Peasant Autonomy
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Story 47

Chiapas, South Mexico – around 1910 (5)

Peaceful sunshine

for bigger picture click on this photo

(Photo: John Charalambous)


“Let us call our village Solipaz, Sun-and-peace,” Celso proposes. Indian rebel forces have to take some rest for a few months to regain their strength after several fights with the rurales (rural police). Many Indians got injured, and they have to recover in a quiet place.
Indian fighters who are from this region, suggested to the 'general' – the Indian who has a few years’ experience in the national army, and leads the rebel army – this remote and inaccessible area. At the north side there is a mountain ridge with only a few steep and narrow trails, which a handful of fighters can block, and at the south side a perilous swamp, where you have to know the paths precisely so as to not get lost or drown.
Between the ridge and the swamp lies a lovely area with a forest, a stream, a prairie and a piece of land which the Indians can convert into some fields. Within six weeks they can harvest the first maize from it.

for bigger picture click on this photo

(Photo: Mr. Theklan)


The general has decided not to carry out any big attack for the time being. Only small groups of muchachos (Indian young men) raid fincas (big farms) to loot what they need. The government has to get the impression that the rebel army is eliminated, and that only some gangs of bandits are wandering around, like everywhere in Mexico in these tumultuous times.
“After three, four years, when the revolution is over, and the dictator has been driven out, we will register our village with the new administration under the name 'Solipaz', and then finally we will have land and freedom, tierra y libertad”, Celso continues. “But, we are not there yet. First we have to finish off quite a lot of these cabróns (bastards), before they slaughter us. And that we will do, but for the next few months, we will just sit in the peaceful sunshine.”


The novel The General from the Jungle (part 6 of the Jungle Novels, or the Caoba cycle, 1939) of the German writer Ben Traven tells the thrilling story of the revolt of Indian peasants in Mexico.

Go to:
= part 1:
Trapped to work in the jungle camp - Chiapas, South Mexico – around 1910 (1), story 43.
= part 2: Aunty Modesta - Chiapas, South Mexico – around 1910 (2), story 44.
= part 3: The verdict of Modesta - Chiapas, South Mexico – around 1910 (3), story 45.
= part 4: Machine gun - Chiapas, South Mexico – around 1910 (4), story 46.
= the next page: Houtekiet - a village in Flanders, Belgium – around 1910, story 48.
= the Table of contents, story 47.