Comandanta Esther

Comandanta Esther is the nom de guerre of a revolutionary in the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) of Chiapas, Mexico, created for indigenous people's rights.[1] She is considered a high ranking woman in the EZLN. Military "commanders" have no actual power and are simply spokespeople for the movement.[2] Comandanta Esther is best known for her March 2001 speech to the Congress of the Union at the San Lazaro Legislative Palace in Mexico City, in which she spoke for constitutional recognition of indigenous people.[3] She also spoke of the difficulty that indigenous women face from being both indigenous and women and that they need their rights acknowledged.[4] Her work has helped inspire women activists to speak up in and join leadership roles in their communities in Mexico.[5]


Comandanta Esther's childhood was not easy, due to poverty and hunger. She lived with her mother and several siblings, four of whom died from lack of food or from illness. They did not have enough money; they ate tortillas and occasionally beans. On the other hand, Esther did not know how to speak Spanish, she went to school, but she did not learn because did not understand the language. In her words, when she joined the EZLN she learnt to speak and write Spanish.


  1. ^ Marcos, Sylvia (2009-10-24). "Mesoamerican Women's Indigenous Spirituality: Decolonizing Religious Beliefs". Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion. 25 (2): 25–45. ISSN 1553-3913 – via Project MUSE.
  2. ^ "A Struggle within a Struggle". International Museum of Women. Retrieved 2017-11-01.
  3. ^ "Comandanta Esther in the Congress of the Union" (PDF). Schools for Chiapas. 2001.
  4. ^ Taylor, Analisa (2009). Indigeneity in the Mexican Cultural Imagination: Thresholds of Belonging. Arizona, USA: University of Arizona Press. p. 1. ISBN 978-0-8165-2718-2.
  5. ^ Blackwell, Maylei (2006). "Weaving in the Spaces: Indigenous Women's Organizing and the Politics of Scale in Mexico". In Speed, Shannon; Hernández Castillo, R. Aída; Stephen, Lynn M. (eds.). Dissident Women: Gender and Cultural Politics in Chiapas. University of Texas Press. ISBN 9780292794337 – via Project MUSE.

External links[]