(Editor’s Note: This communique comes from the Regional Coordinator of Community Authorities—Community Police, a community system of security, justice and reeducation organized by communities in the Mountain and Costa-Chica of Guerrero. The communique speaks to the recent counter reforms in the Guerrero state constitution which threaten the legal basis on which the community system operates, and furthermore threaten the self-determination and autonomy of the Indigenous peoples of the region. Regardless of the reforms, the CRAC-PC has committed to continuing with its historic project in defense of their communities, territories and self-determination. The original in Spanish was published by the Human Rights Center Tlachinollan and can be found here).
San Luis Acatlán, Guerrero
August 5th, 2018
In the face of the cunning blow from the legislative and executive branches of the state, as Indigenous people we raise our voices against the racist governments, who ignoring the rights we’ve achieved and without consulting us, approved a constitutional reform violating our rights. In spite of this, we want to say with our heads held high that we are the original owners of this southern reserve of vast natural wealth. We are inheritors of a civilization that has managed to preserve a culture based on the respect for our Mother Earth and our collective rights. In contrast, the expropriating governments have insisted on plundering and disappearing us as Indigenous peoples. However, here we are, on our feet, to undertake another battle.
In 1995, as Indigenous peoples of the Coast-Mountain of Guerrero, we decided to confront the insecurity originating from the same authorities and police units that colluded with criminal groups to institutionalize robbery under the protection of political power. In the face of this threat, we were forced to organize ourselves to defend our homeland and assert our rights. Inspired by the struggles of our ancestors, we applied our system of security and justice managing to reverse crime rates by 90%, recuperating control of our institutions in charge of procuring justice and reeducating those that have caused harm to the community. The response of those of above did not wait: the mestizo government that is complicit in the corruption, persisted in persecuting and threatening us, imprisoning our authorities to cause fear and contain our capacity to organize ourselves. We did not stop in our efforts to struggle against this repressive apparatus to demonstrate that judicial reason is on our side. We reached the point where these same authorities of the state recognized the Law 701 that our Community Police system is legal and legitimate. Furthermore, we achieved a transcendent constitution to enrich the judicial plurality of our state and country, as has been recognized by the Special Rapporteurs of Indigenous peoples of the United Nations.
In spite of this grand contribution, today the executive and legislative power came together in a perverse manner, and with the swipe of a pen, got rid of the constitutional character that our Community Police has achieved. Their intention was to encapsulate us and subject us to laws that violate our collective rights. It was a counter-reform by the executive and approved by the deputies, with the intention of criminalizing the essential function of our system of community security and justice. In the face of this cunning blow, from this seat of the Regional Coordinator of Community Authorities, we make public our protest and we express that as Indigenous peoples of this Coast-Mountain, where the historical project of Community Police was born, we will defend with the law in hand this exemplar model that has guaranteed us peace and security in our territories.
That legislature with little memory ignored that in Ayutla de los Libres, where the Na’Savi and Me’pháá live, the historic plan was organized to overthrow Santa Ana and struggle for a democratic government. It was in this same municipality where we decided as communities to name our municipal authorities by uses and customs through our community assemblies. This tenacious struggle was a demonstration that our rights have to be respected by the institutions of the state and its political parties.
This is also how our Community Police was born, in the assemblies of our communities, assuring our right to consultation and the exercise of our autonomy. It was not a gracious concession from the governments, nor from politicians disguised as redeemers of Indigenous peoples. It was a project that was born in the cradle of rebellion, in the territories where Genero Vázquez planned, together with the people, the ideology of justice for the poor.
We want to remind you all that the people are not vassals of the expropriating governments, nor subjects of imposed laws that subjugate us. We hold ownership of our rights, regardless of who is pondering them. We are subjects of rights, not objects of paternalistic policies.
Thus, with the force of reason and the legitimacy of our struggles, we convoke the fraternal peoples to challenge power, raising our voice before the tribunals that have recognized our rights and our Community Police as an exemplar model recognized in national and international laws.
Before the approval of the counter reform by this legislature, we call on the municipalities to not be complicit with these decisions that violate our rights. Furthermore, we call on you all to assert your power to reject this law and support the legal resources that as Indigenous peoples we will interpose before the competent agencies.
With the right that supports us, we make known that we will go to the corresponding agencies to reverse this reform and strengthen our organization, to defend and consolidate our historic project of Community Police that was born to guarantee the security and peace which is absent in our state.
RESPECT OF OUR RIGHTS WILL BE JUSTICE!
REGIONAL COORDINATOR OF COMMUNITY AUTHORITIES—COMMUNITY POLICE
HOUSE OF JUSTICE SAN LUIS ACATLÁN
HOUSE OF JUSTICE ESPINO BLANCO
HOUSE OF JUSTICE EL PARAÍSO
HUMAN RIGHTS CENTER OF THE MOUNTAIN “TLACHINOLLAN”
COUNCIL OF AFFECTED COMMUNITIES OF THE MOUNTAIN
REGIONAL CENTER OF HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENSE “JOSE MARÍA MORELOS Y PAVÓN”
GUERRERO NETWORK OF CIVIL AND HUMAN RIGHTS ORGANIZATIONS
EL GRITO COLLECTIVE