dorset chiapas solidarity

July 21, 2015

Fed Up

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 6:01 pm


Fed Up

   "Auditorio Guelaguetza en Oaxaca"

“Auditorio Guelaguetza en Oaxaca”

Gustavo Esteva

La Jornada, 29th July, 2015

A few days ago, Francisco Toledo* declared: “I am sick and tired of what is happening in Oaxaca.”

So, with artistic precision, Toledo expressed the energy circulating in Oaxaca. Once again making the rounds is the Zapatistas’ cry “Enough!” [¡Ya basta!] Once again we say with Javier Sicilia, “We are up totally fed up!” [¡Estamos hasta la madre!]

Today the symbolic, historical and environmental value of Cerro del Fortín** mobilizes us. The mindless corruption of one of the hotel owners settled in at the Fort mobilizes us. The Secretary of Tourism in the state government pushed for construction of a large convention centre next to his hotel, an obvious conflict of interest. But the convention centre can also cause enormous environmental and social damage.

Toledo himself demonstrated the outrageous injustice of assigning to the centre more money than to health services, when there are children born in hospital courtyards and doctors who are on strike because the lack of medicines prevents them from doing their work. But we are not fighting the idea of ​​building a convention centre, although one already exists some 100 metres from the project and another two kilometres [1.2 miles] away. We are fighting against the idea of ​​doing it in the Fort and with so much waste. We have already presented three options for better sites that are much cheaper and more efficient than the one on the Hill, with its geological risks and environmental damage.

We are mobilized by a long series of outrages. The centre was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

We are fed up with the corruption and incompetence of the authorities and with politics as the mere business of a few. Again and again we have demonstrated that we know better than the government officials what should and should not be done.

We are fed up with their authoritarianism, their blindness and deafness to what people say and do. They ignored us when we tried to prevent the construction of a Chedraui store that destroyed an urban forest of enormous value; when we presented options to an absurd traffic circle; when we defended many battered areas, such as the hill of San Felipe; when we demanded dismantling the ridiculous cover that Ulises Ruiz put atop the Guelaguetza open-air amphitheatre … It has not been possible to make the authorities listen to the clamour of society.

Today we started the campaign—“What happened to my rights?”—protesting the close-mindedness of the [Oaxaca state] Congress and their bosses in Government [Secretariat of Government Relations, SEGOB] faced with a deep and extensive consultation on indigenous rights. **** We no longer believe in the word [given by those] from above [de arriba].We are tired of cynicism. The centre violates all local and federal regulations … but from the governor on down they continue declaring that it meets all requirements. While the country is falling apart and poverty is rife, the only thing we hear from the government is that we are in the best of all possible worlds.

We do not feel reassured by the announcement of a public consultation on the centre, which the government officials who promised it cannot organize, and which showed the deceitful nature of the ‘law of participation’ that they promote. The popular Guelaguetza*** was born as an alternative to an official performance for foreigners that marginalizes us.

It is true that after twelve atrocious years of [former Oaxaca governors] José Murat and Ulises Ruiz, the arrival of Gabino Cué raised hopes in various sectors. Now they are the first to declare frustration and disappointment. Definitely, we are fed up with all the political classes for their corruption, for their incompetence, for their authoritarianism. It wasn’t a stupid thing for Toledo to say that the consultation would make sense if it could include the recall of the governor and the mayor [of Oaxaca City].

It doesn’t make us feel any better that the case of Oaxaca is not the exception, but the rule. We are also fed up that El Chapo Guzmán and Ulises Ruiz are free, despite their countless crimes, while Nestora Salgado, Mario Luna, Oaxaca’s political prisoners—many our comrades—remain behind bars.

We are fed up that the country continues to be handed over to private capital while the gross, open plunder of our lands, our waters, our means of subsistence intensifies.

We are sick and tired of the mining concessions, of the megaprojects, of the ridiculous [public] works, while we are overwhelmed by the economic disaster to which the government contributes daily.

It saddens us to see that some of our fellows close their eyes to this situation—not daring to face it with courage, dignity and organization—and comply with the illusion of replacement [through elections], feeding the fantasy that it might be enough to replace some government officials or political parties in order to get out of the abyss into which we have fallen and cope with the disaster.

In getting ourselves ready to fight as much as might be necessary to defend what is ours, we go over our long experience, what we’ve learned from recent mistakes, what we have experienced in our organization and in our longstanding ability to govern ourselves. We will know what to do when the time comes.

Translated by Jane Brundage

*Francisco Benjamín López Toledo, painter, sculptor and graphic artist, was born July 17, 1940, in Juchitán, Oaxaca, of Zapotec parents.
**Cerro del Fortín [Hill of the Fort]: In 1495, before the arrival of the Spaniards, Aztecs invaders established a military garrison on the hill. The invaders cut down part of the forests of gourds, pine, oak, madrone and cazahuates to build both the fort and, at the foot of the hill, a settlement for soldiers’ families. It is said that there was a sacred place where water gushed from a stone. Given its cultural and natural significance, in 2004 the Cerro del Fortín was declared a natural protected area, a state park under the administration of the State Institute of Ecology. The park’s ​​87 hectares [215 acres] help replenish aquifers, absorb air pollutants and regulate temperature and humidity. Its location at the edge of Oaxaca City makes it ideal for walking and exercise. Currently, the Hill has 95 plant species and is home to some 80 bird species. For about 25 years, various reforestation measures have been taken; today the reforested areas make up about 45% of the total area. Wikipedia.


***The Guelaguetza, or Los lunes del cerro (Mondays on the Hill) is an annual indigenous cultural event that takes place in July in the city of Oaxaca, in an amphitheatre on El Fortin Hill, and in nearby villages. The celebration centres on traditional dancing in costume and includes parades complete with indigenous bands, native food and artisanal crafts. Each costume (traje) and dance usually has a local indigenous historical and cultural meaning. The celebration is now an important tourist attraction, but it also retains deep cultural significance for the state’s original peoples and is important for the continuing survival of their cultures. Oaxaca has a large indigenous population, well over 50 percent of the population, compared to 20 percent for Mexico as a whole.


****The UN’s International Labor Organization (ILO) Agreement 169 establishes the right of indigenous peoples and tribes to “prior, free and informed” consultation regarding decisions that can affect them, i.e., land uses such as megaprojects (dams, highways, energy installations), tourist projects, etc.

In a message to Mexico Voices, Gustavo Esteva wrote this clarification for our readers: “According to the law that they [Oaxaca state Congress] passed: 1) neither the governor nor the mayor, who promised the consultation, can order or organize it; only the [state] Congress can do it, which means that they made a promise they cannot keep; [moreover,] 2) the law that they did pass permits neither consultation in cases like this one, nor regarding other matters that should be in an authentic law of popular participation.”




Leave a Comment »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at

%d bloggers like this: