Mexico: The Agua Azul dispute

Orsetta Bellani, Latinamerican Press (Photos: O.B.)

From their vehicles, tourists stared in awe at the hooded Tzeltal indigenous people, who were sat on the edge of the road that leads to the Agua Azul waterfalls. Their machetes and facemasks were incongruous with the image of a quiet earthly paradise that is promoted by the state government of Chiapas.

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Mexico: Sexual torture is an institutionalized practice

Orsetta Bellani, Latinamerica Press (Photo: O.B.)

On the morning of Aug. 7, 2012 Claudia Medina Tamariz, natural products saleswoman, was arrested by members of the Mexican Navy at her home in the port of Veracruz. She was tortured with electric shocks and asphyxiation; they threw buckets of water on her and inserted their fingers into her vagina. When they threatened to harm her children, she confessed to a crime she did not commit:  belonging to the Jalisco New Generation drug cartel.
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“They took them alive, we want them back alive”

Orsetta Bellani, Latinamerica Press (Photo: O.B.)

In Mexico, the so-called escuelas normales rurales are pedagogical institutes where the children of poor farmers study to be teachers to new generations of campesinos. There are only 15 in the country, and they are known for their students’ commitment to social and political issues. But for the government, these institutes are a breeding ground for guerrillas.

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Zapatistas march for Ayotzinapa in San Cristobal

Orsetta Bellani, Americas Program (Photo: O.B.)

The 20,000 members of the bases of the Zapatista Army for National Liberation marched briskly through San Cristobal de las Casas on October 8. They gathered on the outskirts of the city, under a blue sky stained with clouds that threateend rain and then walked in long, orderly lines toward the central plaza of the city. The long river of Zapatistas moved fluidly and silently; the only sound was the steps of their shoes and boots. They carried signs that read “Your rage is ours”, “Your pain is our pain” and “You are not alone”. Continue reading…

Mexico: Government refloats airport project

Orsetta Bellani, Latinamerican Press (Photo: O.B.)

Looking down from the Huatepec hills, Ernesto Cruz, a member of the Community Front in Defense of Land (FPDT), explains that below the grassy plains there is an aquifer critical to Mexico City, a metropolis with severe water problems that could increase if the area is paved. Continue reading…

The EZLN 20 years on

Orsetta Bellani, Latinamerica Press (Photo: O.B.)

“There will be no house-museum or metal plaques where I was born and raised. Nor will there be anyone who lives off of having been Subcomandante Marcos. Nor will his name or rank be inherited. There will be no all-expenses-paid trips to speak abroad. There will be no transfer to nor (medical) attention received from any fancy hospitals. There will be no widows or heirs. There will be neither funerals, nor honors, nor statues, nor museums, nor awards — nothing that the system does to promote the cult of the individual or diminish the collective”. Continue reading…

Colombia: Moving towards a change in the politics against drug trafficking?

Orsetta Bellani, El Reportero (Photo: O.B.)

Colombia is a cocaine producing country. Seventy percent of the cocaine produced is exported to the United States. We are concerned about the cocaine production and the role the Colombian guerrillas and the paramilitary have in the business, and what strategies the government is employing to face it. In this interview with Daniel Mejía Londoño, the director of the Center of Studies on Security and Drugs at the University of the Andes of Bogotá. Continue reading…

Mexico: women without access to reproductive and sexual healthcare

Orsetta Bellani, Latinamerica Press (Photo: O.B.)

Antonia Pedro Blas is an Otomi indigenous woman who lives in Mexico City. Accompanied by her husband, she gave birth the last two times in the bathroom of the Gregorio Salas Hospital, part of the Health Secretariat of the Federal District. According to Cimac News, a service of the Women’s Communication and Information agency, the hospital personnel denied Pedro Blas care in a delivery room, saying that they were overfull despite the fact that she was about to give birth in the emergency room area. Continue reading…

Zapatistas Decide to Do Away with Subcomandante Marcos

Orsetta Bellani, Upside Down World (Photos: O.B.)

A light mist was falling in Selva Lacandona on the night of May 24, 2014. More than 2,000 Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN) base supporters, dozens of the organization’s militants, members of the free media, and some 800 members of the Sexta (EZLN sympathizers) filled the basketball court at the Caracol of La Realidad, where the Autonomous Zapatista Government is headquartered. Continue reading…