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National Lawyers Guild's fifth day in Chiapas

Our conference with La Red de Defensores continued from 2005-03-15, the fourth day of this delegation trip. But first, Peter Henner and I got up early to attend a 7:00 a.m. English class at the Universidad Nacional Autonomo en Chiapas (UNACH). It was a favor for our first day host, Prof. Virginia Calhoun de Millan, but it was also worth doing for the glimpse into university life in Chiapas.

It was a beautiful morning at 7:00 a.m. The clouds had not yet lifted from the mountain tops.

Virginia explains how she had the University go to great expense to install a "magic door" that prohibits the entrants from speaking any Spanish inside. It is not only the native Spanish speakers who have difficulty complying.

Possessives are different in Spanish. Virginia is clearly in her element teaching.

Class discussion was lively. They wanted to know about politics, geography, and personal role models.

<--I think I would like to major in "banos."
Discussion continued after class.

Back at La Red, seeing yesterday's pictures on the laptop.

Jessie, Lariss and Kerry present the rights of women under international law.

Nannette explained how the Guild provides legal support for mass defense at demonstrations.

I presented on the rights of immigrants, and how to exercise the right to remain silent while remaining courteous. Never before when I was speaking Spanish has anyone said, "slow down, you're speaking too fast."



Jessie said goodbye to some friends.

At Cafe Museo Cafe (Coffee Museum cafe), a display shows the topography of the coffee industry in Chiapas.

Of course, they only sell "fair trade" coffee that provides a livable wage to those who labor the fields.

We were there to hear CIEPAC's open forum about conflict in northern Chiapas. They showed video of two former paramilitaries who disclosed that the government had funded, trained, and armed them for massacres of civilians.
Here, Ramon, one of the defensores, talks about the paramilitary actions they are documenting.

Miguel Angel de los Santos calls for appointment of a special prosecutor to pursue those responsible for initiating the formation of paramilitary groups, and then directing their attacks.

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Dated 2005-03-20
Copyright 2005 Richard Renner
All rights reserved. Permission granted to the National Lawyers Guild to use these photos.