Letter from the EZLN to Doña Emilia Aurora Sosa Marín, compañera of Honorary Major Insurgent Félix Serdán Nájera

Felix Serdán with Sup Galeano

Félix Serdán with Sup Galeano

Zapatista National Liberation Army, Mexico

February 2015

To: Doña Emilia Aurora Sosa Marín.

From: Subcomandantes Insurgentes Moisés and Galeano
EZLN, Chiapas, Mexico

Compañera Emilia:

We got the news just a few hours ago. We don’t know how long it will take for these lines to reach you, but we know that regardless of the date, you will be able to read in these words the collective embrace that we send you.

That is because here we also feel the pain and sorrow of the death of Don Félix Serdán Nájera, honorary officer in our Zapatista Army for National Liberation, this past February 22 in the early morning hours.

Felix Serdán and his compañera, Doña Emilia

Félix Serdán and his compañera, Doña Emilia

We remember Don Félix’s firm and tender gaze, but we also remember your presence. It is as if between the two of you your journey was complete. That’s why we say that his absence brings us pain, but we also hurt for the pain that you feel in your heart today, Doña Emilia.

That is why with these words we not only want to salute the memory of compañero Felix Serdán, but to embrace you as well.

You and he have given us a living example that commitment and integrity are not something to boast about, that they are not measured on stages, in spotlights, through grand discourses or fateful dates.

Because the struggle is not a conjunctural lightning bolt that illuminates everything and then disappears in an instance. It is a light that, although tiny, is nourished every day at all hours. It does not presume to be unique or omnipotent. Its objective is to join with others, not to light up a monument but to illuminate the path so we don’t get lost.

In other words: the struggle doesn’t sell out, doesn’t give in, and doesn’t give up.

Don Félix, like you, always spoke and speaks to us in the simple, true words of those who share dreams, pain, and determination.

When we listened to him, we heard you both. And it was both of you that we saw and see at our side on the long path of resistance.

Because although there are no words to soothe the pain, we have inherited from both of you the commitment to be Zapatistas until our last breath.

This example that the two of you have given us, which is repeated and reflected in women, men, and others [1] in every corner of the planet, demands and obligates us to pursue the two things that we who struggle for justice, liberty, and democracy insist upon: resistance and rebellion.

And just as we see you, in your gaze we see ourselves. This is because both of you have been on this side of things regardless of trends or circumstances. You are on this side because you saw that our path here and yours there have the same destiny.

Without wasting time and energy on the words and gazes above, the two of you have always kept your heart open to those who are like us: those who have no faith in a system that oppresses us, deceives us, and attacks us; those who, with the same tender rage that one could see in the gaze of Major Insurgent Félix Serdán and in your own, Doña Emilia, construct a thousand mirrors of freedom, without fuss, without useless ceremonies, and without thunderous declarations.

We saw that a flag, the red and black flag of the EZLN covered the final resting place of our compañero. With our flag, the women, men, children, and elderly of the Zapatista Army for National Liberation were and are present there. With our flag we are with you, Doña Emilia.

Your example will live on in all those who cover themselves with this flag. The struggle will continue with them. Because it is true that death finds no relief if our gaze stops at the end. But here we think that death is only cured by life, and that life is only worthwhile if it is lived in struggle. And the struggle is only fertile in collective.

So we do not die with Don Félix. With his life we live. With his life and that of many others [2] who died resisting and rebelling. Because even though it might seem like nobody keeps an accounting of those who are now gone, there are some who are no one so that accounting will not be forgotten.

We send you an embrace that, although it will not cure the loss, may bring relief in confirming, to you and to Don Félix, that here your gaze is reflected because we walk the same path.

From the mountains of the Mexican Southeast,

In the name of all of the women, men, children, and elderly of the Zapatista Army for National Liberation,

Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés

Subcomandante Insurgente Galeano

Mexico, February 2015

Signed Letter, part1

Signed Letter, part 1




Signed Letter, part 2

Signed Letter, part 2




P.S. According to what we are told by the Support Team for the EZLN’s Sixth Commission, you have already received a small contribution that we sent as soon as we learned this sad news. With this letter comes a little more. It is not a lot because our possibilities do not allow for much. But support between compas has no measure. We know well that this does not relieve the pain of loss, but we also know that you have suffered economic hardship due to the long illness of our compañero. We are certain that the compas of the Sixth everywhere in the world, like us, will support you with whatever they can.

