Day 7: Valladolid, Yucatán, The people, like the jungle, always sprout

Mar, 05/02/2023

Day 7 of the El Sur Resiste |The South Resists Caravan begins with a ritual among all those who make it up: women and small children, youth and babies, as well as elderly people. Many come from other states of the Republic and also from other countries, but in this caravan we have walked together for the purpose listening to the pain of the Native Peoples and also to give voice to their resistance.

In the ritual, the compañeros of Casa Colibrí talk about remembering all the people and compañeros who have transcended this life, and the defenders of land who have been killed defending the territory. The need to remember that children and adolescents are the reason to fight to leave a better world in every way, including the right of children to a healthy environment, was also emphasized.

“Today I pledge that my actions as an adult will make a difference for children, where the value of our land and our culture is priceless, it is simply not for sale.”

Finishing the ritual, we set off towards the center of Valladolid. During the walk the compañeros and compañeras of the native peoples and all the collectives that accompany them shout loudly, Jungle yes, train No! Water yes, train No! Cenotes are not sold, they love and defend themselves!, That train is not Maya, that train is military!

Members of the caravan hand out flyers with information about the effects of the Mayan Train to the people of Valladolid who watch the march with interest, many recording with their phones and looking through the windows of their businesses, homes, and cars.

Violence and environmental destruction in Yucatan due to the imposition of megaprojects.

At the end of the march, a rally is held with people from different communities of Yucatan and other areas of the Peninsula. The compañeros and compañeras talk about the dispossession, environmental pollution, and violence they experience in their communities.

Valladolid: It talks about the city’s gentrification, and how for youth and new generations it is practically impossible to buy or acquire land in the city, thus violating the right to have a decent home. This has been caused by the arrival of tourism that sets aside the well-being of the people who are originally from this territory.  Despite the critical situation of the state with respect to the destruction of the environment, the comrades who speak highlight the hope they have in continuing to work to change the situation and leave a better world for the next generations.

Xpujil Council, Calakmul: The council talks about the protection they have standing and with which they have tried to stop the construction of the Maya Train in their territory. The compañero talks about the use of the National Guard and the Army and especially the construction of a hotel that may have 162 rooms. This hotel is being built in the heart of the Calakmul reserve and has also been awarded to the Mexican Army like the rest of the Maya Train Project. This construction set off alarms because, if carried out, it would destroy one of the last preserved forests on the entire continent.

Cancún and Playa del Carmen: the compañero talks about all the destruction that the Maya Train Project is already causing in this area, such as the felling of 9 million trees just between Mérida and Xpujil. There is also talk of all the violence that the tourism model that has been promoted in Cancun and Playa del Carmen has generated (same model that will be applied with the construction of the Maya Train throughout the Yucatan Peninsula and in each of the territories it crosses).  Forced disappearances, femicides and violence generated by drug cartels are three phenomena that have been shown to be interrelated with the arrival of megaprojects such as the Maya Train.

“We have over 9 million trees cut down after it was said that none were going to be cut down, because we have 9 million lies, lies spread out there as if they were anything.”

“We have the results of that development, we have Cancun as one of the most violent, most dangerous cities, thus hiding figures all the time, presenting beautiful figures of hotels, how many hotel rooms we have, how many jobs are generated, but they do not tell us at what cost “

Siltepech: The compañeras talk about their struggle in defense of the water in their territory that is at risk due to the increasing presence of mega pig farms, which have been shown to be highly contaminated by the waste they generate. It also mentions the criminalization of which Maya inhabitants of Siltepech have been victims, currently 8 members face criminal proceedings for defense of their territory. It also recalls the acts of police brutality and arbitrary detentions that took place against several participants after a march in support of the community of Siltepech in the city of Mérida, Yucatán.

“We want clean water; the water is ours.”

The voice of hope of young people

Chirro, a young man from the indigenous community of Oteapan, Veracruz – which was visited by Carava El Sur Resiste – spoke on behalf of his community with a hopeful message, full of vitality and strength.

Their participation makes it clear that young people are not the future, but the present; That in order to continue with this struggle we must listen to them, integrate them, share their vision, listen to their word, and understand that this struggle needs everyone.

Here’s part of his message:

“If we don’t have the territory, we’re not going to be able to take care of it. But I come to tell you, do not despair, as a people you have to resist because the jungle always sprouts. Because beetles and all the little animals seek their life in dry logs. They may want to fill us with concrete, but nature always defends itself and the peoples are that nature defending itself.

We are the mountain, we are the water, we are the animals. We can be the voice of bees, the jungle and everything that inhabits it.

We are focused on talking to other young people, we do it through music, video capsules, radio.

From the south of Veracruz we continue to resist, and that we must continue resisting because we are the mountain. Long live the Maya jungle”

The day in Valladolid ends by sharing “cochinita pibil” [1] that the compañeras prepare affectionately for the caravan. We leave for Felipe Carillo Puerto, Quintana Roo where they are already waiting for us with a cultural act in the center of the community. With music, theater, and poems we begin this day, because art is also resistance.

Translator’s Note

[1] A famous pork dish in Yucatan.

Originally Published in Spanish by El Sur Resiste, Tuesday, May 2, 2023, and Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee

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