• Monthly
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $other
  • use PayPal


Is it time for our Spring fundraiser already? If you enjoy what we offer, and have the means, please consider donating. The sooner we reach our modest goal, the faster we can get back to business as (un)usual. Please, stay safe and we’ll see you down the road.

Commemorating Tomás Cruz

(Translation from Spanish by Katherine Mosser and Racquel Cruz)

In the 1980s, a struggle over land and the rights of the indigenous people across the Mexican state of Oaxaca reached murderous heights. The Chatino people faced losing their ancestral lands and we’re engaged in a life and death battle. Despite the combined opposition of the state and landowner class, they managed to establish a village. The forces of capital fought back. On September 26, 1989, one of the movement’s leaders, Tomas Cruz Lorenzo was assassinated. On the thirtieth anniversary of his murder, a collection of writings and memories edited by one of his daughters will be published. What follows is translation of the book’s foreword. -Editors


Tomás Cruz Lorenzo (1950-1989) was a Chatino activist who belonged to that generation of communal, indigenous thinkers in Mexico, among whom you can find Floriberto Díaz and Jaime Martínez Luna. Cruz Lorenzo’s reflections, which take on anarchist hues, are a clear call for the defense of the Chatino language and culture and for the autonomy of the Chatino land that extended from the coast to the highlands of the sierra in southeast Oaxaca. Killed while waiting for a bus in 1989 (the murder remains unsolved), Tomás lives on in this collection of writings that establishes a dialogue with the new, strong, and innovative Chatino generation. This collection is a tribute that both honors the past and updates the fight and resistance to present day, taking on issues of feminism, nutritional education, traditional health practices, migration, and the defense against extractive practices on the land.

2019 saw the thirtieth anniversary of my father’s murder. His name is Tomás Cruz Lorenzo. His death was a decisive event in the history of the attacks on the Chatino people, which involved much violence against community and indigenous leaders in Oaxaca from landowner’s forces and those of the state. At this time when the participation of young people in the movement for the protection of rights is increasingly important, we do not want to forget his murder: we choose to commemorate his life. Chatino autonomy, something Tomás dreamed of, will continue to be defended and promoted by new generations.

This book, titled evitemos que nuestro future se nos escape de las manos (we can’t let our future escape through our fingers), was written to commemorate, honor, and remember Tomás Cruz Lorenzo, my father. It was born from the desire to continue his dialogue, to make his ideas about Chatino autonomy available to the new generation, and to relay the need to decide our own destiny. We want to again hear his call to reflect on and analyze questions of rights, community, health, gender inclusion, education, and above all, language.

Since his unexpected death in 1989 there continues to be pending conversations, wounds to heal. His murder left us without a friend, a father, or a husband. It was a hard blow that for a long time rendered us lost. Through his teachings, however, we can resume our course and move forward— as he would want us to. For those who didn’t know my father and never got the chance to speak with him, Tomás left enough written material that we are able to continue the conversation. This is how we want to celebrate his struggles and his wisdom.

Faced with this need to close our wounds and open new conversations, I called on many of Tomás’ acquaintances, friends, and relatives to share their memories. I also collected writings of his from El Medio Milenio, a magazine printed in Oaxaca in the 1980s, and El Imparcial de Oaxaca, Oaxaca’s daily newspaper. To encourage the new generation, I gathered some young Chatinos together who wanted to participate in the project by reading some of my father’s writings and offering their own reflections. The first exercise was to read; each month they were sent an article from El Medio Milenio to go over. In the second phase, upon finishing the articles, each participant chose one article to write a reflection about in their own style and according to their own interests. These reflections are included in this book, interwoven with the articles that inspired them.

I also conducted an interview with my mother, Isabel Cruz Baltazar, about what it means to be the wife of a social fighter and to carry on as a widow with several children and no money, due to the violence.

This book is a collective exercise in which Tomás is remembered as a father, husband, and leader. He is remembered for his fight against discrimination and for his work so that all Chatinos could have, at the very least, the basics a human needs to survive: a roof, their health, education, autonomy, land, and linguistic rights. Tomás’ work left a profound mark on the movement for Chatino rights, in particular for those of the town in which he was born to but also for Chatinos in general. His effect was so great that even in distant villages you will hear people say proudly, “I met Tomás.”

This collective memory we have compiled here is without a doubt an homage to the past, to Tomás, to his village, and to all Chatino communities. It is also a force to strengthen Chatino rights and the rights of all indigenous people in Mexico.

