Declaration by Original Peoples, Organisations and Communities in Defence of Mother Earth and Our Territory
From the ‘Taller/Encuentro Sur de México’ (Workshop/Meeting for Southern Mexico)
Photo: Chicoasén (Alberto Arellano, Cortesía Frayba)
April 15th 2016
Chicoasén, Chiapas, México
To those fighting deadly projects in defence of Mother Earth and their territories
To peoples and organisations in defence of their way of life
To groups and individuals working against the capitalist system
To organisations and individuals who adhere to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle
To honest and independent national and international centres for human rights
To independent and alternative national and international media outlets
To the general public
For the protection of our territories, we found ourselves beneath the hot sun in the Ejido Chicoasén, for the Workshop/Meeting for the Non-Violent Transformation of Conflicts in Defence of our Territories, from the 12th to the 15th of April. Native peoples, Zoques, Tsotsiles, Tseltales, Tojolabales, Zapotecos, representatives of the Believing People of the Diocese of San Cristóbal de Las Casas, civil and social organisations of Chiapas and Oaxaca attended. We were accompanied by the Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas A.C. Centre for Human Rights, the International Service for Peace (SIPAZ), the Digna Ochoa A.C. Centre for Human Rights, from the parish of Chicomuselo, the Guadalupe Mission, and were there under the protection of Pax Christi International.
Throughout the days spent in the workshop and meeting, we were subject to surveillance and harassment by a spy for the Federal Commission for Electricity (CFE): Juan Manuel Cruz, geographer and employee of the CFE. We denounce the bad government on all three levels – municipal, state and federal; the CFE; the Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT); the Federal Attorney’s office for Environmental Protection (PROFEPA); the Ministry of Economy (SE); and the National Water Commission (CONAGUA), who have supported and conceded mining rights to hydroelectric companies through pressure, fraud, and manipulation in our communities. This has resulted in migration, forced displacement, death, unemployment, divided families, people being stripped of their land and the loss of our indigenous culture. All this down to the vested interests of politicians and national and international businesses, who ignore not only our rights as native peoples, but their environmental impact – effects on our ecosystems and the life cycles of the flora and fauna, even rivers, in our territories, as a well as on our own ways of life. We’ve seen how these projects provoke illnesses such as cancer, which leave us nothing but sons and daughters, ejidatarios and ejidatarias, and fellow citizens to bury. We have already denounced the activity of the Chiapas University of Arts and Sciences (UNICAH), who arrived in our communities to carry out development plans, altering our environment in the interest of their development plan. This plan was a joint project with the CFE, to build the 2nd Chicoasén dam. It promised investment and benefits, none of which have materialised. Recently, we have also denounced the National Institute of History and Anthropology (INAH), who have given permission for the ransacking of our Maya and Zoque archaeological sites found on either side of the Grijalva river.
We hereby demonstrate our total rejection of the projects to build hydroelectric dams and open mining seams. These are projects they try to impose on our territories, foregoing any free, informed consultation in advance of the construction and violating our autonomy and self-determination as original peoples. We also demonstrate our strength and solidarity with all those affected – representatives of the individual ejidatarios, inhabitants and neighbours of Chicoasén and members of the Ejidal committee, who would all be affected once again by the construction of the 2nd Chicoasén dam. In November 2015, our lawyer Arturo Ortega Luna, associate of the Ejidal Committee, was unlawfully detained and imprisoned for three months. He was freed only after our hunger strike put pressure on local government. This was the action of six adult members of the Committee, who suffered dizziness and fainting during the strike.
We demand the revocation of the 10 false arrest orders against ejidatarios of Chicoasén. The government has called for these arrests so that we will not denounce the 2nd Chicoasén dam. These individuals cannot go to work because of these arrest warrants. We are familiar with the case and experiences of the town of Usumacinta, 5km from Chicoasén, which 40 years ago was flooded by the 1st Chicoasén dam and ultimately submerged. Barrio Nuevo, which neighbours the Chicoasén municipality, and part of the municipal capital, would suffer the same fate, information hidden by the CFE and state government. Our findings suggest that the 2nd Chicoasén dam would cause devastation, with residents having to flee the rising waters.
We wish to show our solidarity and grief for the loss of our murdered compañeros, Berta Cáceres and Nelsón García. These Lenca fighters for Mother Earth from the Council of Popular and Indigenous Organisations of Honduras (COPINH) are examples of what the bad government does when we speak out. We will never forget all the men and women who have fallen in the fight for their people and their land, since all of us, men and women, have lost compañeros in the battle.
We invite national and international human rights organisations to accompany us and stay alert to the reality in Chiapas and Oaxaca, in the south of Mexico: we will defend our land, whatever it takes. As such, we all need to put pressure on the Mexican government to put an end to mining, damming and all other projects that affect our life, culture and Mother Earth. We demand an end to the harassment, surveillance, searches and all aggressive behaviour towards the ejidatarios who form part of the Ejidal Committee of Chicoasén and those affected and who are here as representatives in this Workshop/Meeting. We hold all three levels of government responsible for any physical antagonism subjected to us and our families.
To all the communities, ejidos, peoples and organisations that defend their territory, we implore you not to let national, foreign and transnational, companies onto your land. Do not sell out for a few pesos; if you do, it will make it very difficult to get rid of them. Resistance and defence will only, and always, come from below.
THE SEARCH CONTINUES FOR THE 43 DESAPARECIDOS FROM AYOTZINAPA!
FREEDOM FOR POLITICAL PRISONERS IN MEXICO AND THE WORLD!
JUSTICE AND TRUTH FOR BERTA CÁCERES AND NELSON GARCÍA OF THE COPINH!
LONG LIVE THE NATIVE PEOPLES!
LONG LIVE THE ORGANISED PEOPLES!
NO TO THE CHICOASÉN DAM!
Ejidal Committee of individual ejidatarios, inhabitants and neighbours of Chicoasén
Believing People, Diocese of San Cristóbal de de Las Casas
Movement in Defence of Life and Territory (MOVITE)
Representatives from the Believing People of Simojovel
Coordinator of the United Peoples of the Valley of Ocotlán, Oaxaca
Diocesan Coordination of Women, Diocese of San Cristóbal de Las Casas (CODIMUJ)
Autonomous Council of the Coastal Zone Region of Chiapas (CARZCH)
Colonia La Trinidad, Municipality of Las Margaritas
The men and women who participated and are affected, present on behalf of:
Those affected by the San Ramón mine in the Grecia ejido in Chicomuselo
Those affected by the 1st and 2nd Hydroelectric dams at Chicoasén
Those affected by the mining explosion in San José del Progreso, Ocotlán, Oaxaca
Those affected by the Hydroelectric dam at Hitzantun en Huitiupan
Those affected by the amber mines in Simojovel
Those affected by the gas pipelines in the Gustavo López community, by the mining project in the community of Unión Pijijiapan and the hydroelectric dam at Pijijiapan
Those affected in the community threatened by the 1st and 2nd Huixtan dams in the Santo Domingo river, in the municipality of Las Margaritas
Those affected by the hydroelectric dams on the course of the Chacté River in San Juan Cancúc, and in the municipality of Salto de Agua, on the Tulijá River.
Translated by Ruby Zajac for the UK Zapatista Translation Service.
Original Spanish: http://chiapasdenuncia.blogspot.co.uk/2016/04/pronunciamiento-de-pueblos-originarios.html