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Chiapas Paralelo | Border Hub

(Español) De “pueblo mágico” a centro de reclutamiento de niños, niñas y adolescentes indígenas

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.

Por Rodolfo Flores | Border Hub | Chiapas Paralelo

En San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas 

En Chiapas el 8.1% de los niños, niñas y adolescentes (NNyA) se encuentra en riesgo de ser reclutada por el crimen organizado, informó en noviembre de 2021 la Red por los Derechos de las Infancias y Adolescencias (REDIAS); este diagnóstico pasó de las cifras a la realidad en San Cristóbal de Las Casas, el “pueblo mágico”, la principal ciudad turística del estado; donde ahora grupos de jóvenes se pasean en pandillas motorizadas, vendiendo droga, robando vehículos, atacando y retando a la autoridad. ¿Qué les hizo vulnerables, la pobreza, el racismo, la desesperanza, la impunidad, la narcocultura o avance del crimen organizado? ¿O la suma de todas estas razones?

Ilustración: Carlos Mendoza

San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas. Martin y su hermano eran buenos estudiantes, eran del cuadro del honor, bien chambeadores, ayudaban a su papá en la carpintería; pero se metieron a las drogas y las pandillas. Al rato, Martín andaba con un arma en la cintura y un kilo de mariguana. Se ahorcó cuando tenía 17, ya era líder de una pandilla, no sé si buscó la salida o simplemente no la encontró. A su hermano Agustín lo detuvo la policía y lo mataron a golpes, tenía como 18 años. Sus padres son de Chanal -municipio ubicado en Los Altos de Chiapas-, migraron a San Cristóbal de Las Casas, estudiaban en la José María Morelos y Pavón, la escuela más “cabrona” de la zona norte de esa ciudad.

(Continuar leyendo…)


(Español) Sobre la detención de El Lico: cuando la justicia institucional no alcanza

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.


Por Dante A. Saucedo y Regina López

El pasado 22 de marzo, elementos de la Policía Federal detuvieron en Nayarit a Federico González Medina, El Lico. En los días siguientes a su aprehensión, la Comisión Nacional de Seguridad y la Procuraduría de Justicia de Michoacán emitieron comunicados para adjudicar la captura del jefe de plaza de Los Caballeros Templarios en La Placita —en el municipio michoacano de Aquila— a trabajos coordinados de «inteligencia».

En la sierra-costa michoacana, sin embargo, los boletines de prensa de las corporaciones de seguridad del Estado mexicano no son suficientes para borrar de la memoria los años de agravios y violencia que El Lico provocó con la aquiescencia o franca complicidad de los tres niveles de gobierno. Para el pueblo nahua de Santa María Ostula, el nombre del jefe Templario es sinónimo de una época de terror, cuyas memorias y dolores apenas comienzan a sanar.

(Continuar leyendo…)

John Gibler

The Disappeared

The story of September 26, 2014, the day 43 Mexican students went missing — and how it might be a turning point for the country

By John Gibler

Illustrations by Clay Rodery

By the first days of October, the outdoor basketball court at the Rural Teachers College in Ayotzinapa, a town in the Mexican state of Guerrero, had become an open-air waiting room of despair. Pain emanated like heat. Under the court’s high, corrugated tin roof, the families of 43 missing students gathered to face the hours between search expeditions, protests, and meetings with government officials, human-rights workers, and forensic anthropologists. Assembled in clumps at the court’s edges, sitting on the concrete floor or in plastic folding chairs formed in semicircles, they spoke in hushed tones and kept to themselves. Most had traveled from small, indigenous, campesino communities in Guerrero’s mountainsides. Many had arrived without a change of clothes. They had all come to look for their sons.

On the night of September 26, 2014, in the city of Iguala, 80 miles away, uniformed police ambushed five buses of students from the college and one bus carrying a professional soccer team. Together with three unidentified gunmen, they shot and killed six people, wounded more than 20, and “disappeared” 43 students. One victim’s body was found in a field the next morning. His killers had cut off his face. Soldiers at the 27th Infantry Battalion army base, located less than two miles away and tasked with fighting organized crime, did not intercede.

