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Dancing with the Zapatistas

Diana Taylor, Lorie Novak, Authors

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Oventic Speech

Tenth Anniversary of the Councils of Good Government

Speech at Oventic, Chiapas

9 August 2013
Transcribed and translated by Julie Ward

Comrades from the various communities of this area,
Autonomous municipal authorities,
Local and regional officials,
Health and educational promoters,
Cultural and religious authorities,
Insurgent and militia comrades, wherever you may be,
Comrades of the National and International Sixth,
National and international adherent comrades,
Brothers and sisters from national and international civil society,
The Council of Good Government, centric heart of the Zapatistas before the world, shares this word:

Today, the ninth of August of 2013,
We are gathered here in the Caracol II, Resistance and Rebellion for Humanity, in the Highlands of Chiapas, to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the birth of the Caracoles and the formation of the Councils of Good Government, which now exist in the rebelling Zapatista territories in the different zones of our state of Chiapas, Mexico.

Now ten years ago, on the dates of August 8th, 9th, and 10th, 2003, the rebellious Zapatista indigenous peoples decided to strengthen and better organize the construction of their autonomy, forming their Councils of Good Government as their maximum representatives before national and international communities and authorities. In that year the same peoples and the same process of our struggle for liberation saw the necessity to take another step in our struggle to continue resisting and exercising our rights as native peoples of these lands.

For this reason the Council of Good Government celebrates the ten years since its founding and ten years of humble service with its only goal being to help and to serve our Zapatista and non-Zapatista communities that live in and outside our territory in rebellion.


We know perfectly well that in these ten years of practice and construction of our autonomy—that is, our own way of living, thinking, organizing ourselves, and governing ourselves—it hasn’t been easy for many reasons; for lack of experience, for lack of more preparation to govern and govern ourselves. Although it be little that we have done, it is, though, of much importance because, as a people, we have learned and continued to learn to resist and face all the ill that the three levels of government do to us, that day by day they increase their aggressions at every level against the communities.

Although these three levels of bad government speak so much of justice, liberty, democracy, and respect for human rights, they are, however, the principal violators of human rights and accomplices in the crimes committed in our state and our country. For this reason the previous and current bad governors are looking for any way to attack us and destroy our struggle and resistance.

There is, for example, the so-called National Crusade Against Hunger, which is nothing more than a counterinsurgency plan, with the objective of dividing, provoking strife within the communities, and destroying the resistance of the Zapatista communities, because it is an economic, political, ideological, social, and cultural attack against the construction of autonomy of the native peoples of our country. Peña Nieto’s National Plan will only bring more hunger, misery, illnesses, and deaths for our communities.

The militarization and paramilitarization of all indigenous territories is causing more insecurity, fear, terror, and discontent for our communities because they are not in agreement with seeing their communities invaded by thousands of federal soldiers, police, and paramilitaries that support the violation of human rights. And in spite of this war of destruction, of extermination, that the bad governors of our country make against us, the Zapatista communities, the autonomous governments, are trying to continue organizing and strengthening all of the areas of work in the autonomous municipalities and in all of the Zapatista zones. Although we recognize that we have had failures, because we are learning and we still have a way to go to defend and improve our work at every level for a life that is more just, more dignified, and more humane,  we continue to believe that a better world is possible, a world in which all worlds have a place.

For this reason, comrades, bases of support of all the communities and autonomous municipalities of all of this area, we want to say to you that we will move forward in our struggle, that we won’t look back, that we will not give up in the struggle, that we will not lose hope that someday we will reach our objective. Because our struggle will not end as long as we live in a situation of injustice, of exploitation, discrimination, destitution, plunder, and destruction of our natural riches as native peoples of these lands.

Comrades of the National and International Sixth,
National and international adherent comrades,
Brothers and sisters of national and international civil society:

We want to thank you for your presence and companionship in our celebration of our tenth anniversary, and we want to say to you that the great injustices, the persecution and deeaths, are in every corner of our planet Earth. For this reason it is necessary that the good and honest people of every continent unite our forces, our rebellions, our struggles, and our voices. Enough of so many injustices and deaths that millions of us suffer in the world. Our struggle for democracy, liberty, and justice shall triumph.
That is our word and thank you very much.

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