[1] The text uses “otroas” meaning “other,” to give a range of possible gendered pronouns including male, female, transgender and others.

[2] The text uses “muchos, muchas, muchoas” to give a range of possible gendered pronouns including male, female, transgender and others.


Originally Published in Spanish by Enlace Zapatista




Neoliberal Ecocide

Photo: Hermann Bellinghausen

Photo: Hermann Bellinghausen


By: Hermann Bellinghausen

Huayacocotla, Ver.

Slow but relentless, alarm runs through the northern mountains and lowlands of the Huasteca: a threat hovers over the territorial rights of thousands of communities. And, it has a name, although it’s not the only one: “fracking,” or hydraulic fracture, a new and aggressive procedure for extracting gas and oil below and inside of large underground rocks. More than a hundred municipios (counties) in four states are threatened by fracking in phases zero and one of the Secretary of Energy, according to maps from Advanced Resources International of the Huasteca and of Totonacapan, according to what the Mexican Alliance Against Fracking has documented.

There are 49 municipios at imminent risk in Veracruz, 22 in Puebla, 21 in Hidalgo and 18 in San Luis Potosí (SLP): communities and agricultural fields of the Nahua, Tenek, Otomí, Tepehua and Totonaca Peoples. The representative of the Puebla municipio Francisco Z. Mena, one of the first affected by the two “phases,” describes the current arrogant presence of vehicles, machinery and personnel of the Schlumberger and Halliburton corporations. “Several wells already operate. They came offering the stars and they haven’t left anything. We demand that they fix the road that they left unusable; upon protesting, the Puebla government throws public forces at us and incarcerates us.”

As the comuneros and ejido owners see it, conscious of the future that awaits them, this is just the first of the horsemen of the Apocalypse let loose by the Constitutional reforms in energy matters that liberalize in the extreme who will extract hydrocarbons and how they will be extracted in indigenous and campesino territories “on top of any other social or productive consideration,” expresses Óscar Espino, a member of the mentioned alliance in Papantla.

The worries over what’s coming, accumulated on the already large quantity of serious things that are occurring (or even worse, have occurred), begin to appear under the brims of the campesinos’ sombreros. There is a shadow of concern in the faces of the representatives of diverse indigenous and campesino communities of Veracruz, Hidalgo and Puebla, gathered together in a small hotel of crazy architecture and half constructed in Huayacocotla, to discuss the imminence of large-scale hydraulic fracture in their towns and municipios.

The attendees come from Veracruz, Puebla and Hidalgo. They have in common being persons of age, whose lives have already been full, have been ejido or communal authorities, have dealt with governments all their lives, one was a mayor. Their commitment to the territories and rights of the communities is very mature and realistic. Esteban Mayorga, of Los Parajes, has concluded that: “autonomy is very important for being able to dialogue with people.” He says the same thing to his fellow campesinos that he says to the (government) functionaries and to the agents from the transnational corporations. “If there isn’t peace there isn’t anything. But above all, the idea that I carry is of being autonomous; without that they are going to finish us off and with us the forests, water, life that we still take care of.”

Fire in the water

With clarity and vehemence, Francisco Cravioto, from the Fundar organization and a member of the alliance, exposes to the community representatives the noxious effects of hydrocarbon extraction in shale deposits via hydraulic fracture and he illustrates with a United States video in which a housewife, a neighbor to extractions by means of fracture, opens his kitchen faucet and when he puts a match close to the water jet, it catches fire. You might say it’s an effect, but it’s real and proven. And that is only because of the escape of gas that confounds the water, which as Eutimio Mendoza exclaims, “seems like liquor.”

The perforation, Cravioto explains, uses large quantities of water, which contains up to 600 toxic substances, besides freeing heavy subsoil metals and acid substances. Although the extractor corporations assure having procedures to avoid that that waste water does not contaminate the communities’ water sources, it’s very probable that there are leaks in just months. Six years is the average time that extraction lasts on a site. Something frequent now where large-scale fracking is done is that water rises to the surface and floods the fields. “The technology doesn’t even exist for treating that water,” Cravioto maintains.

The Gulf of Mexico region on the whole “is the one that runs the most risk in the country.” After decades of traditional oil extraction, the scarcity and difficulty of getting the hydrocarbons out expands the territories to exploit, with much more aggressive practices against the territories and the inhabitants. According to what Manuel Llano has written (La Jornada del Campo, 86, 11/14), 13 indigenous towns would have their territory compromised, “in first place the Yoko Yinikob or Chontales of Tabasco, with 85 percent of their territory occupied, next the Totonaca with 38 percent, and the Popoluca with 31 percent,” both in Veracruz. That, in the phase zero! In phase one, this year, the Tenek, Nahuas and Totonacas will see 320,000 hectares of their territories occupied.

In his exposition, Cravioto says that the delivery of territories and resources to the transnationals dates at least from 2010, before the recent reforms. But the Chicontepec fossil channel, as a coveted and over-valued area is known that ought to be in oil splendor this year, is punctured. It ought to give off 22 percent of the national production, according to what the federal government and the five corporations to which the contracts were assigned predicted in 2009 (they no longer say “concession,” although it continues being so): Halliburton, Schlumberger, Baker Hughes, Weatherford and Tecpetrol. In agreement with Mauricio González González, also from the Mexican Alliance against Fracking, said “contracts for public works,” are a fiasco, besides being illegal, because it turns out that the “probable” reserves were not proven, barely 5.4 percent of Calderonismo’s initial joyous counts. As of 2012, around 3,000 wells had been perforated, and 2,347 operate.

This calculation error now justifies the application of fracking in Phase One, which offers corporations the extraction of shale gas. In Veracruz an assignation of 900,000 hectares is foreseen, and in Puebla some 90,000, adds González, a member of the Center for Rural Research and Training (Cedicar, its Spanish acronym).

“The institutions protect us less than ever”

Óscar Espino, from Papantla, says that Halliburton and Schlumberger “arrived in Tihuatlán and Papantla 13 years ago, getting ready to take advantage as soon as the changes to the Constitution were made ‘where it was never going to touch,’ as the federal governments promised, until they created new laws and reformed 12 existing laws, in the ‘pact against Mexico.’” [1] We’re dealing with the greatest threat to indigenous territories and the national soil in more than a century. “The new Constitution does not give rights, it takes them away,” says Espino. Facing the imminent “legal servitude to hydrocarbons,” he proposes to those in attendance: “taking care of ejido and other local authorities, because corrupting them or terrifying them is how they are going to enter, and the institutions protect us less than ever because they are in favor of the corporations, not of us.” The pueblos are “judicially defenseless,” and the only resources that remain are the international instruments signed by the State.

An orange seller from Alamo sums up everything in: “the need for creating a front of the peoples in defense of territory.” As González González of Cedicar expresses, they are facing genocide, because the new circumstances “will make life impossible for the people of those communities,” which constitute “a world, a humanity that will not now be possible without determined indigenous people.” An irreparable damage!

[1] The Pact against Mexico is a negative reference to the Pact for Mexico, a package of neoliberal structural reforms that included the energy “reform” referred to in the article.


Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Translation: Chiapas Support Committee

Sunday, March 1, 2015

En español: http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2015/03/01/politica/002n1pol/


Raúl Zibechi; The lefts, ethics and racism

Posted: February 24, 2015 by Chiapas Support Committee in Human Rights, Raúl Zibechi


 By: Raúl Zibechi

Photo of Mural on West Oakland Wall.

Photo of Mural on West Oakland Wall.