1. Sporadically, between 1987 and 1989, Tomás made journalistic notes on the Chatino region.

2. The municipality of San Juan Quiahije, which borders the municipalities of Santa Cruz Zenzontepec, Santiago Minas, Santa Catarina Juquila, San Miguel Panixtlahuaca, and Tataltepec de Valdés.

This piece is a translation from the book’s foreword by the editor, Emiliana Cruz. The book will be published in September (Spanish language).

The book release event will be on September 26, 2019 in the Claustro de la Biblioteca Juan Córdova


More articles by:
May 26, 2020
Melvin Goodman
Trump Administration and the Washington Post: Picking Fights Together
John Kendall Hawkins
The Gods of Small Things
Patrick Cockburn
Governments are Using COVID-19 Crisis to Crush Free Speech
George Wuerthner
Greatest Good is to Preserve Forest Carbon
Thomas Klikauer – Nadine Campbell
The Covid-19 Conspiracies of German Neo-Nazis
Henry Giroux
Criminogenic Politics as a Form of Psychosis in the Age of Trump
John G. Russell
TRUMP-20: The Other Pandemic
John Feffer
Trump’s “Uncreative Destruction” of the US/China Relationship
John Laforge
First US Citizen Convicted for Protests at Nuclear Weapons Base in Germany
Ralph Nader
Donald Trump, Resign Now for America’s Sake: This is No Time for a Dangerous, Law-breaking, Bungling, Ignorant Ship Captain
James Fortin – Jeff Mackler
Killer Capitalism’s COVID-19 Back-to-Work Imperative
Binoy Kampmark
Patterns of Compromise: The EasyJet Data Breach
Howard Lisnoff
If a Covid-19 Vaccine is Discovered, It Will be a Boon to Military Recruiters
David Mattson
Grizzly Bears are Dying and That’s a Fact
Thomas Knapp
The Banality of Evil, COVID-19 Edition
May 25, 2020
Marshall Auerback
If the Federal Government Won’t Fund the States’ Emergency Needs, There is Another Solution
Michael Uhl
A Memory Fragment of the Vietnam War
Anthony Pahnke – Jim Goodman
Make a Resilient, Localized Food System Part of the Next Stimulus
Barrie Gilbert
The Mismanagement of Wildlife in Utah Continues to be Irrational and a National Embarrassment.
Dean Baker
The Sure Way to End Concerns About China’s “Theft” of a Vaccine: Make it Open
Thom Hartmann
The Next Death Wave from Coronavirus Will Be the Poor, Rural and White
Phil Knight
Killer Impact
Paul Cantor
Memorial Day 2020 and the Coronavirus
Laura Flanders
A Memorial Day For Lies?
Gary Macfarlane – Mike Garrity
Grizzlies, Lynx, Bull Trout and Elk on the Chopping Block for Trump’s Idaho Clearcuts
Cesar Chelala
Challenges of the Evolving Coronavirus Pandemic
Luciana Tellez-Chavez
This Year’s Forest Fire Season Could Be Even Deadlier
Thomas Hon Wing Polin
Beijing Acts on Hong Kong
George Wuerthner
Saving the Lionhead Wilderness
Elliot Sperber
Holy Beaver
Weekend Edition
May 22, 2020
Friday - Sunday
Hugh Iglarsh
Aiming Missiles at Viruses: a Plea for Sanity in a Time of Plague
Paul Street
How Obama Could Find Some Redemption
Marc Levy
On Meeting Bao Ninh: “These Good Men Meant as Much to Me as Yours Did to You”
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Shallò: 120 Days of COVID
Joan Roelofs
Greening the Old New Deal
Rob Urie
Why Russiagate Still Matters
Charles Pierson
Is the US-Saudi Alliance Headed Off a Cliff?
Robert Hunziker
10C Above Baseline
Pam Martens - Russ Martens
The Fed’s Chair and Vice Chair Got Rich at Carlyle Group, a Private Equity Fund With a String of Bankruptcies and Job Losses
Eve Ottenberg
Factory Farming on Hold
Andrew Levine
If Nancy Pelosi Is So Great, How Come Donald Trump Still Isn’t Dead in the Water?
Ishmael Reed
Alex Azar Knows About Diabetes
Joseph Natoli
Will Things Fall Apart Now or in November?
Richard D. Wolff
An Old Story Again: Capitalism vs. Health and Safety
Louis Proyect
What Stanford University and Fox News Have in Common