Ejidos San Sebastian and San Jerónimo Bachajón and Tierra y libertad reject the construction of the San Crist óbal-Palenque highway

July 31, 2014

To the people of Mexico and the world
To the national and international press
To national and international civil society
To human rights organizations
To adherents to the Other Campaign
To social organizations
To the alternative media

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By this means, the indigenous women and men and organised campesinos from different communities of the ejido San Sebastián Bachajón, San Jerónimo Bachajón, Tierra y libertad make public our word, our denouncement and our demands to the three levels of Federal, State and Municipal Government.

We know that the federal government has granted licence and permission to foreign companies for the construction of the San Cristobal-Palenque highway which will affect seven municipalities in the state of Chiapas: Huixtán, Tenejapa, Oxchuc, Ocosingo, Chilón, Palenque, and Salto de Agua, where we, women and men, indigenous Tzotzil, Tzeltal and Chol, are living.

Against this violent dispossession (invasion) which the three levels of government and foreign companies are carrying out in complicity with the ejido authorities, we, the women and men of the ejidos San Sebastián Bachajón, San Jerónimo Bachajón, Tierra y libertad, those who live in this land where we work sowing and cultivating our food to sustain family life,

We denounce:

Our total rejection of the construction of the highway since it will bring great problems for our lands which we inherited from our parents and grandparents, which we have achieved with much hard work and struggle, but now for their own interests the governments and national and foreign companies want to destroy our cultivated land plots, springs of water, mountains, homes, meadows, sacred places, medicinal plants and above all our own culture, imposing, without informing us and hearing our words, their great projects like the construction of the highway, hydroelectric dams, mineral extraction, imposition of the Fanar programme, as well as investigations which SAGARPA and CONAFOR seek to carry out in our lands, and the construction of tourist centres,

all of this for the benefit of governments and large corporations who, with programmes and projects, divide communities buying the conscience of the people through trickery and promises like telling us that we will come out of poverty, but none of this is true, on the contrary we increasingly resent the impacts of the economic crisis and climate change which are affecting so much our corn, beans, coffee and other crops with the presence of pests which destroy our plantings.

So we say to the government:

  • We do not want government projects like fanar, PROCAMPO, monoculture, the national crusade against hunger, oportunidades and the housing programme
  • We totally reject the investigations in our lands by SAGARPA CONAFOR and AMAREF
  • No to the construction of the San Cristobal-Palenque highway, hydroelectric dams, mineral exploitation in our lands and territories
  • We totally reject the forms of dispossession of our land and natural resources by the government with its FANAR project, because the land is inherited from our grandparents, so we will fight to defend it
  • No to the displacement and to the relocation of our families, neither by the force of the army nor by the tricks of programmes and projects
  • We do not want ecotourism resorts or hotel areas in our lands
  • We totally reject all the structural reforms
  • We reject the imposition of other interests which do not respect our view of the world, our identity, our way of life, our culture

The government is violating our human rights, which it has signed and ratified in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (art. 25); Convention 169 of the International Labour Organization (art. 7); Convention of Belem second paragraph (art. 5); International Agreement on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (Article 11); the Constitution of the United Mexican States (art 1, 2, 4, 133), and the Constitution of the Free and Sovereign State of Chiapas (art. 3).

WE DEMAND

  • That the government hears our requests and demands. Should they fail to take into account what the people say, we will hold marches, roadblocks, and all that is necessary to defend our Mother Earth and the future of our children
  • The respect, use and enjoyment of our land
  • Respect for ILO Convention 169, that as indigenous peoples we have a right to the land, to our culture and to decide about the natural resources which are in our territory. Neither the government nor other countries and nations have the right to invade and dispossess us from our lands
  • Respect for the right to our land and our ways of living and thinking, for this is where we eat, here are our roots left by our ancestors
  • We are not going to keep quiet, nor be deceived by their programmes and projects, nor will we allow them to divide us as indigenous peoples
  • The land is not for sale because it is not a commodity, because it is where we eat, work, and grow our food
  • That they guarantee the right to life of the indigenous and non-indigenous peoples who are threatened by these neoliberal projects

We call on the women, men and ejidal authorities of the different communities and ejidos to join our fight for the defence of the land and territory against the construction of highway, hydroelectric and mining projects. We call on the peoples of Chiapas and Mexico to organize ourselves, as women and men, and on ejidal and religious authorities to recognize our rights to fight against the bad government which exploits and oppresses us.

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