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Mexico: National Indigenous Congress – Declaration From The Seminar “Tata Juan Chávez Alonso”
To the people and governments of the world:
To the national and international Sixth:
To the students of the Zapatista Little School:
In this time and in our history with the mother earth, the people, nations, and indigenous tribes of the Yaqui, Mayo, Náyeri, Wixárika, Rarámuri, Odam, Nahua, Purépecha, Nañu or Ñuhu, Mazahua, Popoluca, Tzotzil, Chol, Tzeltal, Tojolabal, Zoque, Totonaco, Coca, Mame, Binnizá, Chinanteco, Ikoot, Mazateco, Chontal, Ñu Saavi, Chatino, Triqui, Afromestizo, Mehpa, Nancue Ñomndaa, Ñhato and Peninsular Mayas of the states of Sonora, Chihuahua, Veracruz, Durango, Nayarit, Jalisco, Michoacán, Querétaro, San Luis Potosí, Morelos, Mexico State, Guerrero, the Federal District, Puebla, Tlaxcala, Oaxaca, Tabasco, Yucatán, and Campeche, as well as the Ixil, Quiche, Quechua and Nasa people of Guatemala, Peru, and Colombia, who have walked attentively alongside one another as children of the mother earth, gathered together on August 17th and 18th, 2013, in San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas, at the CIDECI-Unitierra facilities. We met to remember and to carry on the living word of our elder brother Tata Juan Chávez Alonso, who teaches and guides us and whose memory, one year after his death, has become a source of hope and strength for we as peoples who have re-founded and reconstituted ourselves in deciding to continue being the Indians that we are, to continue speaking the language that we speak, and to continue defending the territory where we live.
We recognize ourselves in the struggle for respect for our ancestral way of life, a struggle that we undertook together, in which we have spoken out and demanded respect, and in which we have been repeatedly betrayed by the bad governments.
We have learned through the course of this struggle that the powerful do not respect the honour of the word, which they have violated and betrayed again and again throughout this country called Mexico. Such betrayals include their refusal to recognize the Accords of San Andrés Sakamchén of the Poor, the indigenous counter-reform of 2001, and the innumerable betrayals of our people in the diverse regions and struggles of an Indian Mexico that is still alive and standing, with one heart that grows large, as large as the pain that we suffer and the hope with which we struggle. Despite the increasingly violent war of extermination against us, we are still here.
We recognize ourselves in the path of our history and that of our predecessors who are still the present, future, and mirror of autonomy exercised as practice. This is the only path that will sustain our future existence, and it has become our communal life, our assemblies, our spiritual and cultural practices, our security and self-defence, our own education and communication projects, as well as cultural and territorial claims in urban areas taken up by displaced and invaded peoples who retain a living historical memory.
We are the Indians that we are, determined to reconstitute ourselves as an other possible world.
This deep mirror reflects the struggles, old and new, of which we are composed and from which we now make this pronouncement with one heart and one word.
1. We demand the immediate release of the political prisoners in our country, particularly our indigenous Tzotzil compañero Alberto Patishtán, who has been unjustly imprisoned for 13 years and is serving an illegal 60-year sentence. We also demand the freedom of our six Nahua brothers from the community of San Pedro Tlanixo, unjustly imprisoned for 10 years in the Almoloya Prison for defending their community’s water. These include our brothers Pedro Sánchez, serving a 52-year sentence, Teófilo Pérez, serving a 50-year sentence, Rómulo Arias, serving a 54-year sentence, and the compañeros Marco Antonio Pérez, Lorenzo Sánchez and Dominga González who are currently being processed. We also demand the cancellation of the arrest warrants against Rey Perez Martinez and Santos Alejandro Álvarez, also from Tlanixco; the release of our imprisoned compañeros from the Tzeltal community of Bachajón, Chiapas, Miguel demeza Jiménez and Antonio Estrada Estrada; the release of our Loxicha compañeros Eleuterio Hernández García, Justino Hernández José, Zacarías Pascual García López, Abraham García Ramírez, Fortino Enríquez Hernández, Agustín Luna Valencia, and Alvaro Sebastián Ramírez, imprisoned in the CEFERESO number six in Huimanguillo, Tabasco; and the release of Pablo López Álvarez from San Isidro Aloapan, Oaxaca, prisoner at Villa de Etla.
