The Pope’s Encounter with Indigenous Mexico

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

Pope Francisco’s visit to San Cristobal de Las Casas in the southern state of Chiapas was perhaps his most symbolic visit on his six-day tour of Mexico last week. Here the Bishop of Rome held mass with indigenous peoples, in a city internationally known for the uprising of the Zapatista Army for National Liberation in 1994, which inaugurated an era of indigenous self-government in parts of the state. Continue reading…

From Chiapas to Rojava: more than just coincidences

Petar Stanchev, Kurdish Question

The largely unknown until recently Kurdish city of Kobane managed to attract the attention of the world with its fierce resistance[i] against the invasion of the Islamic State and became an international symbol, compared to the defence of Madrid and Stalingrad. The bravery and heroism of the People’s Defence Units and the Women’s Defence Units (YPG and YPJ) were praised by a large spectrum of groups and individuals – anarchists, leftist, liberals and even right-wingers expressed sympathy and admiration for the men and women of Kobane in their historical battle against what was often seen as IS “fascism”. Continue reading…

Zapatista Intellectuals and Base Communities Discuss “Critical Thought and Capitalism”

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

Selena is 17 and her face is covered by a ski mask. She comes from the same community where Galeano, teacher and sergeant in the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) was born. Galeano was killed on May 2, 2014 by members of the government-allied organization Independent Central of Agricultural Workers and Campesinos-Historical (CIOAC-H). A few days after the death of the Zapatista, Selena was approached and threatened by the murderers of her fellow community member, but she was not afraid.

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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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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…

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…

The rights of Zapatista women

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

Fabiana wakes every morning at 4:30 a.m., like all the women in her community. She grinds the corn she boiled the night before until it becomes soft dough, from which she forms a few balls that once flattened and cooked on a griddle become tortillas. Fabiana, who is ethnically Tzotzil Maya, is 23 years old, with a husband and two children, and also a member of the support base for the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN).
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The Permanent People’s Tribunal and the Counterinsurgency War in Chiapas

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

Minerva Guadalupe Pérez López was 19 when, on June 20, 1996, she was arrested in the Miguel Alemán community (Chiapas) while on her way to visit her sick father. According to the testimonies, she was locked in a house where she was repeatedly beaten and raped during three days, by more than thirty men, who then took her to the countryside to dismember her. Continue reading…