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.

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Ignacio del Valle

October 20, 2009

Brothers and sisters of Mexico and the world:

We’re sending you all the information we have as of now. On Thursday, October 15, 2009, our comrade Ignacio del Valle told us in a brief phone call that he and other comrades are on hunger strike in the maximum security prison where he has been kidnapped by the Mexican state.

This extreme measure is being taken to demand an end to the subhuman prison conditions to which our political prisoners are subjected in that dungeon: physical attacks, degradation, threats, humiliation, unjustifiable punishment, suspension of phone calls, suspension of visits, destruction of mail, theft of art and design materials and other measures characteristic of fascist regimes. The comrade has not been allowed to re-establish communications with his family members or lawyers.

 We hold Felipe Calderón Hinojosa, Enrique Peña Nieto, and the prison warden responsible for the physical integrity, health and life of our political prisoners Felipe Álvarez, Héctor Galindo and Ignacio del Valle.




At least 12 inmates held in maximum-security prison El Altiplano, including Ignacio del Valle, leader of the People's Front in Defence of the Land(FPDT) from San Salvador Atenco, started a hunger strike last Friday to protest against mistreatment and violations of individual rights at this federal prison, located in the town of Almoloya de Juarez.

Although officials of the Ministry of Public Security (SSP) claimed that the protest had ended on Saturday, activists denounced yesterday that the fast that started on the 15th October continues because their restrictions have been increased in recent weeks.

Monica Hurtado, head of the Human Rights Association of the State of Mexico, said relatives of Ignacio del Valle, sentenced to 112 years in prison, were told that he is one of the inmates who remains on hunger strike. The activist has requested that the National Commission on Human Rights (NCHR) follows up the complaints made by the people of Atenco.

Autonomous Authorities in La Garrucha denounce paramilitary attack on San Manuel

The Junta de Buen Gobierno of La Garrucha Caracol has issued a statement denouncing the attack on San Manuel by the Aric paramilitary groups which led to the kidnap and torture of eight Zapatistas.

The autonomous authorities stated that on the 26th August members of their community were attacked by 150 people armed with sticks and machetes. Following this on the 1st September eight Zapatistas were kidnapped and held for 26 hours. The communique states that during this time they were brutally tortured. It also explains that the attackers were assisted and armed by members OPDICC, a paramilitary group with links to the army and government.

The statement goes on to denounce the police and government for complicity in these abuses explaining 35 police officers along with police helicopters were present during the 1st September attack.

See www.edinchiapas.org.uk/node/253 for more details.


An attack by Aric-Official and Aric-UU left 1 member of Aric-UU dead, 8 Zapatistas injured, 8 Aric members injured and 7 Zapatistas taken prisoner. Those Zapatistas prisoners were taken to Santo Tomás ejido and tortured for 36 hours until government officials and human rights defenders arrived. One man is in such serious condition that the Good Government Junta in La Garrucha told La Jornada's reporter they don't know whether he will live. The prisoners were placed in deep mud holes during pouring rain, stuck with machetes, tied to orange bushes, had tubes placed in their throats, doused with cold water, made to sign declarations while blindfolded, forced to run without shoes and psychologically tortured by threats to cut off their testicles. One man had rope burns around his neck where they placed a noose and said they were going to hang him.


Edinburgh Chiapas Solidarity Group and KIPTIK proudly present The Zapatista Solidarity Calendar 2010.

With high quality images from our twinned autonomous municipality '16 de Febrero' and other Zapatista communities, the 2010 calendar is essential for activists and supporters alike. All funds raised from the sale of the calendar will be shared between KIPTIK, who support water, health, media and art projects in Zapatista communities, and Edinburgh Chiapas Solidarity Group's support of autonomous health clinics in the Chiapas highlands region.

Any groups, collectives or shops that would like to distribute these calendars are welcome to contact us, and they are available for a mere £6 to individuals, or £7 to shops. Stocks are limited so get in there fast!


Ruben Valencia Nunez from Oaxaca, southern Mexico spoke in Glasgow and Edinburgh in late July as part of a European tour campaigning against the criminalisation of social movements in Mexico. He urged solidarity with the people of Oaxaca who are resisting many megaprojects such as mines and dams. Several projects are run by European companies, including by Scottish Power's owners, Spanish company Iberdrola.

Ruben is an organiser on the APPO (Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca) council, a founder of VOCAL (Oaxacan Voices Constructing Autonomy and Liberty) and is active with the University of the Land, based on self-education, and the CASOTA (Oaxacan House of Solidarity and Self-Sustaining Work) social centre. He has protested against Dams, motorways and the other projects being imposed on the local people.

 Ruben was the victim of an assassination attempt in January, in Oaxaca City. Five men in a car, who looked like plain clothes police officers, shouted insults about APPO. They followed Ruben to a cafe and attacked him with a knife on the head and neck. Ruben had to be rushed to hospital where he required many stitches, and only narrowly escaped death.

Ruben's talks – organised by Edinburgh Chiapas Solidarity Group and the newly reformed Glasgow Chiapas Solidarity Group - described the recent history of heroic resistance and brutal repression in Oaxaca, stressing the struggle is alive today, and needs our solidarity:

Indigenous activist from Mexico to speak in Scotland


Public meetings in Glasgow and Edinburgh

First hand report by Rubén Valencia Núñez from Oaxaca, Mexico
Activist in the social movement in Oaxaca, in APPO and VOCAL
(Oaxacan Voices Constructing Autonomy and Liberty) 
Information from the front-line on the social movements struggling for autonomy, land and liberty in Oaxaca, Atenco and Chiapas in Mexico
And a first hand account of the brutal state response - Ruben himself was the victim of an attempted assassination attempt in January
Ruben says:
“In Oaxaca we have lived through the assassination of 26 activists, the incarceration of more than 500 political prisoners, and today we still have more than 40 political prisoners in Oaxaca. Despite all this repression, we continue our struggle. 
We have a proposal of autonomy which we call communality…”
Questions and discussion 
Free, all welcome   
There will be a stall with Zapatista handicrafts, merchandise and coffee.
Glasgow meeting :
6pm Wednesday 29th July   (till 8pm)
Electron Club at the Centre for Contemporary Arts (CCA), 350 Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow, G2 3JD
The Electron Club space can be accessed by turning left at the side entrance of the CCA on Scott Street off Sauchiehall Street.
The Electron Club can be accessed by wheelchair via the CCAs main entrance on Sauchiehall Street and via the lift.
This meeting will also see the relaunch of the Glasgow Zapatista Solidarity Group
Edinburgh meeting
7.30pm thursday 30 July
Augustine United Church,
41 George IV Bridge Edinburgh EH1 1EL.
Venue accessible (by lift)


Once again the indigenous peoples of Chiapas are cast in the rôle of defenders of the land, the environment, and natural resources against the predations of the neo-liberal system.

In the beautiful green valleys of the rivers Agua Azul, Bascán, Tulijá and Misol-há, conflicts and violence continue to erupt in response to proposed ‘eco-tourism’ developments, the income from tourism, and the planned new highway between San Cristóbal de Las Casas and Palenque.

A national and international call for action has gone out for people to take action in support of 7 political prisoners. These men are Other Campaign adherents from the community of San Sebastián Bachajón, which is situated near the waterfalls at Agua Azul, and  have been imprisoned unjustly since 16th April.

STOP PRESS   12 July: We have just heard that five of the remaining seven prisoners have now been freed, "thanks to national and international solidarity". They had been falsely accused of highway robbery, despite these attacks continuing unabated while the accused were incarcerated.  Campaigns continue for the release of the remaining two Tzeltal

Indigenous Chiapans Insist They Are in Prison For Belonging to the EZLN

  • When they gave their statements they said they were tortured by plainclothes police
  • They oppose neo-liberal projects that try to turn their lands into a new Cancun

by Hermann Bellinghausen, La Jornada
Translated by Kristin Bricker

El Amate, Chiapas.  May 6 - "I have been detained because I belong to the Zapatista Army of National Liberation" (EZLN), Miguel Vazquez Moreno declared today when he gave his testimony in the second criminal court in the State Center for Social Rehabilitation of Convicts (CERSS in its Spanish initials) number 14, El Amate, where none of the officials and employees, of course, are wearing face masks.  Nor do they seem aware that there is a national and state health emergency.

In contrast to his first "statement" given under coercion in pre-charge detention, Vazquez Moreno is assisted by an interpreter who speaks his language, or at least a variation of his dialect (the interpreter the authorities have provided is from Cancuc, while the eight detained men from San Sebastian Bachajon speak the tzeltal dialect of Chilon).  But, at least they understand each other, and that is enough.

From behind the railing he declares himself innocent of the charges against him, and requests that he be freed for lack of evidence to proceed with a trial.  And he introduces himself in this manner: "I am from the ejido San Sebastian Bachajon and I belong to the support bases of the EZLN, an organization that defends its right to exercise autonomy and self-determination as indigenous peoples, its right to territory and natural resources."

Free the Atenco prisoners!

Twice within three days Edinburgh Chiapas Solidarity Group took to the streets to demand freedom for the 12 political prisoners of Atenco, Mexico. The giant banner FREE THE ATENCO PRISONERS was carried in Edinburgh’s Mayday march on 2nd May, while on Monday 4th the banner plus an information stall were set up for three hours at the east end of Princes Street, the city’s main street.

Hundreds of leaflets were distributed on both occasions, and passers-by signed letters demanding the release of the Atenco prisoners, jailed for defending their community and land against the state.  On the Monday the giant banner attached to the Duke of Wellington’s statue drew much notice! Information and letters were also distributed about the current torture and imprisonment of the Other Campaign supporters from Agua Azul, Chiapas. 

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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