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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Edinburgh Chiapas Solidarity Group held a solidarity stall with the students of Ayotzinapa for 2 hours in central Edinburgh on 5th November, as part of the Global Day of Action. Around 7-8 people participated in the stall on Middle Meadow Walk, near Edinburgh University, displaying placards and distributing over 300 leaflets.
Passers-by stopped to sign letters to the Mexican Ambassador and also left their e mails to stay in touch with future activities. We noticed that compared to the previous stall on 22 October more people now seemed aware of the situation, and many expressed their outrage and concern.
The 43 students from Aytotzinapa in Guerrero remain missing. They have not been seen since 26th September, when police shot dead 3 students and also killed 3 passers-by.
In Mexico rallies and marches demanding the safe return of the students are happening on a daily basis throughout the country. A national strike has been called for 20th November.
Supporters of the 43 “disappeared” students of Ayotzinapa, Mexico gathered in Edinburgh on 22 October to participate in the Global Day of Action. Ten of us staffed a stall and distributed hundreds of leaflets echoing the call of the students' families that the students be presented alive, and demanding justice for the six people murdered.
Protests in Edinburgh and London were among many world-wide denouncing the horrific events of 26th September in Iguala in the state of Guerrero, Mexico. Local police shot dead six people after launching a completely unprovoked attack on students from the Raúl Isidro Burgos Rural Teacher Training College of nearby Ayotzinapa.
As part of the same attack, that day in Iguala the authorities detained 43 students from the same school. These 43 students remain “disappeared”. Despite the discovery of several mass graves in the area and horrific unconfirmed reports that the detained students were burned to death, there has as yet been no definite news of the 43 missing young people.
College students from the Rural Normal School 'Raul Isidro Burgos' in Ayotzinapa, Guerrero, were first attacked by the municipal police at Iguala while they were gathering in an event to collect funds to attend the commemoration of the Tlatelolco massacre 1968 and of two other students from the same community murdered in 2011.
This time the municipal police killed three students and three more people that were passing by. 43 students were disappeared, and since then there has not been information of their whereabouts. The next day, one of the students murdered, Julio César Mondragón, was found with signs of torture and with his face flayed. Last Saturday, clandestine mass graves were found near Iguala. According to the State government, some of the bodies could correspond to the disappeared students. However, we do not trust the government for this sort of investigation.
If you live near Edinburgh or are visiting for the Festival we invite you to come to our Chiapas Solidarity stall at the West End Craft Fair. You will find amber jewellery and beautiful hand embroidered blouses from the craft collectives of our twinned zapatista municipality "16th February". A new consignment of t shirts has just arrived from Chiapas, with a wide range of designs, colours and sizes.
Our stall is running from 11am till 5.30ish every day except Tuesday from 2nd - 24th August. The West End Craft Fair is right in the centre of Edinburgh, on the Terrace at St Johns Church, at the junction of Lothian Road and Princes Street. We can be found in our tent on the Terrace path between the Peace and Justice Centre and the One World Shop.
ZAPATISTAS – ATTACKS AND RESISTANCE...... A first hand report of the latest events in Chiapas, Mexico
With slides showing the visit of the solidarity caravan to the Zapatista centre of La Realidad in the Lacandona Jungle
Tuesday 22nd July at the Autonomous Centre of Edinburgh (ACE), 17 West Montgomery Place, EH7 5HA
Doors open 7pm for 7.30pm start.
An activist recently returned from Chiapas will give a short talk and show slides about her recent participation in the Solidarity Caravan to the Zapatista centre of La Realidad in the Lacandona Jungle. The caravan followed the murder of the Zapatista Galeano and the attack on the autonomous school and clinic at La Realidad by paramilitaries on 2nd May 2014.
The visit of the caravan was also the occasion for Zapatista Subcomandante Marcos to give his speech declaring that he would no longer be the spokesman for the Zapatistas. Our speaker will discuss what this means in the context of the continuing Zapatista struggle for autonomy - the Zapatistas have created autonomous schools, health clinics and decision-making structures independent of the state.
Organised by Edinburgh Chiapas Solidarity Group
Zapatista murdered and autonomous school and clinic destroyed - world-wide solidarity against repression
On 18th May people protested at the Mexican Embassy in London to denounce the paramilitary attack on the Zapatista centre of La Realidad during which Zapatista Jose Luis Solis Lopez was murdered. On 2nd May paramilitaries from the organisation CIOAC-H ambushed a group of Zapatistas, murdering Jose, known as Galeano, wounding several Zapatistas, and also destroying the autonomous school and clinic.
Groups and individuals world-wide are organising a week of solidarity with the Zapatistas from 18 – 24 May. In Edinburgh we are doing a Solidarity Stall to distribute information about the attack and about the importance of standing in solidarity with the Zapatistas against this attack on their autonomy. We will be on Middle Meadow Walk, near Lauriston Place/ Forrest Road, from 3pm till approximately 4.30pm this Friday 23rd May. All welcome to drop by, and to stay a while if you can.
Impunity and Dispossession in Mexico: San Sebastián Bachajón on the anniversary of the assassination of Juan Vázquez Guzmán
In San Sebastián Bachajón, the impunity given to their attackers has not stopped the resistance to the dispossession of their lands.
The bad government, say the ejidatarios: “uses public forces, such as the state preventive police, the army and the federal police to terrorize communities and so imposes terror to achieve its goals.”
In recognition of the first anniversary of the assassination of community leader and defender of the land, Juan Vázquez Guzmán, Two Weeks of Worldwide Action: Juan Vázquez Guzmán lives! The Bachajón struggle continues! have been called, from Thursday, April 24 to Thursday, May 8, 2014. As part of this initiative, the screening of the video “Bachajón - Dispossession is death, Life is resistance” is being promoted internationally.
“What the government does is send people to jail or order their killing like Juan Vázquez Guzmán. Our struggle is not for economic or political power. It is for the people, the mother earth and the territory.” - Marcelo Mariano López, Bachajón
On April 24, 2013, Juan Vázquez Guzmán, much-loved spokesperson and activist in defence of the people, the land and the territory of the ejido (communal landholding) of San Sebastián Bachajón, was killed with six gunshots in the doorway of his home, in what was widely interpreted as a political assassination. His killers, and those who ordered his killing, remain unpunished, and the plans of the government and corporations to dispossess the ejidatarios (common landholders) of their territory, in order to construct a luxury tourist development, continue. But the indigenous Tzeltal community of San Sebastián Bachajón is staying organized, carrying on the struggle for their rights and keeping alive the memory of Juan Vázquez Guzmán and his work in the service of his people.
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.
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.
"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."