(Continuar leyendo…)

Radio Zapatista

Letter to Alexander Mora Venancio

San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas. 10 December 2014.
By: Eugenia Gutiérrez
Radio Zapatista



Allow me, young man, to address you with new words. Receive them with the freshness of your age. Welcome them without restraint. They are a brief greeting from someone who knows you without having met you, because she finds you in the memory of a wounded people, because she identifies you in the indignation of a planet united today in favor of its basic rights. They are, additionally, a request and a proposal.

You don’t know about me, so let me introduce myself. I am any Mexican mother of a student and teacher as determined and young as yourself, as enthusiastic about soccer as yourself. I am any teacher who is excited and nervous in front of fifty pairs of restless eyes like yours. I write to you from my privilege of someone who is fully alive in a graveyard nation. I sit down to write this message in a nation wounded by deadly governments. I write to you because your family and colleagues inform us that you have departed, that murderous hands have cut your life short. I hear in the voice of your father Ezequiel that you are already at the side of your mother Delia. I then read that your sisters and brothers weep. But, inexplicably, you are still here. As here as Chilango, as Julio César, as Daniel, as Gabriel and Jorge Alexis, as a woman, a man, and a sportsman who have presumably departed. Your words gather coherently in your colleagues’ facebooks and they inform us that you’re still here. As here as Andrés and Aldo, but no longer in so much pain. I watch your face looking at me from the raised arms in the avenues. I watch your face looking at me from the seats you occupy in auditoriums, conferences, and colloquiums. With you are forty-two friends who, with the force of silence, speak up one by one.

I want to ask you something, dear colleague. I write to you from my privilege as a professor who never slept on the floor to be able to study. You and I were born under the same sky, forged by the same history. For nineteen years, we walked without meeting on the same land, that of a tricolor banner that is losing its balance. On this land, with its majestic mountains and formerly crystal-clear waters, hundreds of thousands of other shattered lives pile up. You know it. Your colleagues know it too. Not for nothing did they choose to get an education in the schools where the poorest children study, those who can die incinerated. Not for nothing are all of you always remembering the fallen. But I write to you, Alexander, because an unexplainable fate chose you to shake up lethargies in this wounded Mexico. I want to ask you to help us sow in green and white all those disjointed lives in sierras that may once again become mothers, to refresh them in ancestral lakes, to pronounce them in immutable deserts, without screams. I dare ask you this because you’ve already met the fire, the air, and the water that will take you back to the land sowed by your father, because you move around nimbly in the stardust we once were, we are and will be again.

Finally, dear teacher, a proposal. I write it from my privilege as a woman who has not yet been raped, nor tortured, nor cut down in this region of femicides. I no longer speak to the youth; I speak to the man. I propose to you that we struggle together for the immediate reconstruction of our shredded rights. That you gracefully assume the role of inextinguishable light assigned to you by history, that you remain unscathed beside those who think you and feel you. I resort to your memory, Alexander, because remembering you reconstitutes us, strengthens us, because it rearranges our unhinged will and gives us new boundaries, because your friends call you “The Rock.” Let us gather around your presence so that the burdensome absences produced by this genocidal system may disappear.

Those are my request and my proposal. I bid you farewell without doing it and I prepare myself, with you, for whatever is to come. I hope my words do not bother you. Accept them now that we feel so determined to inhabit a country and a planet of well-deserved freedoms.

We do not forget, Alexander. Let us not forget.

With respect,



Luis Hernández Navarro

The massacre of Iguala and the Mexican Army

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.

La Jornada

El coronel Juan Antonio Aranda Torres, comandante del 27 batallón de Iguala, es un militar formado en fuerzas especiales, inteligencia y contrainteligencia. Sin embargo, la noche del 26 de septiembre no tuvo noticias de que, a escasos metros de sus cuarteles, policías dispararon contra estudiantes normalistas. Tampoco tuvo conocimiento de que soldados bajo su mando amenazaron a los jóvenes. “Lo que pasa es que nosotros nos enteramos al último”, dijo.

Esa noche, el militar estuvo presente en el informe de labores y la fiesta de la directora del DIF municipal, María de los Ángeles Pineda Villa, esposa del alcalde José Luis Abarca. Y, según declaró el general Salvador Cienfuegos Zepeda a la comisión legislativa que investiga la desaparición de 43 alumnos de Ayotzinapa, “él no vio nada en el evento; incluso se fue a su cuartel al terminar el festejo y aseguró que no pasó nada”.

El coronel Aranda Torres asumió el mando del 27 batallón de infantería el 5 de octubre de 2011. Llegó allí después de servir en Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, una zona en la que el narcotráfico campea, y de estar al frente del octavo batallón de fuerzas especiales en Guadalajara. En Iguala entabló una magnífica relación con José Luis Abarca. Aparecieron juntos encabezando diversos actos cívicos. Sin embargo, a pesar de su experiencia, el militar pareció no darse cuenta de la enorme cantidad de fosas clandestinas que se cavaron en su zona de influencia, ni del intenso trasiego de goma de opio que tiene en esa ciudad un punto central de distribución.

No es exageración. Gustavo Castillo publicó en este diario que “en Guerrero se produce más de 60 por ciento de la amapola y goma de opio de México. Estadísticas de la Organización de Naciones Unidas refieren que en el país, desde 2008, se duplicó el número de hectáreas de este cultivo ilícito, al pasar de 6 mil 900 hectáreas a 15 mil, y aumentar la producción de 150 toneladas a más de 325”. Iguala y Chilpancingo se han convertido en los principales centros de acopio de goma del narcótico.

Los vínculos estrechos de José Luis Abarca con el Ejército son anteriores al arribo del coronel José Antonio Aranda al frente del batallón. El 22 de enero de 2008, el entonces senador Lázaro Mazón colocó la primera piedra de Plaza Tamarindos, una ambiciosa inversión de 300 millones de pesos, propiedad de su amigo, el antiguo vendedor de sombreros y joyero José Luis Abarca.

La Plaza se ubica frente a las instalaciones del 27 batallón de infantería, en un terreno regalado por las fuerzas armadas. Según la crónica de la ceremonia de inicio de las obras del centro comercial, publicada en Diario 21: “En su participación, el senador Mazón Alonso agradeció al ex diputado Rubén Figueroa su intervención para poder entrevistarse con el entonces secretario de la Defensa Nacional, quien donó ese terreno”. La información nunca fue desmentida.

El diputado, ex senador suplente y empresario transportista Rubén Figueroa Smutny es hijo y nieto de ex gobernadores y caciques del estado. Su padre, Rubén Figueroa Alcocer, fue responsable de la matanza de Aguas Blancas en 1995, y controla la distribución de fertilizante en amplias regiones de Guerrero y Michoacán. Figueroa Smutny es también sobrino del cantante Joan Sebastian y de Federico Figueroa, señalado como uno de los altos mandos de Guerreros Unidos.

Especializado en tareas de contrainsurgencia y combate a las drogas, el 27 batallón de infantería tiene tras de sí un negro historial de violación de derechos humanos. Como documentó el blog especializado en cuestiones de defensa Estado Mayor, el batallón participó activamente en la guerra sucia de la década de los años 70 y comienzos de los 80 del siglo pasado, dejando a su paso un largo historial de atrocidades, incluidas centenares de desapariciones forzadas.

Las tropelías perpetradas por el batallón no cesaron con el paso de los años. Apenas en marzo de 2010, desapareció a seis jóvenes en Iguala. El caso fue documentado por Human Rights Watch. En su informe Ni seguridad, ni derechos, publicado en noviembre de 2011, el organismo advierte: “Existen pruebas contundentes que señalan la participación del Ejército en este delito”.

