The Zapatistas are a group of indigenous people who joined together in the year 1983 to gain rights for indigenous people of Mexico. They are named after Emiliano Zapata, one of the leaders in the Mexican Revolution. The Zapatistas have formed small communities that operate outside of the Mexican government. After watching several documentaries on the Zapatistas, I decided to visit one of their communities, Oventic, to learn more.
Oventic is a small community outside of San Andrés of Larrainzar, a town known for its wonderful weavings. When entering, you are greated by the Zapatistas at a gate. They are curious about who you are. As you enter, a guide will shown you around. Mine was named Carlos and he was very kind and answered any questions I had.
The community works together, they grow and share their food and eat meals together. I visited their store, near their weaving workshop, in which they sell beautiful weavings and traditional blouses. They also have a cooperative store, their own hospital, their own government offices, a church, and a beautiful school. I was told that they have ten different teachers (this was great for such a small community) and teach all subjects, including arts and Mayan languages.
Even though I visited on a misty, foggy day, Oventic was very colorful. Artists from all over had painted murals throughout the town. The murals are very symbolic of the fight for indigenous rights, the importance of education and equality between women and men.