Programs


Alternative Economy Program

The Mexico Solidarity Network's Alternative Economy Program is built around principles of justice and the search for genuine alternatives to the predominant capitalist model. The Mexico Solidarity Network connects the Zapatista artisanry cooperative Mujeres por la Dignidad (Women for Dignity) with interns located throughout the United States. Interns receive training in the principles of alternative economy, then set up tables displaying cooperative-produced goods in public places, at fair trade festivals, and at universities. Interns act as the link between producers and consumers, revealing the human face behind production.

Download the Alternative Economy Catalogue and Order Form to place your order!

208

Watch this video on Mujeres por la Dignidad.

 

For more information on the Alternative Economy Program, contact the Mexico Solidarity Network at MSN [at] MexicoSolidarity [dot] org, or call 773-583-7728.

Oventic Language School

Study Spanish or Tzotzil in Chiapas

El Centro de Español y Lenguas Mayas Rebelde Autónomo Zapatista (CELMRAZ) invites activists to study Spanish or Tzotzil in Oventic, located in the highlands of Chiapas, 45 minutes from San Cristobal de las Casas. Oventic is home to one of five Juntas of Good Government, established by Zapatista communities in August 2003 as an expression of autonomy and genuine democracy. Classes are offered most weeks with inscription on Monday mornings. Tuition is three days minimum wage in the country of origin (for US students about $185* for Spanish or 266* for tsotsil, depending on exchange rates) and includes food and lodging. Tuition supports the regional autonomous secondary school in Oventic where indigenous youth prepare to be education promoters.



APPLICATION PROCESS: Please complete the application attached here and send it to msn [at] mexicosolidarity [dot] org.

The application process requires email submission of a letter of support from your local solidarity group, collective or political project.  Please ask your affiliated group to submit the letter via email at msn [at] mexicosolidarity [dot] org. Once the coordinators in Oventic approve your participation, we will provide you with a letter of accreditation which you will present to the language school upon your arrival.

APPLICATION SCHEDULE: Please submit your application at least three weeks before you intend to begin classes.

COST: US Students are asked to donate the rough equivalent of three days minimum wage for each week of Spanish classes, or $185. Tuition for a week of tsotsil classes is $266. Tuition is paid at the language school in Oventic in pesos upon your arrival. The tuition includes three meals a day during the week plus housing. Your tuition will help support the "Escuela Secundaria Rebelde Autonóma Zapatista Primero de Enero" (The First of January Autonomous Zapatista Secondary School in Rebellion), which provides education for Zapatista youth throughout the highland region.

LIVING CONDITIONS: Housing conditions are rustic, and you will need to bring your own sleeping bag and mattress pad. Drinking water, other beverages and toilet paper are available at minimal cost in Oventic. If you will be taking classes for more than one week, housing will be provided during the weekend, but not meals. Food is available at the local restaurant for about $1.50 per meal.  Waterproof boots and rain gear are highly recommended.  There is internet in Oventic, but the connection is slow and nonexistent when there's fog (which is often).  When packing think of cool, rainy mountains with evening temperatures sometimes into the 40s.

TRAVEL: You are responsible for your own travel arrangements to Oventic. From the US, the quickest route is a flight to Mexico City, then a connecting flight to Tuxtla Gutierrez. If you travel to Tuxtla, you will have to arrange for ground transportation to San Cristobal. Taxis are available from the Tuxtla airport to San Cristobal for about US$60, and the trip is about an hour. Or you can take a taxi into downtown Tuxtla (about US$12) and catch a colectivo for about $3 to San Cristobal. From San Cristobal de las Casas, you can take a taxi to Oventic (prices must be negotiated with the taxi driver but usually run around US$12), or you can catch a colectivo at the market colectivo station for about US$1.50. The trip from San Cristobal to Oventic is about an hour and the roads are very winding. Consider taking some Dramamine if you get motion sickness.

QUESTIONS: If you have any questions, please contact the Mexico Solidarity Network at 773-583-7728 or msn [at] mexicosolidarity [dot] org.

FrayBa Human Rights Observing

sites/default/files/frayba logo_0.jpg

Be a human rights observer with the Fray Bartolome de las Casas (FrayBa) Human Rights Center (link)

"The Civil Observation Brigades for Peace and Human Rights (BriCO) responds to the need to open up spaces of civil society to help keep the faith alive for indigenous communities, to preserve their dignity and to try to reconstruct the social tissue with respect for their own dynamics and in accordance to their self-determination as indigenous Peoples." - FrayBa website (Click here for a brief history of the project)

FrayBa invites international activists to be human rights observers in communities outside of San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas. Volunteers are asked to bear witness to the continued low-intensity war that is being waged against indigenous, campesino communities by the Mexican government, military, local police and paramilitary thugs. Therefore, through the BriCO program, foreigners serve to deter attempts by the bad government to intimidate communities fighting for autonomy and respect.

To participate in the FrayBA BriCO program you must meet the following requirements:

1. Have a letter of recommendation and training from a solidarity organization associated to Frayba (in this case, MSN. Details below).
2. Speak Spanish fluently.
3. Be able to stay for at least 15 days in a community.
4. Be over 18 years of age.
5. (For foreigners) Have photocopies of passport and of current visa.
6. A recently taken photo.
7. Fill out the registration form for participants. (You will receive this upon arrival at FrayBa)
8. Participate in the BriCO training workshop, starting at 11:00 a.m. every Monday at Frayba.

APPLICATION PROCESS: The application process requires a "Carta de Aval" from MSN. In order for MSN to send this recommendation to FrayBa, you must do the following three things.

1) Complete the application attached here and send it to MSN [at] mexicosolidarity [dot] org
2) Have someone from your local solidarity group, collective or political project write a letter explaining your involvement with them and ask them to send it to MSN [at] mexicosolidarity [dot] org
3) Once we've received and reviewed your application and letter of support, we will contact you to set up an over-the-phone interview.

*IMPORTANT: Please submit your request at least three weeks before you intend to arrive.

LIVING CONDITIONS: FrayBa BriCO volunteers will also be requested to bring food supplies with them that the community will typically cook for you (e.g. dry beans, eggs, rice, salt, sugar, etc). Housing conditions are rustic and you will need to bring your own sleeping bag and mattress pad. Waterproof boots and rain gear are highly recommended. When packing think of cool, rainy mountains with evening temperatures sometimes into the 40s. FrayBa will provide you with more information about this during your orientation.

TRAVEL: Although the program is free, observers are responsible for paying to travel to and from San Cristóbal de las Casas and the communities where volunteers are assigned. From the US, the quickest route is a flight to Mexico City, then a connecting flight to Tuxtla Gutierrez. If you travel to Tuxtla, you will have to arrange for ground transportation to San Cristóbal. Taxis are available from the Tuxtla airport to San Cristóbal for about US$60, and the trip is about an hour. Or you can take a taxi into downtown Tuxtla (about US$12) and catch a colectivo for about $3 to San Cristóbal. FrayBa will give you instructions about how to get to the community you are assigned to.

QUESTIONS: If you have any questions about the FrayBa BriCO application process please contact the Mexico Solidarity Network at 773-583-7728 or MSN [at] MexicoSolidarity [dot] org

For more on the Fray Bartolome Human Rights Center, see frayba.org.mx and this short video

185