“The police have to decide at every moment (…) to have the cool and calm necessary for making the right decision. It’s like the striker in front of the goal that attempts to decide, in seconds, how he is going to shoot at the goalkeeper. After the game ends, if it was a big goal, all the fans are going to applaud him” (Carta Capital, 2/9/15). Those were the public statements of the governor of the state of Bahía, Rui Costa, faced with the murder of 15 black youths in Salvador, the state’s capital.

On February 6, the Special Rounds (Rondesp), a corps of the Military Police, killed 12 youths in the Cabula barrio. They alleged that it was about an exchange of shots with delinquents, but witnesses asserted that they were executed, and videos that circulate in the Internet reinforce that version. On Saturday, February 7, the Rounds killed two other youths and in the wee hours of Sunday the 8th an exchange of shots in the Sussuarana barrio produced another death.

Amnesty International has been receiving complaints about abusive actions of the Rounds, with the use of excessive force, with enforced disappearances and summary executions. The official version of the Secretariat of Public Security of the state of Bahía is always the same: the youths were involved with drugs or others crimes, they shot at the police, who reacted in legitimate defense. The figure of “resistance followed by death” is the legal justification for the summary executions in the favelas and in any place where the police attack black youths.

According to the Pastoral of the Youth of Salvador, which is a member of the National Campaign Against the Violence and Extermination of Youths, deaths due to the special squadrons of Military Police are in the enormous majority black youths, poor and residents of the periphery. The Pastoral was able to verify that of 13 deaths 10 had no record and one had participated in a fight at Carnival. “This was the best case, but in several other barrios there were persecutions and executions of alleged traffickers,” a member of the Pastoral assures (Adital, 2/11/15).

The 2014 Map of violence, elaborated by the state, establishes that in 2012 more than 56,000 people were murdered, and that the majority of the victims are young black men hombres between 15 and 29 years old. Violent crimes increased 7 percent between 2011 and 2012 and 13 percent ever since the Workers Party assumed the government in 2003. A half a million people were murdered in one decade. The report reveals that the number of whites murdered diminished 25 percent between 2002 and 2012, but black victims increased 37 percent in the same period.

Hamilton Borges, one of the articulators of the React or you’ll be dead campaign, and a member of the Quilombo Xis-Action Cultural Community, maintains that the northwest “lives an unprecedented drama of black genocide” (Justicia Global, 2/5/15). The campaign has functioned since 10 years ago in Bahía, considered the second state of Brazil in the concentration of murders of youths in the 12 to 18 year range.

The Military Police have harassed and pursued Borges on various occasions; they entered his home by force at night, without a judicial order and without any concrete accusation, just to intimidate him. This enormous militant of the black cause articulates outside of political parties and institutions. “We don’t negotiate our lives for public positions, we are not frivolous because we know that we cannot perceive being in struggle if we collaborate with the enemy like many do,” he wrote a little before the latest crimes.

With the same energy that he denounces the police, he confronts those that he calls: “institutionalized blacks,” those that use the cause for getting positions and personal benefits.

Something similar happens in the state of Maranhao, where the human rights organization Justicia Global denounces that the new governor, Flavio Dino, signed a resolution that in fact is a “license to kill” for members of the repressive corps, since it guaranties the state defense of the agents involved in cases of summary executions.

One can say, not without reason, that a good part of the denunciations and mentioned events are not new in Brazil. Nevertheless, there is a difference. Governor Costa, who compares the murders of black youth with soccer goals, is a member of the Workers Party. Governor Dino, who sponsors and hides the genocide of blacks, belongs to the Communist Party of Brazil.

There is not only something new here, but also a true leap in quality. It’s not that the PT governor and the communist look away while the police murder under their orders. They are the ones that clutch the weapons that protect the killers and, like the governor of Bahía, scoff at the victims. The (political) parties, not the membership or the leadership, have not admonished anyone. How does one understand and name what is happening?

It is evident that we are facing an ethical bankruptcy of the electoral lefts. But no one stands to suddenly lose the ethical goal. It is a long process of deterioration, of concessions; small at first, enormous at the end of the road. In the most profound, if we undo “the flounces of the rhyme, the meter, the cadence and even the very idea,” as León Felipe write; in other words, if we toss out words and programs, discourses and gestures for the crowds, the only difference between left and right is, must be, ethics.

