’16 de Febrero’

The twinning of Scottish solidarity groups and ’16 de Febrero’ – how you can get involved

The twinning between the Zapatista solidarity groups in Scotland and the indigenous people of Zapatista autonomous municipality ’16 de Febrero”, in the Highlands of Chiapas, Mexico means we are in direct contact with each other, and meet as often as possible.


In February 2007 a delegation from Scotland visited several villages in ’16 de Febrero’, and met with different collectives and groups. At the end of the visit, ’16 de Febrero’ presented us with a letter detailing their main needs at this time. These are:

1) Support for the Municipality’s new health clinic. The clinic needs medical equipment, and more medicines. In addition the Municipality wishes to build a second phase of the clinic, with dormitories and a training room for the clinic’s staff, the health promoters, and a proper kitchen to provide food for patients and staff.

2) Support for the Municipality’s four autonomous primary schools, again pictured in the film. Funds are needed to enable the construction of adequate classrooms, plus furniture such as desks, and to purchase teaching materials.

3) Assistance in finding more outlets for the embroidery, textiles, and amber jewellery which the film showed being made by the members of the handicrafts co-operatives in the municipality.

The solidarity groups in Scotland are active in fund-raising and spreading information about ’16 de Febrero’. You can help in this!

We organise fund-raising gigs and events, for example in Edinburgh we have had extremely successful gigs recently. The Shared Planet Society have organised excellent benefits featuring several groups in Aberdeen, as have Glasgow Zapatista Solidarity in Scotland’s biggest city. If you are a performer and would like to play a benefit gig, or would like to organise such an event, do get in touch.

We welcome all donations, of whatever size, money goes a lot further in Chiapas than here. For those who can do so, taking out a standing order is a great way to provide a regular income for the clinic and autonomous schools. There is a copy of the standing order form here, or ask us to send you one. We have letters specially addressed to Trade Unions and to those working in the medical field.

To spread the word, we speak at public meetings and events, often combined with showing this or other films. We have held dozens of such events in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen, and are happy to travel anywhere to speak. If you are able to invite us to visit your organisation or your town or city, we would be delighted to attend. We can send you copies of our free leaflets for distribution, and if you are involved in a publication, are very happy to write articles about the twinning and Chiapas. We invite groups and those running websites to link to our site: www.edinchiapas.org.uk.uk

We are always on the look-out for venues for our exhibition of outstanding photos of ’16 de Febrero’ by Alicia Conde. The photographs have already been exhibited, with a very positive response, at the Peace and Justice Centre during the Edinburgh International Festival, and at venues such as St Mary’s Roman Catholic Cathedral in Edinburgh.

We sell the handicrafts of ’16 de Febrero’ at a variety of stalls, especially over the summer in Edinburgh and at Festivals. Volunteers are often needed to staff the stalls, especially during the Edinburgh Festival when we usually have a stall for three weeks in August at the St Johns Craft Fair – pictured in the film. Through the sales at the stalls, we not only help the amber and textiles co-ops, but also raise more funds for the clinic and schools.

Implementing the request from ’16 de Febrero’ we are increasingly searching for more outlets for the products of the municipality’s co-ops. Edinburgh and Glasgow One World Shops stock textile bags and amber jewellery from ’16 de Febrero’. The ACE info shop stocks a full range of our zapatista merchandise. If you would like to buy some merchandise, or could perhaps help us find new outlets, please get in touch. We also sell zapatista products via the internet.

By June 2008 the Solidarity Groups in Scotland had raised over £16,500 for ’16 de Febrero’. This, together with donations from elsewhere, has enabled the Municipality to build the first phase of the health clinic. The construction work involved 700 villagers working voluntarily in shifts. Christmas Eve 2006 saw the health clinic start its vital work of improving the health of the people, and it continues to operate and treating patients.

With your help we can continue this important work to support the indigenous people of Chiapas in their struggle to meet their needs and control their own lives.

Full range of zapatista merchandise and information available in:

ACE Info Shop (Autonomous Centre of Edinburgh),
17 West Montgomery Place,
Edinburgh EH7 5HA
Tel 0131 557 6242

As at June 2008 open Tuesdays 1-4pm, Thursdays 6-8pm and Saturdays 11am-6pm

Textile bags and amber jewellery from ’16 de Febrero’ are available in:

One World Shop, by St Johns Church,
junction Lothian Road and Princes St,
Edinburgh EH2 4BJ
Tel 0131 229 4541

One World Shop,
100 Byres Rd,
Glasgow G12 8TB
Tel 0141 357 1567

Both open normal shop hours Mon – Saturday.

Shared Planet Society, Aberdeen
During term-time the Society normally run a fair-trade café at Aberdeen University where zapatista coffee and merchandise is available – hopefully continuing in the future.

Website: http://www.abdn.ac.uk/~src167/
Email: sharedplanet@abdn.ac.uk

Finally, we send solidarity to the ’16 de Febrero’s other twins, the zapatista solidarity group in Murcia, in the Spanish state, who have also been working hard to give practical solidarity to the municipality.

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