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National Lawyers Guild's seventh day in Chiapas

Richard's last day with the National Lawyers Guild delegation included meetings with the Fray Bar human rights center, and the CIEPAC economic research and community education center. First, though, Nanette wanted a picture.

Here is the Fray Bar office. We met with Pedro Faro, a documentarian of human rights violations.

He noted that the Mexican Constitution contains a model declaration of individual rights. Unfortunatly, the legal system does not have a tradition of applying them.

Next, we went to CIEPAC, the Center for Economic and Political Investigations of Community Action.
At CIEPAC, Miguel Pickard gave a history and analysis of Mexican development, or lack thereof. He compared Mexico's acquiesence with international financiers with South Korea's approach of planning its own industrialization.

Miguel also presented the array of institutions that support the neoliberal agenda in the world today.

Miguel explained how Chiapas is abundant in natural resources, and receives half of Mexico's rainfall. Yet, Chiapas is the poorest Mexican state. The resources are drawn out without the participation of the indigenous communities.

After the visit with CIEPAC, Peter and I had time to visit the famous Catholic Church at San Juan Chamula. It is famous for its incorporation of Mayan practices, and even in its unique architecture that takes attention away from the front altar, and directs it to a crowded dispay of saints available for individual prayers. The scene is enhanced by an "alfombra" of pine needles, and an overwelming array of candles. Andrzej Piotrowski explained to me that the blue doorway decorated with images of flowers is also Mayan. The Mayans say that before the world was created, there was nothing but blue as the sky met the sea. The flowers are also Mayan representations.

This sign explains why I have no pictures of the interior of the church.
Peter and I returned from San Juan Chamula in time to have a visit with Dr. Francisco Millan, Virginia Calhoun de Millan, and her parents, Janet and Don Calhoun.

Thank you for reading my web pages about Chiapas. On my return trip, I missed a 2005-03-19 connection in Mexico City by 10 minutes (the unhelpful US Airways rep saw me at the counter, but said the flight was oversold and all seats were already assigned, even though I got there 50 minutes before the flight). I first wrote this page on 2005-03-20, waiting in the Mexico City airport for the US Airways counter to open so I can stand by on flights home. I missed my wife Laura and my daughter, Jennie, and I was eager for a bit of luck getting home on this Palm Sunday. Finally, with the help of Delta agents Roberto Muro and Esther, I got to stand by on flights that got me home early on 2005-03-21.

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Dated 2005-03-24
Copyright 2005 Richard Renner
All rights reserved. Permission granted to the National Lawyers Guild to use these photos.