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Second anniversary of Caracoles

Leam | 09.08.2005 12:41 | Zapatista

Note on second anniversary of the formation of the Zapatista caracoles in Chiapas, Mexico.

Information has reached us that today is the last day of the three-day festivities in Chiapas marking the second anniversary of the forming of the Caracoles in Zapatista autonomous municipalities in Chiapas.

The Caracoles are the seat of the "councils of good government". These have responsibility for many aspects of life in the Zapatista areas including community development, health, education etc. The Caracoles also serve as a means of facilitating contact with those living outside the municipality or Zapatista-held areas. Decisions affecting the municipality are debated by the municipality in an open manner and, as such, the establishment of the Caracoles marked a crucial element in the self-government of the area.

The fact that Caracole means "snail" in Spanish is therefore deliberate. The spiral of the snail's shell is designed, as one writer put it, to symbolise "the spiral of a collective decision-making process".