More than 300 women, men, children, and elderly indigenous and Ch’ol people of the North-Jungle region of Chiapas met on June 15 and 16 to hold the third regional gathering “In defense of life, land and territory for food sovereignty” in Lomas de Venado community, Municipality of Salto de Agua, in which they discussed themes like the current electoral process and the Homeland Security Law (Ley de Seguridad Interior).
More than than 300 people, among them women, children, men and elderly indigenous Tzeltals and Ch´ols of the Northern Jungle region coming from the communities of Rio Tulija, Lomas de Venado, Agua Clara, Yaxj´a, Chapayal, Monte Bello, Ruiz Cortines, Velasco, Achl´um Tulija, La Concordia, Galilea, Ranchería Primavera, San Jose Juxil, Chapayal, La Jacaranda, Palma Tulija, in the Municipality of Salto de Agua; Tim, Corostic, Jolmuculja, Alan Sacun, Coquiteel 1a. y 2ª Seccion, Piquinteel, in the Municipality of Chilón; and the community of Ignacio Allende, in the Municipality of Tumbalá, said that given the current electoral context in our country and given the country’s laws in complicity with the governments of other countries and transnational corporations, they seek to disarticulate our struggles in defense of land and life.
In this gathering they analyzed the causes and consequences that they are experiencing prior to the July 1 elections, as well as the Homeland Security Law and other laws and reforms that attack their life, culture and atmosphere where they live and cultivate foods and, therefore, conclude:
We are gathered together by conscience because we believe that we have to make the struggle for life and land ourselves, no one else will do it for us, not even the governments because they don’t govern for the people, but rather for the good of the transnational corporations, we don’t believe in them, nor in their promises because we know that when they come to power they forget about the people, but now that they are campaigning they come delivering gifts, food and money, thereby buying the vote and deceiving the people.
During this day we made the agreement to walk equally, men and women, to recognize each other in equality and rights. In this meeting we analyzed the problems, causes and consequences of the policies of privatization and dispossession that the neoliberal government has been executing and that will continue even after the coming federal, state and municipal elections. We know that when the neoliberal government and candidates talk about economic growth and investment, they’re talking about continuing and deepening commodification of sacred land, water, forests, minerals, knowledge, ancestral wisdom and promoting mono-crops like African palm and others.
We will promote the participation of women and men, young men and women, boys and girls in our communities, to defender our right to life, against the Homeland Security Law and all those laws that attack our people and our land.
Our struggle is from below and to the left. We know that they seek to divide us through the programs and projects. We tell them that we struggle against their individualist ideologies, strengthening our walking together, articulating and seeking forms of communication that construct solidarity among communities and ejidos because only that way will we be able to make a common front against all the forms of violence.
We also agreed that another form of struggling is to construct our ejido regulations, we have the ability to make our own laws as indigenous peoples, where we participate men and women participate equally, because in this gathering we analyze that the men alone will not be able to make a front against this system of death, and that the political and active participation of women is valuable and important.
We say to the governments that we are not afraid, that we will continue organizing and raising our voice denouncing all the violence that they do against our families and peoples.
Another form of our struggle is constructing our autonomy where we live in peace, where justice prevails in equality and together we are able to decide how we want to plant, cultivate and care for our Mother Earth.
As women and men we must strengthen our walk, knowing and defending our rights, struggling against the violence that we experience because of being women and because of being indigenous.
*We also say to the governments that are accomplices of the agro-toxic companies that through their farm programs and projects impose the use of agro-chemicals that are destroying Mother Earth and in this way affecting our health.
*We say that although we are hungry, cold and hot, our struggle will continue, because our grandparents let us know that we must not sell our Mother Earth because we live here and our history is here.
*We make a call to ejido and community authorities and to people in general to organize and to be articulate in the fight for the defense of life, lane and everything that gives us life.
Originally Published in Spanish by Chiapas Paralelo
Friday, June 22, 2018
Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee