Chiapas Support Committee

Joint pronouncement of the CNI-CIG and the EZLN on recent aggressions

Joint pronouncement of the CNI-CIG and EZLN on the recent aggressions of the capitalists, their governments and their cartels against the original peoples of Mexico

National Guard repression of the Native communities of the Nahua people of Juan C. Bonilla.

To the Peoples of the world:

To the Networks of Resistance and Rebellion:

To the National and International Sixth:

To the communications media:

Those of us who are are the peoples, nations, tribes and barrios of the National Indigenous Congress – Indigenous Government Council and the Zapatista National Liberation Army, we condemn the following facts that we present below.

Repression on the part of the National Guard against the Native communities of the Nahua people in Juan C. Bonilla

We denounce the attack on the Native communities of the Nahua people of San Mateo Cuanalá, San Lucas Nextetelco, San Gabriel Ometoxtla, Santa María Zacatepec and the José Ángeles colonia (district), in the municipality of Juan C. Bonilla, when last October 30 de they were repressed with blows and rubber bullets, even against children, women and elderly persons, by the federal police, the Puebla state police and the National Guard.

The deployment of repressive forces against the compañeros, is to concretize the poisoning of the Metlapanapa River as part of the so-called Integral Project for the Construction of the Sanitary Sewer System of the Industrial Zone of Huejotzingo, Puebla, known as “Textile City,” which is part of the urban-industrial infrastructure megaproject known as the Morelos Integral Project, which already cost the life of compañero Samir Flores.

National Guard Attack on Native communities of the Nahua people in the municipality of Juan C. Bonilla

We condemn the cowardly attack that the Wixárika and Tepehuana community of San Lorenzo de Azqueltán, in the municipality of Villa Guerrero, Jalisco, suffered last November 3 at the hands of the caciques (political and economic bosses) Fabio Ernesto Flores Sánchez (alias La Polla), Javier Guadalupe Flores Sánchez and Mario Flores, who aboard three vans and accompanied by armed people ambushed comuneros and authorities. Acting with complete impunity, they beat the compañeros Ricardo de la Cruz González, Noé Aguilar Rojas and Rafael Reyes Márquez until they were seriously injured; they are now receiving medical attention.

These homicide attempts, which remain brazenly unpunished, are orchestrated to stop the dignified and historic struggle for land, the same as those who feel, because of being the owners money, owners of the region covet; they have always had the full complicity of government agencies that seek to make million dollar businesses with communal land, trying to erase the history of the Tepecano people.

We demand the live presentation of the compañeros Carmelo Marcelino Chino and Jaime Raquel Cecilio of the National Front for the Liberation of the Peoples in the state of Guerrero, who have been disappeared since last October 22, after they left in the direction pf Huamuchapa, coming from Acapulco. This criminal act is added to the criminalization, persecution, murder and disappearance of those in the state of Guerrero and in all of Mexico who struggle for the respect of indigenous territories against capitalist devastation.

At the same time, we denounce the detention and disappearance for several hours of compañero Fredy García of the Indigenous Rights Defense Committee (CODEDI), at the hands of Oaxaca police agents, after he attended an alleged work meeting with government officials, accusing him of absurd charges to criminalize the dignified struggle of CODEDI and of Compañero Fredy García against the capitalist dispossession and repression. We demand the immediate and unconditional freedom of our compañero, Fredy García!!

The capitalists, their cartels and their governments, impose death with armed groups to dispossess indigenous peoples, be they from the bad government, shock groups or criminals. For us the peoples it is violence, terror and indignation; for them it’s impunity and the guaranty that their crimes will translate into profits at the expense of entire peoples.

Attentively,

November 2019

For the Integral Reconstitution of Our Peoples


Never More A Mexico Without Us

National Indigenous
Congress

Indigenous Government Council


Zapatista National Liberation Army

En español: http://enlacezapatista.ezln.org.mx/2019/11/08/pronunciamiento-conjunto-del-cni-cig-y-ezln-sobre-las-recientes-agresiones-de-los-capitalistas-sus-gobiernos-y-sus-carteles-en-contra-de-los-pueblos-originarios-de-mexico/

Celebration of Life: A December of Resistance and Rebellion

SIXTH COMMISSION of the EZLN


Mexico

November 2019.

To the women who struggle all over the world:

To the National Indigenous Congress-Indigenous Governing Council:

To the National and International Sixth:

To the Networks of Resistance and Rebellion or whatever you call them:

To all those who feel called to any of these activities:

Compañeras, compañeros, compañeroas:

Sisters, brothers, hermanoas:

The EZLN’s Sixth Commission invites you to the:

Celebration of Life: A December of Resistance and Rebellion

Including the following activities:

“Puy Ta Cuxlejaltic” Film Festival


Second Edition

To be held December 7-14, 2019, at the following locations:

Caracol Jacinto Canek (in CIDECI, San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico)

Caracol Espiral digno tejiendo los colores de la humanidad en memoria de l@s caídos (Spiral of Dignity Weaving the Colors of Humanity in Memory of the Fallen), (in Tulan Ka´u, on the San Cristóbal de las Casas-Comitán de Domínguez highway, halfway between those two cities, 40 minutes from either one, driving prudently).

Program and participants to be announced at a later date.

Register to attend at the following address:

segundofestivalcine@ezln.org.mx

-*-

First CompArte for Dance: “Dance Another World”

To be held December 15-20, 2019 at:

Caracol Jacinto Canek (in CIDECI, San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico)

Register to participate or attend at the following addresses:

participanteprimercompartedanza@ezln.org.mx

asistenteprimercompartedanza@ezln.org.mx

-*-

Forum in Defense of Territory and Mother Earth

To be held December 21-22, 2019.

The National Indigenous Congress, which is organizing this event with the support of the EZLN’s Sixth Commission, will provide details.

To be held at:

Caracol Jacinto Canek (in CIDECI, San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico).

-*-

NOTE: The following event is only for women who struggle:

Second Gathering of Women Who Struggle

To be celebrated December 26-29, 2019, at:

The Semillero “Huellas del Caminar de la Comandanta Ramona” (In the Footprints of Comandanta Ramona) in the Caracol Torbellino de Nuestras Palabras (Whirlwind of our Words), Tzots Choj zone (community of Morelia, MAREZ [Autonomous Zapatista Municipality in Rebellion] 17 de Noviembre), the same place where the First Gathering was held, it’s the official municipality of Altamirano.

Register at the following email:

estamosaprendiendo@ezln.org.mx

Note: ONLY women who struggle will be allowed to enter the semillero (seedbed), which is the site of the gathering (they can bring boys under 12). NO MEN PERMITTED at the site. Oh well. The Zapatista Women Coordinating Committee will provide details at a later date.

-*-

Celebration of the 26th Anniversary of the Beginning of the War Against Oblivion

To be held December 31-January 1, 2020, at:

Caracol Torbellino de Nuestras Palabras (Whirlwind of our Words), Tzots Choj zone (community of Morelia, MAREZ 17 de Noviembre).

Register at the following email:

visitante26aniversario@ezln.org.mx

-*-

That’s all for now.

From the mountains of the Mexican Southeast,

Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés

Sixth Commission of the EZLN

 

 

 

 

Megaprojects and rights

No to the Megaproject of the Isthmus! The Isthmus is ours, the Indigenous Peoples, the Mexican People, Not the Companies, Not the Governments!

By: Carlos Fazio

Heir of the megaproject of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec of Ernesto Zedillo (1996) –then renamed the Plan Puebla-Panamá (Fox, 2001), the Mesoamerican Initiative (Calderón, 2008) and the Special Economic Zone of the Isthmus (Peña Nieto, 2016)–, the Interoceanic [Trans-Isthmus] Corridor of Andrés Manuel López Obrador seems destined to reproduce the same neoliberal logic.

The 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) made up part of the legal-political framework for capital’s class domination. Since then, the corporate rights derived from the imposition of NAFTA meant a profound rupture of the Welfare State’s social contract, and the rights of the poor and the workers were devastated by “predatory private tyranny” (Chomsky said), which also demolished, via regulatory violence, the hierarchy and the normative pyramid of the system of protection for human rights.

NAFTA was not designed to promote the social good; nor an agreement between the people of the three countries of North America to take advantage of the mutual benefits of the exchange of products and services based on de their comparative advantages. It was a pact that elevated the legal status of big investors and, simultaneously, linked and subordinated the economic power of the State to corporate interests, thus eroding the State’s commitment and options for protecting the citizens. A central purpose of NAFTA was to disarm the original peoples in order to dispossess them of the tools of identification, expression, culture, resistance and transformative capacity that national sovereignty and the existence of a legitimate State can offer them. The disarming of the Mexican State versus corporate interests acquired tragic characteristics, upon becoming a promoter and certifier of the private operations of investors. Particularly grave was the accelerated dismantling of the 1917 Constitution, which had introduced social rights and the subordination private property rights to the common interest.

The structural violence of the capitalist system –the accumulation of wealth of a minority at the expense of poverty and the environmental and cultural destruction of the peoples– was incorporated into the treaty in a transversal way. The counter-reform of Constitutional Article 27, which modified the ownership of ejido and communal land, supposed an expropriation of rights and guarantees about the use and belonging of land and natural assets. Those practices were presented as sought-after development policies, but were really actions of dispossession that were subsequently provided legal coverage.

Under the logic of counterinsurgency, neoliberal regimes used state, paramilitary and criminal violence to generate terror and fear, as part of a strategy to control territories and populations; a scheme of institutional violence that utilized extrajudicial summary executions, forced disappearances, systematic torture, forced population displacement and land appropriation to impose economic policies that respond to the interest of the plutocracy and attack the rights and interests of the majority poor people.

As part of a process of “power diversion” −a transformation of the state apparatus that, at the same time reinforced, privatized and updated a tremendous punitive capacity−, the State, in a historic reactionary turn, abandoned all concern for the well-being of the population, abolished the public sphere, liquidated society and installed a criminal and mafia-like social-Darwinism, violating each and every one of the historic conquests of the peoples.

That savage regression in the exercise of power consisted in the use −on the part of governments, political representatives and de facto powers− of the economic, political, cultural and legal-institutional capacities of the State for the purpose of satisfying or benefiting plutocratic interests against or to the detriment of the public and general interest of the population, and at the expense of neglecting the minimum conditions of the reproduction and development of social life and of subjecting the exercise of individual and collective rights of the bulk of the citizenry to economic dynamics alien to their interests. The priority function of the State was reformulated to become the organizer and/or executor of the dispossession and expropriations, of the transformation and destruction of the productive structure and of the implementation of massacres, repressions and numerous violations of rights necessary for breaking the community social fabric. In Article 2, the Constitution recognizes the rights of the indigenous peoples to self-determination and autonomy, including the right to free and informed consultation, although inadequately. In any case, when Mexico recognizes international treaties, it should be understood that the State has the obligation to recognize said rights beyond the contrary constitutional restriction. The instruments where they establish those rights are Convention 169 of the International Labor Organization (ILO) on indigenous and tribal peoples and the United Nations Declaration on indigenous peoples. Those guarantees must be recognized today in an effective way, in regard to political autonomy, the ownership of their lands and being consulted about the megaprojects that can affect them directly, like the Interoceanic Corridor and the so-called Maya Train.

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Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Monday, October 21, 2019

https://www.jornada.com.mx/2019/10/21/opinion/024a2pol

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee

 

 

 

 

Day of the Dead in San Juan Chamula, Chiapas

Día de los Muertos en San Juan Chamula Photo: Isaín Mandujano

TRADITION, MUSIC and COCA COLA

 By: Isaín Mandujano

Year after year, in this community in the Highlands of Chiapas, indigenous Tsotsil people from 22 communities and spots go to the cemetery to celebrate their dead, where Coca Cola is an essential element on the graves.

Local, national and foreign tourists come to this community located a few kilometers from San Cristóbal de Las Casas, towards Tenejapa, but inside the municipality of San Juan Chamula, a little more in front of Cruztón, the mecca of posh, a traditional inebriating drink.

From early on, men, women and children concentrate on this, which is the most important holiday of this town, proud of its traditions, is the largest municipality of the more than 100 communities of San Juan Chamula, and that’s why each year the municipal president has to make his tour of this place with all his closest collaborators.

Next to the cemetery is what’s now the center of the population, a big fair is erected, mechanical games, stalls with food, clothing, and sweets; they sell posh, beer, fermented cane juice and corn beer, they say.

Among the norteño and mariachi groups that sing from grave to grave, the danzantes, kolemal max and free monkeys, in Spanish, stand out. With their wind instruments, accordion, artisan guitar made in this region, trumpets and rattles, the colorful characters dance around the graves and consume the drinks they are offered: beer, posh or whatever they give them. Some of them end up drunk.

A group of small dancers stand out. Pedro Hernández Gómez, from right here in Romerillo, [1] has a group of traditional dancing children, who he encourages not to lose the tradition of that indigenous Tsotsil town in the Highlands of Chiapas. Pedro is a young disabled man whose own children help him walk with his crutches carrying his accordion. With dreadlocks and sports clothes, Pedro strives to see that the children execute each instrument and dance to the beat of the wind music.

On the graves full of sedge, marigolds and candles, the beers also stand out. On some of the other graves they put tamales, atole [2] and agrio, [3] but many put Coca Cola, which they put next to the cross after spilling a little on the earthen grave, which they cover a board.

Photo: Isaín Mandujano

A Multidisciplinary Research Center study on Chiapas and the Southern Border (CIMSUR) reports that the state is the region of the world where the most Coca-Cola is consumed, an average of 821.25 liters per year per person. Jaime Page Pliego, a doctor in anthropology for the CIMSUR, revealed in his study that the increase in consumption was caused by a modification of the social and religious life of its inhabitants. And the most palpable proof is in Romerillo.

Concrete tombs are not allowed in this cemetery, nothing of cement, they say, no bricks; when they die, all are equal in this cemetery.

The cemetery is located on a hill, where 22 gigantic crosses are erected on the high part. There is one for each of the places and communities that has the right to bury their dead in this place.

In Romerillo this weekend is a long fiesta, musical groups liven up the nights. The quarrels are never lacking, but the mayors or police are ready to take the quarrelsome ones away to the community jail where they will spend a cold night.

We are 2500 meters above sea level. The alcohol is mostly what’s left over in this place. And not to doubt it, its neighbors are its brothers from the indigenous town of Cruztón, the posh capital, the mecca of posh. They come from many communities, many municipalities and from other states of the country to this place where the majority of its inhabitants produce posh based on wheat, raw sugarcane and sugar. Others use corn as the basic element.

Now they even make flavors to lower the intensity of the alcohol. Román, a young man who attend to his posh store in the center of Cruztón, says that people come from very far away to even buy tubs of the posh that his family produces. Román says that his neighbors from Romerillo are his main clients in these festivities, where those from Cruztón also have their dead.

Between the pre-Hispanic syncretism, Christianity and new additional elements of modernity, they make sure that the uses and customs, as well as their traditions are preserved in Romerillo, where thousands arrive to see their dead, but also to celebrate family life.

Notes:

[1] Romerillo is where the cemetery is located in San Juan Chamula municipality.

[2] Atole is a sweet hot Mayan corn drink.

[3] Agrio is a bitter beer drink from corn.

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Originally Published in Spanish by Chiapas Paralelo

Saturday, November 2, 2019

https://www.chiapasparalelo.com/noticias/chiapas/2019/11/dia-de-muertos-en-san-juan-chamula-tradicion-musica-y-coca-cola/

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee

 

A great disorder under the skies

Daily protests in Santiago, Chile after a rise in the cost of public transportation. Photo: Edgard Garrido/ Reuters.

By: Raúl Zibechi

The increase in the cost of bus fare in Santiago, Chile was 30 pesos (720 pesos equal one dollar), raising the cost to 830 pesos. It’s evident that the popular reaction was not because of the $0.04 per ticket, but rather was due to very deep causes that have a name: neoliberalism/ extractivism/ accumulation by dispossession.

The Quito Uprising was, formally, against the end of the fuel subsidies, which always make food prices more expensive and prices rise. The original peoples and the workers took advantage of the gap opened by transport carriers, who don’t have popular interests but corporate ones, for throwing themselves into the jugular of the model.

In both cases, and in many others, what’s happening is that the peoples are fed up with an inequality that doesn’t stop growing under governments of the most diverse signs. Because the inequality is structural and is closely tied to the extractive model, which is summed up in social polarization, increasing poverty and concentration of power in the financial elites and big multinational companies.

The gigantic popular mobilizations in Quito, Santiago and Port-au-Prínce, not to mention Barcelona, Hong Kong and Paris, show two things that are guiding the situation: the power that popular mobilization has acquired, capable of configuring deep political turns, and that collective actions transcend governments, questioning a model that produces misery below and luxury above.

Protests in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Photo: The Nation.

To be more precise: June 2013, with 20 million Brazilians in the streets of 350 cities, was a cry against inequality that buried the governability of Lula by the government not having comprehended the depth of the cry. December 2017 was key, but in an opposite direction, since it buried the conservative and classist governability of Macri.

However, these assessments continue being general and don’t touch the core. Walking through the streets of Quito these October days, where the sticky smell of smoke from burned tires remains, forces you to reflect. The exchanges with people from the most diverse movements, rural and urban dissipate the fog of the systemic confusion in which we move.

The first assessment is that women and youth played a decisive role in the uprising, which overflowed to the historic leaders. They starred in the largest march of women in the history of Ecuador, contributing the knowledge of reproduction and the care of life, adding lucidity to the fervor of youth without diminishing the combativeness.

The second [assessment] is the difference between an organized uprising and a spontaneous explosion. The Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (Confederación de Nacionalidades Indígenas del Ecuador (Conaie) is a community-based organization, very well structured, and that’s why it had the capacity to get the provocateurs out of the marches, including the masked ones. That’s something that is not being possible in Chile, where police agents systematically infiltrated the demonstrations and encourage looting, which turns the population against the protests.

The third [assessment] is that the uprising was possible thanks to the rural communities in the first place. They provided what was necessary to ensure permanence for 12 days in distant Quito. Two forces stood out: the communities of the central sierra, to the north and to the south of the capital, and the Amazonian peoples, whose arrival organized as an indigenous guard was decisive in the final days final.

Pro-Independence protests in Barcelona, Spain. Photo: El Pais.

There was also an important presence of urban communities, the poor neighborhoods where the young people played an active and decisive role. A sector of the urban middle classes overcame the racism promoted by the media and supported the original peoples with water and food.

Finally, there is the interpretation of what’s happening. Among the different analyses, I believe the most profound is the one that Juan Cuvi and his colleagues write, in a work entitled “The exhaustion of a social control model” (El agotamiento de un modelo de control social). This model was born in the early 2000s with Lucio Gutiérrez and was developed throughout the decade of Rafael Correa.

In effect, the model is in crisis, but nothing is seen that can replace it in the short term. That’s why the chaos is underway, which will last for an unpredictable time, until the forces capable of overcoming it mature. We must think in terms of decades, more than of years and, even less, compress the changes underway to electoral times. Nor can we think that what’s coming is necessarily better that what expires.

A great disorder, as Mao Zedong pointed out, can be something positive. A great order is the social cemetery capital needs to continue accumulating. Disorder isn’t enough to modify things. The system counts on social protest social for redirecting it towards its interests, taking advantage of the confusion that may be functional, if we don’t find ways of converting the current situation into a scenario favorable to the peoples.

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Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Friday, October 25, 2019

https://www.jornada.com.mx/2019/10/25/opinion/020a2pol

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee

 

 

They demand breaking up the armed groups in Chenalhó

The Displaced of Chalchiuitán Photo: Ángeles Mariscal

By: Isaín Mandujano

From this community in the Chiapas Highlands, indigenous people from a dozen communities that experienced a massive displacement in 2017, today asked the state and federal government to break up the civilian armed groups that operate in Chenalhó municipality that terrorized them for two years with their weapons and patrols in the region.

Just two days after the two-year anniversary of the murder of the indigenous Tsotsil Samuel Luna Girón, which triggered an armed attack on the residents of Chalchihuitán, on the part of civilian armed group in Chenalhó, today his widow, family members, friends and compañeros of the man riddled with shots, asked for justice and punishment of the murderers and that the government comply with the corresponding indemnifications for all the damages that they caused them, by not having guaranteed the security of those who suffered forced displacement.

Elicia Gómez García, Samuel Luna Girón’s widow, recalled that October 18, 2017, when a group of armed men murdered her husband in front of her and their children, and began to evict them from their homes and burn the houses, as well as those of others neighbors and relatives.

All of that derived from the dispute over territorial limits between the municipalities of Chenalhó and Chalchiuitán, where the comuneros of both places fought each other over some lands where Tsotsil comuneros of both localities grow coffee and corn. This is an agrarian conflict that has several decades now.

It was in October 2017, when more than 5,000 residents of some 11 Chalchiuitán communities bordering on Chenalhó, were obliged to leave their homes and take refuge in the mountains, while some were able to reach other communities or the municipal capital. The displaced had to leave 11 communities.

From the end of October until December, the 5,023 indigenous people, men, women, elderly and children, survived in precarious conditions, in overcrowded conditions, suffering cold and hunger. Some 12 people died of diseases, or because of not having food to give to their children. The dead were the weakest ones, newborns and elderly.

María Pérez Paciencia, from one of the nine communities abandoned on that occasion, recalled the miserable conditions that they had to endure for two months given the indifference of the state government of Manuel Velasco and the federal government of Enrique Peña Nieto. And although there were no conditions for returning, little by little they were returned to their homes, with the permanent threat of being attacked.

Javier Luna Girón, said that the civilian armed groups in the region that forced them to leave their homes continue operating with impunity, and that their dead continue without having justice.

Ausencio Pérez Paciencia, said that two years have already passed and they continue waiting for the payment the state and federal governments promised the 5,000 displaced for everything that they lost: crops, backyard and farm animals, household goods, burned houses that have not been reconstructed and many other material damages that they suffered.

Marcos Pérez Gómez lamented that the state and federal governments have just deceived the population, that these civilian armed groups that are patrolling the roads they continue terrorizing them, that they enter the cornfields (milpas) to intimidate the campesinos of Chalchiuitán. The government has not dismantled them and they have operated since 1997 when they organized as a paramilitary group to perpetrate the massacre of 45 campesinos on December 22, 1997 in Acteal, Chenalhó.

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Originally Published in Spanish by Chiapas Paralelo

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

https://www.chiapasparalelo.com/noticias/chiapas/2019/10/demandan-desarticular-grupos-armados-de-chenalho/

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee 

The strength of the insurrection in Ecuador

Ecuador Protests

By: R. Aída Hernández and Juan Illicachi*

On October 13, after 12 days of social mobilizations, the government of the President de Ecuador, Lenin Moreno, repealed Decree 883, known as the big package, which eliminated the subsidy for gasoline and promoted a series of reforms that affected the least protected sectors of Ecuadorian society. Since October 2, a broad citizen movement headed by the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (Conaie), the Workers Unitary Front (Frente Unitario de Trabajadores, FUT) and the Federation of Indigenous Evangelicals of Ecuador (Feine), called a national strike, taking the streets of the principal cities of Ecuador. This citizen mobilization took place in response to the austerity measures decreed by President Moreno Garcés, following the guidelines imposed by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as conditions for a new 4.2 billion dollar loan. The repeal of Decree 883 was a victory of the coalition of indigenous and popular organizations, which showed in recent weeks the capacity for resistance that the organized people can have.

But the stop of the gasoline subsidy was only the tip of the iceberg of a series of structural reforms that are in Moreno’s inkwell, which include several points that directly affect the most impoverished sectors of the country, and specifically indigenous territories. Among the FMI’s recommendations is a tax reform to make direct foreign investment favorable, reducing taxes on foreign companies while promoting mining and oil extraction by transnationals. This reform would respond to the successful resistance actions of the indigenous movement indigenous against extractivism. Last spring, the residents of Girón, in the province of Azuay, said “no to mining,” in order to protect the Quimsacocha nature reserve, affecting the Canadian company INV Metals. Meanwhile, the indigenous organizations of the Intag region, in northern Imbabura province, declared that zone free of mining and demanded the exit of the extractive companies. Faced with the defense of life and territory, the interests of big capital try to impose with the force of law, maintained with legitimized violence.

The pseudo-left president Lenin Moreno, who had been Vice President during the two terms of Rafael Correa (2007-09 and 2009-13), under- estimated the capacity of the peoples’ resistance, by betraying all his campaign promises and imposing the neoliberal program, which the IMF has wanted to establish on the continent. To the state of exception that the government declared on October 3, which expanded military and police powers for repression, the Conaie responded, declared its own state of exception, demanded the withdrawal of governmental forces from its communities and warned that they would be subjected to indigenous justice in case of violating its jurisdictions. At the same time, the articulation of urban and rural political forces, even the evangelical population, showed the convoking power of the indigenous movement in Ecuador and obliged the government to sit down and negotiate. Together with the repeal of Decree 833, it was agreed to install a commission formed by the government and social sectors to make a proposal that permits balancing the economy.

Protesters celebrate victory in Ecuador.

However, the balance of human rights violations committed during those 12 days of mobilizations is pending. The government responded with all the force of its repressive apparatus against the peaceful demonstrations because, according to official numbers, 485 demonstrators were arrested just between October 3 and 6, and the death of 5 more was reported, among them a leader of the Conaie, from the province of Cotapaxi.

The chronicle of the events of October 11, in which one of the authors of this text was present, gives a sample of the violence that the government used against the organized people, whose consequences must still be evaluated. On the ninth day of mobilization: indigenous and mestizos, students and workers, women and men, old and young, from the countryside and the city, marched peacefully towards the National Assembly, and were attacked with tear gas bombs for more than four hours. Then the most delectable strategies were used to ambush the protesters and after a while of suspending the attacks, in the middle of rivers of people, who were demanding justice, three vehicles with food appeared. Those present, lined up to take water, bread, rice and soft drinks, and a break, after hours of marching and receiving aggressions. No one knew where the food had come from, but around 4:20 pm, they heard shots from the tear gas bombs, which took the demonstrators by surprise. The people shouted: “They betrayed us!” and “They paused until they were resupplied with ammunition!” and “We’re not armed, don’t attack us!” Several questions emerge: Did the space turn into the field of attack? Can you say, a concentration camp of attack on the protest? What is clear is that the police and the Ecuadorian armed forces were used infamously and excessively against the people, generating violence and death. The exact number of injured and detained is not known, but the Ombudsman’s Office reported that this week’s events have been the most violent in recent years.

It’s pitiful that it is the governments that come to power with a supposedly leftist agenda, which is supposed to prioritize social welfare policies, who impose the extractive megaprojects that dispossess the indigenous peoples, as well as structural reforms that affect the poorest. The victory of the Ecuadorian popular movement is an example of what can be achieved articulating alliances and using peaceful civil resistance. The Mexican government would do well to learn from the Ecuadorian reality the consequences that wanting to impose on the peoples extractive projects that threatened life and territory can have.

* R. Aída Hernández is a social anthropologist and feminist activist. Ciesas She is a professor and researcher at the Center for Advanced Studies in Social Anthropology (CIESAS). Juan Illicachi is a former rector of the Intercultural University of Nationalities and Indigenous Peoples Amawtay Wasi and Kichwa leader of a grass roots organization of the Conaie.

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Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

https://www.jornada.com.mx/2019/10/16/opinion/018a1pol

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee

 

 

The Mexican government apologizes to indigenous women raped by the Army in 1994

 “THEY PUNISHED US TO PUNISH ZAPATISMO”

By: Angeles Mariscal

The soldiers recognized them, when on June 4, 1994, Ana, Beatriz and Cecilia González Pérez and their mother Delia Pérez attempted to cross the checkpoint that the Mexican Army put up in the ejido Jalisco, municipality of Altamirano. They even called one of them with the nickname by which she was known in her community. To the Secretary of National Defense (SEDENA, the Spanish acronym) they were members of the Zapatista National Liberation Army (Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional, EZLN) and punished them for that by raping them.

They detained them and for two hours, by means of sexual torture, attempted to force them to say they were members of the armed group, and to inform on other individuals. Those were months in which the Mexican Army was occupying indigenous areas of Chiapas to disarticulate the insurgent movement.

They resisted, and upon being released, criminally denounced the acts, submitted to examinations that showed the tumultuous rape, but the case was assumed by Military Justice, and was closed denying justice. They then appealed to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), a body that in 2001, after analyzing the case, presented an in-depth report, declaring the international responsibility of the Mexican State, demanding that it punish those responsible, and that it repair the damage to the aggrieved.

The IACHR concluded that rape of the González Pérez sisters, “was committed for the purpose of intimidating the three women because of their alleged links to the EZLN.” However, the Mexican State evaded its responsibility for 25 years, until this October 18, when it initiated the justice process.

In the public square of the city of Ocosingo, in the voice of Interior Secretary Olga Sánchez Cordero, the Mexican government apologized to the Gonzalez Pérez sisters, before 500 people, among them public officials and residents of the region.

“Today, in the name of the Mexican State, I apologize for the lack of investigation and search for justice (…) it’s essential to recognize the impact of war on the bodies of women, direct offenses that cross through a triple structural violence in this case: for being women, for being indigenous and for being poor,” Sánchez Cordero said.

The Under Secretary of Human Rights, Alejandro Encinas, was also at the public apology event. He maintained: “you cannot ignore the context in which the terrible offenses of this case occur. They start with the 1994 armed conflict against the indigenous communities and peoples, who were demanding the recognition of the most basic rights: work, land, shelter, food, health care, education, independence, freedom, democracy, justice and peace. The 500 years of exploitation and marginalization were not enough: the voice of the peoples was silenced with blows (…) the sexual torture committed on the part of the State against the González sisters, had the objective of repressing, intimidating and humiliating,” he recognized.

Mexican Army, the big absence

The public apology had a big absent, representatives from the SEDENA, the institution that the sisters locate as their torturers. Ana, Beatriz, Celia and their mother Delia, demanded for all these years that military leaders were the ones who should acknowledge the acts, the ones who should apologize and be brought to justice.

“Those who in reality committed the harm didn’t come. What we want is a real justice. I want to demand justice, so that the soldiers ask us for public forgiveness. When Zapatismo happened in 1994, they punished us in order to punish Zapatismo,” Celia, who was only 16 years old when the acts occurred, pointed out.

Her sister Ana added: “this act of public in reality is not an act of public apology because we said clearly that we wanted representatives of the SEDENA to be present so that they could ask us for public forgiveness, because they were the ones who committed the offenses. This public forgiveness is not complete.”

In indigenous culture it is the one responsible for the offense who must ask for forgiveness, because it is the identification of this before the community.

Ana insisted that they reject the presence of soldiers in indigenous zones. “We don’t want the soldiers in our towns, because the government says that they are the ones who protect us, but it is the opposite; they are the ones who do us harm.”

“What happened to us, the rapes, happens in many parts of Ocosingo and Altamirano (indigenous regions of Chiapas where the EZLN has a presence), and no one ever makes it known,” Celia emphasized.

“This is happening today, it’s as if a garbage truck came, and it came to collect all the garbage. I say to you that when the government does an abuse or a rape, speak up and don’t keep quiet.”

The González Pérez sisters also spoke the name of those who died in 1994, at the hands of the Mexican Army. “The reason and the cause for which the Zapatistas died were because there is a lot of poverty, a lot of oblivion towards the indigenous peoples, and they were fighting against this.”

Among the agreements that Olga Sánchez Cordero, Alejandro Encinas and the sisters and their mother signed today, is to continue the investigation for bringing the implicated soldiers to [legal] process.

However, they insisted that this process not be individualized, and it is assumed that the rape was not an independent or autonomous act that the soldiers committed, bur rather an institutional action that obeyed a strategy of war against the EZLN.

The apology, a vindication of their dignity

For the González Pérez sisters and their mother, the act of forgiveness had a meaning beyond their person; it was the vindication of their dignity in front of their community. Therefore, they asked that this event be carried out in the municipality of Ocosingo, the most important city in the Tzeltal indigenous to which they belong.

After the rape, when the family and the community to which they belonged learned about it, they were rejected, and were forced to leave the place. “It was on the one hand because of the community’s fear of the repression on the part of the military that was occupying them, but also because of the way in which women are configured in indigenous communities, and the value they place on virginity. By losing it in the rape, they were seen as ´the soldiers’ women´ or prostitutes,” explained Gloria Flores Ruiz, the lawyer for the indigenous women.

Nevertheless, the three sisters and their mother understood that members of the EZLN and indigenous communities as a whole were also aggrieved in the rape. “Forgiveness is experienced not only towards their person, but also as a forgiveness that the aggrieved women deserve, but also the Zapatista women. Forgiveness is experienced in a feeling, individual, communitarian, political,” she explained.

