposed for February 13 in San Dionisio del Mar, and a call is being sent out for national and international solidarity and for the participation of indigenous peoples of the region and the country to cover the Humanitarian Caravan and Solidarity Cavalcade with Guidxi’ro Resistance that will be held on Sunday February 17, setting out from different points to then converge in Álvaro Obregón. Plans also call for shoring up the collection of provisions and supplies at Radio Totopo in Juchitán, and the Universidad de la Tierra in Colonia Reforma, City of Oaxaca.

Heading up today’s march was a large group of boys and girls, followed by dozens of women, then hundreds of men, women, young people, elders, Zapotecs and Ikjots, chanting with all their might: “Zapata lives! The struggle continues!”, “Mareña Renovables out now!”, and a message that could presage the future of the governor of Oaxaca, “Gabino Cué, out now!”

So this is the way resistance is being strengthened from within. Now it’s time for the peoples of Oaxaca, the country and the world to show their heartfelt support for the righteous people of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec.

Source in Spanish: Proyecto Ambulante

Spanish language video: