By: Carolina Gómez Mena
“What we are seeing with this new government is the continuation of neoliberal policies,” but it’s also the “deepening,” [of those projects] based “on the support, on the consensus that the president (Andrés Manuel López Obrador) has from a good part of the population,” and this is added to “occurrences,” participants maintained in the forum 23 years after the San Andrés Accords, in defense of Mother Earth, No to the Maya Train and the Trans-Isthmus Corridor, and No to the National Guard.
In the National School of Anthropology and History (ENAH, its initials in Spanish), representatives of original peoples from regions “affected” by megaprojects and academics who are members of the Network of Networks of Zapatista Support for the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN) considered that: “the project of the badly named Fourth Transformation seeks to individualize members of the indigenous peoples,” through welfare policies, instead of respecting the rights of the communities as a whole.
Carlos González García, a lawyer of the Congreso Nacional Indígena–Concejo Indígena de Gobierno (CNI-CIG) criticized the consultas (consultations or referendums) that the federal government has carried out, and the one that it seeks to carry out around different megaprojects, like the Maya Train and now the thermoelectric plant located in Huexca, in the municipio of Yecapixtla, Morelos.
He classified these consultas as “occurrences.” “A popular consulta can only be carried out by the Congress of the Union” and he said that with said thermoelectric plant it seeks to generate “an industrial belt” in the territorial strip that goes from Morelos to Puebla.
About the Trans-Isthmus project, he said that it is: “something long longed for by the United States.” And on the theme of the National Guard he maintained that: “the Army has always been on the side of the most nefarious interests,” therefore it should not intervene in “questions of public security.”
Magdalena Gómez Rivera, an academic at the National Pedagogic University (Universidad Pedagógica Nacional, UPN) and a La Jornada opinion writer, lamented the attitude of the president with those who disagree with his points of view.
“We live in a climate of absolute disqualification,” because “he has the power to disavow all of us who dare to point out that this is not the path, that the country’s problems will not be resolved with old “indigenist” policies and welfare programs.”
She considered that López Obrador’s project in general “seeks to contain and disarticulate social protest” and assured that “a political schizophrenia” is experienced because, she said, “one thing is the discourse from the power” and another is what it does. She pointed out that: “many believe in the badly named Fourth Transformation,” which is cemented “on promised supports,” which “will not abate the social inequality,” although they can serve so that some families can survive.
Bettina Cruz Velázquez, councilor for the indigenous peoples of the Isthmus ante el CNI, criticized the wind farms and mining projects carried out in the zone, as well as the Trans-Isthmus project that is foreseen. “We don’t see how the indigenous peoples are incorporated into these projects.” She added that historically these plans “bring us prejudice, we must defend our territories.”
Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada
Sunday, February 17, 2019
Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee