[This is the last of the documents from the Exchange between the Zapatista Peoples and the Indigenous Peoples of Mexico. The translation came out the day we left for Chiapas.]
2nd DECLARATION from the EZLN-CNI EXCHANGE: ON the DISPOSSESSION of our PEOPLES
To the National and International Sixth:
To the peoples of the world who resist, giving bloom to rebellions:
The dispossession that we have faced as indigenous people is the pain that unites us in the spirit of struggle that we commemorate today in honor of our compañero David Ruíz García, who passed away while sharing the pain of the brothers and sisters from the Zapatista National Liberation Army after the murder of compañero Galeano. We become one in our history and in our hopes.
The death of the compañero, who is today collectively reborn among the 28 peoples, colors, and languages that are gathered in the Zapatista Caracol of La Realidad, inspires us as original peoples to share the happiness of encountering each other; of knowing each other to be as alive as are our peoples, our languages, our collective history that becomes our memory, our resistance, and our accountability to mother earth, who also lives and to whom we are indebted.
The struggle that we collectively represent is diverse, and we name our enemy dispossession because that is what we see, live, and die every day—an experience as collective as the corn, as our compañero Galeano, as our compañero David, and as our brothers and sisters whose lives have been taken in this war of extermination.
This dispossession is so diverse that it can only be called by one name: capitalism.
From the beginning, capitalism has grown through DISPOSSESSION and EXPLOITATION. PLUNDER and INVASION are the words that best describe the so-called conquest of America—plunder and theft of our territories, of our knowledge, of our culture. DISPOSSESSION, accompanied by wars, massacres, imprisonment, death upon death; these create a life in common because here we are as the peoples that we are, that we continue to be.
After the War of Independence, the emergence of the new nation, and the liberal reforms and dictatorship of Díaz, Mexico was born in denial of our peoples, through constitutions and laws that privatized our lands and sought to legitimize the looting of our territories. Thousands of our brothers and dozens of our peoples were exterminated and exiled en masse through military campaigns.
In spite of a million deaths of indigenous people and peasants during the revolution, the agrarian laws that appeared afterward were inspired by Venustiano Carranza and Álvaro Obregón—the ones who assassinated Emiliano Zapata—with the goal of protecting the large land owners, preventing the return of the people’s communal lands, water, and air, and converting communal property into ejidos. That is to say, they have wanted to kill us off time and time again as peoples and as individuals. Yet through all of this death, we continue on as living and collective peoples.
We have responded to our dispossession and extermination with rebellion and resistance. Hundreds of rebellions in Baja California, Sonora, Chihuahua, Nayarit, Jalisco, Guanajuato, Michoacán, Querétaro, Veracruz, the State of Mexico, San Luis Potosí, Hidalgo, Morelos, Puebla, Guerrero, Oaxaca, Chiapas, Yucatán, Campeche, and Quintana Roo, and notably, the Zapatista revolution, defied colonial society. All of these took place after the liberal reforms, giving rise to the armed movement of 1910 and the armed defense of communal lands up until the era of the agrarian reforms and Cardenista oil expropriation.
Currently, the neoliberal capitalists, with the assistance of all of the political parties and bad governments led by the criminal paramilitary boss Enrique Peña Nieto, are applying the same policies of large-scale dispossession applied by the nineteenth-century liberals—the Carranzas, the Obregons—propped up by militarization and paramilitarization and advised by U.S. intelligence in areas where there is resistance to the dispossession.
Just like the governments of that era, the current governments are giving our territories and the resources that belong to the Nation to large national and foreign corporations, seeking the death of all the peoples of Mexico and of our Mother Earth. But death among our people means collective rebirth.
We reiterate that our roots are in the land, and that the dispossession that we discussed in the Seminar Tata Juan Chávez Alonso in August 2013 is our pain and our rage; it is where our determination and rebellion are born. It is our unceasing and unfailing struggle and our very lives. These dispossessions continue in force today just as before, and have multiplied into new forms and onto new corners where new struggles and resistances are born that are reflected in the mirror that we are.
Mirror 1: On the Nahua coast in the state of Michoacán, the drive to extract natural riches has been the reason, since 2009, for the murder of 31 people and the disappearance of 5 at the hands of the Caballeros Templarios [Knights Templar, a drug cartel]. They rely on corruption within the structure of the bad government, which has provided cover for the plunder of the communal lands by small proprietors who are in turn the regional heads of organized crime, and for the illegal extraction of minerals and precious wood to be exported by Chinese transnational corporations from the Manzanillo and Lázaro Cárdenas ports, which are administered by the bad government. This corruption has left a wave of mourning, pain, and brutality for the community Ostula, which has strengthened itself with a growing rebellion that has allowed them to maintain security and detain the extraction of their resources. All of this while the bad governments threaten unceasingly to dismantle the indigenous people’s right to defend themselves by imprisoning or murdering their community leaders—a warning of more destruction to come.
Mirror 2: The Nahua and Totonaco territories in Totonacapan, Veracruz, have been destroyed by electric power plants, the release of flared gas, and toxic spills from damaged pipelines that have devastated the region’s water sources. All of this is part of the Proyecto Paleocanal de Chicontepec, now known as Tertiary Gulf Oil, where 29 oil fields are being exploited in an area of 3,875 square kilometers, with 1,500 oil wells across 14 municipalities in the region, destroying rivers and streams through hundreds of spills originating from 2,220 well overhauls that were made up until the year 2010. Currently there is a threat of 33,000 more well overhauls according to the National Commission of Hydrocarbons. Fracturing has been carried out through the detonation of dynamite, and hydraulic fracturing (fracking) in 1,737 wells in the entire zone. In that same area numerous mining concessions have been granted that put at risk the integrity of the territory.
Mirror 3: The Wixárika people, despite the fact that they encompass parts of the states of Jalisco, Nayarit, and Durango, have maintained their continuous territory and their autonomous organization is strong and ancestral. Today they face an onslaught on simultaneous fronts: past agrarian invasions which, despite restitution having been ordered in favor of the community San Sebastián Teponahuaxtlán, continue without enforcement of restitution due to blurry delimitations between states. Their territory has been subjected to the imposition of highways whose objective is the plunder of the region’s natural resources, as has been the case of the community of Santa Catarina Cuexcomatitlán, which since 2008 has mobilized large protests to halt the imposition of the Amatitán-Bolaños-Huejuquilla Highway. Currently the government of the state of Jalisco refuses to repair the damages caused to their forests, communal roads, and sacred sites, despite the fact that the community obtained legal rulings in its favor.
In the state of Durango, the Autonomous Wixárika Community of Bacos de San Hipólito continues their long struggle for recognition of their ancestral lands, exercising autonomy as their only option for their continuing existence as indigenous peoples.
For our peoples, territory is not only agricultural but also ceremonial. The principal sacred site of the Wixárika people is found in the Wirikuta desert in San Luis Potosí, which, in addition to being threatened by 5 mining corporations who have in their possession over 78 concessions, is currently undergoing the unauthorized extraction of antimony, uranium, gold, and silver in the zones of San José de Coronados and Presa Santa Gertrudis, in the Municipalities of Catorce and Charcas.
Mirror 4: In the Municipality of Villa Guerrero in Jalisco, the Autonomous Community Wixarika-Tepehuana de San Lorenzo de Azqultán, in spite of holding a viceregal title since the year 1773, have not received recognition for their own territory. On the contrary, the land that has always belonged to them has now been put at the mercy of the caciques [land bosses] and governments. The forest is being cut down, the territory invaded, and their sacred sites destroyed, such as in Cerro Colotlán where the bad government has given the landowners endorsement and money to carve up ceremonial stones for use as stone barriers supposedly to protect the soil. This is not only dispossession, but rather genocide.
Mirror 5: In the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, where the Ikoots and Binniza people of the communities of San Mateo del Mar and San Dionisio del Mar live, as well as the people of Juchitán and the inhabitants of the barrio Álvaro Obregón, the firms Endesa, Iberdrola, Gamesa y Unión Fenosa Gas Natural Fenosa, Demex (a subsidiary or Renovalia Energy), Eclectricte de France (EDF), Eolicas del Sur, Zapotecas de Energía, Grupo Mar, Preneal, and Ener green Power are plundering communal lands and destroying sacred sites throughout the region. They have illegally occupied more than 32,000 hectares and installed 1,600 wind turbines since 2001 on top of communal lands in Juchitan and Unión Hidalgo for the Biiyoxo and Piedra Larga II and II wind farms. Currently, the collective assembly of Unión Hidalgo is opposing the expansion of these parks to the communal lands of Palmar and El Llano, protected mangrove areas in the south of the Binizaa communities. This is territory defended by our compañeros from the Popular Assembly of the Juchiteco People and the Isthmus of Tehuantepéc Assembly of Indigenous Peoples in Defense of Land and Territory (APIITDTT).
In the same area of the Isthmus, Oaxaca’s region of San Miguel Chimalapas and Santo Domingo Zanatepec was invaded by three mining concessions granted to the Cruz Azul Cooperative for the mining lot they refer to as El Chincuyal, to Cascabel Mining for the mining lot called Mar de Cobre, and to Zalamera Mining for the mining lot called Jackita, a subsidiary of the Orum Gold Mining Corporation—whose reach stretches across 7,310 hectares of our peoples’ lands. The Chiapas state government, rich cattle ranchers, and the Mexican Army are carrying out the invasion.
To the north of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, in the south of Veracruz, the Nahua Popoluca territory in the Sierra de Santa Martha is under threat from a mining project that stretches across three concessions called La Morelense 1, La Morelense 2, and La Ampliación. The project puts the environment and the integrity of this indigenous area at great risk.
Mirror 6: In the ñatho communities of San Francisco Xochicuautla and Huitzizilpan, as well as in a wide strip of land called Alto Lerma in the State of Mexico, a private road project called Toluca-Naucalpan is being imposed by the Autovan corporation. It will affect a total of 23 kilometers of forest, in addition to the construction of thousands of homes and golf courses as part of the project called Gran Reserva Santa Fe. Our brothers from the Indigenous Peoples Front in Defense of Mother Earth defend this territory.
Mirror 7: In the Nahua community of Tuxpan, Jalisco, under pressure by the bad governments and national and international investors, the indigenous people have had to lease out ejidal lands to transnational avocado companies headquartered in Michoacán. Foreign greenhouses such as Driscolt and Aguacates Los Tarascos, which are engaging in weather modification schemes that prevent rain, are dispossessing these communities.
Mirror 8: The coca community of Mezcala, Jalisco, continues suffering and defending their territory against the businessman Guillermo Moreno Ibarra, who has invaded and kept a plot in the community’s forest region. The community is preserving its possession and ancestral property over the sacred island that the bad governments can only see as a million dollar business that they can put up for sale to foreign tourist companies.
Mirror 9: In the territory Chinanteco, in the state of Oaxaca, ecological reserves have been imposed that have snatched territorial control from the peoples while, at the same time, the bad government implements projects of destruction and death, such as the Tuxtepec-Huatulco highway and the Chinanteco touristic corridor.
Mirror 10: In Huexca, Morelos, in the Eastern Nahua region of the state, one of the two thermoelectric plants that make up part of the Morelos Integral Project was constructed in a volcanic activity risk zone. This project is promoted by the Abengoa Company and the Federal Electric Commission (CFE) with the support of the three levels of government, the Mexican Army, and the state police. The same project seeks to construct an aqueduct for the extraction of water from the river Cuautla, which will affect 22 ejidos in the Municipality of Ayala. Mirror 11: In Amilcingo and Jantetelco in Morelos, the eastern Nahua region of the state and in the Nahua region of Valle de Puebla, in the communities San Geronimo Tecuanipan, San Lucas Atzala, San Andres Calpan, Santa María Zacatepec, San Lucas Tulcingo, Santa Isabel Cholula, San Felipe Xonacayucan, Santa Lucia Cosamaluapan, San Isidro Huilotepec, San Buenaventura Nealtican, San Juan Amecac, and in other communal regions of Puebla and Tlaxcala, the Integral Morelos Megaproject intents to construct a 160 kilometer pipeline in an area of volcanic risk. This Project is promoted by the CFE, the Spanish corporations Elecnor and Enagas, and by the Italian corporation Bonatti. Over the last two years, the three levels of government in their respective states have exerted brutal repression on all of these communities.
Mirror 12: In Tepoztlán, Morelos, belonging to the Nahua people, the expansion of the La Pera-Cuautla highway will dispossess the community not only of their lands but of their territory’s biodiversity and ancient culture. Ancient trees and sacred sites that have sat on that land for generations have been destroyed to allow the arrival of private companies and the industrialization of the most resource-rich areas in the state of Morelos. The response of the bad governments was a campaign to discredit the indigenous peoples in order to justify the plunder.
Mirror 13: In the Nahua territory of the community of Ayotitlan, in the Sierra de Manantlán in the state of Jalisco, the extraction of two million tons of iron and precious wood has been carried out with the support of organized crime and via assassinations and disappearances of the community and ejidal members.
Mirror 14: In the Nahua community of Zacualpan, in the state of Colima, over the past few months a businessman by the name of Verduzco, with the complicity of the state government and the Attorney General’s Agrarian office, tried to impose a mine for iron, gold, silver, and manganese in the Cerro Grande, whose forests produce all of the waters that supply Colima and Villa de Alvarez. Also in Cerro Grande, the government is promoting programs supposedly for ecological conservation but which serve as a pretext for the dispossession of the community from its communal waters.
Mirror 15: The community of Cherán, Michoacán, on the Purépecha Plateau, has suffered the devastation and the theft of thousands of hectares of forest at the hands of loggers linked to organized crime and with the complicity of the bad government. Violence without precedent has been unleashed against the community members who have exercised their ancestral right to defend their territory within a framework of autonomy and self-determination, constructing their own mode of government through traditional “uses and customs”.
Mirror 16: In the Maya territory of Campeche, dispossession is disguised through the leasing of land in the communities of the Chenes region by groups called Mennonites, to whom the bad government gives money in order to strengthen the plunder of the territories and impose the planting of transgenic soybean crops.
Meanwhile, in the indigenous regions of the so-called Riviera Maya, privatization processes have accelerated on behalf of national and international tourism projects which have destroyed countless sacred sites.
The people of Maya de Bacalar, in the state of Quintana Roo, are suffering the imposition of transgenic soy cultivation that poses great risk to the native seeds, health, and food of the indigenous people. Companies such as Monsanto, Singenta, and Pioneer do this with the complicity of the bad governments.
The Maya people of the Yucatan are threatened by various megaprojects, such as the Dzilam de Bravo wind farm, the planting of transgenic corn, the Trans-peninsular train project, and real estate development, which benefit a handful of businesses and corrupt politicians.
Mirror 17: In the Tzeltal village of Chilón, Chiapas, the construction of the San Cristóbal-Palenque highway is being imposed on the community’s territory.
Mirror 18: The Nahua community of San Pedro Tlanixco, in the State of Mexico, has been stripped of its springs and waters from the Texcaltenco River through concessions benefitting wealthy agro-industrial companies from the Municipality of Villa Guerrero, and has led to the imprisonment of the community leaders.
Mirror 19: In the State of Guerrero, in the Municipalities of Xochistlahuaca, Tlocoachistlahuaca, and Ometepec, hundreds of Amuzga, Mixteca, and Afromestiza communities are threatened by the pipe-laying projects that would send water from the San Pedro River to the City of Ometepec, violating the basic rights that we have as peoples.
Mirror 20: The surrounding areas of the sacred site of Xochicalco in the Nahua community of Xoxocotla in the southwest of Morelos, are threatened by the imposition of a mining project that holds 7 concessions in 3 municipalities that cover an area of 15,000 hectares in Xoxocotla, Temixco, Xochitepec, and Miacatlan in the communities of Tetlama, Alpuyeca, Coatetelco, La Toma, and Xochicalco.
Mirror 21: In the Yaqui territory in the state of Sonora, ambitions over the waters of the Yaqui River has historically motivated aggressions against the tribe. Currently the threat is for the waters to be diverted to the City of Hermosillo via the Independence aqueduct to the detriment of both the Yaqui and hundreds of hectares of the Mayo Yoreme tribe and the farmers of the Valle del Yaqui.
Mirror 22: The Náyari people, in the state of Nayarit, have historically been the guardians of the San Pedro River, home to their sacred site Muxa Tena. Today this site is threatened by the construction of the Las Cruces dam.
Mirror 23: In the state of Sonora, with the construction of the Los Pilares damn, the sacred sites of the Guarijío people will be destroyed.
Mirror 24: Bachajón, Chiapas, a Tzeltal community, is being stripped of its land, water, and culture through the construction of tourist resorts at the waterfalls of Agua Azul, in addition to highways and hotels. This is taking place through paramilitary repression.
Mirror 25: The Ch’ol people of Xpujil, in the state of Campeche, were displaced from their lands by decree for the Calakmul Biosphere Reserve. It was imposed on the community in such a way as to completely restrict their access to the territory.
Mirror 26: In the Nahua and Totonaco territory in the Sierra Norte of Puebla, in the Municipalities of Tlatlaqui, Zacapoxtla, Cuetzalan, Zoquiapan, Xochiapulco y Tetela, Zautla, Ixtacamaxtitlán, Olintla, Aguacatlán, Tepatlán, Xochitlán, Zapotitlán, Zoquiapan and Libres, the capitalist death projects seek to possess every corner of the territory through the extraction of minerals via open air mining and hydroelectric dams. Today, 18% of the territory in Puebla’s Sierra Norte has been conceded to mining companies, as the government has granted 103 concessions to the Mexican companies Gruop Ferrominero, Industrias Peñoles, and Grupo Frisco, as well as to the Canadian company Almaden Minerals. There also exist six hydroelectric projects that affect 12 rivers in an area of 123,000 hectares, distributed across 18 municipalities.
