Edinburgh Chiapas Solidarity Group

The Edinburgh Chiapas Solidarity Group is one of many groups across the world which support the Zapatistas in their struggleand is part of the 'UK Zapatista Network'. Our main purpose is to raise awareness of the Zapatista struggle and to give practical help wherever possible.

We do this by organising talks, film showings, benefit gigs, street stalls and direct actions as well as publishing articles. We import Zapatista produce such as coffee, clothing and jewellery for sale with the money going directly back to the communities.

In Spring 2004 the Edinburgh-Chiapas Solidarity Group twinned with the '16 de Febrero' Zapatista autonomous municipality. The municipality is in a poor, rural community which lacked access to basic medical care and education. We have raised funding that enabled the community to build a health clinic in their area and further help is now needed to purchase medical equipment and supplies.

We welcome new people getting involved in the group, for info on our upcoming organising meetings please email us at edinchiapas@yahoo.co.uk.

Solidarity with Zapatistas under attack

Pronouncement from the UK Zapatista Solidarity Network concerning the recent attacks on Zapatista support bases and hospital staff

To the Zapatista Support bases
To the Good Government Juntas
To the EZLN
To the adherents to the Sexta
To national and international human rights organisations
To the alternative media
To people of good heart in Mexico and the world

In our corner of the world in the United Kingdom we learned with outrage of the recent attacks on the Zapatista support bases (BAZ) of the community of 10 de Abril, autonomous municipality 17 de Noviembre, in the Caracol of Morelia, and on staff from the hospital of San Carlos in Altamirano who came to the assistance of those who had been injured during this attack.

We raise our voices to strongly condemn these repressive actions which are without doubt part of the ongoing counterinsurgency war being waged by the three levels of the bad government in Mexico against the dignified autonomy of the BAZ, who struggle every day for another world, one with democracy, freedom and justice.

The JBG Heart of the Rainbow of Hope has denounced that on the 30th January, 300 members of CIOAC democratic, from the nearby community of 20 de Noviembre, arrived in 18 pickup trucks and attacked the BAZ of 10 de Abril with sticks and stones. During this attack, three Zapatistas were seriously wounded, while two others on each side received minor injuries. A call for assistance was made to the hospital of San Carlos in Altimirano, but when an ambulance and a pickup truck arrived, the hospital staff, including two nuns, were cruelly assaulted by supporters of CIOAC, and prevented from attending to the injured, contrary to the Geneva Convention.

Zapatistas: the wealth of dignity

On the 20th anniversary of the Zapatista uprising of 1st January 1994 we publish this article by Luis Hernández Navarro which illustrates the achievements of Zapatista autonomy.  Thanks to Dorset Chiapas Solidarity.

  Zapatista health clinic and ambulances, Oventic, Chiapas

In the community of Emiliano Zapata in the caracol Whirlwind of Our Words, 30 Zapatista families work collectively. They have in common a coffee plantation, vegetable gardens and about 350 head of cattle. Its inhabitants do not receive government support of any kind, but their standard of living is much better than that of the surrounding PRI-governed settlements.

In the community there is a small cooperative shop whose proceeds go to works that people need. There, as in all the other rebel regions, the cooperative's resources are used to finance public works such as schools, hospitals, clinics, libraries or water pipes.

Throughout all the rebel territory, an autonomous system of well-being flourishes, based on a de facto land reform which prioritises the communal use of the lands and natural resources in collective work, as well as in the production of items for use, and fair trade practices in the international market.

In areas of Zapatista influence, they have been overthrowing the law of San Garabato [greed], which dictates that farmers must buy the goods they need at high prices and sell their products cheaply. It happens frequently that coyotes (abusive commercial intermediaries) find themselves forced to pay the rebel support bases higher prices for their crops, livestock and crafts than those offered to the residents who are not organised. The Zapatista cooperatives have acquired a veritable swarm of motor vehicles for moving and transporting their products.

In the rebel communities, an environmental awareness has also been developed. There agroecology is practiced and the use of chemical fertilizers has been banished. Work is done to protect the soil. There is a genuine and widespread concern for conserving forests and jungles.

International solidarity for the freedom of Mario González

"We the undersigned, from our spaces and geographies, demand the immediate release of Mario González, the young man unjustly imprisoned since October 2nd.

We see his imprisonment and persecution as an act of criminalisation towards young people, anarchists and all those who speak out and rebel against the capitalist system.

We know that his arrest and legal proceedings have been plagued by irregularities and outright violations of his human rights. Moreover, we believe that the punishment which has been imposed on Mario is a way of setting an example, of showing that there is and there will be hard treatment for those who demonstrate their nonconformity through means other than the "institutional", or who think and behave differently. The media lynching and the repression unleashed by the "new PRI" have become central to the system since the imposition of Enrique Peña Nieto, the package of structural reforms, the violence and the continuation of the territorial dispossession of indigenous and campesino communities.

Mario was on hunger strike for 56 days demanding his freedom. He lost over 16 kilos and his health seriously deteriorated. None of this touched the judge who suspended two of his hearings when the police who incriminated him did not appear despite having been properly notified. His next hearing will be on December 10th. Gradually there are more of us who see in Mario an example of struggle and dignity. Gradually there are more of us who demand his freedom."