When Hamilton Borges says: “we are not lightweights, we don’t negotiate positions for lives,” he is pointing to the ethical recuperation of the commitment with those most below, in this case poor blacks in the favelas (ghettos). It is the only way that we know for overcoming the crisis of the lefts: leaving the positions and benefits, big and small, for accompanying, like one more, the struggles of the peoples.


Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Translation: Chiapas Support Committee

Friday, February 20, 2015



Police kill migrant farmworker in Pasco, Washington

Posted: February 22, 2015 by Chiapas Support Committee in Human Rights, Immigration
Tags: ,


Demonstrators protest Pasco police killing of Mexican farmworker.

Demonstrators protest Pasco police killing of Mexican farmworker.

By fnsnews | Published February 16, 2015

The fatal police shooting of an unarmed Mexican migrant in Washington State has stirred renewed attention south of the border on the use of deadly force by U.S. law enforcement agencies. The February 10 shooting of Antonio Zambrano Montes by police in Pasco, Washington, is getting prominent coverage in both the print and electronic media in Mexico.

[An AP article, published yesterday (Feb. 21) in the NYTimes, has updated information, photos and important background info on Pasco.]

The Zambrano killing, which was captured on video and widely transmitted in cyberspace, has also drawn the involvement of all three levels of the Mexican government. President Enrique Pena Nieto, the Secretariat of Foreign Relations (SRE) and the Michoacan state government all condemned the shooting, while the official National Human Rights Commission urged the SRE to provide financial support, attention and guidance to Zambrano’s family. In a statement, the SRE not only criticized Zambrano’s violent death, but also called attention to “incidents in which disproportionate force is used, even more so when it results in the loss of civilians.”

An apple industry worker, Zambrano was shot and killed by Pasco police officers after he was reported throwing rocks at cars. According to police accounts, the 35-year-old man also threw rocks at officers before he was killed. Some eyewitnesses, however, said Zambrano had his hands up when he was shot. Zambrano’s mother, Acapita Montes Rivera, was granted a U.S. humanitarian visa this past weekend so she could travel from the family home in Michoacan to recover her son’s remains in Washington State.  Montes said that the municipal government of Aquila, Michoacan, covered her travel and legal expenses. “He is my son, and he was always a good boy,” Montes was quoted. “He never forgot about us and always helped us out.” They expect that Antonio Zambrano’s body would be shipped back to Mexico this week.

In another communique, the SRE reiterated its disposition to provide all the necessary support to the slain man’s family. On Sunday February 15, Eduardo Baca, the Mexican Consul in Seattle met with Zambrano’s relatives. In rapid fashion, Zambrano’s family took the initial steps in an expected  $25 million lawsuit against the City of Pasco for Antonio’s death. Cited by the Mexican press, Washington State media were credited for reporting that one of the officers involved in the deadly confrontation, Ryan Flanagan, was accused of excessive force and racism by a 30-year-old Latina woman in 2009, but escaped further consequences when a $100,000 settlement was reached with the complainant.

Similar to Albuquerque, Ferguson and many other U.S. communities, the Zambrano shooting sparked mass protests against police violence. On Valentine’s Day 2015, hundreds of demonstrators led by Zambrano’s family marched in Pasco chanting “Justice for Antonio.” Felix Vargas, chair of Pasco’s Consejo Latino, demanded a federal investigation of the shooting. Prior to the march, Vargas said he was “very perturbed” by an encounter that did not justify “even a single shot.” On Facebook, activists are publicizing a Seattle rally for Zambrano and against police brutality set for Westlake Park on Wednesday, February 18.

Pasco police have killed four people since last summer. About half of the estimated 68,000 inhabitants of the city are Latinos. Don Blasdel, the local county coroner, took the unusual step of ordering a public inquest into Zambrano’s death. The inquest, Blasdel said, would ensure an independent and transparent investigation. “I don’t want the situation to end up as another Ferguson,” the Franklin County official said.

In Mexico, Zambrano’s death recast the spotlight on the broader treatment of migrants by U.S. law enforcement officials.

