With the assistance of Save the Children Mexico Clowns without Borders USA was able to perform in 15 indigenous communities in and around San Cristobal de las Casa’s, Chiapas Mexico, performing to 3,968 children and adults. Because of a lack of funding the project was not able to travel extensively throughout Chiapas. However we have been invited by other branches of Save the Children (Oaxaca, Mexico City, Tapachula, Tuxtla, La Selva Highlands) to perform next year throughout the state of Mexico.
We were joined on the expedition by new member Lisa Da Boit of Italy and Juan Manuel Cerresimo from the Belgian Clowns & Magicians without Borders. In addition we were able to assist the Big Underwear Social Bus Tour in performing in San Cristobal.
It is the day before new years.
It is cold, wet and grey as we wait outside the main gate to the zapatista caracole of Oventic.
it has been over 2 hours since we have arrived: 4 clowns, a ballerina and a small child called the ‘Moon” (Luna).
We are waiting permission to perform and teach workshops during the annual new year’s celebration of the 17th anniversary of the 1994 Zapatista uprising. It is usually crowded and the road full of cars, trucks and buses, and the thousand or so Zapatistas and sympathizers who gather each new year to celebrate the revolution that changed the fate of the indigenous population here in the Chiapan highlands.
This year it is different. There are no PA speakers blasting mexican corridos, as hundreds of extranjeros mingle with black hooded soldiers in rubber boots. There are no gallant speeches by sub-commanders, or workshops extolling the rights of the woman. There are no small wooden stands selling tamales and yerba buena tea and atole. There are no barefoot children running about in the mud yelping like little coyote cubs.
there is only silence…
It is cold, wet and grey. We pass the time doing hand stands, playing music (accordion, trumpet and trombone) and slapstick ballet exercises; amusing the guards and the small children and chickens who pass freely from one side of the fence to the other. There is a nervous laughter from the guards and a strange sadness in their eyes.
At last an older indigenous man approaches us and tells us that we cannot enter, not even to look at the many murals that are painted on the wooden buildings. We are even forbidden to pass the gate to have a cup of coffee in the cantina.
“No hay forma,” we are told as an explanation. “There is no way,”
The man almost begins to cry as he shakes his head no. “Disculpe, no hay forma”, he sadly repeats.
It is cold, wet and grey as we drive through the sad fog that presses down around us. We sit quietly in the borrowed car as we weave our way back towards San Cristobal de las Casas. As I look out from behind the window it begins to rain.
It is only weeks later that we realize what the dilemma is.
In late December a politician was kidnapped and the Mexican Government conveniently accused the EZLN for the crime. As a result there was a closing down of all Zapatista communities. No one allowed in! “No hay forma!”
Below is a special bulletin from the chiapas support organization.
Note: In Chiapas the Other Campaign Denies Links to Diego’s Kidnappers – While the Zapatistas were peacefully celebrating the 17th anniversary of their 1994 Uprising, a New Years surprise appeared on the web pages of various Spanish language newspapers in Mexico and around the world. Someone calling himself Balam Warrior sent an email to media outlets attributing responsibility to the EZLN and the Other Campaign for the kidnapping of Diego Fernandez de Cevallos. It alleges that the admitted kidnappers, the Red por la Transformación Global (Network for Global Transformation, RTG), constitute the armed wing of the Other Campaign. The Balam Warrior claimed to be a “loyal member of the EZLN” or an “adherent” (depending on which newspaper version you read). He based his allegations on the language used by the RTG in its Epilogue of a Disappearance, the 3-part communiqué issued upon Diego’s release. To its credit, La Jornada did not print Balam Warrior’s email. The following day, Javier Elorriaga and Sergio Rodriguez Lascano, editors of Enlace Zapatista (enlacezapatista.ezln.org.mx), the Zapatistas’ official website, published a response contradicting Balam Warrior’s allegations. Jose Narro Cespedes, current president of the Commission for Harmony and Pacification (Cocopa), told the press that he considered the email and subsequent publication of the email to be the beginning of a counterinsurgency move by the government and demanded a full investigation. The Cocopa is a legislative commission composed of deputies and senators from all parties in Congress charged with mediating peace in Chiapas.
The response is translated into English at: http://www.chiapas-support.org/CSC-Special-Bulletin-January-2011.html
Colonia Peje de Oro
ANEXA MIGUEL HILDAGO
Colonia Molino Utrilla
GUILLEREMO GONZALEZ CAMARENA
Colonia San Antonio del Monte
MARIO CASTELLANOS MOLINA
SOR JUANA INES DELA CRUZ
Colonia Patria Nueva
VESPERTINA MIGUEL HIDALGO
Colonia Peje de Oro
FILBERTO SANTIAGO FLORES
JUSTO SIERRA MENDEZ
Colonia 14 de Deciembre
Colonia El Santuario
Colonia Cinco de Mayo
Colonia Molinos los Arcos
Colonia Las Flores