By: Hermann Bellinghausen
Here, where Emiliano Zapata died 100 years ago, came the communities grouped together in The Peoples Front in Defense of Land and Water of Morelos, Puebla and Tlaxcala. Not only to remember the caudillo, but also to endorse demands and present sorrows: opposition to the Huexca thermoelectric plant and pipeline, and the demand for justice for Samir Flores, leader and spoke person of those opposed to the government project, murdered February 20 in Amilcingo on the eve of the consulta (consultation) on the matter convened by the government. The crime remains unpunished. And the megaproject “won” the consultation.
Teresa Castillo, expressive spokeswoman of the Peoples Front, in front of hundreds of people gathered in a protest act at the ex hacienda of Chinameca, says briefly: “We are against AMLO because he is against us. We wanted to talk to him. He didn’t want to.”
She denounces the persistent disappearances and, in particular, the murder of Samir: “a shame” for the government. She asks the participants to remain in the struggle, “if you love your children”.
How not to associate the deaths by ambush of two Nahua fighters in these same lands with exactly one century of difference? Zapata is the only Mexican hero at the height of the 21st century. Or as Pablo González Casanova, who is among the participants in the protest act, put it today: Emiliano Zapata is still alive in the most literal sense.
Symbols, metaphors, superb biographies and a century of historical and institutional handling, has not been enough to finish him off. The dead of the current struggle are part of what’s his.
Certainty makes the rounds that resistance to the imposition of megaprojects is inherited from the Zapatistas. Land and liberty once again: not only conquer them, but also keep them and, as the people of the regions argue, to prevent that both are destroyed by immense works of interest to capital, not for those who live here around the slopes of the Popocatépetl volcano, which has a rather restless season. That greatly disturbs those who see that the planned gas pipeline could well be deeded by the devil.
The National Indigenous Congress (Congreso Nacional Indígena, CNI) participates with the Peoples Front in the symbolic takeover of the former hacienda where Zapata fell. On the other side of the building, today a museum, the canopy and the installations for an official act that never happened languish. Not here. Instead, María de Jesús Patricio, of the Indigenous Government Council (Concejo Indígena de Gobierno, CIG), shares a message of the subcomandante Moisés, of the EZLN. “We don´t know who kill Samir. We know who pointed it him”, he wrotes. “ There was no ‘right of reply’ for Samir Flores Soberanes, neither for the peoples that today resist” the Morelos Integral Project (Proyecto Integral Morelos, PIM).
Norma Palma, member of the CNI, reads the Chinameca Declaration, fruit of the national meeting held this Tuesday in Amilcingo not far away from here. “The bad governments think that they will be able to finish us off.” She accuses the government of “shameless betrayal” for promoting the PIM. “We thought that the dispossession would stop,” she says; “that the military presence would end.” Instead, the government “promises the facilities to the Earth’s predators” and “guarantees the functioning of the Huexca thermoelectric plant” despite the volcano’s dangers.
The festivity is very big. In addition to the protest, there is a massive convention in Chinameca, surrounded by the noise of the loud roar of dozens of school bands with a swinging drum, metals, and everything that someone who is 15 years old can blow. Baton twirlers, calisthenics dances, allegorical and custom cars, Adelitas, soldaderas (women soldiers) and Juanes mustaches, children in white with cardboard cartridge belts, paper bullets and black mustaches. All this civic splendor for a Mexican whose impact is still valid for these young people who perhaps don’t know it yet. That don’t know how much.
After the ceremony in Chinameca, the Indigenous peoples moved their protest to the impressive plant of discontent, almost completed a few meters from the community of Huexca.
Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada
Thursday, April 11, 2019
Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee