Zapatistas to Peña Nieto: “We Won’t Surrender, We Won’t Sell Out, We Won’t Give Up”
Proceso, 10th August, 2014
La Realidad, Chiapas – The "David Ruiz García" Meeting of Indigenous Zapatista Peoples with the Original Peoples of Mexico concluded on Saturday with a call to close ranks and walk together in resistance against the privatizations, displacements and killings. About 1,300 Zapatista delegates and more than 300 representatives from 28 other indigenous peoples of Mexico attended the meeting held from August 4 to 9 in this community nestled in a small valley in the Lacandón Jungle.
Before members of the so-called National and International Sexta, the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) and different groups from the National Indigenous Congress (CNI) unveiled the "Declaration on the Dispossession of Our Peoples" that portrays the problems confronting all the participant groups in various parts of the country.
Venustiano Vázquez Navarrete, indigenous Wirrarika from Tepoztlán, read the "Declaration On the Dispossession of Our Peoples," signed by the EZLN and the 28 collectives, groups and tribes of the National Indigenous Congress (CNI) participating in the meeting. Speaking from the stage to the gathered indigenous peoples, Vázquez Navarrete said:
"The dispossession of who we are as original peoples is the pain that brings us together in the spirit of the struggle, we are commemorating today our colleague David Ruiz García, who died sharing the pain of the brothers of the Zapatista National Liberation Army for the murder of our compañero Galeano and to make us one in our history and in our hope."
Vázquez Navarrette said that David Ruiz García’s death is vindicated in the collectives of 28 pueblos, colours and languages united at the Zapatista Caracol of La Realidad, inspiring them to share as original peoples a joy in meeting and knowing personally the peoples, languages and collective history that makes memory, resistance and congruence toward the mother who is the land that is also alive and before whom we are responsible and answerable.
Vázquez Navarrette added that this widespread dispossession has only one name: it is called capitalism: "The struggle we are engaged in is diverse, and we call dispossession the enemy because it is what we see. We die and we live every day, collectively, like the corn, like compañeros Galeano and David, and like our brothers and sisters from whom life has been taken in this war of extermination.
"From the beginning, capitalism has grown from dispossession and exploitation. Invasion and dispossession, this is the term that best describes what they called conquest of America, the plunder and theft of our lands, of our territories, of our knowledge, of our culture. Dispossession, accompanied by wars, massacres, imprisonment, death and more death, that collective life gets accustomed to because here we are, the peoples that we are, we continue being."
Vázquez Navarrette recalled that after the War of Independence [from Spain, 1810-1821], the emergence of the new nation, the liberal reform and the dictatorship of Porfirio Díaz [President from 1877-1880; then
1830-1915], Mexico was born denying these people through constitutions and laws that privatized their land and sought to legitimize the looting of their territories. Thousands of their indigenous brothers, dozens of their pueblos [communities] were exterminated by means of military campaigns and massive dispossession.
Vázquez Navarrette recalled that rebellion and resistance was the response to this dispossession and extermination. Hundreds of rebellions in Baja California, Sonora, Chihuahua, Nayarit, Jalisco, Guanajuato, Michoacán, Querétaro, Veracruz, State of Mexico, San Luis Potosí, Hidalgo, Morelos, Puebla, Guerrero, Oaxaca, Chiapas, Yucatán, Campeche and Quintana Roo, and prominently the Zapatista revolution–all challenged the colonialist society, all happened after the liberal reform, exploding in the armed movement of 1910 [outbreak of Mexican Revolution] that defended by force of arms the possession of communal land until the time of land reform and the Lázaro Cárdenas expropriation of the oil .
"Despite a million indigenous and campesinos killed during the Revolution [1910-1920], the agrarian laws that emerged afterward were inspired by Venustiano Carranza and Álvaro Obregón, assassins of Emiliano Zapata, in order to protect huge estates, prevent restitution of land, water, air and community forests to the original peoples and convert communal property into ejidos; that is, they wanted to kill us over and over again, to kill us both collectively as peoples and individually. Yet after so much death, we continue being the peoples alive and collective."
He added that today’s neoliberal capitalists, with the support of all the political parties and bad governments led by the criminal and paramilitary leader Enrique Peña Nieto, are applying the same policies of large-scale dispossession that the liberals, followers of Carranza and Obregón, applied in the 19th century. They are doing so by signing on to militarization and paramilitarization, assisted by American intelligence bodies in those regions where resistance groups confront the dispossession.
Like the governments of those times, the current political leaders are delivering territories and assets designated for the nation to the large domestic and foreign companies [i.e., through energy reform], seeking the death of all the peoples of Mexico and of Mother Earth. But death is reborn among these peoples today in collective action.
Zapatistas Meeting at La Realidad, Chiapas
Photo: Isaín Mandujano
From Monday to Saturday, reports of threats hovering over the various indigenous peoples of the country were heard. One by one, they read all twenty-nine problems or ‘red flags’ confronted by the indigenous peoples of Mexico who attended this meeting, which is why they know they are in an "emergency" that threatens the lives of Mexico’s indigenous peoples. Vázquez Navarrette concluded: "So today we say to the powerful, to the companies and bad governments led by the criminal supreme leader of the paramilitaries Enrique Peña Nieto that we won’t surrender, we won’t sell out, and we won’t give up.
"Our memory is alive because we embody memory and are answerable to it, and we declare that there is no better memory than that of our peoples. As we gather together today, we see ourselves, each in the Other, and our struggle will not end, because if they have not killed us in 520 years of resistance and rebellion, they will not do it now or ever."
Subcomandante Moíses, Comandante Tacho and Comandante David led the closing Meeting.
In the final statement, they declared themselves to be "people of corn" because they know that the corn is collective and comes in various colours: "… so diverse that we also long to identify in one lone word, rebellious and anti-capitalist, with those who are brothers of the National and International Sexta. Like the corn, today we will renew ourselves in our decision to build from below and to the left a world where there is room for many worlds."
Comandante David, indigenous Tzotzil from Oventic, was charged with making the concluding remarks:
"This historic meeting must give continuity, because no one must forget and everyone must continue the coming celebrations. During these days, we have been able to share our reality of pain and suffering, but also our experiences of struggle, our stamina as a people, our faith and our culture."
The Zapatista commander said that this situation must not continue or remain like this forever: someday it must change: "Because it is not right that as original peoples we live in oblivion and misery under the domination and exploitation of those who have robbed us of our natural wealth, our lives, our history and our autonomy.
"This meeting must be the start of our walk together as brothers. This meeting must lay out not only the direction and the horizon of our destination as peoples, but the construction of the new society that we need and deserve."
Subcomandante Galeano, formerly Marcos, did not attend this event. Finally, the following schedule of coming events was announced:
- September 22-23: Worldwide sharing between Mexico’s indigenous peoples and indigenous peoples around the world will be held in the communities of San Francisco Xochicuautla and Amilcingo, Morelos;
- December 24, 25 and 26: Great Cultural Festival will be carried out in Mexico City;
- December 28 and 29: Sharing among indigenous peoples will continue in Juchitán, Oaxaca and in Yucatán;
- December 31 and January 1, 2015: Feast of Rebellion and Anti-Capitalist Resistance will be carried out in Oventic;
- January 2-3, 2015: Final sharing by the Zapatista people with the original peoples of Mexico.
Translated by Jane Brundage
Posted by Dorset Chiapas Solidarity 11/08/2014