La noche del 26 de septiembre, el 27 batallón de infantería no hizo nada para evitar la matanza y desaparición de los estudiantes. No resguardó la zona. Dos horas después, del primer ataque, se produjo uno nuevo, sin que los militares hicieran nada para evitarlo. Fue hasta entonces que aparecieron militares, agrediendo a los estudiantes cuando intentaban escapar o pedir auxilio, dándoles culatazos, cortando cartucho y acusándolos de allanamiento de morada.

Los soldados –contó el normalista Omar García a TeleSur– “nos dijeron: ‘ustedes se lo buscaron. Ustedes querían ponerse con hombrecitos, amárrensen los pantalones. Eso les pasa por andar haciendo lo que hacen. Nombres. Y denos sus nombres reales. Sus nombres verdaderos, cabrones, porque, si dan un nombre falso, nunca los van a encontrar’”. Luego los fotografiaron.

La mañana del 31 de octubre una narcomanta apareció colgada en la reja de la entrada a una preparatoria de la Universidad Autónoma de Guerrero, cerca del cuartel de la 35 zona militar. Estaba dirigida al presidente Enrique Peña Nieto. La firmaba Gil, es decir el cabo Gil, señalado como uno de los operadores de la desaparición de los estudiantes y lugarteniente de Sidronio Casarrubias, uno de los líderes de Guerreros Unidos, hoy preso.

El mensaje señalaba que, entre los responsables de la desaparición de los 43 normalistas, había dos oficiales del 27 batallón de infantería: el teniente Barbosa y el capitán Crespo, involucrados con la organización.

A pesar de que las evidencias en su contra se van acumulando, hasta el momento las pesquisas oficiales han dejado de lado a las fuerzas armadas. Los normalistas que sobrevivieron al ataque tienen sus sospechas de que algo tienen que ver los militares en el asunto. “Acuérdense –dice Omar García– que en la guerra sucia, si alguien era experto en desaparecer personas, era precisamente el Ejército”.


The community recuperation of Xayakalan on the Michoacán Coast is about their lands, guards and autonomy

Source in English: Chiapas Support Committee Blog

All kinds of interests cross each other within their territory: the governments seek to implement highway projects that facilitate the shipment of merchandise and stimulate tourism at the beaches; the mining companies want to exploit the vein that originates in San Miguel de Aquila; the small property owners want to plant their lands or subdivide and sell them; and, the drug traffickers have and important point for circulation of their merchandise here.

Self-defense forces (autodefensas) enter Xayakalan, MichoacánSelf-defense forces (autodefensas) enter Xayakalan, Michoacán

By: Adazahira Chávez

Organization of the Nahua community of Santa María Ostula, Michoacán, in its struggle for land, was renewed in February of this year. Later, in June 2009, the comuneros activated their Policía Community Police and took back the place known as La Canaguancera (renamed Xayakalan). They confronted a wave of murders and disappearances —especially against members of the traditional guard of of the communal wealth (commission)— that established a climate of terror and obliged the displacement of entire families.

But they are returning now and, as they declared in 2009, assert that they will not abandon their lands. Recently, accompanied by self-defense groups from Tierra Caliente, the community guards re-entered their territory —many of them, like their commander Semeí Verdía, were exiled— and the displaced comuneros also returned to Xayakalan, which continues in a legal dispute with the small property owners of La Placita, who invaded it four decades ago. The urgent task, they point out, is to construct anew the assemblies and to work the lands that gave them sustenance and that they had to abandon.

The task does not look easy, and the Nahuas know it. They tell that all kinds of interests cross each other within their territory: the governments seek to implement highway projects that will facilitate the shipment of merchandise and stimulate beach tourism; the mining companies want to exploit the vein that is born from San Miguel Aquila; the small property owners want to plant their lands or subdivide and sell them; and the drug traffickers have an important circulation point here for their merchandise. In this state —according to the denunciations that the comuneros have made for years— many times these actors are the same subjects. And the comuneros of Ostula are the owners of this coveted land.

