| Nov 23, 2023
Alongside communities defending their lands
Our hope continues to be in the struggle for the protection of indigenous lands and territories. Protecting the territory means defending the community itself, the ancestral path, the health and wellbeing of mother earth. Defending life means struggling against the logic of exploitation and the notions of capitalist expansion.
Oftentimes when we ask the communities that we accompany about their motivation, what gives them the strength to carry on, the heart of the matter is life itself. The answer “We are defending life”. Sometimes the struggle is devastating; It seems like everything is falling apart; especially due to the situation of violence that prevails in the state of Chiapas; where human rights violations do not cease. But when your struggle is for life, you have hope, as we continue finding alternatives, continue in the path for the horizon, with our roots we find the wisdom to carry on.
The last months of 2023 have seen more forced displacements in indigenous territories, wide-spread armed violence has been taking the toll on the abilities of many to work their lands. In the border region, in Tila, in Los Altos and deep in the Lacandon Jungle, many communities have been made victims of violence aimed at their dispossession.
Last week, we marked 17 years since the massacre of Viejo Velsaco. While the Ch'ol, Tseltal and Tsotil families of victims continue to demand justice and an end to the state impunity, their steadfastness in the struggle and in the land, is our hope and light.
With the hardship, we have witnessed the strength that those who fight, as they wish for different horizon. This week we celebrate the liberation of Manuel Gómez Vázquez. Manuel, member of the EZLN community, has been targeted for being part of the Zapatista movement and wrongfully accused of a crime he did not commit. He was imprisoned for two years and 11 months, and we are happy he was finally gifted his freedom back this November 17. We want to share this news with you and celebrate, because you are and have been part of this fight.
We wish you a happy holiday season and hope to update you on more wins and more advances. We continue to walk with the communities in their defense of life.
Families of victims, Viejo Velasco