Therefore, in the agreement with the Mexican government, the aggrieved also asked the Mexican government for a public apology in favor of the community as a whole, and in favor of the Zapatista population.

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Originally Published in Spanish by Chiapas Paralelo

Friday, October 18, 2019

https://www.chiapasparalelo.com/noticias/nacional/2019/10/gobierno-mexicano-pide-disculpas-a-indigenas-violadas-por-el-ejercito-en-1994-nos-castigaron-para-castigar-al-zapatismo/

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee

 

Saint Greta and the day after

Greta Thunberg

By: Hermann Bellinghausen

It is in the nature of contemporary media and social networks that we waste time among the weeds to avoid the important. The forms of self-deception, pretexts and procrastination fill our hands, disguised as likes and dislikes, ceaselessly interrupted by owners and advertisers making sure that our ideas and actions are fragmentary, effective, emotional, satisfying like a treat (in Ignacio Ramonet’s terms), fleeting, forgettable, replaced by the next and the next until nausea or numbness. Sometimes the impact is bigger. The Nordic saga of Greta Thunberg, the student who one day decided to skip school and save the world, generated a massive and ongoing wave of responses, especially from youth, to talk and demand, protest, disrupt.

These kids, from the First and Second worlds, who in effect have three meals a day, go to the dentist and may be white, although not necessarily (the Swedish factor is secondary), are provoking media impact in the guilty metropolises, even if it makes us itchy and we talk about the children of Syria and La Montaña of Guerrero, let’s see how fucking privileged kids cry, they lack the leather to tie their straps.

That said, wanting to waste time with memes, hashtags and opinions on the fly, happy to suspect that there is something fishy, nobody fools me, who is behind it, to see what prince put in the sailboat, what “green” company wants to unseat coal and oil.

Greta matters, regardless of her merit in opposing the parliament and right-wing philosophers in France, Fox News, the large extractive and warlike companies, their think tanks and last but not least, the holders of the planetary political power Putin, Trump, Bolsonaro and company. She also added the irritations, boasts, and disdain of left and radical thinking in the First, Second and Third worlds, including proud “ethnics” of any denomination. What unanimity! The Swedish girl whose clinical history is public (the new Assange?) gave a media dimension to the central claim of our time, took it to European parliaments, to the exasperating UN assembly, echoing in the streets of more than a hundred cities after infesting high schools and youth clubs.

Greta Thunberg rally in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada yesterday October 20, 2019.

The planet is dying, at least as we knew it. That is, in the conditions that made it habitable, unique in the galaxy, the habitat of all civilizations. The problem is not whether Greta is Joan of Arc (which she is), or whether we like it or not. There are alternatives of consciousness, struggles and resistances of greater depth and eloquence, but instead of turning to them and acting, we suck our finger of candy on candy, of indignation on indignation. The one that brought us is taking us and we are still wasting time.

You don’t like what children do? Hey, there are alternatives for adults. It stands out for its clarity and forcefulness Extinction Rebellion (ER), a new direct resistance movement, originated in London, which as of October 7 carries out actions in 60 cities (I fear not ours) that really challenge corporations , governments and their police. They are killing it. Their impeccable reasoning is what we should discuss now. Their logo, an hourglass, tells us: “time is running out”. Are we going to keep saying goodbye to jungles and glaciers between tears and prayers? As David Bowie recites: “I demand a better future.”

The world is going through a mass extinction event, ER argues. It is estimated that between 30 and 40 thousand species become extinct every year. The ongoing destruction process is caused by human activity. Such catastrophic loss of biodiversity is likely to generalize a collapse of ecosystems that would leave the planet uninhabitable for humans: “Something’s happening. You know it, you feel it. It calls you to be a part. ”

ER says: “We are reaching a point of no return. Governments do nothing. Neither do businesses. It is not a distant apocalypse. People suffer and die in the world right now. Whole species disappear. And it will get worse. The time to act is today. It is happening to others. Soon it will be you and the ones you love. Don’t count on us, or Greta, to do it for you. Look inside yourself and rebel. ER calls to peacefully occupy the centers of power and close them until the governments act for the climatic and ecological emergency. “Leave your desk, invite your boss, turn off the television, put the cell phone aside. Take to the streets. Respect the existence or expect resistance. ”

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Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Monday, October 7, 2019

https://www.jornada.com.mx/2019/10/07/opinion/a10a1cul

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee

 

 

 

In Spain they call October 12 the discovery of America; in Mexico we call it the bleeding of America

Photo: María de Jesús Patricio Martínez, known as Marichuy

By: Maialen Ferreira

 It’s the first time that the indigenous leader María de Jesús Patricio, known as Marichuy, a leader of the National Indigenous Congress (Congreso Nacional Indígena, CNI) of Mexico, visits Euskadi [Basque Country]. Upon passing through the narrow streets of Bilbao’s Casco Viejo she cannot avoid comparing it to the famous Alley of the Kiss of Guanajuato, an alley in her country in which, according to legend, two lovers whose relationship was prohibited could communicate without being seen, thanks to the closeness of the balconies of both houses. Marichuy will visit some cities in Spain, like Bilbao, San Sebastián, Vitoria and Madrid, where she will offer talks at universities and associations in which she will treat themes like the violation of rights that indigenous communities suffer in Mexico, a struggle she has been heading for years and that last year led her to the pre-candidacy for the Presidency in Mexico’s federal elections, becoming the first indigenous woman to run for the position. Despite the fact that the Zapatista National Liberation Army (Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional, EZLN) supported her pre-candidacy, she did not achieve collecting enough signatures to get on the ballot as an independent candidate for the presidency, which, after a controversial campaign, ended up in the hands of Andrés Manuel López Obrador.