Mirror 27: The territory of the Kumiai people has suffered massive invasions stemming from the lack of recognition, the imposition of ejidos, and the declaration of their lands as national patrimony. Over the last few years, wind projects have been imposed on their lands as well as on the territory of the Kiliwa people.
Mirror 28: The community of Nurío Michoacán on the Purépecha Plateau was stripped of the majority of its territory through resolutions dictated by the Mexican agrarian authorities that provoked conflicts between neighboring communities resulting in numerous deaths.
Mirror 29: The Bochil, Jitotol, and Pueblo Nuevo communities, of the Tzotzil people of the Chiapas highlands, denounce planned dam projects that threaten this territory.
These are the dispossessions that we suffer, that we learn about during emergencies when attempts are made on our lives. And today we say to the powerful, to the corporations, to the bad governments led by the supreme criminal paramilitary boss, Enrique Peña Nieto, that we do not surrender, that we do not sell out, that we do not give up.
Our memory is alive because we ourselves are that memory to which we are indebted. We understand that there is no better memory than that of our peoples, and as we gather now in order to see each other we see that our struggle will not end; if they haven’t killed us off in these last 520 years of resistance and rebellion, they won’t be able to do it now, or ever. We are people of corn; we know that the milpa is collective and its colors are diverse—so diverse that we also want to give ourselves one name: rebellious and anti-capitalist, with the brothers and sisters of the National and International Sixth. Today, like the corn, we renew our decision to construct from below and to the left a world where many worlds fit.
“THE HEART OF OUR MOTHER EARTH LIVES IN THE SPIRIT OF OUR PEOPLES”
ANDIÜMAATS NANGAJ IüT MEAWAN NÜTs KOS NEJ ÜÜCH IKOOTS MONAPAKÜY (LENGUA OMBEAYETS/IKOOT) NA MA JOIIY RA PUIY Y RA VENI GUI JIINI (OTOMÍ) LADXIDO GUIDXILAYU NABAANI LU XQUENDA CA GUIDXI XTINU (LENGUA DIIDXAZA/BINNIZA) I PUJUK’AL LAK´ÑA LUM KUXUL TYI CHULRL LAK LUMALO’ (CHOL) TE YO TALN TEJ NANATIL LUM CUXUL SOL XCHULEL TEJ LUMALTIC (TZELTAL) LI YOON JMETIK BALUMILÉ KUXUL XCHULEL TAJ TEKLUMALTIK (TZOTZIL) JAS J’UJOL JAJ NANTIK LU’UM ZAK’AN JAB’AYALTZIL JAJ CHONA B’LLTIK (TOJOLABAL) IN YOLOTL TO TLALTICPAC NEMI IEKAUILKOPA TO ALTEPEUAN (NAHUA) TA TEI YURIENAKA IYARIEYA TAKIEKARIPA YEYEIKA (WIXARIKA) U KUXTAL K-LÚUMIL TÍAN TI U YÓOL LE KÁAJILO’OB. (MAYA PENINSULAR) JUCHARI MINTSÏTA P’ARHAKPINIRHU IREKASÏNI TSÏPIKUANIRHU JUCHARI IRETA (LENGUA PURE/P’URHEPECHA) TU TLAL UI NANA IYULO ISTOK I TUNAL PAN CHINANKOME (NAHUA) XNAKU KIN TSEKAN TIYAT STAKGNAMA CHI KGALHI LISTAKGNI NAK KIN PULATAMANKAN (TOTONACO) BI MAMA NAX BI TZOKOY JEJPA NETZANKUYJO BI KOXEN KUMKUYDE KAY JENAN (ZOQUE) UU JIAPSI Y iiTOM AYEE VUIAPO ITOM JIPSICO JIAPSA ITOM PUEBLOMPO (MAYO YOREME) NA’ T’SATS´OOM TYUAA MAYA NA’ M´AA NAQUII´ NTAAYA JA NA NNA NCUEE (ÑOMDAA/AMUZGO)
From Zapatista La Realidad, August 2014
FOR THE INTEGRAL RECONSTITUTION OF OUR PEOPLES
NEVER AGAIN A MEXICO WITHOUT US!
NATIONAL INDIGENOUS CONGRESS
ZAPATISTA NATIONAL LIBERATION ARMY