Indigenous People of Chiapas Oppose Megaprojects
Communique from September 1st, 2014
To the people of Mexico and the world,
To the national and international press,
To national and international civil society groups,
To human rights organisations,
To adherents of the Sixth Declaration,
To social organisations,
To the alternative media,
is a statement from] the women, men, ejidal and religious indigenous authorities, and organised Chol and Tseltal peasants from the following communities and ejidos: Ejido Tumbo, Ejido Ignacio Zaragoza, Ejido Agua Dulce Tehuacán, Ejido San Jerónimo Bachajón, Ejido Cuauhtémoc, Ejido Nueva Esperanza, Ejido La Nueva Providencia – all gathered in the Ejido Peña Limonar in the municipality of Ocosingo. We wish to make public our words, denunciations, and demands directed at the three levels of government – federal, state, and municipal – and at multinational corporations.
We indigenous women and men have been meeting to analyse the causes and consequences of the government-imposed Megaprojects such as the construction of the San Cristóbal-Palenque and Comitán-Palenque roads, hydroelectric dams, and wind parks; the mining of natural resources like oil; the Fanar programme; the National Forest and Ground Inventory, and so on. We have also sought to reflect on the public policies used as a strategy to counteract indigenous resistance.
Our women, men and authorities live and work on this land with our families, planting and farming food for our own subsistence. However, we are faced with violent invasions carried out by the three levels of government and large corporations.
For that reason, we wish to raise our voices to tell the Bad Government that:
- We totally reject the Mesoamérica Project that puts the lives of women, men, children, and elderly people at risk, along with the flora and fauna of the numerous nations in which governments and multinational corporations violently impose their Megaprojects. They will have a negative impact on our mother earth, and therefore on our families. They will also put at risk our fertile lands, wild food, natural springs, mountains, grass, sacred sites, medicinal plants and, above all, the culture we have inherited from our parents and grandparents.
Today, the interests of the Patriarchal and Neoliberal Capitalist System want to destroy our territories through the exploitation of our natural resources, which will cause the deaths of thousands of people, the mass destruction of nature, and irreversible damage to our fertile lands. Our families will subsequently be brought even more suffering and poverty, while businessmen will grow even richer at the expense of thousands of people.
- We totally reject the militarisation of our region and country, and we will not allow the military to enter into our communities.
- We shall defend our native seeds, which are in danger from companies like Monsanto and Syngenta.
- We do not want genetically modified seeds or agro-chemical packages because they damage our mother earth, our health, and contaminate our native crops.
- We shall not allow any government or corporate employee into our communities.
- We are aware that the government, through its policies and strategies (including money and gifts), seeks to convince ejidal and community authorities to support its projects, and thus turn them into accomplices in the dispossession of indigenous territories and lands.
We assert that we will not allow this to keep happening. We women and men shall make all the decisions regarding the natural resources of our lands, and the authorities will have to respect those decisions.
- We shall put our political, religious, and organisational differences aside and become one united heart and objective in order to defend our land and food.
- We shall inform ourselves about political processes and gather within our communities – with all the women, men, youngsters, children, and elderly people – to forge strategies of resistance in each one of our communities, and we shall coordinate our efforts to make our resistance stronger.
- We shall meet with other communities to inform them of the damaging and underhand policies of the government.
- We stand in solidarity with those fighting against the construction of the San Cristóbal-Palenque motorway. Let them not be afraid, for they are not alone. We know they are being threatened strongly by the government, and we wish to tell them that they can count on our support for whatever they need.
- We totally reject the forms of violent dispossession exercised by the three levels of government, because they put our lives, food, and environment at risk.
- We totally reject the energy, property, education, and agrarian reforms, among others.
- We demand that the government respect the communal land and property of indigenous people. Our land is not for sale. It is the heritage of our parents and grandparents.
- We affirm that our struggle will continue, with sit-ins, marches, and denunciations. We will make our fight known at a national and international level.
- We demand that our human rights, established in Agreement 169 of the International Labour Organization (ILO), be respected. Currently, the rights of indigenous people to information and consultation are being violated.
- No programme or project will be able to dispossess us of our natural resources. If our grandparents lived without government support, we can do the same, by working and growing our own food, conserving our native seeds, and curing ourselves with our medicinal plants.
- We say no to the privatisation of our land and the pillaging of our natural resources!
- We wish to tell all the women, men, and ejidal authorities of different communities and ejidos that they should not be afraid of government threats. Let us all come together to analyse the problems we are facing, and organise resistance to defend our mother earth and territory against Megaprojects. Let us fight together against the Patriarchal and Neoliberal Capitalist System.
Our land is not for sale! It is to be worked and defended!
Let us globalise the struggle! Let us globalise hope!
The women, men, ejidal and religious indigenous authorities, and organised Chol and Tseltal peasants from the following communities and ejidos: Ejido Tumbo, Ejido Ignacio Zaragoza, Ejido Agua Dulce Tehuacán, Ejido San Jerónimo Bachajón, Ejido Cuauhtémoc, Ejido Nueva Esperanza, Ejido La Nueva Providencia – all gathered in the Ejido Peña Limonar in the municipality of Ocosingo.
Translated by Oso Sabio from an article originally published in Spanish athttp://www.pozol.org/?p=9797
Source: The Chiapan Centre for Women’s Rights https://www.facebook.com/notes/centro-de-derechos-de-la-mujer-de-chiapas/pueblos-orginarios-de-chiapas-en-contra-de-los-megaproyectos/443830412425757