Rich land, dispossessed [stolen] land

The communal capital de Ostula and its 22 administrative districts encompass more than 28,000 hectares (approximately 69,000 acres) of Aquila Municipality, one of those of greatest marginalization in Michoacán. The Nahuas have populated the portion of their territory that extends to the Michoacán Coast little by little.

Municipality of Aquila, Michoacán, which lies along the Pacific Coast, is in red.
Municipality of Aquila, Michoacán, which lies along the Pacific Coast, is in red.

The lands corresponding to the district of Xayakalan, the comuneros report, are located inside of their land titles that in the 18th Century were the very first and also inside of the Presidential Resolution that recognized part of its territory in 1964. Despite that, they confront agrarian litigation over some 700 hectares that six small property owners of La Placita invaded “not only for the planting of papaya, mango and tamarind, but also to sell it to the highest bidder” in spite of precautionary measures in favor of the indigenous. The Commission for the Defense of the Communal Wealth of Ostula points out that some of those invaders are heads of organized crime in the region.

Aquila’s land has an abundance of minerals (silver, zinc, gold and copper), besides iron deposits, which the Ternium, Sicartsa and Metal Steel companies currently exploit, and it contributes one fourth of the national production. The vein that runs through San Miguel Aquila —a community from which members of the traditional guard and the comuneros also had to leave due to conflicts with the mine and with organized crime— arrives in the lands of Ostula, and the Argentine company Ternium has in sight its future exploitation. Ternium is the owner of half of Peña Colorada, the mine in Ayotitlán, Jalisco, which has also provoked persecutions against leaders of the Nahua comuneros like Gaudencio Mancilla.

Inside of this invaded territory pass not only the rich mineral veins, but there are also beaches with animal species in danger of extinction. There, they contemplate the expansion of the Coahuayana-Lázaro Cárdenas Highway, and even the construction of a port for transporting the materials that Ternium extracts from San Miguel Aquila.

Pristine beach in Aquila Municipality, Michoacán.Pristine beach in Aquila Municipality, Michoacán.

On June 13 and 14, 2009, the National Indigenous Congress published the Ostula Manifesto, which vindicated the right to self-defense. After several fruitless attempts at negotiation and upon feeling mocked by the government, the comuneros took back the lands of Xayakalan in 2009, established their community guard “to care for the territory that belongs to us” and around 250 people, belonging to 40 families, settled here.

Los comuneros decided not to participate in the 2011 official (national) elections, just like their Purépecha brothers of Cherán, Pómaro and Coíre, in rejection of the authorities’ lack of efficiency and the divisionism that, they denounced, the political parties promote.

The response to their challenge was deafening. In the last three years, 32 residents of Ostula were brutally murdered or disappeared. The executions in 2011 of the leaders Trinidad de la Cruz Crisóstomo, known as don Trino or el Trompas, in charge of the community guard, and of Pedro Leyva stand out. The Navy bases —that were established after 2009— did not help to stop the wave of violence. Judicial authorities did not resolve even one single crime. Bullets from the “goat horns” (AK- 47s) populated the crime scenes, and the threatened families fled.

Few residents stayed in Xayakalan, but those displaced occupied themselves with planning their return and the reconstitution of their autonomous organization, which was concretized this 2014. On February 8, “a group of comuneros of Santa María Ostula, in coordination with self-defense groups from the municipalities of Coalcomán, Chinicuila and from the capital of Aquila, took control of the tenancy of Ostula,” they reported in a public document.


Coincidentally, since that day “groups of federal ministerial police and members from the public ministry, in a totally illegal way, have been threatening the comuneros that live in Xayakalan with evicting them.” For the indigenous it is “the continuation of the grave conditions of an undeclared war that Ostula has lived through precisely since it resolved to guard the lands of Xayakalan, on June 29, 2009.”

