Every project in the 30 countries that Inter Campus does its work is different, but the one in Chiapas has characteristics that make it all the more unique. Chiapas is one of 31 states that make up Mexico, and, despite being rich with resources, it’s one of the poorest areas of the country. It’s also a migrant transit territory for thousands of people coming from South and Central America, all of whom are pursuing the dream of a better life where, at the very minimum, they are guaranteed subsistence and economic security. It’s in this context that Inter Campus operates in support of the Zapatista cause. In 1994, this indigenous group, organised and led by the academic Subcomandante Marcos, an Inter fan, began to rebel in a country where indigenous peoples were being neglected by those in power. The Zapatistas made demands for political and judicial autonomy, while they organised their own health and education system, guaranteeing that basic educational needs were met for all members of the organisation. Over time, they consolidated their own production practices based on collective ownership of land.
In response to government tourism projects that threaten the Zapatistas and their territories, eleven centres of autonomous resistance have been built, resulting in increased tension. As a result of these developments, the safety of our staff has been put at risk, and they have suggested we suspend the project.
It’s not easy to hide how much we miss our friends there, both on and off the pitch. We are huge admirers of their red scarves, their courage, their calm and selfless manner, their values, their sense of brotherhood, their discipline and their self-respect.
Our message for them is that we’ve never stopped being there for them and we’ll continue to be there for them. We will carry on supporting the development of the Zapatista education system and spending time with them, imparting knowledge to them in the process.