2. We denounce the bad governments and the transnational corporations which have utilized paramilitary groups in order to impose extractive megaprojects through the illegal exploitation of minerals and precious woods, particularly on the Nahua coast and Purépecha plateau of Michoacán, and in the Nahua community of Ayotitlán in the Manantlán Sierra of Jalisco.
3. We demand justice for the Nahua community of Santa María Ostula, on the Michoacán coast, where the bad governments in collusion with the narco-trafficking cartels have allowed the plunder of the community’s ancestral lands, the looting of natural resources by organized crime groups, and the bloody repression of communal organization that has led to murders and disappearances.
4. We salute the historic struggle of the community of Cherán, Michoacán, and the dignified exercise of the right to self-defence that has flourished among the Purépecha people defending their lives, their families, their culture and their territory. They have faced the threats created by the complicity of the bad governments with paramilitary groups and narco-paramilitaries with demands for security, justice, and the reconstitution of their territories.
5. We also salute the dignified defence of the indigenous communities and neighbourhoods that continue to practice their traditional knowledges and the cultivation of native maize.
6. We repudiate the repression against the Ikoot people of San Mateo del Mar and San Dionísio del Mar, and against the Binniza people of Juchitán and Álvaro Obregón. We demand the immediate release of Alejandro Regalado Jiménez and Arquímedes Jiménez Luis, as well as the immediate cancellation of the wind energy corridors under the control of the Spanish companies Endesa, Iberdrola, Gamesa, and Unión Fenosa, which are invading and destroying communal lands and sacred sites of the above-mentioned peoples in the Isthmus region.
7. We demand an end to the repression against the community of San Francisco Xochicuautla in Mexico State, as well as the definitive cancellation of the Toluca-Naucalpan private highway project. We also support that community’s appeal for precautionary measures made to the Interamerican Human Rights System.
8. We demand that the federal bad government comply with the cancellation of the construction of the Independence Aqueduct, which will dispossess the Yaqui Tribe of the water that they have historically defended in the Yaqui River, and we reiterate our declaration that we will act accordingly in the case of any attempt to repress the encampment they have set up in resistance, on the international highway by Vicam, the first headquarters of the Yaqui tribe.
9. We demand an end to the repression and the withdrawal of security forces from the community of Huexca, Morelos, enacted to protect the construction of a power plant; the cancellation of the aqueduct and the extraction of water from the Cuautla River, which will affect 22 ejidos in the Ayala municipality; and an end to the harassment of 60 communities in Morelos, Puebla, and Tlaxcala, who will be displaced for the installation of a pipeline. This is all part of the Comprehensive Morelos Project, which seeks to destroy campesino life in these territories in order to convert them into industrial areas and highways. We demand respect for the sacred guardian, Volcán Popocatépetl, also being pillaged by the unfettered clandestine logging of its forests.
10. We support the struggle of community of Coca de Mezcala in Jalisco for the recuperation of their territory, and we demand the cancellation of the arrest orders against the villagers whose crime has been to defend their land.
11. We demand respect for the communal territory and the communal general assembly of Tepozlán, and add our voice to the demand for the cancellation of the Pera-Cuautla highway. We reject the campaign of lies and public deception by the Morelos government attempting to justify this dispossession.
12. We warn that there is an unprecedented attack on the sacred pillars of the world, recognized and sustained by the original peoples and which they defend in the name of life in the Universe. These include the sacred territories of Wirikuta and Hara Mara in the states of San Luis Potosí and Nayarit, which are threatened by capitalist mining and tourism projects implemented with the complicity of the bad governments on national and state levels. We demand the cancellation of all mining and tourist projects in said territories and in all indigenous territories. We condemn the campaign of confrontation conducted by the First Majestic Silver mining company and the bad government of the municipality of Catorce in San Luis Potosí. We salute the dignified campesino people of Wirikuta who have decided to speak out in defence of their land, water, health, and environment and of their brotherhood with the Wixárika people.
13. In the same vein, we warn that we will not sit on the sidelines in the face of the intended destruction of the sacred site of Muxatena and 14 other sacred sites of the Náyeri people, where the Las Cruces Dam is to be constructed on the San Pedro Mezquital River in the state of Nayarit.
14. We denounce the invasions of indigenous and peasant territories by agro-industrial companies who deliberately alter the rains for their own benefit and destroy peasant life, as has been the case in the Nahua community of Tuxpan, Jalisco and the Potosino Altiplano in Wirikuta sacred territory.
15. We demand the cancellation of mining concessions in the heart of the Santa Marta Sierra in Popoluca territory, and we denounce the attempted invasion of the communal lands of San Juan Volador in the municipality of Pajapan in the south of Veracruz by the wind energy company Dragón.
16. We demand the cancelation of the Tuxtepec-Huatulco highway project, the so-called Chinanteco Tourist Corridor in Chinanteco territory, and the cancellation of the ecological reserves in the northern region of Oaxaca.
17. We demand the cancellation of the aqueduct promoted by the bad government of Guerrero, which would dispossess the Na savi, Nancue Ñomndaa, and Afromestizo people of water from the San Pedro River on Guerrero’s Costa Chica.
18. We reject the attempt to flood the sacred sites of the people of Guarijio de Alamo, Sonora through the construction of the Pilares Dam, and the diversion of the Sonoran River to the disadvantage of the Komkaak Nation, which has been deprived of water for the last four months in order to benefit the large agricultural landowners on the Sonoran coast.
19. We denounce the Federal District government’s policy of extermination enacted against the communities and peoples of the Ajusco Sierra through the dispossession and devastation of their ejidal and communal territories in San Miguel Xicalco and San Nicolas Totolapan. We recognize and support the San Miguel and Santo Tomas Ajusco community sub-delegates in resistance.
20. We salute the struggle of the Autonomous Community of San Lorenzo Azqueltán in the state of Jalisco and recognize their autonomous authorities, remaining attentive to and in solidarity with their struggle for the recognition of their ancestral territory.
21. We salute and recognize the renewal of the communal authorities of the Wixárika autonomous community of Bancos de San Hipólito, Durango, and we support their struggle for the recognition of their ancestral territory, which they have been demanding for more than 45 years.
22. We hold the public officials of the Xochimilco political offices responsible for threats against compañero Carlos Martínez Romero of the community of Santa Cruz Acalpixca for defending water and territory.
23. We join dozens of Nahua and Totonaca communities in Puebla’s Sierra Norte in demanding the cancellation of mining concessions and hydroelectric projects, as well as the cancellation of concessions to the Altos Hornos de Mexico mining company in the Sierra Sur and Oaxacan coast.
24. We support the struggle of the Conhuas community in Calakmul, Campeche, for the defence of their territory and dignified work, and demand an end to aggressions against that community by the state government.
25. We demand recognition of the communal lands of San Pedro Tlaltizapán in the Chignahuapan Rivera in Mexico State, and the cessation of real estate construction projects on communal lands.
26. We demand respect for the territories recuperated by the Autonomous Indigenous Campesina Union of Rio Grande, Oaxaca, and we salute their resistance encampment.
27. We also demand respect for the Ñomndaa Community Radio, the voice of the Amuzgo people of Xochistlahuaca, Guerrero, as well as respect for all community radios in the different indigenous territories across the country.
28. We reiterate the demand that the Mexican state guarantee the security of Raúl Gatica of the Indigenous Popular Council of Oaxaca-Ricardo Flores Magón.
29. We demand respect for the community economies that function autonomously and independently of the free market imposed by capitalism, such as the use of the tumin in the Totonaca territory in Papantla, Veracruz, and the Trueque Council in the communities of Tianguistenco municipality in the State of Mexico.
We recognize, support, and encourage the struggles for autonomy and self-determination of all of the indigenous peoples that make up the National Indigenous Congress, from the Yucatan Peninsula to the peninsula of Baja California. This is what we are, our word and our unwavering struggle, as the National Indigenous Congress, and our future is the future of our peoples.