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Human Rights Defenders Ramping Up in Chiapas, Mexico

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Mexico Election Independents

FILE - In this Oct. 19, 2017 file photo, presidential hopeful Maria de Jesus Patricio, better known as MariChuy, campaigns with an escort of masked indigenous women in Oventic, in Mexico’s southern state of Chiapas. MariChuy, an independent candidate, is backed by Zapatista rebels who launched an uprising in the 1990s and still have influence in the state. But her chances of getting on the ballot are slim because it appears she may not have the required number of signatures by the Feb. 19, 2018 deadline.

Eduardo Verdugo

The indigenous communities of Chiapas, Mexico have long struggled against human rights violations. The local government and large corporations often exploit the region’s natural resources often disregarding the ancient community’s property rights. Many are detained or disappear for resisting the land grabs. To discuss, we’re  joined Tom Hansen from the Mexico Solidarity Network and Thomas Zapf from the Fray Bartolome (FrayBa) de Las Casas Human Rights Center. Every year, Hansen’s organization brings students from Chicago to Chiapas to observe and document human rights abuses. Hansen and Zapf are raising money for the Chiapas human rights defenders so that they can remain independent from foreign nonprofits.

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