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CNI-CIG | EZLN | Pueblos, comunidades, organizaciones, colectivos e individuos

Invitation to Days of Action in Defense of Territory and Mother Earth “WE ARE ALL SAMIR”



First: Today more than ever, capitalism grows through war and the ongoing dispossession of all forms of life. The bad governments and the big capitalist businesses, all of which can be identified by name, try to disappear our struggles in defense of territory and Mother Earth, even normalizing the murder of our brothers and sisters who defend that territory and our Mother Earth. Today our collective heart hurts for the murders of:

  • Samir Flores Soberanes of the Nahua people of Amilcingo, Morelos.
  • Julián Cortés Flores, of the Mephaa people of the Casa de Justicia in San Luis Acatlán, Guerrero.
  • Ignacio Pérez Girón, of the Tzotzil people of the municipality of Aldama, Chiapas.
  • José Lucio Bartolo Faustino, Modesto Verales Sebastián, Bartolo Hilario Morales, and Isaías Xanteco Ahuejote of the Nahua people organized as the Indigenous and Popular Council of Guerrero – Emiliano Zapata (CIPOG – EZ).
  • Juan Monroy and José Luis Rosales, of the Nahua people Ayotitlán, Jalisco.
  • Feliciano Corona Cirino, of the Nahua people of Santa María Ostula, Michoacán.
  • Josué Bernardo Marcial Campo, also known as TíoBad, of the Populuca people of Veracruz.

Our compañeros were murdered for opposing the war the bad government is waging on our lands, hills, and waters in order to consolidate the dispossession which today threatens humanity’s existence.

We also feel the pain of the forced disappearance of our brother Sergio Rivera Hernández, Nahua of the Sierra Negra, Puebla, who also defended land and Mother Earth.

Second: The current neoliberal phase of capitalism takes on ever more monstrous forms, declaring open war on humanity and against the earth, our mother. Economic development today, based everywhere on finance capital and supported by the military and extractivist industries, dominates peoples, nations, and entire continents. It grows through real or fictitious wars and the proliferation of organized crime as well as invasions and coups d’état. Its insatiable consumptive and accumulationist capitalist logic has brought us to the brink of irreversible climate change and a limit at which the very conditions for human life on the planet are at risk.

Third: In addition, the current system’s patriarchal organization, inherited from previous systems and civilizations but deepened over the past several centuries, has been exposed as a violent enemy of humanity as a whole but especially of women and our Mother Earth. In other words, the exploitation of and profound structural violence against women is an integral part of capitalism, although it was born long before. Capitalist private property, the foundation of this system, cannot be explained or understood except as part of a patriarchal system of domination over women and the earth.

Fourth: In Mexico, the acceleration of mining, extraction, and hydrocarbon pipelines, the creation of the National Guard within the logic of the Merida Initiative, and the imposition, at all costs, of major megaprojects (The Salina Cruz – Coatzacoalcos Trans-Isthmus Corridor, The Mayan Train, the Morelos Integrated Project, and the New International Airport in Mexico City)—all of which are intended to reorganize territories, populations, and both the northern and Central American borders in a logic of capitalist displacement and exploitation—make a clearly anti-capitalist and anti-patriarchal defense of human life, of the territories of our peoples, and of the earth all the more urgent. For these reasons:

We invite: the peoples of Mexico and the world; organizations and collectives of workers of the countryside, city, and seas; women; students; children; elders; and those across the range of sexual diversity to:


On the following dates:

February 20, 2020: Local actions in Mexico and around the world in Defense of Territory and Mother Earth; in demand of justice for our dead, disappeared, and imprisoned; and against the megaprojects of death.

February 21, 2020: March for Justice for Our Brother Samir Flores Soberanes and for our dead, disappeared, and imprisoned, and in Defense of Territory and Mother Earth. Meet at the offices of the Federal Electricity Commission, Avenida Reforma, Mexico City, 4pm.

February 22, 2020: Assembly in Defense of Territory and Mother Earth, to take place in downtown Amilcingo, municipality of Temoac, Morelos State, starting at 10am.


January 7, 2020.
For the Full Reconstitution of Our Peoples
Never Again a Mexico Without Us



(Continuar leyendo…)

Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés

Words of the Indigenous Revolutionary Clandestine Committee-General Command of the EZLN, in the voice of Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés, on the 26th Anniversary of the Beginning of the War Against Oblivion

Source: Enlace Zapatista
Audio: Radio Pozol

Words of the Indigenous Revolutionary Clandestine Committee-General Command of the EZLN, in the voice of Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés, on the 26th Anniversary of the Beginning of the War Against Oblivion


(Descarga aquí)  

December 31, 2019.
January 1, 2020.

Good afternoon, good morning, good evening, good day to everyone, [todas, todos y todoas]:

To the compañeras and compañeros who are Zapatista bases of support:
To the compañeras and compañeros who are Zapatista comandantas and comandantes:
To the Zapatista autonomous authorities:
To the compañeras and compañeros who are milicianos, milicianas, insurgentas and insurgentes:
To the National Indigenous Congress – Indigenous Governing Council:
To the National and International Sixth:
To the Networks of Resistance and Rebellion:

Brothers and sisters in Mexico and throughout the world:

Through me, the Zapatista Army for National Liberation speaks.

“Canek said:

I read in a book that in the old days, the rulers wanted to call together armies to defend the lands they governed. First, they called up the cruelest men because they supposed that these men were accustomed to blood. So they drew their armies from the prisons and the slaughterhouses. But it turned out that when these people stood face to face with the enemy, they turned pale and threw down their arms. Then the rulers turned to the strongest men – the stone masons and the miners. To these men, they gave armor and heavy weapons and sent them out to do battle. But again, the mere presence of the enemy instilled weakness in their arms and dismay in their hearts. The rulers wisely then turned to men who were neither strong nor fierce nor bloodthirsty, but were simply brave and had something rightly to defend – the land they worked, the women they slept with and the children whose laughter delighted them. And when the time came, these men fought with so much fury that they drove off their enemies and were forever free of their threats and persecution.[i]

Sisters, brothers, hermanoas:

It was 26 years ago, on an afternoon like this one, that we came down from our mountains to the big cities in order to challenge those in power. At that time, we had nothing more than our own death – a double death, because we were dying a physical death and also a death of oblivion. We had to choose: whether to die like animals or die like human beings who struggle for their lives.

So it was that when dawn broke on that January 1, we had fire in our hands.

The big boss we faced then is the same one who despises us today. He had another name and another face, but he was and is the same ruler.

We rose up and a space was opened for the word. So we opened our heart to the hearts of other sisters and brothers and compañeros, and our voice was met with support and comfort from all the colors of the world from below.

(Continuar leyendo…)

Comandanta Yésica

Words of the Zapatista Women at the Closing of the Second International Gathering of Women Who Struggle

Listen to and/or download the audio of the closing words in the voice of Comandanta Yésica:
(Descarga aquí)  

December 2019, Encounter of Women Who Struggle. Photo: RZ.


December 29, 2019

Compañeras and sisters:

We want to share a few words with you as we close this Second International Gathering of Women Who Struggle.

We have listened to the words and proposals everyone has shared in each of our work sessions as well as other proposals that have been made.

We are going to create a space for all of you to see these ideas and proposals, as well as others that emerge, and offer your own words and opinions. This is for those of you who were able to attend this gathering and have returned to your own geographies with time to think and reflect on what we saw and heard here these last few days, and above all it is for those of you who could not attend.

We think this is important because if we don’t listen to each other as the women that we are, then we aren’t really women who struggle for all women, but only for our own group, idea, or organization and that won’t do at all.

While it may be easy to say that we are going to think about and reflect on these proposals, in reality it is difficult, because even for that process we need to be organized.

With that in mind, we propose this first agreement:

  1. We all learn about the proposals made here and make our own proposals regarding violence against women and what we will to do stop this serious problem we have as women.

Do you all agree?

As we are preparing this message we don’t know whether you will agree or not. But if we do agree, then we have one year, sister and compañera, to move this work forward. (Continuar leyendo…)

Comandanta Amada

Words from the Zapatista Women at the Opening of the Second International Gathering of Women Who Struggle

Inauguration of the Encounter of Women Who Struggle, 2019. Photo: RZ


December 27, 2019

Compañeras and sisters:

Welcome to these Zapatista lands.

Welcome sisters and compañeras from geographies across the five continents.

Welcome compañeras and sisters from Mexico and the world.

Welcome sisters and compañeras from the Networks of Resistance and Rebellion.

Welcome compañeras from the National Indigenous Congress-Indigenous Governing Council.

Welcome compañeras from the National and International Sixth.

Welcome compañeras from the Zapatista Bases of Support.

Welcome compañeras who are milicianas and insurgentas in the EZLN.

Sister and compañera:

We want to report that as of yesterday, December 26, 2019, registration for this second gathering came to:

3,259 women
95 little girls
26 men

From the following 49 countries:

(Continuar leyendo…)


Program for the Forum in Defense of Territory and Mother Earth


To be held December 21-22, 2019 in the Caracol JACINTO CANEK (CIDECI in San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico)

December 21:

9:00-9:30am: Inauguration by the CG-CCRI of the EZLN and the CNI/CIG

9:30 – 9:50am: Yaqui Tribe of Bácum, Sonora: “The Yaqui Tribe’s Defense of Territory”

9:50 – 10:10am: Indigenous People’s Assembly of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec in Defense of Land and Territory, Binnizá People, Oaxaca: “The Isthmus at a Crossroads.

10:10 – 10:30am: Organizational Process of the Sierra of Santa Martha, in the South of Veracruz: “Resistances and Rebellions in Nuntaj+yi and Nahua Indigenous Territory of Santa Marta.”

10:30 – 10:50am: Náyeri People of Nayarit: “The Náyeri People’s Resistance in Defense of the River.”

(Continuar leyendo…)


(Español) Pronunciamiento conjunto de la Cuarta Asamblea Nacional del CNI-CIG y EZLN

Sorry, this entry is only available in Mexican Spanish. For the sake of viewer convenience, the content is shown below in the alternative language. You may click the link to switch the active language.

Escucha aquí: (Descarga aquí)  

Al pueblo de México
A los pueblos del Mundo
A la Sexta Nacional e Internacional
A las Redes de Resistencia y Rebeldía
A los medios de comunicación

Hermanos, hermanas

Desde el Caracol Zapatista Jacinto Canek, en el CIDECI- UNITIERRA, en San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, los días 18 y 19 de diciembre de 2019, para celebrar la 4ª Asamblea Nacional del Congreso Nacional Indígena y el Concejo Indígena de Gobierno los pueblos Afromexicano, Binizaa, Chinanteco, Chol, Chontal, Comca’ac, Hñahñu, Kumiai, Mam, Maya, Mayo, Mazahua, Me´phaa, Mixe, Mixteco, Nahua, Náyeri, Purépecha, Quiché, Rarámuri, Téenek, Tepehuano, Tohono Oódam, Tojolabal, Totonaca, Tzeltal, Tzotzil, Wixárika, Yaqui, Zoque, Chixil, Cañari y Castellano, provenientes de 24 estados de la república, así como invitados de Guatemala, Ecuador, El Salvador y Estados Unidos, nos encontramos para escucharnos, para ver en el compañero y compañera que en colectivo somos pueblos, naciones y tribus.

Nos encontramos para ver y entender la guerra neoliberal que de arriba viene cubierta de mentiras simulando gobernar, cuando ponen el país en manos del gran capital, al que le estorba la conciencia colectiva de los pueblos y echa a andar su maquinaria de despojo:

1. A través de la violencia sanguinaria y terrorista en contra de los pueblos que defienden la tierra.

El luto y la rabia que nos habita a quienes hoy nos encontramos, es por el daño a la madre tierra, el despojo de todas las formas de vida. Y aquellos que decidieron destruirla para convertirla en dinero tienen nombre y apellido, así como los asesinos de nuestros compañeros. Nos duele en el corazón colectivo el asesinato del compañero delegado popoluca del CNI, Josué Bernardo Marcial Campo, también conocido como TíoBad quien por su arte, su música y su protesta en contra de los megaproyectos que el mal gobierno pregona haber terminado como es el fracking, fue desaparecido y encontrado brutalmente asesinado el pasado lunes 16 de diciembre.

El compañero Samir Flores Soberanes del pueblo nahua de Amilcingo, Morelos

(Continuar leyendo…)


Program for the First ‘Dance Another World’ Dance Festival

Program for the First ‘Dance Another World’ Dance Festival

December 16
Location: Tulan Kau

10:00AM: Inauguration

10:30AM: Dance

Venado, Hugo Molina, contemporary.
Se va la vida, compañera, Argelia Guerrero, neoclassical.
La Esperanza es zapatista, Libertad Hernández, neoclassical.
Tlakazkatl, Hugo Molina, contemporary.
Carmen, Victoria Arts, classical.
Chiapaz, Vica Rule, bellydance.
Respirar, Shakti, Butoh.
Sofía Ivy García, performance art and acrobatics.
Leer, escribir y editar también es bailar, discussion by Fabián Guerrero.
Niña de tus ojos, Solo, Barro Rojo, contemporary.
Zapata, Victoria Arts, contemporary.
Zapatista Participation #1
Las aventuras de Trapeador y Cotonete, circus performance, Xutli and the Nandayapa brothers, circus performance for the ‘hood.
Zapatista Participation #2

2:00PM Lunch

Presentation of the book Barro Rojo, el camino by Jorge Izquierdo, Laura Rocha and Fabián Guerrero.

Public workshops:

  • Contemporary dance
  • Bodily self-expression
  • Juggling

December 17
Location: Tulan Kau

10:30AM Dance:

Nosotras, estamos aquí, Diana Betanzos, contemporary.
Oh, Melancolía, Paulina Segura, neoclassical.
Ave María, Victoria Arts, classical.
Performance art, Germán y David López López.
Y no hay otro modo de decirlo, Barro Rojo, contemporary.
Zapatista Participation #3
Xixito de tsií´kbal, participatory action.
Zapatista Participation #4
Zapata, Germán Pizano y Paulina Segura, contemporary.

2:00PM Lunch

Zapatista Participation #5

En el filo, Anadel Lynton, Diana Betanzos, participatory contemporary dance.
Zapatista Participation #6
Paz, Butoh dance.
Public workshops:
– Contemporary dance
– Bodily self-expression
– Juggling
– African dance
– Bellydance

December 18
Location: Jacino Canek

11:00AM: Dance

Tríptico, Miriam Álvarez, FARO Socio-dance Collective, contemporary.
Ave María y Carmen, Victoria Arts, classical.
Esclavo, Trilce López Rascón, FARO Socio-dance Collective, contemporary.
Cempasúchitl, flores de la memoria, GACHO Collective, contemporary dance with fire juggling.
Aerial dance, Marabunta Collective.
Aerial dance, El Puente Circus Collective.

14:00 Lunch

Collective and solo choreographies, Tierra Independiente Dance Company, contemporary.
Ver, observar, percibir para interpretar la danza, presentation-workshop by Jorge Izquierdo.
Public workshops:
– Contemporary dance
– Bodily self-expression
– Juggling
– African dance
– Bellydance

December 19
Location: Jacinto Canek

10:30AM: Dance

Youth theater performance, Marabunta Collective.
Réquiem por un alacrán, Lukas Avendaño, performance art.
Venado, Hugo Molina, contemporary.
Isaura, contemporary dance.
Sin nombre, Dance in resistance, contemporary.
African dance, Marabunta Collective.
Angélica Maia, dark bellydance hip hop fusion.
Liten, M de Mar Dance Company, contemporary.
Páramos, Trilce López Rascón, FARO Socio-dance Collective, contemporary.
María Cecilia Martínez Angulo, modern dance.
Gisela Vuela, dance intervention with mapping.
Zarah Dance Company, bellydance.

16:00 Lunch

Karla Ahau, hula hoop and firedance.
Public workshops:
– Contemporary dance
– Bodily self-expression
– Juggling
– African dance
– Bellydance

December 20
Location: Jacinto Canek

12:00PM: Closing ceremony

Zapata, homage to the 26th anniversary of the EZLN uprising, Germán Pizano y Paulina Segura.


The Whale Dances

The Whale Dances

Sixth Commission of the EZLN
December 2019

To the National Indigenous Congress-Indigenous Governing
To the individuals, groups, collectives and organizations of the national and international Sixth:
To the Networks of Resistance and Rebellion:
To those who enjoy dance:

First and only:

The Whale Dances

The illuminated mountain. The echo of cinema, not of a movie, but of cinema itself as a community still lives on in recently lit ocotes, in the nostalgic blue of that horse–Tulan Kaw–, in a glimmer that reads «Welcome,» and finally in that defiant light that spells, «ZAPATISTAS.»

You’ve tried to leave this place but for some reason that you’re unable to explain, you can’t… or you don’t want to. Night has fallen, cold as always. You stroll through the flat open area where, hours earlier, the serpentine path between the stations reminded you of small-town fairs in distant calendars and geographies.

The smorgasbord of posters catches your eye: “Second International Encounter of Women in Struggle,” “Gathering in Defense of Territory and Mother Earth,” “26th Anniversary,” “Second ‘Puy Ta Cuxlejaltic’ Film Festival,” “First ‘Dance Another World’ Dance Festival.”

(Continuar leyendo…)


Program for the Second Film Festival “Puy ta Cuxlejaltic”


December 7-15, 2019.

Saturday, December 7:

Gran Jornada de Mujeres que Luchan by the collective Luces Rebeldes.
Escuela por la Defensa del Territorio by Sandía Digital and Witness.
Corrientes del sur by Geovanni Ocampo Villanueva.
Noosfera by Amelia Hernández.
Santo Remedio by Andrea Ayala Luna, Ingrid Denisse Alarcón Díaz.
Sobre la hierba by José Alfredo Jiménez Milán.
3 x 10 pesos by Uzziel Ortega Sánchez and David Donner Castro.
El caminar de las Pastoras by Gabriela Ruvalcaba.
Videoclip & Discurso by El Gran Om.
Soles Negros by Julien Elie.

Sunday, December 8:

Huir by Daniel Hernández Delgadillo.
Restos de viento by Jimena Montemayor.
Birders by Otilia Portillo.
Vaquero del mediodía by Diego Osorno.
¿Qué les pasó a las abejas? by Adriana Otero.
Poetas del Cielo by Emilio Maillé.

Monday, December 9:

El gallinero by Fabián Ibarra.
Rojo by María Candelaria Palma Marcelino.
La bruja del fósforo paseante by Sofía Carrillo.
Gyuri by Mariana Lacerda.
Un amor en rebeldía by Tania Castillo.
Mujeres que luchan by Larissa Rojas.
El Vapor del Olvido by Marcos Ignacio Hidalgo Sánchez.
La Camarista by Lila Avilés.

Tuesday, December 10:

El sembrador by Melissa Elizondo Moreno.
Sanctorum by Joshua Gil.
Ya no estoy aquí by Fernando Frías de la Parra.
Titixte by Tania Hernández Velasco.
El Guardián de la memoria by Marcela Arteaga.

Wednesday, December 11:

“Kuxlejal” (life) by Elke Franke.
Rapsodia by Antonio del Rivero Herrera.
Las Lecciones de Silveria by Yolanda Cruz.
Retiro by Daniela Alatorre.
Voces de barro by Tania Paz.
Antes del olvido by Iria Gómez.

Thursday, December 12:

Los nacimientos de Celia by Carlos Hagerman.
Mamartuile by Alejandro Saevich.
Arcángel by Ángeles Cruz.
45 días en Jarbar by César Aréchiga.
Mano de obra by David Zonana.
Chicuarotes by Gael García Bernal.

Friday, December 13:

Lorena by Juan Carlos Rulfo
Nosotras by Natalia Beristain
Polvo by Chema Yazpik
Sonora by Alejandro Springall
Pájaros de Verano by Cristina Gallego and Ciro Guerra

Saturday, December 14:


Sunday, December 15: 

Tuyuku (Ahuehuete) by Nicolás Rojas
Amador Hernández, una cabrona patada en la costilla by Martí Torrens
Dos episodios de la Docuserie Somos valientes, co-produced by Marcela Zendejas and Lidya Cacho:  Yucatán Episode, HUNAB; and Sinaloa Episode, Malala Academia.
Pasco, avanzar más allá de la muerte by Martín Sabio and Patricia Miriam Rodríguez

All programming subject to last-minute changes.

Subcomandante Insurgente Galeano

A Whale in the Mountains of Southeastern Mexico

Sixth Commission of the EZLN

December 2019.

To the National Indigenous Congress – Indigenous Governing Council:
To the individuals, groups, collectives and organizations of the Sixth in Mexico and internationally:
To the Networks of Resistance and Rebellion:
To film-lovers everywhere:

Considering, first and only, that:


(Creatures and their Creators)

You have no idea how you ended up here in this place, though it seems it’s becoming something of a habit… “The traditions and customs of cityfolk,” you remember the late SupMarcos saying. You also remember how annoying he found those sarcastic comments…well, not just those comments. The afternoon has given way to evening. You stop, noticing in the distance a red, five-pointed star at the top of a mountain, with an enormous sign with so many letters that you can’t make out its message. Even more distant, you can make out the blue-gray silhouette of a braying horse with huge, illuminated letters that state, laconically: “TULAN KAW ZAPATISTA.”

At the entrance, the girl who guided you through that first impossible movie theater and her gang of kids approach you. You’re not sure whether to run, pretend not to know them, or freeze and see what happens. Any semblance of a strategy collapses because the girl takes you by the hand and chastises you: “Late again.”

You all cross through a wide flat space that appears to be set up like a county fair. You take a winding route through dozens of different “stations,” each booth with its own light-and-sound show, people dressed up as monsters, circus performers, and trapeze artists; over here there’s someone teaching art, and over there you can hear music, singing and dancing. People crowd together at their favorite “station”, laughing and shouting with delight and surprise, and, of course, taking selfies. At the edge of the path through the stations there’s a huge screen. You’re about to say, “Looks like a drive-in theater,” but a nearby sign reads: “Walk-In Theater. Tonight: Cantinflas and Manuel Medel in Águila o Sol[i]. Tomorrow: Piporro and Pedro Infante in Ahí viene Martín Corona[ii].

The girl leads you through the zigzagging path. Up ahead, a strange being, like a cat or a dog, is flanked on both sides by other girls and boys all talking at the same time.

You try to make out what they’re saying, but just then you see a huge banner with the face of…Boris Karloff?[iii] made up like the monster from Frankenstein, with a coffee cup in one hand and a half-eaten sweet bun in the other. The banner’s text repeats an ancient truism: “Nothing like coffee and a snack to bring you back to life.” Farther on another sign reads: “Maxillofacial Surgery. Get your best face and an irresistible smile!” with images of the monster from Alien from the series’ various prequels and sequels. You instinctively evaluate the cheeks from each version and shudder.

Amidst lots of brightly-colored lights there is a long mess hall (you can make out signs reading “ZAPATISTAS” and “WELCOME”). You’re about to say that it’s a bit chilly and that a hot coffee and a snack wouldn’t hurt when you see on one of the walls another banner with Edward James Olmos’ face announcing, “Soft-boiled sushi. Origami classes. Pest control. Bow ties. Gaff & Company.” Higher up, as if suspended from the ceiling, there’s an animated image of the geisha from Blade Runner. You pause for a moment trying to guess how such a novelty is possible, but the crowd behind you pushes you forward.

Almost at the end of the winding route of “stations,” there’s a table with a large model of what appears to be a future construction and a sign reading “Theater Project” with a collection box labeled “Anonymous Donations.” Behind an artisan shop nearby you see an image of a Facehugger advertising scarves and sleep eye-masks for sale.

Before you lies a path studded with lights and the silhouette of a large red star, and amidst some rubble, apparently placed there on purpose, flash images of a dystopian backdrop. The flickering lights barely illuminate the forest around you and the mountain above. Instead of individual trees, it’s as if the Zapatistas had strung the entire mountaintop with lights and the trees were merely branches on that great, hulking pine.

You decide that it would be best to turn around; nothing normal happens in Zapatista territory… at least, not to you. Every time you’ve come you’re left feeling somewhat discontent with and skeptical of yourself, and it takes you several days of your regular routine in the city to feel normal again. So you take a few steps back, looking for an opportunity to turn around without the boys and girls seeing you…

But then you see it, and stop dead in your tracks.

You tell yourself you’ve seen everything – that’s what the internet and its bandwidth are for – but what you’re seeing now is so illogical that… Well, you grab your cell phone and try to take a panoramic photo but you realize immediately that it’s impossible. You would need a satellite to capture the whole scene, because it’s clear that all of it is part of a puzzle and that to put it together you’d have to walk… and close your eyes.

But when you open your eyes, it’s still there. An enormous structure. A sort of huge hangar which, in seeming defiance of the laws of physics, extends back until it gets lost in the trees and the moist mountain surface. It’s like a galley whose figurehead is a red, five-pointed star. You wouldn’t be surprised if, in your peripheral vision, tons of small windows opened and dozens, hundreds, thousands of oars came out… and if inside, “writing in the sea[iv],” was the one-armed man of Lepanto.[v] It looks like a galleon, or a whaling ship… No, more like a lost whale who, trying to swim against the current, up the mountainside, has taken a rest among the trees and people—a lot of people, of all sizes and all colors. Even though most of them have their faces covered, their clothes are like a kaleidoscope moving around the great whale, absurd here in its stopover halfway up the mountain, just as everything that happens here is absurd.