According to the SRE, the Border Patrol and other U.S. law enforcement agencies have killed 74 Mexican nationals since 2006. Of the 74 deaths, 26 of them occurred at the hands of the Border Patrol, with the remaining 48 attributed to altercations with municipal, county and state police forces. More than half the cases, or 47, produced no consequences for the involved agencies, while 9 yielded some reparations of damages for family members. In addition to death by firearm, electric shocks, drowning and being crushed by a horse caused the fatalities, according to the SRE.

In 2014, the Border Patrol instituted new policies that put some restrictions on its agents from employing gunfire during rock-throwing incidents.

Reina Torres, general director of the SRE’s department dedicated to the protection of Mexicans abroad, expressed optimism that the Zambrano killing would produce accountability.

“In the case of Antonio, we are confident there could be difference,” Torres told the Mexican daily El Universal. “There are a lot of witnesses and a video that is very clear.”

Torres vowed the Mexican government will pursue legal follow-ups on all the outstanding cases involving police violence against Mexican nationals in the U.S. Michoacan state lawmaker Noe Bernadino said the local legislature would pass a resolution during its next session requesting that the federal congress demand greater respect for the civil rights of Mexican nationals in the U.S.

In the bigger scheme of things, Zambrano’s death has further propelled allegations of excessive use of force by U.S. police agencies into an increasingly thorny issue on the world stage.


Sources: CNN en español, February 16, 2015. La Jornada, February 15 and 16, 2015. Articles by Fernando Camacho, Gabriela Martinez, Antonio Heras, Juan Carlos Flores, Ciro Perez Silva, and editorial staff. La Jornada (Michoacan edition), February 16, 2015. Article by Francisco Torres.
SeattlePI.com, February 15, 2015. Associated Press, February 15, 2015. El Diario de Juarez/El Universal, February 14, 2015. Proceso/Apro, February 13 and 14, 2015. Articles by Mathieu Tourliere and editorial staff. Lapolaka.com, February 14, 2015. Milenio, February 14, 2015.


Originally Published by Frontera NorteSur

New Mexico State University





By: Gustavo Esteva

This painting was on display at the Festival in San Cristóbal: 2 Jaguars and a Black Panther.

This painting was on display at the Festival in San Cristóbal: 2 Jaguars and a Black Panther.

The disappearance of a loved one is one of the worst evils that someone can suffer. It isn’t just the uncertainty that it provokes. It’s wondering every day if it won’t be happening to him what happened to many that have appeared, whose cadavers showed signs of savage and atrocious torture before being murdered. How to avoid desperation? How to confront serenely the mystery of evil, this overwhelming evil that pursues us?

In the last two years in Mexico one person disappears every two hours. Every two hours! We now have tens of thousands of families in that drama. There are many others whose loved ones were savagely murdered and millions of displaced. One third of the population has felt obliged to live outside of the country.

The family members of the Ayotzinapa students have permitted us to live together with them the drama that is profoundly moving and to experience at their side a form of response that isn’t sunk in desperation. They woke up millions, inside and outside the country. With surprising spirits, with as much courage as imagination, they don’t leave anyone at peace. They don’t want those that were asleep to go back to sleep, to return to indifference, to occupy oblivion, or those above to wash their hands.

Even the United Nations, with its hands and tongue tied by the structure and rules that define the organism, has had to react. The UN Committee against Enforced Disappearances not only just recognized formally that state of things. It has also criticized the Mexican government for the impunity that prevails in the face of those daily crimes and for not attributing the priority that is required to the search for the disappeared. It required investigating “all the state agents and organs that could have been involved, as well as exhausting all the lines of investigation.” The committee formulated a recommendation crucial to remembering the responsibility of the high commanders of those that commit the crimes.

