25 years ago, the cause of the Zapatistas somehow burst into the mainstream consciousness of the United States with the drama of masked rebels sometimes overshadowing the causes of indigenous rights and natural resources.
Friday night, a new part of Capitol Hill also brought a new protest to the neighborhood as a small group gathered outside the Consulate of Mexico in Seattle to mark an international day of solidarity with the Zapatistas and other indigenous movements.
Iris Viveros, who grew up in Veracruz and has lived for the past 12 years in Seattle, said the Zapatista resistance has not ended.
“They’re an indigenous group that has created their autonomy for twenty plus years,” she said. “They’re suffering a lot of state violence and displacement due to capital investment, especially transnationals, and extractive economies.”
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“The government really supports capital investments and opens borders for capital investments. In order to do that, they have to do everything they can to disappear indigenous populations that occupy a lot of the areas that have a lot of natural resources. And those natural resources are needed for extraction, to continue this crazy machine of capitalism,” Viveros said.
Another participant at the protest Friday night, Tomas Madrigal said threats like the “Mayan Train” and a move to create a national guard by the new administration in Mexico has given birth to new movements like the Cherán uprising. The group waved the flag of the Cherán movement Friday along Roy just off Broadway outside the new consulate.
“They want to invisible-ize them. And eventually disappear them,” Viveros said of the indigenous peoples she was rallying for. “Because they don’t serve the capitalist economy. They’re not a work force, they are not labor, they don’t have credit cards, they do not consume.”
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