No, it didn’t occur to you that this might be the “Pequod,[vi] but rather the legendary whale from Moby Dick with which Gregory Peck[vii] and Herman Melville were obsessed.

You’ve seen several signs that say “Film Festival,” but you haven’t seen any references to John Huston’s film or Melville’s novel. Then you remember something the Zapatistas once said: “We are speaking for another time. Our words will be understood in other calendars and geographies.” Even so, you are willing to respond with “Call me Ishmael[viii] if anyone asks your name, but then you notice three large banners covering one side of the structure. On the middle banner, embroidered with images of rope and spears, you read:


That’s the Mapuche language, Mapudungun,” you hear someone explain to someone else. A little above that line the banner reads “MARICHEWEU! Ten, one hundred, one thousand times we will win.” As if to ratify that statement, ten, one hundred, one thousand masked people swarm around you, Zapatista young people, men, women, and otroas—the rowers on this paradoxical and good-spirited old galley—whose very existence, whose lives, seem to point to a triumph over a past that promised them nothing but death and oblivion.

You encounter this Mapuche cry of resistance and rebellion here in the mountains of the Mexican Southeast. Why does Zapatismo greet that originary people in this manner in these lands? Why the effort to take an ancestral history of resistance and rebellion from the continent’s southern tip and plant it here in these mountains—a place called “Tulan Kaw” (“strong horse” in Tojolabal and Tzeltal)—creating an irrational and anachronistic link between two resistances and rebellions with the same objective, the defense of mother earth?

You’re trying to decipher that puzzle when the kid gang pushes you into the belly of the whale…okay, fine, the auditorium. Inside there are lots of wood benches arranged in tiers following the slope of the mountain, and a stage with tables, three screens (the Zapatista version of 3D), speakers, and a bunch of cables spilling out like entrails.

Wait for us here. We’re going to go get some popcorn,” the little girl tells you. You start to say that you didn’t see any popcorn vendors but the kid gang has disappeared, exiting the belly of the whale…okay, okay, the auditorium. While you wait you look around the inside of the building. There are beings of all sorts on the benches, and on stage are people who, you assume, make films. They are talking about film as if responding to questions that, as far as you can tell, nobody has asked… at least, nobody you can see. Or maybe they’re just talking to themselves.

The little girl and her gang come running back in, all carrying bags of popcorn. The little girl gives you a bag and explains, “I only put a little bit of salsa on them so you wouldn’t get a stomach ache.” The entrance of the kid gang serves like a signal and the rest of the crowd leaves en masse. The people on stage heave a sigh of relief. One confesses, “Phew! Now I remember why I chose to work in film!” Another says, “This is like a horror film mixed with a thriller and a science fiction flick. I fear the screenplay holds nothing good in store for me.” And another adds, “To be honest, I didn’t know how to answer her, she just had too many questions.” “True,” says still another, “it’s like being on trial but without a defense attorney… and knowing you’re guilty.”

The little girl whispers in your ear, “If SupGaleano comes looking for us, you tell him that we’ve been here the whole time, that you brought the popcorn yourself from the city and shared it with us. Even if he’s angry, don’t give in, remain firm! Resistance and rebellion, you know.” Just then you hear over the loudspeaker: “Please report any information or tips on the location of one cat-dog, wanted for theft of strategic material from the office of the General Command. The suspect tends to travel in the company of a gang of kids who… okay fine, forget the kids, but the cat-dog is unmistakable.” The aforementioned, with what you could swear is a mischievous smile, burrows into the little girl’s lap.

You are weighing the wisdom of lying to a Subcomandante when everyone comes back in with fragrant bags of popcorn and takes their seats. From the stage, someone says, “Nobody has any frivolous questions? I mean, to get back to normalcy and make everyone believe that this is a film festival like any other.”

Would you look at that,” you say to yourself, “a film festival where explanations, reason, and reflection are expected. As if a great big question mark had appeared on the screen and everyone (todas, todos, todoas) was expecting…what are they expecting? The little girl responds with a confession, “See, the thing is, we’re all kind of happy that these people who make film came here, because what if they are sad or their hearts anxious because they don’t know where these things they created ended up? It’s a good point, right? So we invited them to come and tell us if they are okay, or not okay, or depends. Maybe they’ll even start to dance and eat popcorn and their hearts will be glad,” the little girl says with her mouth full and her cheeks stained bright with salsa.

It seems like there’s an intermission, so everyone, including you, leaves the building. To your surprise, there is now a mobile popcorn vendor outside followed by a long curving line of kids waiting their turn, like a comet with a trail of lights. It looks like there’s another vendor a little ways off, and you can make out another still further away. You get in line and once you have your bag of popcorn you stare in wonder at the absurd movie theater with its rebellious inclinations, challenging all logic and the law of gravity itself…

The mythical Mapuche whale, Mocha Dick, swimming up the mountain, with all these people in its wake… “and mid most of them all, one grand hooded phantom, like a snow hill in the air,” (Moby Dick. Herman Melville, 1851).

The irreverent cetacean as part of the jigsaw puzzle.

Film as something more, much more, than a movie.

As if all this were just part of a bigger jigsaw puzzle, you see a giant poster announcing a dance festival, another about the defense of territory and mother earth, another about an international gathering of women who struggle, another about a birthday, and signs, lots of them, signaling bathrooms, showers, internet, supplies, “a world where many worlds fit,” the Junta de Buen Gobierno (Good Government Council), the Zapatista Autonomous Municipality in Rebellion, the Information and Vigilance Commission… at this point you wouldn’t be surprised to run into Elías Contreras, sitting and smoking outside a hut with “Investigation Commission” inscribed over the doorway.

You detect a lot of loose pieces. There are some people who can only be differentiated from the locals because they have a nametag that reads “National Indigenous Congress” and, of course, they don’t have their faces covered. There are also “citizens” or “cityfolk,” which is what Zapatismo calls those who live or at least survive in the city. You’re exasperated to realize there are and will be many more pieces. It’s as if Zapatismo has set out to challenge humanity with enigmas…or with the silhouette of a world, another world.

It’s as if your life mattered to someone you don’t even know. Someone for whom you may have done much, or a little, or nothing, but who takes you into account in any case. It’s as if only now do you realize that this “Caracol of Our Lives” includes you and yours…ten, one hundred, one thousand times over.

This piece of the puzzle, film, like life, takes place inside a whale injured on both sides, swimming upstream in the mountains of the Mexican Southeast…

But that’s impossible… isn’t it?


Given the above, the EZLN’s Sixth Commission invites the men, women, otroas, children, and elders of the Sexta, the CNI, and the Networks of Resistance and Rebellion around the world, as well as those film fanatics who can and want to come, to the Film Festival:


(“Caracol of Our Lives”)

The second edition of which will be held in the Zapatista Caracol of Tulan Kaw, in the mountains of the Mexican Southeast, December 7-15, 2019.

The film schedule and festival activities will be posted at the Festival.

From the mountains of the Mexican Southeast,

Chasing after the most terrible mutation of Xenomorph: the Cat-Dog.
What? Well, because he stole my popcorn. And film without popcorn is like… how can I explain it?
Like tacos without salsa, like Messi without a ball, like a donkey without a rope, like a penguin without a tux, like Sherlock without Watson, like Donald Trump without Twitter (or vice versa)…
wha? Okay, that was another bad example.
Mexico, December 2019


[i]   Águila o Sol (1937): One of the first films starring Mexican comic Cantinflas.
[ii] Here Comes Martin Corona (1952): Mexican comedy Western starring Pedro Infante.
[iii] Stage name for William Henry Pratt [1887-1969], a British actor who played Frankenstein’s monster in the original 1931 film.
[iv] To row.
[v] Miguel de Cervantes, whose lost use of his left arm after a suffering a gunshot wound in the naval Battle of Lepanto against the Ottoman fleet.
[vi] The fictional 19th-century whaling ship that appears in the 1851 novel, Moby Dick.
[vii] Peck starred in John Huston’s 1956 film Moby Dick as Captain Ahab.
[viii] Chapter One of Moby Dick begins with the words «Call me Ishmael,» as narrated by the only surviving crewmember of the Pequod.

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