Here’s an excellent essay by Richard Stahler-Sholk, beginning with some commentary on imprisoned schoolteacher-activist Alberto Patishtán, moving through discussion of the Zapatista rebellion in the context of neoliberalization, and linking these examples from Mexico to Latin America’s “pink tide” and the contradictions of “neo-extractivism” here in Bolivia, among other places. Well worth reading!
Recently I went with friends to visit Alberto Patishtán Gómez, a Tsotsil indigenous schoolteacher and social activist from the Chiapas highlands municipality of El Bosque who is 13 years into his 60-year prison sentence on charges of participating in the 2000 killing of seven police officers.
The case of “El Profe” Patishtán illustrates many aspects of contemporary Latin American social movements that find it necessary to continue the struggle for justice outside of state institutions, even after the supposed metamorphosis of the authoritarian regimes of yesteryear. Supporters say Patishtán was framed on preposterous charges because he is an activist. He is an adherent of the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle, a sympathizer of the Zapatista movement. The 1994 rebellion of mostly Maya indigenous, poor peasants in the southeast corner of Mexico was part of an upswing in the Latin American cycle of protest going into…
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