Ejidatarios from Los Llanos defend Mother Earth against Megaproject
On the 12th of October, 900 people came together in the Ejido Los Llanos, in the municipality of San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas, following the invitation given by the ejidatarios on the 21st of September.
From 8 in the morning normal time, 9 am bad government time, people from different communities, peoples and organizations came together in the community space of the compañeros of Ejido Los Llanos where they have the sacred area with the three crosses, flowers, candles etc. to join a prayer with traditional music.
After the prayer and some more modern music, they began with the 3 moments of traditional dance, which lasted for about 30 minutes.
After this several compañeros gave their word.
We propose in this article to give several summaries of the presentations of each representative, and the entire speech of others.
Words of the Commissioner of Ejido Los Llanos, municipality of San Cristobal de las Casas.
"Good morning compañerxs
We are gathered here for one reason, to defend our lands. These lands where we are now were reclaimed in December 94, we do not forget how we reclaimed these lands, there was much sadness, many Zapatista support base compañeros shed their blood, the compañeros came in trucks and gave their lives to keep the land where we are now.
The bad government dispossesses us, we are removed to so they can do their projects without consulting us to see if we like it or not. And this is happening in many municipalities, communities.
This is why we will not give up even one metre of land. This is why we are going to build our strength together. The lands are our mother, here we present the fruits on the platform, as an example of the fruits we get from her such as corn, squash, chilacayote, tortillas, etc. this is our food and we will not feed the rich.
We will defend. The super highway is going to pass through the ejido El Porvenir, we will not sell the lands. Because the land feeds us, it nurtures us, we will not sell it to the rich who come from other nations nor those from the national level.
This is our mother earth, we are hanging on to it tightly and we always will, we will not give up even a metre.
Then the word passed to the compañero from the vigilance council of the ejido of Los Llanos, who insisted on the importance of unity among the people to fight against this megaproject. He recalled the history of his ejido, that in 1994, "we recuperated the blessed land of 2 farms (…) Various people died, 2 minibuses with support bases of the EZLN shed their blood, lost their lives, their women wept, so we value their efforts" (because they left children, wives.)
He said that "the land is not for sale, the mother earth has no price, and should not be sold to the rich and big business." He took a potato from the altar in his hand, and showed it to the whole assembly, saying "we are very wrong to buy our potatoes in OXXO, Walmart and in supermarkets. Because we give away our money to businessmen, even though the earth gives it to us!"
Then the compañeros of Ejido El Porvenir in the municipality of Huixtán gave their word.
We did not comehere today to celebrate quietly, we came here to defend our rights, to make our struggles against the bad government. It cost lives to recover our lands. It is possible to defend our lands compañerxs, even possibly with our lives.
The fruits we bring are our fuel; we are like cars that need their fuel.
The government, the rich, are very clever, they know how to sell us their ideas, and this is why the reform is happening now, the government clearly wants the ejidos to disappear, it wants to impose the PROCEDE programme, but this is only for the rich capitalists.
They deceive us in many ways, because we do not know our rights, or maybe because it was voted on at election time. The PRI and the other parties only dedicate themselves to violating farmers and orphans.
Truly we have to defend our rights, sisters and brothers, open our eyes, join forces, get together and ask our Lord for more strength.
Much violence is with us, we are in struggle, we are organising well in the places where we come from, we spread the word with our compañerxs. The government is a pure lie, pure deception, so that it tells us "if you don’t sell us your land you will go to prison," but do not be afraid brothers, we will take the word with the others, with our children, because they are the ones who will have to care for the earth after, we are only passing through life, no more.
Some slogans that were used:
East, west, north, south, whatever it takes! Zapata lives, the struggle continues!
A social struggle, just but also legal!
The Lawyer Ricardo Lagunes announced that he had also taken the case through the legal route, denouncing that in November 2013 the government threatened to use public force against them if they prevented the passage of the highway.
They therefore used legal means to oppose it, since they were not consulted as the constitution requires. The lawyer said that they cannot impose a project if there is no agreement. The Secretary of Communications and Transport refused to accept that the compas would be affected. He also denounced that for several years the government has attempted to pay the authorities to make the necessary agreements; once they have those agreements, the people cannot do much, so that the Secretary of Government of Chiapas announced that the only two communities which were in resistance to the project are Mitziton and Los Llanos, which is not true.
Then the compañeros from San Sebastian Bachajon occupied the rostrum, installing their banner with the face of Juan Vazquez Guzman, looking at the assembly. The compas, adherents to the Sixth, recalled their struggle, their roots, for 8 years now, against megaprojects like the tourist centre of Agua Azul and now against the highway.
They remembered that at the same time as this event, in San Miguel in the municipality of Salto del Agua, compas were gathering against this megaproject of the highway.
They stated that they have no fear, they already know that the government is ready for anything, sending their paramilitaries, imprisoning more than 117 ejidatarios few years ago and now more recently with the unjust arrest of 3 compañeros.
"We will not remain silent, we will continue the struggle, the land is not for sale, it will be defended, we will not allow the passage of the highway, it is good to be united, this will not be the first nor the last time!"
The Commissioner of the Candelaria community, in the municipality of San Cristobal de las Casas, a community which welcomed nearly a month ago 3000 people in struggle against highway, gave their word and invited people to a pilgrimage on the 25th of November. Here is his speech:
I am very happy that our forces are together, we gather, we awaken and gather our thoughts together, let us unite more.
Our Mother Earth feeds us, because of that we unite to defend her, we support, we share, so it is important to get to meetings and assemblies to awaken ourselves, and that we do not stay at home. I very much appreciate your presence, that of many people from different communities, and also the organizers.
Without more ado, we invite you to a pilgrimage that will take place on 25th November, 2014, at 8 am in the city of San Cristobal de las Casas, the gathering place will be at Plaza Soriana. On the occasion of the International Day of Women and Mother Earth.
Women’s Solidarity against the projects of Destruction.
The statement highlighted "an example of struggle and coexistence." “We are not alone!” "Together we will struggle and defend our land; not only against the highway but against all projects of destruction." “We will join our voices together so the bad government can hear us."
At the end, the compañeras shouted slogans such as: "If Ramona was alive, she would be with us."
Finally the compañero from the vigilance council of the ejido Los Llanos read the comunicado from San Francisco Xochicuautla, sent from the centre of the country, to give some parallels to their struggles, to beware of the promises of the bad government which they never fulfil, “they promised us that we would get bridges for our animals and that we could sell on the bank, but that was just a lie."
Finally they greeted the struggle of their brothers and sisters in Chiapas.
The event ended with music and all the attendees were invited to eat together.
Related Information: Los Llanos se suman al rechazo de la autopista y lanzan una invita