A combination of blindness and cynicism persists in those who occupy the business of governing and in their friends and accomplices. Indifference, apathy or fear also persists in many people. Likewise, fervent adhesion to some charismatic leader and his cohorts persists, on the part of those that still believe that he could stop the horror first, and later follow the progressive path of other Latin American leaders. Although the discontent is more general all the time, even among the sponsors and beneficiaries of the current government, many don’t know what to do, others don’t consider the paths that don’t pass through the electoral exercise realistic, and still others are disposed to changing everything… so that nothing changes: may all those responsible for our drama be replaced; may they present sharp blows to the leaders and may there be a great clamor, but all that inside of the framework in effect, within the nation-State, representative democracy, the economic society, development, capitalism… They believe that it’s too illusory or dangerous to attempt anything else.

At the same time, the citizen mobilization expands and gathers strength and organic form. On February 5 two parallel initiatives got underway that on the path will be able to interlace for diverse longings. The agreement in their diagnosis of the current political crisis is impressive, although important differences are appreciated in the reaches and styles of their proposals. The two illustrate, each in its own way, the desire and capacity of giving organic form to the generalized discontent, to the resistance, to rebellion and to a transforming impetus. Instead of paralysis and desperation, the national drama is generating lucid brave and organized reactions.

One more of those initiatives will take form today, upon a multifaceted commission of university students, activists and members of the National Indigenous Congress being in installed in Cuernavaca. It proposes contributing to dialogue and agreement among the diverse cultures that we are. Its members are convinced that there will be no justice, peace and security in the country while the social order is not constructed on diversity. It’s about giving concrete meaning and efficacy to the idea that the Zapatistas formulated 20 years ago: we must construct a world in which many world fit.

The current effervescence has already permeated all social layers and even reaches the most isolated corners of the country. Our demons were let loose a long time ago and created this unsupportable state of things in which we are submerged. Now, the forces that will be able to conquer them have been set in motion, by serenely advancing in the national reconstruction. The genie escaped from the bottle and it will not be possible to put it back in. Thus, the hope of giving full reality to our emancipation is nourished every day.



Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Translation: Chiapas Support Committee

Monday, February 16, 2015







Parents of the 43 disappeared Ayotzinapa students testify at UN committee hearing

Parents of the 43 disappeared Ayotzinapa students testify at UN committee hearing.

By: Afp and Dpa (agencies)

Geneva. The UN Committee against Enforced Disappearances [1] recommended to Mexico the creation of a “an attorney general’s unit specialized in investigating forced disappearances,” an opinion published this Friday in Geneva points out.

Said unit would have to function “within the ambit of the Attorney General of the Republic (Procuraduría General de la República, PGR)” and count “on personnel specifically qualified,” as well as having “a strategic perspective at the national and transnational level” that nourishes “the work of searching,” the opinion adds.

México should “redouble its efforts” for attacking the problem of the “generalized” disappearances that the country experiences, the committee asked (of Mexico), after examining the Mexican case in the context of the disappearance and alleged murder of the 43 students.

“The grave case of the 43 students subjected to forced disappearance in September 2014 in the State of Guerrero illustrates the serious challenges that the State faces in matters of prevention, investigation and sanction of forced disappearances and the search for those disappeared,” it added.

On February 2 and 3, the UN committee examined Mexico within the framework of obligations emanated from the international convention against the forced disappearances and today it emitted a document with 50 points where it details its concerns and recommendations.

The ten independent experts that make up the Committee elaborated the opinion, which examined the case of Mexico at the beginning of this month.

The UN also asks for the creation of “a single registry of disappeared persons at the national level that permits establishing trustworthy statistics with views to developing holistic and coordinated policies directed to preventing, investigating, sanctioning and eradicating this aberrant crime.”

This registry is a demand that civil society made in Geneva during the summons of the Mexican government recently.

For the UN, the registry would have to “exhaustively and adequately reflect all the cases of disappeared persons, including information about sex, age and nationality of the disappeared person the place and date of disappearance,” and “including information that permits determining if it deals with a enforced disappearance or with a disappearance committed without any participation of state agents.”

The Committee also exhorts, that the registry contain “statistical data with respect to cases of forced disappearance even when they have been clarified” and “be completed based on clear and homogeneous criteria and updated permanently.”