A Massacre Foretold - film showing

Tues 22 Oct, 7.30pm @ Quaker Meeting House

What does it feel like to know that you are about to be killed? In
1997, villagers in Southern Mexico sought refuge in a small wooden
church to await their fate. Now, the story of the massacre at Acteal
can be told. See the award-winning film “A Massacre Foretold”,
followed by a Q&A session with people living and working in Chiapas.

Organised by the St Mary’s RC Cathedral Justice and Peace Group

Zapatista Solidarity Calendar 2014 for sale


The Zapatista Solidarity Calendar is published jointly by the Edinburgh Chiapas Solidarity Group and Kiptik.  It features a full colour A4 photo from Chiapas and a full A4 page calendar for each month.  By buying the calendar you support the development of autonomous health and education and the construction of drinking water systems in Zapatista communities in Chiapas.  All money made from the calendar goes directly to support Zapatista autonomy in Chiapas.

You can order calendars from us by making a deposit in our bank account - details below - then e mailing details to edinchiapas@yahoo.co.uk   Or you can pay by a cheque made out to EDINBURGH CHIAPAS SOLIDARITY GROUP

If ordered direct from us calendars are £6 each plus £1.80 post and packing.



To our sisters and brothers of the Ejido San Sebastian Bachajón
To our Zapatista sisters and brothers
To our compañer@s of the Sexta
To the Committees of the True Word
To civil society
To public opinion
To national and international human rights defenders
To the peoples in resistance
To the mass and alternative media
To people of good conscience throughout the world
We know that in all corners of the world the forces of neoliberalism are destroying the land, the territory, the natural resources and all living things as part of the insane desire of transnational corporations, banks, and their allies in governments to develop more and bigger megaprojects. In this process, the original inhabitants of the lands become disposable. If they cannot be bought out, they are displaced, dispossessed, cast aside, and assassinated.
This is what has been happening since 2006 to the adherents to the Sixth Declaration from San Sebastián Bachajón, and is what has led to the murder of their community leader Juan Vázquez Guzmán. The forces of greed and plunder want to seize control of the potentially extremely lucrative tourist destination of the Waterfalls of Agua Azul. Hence the ongoing violence, repression, threats, arrests on false charges, abuse, plunder, arbitrary actions, and the invasion and occupation of the area by state forces. Juan was a constant inspiration, both to his compañeros in their dignified struggle in defense of their ancestral land and territory and of their rights as indigenous peoples, and also to other social movements throughout Mexico.

Freedom for Alberto Patishtan

In April protests, letters and phone calls were made to the government of Mexico by people from many parts of the United Kingdom calling for the immediate release of the iconic indigenous political prisoner and human rights defender Alberto Patishtán Gómez, who has now served nearly thirteen years of a sixty year sentence for a crime he did not commit.

On 19 April a letter was presented at the Mexican Embassy in London, demanding that the courts act in accordance with justice and free the Tzotzil teacher, who has worked throughout his time in prison in support of other innocent indigenous prisoners. The letter was from The UK Zapatista Solidarity Network, which represents groups and individuals from many parts of the British Isles, who have already been busy writing to the courts in Mexico, where a motion for the recognition of Patishtán’s innocence will soon be considered.
At the same time, Edinburgh Chiapas Solidarity Group held a stall at the Meadows to inform local people of the situation of Alberto Patishtan.

Urgent - Risk of forced displacement in San Marcos Avilés

Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Human Rights Centre

San Cristobal de Las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico

February 22, 2013

Urgent Action No. 1

According to information documented by this Human Rights Centre, there exists an imminent risk in San Marcos Avilés ejido, municipality of Chilón, that for the second time a forced displacement of the support bases of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (BAEZLN) may be carried out by inhabitants of the same ejido who are affiliated to the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD), and the Green Party of Mexico (PVEM).

After 13 Months in Prison, the Tzeltal accused of Homicide is freed for Lack of Evidence

** “They know that I am innocent, that they made up my crime,” the Zapatista says as he leaves 

** Sántiz López denounces that a PGR public servant confirmed to him that he was forced to apprehend him 

[Francisco Sántiz López upon leaving the prison, in San Cristóbal de las Casas, Photo: Moyses Zúñiga Santiago] 

By: Hermann Bellinghausen, Envoy 

San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, January 25, 2013  

Francisco Sántiz López, support base of the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN, its initials in Spanish), was released from the San Cristóbal prison this afternoon, due to the absence of evidence for the charges that kept him in prison for 13 and a half months. 

The father of eight and grandfather of 12, Tzeltal campesino and businessman, who has been an active member of the Zapatista support base for more than 20 years, declared, upon taking his first steps on the other side of the bars: “We are going to continue the struggle there in the EZLN, to follow the path, we are going to win.” 

The demand for his freedom had generated an international solidarity movement in close to 30 countries, which was expressed throughout 2012 in public places and in front of Mexican consulates and embassies in the five continents. In these mobilizations the freedom of Alberto Patishtán Gómez, adherent to the Other Campaign, who has been in prison since 2000, was also demanded. 

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Get Involved

We invite you to join our email list (sign up here) and to attend our regular organising meetings.

Edinburgh Chiapas Solidarity Group,
c/o 17 West Montgomery Place

Email: edinchiapas@yahoo.co.uk

Or click here for our Facebook page

The EdinChiapas group is part of the 'UK Zapatista Network': ukzapatistas.wordpress.com