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ANALYSIS: Mexico: growing polarization

SIPAZ Activities (From mid-October 2007 to mid-January 2008)



  • On 2 November, SIPAZ participated in a meeting with all of the European Union Embassies, held in San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas.
  • On 12 November, we attended a meeting with Swiss legislators who formed part of an observation mission coordinated by the Swiss Program for Observation and the Promotion of Peace in Chiapas (Programa Suizo de Observación y Promoción de Paz en Chiapas, PROPAZ). The legislators later met with state and federal authorities.
  • On 6 December, we held a meeting with a representative of the political section of the US Embassy.
  • At the end of October and again at the beginning of December, SIPAZ made visits to Mexico City. There, we conducted meetings with many of our counterparts, such as the “Miguel Agustín Pro Juárez” Human Rights Center (Centro de Derechos Humanos “Miguel Agustín Pro Juárez”), Services and Consultants for Peace (Servicios y Asesoría para la Paz, Serapaz), the All Rights for Everyone Network, the “Fray Francisco de Vitoria” Human Rights Center (el Centro de Derechos Humanos “Fray Francisco de Vitoria”) and the National Social Communication Center (el Centro Nacional de Comunicación Social, CENCOS).


Highlands (Altos)
  • We attended the monthly commemoration of the Acteal Massacre on 22 November, and we also participated in an array of activities organized by the Civil Association, The Bees, held in San Cristóbal de las Casas between November and December in the framework of their campaign “Campaign Against Impunity: 10 and 15” (marking 10 years since the Acteal Massacre and 15 years since the formation of their organization).
  • Between 20 and 22 December, SIPAZ participated in the events held as part of the 10th anniversary of the Acteal Massacre, including the National Gathering Against Impunity that took place in Acteal.
Caracoles/The Other Campaign
  • We made various visits to the Zapatista Caracoles.
  • From 13 to 17 December, SIPAZ attended the international colloquium in memoriam of Andres Aubry co-convened by the EZLN, CIDECI-Unitierra and the Immanuel Wallerstein Center.
  • Between 29 December and 1 January, we were present at the Third Gathering Between Zapatistas and the Peoples of the World, also announced as the First Gathering Between Zapatista Women and the Women of the World, “Commander Ramona and the Zapatistas.” The event was held in commemoration of the anniversary of the armed uprising of January 1994 the Caracol of La Garrucha.


  • In October, we completed a week-long trip to Oaxaca to monitor the situation following the municipal elections. We met with the majority of our counterparts in Oaxaca City. We also attended the events connected to the commemoration of the assassination of Bradley Will (the US journalist killed in October 2006) and the deployment of the Federal Preventive Police (Policía Federal Preventiva, PFP). We were present at the National Meeting on Bilingual Indigenous Education, having established contacts with organizations more closely connected to indigenous communities. We conducted several interviews which are accessible in audio format on our blog (sipaz.wordpress.com, or in English on sipazen.wordpress.com).


  • At the beginning of December we traveled to the state of Guerrero. We conducted meetings in Chilpancingo with the State Human Rights Commission (Comisión Estatal de Derechos Humanos, CODDEHUM), Peace Brigades International (PBI), and the Human Rights Network of Guerrero (Red Guerrerense para los Derechos Humanos). In Tlapa we met with various members of the Human Rights Center of la Montaña Tlachinollan to prepare for the international delegation that SIPAZ is organizing for the beginning of March.


  • We received and made presentations to delegations, independent visitors, students and journalists in order to give them a better understanding of the situation in Chiapas and the work conducted by SIPAZ. From 27 December to 4 January we co-coordinated a Global Exchange delegation (a US member of our coalition).
  • Since August, we have co-hosted with Center for Economic and Political Research for Community Action (Centro de Investigaciones Económicas y Políticas para la Acción Comunitaria, CIEPAC) and the Community Defenders Network (Red de Defensores Comunitarios) the monthly space for reflection, analysis, debate and contributions known as Speaking Out Loud (“En Voz Alta”, see blogenvozalta.wordpress.com).
  • In October we participated in a space for the analysis of the current political situation, hosted by Serapaz and Propaz. Over 80 people attended this event.



  • In October we participated in an ecumenical space for prayer and reflection held by the Ecumenical Group for Analysis of the Current Political Reality (Grupo Ecuménico de Análisis de la Coyuntura de la Realidad, GEACR), of which SIPAZ forms part.
  • At the beginning of January we inaugurated a degree program at the Intercultural Mayan Seminary (Seminario Intercultural Mayense), in which we facilitate the subject “Transformation of Conflicts and Human Rights.”
  • We are facilitating workshops on conflict transformation with the civil association Economic and Social Development for Indigenous Mexicans (Desarrollo Económico y Social de los Mexicanos Indígenas, DESMI), which works in 17 municipalities within Chiapas.


  • We participated in the monthly meetings of the Chiapas Peace Network (Red por la Paz), a space for action and reflection made up of 16 organizations seeking to support peace processes and reconciliation in Chiapas.
  • From 6 to 8 November, we participated in the Gathering of Builders of Peace and Reconciliation convened by the Commission to Support for Unity and Reconciliation (Comisión de Apoyo a la Unidad y la Reconciliación Comunitaria, CORECO) and held at a community in the municipality of Ocosingo.
  • On 1 and 2 December, we participated in the Gathering of Promoters of Dialogue and Conflict Transformation (Encuentro de Promotores de Diálogo y Transformación de Conflictos) in Cuernavaca, Morelos, with some 30 individuals working on these issues at a national level. We gave a presentation detailing the experiences of SIPAZ in this field.