Movimiento Zapatista

“Aprendizajes del movimiento zapatista: de la insurgencia armada a la autonomía popular” – Lia Pinheiro Barbosa y Peter Michael Rosset

Considering Mexico as a tourist destination is always a good decision. It has beautiful beaches, cenotes, forests, towns, ancient civilization ruins, exquisite cuisine, and people who always welcome tourists warmly. On the other hand, living in Mexico City is an experience I would highly recommend. There is a mix of folklore, color, and tradition alongside the modernity of global technological advancements. In this city, there are many cultural and artistic offerings, numerous tourist attractions, and access to education. However, these two views are a bias that has been generated, perhaps because we tend to see the glass as half full. But the reality for those living on the outskirts of the city and those living in the provinces — not so far from the main tourist centers — is very different.

This movement began on the night of January 1, 1994, when the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) staged an armed uprising in San Cristóbal de las Casas, presenting the First Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle: eleven demands—work, land, shelter, food, health, education, independence, freedom, democracy, justice, and peace. In essence, what they were demanding was as simple as it was fundamental: rights. These rights, which by the mere fact of being Mexicans, were already guaranteed by the laws established in the Constitution of 1917, but over the decades, they had been deprived of them or directly denied them. Who denied them these rights? Who marginalized the indigenous communities? The government could easily be partly responsible for this by not having the means to ensure the full exercise of their rights by providing roads and schools with adequate teaching materials, and establishing workplaces with fair working hours and wages, which in turn would allow them to access housing with water, sewage, and electricity services, as well as food and clothing. However, in this complex situation, there remains another actor to be named: the rest of society.

The modern society that adopted the customs of the conquerors lives in cities, speaks Spanish, and embraced a system that proposed neoliberalism as an economic model—a system that indirectly led to the EZLN movement. Although it is a society with many shortcomings and issues to resolve, it is not comparable to the precarious situation of most indigenous people in Mexico. While we are all Mexicans, the opportunities and contexts are not the same: indigenous communities have often been isolated and discriminated against for maintaining their customs and traditions, leading to them being seen as “the others.” This has created a separation that has only widened the cultural, economic, and political gap, culminating in the indigenous-peasant movement. This movement has had its flaws, like any autonomy, but it has maintained a legitimate struggle in the social aspect and has, in turn, inspired more similar manifestations.

The Latin American Council of Social Sciences offers readers a collection of books that aim to document the main movements, uprisings, and conflicts in Latin America and the Caribbean in the 21st century. Among them is this title, where the authors explain how, three decades after its inception, Zapatismo offers the most comprehensive, explicit, and radical version of indigenous-peasant autonomy known in the contemporary world. Thus, it becomes an essential read for understanding the current context of the countries in Central and South America.

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“Monstrua” – Brenda Lozano y Gabriela Jauregui (coordinadoras)


When discussing literature throughout history, names arise within any of the existing currents. We can easily recognize all the Greeks in the creation of classical drama, Edgar Allan Poe establishing guidelines for the structure of contemporary short stories in Romanticism, Oscar Wilde inaugurating his own aestheticism movement… And the examples could go on. It would be elementary to say that literature has been exclusively a terrain of men; however, that would not be true.

Women have actively participated in the creation of literature in all its genres. However, we must refer to the facts; their path was different. To be taken seriously, published, and recognized as writers was a struggle that women had to endure, just like in any other area of society – outside of the roles of mothers and caretakers of the home. In reality, it was only relatively recently that women entered the world of literature with all their strength. Even at this point, we encounter more obstacles, as Virginia Woolf aptly put it: “A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.”


Women generally live in societies where the most extraordinary success they can aspire to is finding a good husband and dedicating themselves to their families and homes. Perhaps, in recent times, it may also be possible to aspire to a job, as long as it does not take too much time away from “neglecting” the family. It might seem that this way of life is a stereotype, but it is a reality. Issues such as deciding to pursue their careers, seeking independence, writing… become acts of rebellion. They become things outside of the every day, something strange and even alien. Like monsters.


The monster created by Mary Shelley in Frankenstein reaches a revelation at some point: to lose fear and acquire power through it. That is what happens in this book. The anthology “Monstrua” talks about how the authors lose their fear of themselves and social repercussions and write. The coordinators choose “monstrua” instead of “monstruo” because, echoing Rosario Castellanos, even making that distinction is important: it’s something feminine. It’s women showing themselves, speaking out, writing.

This anthology offers texts created by young women from different parts of Mexico, from various contexts, communities, and languages, working in different genres such as poetry, short stories, essays, and even radio scripts. In addition, some authors present their texts in their native languages and provide translations into Spanish. Some of the texts are accompanied by photographs that not only accompany but also contribute to the atmosphere created by the text, enriching it and making it more intimate. Thus, readers encounter a proposal full of diversity, experimentation, and originality.


The work carried out by Brenda Lozano and Gabriela Jauregui as coordinators is not only dedicated and beautiful but also necessary. It is crucial for young women to see that what they have to say matters and that some means and people will seek ways to help them make their voices heard. These types of publications are what make a difference in the literary world because they present significant material, even collected from the most remote places in the country, demonstrating that there is still much more to discover.

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