How is Zapatismo currently lived in Mexico?

They continue organizing, and continue growing their organization from below, men, women and children. Even we indigenous people are surprised when they walk little by little, they don’t come out in the media, you don’t see them, but they are there, and there they continue constructing. Here you have asked me if it’s an armed group and my answer is that although they declared war on the Government in 1994, they decided that the correct path was not that way. They are part of the CNI and that to the indigenous peoples of Mexico shows us that we can achieve that organization that we sometimes consider impossible. We can really construct a government from below and to the left.

What did it mean to you and your country that an indigenous woman could achieve being a pre-candidate in the Federal Elections?

Participating in the 2018 elections was a pretext not to occupy the presidential seat, but rather to achieve making visible the problems of our indigenous peoples and also to get closer to the different towns, barrios, districts to show that the only way of really constructing this government from below is through organization. That was the idea of participating in the electoral process; we decided to insert ourselves into “the fiesta of the rich” because they consider it theirs and they pass the power from hand to hand, so that’s why we decided to use their own weapons to fulfill our objectives. That’s why this proposal was launched and it was decided to form the Indigenous Government Council (Concejo Indígena del Gobierno), which is representative of the peoples through a councilor.

Generally the positions of above are for men, but this struggle that we are constructing from below has to include women, has to be equal. If we see that something is wrong, it is the people who must, organizationally, be the one that governs and the government that obeys.

And did they achieve that objective of making the problems of the indigenous communities visible?

Although we didn’t collect all the signatures, I believe it was achieved. Many took us as an example. At the beginning they said to us: “how if you are a minority do you want to appear” [on the ballot]? And we said” “And why not?” It’s what’s missing; that the people below, the workers of the countryside and the city, don’t feel less and that we see that we have the same values and rights. Our dignity is what has to hold us with our heads held high, because it’s enough of so much rejection, so much abandonment, oblivion, humiliation that our grandparents have had. For them I believe it’s worth the pain to struggle and say that there are other ways of communicating with us, of relating to us, to construct this new organizational form.

AMLO has achieved bringing the left to power for the first time since democracy was established, in 2000. In his campaign he criticized the structural reforms of the last 25 years and declared the end of the “neoliberal period” in Mexico. How does the president evaluate his mandate so far?

For the peoples there has not been much benefit since he arrived. The change that he assured when he took the command, we see that it’s not true; it has been the opposite. The problems in the communities have worsened; there have been more deaths, more disappearances and more repression. Organizational attempts, raising your voice to say: “we disagree” with the intrusion of these megaprojects has derived, among other attacks, into the murder of our compañero Samir Flores in February. He was a member of the CNI and he said that his community disagreed with the electrical plant that the Morelos Integral Project wanted to impose and what happened? They murdered him at the door of his house. That was a declaration of war on the peoples so that they would not speak, would not organize and would peacefully leave the doors open for them to insert megaprojects. What does this mean? That one thing is said above and another below. Not only Morelos, but Puebla, Oaxaca, Yucatán and Quintana Roo is a strip where they are going to impose different megaprojects like gas pipelines, hydroelectric dams, wind farms or the Maya Train. The people have said they don’t want that, that they disagree, because it’s going to bring destruction of life, of the land, the forests, the waters, the animals and it’s also going to damage the organization of the communities, because there will be some communities that will have to be divided, passing over their forests and waters. They say that the train is going to bring a benefit, but for whom? The communities know that it’s not for them. Therefore, we believe that they are not listening to the people below, nor are they interested in listening. We believe that an agreement to transfer those lands to those who want to invest in those projects has already been made.

In Mexico the issue of colonialism is something very delicate, in Spain October 12 is a National Holiday. What does that date mean to you?

 I am going to explain it from the [point of view of the indigenous peoples of Mexico. In Spain, they call that day the discovery of America; in Mexico, they call it the bleeding of America, because it was when they arrived and there were massacres, there were murders, there was a way of imposing something from outside. They brought, or at least that’s how we see it, a cross in one hand and a sword in the other and if they didn’t convince you, they forced you. But it’s not something that has ended, what began on October 12 continues being reproduced with the imposition of the megaprojects, because it’s also a way of colonizing us, because they are projects that bring death. In school they taught us that the Indians were some savages and that it not true. The communities have and have had their way of life. They came seeking gold and silver and it’s the same thing that is occurring now, what wasn’t finished then they want to finish now, it’s death, it’s repression. So what are we going to celebrate? Yes, they made us believe in school that it was good, that they brought benefit to our land, but what benefit if they killed our people? They robbed us of our gold, our silver; that is not bringing benefit.

In Mexico, despite the fact that the left governs, as you comment, there are communities in towns that do not feel represented. In Spain, the left has not been able to form a Government. Why do you believe that a real government of the lefts costs so much?

There are people that are getting organized, struggling, and to the extent that they are determined I believe they are going to achieve it. There comes a time in which the people say plainly “up to,” and it’s when the water is already coming up to their neck. The problem is that people set ideology aside when there is a comfortable life. If we feel that there are things that are bad and that we would like to change, we must start looking for those alliances, because sometimes it seems impossible that we can do everything alone. To the extent that we are walking and meeting more compañeros and compañeras that are in agreement with our ideals, with our struggle, we will be creating an organization of the left, an organization from below and to the left, but not pretending that they are the left son to then at the hour of truth show that they are the right. No, it really has to be constructed from below and that can be applied to any country.

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Originally Published in Spanish by El Diario Norte

Friday, October 11, 2019

https://www.eldiario.es/norte/Espana-descubrimiento-America-Mexico-desangramiento_0_950505299.html

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee