<i>"The Name of Our Country is América" - Simon Bolivar</i> The Narco News Bulletin<br><small>Reporting on the War on Drugs and Democracy from Latin America
 English | Español August 15, 2018 | Issue #41

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A Video by the Other Journalism Screens on Oaxaca’s Isthmus

Youth Initiate a Festival of Indigenous Cinema with a Screening of “the Windmills Of Capitalism”

By Bertha Rodríguez Santos
The Other Journalism with the Other Campaign in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec.

May 29, 2006

SAN JUAN GUICHICOVI, OAXACA, MÉXICO: For the first time since Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos of the EZLN, visited the Isthmus of Tehuantepec region in early February, approximately 70 people, mostly indigenous youth from this municipal center, began the Festival of Indigenous Film and Video with the screening of three videos, one of which captures the struggle led by the Zapatista Other Campaign.

Still from the video “The Windmills of Capitalism”
Alfredo Landa, member of the indigenous community radio station, Radio Ayuuk, in collaboration with 16 other members of the station, organized a screening of the videos: “The Windmills of Capitalism” (produced by Narco News), “Granito de Arena” (a Corrugated Films production), and “Radio Chanul Pom” (produced by the organization Las Abejas and the Communication Network Boca de Polen).

The films were projected onto the wall of City Hall, in San Juan Guichicovi, for an audience of men, women, youth, senior citizens, and children. In the newsreel, “The Windmills of Capitalism,” they saw the neighboring communities of La Venta and La Ventosa, as well as the coastal communities of San Francisco and San Mateo del Mar, where large, transnational, energy corporations are establishing an enormous wind corridor, with the complicity of the Mexican government.

In the video, using an irony not often found in most “serious” news reports, residents of Jalapa de Marqués talk about how much they suffered in the fifties, when they were displaced from their land to make way for the construction of the Benito Juarez dam. Today, in that same place, the government wants to install a hydro-electric plant. Interviewed in the video, César Martínez, of the Cortamortaja collective, tells the story of the many people who died with an ear of corn in their hand, as they crossed the highway at night to look for a place to go to the bathroom.

In the 15-minute video, the audience also saw itself in the images of the Mixe people who received Delegate Zero last February 8th, during his visit to the community of Boca del Monte. The town belongs to the same municipality and is where subcomandante Marcos delivered a message to the indigenous women of the Isthmus.

“Granito de Arena” (62 minutes), directed by filmmaker Jill Freidberg, captures the historic struggle of schoolteachers against the efforts of various Mexican presidents, starting with Carlos Salinas de Gortari, to privatize public education.

The theme is especially relevant for the local population, given that since May 22nd, striking Oaxacan schoolteachers have maintained an encampment in the state capitol, in defense of public education. They are seeking the “improvement of programs that support the needs of their students,” such as free school uniforms, scholarships for the children of teachers, and an increase in school supplies for all elementary school students.

They are also demanding that the number of community kitchens in the “Open Classroom Program” be increased to 200. Also on their list of demands are: footwear for students living in the most marginalized communities; medical and dental care for students who don’t have any kind of public health coverage; and an increase in teaching materials, furniture, maintenance supplies, and sports equipment for all schools. Currently, parents pay for most of these things out of their own pocket.

Watching the video “Radio Chanul Pom”, Mixe youth learned about the experience of the Tzotzil and Tzetzal people in the municipality of Chenhaló, in the region of Los Altos, Chiapas, who operate a radio station that transmits in their indigenous language, as well as in Spanish (just as Radio Ayuuk does).

Alfredo Landa stressed the importance of circulating these kinds of videos, to counter the daily bombardment of propaganda from the mainstream, commercial media. This propaganda typically manipulates and obscures the reality that rural and indigenous populations face – the violent imposition of social and economic models foreign to their communities (in short, an economic globalization that attacks the very existence of these peoples).

The video series will be shown in 5 of the 12 municipalities that belong to the Union of Indigenous Communities of the Northern Zone of the Isthmus (UCIZONI), the organization that supports the Radio Ayuuk project, and which is gradually promoting popular communication between the 180 indigenous communities that make up the union. Their work complements the work of the Indigenous Community Radio Network of the Isthmus, which includes Radio Ayuuk as well as Radio Ikoots, Radio Ticambaj, Radio Umalaláng and Radio Huave (these last two stations located in San Francisco and San Dioniso del Mar).

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The Narco News Bulletin: Reporting on the Drug War and Democracy from Latin America