Words from San Sebastián Bachajón during the gathering celebrating “522 years of indigenous resistance to th e European invasion,” Ejido Los Llanos, 12th October, 2014
From the “Day of Race” to the Day Of Resistance: The Harm Caused by the Road from San Cristobal to Palenque. By: Aldabi Olvera
Through the voice of the indigenous Tzeltal and Tzotzil communities, original peoples of Chiapas, the demand to stop the federal project resonates in the Highlands of Chiapas through narratives that describe the harassment and pressure from the government, despite the lands being reclaimed during the Zapatista uprising.
12th October, “Columbus Day”: the commemoration of the “discovery of America”, when 522 years ago sailors arrived from Europe. The discovery turned out to be nothing more than the imposition of a system for the “new” continent.
Since then, dispossessed, persecuted and cornered in the forests and mountains, the indigenous lost part of their lands.
In Mexico, on the first of January 1994, only two years after the five hundredth anniversary of the “Day of the Race”, the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) rose up in arms and took back what are now known as the recuperated territories, stolen by the might of the local caciques.
Twenty years after the Zapatista uprising, these same lands are being targeted by entrepreneurs who are looking to build a road…
Domingo Pérez, indigenous Tzeltal from San Sebastián Bachajón, speaks while his compañeros hold up a banner behind him which says: Juan Vázquez Guzmán lives, the Bachajón struggle continues.
“We thank you for the opportunity to talk and to speak, and to share with you our experience of struggle and resistance. We are adherents to the Sixth (Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle). We have been in struggle for about eight years and the root of the organization (community) is that the ejido is made up of common lands, the ejidal authorities were only one and they sold out to the bad government and then the bad government with the political parties divided the ejido.”
“Many more years ago in San Sebastián Bachajón there is a place called the waterfalls of Agua Azul, part of it belongs to the ejido and the other part to Tumbalá. Since 1980 there has been a nature reserve, but Conagua altered the co-ordinates marked on the previous plan and which affects our territory, they are planning to build hotels, golf courses and others for the benefit of the bad government and big businesses, other countries and transnationals, but the government says it is development for the communities, which is a lie.”
On 24 April, 2013, Juan Vázquez Guzmán, a member of the organization, was murdered. On 21 March, 2014, Juan Carlos Gómez was murdered. On 15 September Juan Antonio Gómez Silvano, Mario Aguilar Silvano, Roberto Gómez Hernández, also from Bachajón were arrested accused of the attempted murder of police from the municipality of Chilón.
The banner shines behind him, there are the adherents with a star around an indigenous face: “Juan Vázquez Guzmán lives, the Bachajón struggle continues.”
“The super highway does not benefit us compañeros, and the bad government goes straight to the Commissioner without consulting with the people and assembly and went to the Ejido of Salto de Agua to sign an agreement to give passage to the super highway but not with the consent of the people.”
192 of the 206 communities of the neighbouring ejido of San Jerónimo Bachajón also declared themselves against the Highway. This decision was taken at a community assembly of nearly two thousand people in the town of Guadalupe Paxilá, on August 30, 2014.
“San Sebastián has three centres of population and 208 communities and the three centres do not know it. A few made this agreement, selling out to the bad government but we are against it because it destroys our resources. There are big mountains, rivers, waterfalls. There are compañeros whose land with their coffee plantations and crops it will cross, and we will not allow it to affect seven municipalities from San Cristobal to Palenque.”
“The government has been doing it with the death of two compañeros and with the imprisonment, but we will keep fighting, as we already said the land is not for sale, it is defended. We are people of corn, we are of the earth. We eat from her and will not allow the highway to pass. As we say in our community, not one step to the super highway.”
dorsetchiapassolidarity | October 20, 2014 at 9:25 am | Tags: 12, Bachajon, highway, los llanos, Palenque, resistencia, san cristobal | Categories: Bachajon, Displacement, Indigenous, La Sexta | URL: http://wp.me/p2oLSE-1VM