(Editor’s Note: This communique comes from the third regional meeting in the Northern Zone of Chiapas, carried out in the community of Lomas de Venado, Municipality of Salta de Agua on June 15th and 16th, 2018. The meeting was organized to rescue Indigenous forms of life against extractive capitalism, the militarized Mexican state and the electoral circus currently playing out in the country. The original was published by Territorio Chiapas and can be found here)
Translated by: Gordon
Community Lomas de Venado, Municipality of Salto de Agua, Chiapas, June 16, 2018
To the Peoples of Mexico.
To the National and International Press.
To National and International Civil Society.
To Human Rights Organizations.
To the Alternative Media.
Greetings to our compañerxs of the towns, neighborhoods and cities that struggle and resist in our country and in other parts of the world where they are also affected by capitalism.
On June 15th and 16th, we carried out our third regional meeting “In defense of life, land, territory and food sovereignty”. We organized this amidst the electoral context that we are currently living through in our country and the laws imposed by villainous governments in complicity with transnational corporations and governments of other countries, who seek to dismantle our struggles in defense of land and life. There, more than 300 people participated, among them Tzeltal and Ch’ol Indigenous women, men, girls, boys, and elders of the Northern Jungle region. They came from the communities of Rio Tulija, Lomas de Venado, Agua Clara, Yaxj’a, Chapayal, Monte Bello, Ruiz Cortines, Velasco, Achl’um Tulija, La Concordia, Galilea, Ranchería Primavera, San Jose Juxil, Chapayal, La Jacaranda, Palma Tulija, the municipality of Salto de Agua; Tim, Corostic, Jolmuculja, Alan Sacun, Coquiteel 1st and 2nd Section, Piquinteel, the Municipality of Chilon, and the community of Ignacio Allende, municipality of Tumbalá, of the Northern Jungle region.
In this meeting we reclaimed our Indigenous identity by dancing, playing the caracol/conch, and thanking the elements of nature that give us life—the sun, the rain, the wind and the earth, symbol of communication, organization and unity. We remember and walk like our grandparents did when they struggled for the land where we currently live, sowing and cultivating our food, where we coexist amongst ourselves and with Mother Nature. For these reasons, as Indigenous people, we have reflected that our struggle doesn’t have a date, time or end, but that it has to be a constant day to day activity against all the injustices we are experiencing.
In this meeting we analyzed the causes and consequences that we are living though prior to the elections of July first. We analyzed the Internal Security Law and other reforms and laws that attack our lives, culture, and surroundings in which we live and where we cultivate our food. Amidst this we conclude that:
We are gathered by conscience because we believe that we ourselves have to struggle for life and land. Nobody else is going to do it for us, not even the governments. They don’t govern for the people but rather for the benefit of transnational corporations. We don’t believe in them, nor in their promises because we know that when they take power they forget the people. However, now that they are carrying out their political campaigns, they arrive giving gifts, provisions and money, buying votes and deceiving the people.
Today, we take a vow to walk side by side, men and women, recognizing ourselves with the equality of rights. In this meeting we analyzed the problems, causes and consequences of the politics of privatization and plunder that the neoliberal government comes to carry out. We know that these politics will continue after the next federal, state and municipal elections. We know that when the neoliberal government and the candidates speak of economic growth and investment, they seek to continue and deepen the commercialization of the sacred land, water, trees, minerals, knowledge, ancestral wisdom, promoting monocultures like the African palm (among others).
We will expand the participation in our communities of men and women, youth and children, to defend our right to life, against the Internal Security Law and all those laws that attack our people and our land.
Our struggle is from below and to the left. We know that with their programs and projects they seek to divide us. We say to them that we struggle against their individualistic ideologies, strengthening ourselves to walk together, coordinating ourselves and searching for forms of communication that build solidarity between the communities and the communal lands (ejidos). Only in this way will we be able to organize a common front against all forms of violence.
We also agree that another form of struggle is to build our communal land regulations, because we have the capacity of making our own laws as Indigenous peoples where we will participate with gender equality. In this meeting we analyzed that the men alone will not be able to confront this system of death, and that the active political participation of women is valuable and important.
We say to the governments that we aren’t afraid, that we will continue organizing ourselves and raising our voice denouncing all the violence that they carry out against our families and peoples.
Another form of our struggle is to build our autonomy where we live in peace, where justice and equality prevail and together we can decide how we want to sow, cultivate and take care of our Mother Earth.
As women and men, we have to strengthen our pathway, knowing and defending our rights, struggling against the forms of violence we experience being women and being Indigenous.
*Also, we say to the governments complicit with the agro-toxic corporations that through your field programs and projects, you impose the use of agrichemicals destroying Mother Earth and thus affecting our health.
*We say to you that although we suffer hunger, cold and sun, our struggle will continue, because our grandparents let us know that we should not sell our Mother Earth because we live here and our history is here.
*We call on the communal land authorities, communities and people in general to organize and coordinate themselves in the struggle for the defense of life, land, and everything that life gives us.
Total rejection of the Internal Security Law!
Long live the peoples who struggle!
For life and for peace, militaries never again!