This February 10, a federal Army platoon attempted to disarm the community guard and the self-defense groups that were supporting them, but residents made the soldiers return the weapons. On February 13, more than 1200 comuneros in an assembly decided to formally reorganize the Community Police. Now, efforts are centered on strengthening community decision mechanisms, reconstructing the material base for their organization and survival —food and scarce resources— and on maintaining security within their territory. Despite the years of terror, they indicate to Ojarasca from Ostula, “the people respond to their ancestral organization.”


Originally Published in Spanish by Ojarasca #203

La Jornada Supplement, March 2014

Translation: Chiapas Support Committee

En español:

Relatos Zapatistas

Relatos Zapatistas in July: Interviews on Austerity and the “Drug War”

On this month’s show we bring you three in-depth interviews: 1) Oakland librarian “Agnes” on public libraries in a time of austerity, when 14 of 18 libraries were threatened with closure; 2) reporter and author John Gibler on his new book, To Die in Mexico, which analyzes the so-called “drug war” in Mexico; and 3) two compañerxs from UA in the Bay announce the Anarchist General Assembly that will take place on July 16, along with an update on the continuing occupation of Glen Cove. (2 hrs, mp3)

Four audio files are available here: 1) the full show; 2) interview on libraries and austerity (28 min); 3) interview with John Gibler (42 min); 4) interview on Anarchist General Assembly (14 min).

Radio Zapatista

José Gil (Proceso) habla sobre el Movimiento por la paz con justicia y dignidad

Cuarta y última parte de la tetralogía PROCESO: José Gil Olmos en el Centro Cultural TierrAdentro, San Cristóbal de Las Casas.

El cuarto y último eslabón de la tetralogía corresponde al reportero José Gil Olmos, designado por PROCESO para la cobertura del Movimiento por la Paz con Justicia y Dignidad, y autor de los libros “Los brujos del poder1 y 2 y “La santa muerte”.

José Gil compartió anoche su experiencia y reflexión en la cobertura de las caravanas a la ciudad de México y a Ciudad Juárez, realizadas en el marco del movimiento que encabeza Javier Sicilia, habló sobre los retos y perspectivas, riesgos y debilidades, aportes y fortalezas de ese fenómeno social surgido del dolor y el clamor de justicia de las víctimas de la guerra de Calderón.

El reportero habló también sobre sus libros “Los brujos del poder: el ocultismo en la política mexicana1 y 2, que documentan los casos de importantes políticos mexicanos y de otros países que han recurrido a chamanes, hechiceros, espiritistas y brujos para alcanzar, expandir o conservar el poder, y para tomar decisiones que afectan a la sociedad en su conjunto.

Presentación y video(Descarga aquí)  

Palabras de José Gil(Descarga aquí)  

Diálogo con el público(Descarga aquí)  

(Continuar leyendo…)

Radio Zapatista

Marcela Turati: “Cross Fire”, the voice of the victims of Calderon’s war

Third part of the tetralogy of the Proceso Magazine organized by Centro Cultural TierrAdentro and Rompeviento TV in San Cristóbal de Las Casas.

Marcela Turati, presented her book “Cross Fire”, where she gives voice to the victims of Calderon’s war. Children, elders, women, and men who are suddenly orphans, widwos, disappeared, or displaced, and sentenced by the official discourse which categorizes them as “collateral damage” or turns them into suspects of their own disgrace.

Presentation (4:25 min):(Descarga aquí)  

Brief words by Marcela Turati on her book Fuego cruzado (11:45 min):(Descarga aquí)  

Dialogue with the audience (1:25 hr):(Descarga aquí)  

Radio Zapatista

Ricardo Ravelo: Calderón’s War – Where are we now?

Ricardo Ravelo, reporter for the magazine Proceso, researcher and analyst on drug trafficking and its links with federal and state authorities at all levels, shares a well documented view of our reality in Mexico, during the presentation of his books Herencia maldita, Los capos and Osiel at Centro Cultural Tierra Adentro, San Cristóbal de Las Casas, 18 June 2011.

Introduction (Ernesto Ledesma)(Descarga aquí)  

Speech (Descarga aquí)  

Questions and Answers (Descarga aquí)  
(Continuar leyendo…)

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