Updated: May 26
Visit to Oventic. This post is more useful for those who already know about the subject and who would also like to visit them. Find out how to get there and the requirements at the venue.
We are preparing an interview with a subject that is very relevant for the new film: The Zapatistas, more officially ''Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional (EZLN)''. It is a non-violent movement of liberation, for the promotion of the rights and the protection of the natives. They are rebelling against the Mexican government (and those around the world) to have autonomous communities. Basically, they are “alterglobalists”, which means that they believe that the world could be better managed and propose a way to do it!
Currently, we are looking for someone who could explain in a video interview how the movement started and why, what they have accomplished and the goals that remain to be achieved. This post is more useful for those who already know about the subject and who would also like to visit them, so, while waiting for the video link of the interview, if you want to know everything about the movement, I leave you a wikipedia link here:
Today, our goal is to visit a ''caracole'' (snail - this is the name they gave to their places), to see how the people live. Oventic is caracole number 2 (there are 7).
This is not a guided tour, although someone from the community followed us throughout our visit. We asked several questions and they answered them as best they could. You also have to understand that Spanish is not their first language, that they speak Tzotzil, a Mayan language. So some might think they don't want to answer you, but maybe it's just because they don't know how to answer.
As usual, we were lucky and our guides were very kind and open. We were able to see important buildings of their government (all buildings are identified with beautiful scriptures), one of the first gathering places of their self-government, a church, their medical clinic and the secondary school. There are at least fifty young people in the school, we thought it was great that the next generation was already insured.
They explained to us that the pandemic has slowed down movement and actions. Many people who were helping them to become more and more independent had to stop coming into the community. The struggle is constant and the path to get there takes a lot of energy and resources, but that's not going to stop them. Are they totally autonomous? Not for the moment. They need help to fully attain their goal. So those who feel inspired by the movement and have great ideas should visit them!
How to get there and requirements
We had to take a collective taxi from San Cristobal Las Casas, which cost us 60 pesos each for almost an hour and a half of transport (we were 4). To find these collective taxis, go to the old market (Mercado Viejo). Then go to the corner of C. Honduras Street and Gral. Mr. Utrilla Street, near the “Milano” store. Then ask the locals where exactly to go.
Arriving at Oventic, there is a fence and a person from the community will come with a document to ask you for basic information: your name, your country, your profession (no passport necessary, at least, that day. In precaution, bring it). Then they are leaving with your informations and a few minutes later, they allowed us to enter, and even, to take photos and videos of the magnificent cabins decorated with murals (you cannot take photos of people). Small detail: they require the wearing of the mask (March 2023).
On the way back, we took a collective taxi that went down only to San Andrés Larráinzar (23 pesos each), from there, other collective taxis leave regularly (near the church) for San Cristobal (50 pesos each). They drop you near the Mercado Viejo.