Posts Tagged ‘Mexico’


January 19, 2013

Its been too long since I last opened this chest of worms. My fingers dont know this keyboard anymore. The inspiration was once flowing through me but towards the end of last year I lost my mojo. Finally something has rekindled the love I have for creative energy and the fire inside me burns once again.

Before I put pen to paper again, upload lost treasures and confess to all my darkest deeds, I think it is important to follow up the last article with the recent EZLN announcements made in December 2012. Whilst all you freaks where hoping for some alien intervention or apocalyptic moral cleansing, over 40,000 zapatistas descended on town squares across Chiapas in Mexico. For all you celebrity vampires out there who need that figurehead to reassure you the revolution is here. Read on …

Zapatista Occupy 2012

Communiqué from the Indigenous Revolutionary Clandestine Committee – General Command of the Zapatista National Liberation Army
December 30 2012.

To the People of Mexico:
To the People and Governments of the World:
Brothers and Sisters:
Compañeros and Compañeras:

In the early morning hours of December 21, 2012, tens of thousands of indigenous Zapatistas mobilized and took, peacefully and silently, five municipal seats in the southeast Mexican state of Chiapas.

In the cities of Palenque, Altamirano, Las Margaritas, Ocosingo, and San Cristóbal de las Casas, we looked at you and at ourselves in silence.

Ours is not a message of resignation.

It is not one of war, death, or destruction.

Our message is one of struggle and resistance.

After the media coup d’etat that catapulted a poorly concealed and even more poorly costumed ignorance into the federal executive branch, we made ourselves present to let them know that if they had never left, neither had we.

Six years ago, a segment of the political and intellectual class went looking for someone to hold responsible for their defeat. At that time we were, in cities and in communities, struggling for justice for an Atenco that was not yet fashionable.

In that yesterday, they slandered us first and wanted to silence us later.

Dishonest and incapable of seeing that it was within themselves that there was and still is the seed of their own destruction, they tried to make us disappear with lies and complicit silence.
Six years later, two things are clear:

They don’t need us in order to fail.

We don’t need them in order to survive.

We, who never went away, despite what media across the spectrum have been determined to make you believe, resurge as the indigenous Zapatistas that we are and will be.

In these years, we have significantly strengthened and improved our living conditions. Our standard of living is higher than those of the indigenous communities that support the governments in office, who receive handouts that are squandered on alcohol and useless items.

Our homes have improved without damaging nature by imposing on it roads alien to it.

In our communities, the earth that was used to fatten the cattle of ranchers and landlords is now used to produce the maize, beans, and the vegetables that brighten our tables.

Our work has the double satisfaction of providing us with what we need to live honorably and contributing to the collective growth of our communities.

Our sons and daughters go to a school that teaches them their own history, that of their country and that of the world, as well as the sciences and techniques necessary for them to grow without ceasing to be indigenous.

Indigenous Zapatista women are not sold as commodities.

The indigenous members of the PRI attend our hospitals, clinics, and laboratories because in those of the government, there is no medicine, nor medical devices, nor doctors, nor qualified personnel.

Our culture flourishes, not isolated, but enriched through contact with the cultures of other peoples of Mexico and of the world. Zapa occupy 3

We govern and govern ourselves, always looking first for agreement before confrontation.

We have achieved all of this without the government, the political class, and the media that accompanies them, while simultaneously resisting their attacks of all kinds.

We have shown, once again, that we are who we are.

With our silence, we have made ourselves present.

Now with our word, we announce that:

First – We will reaffirm and consolidate our participation in the National Indigenous Congress, the space of encounter with the original peoples of our country.

Second – We will reinitiate contact with our compañeros and compañeras adherents of the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle in Mexico and the world.

Third – We will try to construct the necessary bridges toward the social movements that have arisen and will arise, not to direct or supplant them, but to learn from them, from their history, from their paths and destinies.

For this we have consolidated the support of individuals and groups in different parts of Mexico, formed as support teams for the Sixth and International Commissions of the EZLN, to become avenues of communication between the Zapatista bases of support and the individuals, groups, and collectives that are adherents to the Sixth Declaration, in Mexico and in the World, who still maintain their conviction and commitment to the construction of a non-institutional left alternative.

Fourth – We will continue to maintain our critical distance with respect to the entirety of the Mexican political class which has thrived at the expense of the needs and desires of humble and simple people.

Fifth – With respect to the bad governments – federal, state, and municipal, executive, legislative, and judicial, and the media that accompanies them, we say the following:

The bad governments which belong to the entirety of the political spectrum without a single exception have done everything possible to destroy us, to buy us off, to make us surrender. PRI, PAN, PRD, PVEM, PT, CC and the future political party RN have attacked us militarily, politically, socially, and ideologically.[i] The mainstream media tried to disappear us first with opportunist and servile lies followed by a complicit and deceptive silence. Those they served, those on whose money they nursed are no longer around and those who have succeeded them will not last any longer than their predecessors.

As was made evident on December 21, 2012, all of them failed. So, it’s up to the federal, executive, legislative and judicial governments to decide if they are going to continue the politics of counterinsurgency that have only resulted in a flimsy simulation clumsily built through the media, or if they are going to recognize and fulfill their commitments by elevating Indigenous Rights and Culture to the level of the Constitution as established in the “San Andrés Accords” signed by the Federal Government in 1996, which was at the time led by the very same political party that today occupies the executive office.

It will be up to the state government to decide if it will continue the dishonest and despicable strategy of its predecessor, that in addition to corruption and lies, used the money of the people of Chiapas to enrich itself and its accomplices and dedicated itself to the shameless buying off of the voices and pens of the communications media, sinking the people of Chiapas into poverty while using police and paramilitaries to try to brake the organizational advance of the Zapatista communities; or, if instead, with truth and justice, it will accept and respect our existence and come around to the idea that a new form of social life is blooming in Zapatista territory, Chiapas, Mexico. This is a flowering that attracts the attention of honest people all over the planet.

It will be up to the municipal governments if they decide to keep swallowing the tall tales with which anti-zapatista or supposedly “zapatista” organizations extort them in order to attack and harass our communities; or if instead they use that money to improve the living conditions of those they govern.

It will be up to the people of Mexico who organize in electoral struggles and resist, to decide if they will continue to see us as enemies or rivals upon which to take out their frustration over the frauds and aggressions that, in the end, affect all of us, and if in their struggle for power they continue to ally themselves with our persecutors; or if they finally recognize in us another form of doing politics.

Sixth – In the next few days, the EZLN, through its Sixth and International Commissions, will announce a series of initiatives, civil and peaceful, to continue walking together with other original peoples of Mexico and of the continent, and together with those in Mexico and the world who struggle and resist below and to the left.

Brothers and Sisters:
Compañeros and Compañeras:

Before we had the good fortune of the honest and noble attention of various communications media. We expressed our appreciation then. But this has been completely erased by their later attitude.

Those who wagered that we only existed in the communications media and that, with the siege of lies and silence they created we would disappear, were mistaken.  Zapatista Occupy 2

When there were no cameras, microphones, pens, ears, or gazes, we continued to exist.

When they slandered us, we continued to exist.

When they silenced us, we continued to exist.

And here we are, existing.

Our path, as has been demonstrated, does not depend on media impact, but rather on comprehending the world and all of its parts, on indigenous wisdom that guides our steps, on the unswerving decision that is the dignity of below and to the left.

From now on, our word will be selective in its destination and, except on limited occasions, will only be able to be understood by those who have walked with us and who continue to walk without surrendering to current or media trends.

Here, not without many mistakes and many difficulties, another form of doing politics is already a reality.

Few, very few, will have the privilege of knowing it and learning from it directly.

19 years ago we surprised them taking with fire and blood their cities. Now we have done it once again, without arms, without death, without destruction.

In this way we have distinguished ourselves from those who, during their governments, distributed and continue to distribute death among those they govern.

We are those, the same, of 500 years ago, of 44 years ago, of 30 years ago, of 20 years ago, of just a few days ago.

We are the Zapatistas, the very smallest, those that live, struggle, and die in the last corner of the country, those that do not give up, do not sell out, those that do not surrender.

Brothers and Sisters:
Compañeros and Compañeras:

We are the Zapatistas, receive our embrace.




From the mountains of the Mexican Southeast.
For the Indigenous Revolutionary Clandestine Committee—General Command of the Zapatista Army for National Liberation.

Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos.
Mexico. December of 2012 – January of 2013.



La Lucha Sigue! (The Fight Continues)

February 28, 2012

Due to a lot of interest and support for the subject matter, I have written a short essay summarizing some valid points made in my dissertation and removed those that weren´t. My final paper at Edinburgh Napier University was on the appropriation of communication and organization as a means of mobilizing the people against injustice and political corruption. This study led me to the Zapatista movement in Mexico and their collaboration with autonomous movements such as Edinburgh Chiapas Solidarity Group who together reflect and resist against the global order of neo-liberalism.

I credit everyone that has gone to the effort of reading this essay with the understanding of such terms but will give a brief explanation of the structured implementation of the ideology now labeled ´neo-liberalism´.  Not to be confused with the bullet dodging, computer geek turned messiah in The Matrix, neo- liberalism looks good on paper; foreign investors, privatization of state enterprises, redirection of public spending, trade liberalization, deregulation and so on.

Neo-liberalism is relatively new, hence the use of neo, 25 years or so, but the ideology of free trade and competitive advantage is certainly not. Whether we call these economic policies capitalism, neo-liberalism or globalization, the theme always follows colonial administration methods of western ideologies along with the plundering of minerals and wealth. The effects of this market maneuver I am sure we are all more than accustomed to … the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.

The seed of neo-liberalism was sewn throughout South America, a common testing ground for oppression and cultural homogenization, but before this seed was allowed to evolve something organic emerged from the jungles and mountains of Chiapas. On January 1st 1994, the day in which the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) would take effect and as the global corporations slept off another New Year celebration, an unknown military organization descended from the south eastern jungles of Mexico and into the towns of the provincial area of Chiapas. The city of San Cristobal de las Casas was captured and held under the demands of autonomony[1] against violations of human rights and the economic and agricultural exploitation of the indigenous peoples in Chiapas. The Zapatista Army of Liberation (EZLN) had formed 10 years earlier out of the suffering of the indigenous peoples inMexico. The group of sympathizers chose the dense jungles of Chiapas to train the peasants and farmers, forming a guerilla movement under the blue print of previous revolutions.

The EZLN compared the colonial enterprise of extracting natural resources at the expense of the indigenous to a major war and initially declared an armed resistance to the Mexican government if the rights of the indigenous people were not reinstated. It is the destruction of Central America´s natural resources that will result in the fragmentation and disappearance of the people´s culture. The restoration of this process becomes the primary objective of the EZLN; to stop the advance of the Neoliberal economic system in Chiapas.

Chiapas is the eighth largest state in Mexico and is one of the richest states in terms of natural resources. It produces 55% of Mexico´s hydroelectric power, 21% of Mexico´s oil and 47% of it is natural gas. Chiapas produces more coffee than any other region in Mexico, is the country´s second largest beef producer and is one of Mexico´s most important suppliers of fruits and vegetables. Despite living under one of Mexico´s wealthiest natural resources, 70% of the people of Chiapas live under the poverty line. The majority of the poor are indigenous Mayan peasants.

Large mining companies like First Majestic Silver Corp and Goldcorp occupy sacred Mayan sites in Guatemala and the mountains of Catorce, polluting their water regardless of public opposition. The World Bank and The World Water Forum (sponsored by Coca-Cola) want to privatize water in Mexico “so the poorest have access to water under price conditions that are acceptable.”[2] The people of Mexico strongly believe that water is a right and not a commodity. The proposed construction of La Parota Dam in Guerrero, Mexico will displace around 30,000 indigenous people, destroy 17,000 hectares of jungle and leave 36 towns buried under water. The capitalization of the Mesoamerican biological corridor will allow pharmaceutical companies to ´classify species´; log the chemical components of this biodiversity and create gene banks. The only people who benefit from these proposals are the corporations themselves, the local communities will have their natural resources taken away from them and the knowledge passed down from generation to generation lost in time. Tourism contracts in Chiapas and Colima have set proposals that exploit indigenous land for corporate jungle trails and hotel complexes. The Mexican government stands to make billions in an attempt to repay the debt it has with its North American neighbor with the proposed Project Mesoamerica (previously marketed as the Plan Puebla Panama)[3] . Project Mesoamerica is a massive infrastructure that will literally bulldoze its way through Mexico, Central America and Columbia in order to advance this civilization with tourism, highways, factories and energy extracting corporations. The message is clear; lost cultures are not preserved anymore just exploited for our own economic gain.

This political ideology can also be interpreted as controlling a nation under the rule of  sovereignty; that is making, executing and applying a legal system foreign to the indigenous, buying and selling resources that belong to the people, imposing and collecting taxes, and implementing these strategies through war and peace. Marketing genetically modified crops and abandoning traditional agricultural methods to make way for the ´free market´ is indeed foreign to those that only know how to harvest the land and filter the water. The colonial enterprise we are discussing goes under many names (NAFTA, CAFTA, FTAA[4])  and has been carefully implemented with corporate advocacy in order to reduce immediate resistance. Terms like ´investment opportunities´ and ´established framework´[5] mean very little to the peasants of Central America and corporate investors often exploit this complicated terminology to their advantage.

Amidst this corporate trickery there are international movements and grassroots organizations that are watching every move the transnational corporations make as they tighten their grip around the world’s natural resources. By documenting this global shift we can rationalize and act upon the political coercion and injustices inflicted upon the people of Central Americain order for corporations to market and capitalize on sacred land. Our access to this knowledge and understanding is constantly clouded by media propaganda and consumerist tactics, rendering the populous as industrial figures instead of participants. Our own culture is so diluted and manufactured our legacy on this planet can be summed up by Ronald Macdonald. The EZLN have produced a wave of socio-political movements that do not want to be a part of the unsustainable global greed nor do they wish to return to slave status in a factory or sweatshop. We in the western civilization have to consider at what price do we pay in order to upgrade our mobile phone or install that new plasma screen. This issue is not regional, the suffering, repression and discrimination of indigenous peoples is international. The communities and families who sacrifice everything to be exploited by their rulers are no longer feeding their children but feeding the western world.

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

[1] Autonomy stemming from ancient Greek: αὐτονομία autonomia from αὐτόνομος autonomos , ´one who gives oneself their own law.´

[2] Jean- Christophe Deberre, French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, World Water Forum, (Mexico, 2006)

[3] In 2001, Mexican President Vicente Fox announced the launch of Plan Puebla Panama, the main objectives are privatization, attracting foreign investment, regional control ofMesoamerica and a shift from locally owned agriculture, industry and forestry to corporate-ownership.

[4] The North American Free Trade Agreement, Free Trade Area of the Americas and The Central American Free Trade Agreement

[5] North American Free Trade Agreement ; Objectives,