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Farm Labor Organizing Committee FLOC, AFL-CIO

Called upon to challenge the deplorable conditions of the broader workforce that remains voiceless, powerless, and invisible to mainstream America

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FLOC president meets with community organization of Chiapas

While in Monterrey, MX for FLOC's annual Leadership Training, President Baldemar Velasquez met with members of Movimiento Campesino Regional Independiente integrante de la Coordinadora Nacional Plan de Ayala, Movimiento Nacional (MOCRI—CNPA MN), an organization from Chiapas representing rural populations facing persecution on behalf of the Mexican and Chiapas state governments.


These key members of MOCRI explained the terrible situation that has developed after the flooding of the Grijalva River in the state of Chiapas. The community of Juan de Grijalva was completely destroyed, and 33 other villages were deeply affected. The response of the government was insufficient and even made the situations worse, as the communities are now displaced, living in horrible conditions, and unable to continue their traditional way of life. The government is keeping them dependent, without a way to return to self-sufficiency, and is keeping the displaced communities heavily guarded. Any attempt to make a complaint or grievance is met with serious repression, arbitrary detentions, threats, and even assassinations.


Among the many detentions, two leaders of the MOCRI movement, Francisco Jimenez Pablo and Eric Bautista Gomez, have been taken as prisoners and have not been given due process or basic human rights, with many irregularities throughout the detention process. These two leaders began a hunger strike on March 20, 2012 against the mistreatment.


In order to stand up against these abuses, various community groups, labor unions, and student groups came together in a march from Chiapas to Mexico D.F. They are calling on the government to put an end to this brutal repression against the communities of Chiapas. They demand the liberation of the political prisoners, and they are demanding an end to the unjust criminalization of community members in their attempt to defend their traditional ways of life.


President Velasquez discussed with these MOCRI members the similarities between the situation in Chiapas and the situation with the immigrant workers in the United States. Both have to do with a global economic system that intends to persecute the poor and repress human rights in order to continue mistreatment. He stressed the importance of seeking out those people and entities that have power and control, in order to pressure them to make a change, which is what FLOC is doing with Reynolds American Inc.


He also stressed that it is imperative that we all work together to end these injustices, no matter where in the Americas they take place. In order to stand in solidarity with the people of Chiapas, President Velasquez sent a letter to both Mexican President Felipe Calderon, as well as Chiapas Governmor Juan Sabines Guerrero, calling on them to respect the human rights of the Chiapan people.


United we can move forward with dignity in our communities.


Hasta La Victoria!