Indigenous peoples continue struggling for their rights and survival

On October 12 (Indigenous Peoples Day), members of the National Indigenous Congress (CNI, Congreso Nacional Indígena) headed the “protest and resistance march” in Mexico City on the 530th anniversary of the arrival of Europeans in America. Photo: Luis Castillo.

By: Carolina Gómez Mena, Fernando Camacho and Jessica Xantomila

After 530 years since the arrival of the Europeans on the American continent, the struggle of the indigenous peoples for their territories and their survival continues, in an atmosphere where the “megaprojects of death and militarization are the new face of colonialism and capitalism.”

Participants asserted the above in the march that took place yesterday in the context of the Day of Struggle for Autonomy and Resistance of Our Peoples, in which they emphasized: “they did not conquer us. We exist because we resist. “

Since the morning, the National Indigenous Congress and the Indigenous Government Council (CNI-CIG), to which Otomi, Triqui and other ethnic communities belong, held a forum at the Samir Flores Soberanes House of Indigenous Peoples and Communities, the former headquarters of the National Institute of Indigenous Peoples (INPI).

There they made it clear that the “misnamed discovery of America” is not an ephemeris of celebration, but of protest and resistance.

María de Jesús Patricio, Marichuy, spokeswoman for the CIG, urged “to articulate forces between the various struggles and movements to protect territories and natural resources in the face of megaprojects and militarization.”

After celebrating the second anniversary of the takeover of INPI by the Otomi community living in Mexico City, he accused that capitalism has put a price on land, water and territories, and because of this “they seek to exterminate our communities. “

In the afternoon, the CNI led a march from the Angel of Independence to the capital’s Zócalo, in which some of the parents of the 43 disappeared Ayotzinapa students, searching mothers, students from various universities and members of civil organizations and trade unions also participated.

At UNAM’s Rectory, students wrote: “No to Militarization.”

On the walk various slogans were heard, such as “Christopher Columbus did not discover anything, Latin America was stolen and looted,” “This march is not one of celebration, it is one of struggle and protest,” and “Mexico is not a barracks, Army out of it.”

Although the call was for a peaceful march, a small group of young people with their faces covered painted against the National Guard and the Army, broke glass and vandalized a fast food establishment, without adults arriving. In the National Palace they tried to remove some of the metal fences and rockets exploded.

During the passage of the march along Juárez Avenue and 5 de Mayo, the presence of police elements annoyed some of the demonstrators, who confronted the uniformed men and tried to prevent them from following the progress of the walk.

Around 7 p.m., the contingent arrived at the Plaza de la Constitución, whose esplanade is occupied by the 22nd International Book Fair, so the rally was held in front of the National Palace, which was guarded by police.

In addition to representatives of the CNI, Melitón Ortega, of the Commission of Fathers and Mothers of the Ayotzinapa 43, took the floor, who agreed that the colonization process begun in 1492 continues today with the projects imposed by foreign companies in Mexico and the rest of the continent, regardless of whether the original peoples oppose it.

He pointed out that the current government has not made real progress in the Ayotzinapa investigation case, which makes it “the same or very similar” to that of Enrique Peña Nieto.

University students joined the call to fight against “militarism and capitalist and patriarchal war,” and demanded that instead of giving more resources to the armed forces, that money be allocated to the education sector.

Indigenous Peoples march for Peace and against Militarization on Indigenous Peoples Day / Día de la Raza.

Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada, Thursday, October 13, 2022, and Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee

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