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Mexico’s Indigenous Resistance

Below is an excerpt from Guy Warrington’s article at Rabble – “Guerillas in the ethernet“:

For indigenous communities in Mexico, political and social problems have reached the boiling point. The states of Chiapas, Guerrero, and Oaxaca have slipped into rebellion because of grinding poverty, a corrupt political process, and serious human rights abuses. According to Onesimo Hidalgo, the co-director of the Center for Economic Research and Social Action, even though there are nine armed rebel groups operating in Mexico, many people have chosen to reject armed conflict. Instead, they have embarked on a path of radical non-violence and self-initiated constitutional reform.

Hidalgo was in Vancouver recently as part of a month-long speaking tour in the U.S. and Canada. He has worked for nearly 20 years with indigenous communities in Chiapas and hopes to strengthen the cross-border social justice movement by speaking with people in both Canada and the United States. While in Vancouver, Hidalgo spoke with the author about creating alternatives to the current political system.

Chiapas is located on the southwestern tip of Mexico and is bordered by Guatemala. It is also one of the poorest Mexican states. Nearly 80 per cent of the municipalities live in what the government refers to as a state of “acute marginalization.” Roughly 30 per cent are illiterate, while 62 per cent have not completed primary education. Over 35 per cent of the houses lack sewage or electricity, and 19 per cent of the population that works receives no wage. In 1993 alone, approximately 15,000 people died of malnutrition and curable diseases.

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