Unmasking the Maya

Speaking Out
Sna Jtz'ibajom's dramatic encounter with Maya 
workers in the United States. 

“Parts of Mexico have industry, technology, and other signs of progress, but Chiapas remains a poor agricultural state, the poorest in the country, and one of the poorest regions in the world. People are destitute. There are few opportunities for finding work and, since the North American Free Trade Agreement, our native corn is being displaced by hybrid corn imported from the United States. Industrial corn is only good for feeding pigs. It has no soul, like our corn that was a gift from the gods. Their corn is cheaper, and now we can’t count on a local market where we can sell our harvest. Because of this, many of our countrymen have to emigrate to the U.S. in search of jobs. They think that migrant work will be better than starving or suffering under the military oppression that has followed the Zapatista Rebellion.”

--Xun Teratol

Workers Headlines

A few months after the Zapatista Uprising of 1994, Florida Rural Legal Services invited Sna Jtz’ibajom to perform in Immokalee, Florida, a small agricultural town in the Everglades. There, 30,000 undocumented workers from Mexico, Guatemala, and Haiti pick tomatoes, chili peppers, and oranges.


  Scene Fighting Army “When we mounted DE TODOS PARA TODOS (FROM ALL FOR ALL) in 1994, we dedicated it to the memory of our countrymen who fell in ancient and recent wars in Chiapas, struggling against the same social,economic, political, and cultural conditions that we have endured for over 508 years. The play reflects our beliefs and convictions about the causes of the Zapatista movement, which surprised the entire world with its armed uprising.”

--Tziak Tza’pat Tz’it


  March with Marcos sign

“After we presented DE TODOS PARA TODOS, the audience asked us why the Zapatistas took up arms. ‘Because there is so much corruption, and that’s no lie,’ we told them. The EZLN represents the best values and the hope for justice with dignity for native people, not only in Chiapas but in all of Mexico. They have no other way to be heard with respect than to follow the armed path.”

--Cristóbal Tz’it Nujkul



“As soon as we arrived in Immokalee, the workers surrounded us, and we asked them about the problems facing them. Many were poor Mayas who either had no work or were paid starvation wages in their own countries. They told us of their suffering, which was almost as bad as the abuses they have experienced here.”

--Xun Teratol


  Actor as Immigration Officer

“We suffer a lot to get here, because we came as wetbacks. We have to cross deserts, hide in sewer drains, because if the immigration officers see us, they send us back where we came from. They look for us on horseback, on motorcycles, with airplanes, with dogs. When a plane passes over, we cut down a tree and hide under it or we use the tree as an umbrella.”

-- Undocumented Worker


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