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Palabra del Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional


The Route of Ixchel

The Route of Ixchel

 April, 2021.

The mountain will set sail:

From one of the houses of Ixchel[i]—the mother of love and fertility, the grandmother of plants and animals, a young mother and an old mother, the rage that transforms the pain of the earth when it is hurt and disgraced—the mountain will sail.

According to a Mayan legend, Ixchel stretched herself over the planet as a rainbow in order to teach the world a lesson about plurality and inclusion and to remind us that the earth is many colors, not just one, and that all people, without ceasing to be what they are, together illuminate the wonder and marvel of life. She, Ixchel, the rainbow woman, embraces all colors and makes them part of her.

In the mountains of the Mexican Southeast, in the most ancient of the ancient Mayan-descended languages, one of the stories of Ixchel is told: mother-earth, mother-love, mother-rage, mother-life. Old Antonio tells it like this:

“From the East came death and slavery. That’s what came: we can’t change what happened. But Ixchel spoke thus:

‘Tomorrow let life and freedom travel East in the words of my blood and bone, my children. May no one color rule: let none rule so that none obey, so that each can be who they are in joy. Because pain and suffering come from those who seek mirrors rather than windows through which to look out onto the worlds that I am. Rage will have to break seven thousand mirrors to alleviate the pain. There will be much death until finally life becomes the path. Then, may a rainbow crown my children’s house: the mountain which is the land of my descendants.’

“When oppression arrived via metal and fire to Mayan soil, the ts’ul[ii], he who comes from far away, saw many depictions of the rainbow goddess and named this land accordingly: “Isla Mujeres.”

“One morning in the future, when the talking cross[iii] invokes not the past but the future, the mountain will sail to the land of the Ts’ul and dock in front of the old olive tree that provides shade to the ocean and to the identities of those who live and work on those shores.”


On the third day of May in the 21st year of the 21st century, la Montaña [the Mountain] will set sail from Isla Mujeres, Quintana Roo, Mexico, to cross the Atlantic Ocean on a voyage sure to be filled with challenges but free of reproach. On the sixth month of the year, these voyagers will lay eyes on the coast of the Vigo Port (City of Olívica) in Pontevedra, Autonomous Community of Galicia, Spanish State.


If we are unable to disembark, whether it be because of COVID, immigration laws, straight up discrimination, chauvinism, or because we ended up at the wrong port or with the wrong host, we have come prepared.

We’re ready to wait there in front of the European coast and unfold a large banner that reads “Wake up!” We will wait there to see if anyone reads the message, then wait a little longer to see if anyone wakes up, and then a little longer to see anyone responds.

If those from Europe from below are unwilling or unable to welcome us, then, always prepared, we have brought 4 canoes, each with their own oars, upon which we would begin our return back home. It will of course take awhile before we can see the outlines of the house of Ixchel once again.

The canoes represent 4 phases of who we are as Zapatistas:

—The first canoe represents our culture as Indigenous people of Mayan descent. This is the largest canoe into which all three of the others fit. This canoe is an homage to our ancestors.

—The second canoe represents the time when we were underground and that of our uprising. This canoe is the second largest and is an homage to who have fallen since January 1, 1994.

—The third canoe represents the phase of autonomy. This one ranks third in size (from biggest to smallest) and is an homage to our communities, regions, and zones that, through resistance and rebellion, have organized and continue to organize Zapatista autonomy.

—The last canoe represents Zapatista childhood. This one is the smallest canoe which the Zapatista boys and girls have painted and decorated with drawings and colors of their choosing.


But if we do manage to disembark and embrace with our words those who fight, resist, and rebel there, then there will be a celebration with dancing, songs, and cumbias and the movement of hips will shake heaven and earth and all that’s in between.

And on both sides of the ocean, a short message will inundate the electromagnetic spectrum and cyberspace and echo in our hearts:

вторгнення почалося
bosqinchilik boshlandi
a invasión comezou
Die Invasion hat begonnen
istila başladı
la invasió ha iniciat
l’invasione hè principiata
invazija je započela
invaze začala
инвазията е започнала
invasionen er startet
invázia sa začala
invazija se je začela
la invado komenciĝis
the invasion has started
invasioon on alanud
inbasioa hasi da
hyökkäys on alkanut
l’invasion a commencé
mae’r goresgyniad wedi cychwyn
η εισβολή έχει ξεκινήσει
tá an t-ionradh tosaithe
innrásin er hafin
l’invasione è iniziata
بدأ الغزو
êriş dest pê kiriye
iebrukums ir sācies
prasidėjo invazija
d’Invasioun huet ugefaang
започна инвазијата
bdiet l-invażjoni
de invasie is begonnen
invasjonen har startet
حمله آغاز شده است
rozpoczęła się inwazja
a invasão começou
invazia a început
вторжение началось
инвазија је започела
invasionen har börjat

“La invasión ha iniciado”.
.-.. .- / .. -. …- .- … .. — -. / …. .- / .. -. .. -.-. .. .- -.. —(in Morse code)

And maybe, just maybe, Ixchel, the moon goddess, will then illuminate our journey and, like this very dawn, be our light and destiny.

Form the Center of Zapatista Maritime-Terrestrial Training

Semillero Comandanta Ramona in the Tzotz Choj Zone.

I give my word.


Mexico, April 26, 2021. Full moon.


Soundtrack: “Te Llevaré” Lisandro Meza.


[i]        Mayan goddess of the moon, water, birth, medicine and weaving; known in some Mayan texts as rainbow-woman.

[ii]       Those of Spanish descent; foreigner; outsider.

[iii]      The talking cross (cruz parlante) was a religious movement of Mayans resisting dispossession of their lands starting in the 1850s, when a group of Mayan rebels together with a Spanish officer who had defected to the Mayan side, camped in front of a cross hung atop a tall tree, and the cross spoke to them encouraging them to continue the struggle. The talking cross movement continued for decades as part of the Mayan Caste War in the Yucatan Peninsula, in the area that is now the Mexican state of Quintana Roo.


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