Despite the current tense and repressive climate in Chiapas, the annual celebration by Zapatista Autonomous Municipality 16th February went ahead on this famous date when the San Andres Accords were signed by the Mexican government and the Zapatistas. A delegation from Edinburgh Chiapas Solidarity Group was present on this important day for the 40 villages of our twinned municipality. http://www.edinchiapas.org.uk/16_de_febrero One of the delegation reported : 'It is inspiring to see the indigenous peasant farmers, who make up the Zapatista movement, continuing their resistance in the face of so much hardship and government oppression. International solidarity is more vital than ever, and every penny given to our special appeal for the autonomous health clinics http://www.edinchiapas.org.uk/node/267 will not only help save lives but will strengthen the autonomous health service.'While the San Andres Accords, granting indigenous people autonomy in their territories, were never implemented by the Mexican government, the Zapatistas have gone ahead and implemented autonomy without asking the permission of the bad government http://www.edinchiapas.org.uk/node/15. 16th February itself counts with its own network of Zapatista health promoters and its autonomous clinic, built with the aid of funds from Scotland. http://www.edinchiapas.org.uk/node/6
The Scottish delegation brought with them a small donation of 250 jotters
and 500 pencils for the four autonomous primary schools of the
municipality ( http://www.edinchiapas.org.uk/node/7 ) plus materials
from Scotland, ranging from posters depicting the solidarity activities of
the Group and social struggles in Scotland, to our Zapatista calendar
featuring photos of the people of the Municipality, to postcards and
calendars from Scotland featuring photos of hairy hielan coos!
A religious procession and ceremony started the fiesta, the catholic
religion in the form of liberation theology being important today and in
the history of the movement.
The members of the Autonomous Council, some in the traditional indigenous
dress of white tunics, then addressed the crowd in the local indigenous
language of Tsotsil. The Zapatistas have developed their own
decision-making structures, ranging from village assemblies, to the
Autonomous Councils of the 30-plus autonomous municipalities, to the five
rotating Councils of Good Government which co-ordinate activities over
A woman read out a special welcome address to the international visitors,
then it was the turn of our delegation to speak, their words being
translated from Spanish into Tsotsil. Our speakers described our
solidarity activities, from the sale of handicrafts from the
Municipality's co-ops http://www.edinchiapas.org.uk/merchandise/artisan ,
to solidarity demonstrations. 'For us in Scotland, and for many people in
many parts of the world, the Zapatista movement gives us great hope. We
want to say that the Zapatistas do not stand alone, we are going to do as
much as possible to give solidarity to the Zapatista communities against
the repression of the bad government.'
Due to the current clamp-down by the Mexican state, the fiesta did not
continue into the night with live music and dancing as usual, but wound up
in the early evening so that people could safely return to their villages,
some many hours journey away.
The overwhelming hospitality and the warm words of welcome from our hosts
underlined the vital importance of the twinning and of international
solidarity as the State, paramilitaries and business interests combine to
try and drive the indigenous people off their land.
There is still time for you to contribute to our special appeal for
donations http://www.edinchiapas.org.uk/node/267 for the twelve autonomous
clinics of the Highlands zone which includes the clinic in 16th February.
The Zapatista health service, based on a network of health promoters in
the local villages and local clinics, is vital for improving the health of
the local people who suffer from real poverty and totally inadequate
government health services.
We can always accept donations, but if you make your donation by 10th
March 2010 then your donations will be given in person, directly to the
local Zapatista Council of Good Government, by members of our group on
their visit in March this year. ALL donations will then be spent on the
health clinic in '16 de Febrero', along with the 11 other autonomous
health clinics in the Highlands zone of Chiapas.
Cheques should be made payable to:
Edinburgh Chiapas Solidarity Group
and sent to Edinburgh Chiapas Solidarity Group,
c/o 17 West Montgomery Place,
Edinburgh EH7 5HA Scotland.
Or pay to:
Edinburgh Chiapas Solidarity Group,
Account to be credited: NO: 60129411
Sort Code: 82-45-05,
If you make a donation Please e mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org to let
us know, thanks.
You can also make a donation to help cover the costs of the school
materials deliverd, and we are very interested in hearing from people
interested in the twinning with and solidarity with the autonomous primary
schools of the municipality. http://www.edinchiapas.org.uk/node/104