Contemplating Chiapas

Here I am, back in the states. Back in the World’s Homeland Security Country, in the field of buy as much as you can or be as radical as possible; back in the biggest jail and freedom state, back in the USA. I love it and hate it. I want to change this cruel system, with its governments, institutions and powerful fucked up minds so that the whole world can change. But I also want to let it be — because Who am I anyway? Then, to begin with, I put this question out there to those who really want to make a change: What do you REALLY want? What are you building?

Three months ago I went on an awesome adventure that would open my eyes and of course my heart. I was ready to learn, love and fight, but overall, get more skills so I could trade my knowledge with the whole world and use it as a weapon to change the system.

After the “Smash The FTAA” days in Miami, I threw myself into Mexico and Guatemala. It was the 10th Anniversary of the Zapatista Uprising so there was a movement going on down there, and Guatemala had a lot of volunteer work to offer.

Hitching mostly all the way from Berkeley to Mexico and Guatemala was totally an anthropological experience, getting myself more involved in others people’s lives and cultures, philosophies and ideologies.

On a hot day, we finally made it to Chiapas after two weeks of gozando Mexico ( digging Mexico). I got hooked up with a Human Rights Association thanks to a friend from the bay and become a Legal Observer (Human Rights Observer).

I was sent to one of the 5 Caracoles to watch and help them. At that time the trip wasn’t an adventure anymore, it wasn’t even my trip, it’d become a “time-to-learn-more” about everyday life. My roll there was to watch for any military movement, any soldiers coming by or any problems. Luckily, where I was, everything was so organized that shit like before (paramilitaries killing Chiapanecos) wasn’t happening anymore. There were no problems or political actions going on, but what I got to see, feel and learn was beautiful — it was a dream chased and come true, an Autonomous Community, a DIY life.

In the Caracol, that’s the government center, they all socialize. A Caracol is the Government Center or Yard of 7 municipios and each municipio has 30 or so towns. To make a law or decide something, they use TRUE DEMOCRACY. People get in touch in the towns, then they all talk to the town’s representatives (then they all talk), they pass it on to the municipios, they all talk between themselves again, and finally pass it on to El Caracol. That’s how it works, all together, no exception at all — “AQUI EL PUEBLO DECIDE Y EL GOBIERNO OBEDECE- HERE THE PEOPLE DECIDE AND THE GOVERNMENT OBEYS.”

I got to see a dream that most of my generation and lots of other creatures dream of, a true community, a self-sufficient home, a world without oppression. They have everything, and they use almost everything, DIY style.

They have a school for Zapatistas, workshops on education, health, and natural herbs, learn to make your own boots, toilets or houses. They all help each other, work together, men, women and children, to keep their dream of freedom true. We have to realize that it took them days of war to get to this point. Therefore, after living all of this I wonder is this what it takes to be free? Is that what we want, days of war?

I was so near to Guatemala’s Highlands that the idea of going there became really tempting and after Chiapas, my beautiful lover warrior friend and I kept rolling down south to Guatemala.

Guatemala has been screwed for 40 years, 40 years of war, 40 years of fear and Government lies, 40 y.ears of indigenous murders — years that will always be in their hearts and eyes, because they’ll never forget. It doesn’t change, they go out to the street and see those who killed their people. How can they forget then?.

My friend and I wanted to do some work with the community, so we connected with some non- profit association who also gave us shelter — at the end we got more than shelter.

It was the Union of Family Farmers ( they work their land for themselves and not for big companies). It was about promoting Development in the Highlands, plus Education and more teachings. At the beginning I didn’t want to be there, I felt that all the talking about progress was bullshit. Who was I to go up there and tell them what to do? But the program on Women and Development caught my attention.

My friend went to another community to hang out in the coffee fields. There I was, going to a community, somewhere high up in the mountains for 3 weeks — and all I have to say is that those 3 weeks seriously changed my life. I was there to help them and learn from them.

Everyday I got to hike from one community to another, walking around through oaks, madronas, aloes, fireflies and more beautiful Mother Earth beauty, hanging out with the women’s group and the men and women who got to work the land. With the association’s staff and the members (the people from the communities), we developed workshops like organic compost, self-esteem, free trade, WTO/FTAA, stopping violence against women, DIY, business, and medicinal plants —

At the end, it was as if I was one of them, getting up early to go to the yard and pick some veggies or herbs to cook on the wood fire, making tamales or our own drinks, hiking or working the land, socializing with them as a human being and loving them.

I was so lucky that I got shelter with a family that became my family. They had everything to offer— explaining how I felt or how much I learned from them or the old Guatemalteca lady who become my medicinal teacher, is kind of hard . . . so I’m gonna leave it to the Gods.

Between all the communities ,I saw what I was longing for for so long, a vision of the TRUTH, communication, love, trading — a true community, eco-village. Everything they have they give it away or trade it, they all help each other, so they can survive and enjoy life, even if it’s hard sometimes. We all know that “ work must be done so the seeds grow”.

Once I sat down on the shining grass in a high hill to contemplate the sunset, my 7 year old friend was next to me. I asked him if he wanted to go to the city and he answered, “I am not going to the city. I love being here, I’m happy hiking and hanging out with the cows. Cars — no way!!!”

This is just a story that I put out there for curiosity, showing how in Chiapas they got what they fought for; in Guatemala they got a true community in the Hills but still most of the men move to the states so they can make money and “improve”.

We want to change this country and make our own communities, building them so we can live as we want, using all the resources that Mother Earth gave us, and I wonder, if they achieved that in Guatemala, but some of them move to America, if they got that in Chiapas but drink Coke more than water, tell me, my dear friends — What’s going on?