It also asked for advancing “quickly” in the legislative process so that a law on enforced disappearances is adopted for all of the country, with the participation of the civil society organizations and the National Human Rights Commission (CNDH, its initials in Spanish). Mexico has pointed out that it hopes that that law is ready for June.

At the same time, it lamented the impunity that persists in numerous cases of enforced disappearance.

The Committee added that: “it notes with concern the lack of precise statistical information on the number of persons subjected to enforced disappearance, which impedes knowing the true magnitude of this scourge and makes it difficult to adopt public policies that permit fighting it effectively.”

Around 24,000 persons have disappeared in Mexico from 2006 to this date, sources from non-governmental organizations (NGOs) agree.

The Committee also referred to the enforced disappearances recorded in the decade of the 1970s during what’s called the “dirty war” and the absence of “significant advances” in the investigations, as well as the disappearance of migrants, many time with the participation of authorities, on their way through Mexico to the United States.

It also recommended that the cases of enforced disappearance of military personnel on the part of other military personnel be the exclusive jurisdiction of civilian tribunals, and not of military justice, to guaranty impartiality.

Mexico will have until February 13, 2016 (one year) to give the Committee information about the application of the points referring to the single list of disappeared persons, mechanisms for search, prevention and investigation of the disappearance of migrants.

Besides, it set February 13, 2018 as the time limit for offering “concrete and updated information about the application of all its recommendations.”

Translator’s Note on the definition of Enforced Disappearance

[1] “For the purposes of this Convention, “enforced disappearance” is considered to be an arrest, detention, abduction or any other form of deprivation of liberty by agents of the State or by persons or groups of persons acting with the authorization, support or acquiescence of the State, followed by a refusal to acknowledge the deprivation of liberty or by concealment of the fate or whereabouts of the disappeared person, which place such a person outside the protection of the law.”

Source: International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance. http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/CED/Pages/ConventionCED.aspx


Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Translation: Chiapas Support Committee

Friday, February 13, 2015



Proposal for a popular citizens convention to re-found Mexico

Promoters of the popular citizen constituent with

Promoters of the popular citizen constituent with Javier Sicilia, far left, and Bishop Vera, second from right.

By: Agencies

In Mexico City, Bishop Raúl Vera López, activists, clergy, members of campesino, union and social organizations and survivors of the violence that envelops Mexico presented the initiative of a Popular Citizens Convention, which will have to convoke a series of sessions throughout the country, and a March 21 meeting, to discuss the political reality and to formulate a new Carta Magna.

Within the context of the anniversary of the promulgation of the Mexican Constitution, the activists explained that the constant human rights violations are evidence that lamentably the Magna Carta “is dead;” therefore a new one must be formulated that responds to the interests and respects the social, economic and political rights of the citizens.

The Bishop of Saltillo and president of the Fray Bartolomé de las Casas Human Rights Center (in Chiapas), Raúl Vera, detailed that this initiative has “re-founding Mexico” as its objective, because this is a “ruined country” where violence and “impunity” excel.

Without political parties

Raúl Vera explained that the elaboration of a new Constitution must reach all the country’s corners and add all the social sectors. A new Congress must be established for that, “without political parties,” which have demonstrated that their interest is not in society.

The strategy for now is to carry out a series of sessions throughout the country. The organizers of the Citizens Convention will convoke a meeting next March 21 for discussing the country’s political reality with the 2015 (mid-term) elections in sight.

Throughout the last eleven months, the proposal’s promoters have maintained contact with citizens in 28 states of the country and with diverse organizations of migrants and Mexicans residing outside the country to support this initiative.

At the presentation, besides Vera López were the painter Francisco Toledo, Javier Sicilia, Father Alejandro Solalinde, the priest Miguel Concha, Gilberto López y Rivas, migrant defender Leticia Gutiérrez, as well as union representatives, among them Martín Esparza and members of diverse churches, at the start of the act remember the events that occurred more than four months ago in Iguala, Guerrero, the product of which 43 students of the rural teachers college at Ayotzinapa were disappeared.


Published in Spanish by Chiapas Paralelo

Translation: Chiapas Support Committee

Friday, February 6, 2015