By: Francisco López Bárcenas
June 21 is a very important day for the Mayas of the Mexican [Yucatan] Peninsula. It’s the date on which the Saq’ Q’ij, known as the Summer Solstice among the mestizo population, an epoch that denotes clear, bright and resplendent days, when father sun stops his journey to announce the N’imla’j, the longest day of the year. Among the Mayas, the event is the occasion for big ceremonies and fiestas to thank the Sun God for all the wealth he has given, but above all so that the peoples are aligned with the stars and the energy they radiate and the world’s balance can continue. Perhaps that’s why, the peninsula Mayas say, three different events converged there last June 21 around an issue on which their future depends: the construction of the Maya Train.
One of those events was led by the President who, on a tour through the peninsula visited the three states that comprise it promising public works and delivering fiscal resources to beneficiaries of his social programs. It started on June 21 through the Yucatán and ended two days later in Quintana Roo, just the three days on which the Maya Saq’ Q’ij. In Yucatán he participated in a meeting called to inform the public about the benefits that construction of the Maya Train will have, only about its benefits, nothing about its negative impacts. That day 18 productive, cultural and ejido organizations and different collective made publics a manifesto, the product of two days of deliberation in the city of Merida, to analyze the Fourth Transformation government’s policy. In its conclusions, among other things, they noted:
“Waves of promises of change flow in the paths of our peoples, in our assemblies and our families; stories that talk about a bright future, about the arrival of development and the benefits to our communities with the Maya Train. The land of the Mayas on the Yucatán Peninsula is being, more than ever, offered and auctioned to the highest bidder, the one who deceives our people and ravishes and dismembers our territories with the zeal to increase their capital. Agro-industry, mass tourism, wind and solar megaprojects and the real estate developments grow enormously, repeating the dispossession and insatiably devouring life, our life. In this way, the project of ‘complete reordering’ of our Mother Earth is driven by foreign hands and seeks to change the face of the Yucatán Peninsula and its Maya inhabitants, still the legitimate and legal owners of the land that was recognized as theirs thanks to the struggle of our ancestors.”
Another group of Mayas met on June 21 in the municipality of Carrillo Puerto, Quintana Roo. Kana’antik k-lu’umo’ob, was the slogan under which they dialogued and according to one of the women participants, it means “preserving our territory.” There were axes of their discussion: the construction of indigenous autonomies and the defense of territory as a way of constructing a different future. Critiques of the governments surfaced everywhere, warning how quickly he is forgetting his campaign promises to run to the right of those who supported them because they believed his promises. Regarding the Maya Train, they regretted that the plan for its construction was not announced, that what mostly abound are rumors about the work and threats to the ejido owners to sell their lands, as happens in the areas surrounding the Bacalar Lagoon.
Given this situation, both meetings concluded that it’s necessary evaluate what they have and start from that to organize the defense of their existence that, according to their expression, passes through living with honor and dignity, something that doesn’t currently happen because everyone despises them and doesn’t take them into account for the construction of the future. Much’ Ximbal was heard around the venue where the meeting was held and everyone nodded because, they say, it means walking together. In order to achieve this they propose rescuing their culture and creating the conditions for it to flourish, so that the Maya peoples become strong again, defending what exists because they have constructed it with the wisdom of their grandparents, “with the tenacity and rebelliousness of the men and women who have permitted the maintenance of a culture around the Maya milpa, a generating and unifying space for our thought and our wisdom, food and reproduction of life; a universal referent of coexistence with the land and the source of family nutrition.”
Much’Ximbal and Kana’antik k-lu’umo’ob united and strengthened each other in the N’imla’j. United for the preservation of territory, form and essence on how the Mayas trace their horizon. A process very distant from the government actions of the Fourth Transformation proclaimed by the government, because it’s not the path of the peoples and no one has invited them to walk it. The Saq’ Q’ij, they say, sent its signals. It is up to men and women to know how to interpret them.
Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada
Thursday, June 27, 2019
Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee