Oventik is the Zapatista caracol (literally, snail shell) closest to San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, and thus, the most visited. Caracoles are administrative centers that house the Junta del Buen Gobierno (the elected decision making body of Zapatista communities), a clinic,  schools, and a few stores, depending on the site.

A sign on the road to Oventik read: ESTA USTED EN TERRITORIO ZAPATISTA EN REBELDIA: “Aquí manda el pueblo y el gobierno obedece.”

[YOU ARE IN ZAPATISTA REBEL TERRITORY: “Here the people decide, and the government obeys.”]

The Junta del Buen Gobierno, an elected group of men and women from surrounding villages, came into existence in 2003 to begin to change the ways that communities governed themselves, shifting decision making from a military core to civilian bodies.

For more about Oventik, see Dancing with the Zapatistas.

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