Eyes on What’s Inside: The Militarization of Guerrero and The Land Belongs to Those Who Work It


Founded in 1998, the Chiapas Media Project (CMP) provides video equipment, computers, and training to marginalized indigenous communities in southern Mexico so that they can document their social and economic struggles on film. “The Land,” filmed in the autonomous Zapatista community of Bolon aja’aw in northern Chiapas, traces the community’s opposition to government plans to displace the community in order to establish an ecologically sound tourist area. This short film documents a meeting between the community’s leaders and government officials as they seek a compromise. In the end the community finds no solution to what seems like the appropriation of well-managed, productive lands. “Eyes” is a longer and more complex work that traces the militarization of the Mexican state of Guerrero and emphasizes human rights violations.The film effectively combines conversations with scholars, who address the issue of an increasing presence of the military, and with one of the natives helping to document the confrontation with the military. Both of these documentaries highlight Zapatista programs to improve their villages, known as organizaciones del pueblo indigena (organizations of native people), which often lack government support. Viewers will see the building of schools, plans to improve agricultural systems without causing ecological damage, and improvement of health and living conditions. These documentaries are beautiful and skillfully done despite the Zapatistas’ lack of experience. Highly recommended for collections on contemporary Mexican-Zapatista issues.      —Rafael Ocasio, Agnes Scott Coll., Decatur, GA


http://criticasmagazine.com/ 8/15/2006