Zapatista News Summary for October 2016

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1. Fifth Indigenous National Congress: Marking 20 years since the launch of the Indigenous National Congress, the CNI and EZLN hold the Fifth Congress at Cideci in San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, from October 9-14, 2016. It is attended by 500 delegates of the CNI, and the EZLN’s military commanders, to analyse the national political situation and organise for what is to come. They speak of and list the mega-projects that threaten the original peoples in their regions, denounce the dispossession, discrimination and repression they face daily, share their experience of struggle and resistance, and assert the need to implement an action plan to be prepared “to face what is coming.” Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés speaks in the name of the EZLN, calling for organisation and unity. His inauguration speech can be read here.

2. The day of Indigenous Resistance in Oventic: On October 12th, delegates from 32 indigenous peoples, nations and tribes organized in the CNI arrive at the Caracol of Oventic to celebrate the 20th anniversary of “joyful resistance and rebellion” of the CNI. A large number of Zapatistas come from the five zones of rebel territory and over a hundred adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle also attend. The delegates walk between hundreds of Zapatistas formed in two rows on both sides of the road leading from the entrance to the caracol to the ballcourt, following a formation of militia marching with their usual impeccable organization. The celebration is held on the ballcourt, beginning with the words of Comandante David, of Maribel Cervantes from the CNI and of Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés, continuing with a cultural event attended by Zapatista artists, musicians and poets from the five caracoles, and ending with a demonstration of the discipline and organization of the militia troops.

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3. The proposal: The proposal for discussion that is put forward by the Fifth Congress is based on the statement “Our struggle is not for power … we will call on indigenous peoples and civil society to organize ourselves to stop this destruction.” They convoke “the awakening of a great force,” because “it is the time of the peoples, so that the centres of the earth will tremble.”

On October 13, the 500 delegates of the National Indigenous Congress (CNI) reach complete consensus on the proposal presented by the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) at the opening of the fifth Congress three days earlier: the Fifth CNI will appoint an indigenous council of government which will collectively enter the 2018 Mexican presidential race with its word materialised by an indigenous woman, a delegate of the CNI, as an independent candidate on behalf of the CNI and EZLN. The Fifth Congress is now in permanent assembly while the delegates return to their communities and hold consultations to decide to either approve or reject this proposal. “We confirm that our fight is not for power, we do not seek it; rather we call all of the original peoples and civil society to organize to detain this destruction, to strengthen our resistances and rebellions, that is to say in the defence of the life of each person, family, collective, community, or neighbourhood. To construct peace and justice, reconnecting ourselves from below,” stated the CNI and EZLN in the important communiqué released at the closure of the assembly, “May the Earth Tremble at its Core.”

Not surprisingly, there has been a great deal of discussion, debate, criticism and misunderstanding arising from the proposal. An excellent article by Luis Hernández Navarro analyses previous electoral involvement of the CNI and EZLN. Sup Galeano responds to all the confusion in his usual style, in his communiqué “Questions Without Answers, Answers Without Questions, Councils and Counsel.”

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4. CNI and EZLN support the dignified resistance of the Yaqui tribe: A communiqué is released on 24th October from the EZLN and CNI in solidarity with the Yaqui tribe, following confrontations over the Northwest gas pipeline on 21st October in Lomas de Bácum. The defenders have set up a camp to prevent the construction of the pipeline; the clash reportedly lasted three hours and ultimately left one dead and eight injured.

5. Calendar for Fifth congress of CNI and the gathering “Zapatistas and ConSciences for Humanity.”: At the end of October, Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés and Subcomandante Insurgente Galeano send out a calendar for these forthcoming events:

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As the CNI is now consulting with the originary peoples, barrios, tribes, and nations throughout Mexico on the proposal made during the first phase of the Fifth Congress, the permanent assembly of the CNI will be reinstated on December 29, 2016, at Cideci-Unitierra in San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas. The CNI will hold roundtable sessions on December 30 and 31 and during these sessions, or before then if the CNI so chooses, the results of the consultation will be made known. On January 1, 2017, a plenary assembly will take place in Oventic, Chiapas, Mexico, and any agreements necessary will be made there. The CNI ask for solidarity donations to be made to cover the costs of travel to this meeting. Support can be offered here: info.

The presentations about the exact and natural Sciences and the work sessions of the National Indigenous Congress will take place simultaneously. The Gathering “Zapatistas and ConSciences for Humanity” will be celebrated from December 25, 2016 to January 4, 2017, also at Cideci, with an intermission on December 31, 2016 and January 1, 2017. Register to attend at this email: conCIENCIAS

The calendar is followed by a long section from the diaries of the Cat-Dog.

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