dorset chiapas solidarity

March 5, 2017

Zapatista News Summary for February 2017

Filed under: CNI, Corporations, Dams, Displacement, Indigenous, Uncategorized, Zapatista — Tags: , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 2:29 pm

 

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Zapatista News Summary for February 2017

 

Zapatista News:

The main Zapatista news for February is the issuing of more communiqués, or translations of communiqués issued previously, and information about dates for forthcoming events. The need for an independent indigenous candidate, and a parallel independent indigenous government, remain subjects for profound discussion.

 

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1.“The Cat-Dog and the Apocalypse,” a talk by Sup Galeano from December, with a section by the Cat-Dog, is translated in early February. “Zapatista Alchemy” Is released at in translation at the beginning of February as more of the Sup Moisés and Sup Galeano talks and communiqués from the gathering “The Zapatistas and ConSciences for Humanity” keep being published, and translations come out.“Zapatista Alchemy” is a talk about science by Sup Galeano delivered at the beginning of January and includes philosophy, the Cat-Dog’s notebook and a comment on Artificial Intelligence versus Zapatista Intelligence.

 

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2.What Comes Next? Two extremely important communiqués are read on January 3rd, and translated in February. These are “What’s Next? I Then And Now,” by Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés, and “What’s next? II The urgent and the important,” by Subcomandante Insurgente Galeano. They tell stories and asks scientific questions, how did it used to be and how is it now? In terms of the the arts and science in the days of clandestinity and in the present time, how hugely things have changed, from when “Do not die” was the only order that they were to follow, and “if it wasn’t possible to do so in this world, then we would make another world, a bigger one, a better one, one where all the possible worlds fit, the ones that already exist and the ones we still haven’t imagined but that can already be found in the arts and sciences.” The little girl, Zapatista Defence, realises that the biggest problem we face is ‘patriarchiality’.

 

 

3.An important communiqué: “The Walls Above, The Cracks Below (And to the Left)” by Subcomandantes Moises and Galeano is released on February 14th’ “the day of our dead”, “We always resist.” Walls above, cracks below, capitalism, immigration. The EZLN convoke a “global campaign for organization and global resistance in the face of the aggressiveness of big money and its respective overseers on the planet, to resist and rebel against persecutions, detentions, and deportations…. Every human being has the right to a free and dignified existence in the place that they deem best, and has the right to fight to stay there.” They call on groups to offer solidarity to each other, creating solidarity committees to help those who are deported, and they propose their forthcoming calendar for the year ahead.

Like many of the communiqués this one contains the words of both SCI Moisés and SCI Galeano, which are factual, humorous and also give insight into the advances in the communities.

 

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4. Zapatista Calendar 2017: The EZLN invite all of the Sixth and anyone who is interested to the seminar of critical reflection, “THE WALLS OF CAPITAL, THE CRACKS OF THE LEFT,” to be celebrated April 12-15, 2017, at the CIDECI-UniTierra facilities in San Cristóbal de Las Casas. Many speakers have already confirmed their participation. More details are to follow.

They also convoke all artists for the second edition of “CompArte for Humanity” with the theme: “Against Capital and its Walls: All of the Arts” to be celebrated around the world and in cyberspace. The “real” part will take place between July 23-29, 2017, in the caracol of Oventik and at the CIDECI-UniTierra. The virtual edition will be August 1-12, 2017, on the web. More details soon. They also ask that people be on the lookout for the activities to be convoked by the National Indigenous Congress as part of its process of formation of the Indigenous Council of Government.

Finally, they convoke the scientists of the world to the second edition of “ConCiencias for Humanity” with the theme: “The Sciences Against the Wall,” to be celebrated December 26-30, 2017, at CIDECI-UniTierra, San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico and in cyberspace.

“That is not all. It is necessary to resist, it is necessary to rebel, it is necessary to struggle, it is necessary to get organized.” They advise people to remain alert to all EZLN activities.

 

5. On 4th February the CNI and EZLN: issue a joint communiqué in solidarity with the Raramuri (Tarahumara) people, denouncing the 2 recent murders of indigenous Rarámuri defenders of Native territory in Chihuahua, making a total of 18 homicides since 1973, four in the last year. The CNI and EZLN issue an urgent call to action to protect the safety and integrity of members of the Choreachi community following the murder of indigenous leader Juan Ontiveros Ramos, 15 days after the murder of Isidro Baldenegro, another indigenous leader from the same municipality.

 

 

Other Chiapas News

 

1.Indigenous gather: The Pueblo Creyente are supporting the National Indigenous Congress (CNI) decision to form an autonomous parallel government. And North American representatives attend an indigenous summit in Puebla. “Trump’s “xenophobic and aggressive policy against Mexico” has placed the Native peoples of the United States and Mexico on alert. They declared that: “there will be no wall!””

 

 

2. Roberto Paciencia Cruz: The working group No Estamos Todxsand the Centre for Human Rights Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas AC, reiterate their concern regarding the risk to the freedom of Roberto Paciencia, a recently released political prisoner, indigenous Tsotsil and adherent to the Sexta. An appeal is being made against his acquittal.

 

 

3. The Adherents of the Sixth Declaration from the ejido San Sebastián Bachajón release a communiqué to commemorate six years since the government’s attempt to evict them from their territory. They also appeal for one of their prisoners, Santiago Moreno Perez.

 

 

4. The community Cinco de Marzo celebrate 23 years of autonomy. Indigenous Tseltal, Tsotsil And Chol Mayans from The 5 De Marzo Neighbourhood In San Cristobal, say: “We’ve Decided: That’s Enough!” The Cinco de Marzo neighbourhood, in the southern half of San Cristobal de Las Casas in Chiapas, is deemed “recovered land”, after the area was squatted during the 1994 uprising.

 

5. Ejido Tila: On February 6, Tila Ejido published a communiqué denouncing: “a group of inhabitants of the Cantioc community annex organized by members of the green party and the city council attempted to kidnap the President of the Ejidal Commissariat.

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February 28, 2017

Chicoasen Ejido Denounces “Conflict Creation” for Those Who do not Support Project

Filed under: Dams, Displacement, Indigenous, Uncategorized — Tags: — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 11:50 am

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Chicoasen Ejido Denounces “Conflict Creation” for Those Who do not Support Project

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On February 10, the Ejido Committee of the Basic Ejidatarios Commodities of Chicoasen Ejido denounced that “ON FEBRUARY 01 (…) THE TRUCKERS GROUP AGAIN … WANTED TO RECOVER THE ROADS WHERE THE CHICOASEN HYDROELECTRIC WORK HAS BEEN SUSPENDED FOR 8 MONTHS. THIS RESULTED IN A CONFRONTATION WITH A GROUP OF WORKERS WHO HAVE BLOCKED THE ROADS, WHO ARE ASKING FOR RECOGNITION OF  LABOUR RIGHTS, AN INCREASE IN SALARY AND WORK FOR CHICOASEN, AMONG OTHER DEMANDS, AS THE OMEGA COMPANY WAS CONTRACTING OUTSIDERS”(sic).

“AS THE EJIDAL COMMITTEE OF BASIC, POSITIONAL AND EXECUTIVE JUDICIALS, WE DENOUNCE THAT SENATOR LUIS ARMANDO MELGAR ON FEBRUARY 3 ONCE AGAIN CALLED FOR RENEWAL OF THE WORK AT CHICOASEN II HYDROELECTRIC DAM” despite the fact that “THE CFE HAS NOT FULFILLED ITS AGREEMENT FROM THE CREATION OF THE FIRST HYDROELECTRIC DAM (…) AND THEY TOOK AWAY OUR WATER FROM MANANTIALES (…) A LIQUID THAT IS VITAL FOR ALL PEOPLE “

They assured that their fight “REMAINS FIRM” and assured the Mexican State that “WE WILL CONTINUE TO REMIND YOU OF THE LACK OF COMPLIANCE WITH THE AGREEMENTS SINCE THE FIRST CONSTRUCTION OF THE MANUEL MORENO TORREZ HYDROELECTRIC DAM.”

They demand the “A FEDERAL GOVERNMENT SOLUTION TO OUR PROBLEMS, THE SUSPENSION OF THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE CHICOASEN II HYDROELECTRIC DAM BECAUSE IT DIRECTLY AFFECTS US AND HAS VIOLATED OUR AGRICULTURAL RIGHTS AND HUMAN RIGHTS AS EXECUTIVE OFFICERS OF THE EJIDAL COMMITTEE” and also request the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights (IACHR), “TO CONTINUE TO FOLLOW UP OUR CASE BECAUSE IT IS A MATTER WHERE THE INTEREST IS THE DISPOSSESSION AND VIOLATION OF OUR HUMAN RIGHTS BY THE MEXICAN STATE TOGETHER WITH OMEGA AND ASSOCIATED COMPANIES.”

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February 24, 2017

“There will be no wall:” Sioux, Yaqui and Tohono O’odham Indigenous struggles unite from Standing Rock to the Sierra Norte of Puebla

Filed under: Corporations, Dams, Displacement, Indigenous, Uncategorized — Tags: — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 9:52 am

 

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“There will be no wall:” Sioux, Yaqui and Tohono O’odham

Indigenous struggles unite from Standing Rock to the Sierra Norte of Puebla

 

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Photos by Diógenes Rabello / Hijos de la Tierra

From the Editors of Desinformémonos

 February 20, 2017

Trump’s “xenophobic and aggressive policy against Mexico” has placed the Native peoples of the United States and Mexico on alert. They declared that: “there will be no wall!” The struggle of indigenous peoples is added to on both sides of the border, and in Cuetzalan, in the Sierra Norte of Puebla, with the presence of representatives of indigenous peoples from New Mexico and Dakota, who all ratify the defence of their lands and territories.

Tohono O’odham, Sioux and different indigenous tribes are against the policies of Donald Trump and they promise to go as far as the ultimate consequences in defence of their territory.

The Standing Rock Sioux tribe and its defenders have pledged to resist Donald Trump’s executive order that authorizes the construction of an oil pipeline in Dakota and they are thinking about using legal measures, calling for civil disobedience and installing a resistance camp to protect the river water.

“President Trump has the legal obligation to respect the rights that the treaties recognize and guarantee that the whole process for the construction of the oil pipeline is fair and reasonable,” explains Dave Archambault, chief of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe.

Others have promised that they will express their solidarity with protests throughout the country. “We need a massive civil disobedience movement and citizens expressing their solidarity with Standing Rock,” explains Kandi Mossett, a member of the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara tribes.

 

“The Trump administration is provoking a revolution that will make us stronger than ever.”

 

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The Sioux peoples already faced the Democratic administration of Barack Obama, who they classify as “the lord of drones and wars.” The Sioux, together with the Mdewakanton Dakota and Dine peoples, achieved a victory in 2016 when they obtained the cancellation of Obama’s decree to construct an oil pipeline in Dakota. However, last month Trump decided to revive the decree with which is approved the construction of this work that they consider predatory to the environment and destructive to its ancient habitat.

Now, the Sioux once again reject the measure and make a call to mobilize, not just against the oil pipeline, but also against the “border wall” that Donald Trump wants to construct.

The Tohono O’odham tribe of Arizona, which controls more than two and a half million acres, in part bordering with Mexico, expressed its absolute rejection of the wall that Trump seeks to construct because it goes against ancestral customs.

This nation currently has 28,000 members. Prior to the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo that provoked the loss of more than half of Mexican territory to the United States in the 19th Century, the Tohono O’odham moved freely between the states of Sonora and Arizona. Now, they denounce that United States immigration police have unleashed a war against them, therefore they warned that they would mobilize against the border wall they want to construct.

The Yaqui Tribe shares territory in the state of Sonora in Mexico and in Arizona, in the United States. It was also recognized as a nation in 1978, and they have shown their support for the “anti-wall” movement. “Over my dead body,” is one of the slogans of the border tribes that share territory with Mexico. ”It divides our ancestral land and families that have crossed freely since before the borderline was drawn.”

“We arrived before nations and borders divided us,” an indigenous leader pointed out after Trump insulted members of the Hopi tribe with the title of “Pocahontas.”

Against the Donald Trump government, the wall, forced deportations and other xenophobic policies, Mexican and American workers must unify their demands with those of the Sioux and Tohono O’odham peoples. Bring down the wall by constructing resistance with workers, indigenous peoples and women on both sides of the border.

From Standing Rock to the Sierra Norte of Puebla: indigenous peoples join together in defence of territory

The campesino, indigenous and mestizo peoples of the Northeast Sierra of Puebla have demonstrated, once again, their capacity for organization and self-determination.

As is now the custom in this region, every other month, and now on February 18, hundreds of people came from 173 towns and 16 municipalities to gather together in the 18th Assembly in Defence of Territory to reaffirm the power to decide on their lives and the destiny of their territories.

The meeting was held in the municipal capital of Cuetzalan, [1] where its residents wage an important fight against the imposition of an electric substation and high-tension wires. According to what the web page Hijos de la Tierra has reported, those installations are destined to favour mining megaprojects, fracking and hydroelectric dams in la region.

Representatives of social movement struggles were present from the Indigenous Peoples Front in Defence of Mother Earth, of San Francisco Xochicuautla community, the Maya community of Hopelchén, Campeche that struggles against the planting of transgenic seeds, students from the rural teachers colleges, mothers from Ayotzinapa and two representatives of the Native peoples of New Mexico and South Dakota in the United States, who organize and defend their Standing Rock territory and rivers against the “Dakota Access” pipeline impelled once again by Donald Trump.

The municipal presidency of Cuetzalan and representatives of the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE, its initials in Spanish) were invited to the meeting so that they could provide information about the motive and objectives of the electric project that they want to develop at that place. They did not attend however and therefore the assembly decided to continue stopping the construction work and to maintain the encampment installed since the month of November.

[1] Cuetzalan, Puebla is one of Mexico’s “magical towns.” See: http://www.visitmexico.com/en/magicaltowns/center-region/cuetzalan

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Originally Published in Spanish by Desinformémonos

Monday, February 20, 2017

https://desinformemonos.org/no-habra-muro-sioux-yaquis-tohono-oodham-las-luchas-indigenas-se-unen-desde-standing-rock-la-sierra-norte-puebla/

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee

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February 7, 2017

CNI/EZLN in Solidarity with Rarámuri People

Filed under: CNI, Corporations, Dams, Displacement, Ethics, Frayba, Indigenous, Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 9:05 am

 

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CNI/EZLN in Solidarity with Rarámuri People

 

Joint Communique from the National Indigenous Congress and the Zapatista Army for National Liberation in Solidarity with the Rarámuri People

Stop the assassinations of Rarámuri Indigenous Compañeros Defending Their Territory!raramuri

Indigenous Territories of Mexico

February 4, 2017

To the people of Choreachi,

To all of the Rarámuri People,

To the Indigenous Peoples,

To the people of Mexico,

To the peoples of the world,

We learned today of the murders of Indigenous Rarámuri compañeros Juan Ontiveros Ramos and Isidro Baldenegro, both of the community of Choreachi in the municipality of Guadalupe y Calvo, Chihuahua, yesterday February 2, and 15 days ago, respectively.

We urgently denounce these new acts of barbarity against compañeros known for their commitment to the struggle of their people for the recuperation of their territory, which was taken over 40 years ago by large landowners/ranchers and organized crime.

As the National Indigenous Congress and the Zapatista Army for National Liberation, we are in solidarity with the Rarámuri People who have been so hurt by these murders, now totaling 18 homicides committed against their communities since 1973, four of them in the last year.

Compañeros and compañeras, you are not alone! We accompany you in your pain, we open our hearts to the tireless struggle you are waging against organized crime and the landowners backed by the bad governments, and we offer you our support as indigenous peoples of this country who are organizing ourselves to defend our lives and our territories.

 

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STOP THE ASSASSINATIONS OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLE IN STRUGGLE!

NEVER AGAIN A MEXICO WITHOUT US!

NATIONAL INDIGENOUS CONGRESS

ZAPATISTA ARMY FOR NATIONAL LIBERATION

 

http://enlacezapatista.ezln.org.mx/2017/02/05/comunicado-conjunto-del-congreso-nacional-indigena-y-el-ejercito-zapatista-de-liberacion-nacional-en-solidaridad-con-el-pueblo-raramuri/

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December 5, 2016

Modevite Demand Respect for Self-Determination over their Territory and Agree to Construct Community Governments

Filed under: Dams, Displacement, Human rights, Indigenous, Mining — Tags: , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 2:29 pm

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Modevite will consult their communities about EZLN proposal

They Demand Respect for Self-Determination over their Territory and Agree to Construct Community Governments

modevite-3Movement for the Defence of Life and Territory Photo: Chiapas Paralelo

By: Angeles Mariscal

 In this state of the Mexican Southeast, the mining industry has been granted concessions to almost 20 percent of the territory, and there are more than 30 governmental authorizations to use tributary rivers for the installation of mini-hydroelectric dams, five projects for constructing dams and an open solicitation for extracting hydrocarbons from 12 wells; the project to construct a gas pipeline is also in the works, and through the decree for creation of the Special Economic Zones they are granted eased tariffs so that corporations consolidate their businesses linked to the extractive industry.

This is the scenario that thousands of indigenous face in Chiapas; and this is why in this month of November residents of the municipios of Salto de Agua, Tumbalá, Yajalón, Chilón, Ocosingo, Altamirano, Oxchuc, San Juan Cancúc, Tenejapa, Huixtán and San Cristóbal de las Casas left their communities to tour the region and demonstrate their rejection of these projects that threaten stability in their territory.

They are from the Tsotsil, Chol and Tseltal indigenous ethnicities, who make up part of the faithful of the Diocese of San Cristóbal de las Casas, grouped together in the Pueblo Creyente (Believing People), and who for four years have been members of the Movement for the Defence of Life and Territory (Movimiento por la Defensa de la Vida y el TerritorioModevite).

On their 15-day tour, Modevite members met with more than 20,000 different indigenous peoples, with whom they dialogued about the common problems that cross through their territories.

“We have walked to listen to the problems of our communities and the risks that threaten our culture and our Mother Earth with mega-projects and super-highways. We walked to unite us in one single voice. We have been able to converse, reflect and dream as one people,” they explained in a joint pronouncement.

Mines, hydroelectric dams and wells on indigenous lands

“We are at a strategic place regarding the mega-projects. This territory is one of the objectives of extractivism,” they pointed out upon arriving in San Cristóbal de las Casas, in a plaza full of indigenous and mestizos.

There, in the plaza, they said that’ according to the Secretary of Economy, in the last three six-year presidential terms 99 concessions for exploiting minerals that are found on 1.5 million hectares –almost 20 percent of Chiapas territory- have been delivered to corporate investors, the majority lands belonging to indigenous groups that would have to be displaced to make way for the mining industry.

They also said that the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE) has identified Chiapas as a state with great hydrology potential, and plans to construct 90 hydroelectric dams with different capacities. Four of those stand out that would directly affect indigenous territory: the Altamirano Dam on the Tzaconejá River; the Livingstone Dam on the Tzaconejá River; the Santo Domingo Rapids Dam (previously Huixtán I) on the Santo Domingo River; and the Santa Elena Dam (previously Huixtán II) on the Santo Domingo River, among others. They emphasized that investors have asked the Secretariat of the Environment and Natural Resources (Semarnat) for the installation of at least 32 “mini-hydroelectric” dams.

They also said that the perforation of 12 wells for the extraction of gas and oil has been projected for 2017 in the indigenous Zoque zone. This project will affect 845 square kilometres located in two areas within the municipios of Tecpatán, Francisco León, Ixtacomitán and Pichicalco.

Another risk to indigenous territories –they reminded- is the planting of genetically modified seeds (GMOs). From 2010 to the middle of 2016 the Monsanto Company planted genetically modified soy in 13 Chiapas municipios.

They call for strengthening community governments

The inhabitants of the zones where these extractive projects are located pointed out that accepting them would mean being displaced from their territory, and with that also losing their roots.

They started to organize four years ago and since then they have achieved suspending the construction of the San Cristóbal-Palenque Super-Highway. “Now we see that our fight is bigger; we have the job of defender our life, our culture and the commons that there are in our territory,” they underscored.

They said that throughout their tour through indigenous territory, there was agreement that not only must they denounce the affectation to their territory because of the extractivist projects, “but we must also care about the land.”

They said that if the federal, state and municipal governments support and promote the extractive industry, their option is to create community governments that respond to the interests of the indigenous peoples that are being affected.

Therefore, the indigenous agreed to add themselves to the proposal of the National Indigenous Congress (Congreso Nacional Indígena, CNI) and the Zapatista National Liberation Army (Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional, EZLN), to consult with their communities about the decision to participate in the next national elections with an independent indigenous candidate.

“We share the same objective (as the CNI and EZLN), we believe that it is necessary to strengthen the voice of our indigenous peoples on the political agenda, and therefore we want to take this initiative to our communities and municipios. We can no longer work divided but rather it’s necessary to unite for our peoples, for our territories,” they said.

Modevite members announced that they would strengthen the initiative for constructing autonomous governments as a measure for conserving their territories and their culture. “It’s our right to decide the use of and destiny of our territory,” they said.

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Originally Published in Spanish by Chiapas Paralelo

Thursday, December 1, 2016

http://www.chiapasparalelo.com/noticias/chiapas/2016/12/en-chiapas-indigenas-rechazan-proyectos-extractivos/

Re-Published with English interpretation and edits by the Chiapas Support Committee

Posted with minor edits by Dorset Chiapas Solidarity

https://chiapas-support.org/2016/12/04/chiapas-modevite-will-consult-their-communities-about-ezln-proposal/

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November 19, 2016

Indigenous begin a 12-day pilgrimage against mega-projects in Chiapas.

 

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Indigenous begin a 12-day pilgrimage against mega-projects in Chiapas.

 

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TUXTLA GUTIÉRREZ, Chiapas

By: Isaín Mandujano

More than a thousand indigenous Choles, Tseltales and Tsotsiles left this Tuesday morning from Salto de Agua, in a pilgrimage that will tour 11 municipalities (municipios) to denounce and protest against the mega-projects that threaten their lands and the life of their communities.

Throughout 12 days, the indigenous will be added to in each one of the municipios through which the march will travel until arriving in San Cristóbal de Las Casas. Today, they left Salto de Agua for Tumbalá where a traditional celebration will be held. They will spend Wednesday night in Yajalón, where they will hold the forum “The Original Peoples’ Fight” from the experience of Pueblo Creyente of Simojovel.

 On Thursday they will be in Chilón, where they will participate in the forum “The fight for the defence of water.” On Friday, the caravan will depart for Ocosingo, where the forum “Care of Mother Earth” will be held. On Saturday, they will be in Altamirano where they will hold the forum “Alcoholism in the indigenous communities.” On Sunday, November 20, the marchers will spend the night in Oxchuc where they will hold the forum “Community Governments.”

On Monday the 21st, they will be in Cancuc, where a traditional indigenous ceremony will be celebrated. On Tuesday the 22nd they will arrive in Tenejapa, where the auxiliary bishop of the San Cristóbal de Las Casas Diocese, Enrique Díaz Díaz, will head a traditional religious ceremony. On Wednesday the 23rd they will be in Huixtán to celebrate the forum “Government projects in the indigenous communities.”

On November the 24th, they will arrive in La Candelaria, a rural community within the municipio of San Cristóbal de Las Casas, where they will celebrate another traditional indigenous ceremony and dialogue about the situations that threaten their community life. On Friday the 25th, they will finally arrive in the central plaza of San Cristóbal de Las Casas, where the gathering of thousands of marchers that have added themselves to movement is expected.

The Movement in Defence of Life and Territory (Modevite) called for this march and pilgrimage, composed of 10 parishes of 11 municipios. For the las four years, the Pueblo Creyente of the Diocese of San Cristóbal have organized in defence of their territory. They have achieved the stopping of the construction of the Palenque-San Cristóbal superhighway, which would have crossed through their territory. Their objective now is to decide the use and destiny of their territory, principally in the face of threats from the extractive industry and the mega-projects.

“We know our rights as original peoples. We seek to unify our voices and our efforts against the ambition of the impresarios and the government that covet our natural resources,” says Father Marcelo Pérez Pérez.

“We are in a strategic place for the mega-projects. This territory is one the objectives of extractivism,” he added.

For example, Father Marcelo says, in the Tulijá (River) Valley they plan to construct an artificial lake that will flood 396 square kilometres of forests and indigenous lands. The lake would have the capacity of 24 billion 540 million cubic meters, which contemplates the construction of “modern industrial, small farming and aquifer population centres” on the sides of the dam.”

“We don’t want projects that only benefit some, we don’t want projects without consulting us, we don’t want improvements for the rich while the poor continue in the same condition,” another indigenous Ch’ol speaker said today before departing for Tumbalá.

“We seek to organize the peoples to construct our autonomy; that our right as original peoples to the life that we want is recognized. We need to join our voices in defence of our forests, our rivers. We demand the governments stop the extractive industry and the mega-projects that are being imposed without consulting us,” Father Marcelo Pérez Pérez stated.

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Originally Published in Spanish by Proceso.com.mx

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

http://www.proceso.com.mx/462639/indigenas-de-chiapas-inician-peregrinacion-de-12-dias-contra-megaproyectos

Re-published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee

Posted by Dorset Chiapas Solidarity

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September 19, 2016

The Impacts of Megaprojects in Chiapas

Filed under: Corporations, Dams, Displacement, Uncategorized — Tags: , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 10:28 am

 

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The Impacts of Megaprojects in Chiapas

Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Human Rights Centre, San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas, México

5 September 2016
Bulletin Number: 17

 

The impacts of megaprojects in Chiapas, a report to the United Nations Working Group on Business and Human Rights

 

no_represasInformation submitted to the United Nations (UN) Working Group on Business and Human Rights included the responsibility of businesses and the Mexican State in the violation of human rights in communities and towns in Chiapas. This UN body made an official visit to Mexico from 29 August to 7 September 2016 (1).

The Businesses and Human Rights Report, written by a coalition of more than 100 organisations, communities and civil society networks includes documentation of the case of the Chicoasen II hydroelectric dam. This project affects the indigenous Zoque community who were previously displaced and stripped of their communal land in the 1980s by the dam Manuel Moreno Torres, which is better known as Chicoasen I.

The ejido committee representing the Chicoasen communal landowners and the neighbouring landholders (the Ejido Chicoasen Committee from Chiapas) reported to the UN human rights abuses in terms of a prior and informed consultation, with culturally appropriate information, and abuse of land and territory. The accused are the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE as it’s known by its Spanish initials) and the companies Sinohydro Costa Rica, Omega Construction, Urban Development and Construction and Infrastructure Caabsa. This has been the case since the hydroelectric dam project Chicoasen II began in 2012.

 

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The company Sinohydro Costa Rica, with the parent company headquartered in Beijing, has a history of human rights abuses for its involvement in the hydroelectric dam project Agua Zarca. The Council of Popular and Indigenous Organisations of Honduras (COPINH as it’s known by its Spanish initials) denounced the company for the same strategies used in Chicoasen:  forging signatures, imposing ejido commissioners, harassing, attacking and threatening local farmers with the complicity of the local authorities. It’s also worth remembering that  Bertha Cáceres, environmentalist, COPINH leader, human rights defender and winner of the Goldman prize, an environmental award, was killed in March 2016 in the context of the Lenca people’s struggle against the dam. This event raised alarm about the serious risk people defending land face in Latin America.

The criminalisation of human rights defenders was documented as another violation of human rights as in the case of the construction of the hydroelectric dam Chicoasen II. Between 2010 and 2016 the members of the the Ejido Chicoasen Committee have been the subject of threats, attempted arbitrary deprivation of life, arbitrary deprivation of freedom, prosecution, criminalisation of protest and they have had to struggle with internal community divisions. The ejido’s lawyer Arturo Luna Ortega was detained by state police and accused of inciting rioting and held in prison from 21 October 2015 for three months because of a complaint made by the CFE. Further, there are arrest orders for other members of the resistance (2).

 

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Owing to the risks to life, the integrity and security of people opposing the Chicoasen II project, the Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Human Rights Centre maintains a request for precautionary measures with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.

Frayba demonstrated that the megaprojects in Chiapas, in the majority mining, hydroelectric, tourism and plantations follow a strategy of dispossession:  implementation of authoritarian processes, lack of a prior and informed consultation with the communities affected, conspiracy between the three levels of government, modification of rules and laws, violence, criminalisation and prosecution for those who resist or oppose their plan.

 

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Historically and in the present, indigenous communities are subject to serious human rights violations. Dispossession has affected community life and the cultural heritage of indigenous communities. Further, the environment in indigenous territory in Chiapas is being affected by the large proportion of the state being held in concession for exploration and exploitation for extractive projects. Therefore the Ejido Chicoasen Committee and Frayba attended the meeting of the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights held on 4 September 2016 in the community of San Francisco, Xochicuatla, Mexico state. There we reiterated the obligation of the Mexican State to ensure the protection of human rights globally and universally, including those related to land, territory and the environment. In particular, we want the Mexican State to strengthen and comply with the regulatory framework and control of all business sectors, with an emphasis on those related to large-scale projects and the extractive industry in order to ensure the protection of human rights. The State and companies must comply and respect collective rights, like autonomy and the right to land and territory of the indigenous peoples and communities of African heritage.

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(1) México: Empresas y Derechos Humanos. 29 de agosto de 2016. Available at: https://businesshumanrights.org/sites/default/files/documents/Informe_Mx_Empresas_DDHH_68_0.pdf

(2) Centro de Derechos Humanos Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas A.C. Acción Urgente: Detienen al abogado del Comité Ejidal de afectados por la presa Chicoasen II. 23 de octubre de 2015. Available at: http://www.frayba.org.mx/archivo/acciones_urgentes/151023_au_05_chicosen.pdf

Source: http://www.frayba.org.mx/archivo/boletines/160905_boletin_17_empresas.pdf

 

Translated by the UK Zapatista Translation Service

Posted by Dorset Chiapas Solidarity

 

http://www.pozol.org/?p=13682

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September 13, 2016

The Impacts of Megaprojects in Chiapas

Filed under: Dams, Frayba — Tags: , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 4:40 am

 

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The Impacts of Megaprojects in Chiapas

 

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Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Human Rights Centre, San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas, México

5 September 2016
Bulletin Number: 17

The impacts of megaprojects in Chiapas, a report to the United Nations Working Group on Business and Human Rights

Information submitted to the United Nations (UN) Working Group on Business and Human Rights included the responsibility of businesses and the Mexican State in the violation of human rights in communities and towns in Chiapas. This UN body made an official visit to Mexico from 29 August to 7 September 2016 (1).

The Businesses and Human Rights Report, written by a coalition of more than 100 organisations, communities and civil society networks includes documentation of the case of the Chicoasen II hydroelectric dam. This project affects the indigenous Zoque community who were previously displaced and stripped of their communal land in the 1980s by the dam Manuel Moreno Torres, which is better known as Chicoasen I.

The ejido committee representing the Chicoasen communal landowners and the neighbouring landholders (the Ejido Chicoasen Committee from Chiapas) reported to the UN human rights abuses: lack of access to a prior and informed consultation, with culturally appropriate information, and abuse of land and territory. The accused are the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE as it is known by its Spanish initials) and the companies Sinohydro Costa Rica, Omega Construction, Urban Development and Construction and Infrastructure Caabsa. This has been the case since the hydroelectric dam project Chicoasen II began in 2012.

 

The company Sinohydro Costa Rica, with the parent company headquartered in Beijing, has a history of human rights abuses for its involvement in the hydroelectric dam project Agua Zarca. The Council of Popular and Indigenous Organisations of Honduras (COPINH as it is known by its Spanish initials) denounced the company for the same strategies used in Chicoasen:  forging signatures, imposing ejido commissioners, harassing, attacking and threatening local farmers with the complicity of the local authorities. It is also worth remembering that  Bertha Cáceres, environmentalist, COPINH leader, human rights defender and winner of the Goldman prize, an environmental award, was killed in March 2016 in the context of the Lenca people’s struggle against the dam. This event raised alarm about the serious risk people defending land face in Latin America.

The criminalisation of human rights defenders was documented as another violation of human rights as in the case of the construction of the hydroelectric dam Chicoasen II. Between 2010 and 2016 the members of the the Ejido Chicoasen Committee have been the subject of threats, attempted arbitrary deprivation of life, arbitrary deprivation of freedom, prosecution, criminalisation of protest and they have had to struggle with internal community divisions. The ejido’s lawyer Arturo Luna Ortega was detained by state police and accused of inciting rioting and held in prison from 21 October 2015 for three months because of a complaint made by the CFE. Further, there are arrest orders for other members of the resistance (2).

Owing to the risks to life, the integrity and security of people opposing the Chicoasen II project, the Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Human Rights Centre maintains a request for precautionary measures with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.

Frayba demonstrated that the megaprojects in Chiapas, in the majority mining, hydroelectric, tourism and plantations follow a strategy of dispossession:  implementation of authoritarian processes, lack of a prior and informed consultation with the communities affected, conspiracy between the three levels of government, modification of rules and laws, violence, criminalisation and prosecution for those who resist or oppose their plan.

Historically and in the present, indigenous communities are subject to serious human rights violations. Dispossession has affected community life and the cultural heritage of indigenous communities. Further, the environment in indigenous territory in Chiapas is being affected by the large proportion of the state being held in concession for exploration and exploitation for extractive projects. Therefore the Ejido Chicoasen Committee and Frayba attended the meeting of the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights held on 4 September 2016 in the community of San Francisco, Xochicuatla, Mexico state. There we reiterated the obligation of the Mexican State to ensure the protection of human rights globally and universally, including those related to land, territory and the environment. In particular, we want the Mexican State to strengthen and comply with the regulatory framework and control of all business sectors, with an emphasis on those related to large-scale projects and the extractive industry in order to ensure the protection of human rights. The State and companies must comply and respect collective rights, like autonomy and the right to land and territory of the indigenous peoples and communities of African heritage.

 

(1) México: Empresas y Derechos Humanos. 29 de agosto de 2016. Available at: https://businesshumanrights.org/sites/default/files/documents/Informe_Mx_Empresas_DDHH_68_0.pdf

(2) Centro de Derechos Humanos Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas A.C. Acción Urgente: Detienen al abogado del Comité Ejidal de afectados por la presa Chicoasen II. 23 de octubre de 2015. Available at: http://www.frayba.org.mx/archivo/acciones_urgentes/151023_au_05_chicosen.pdf

Source: http://www.frayba.org.mx/archivo/boletines/160905_boletin_17_empresas.pdf

Translated by the UK Zapatista Translation Service for Dorset Chiapas Solidarity

http://www.pozol.org/?p=13682

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May 23, 2016

Global demonstration convened for Berta Caceres next June 15th

Filed under: Dams, Displacement, Uncategorized, water — Tags: , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 2:37 pm

 

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Global demonstration convened for Berta Caceres next June 15th

Desinformémonos
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Following the murder of indigenous leader Berta Caceres, the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH) has convened a Global Action on 15th June 15 to demand justice through demonstrations in that country and in front of the embassies of Honduras around the world.

The protests aim to demand the immediate establishment of an independent investigation group led by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (CIDH), to clarify the crime and ensure the prosecution of all those responsible.

In addition, the demand is for the immediate and definitive cancellation of the concession granted to the company DESA for the construction of the hydroelectric project “Agua Zarca” on the Rio Blanco.

Berta Caceres, coordinator of COPINH, was killed on 3rd March at her home in La Esperanza, when unknown individuals entered in the morning. The environmental leader fought for the cancellation of Agua Zarca project because it is a threat to the indigenous peoples and nature.

 

http://desinformemonos.org.mx/convocan-manifestacion-global-por-berta-caceres-el-proximo-15-de-junio/

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May 15, 2016

Dam on the Usumacinta river: Hydroelectric Project or Environmental Catastrophe?

Filed under: Corporations, Dams, Displacement, water — Tags: , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 2:40 pm

 

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Dam on the Usumacinta river: Hydroelectric Project or Environmental Catastrophe?

 

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In documents from the CFE (the Federal Electricity Commission) – Programme of works and investments in the electricity sector –  the Tenosique Dam project (formerly Boca del Cerro), is a reality, and it is planned to complete its construction in 2017.

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Under the argument “regional integration and development,” free entry is being given to various hydroelectric projects in Mesoamerica, promoted by the World Bank (WB), the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), and the Global Environmental Facility (GEF), among others, all of these sponsored by various federal institutions and private companies.

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This is no accident, as it responds to the historical negotiations between the governments of the region, from which the emergence of Plan Puebla Panama (PPP) stands out, and its current “strengthening” with the Project for the Integration and Development of Mesoamerica (PM). So, it is no accident that while [Mexico] is undergoing a process of the privatization of the state enterprise of water and therefore also its infrastructure, old projects of large-scale dams and water transfers are also being taken up.

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The bowl of the River Usumacinta in Mexico forms part of one of these “renewed projects”. The possibility of building a dam on the Usumacinta River has been discussed since 1956, but according to official documents it was not considered feasible for Guatemala to grant permission to flood such a large area, so the project was abandoned in 1960.

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In 1970, using the justification of an energy crisis, the Usumacinta Hydroelectric System Plan, in which five dams were planned along the river, was drawn up. The first and most important would be the Boca del Cerro Dam, but. a few years after, this plan was abandoned due to various political priorities of the time.

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A few decades later, during the government of Vicente Fox (2000-2006,) the project was taken up as part of binational negotiations between the governments of Mexico and Guatemala, in light of the Plan Puebla Panama (PPP), and reactivated in full with the PM, which emerged from the Tenth Summit of the Mechanism of Dialogue and Agreement of Tuxtla held in Villahermosa in 2008.

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In documents of the Federal Electricity Commission (Programme of works and investments in the electricity sector), the Tenosique Dam project (formerly Boca del Cerro) is a reality, and it is planned to complete its construction in 2017.

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The Hydroelectric Dam will be located 9.5 kilometres southwest of the town. In a first phase, the direct impact of this work will affect the Canyon of the Usumacinta, because the curtain, initially planned to be at a height of 135 meters, would be in that area.
Sixty years ago – since 1956 – and still today, considerations and studies about both the environmental and social damage have been available, produced by various academic institutions, NGOs, and even by the government.

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Following the construction and operation of the dam, the immediate consequences would be seen in the forced displacement of a large part of the population, and, for the few who managed to stay, their productive activities – fishing and cattle breeding – would virtually disappear. Needless to say, for the lower basin, specifically in the Centla Swamps, the damage would be irreparable.

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Several social organizations in Mexico and Guatemala have been trying to mobilize against the threat posed by the construction of the dam, and in response to the numerous acts of harassment towards indigenous communities, a situation which has been documented for at least fifteen years.

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With the imminent completion of the dam, the situation is one of great concern, because it requires urgent dissemination, and above all a strengthening in the mobilization of civil society. The construction of the dam would cause an environmental catastrophe in the entire basin of the Grijalva-Usumacinta river system. Nationally, the impact would also be terrible, because the Usumacinta is the most important reserve of fresh water in the country, which means that the hoarding of water resources would represent a direct attack on biodiversity and therefore an extensive socio-environmental conflict which cannot be resolved.

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Translated by the UK Zapatista Translation Service

http://www.rumbonuevo.com.mx/presa-sobro-el-rio-usumacinta-proyecto-hidroelectrico-o-catastrofe-ambiental/

 

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May 10, 2016

Declaration by Original Peoples, Organisations and Communities in Defence of Mother Earth and Our Territory

Filed under: Corporations, Dams, Displacement, Indigenous — Tags: , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 4:03 pm

 

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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)

 

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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!

 

Sincerly:

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

Guadalupe Mission

 

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

 

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May 5, 2016

El Niño Dries Up 13 Main Rivers in Mexican State of Chiapas

Filed under: Dams, water — Tags: , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 6:07 am

 

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El Niño Dries Up 13 Main Rivers in Mexican State of Chiapas

 

When reading this, please ask yourself whether building 5 dams on the Usumacinta would be the best source of electricity.

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State officials will ask the federal government to decree a state of emergency in various regions of the state to access national disaster funds.

The southern Mexican state of Chiapas has been hard hit by the El Niño climate phenomenon causing such an intensive drought that 13 rivers have been completely dried up, Mexican newspaper Reforma said on Friday.

State Director of Civil Protection Luis Manuel Garcia told Reforma that 40 Chiapan municipalities have been affected, of which four are experiencing extreme drought.

“All of the biggest rivers in the coastal area of Chiapas have been practically dried up,” Garcia said.

In light of the extreme circumstances, Garcia said they would send a petition to the federal government requesting that they issue a state of emergency decree for three of Chiapas’ municipalities in order to get financial resources from the National Disaster Fund.

“The drought issues began last year when we recorded 36 percent less rains than the historical average, and this year has so far been the same,” he said.

The official recalled that Chiapas is one of Mexico’s states with more rains, but that due to El Niño, this is no longer true.

“The wells from which water for the population is extracted are eight metres below their normal level,” Garcia said.

According to meteorologists’ predictions, the drought will continue to affect the state during May, which has prompted the state government to ask farmers to delay the beginning of their plantations for about a month.

The threat of drought has been looming over Mexico since at least October of 2015, when experts predicted the country would soon be hit by the worst drought in recent history.

The effects of the climate phenomenon have already been felt in Baja California, Oaxaca, Yucatan, Guerrero and Chiapas.

http://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/El-Nino-Dries-Up-13-Main-Rivers-in-Mexican-State-of-Chiapas-20160429-0023.html

 

El Niño in Chiapas: water rations in effect

13 rivers have almost dried up as a result of drought

A severe drought caused by the meteorological phenomenon El Niño has affected the state of Chiapas, where some rivers can no longer provide water for several municipalities and underground reservoirs are being depleted, forcing authorities to enforce water rationing measures.

Just in the last month, 13 rivers have virtually dried up, affecting 40 municipalities in the Soconusco and Costa regions of the state.

Drought in 36 of those is considered moderate by the state Civil Protection office while in the remaining four — Arriaga, Tonalá, Pijijiapan and Las Margaritas — it has reached severe levels.

“The Lagartero river represents the main water supply for Tonalá and several communities [within the municipality]; rivers like Doña María or Cintalapa, and all the great rivers of the coast region, are virtually drying up,” said Civil Protection chief Luis Manuel García.

In some Pijijiapan neighborhoods, tap water is only available one or two days per week as the Coapa river can’t cope with providing a full supply to the municipality.

In total, seven rivers run through it, two of which have completely dried up, while the others present very low flows.

In order to access national disaster funds, the state government is working with the federation to declare a state of emergency in the municipalities of Arriaga, Tonalá and Pijijiapan.

“Last year rainfall was 36% below average and so far this year the trend continues”, observed García, who recalls that similar conditions were experienced during the 1997-1998 season when one of the strongest El Niño events on record was registered.

A technical study of the region’s aquifers was performed recently, said García, and all were found to be below their average levels. “Wells that supply water for several cities were found to be eight meters below their usual levels.”

Due to the emergency conditions, local authorities have decided to cover several communities’ water needs through tanker trucks, while also monitoring bottled water distributors to ensure they keep their prices at a reasonable level.

In the state capital the water department has performed repairs to its network in order to control and prevent leakage.

The water supply in Tuxtla Gutiérrez is also limited to access twice a week, while its two water treatment plants have been operating at 70% and 30% capacity, respectively.

Weather forecasts predict that the drought could extend through May, and that rains should be expected sometime in June.

Faced with these conditions, farmers have been warned to postpone sowing crops until further notice.

Source: Reforma (sp)

http://mexiconewsdaily.com/news/el-nino-in-chiapas-water-rations-in-effect/#sthash.okkw2cLP.dpuf

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April 23, 2016

60 Chiapas communities reject dam on the Usumacinta River

Filed under: Dams, Displacement, Human rights, Indigenous, water — Tags: , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 5:58 pm

 

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60 Chiapas communities reject dam on the Usumacinta River

 

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“According to researchers, the construction of dams across Mexico has displaced some 200,000 people, while advocacy groups warn that the country’s new water law will just continue to make the situation worse. Many of Mexico’s 4,462 dams registered in official records are in Indigenous and campesino communities.” TeleSur

 

By: Elio Henríquez, Correspondent

San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas

Representatives of more than 60 communities from seven municipios in the Northern Zone and Jungle regions of Chiapas and from the Petén Front Against Dams of Guatemala issued statements against the construction of the bi-national Boca del Cerro hydroelectric dam, on the Usumacinta River, because it will invade their lands and the communities will be evicted.

In a statement published this Saturday, the almost 300 attendees at the Fourth Forum of resistances and alternatives of peoples of the Northern Zone of Chiapas said that construction work has already started on the containment walls on both sides of the Usumacinta, which divides Mexico from Guatemala, for an expanse of 40 kilometres.

The gathering, called by the Peoples Light and Power Civil Resistance Organization of the Northern Region, an adherent to the EZLN’s Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle, was held on April 6 and 7 in the Victórico Grajales Ejido, Palenque Municipio, Chiapas, one of the municipios affected together with Tenosique, Tabasco, and communities in the Department of El Petén, Guatemala.

The bi-national Boca del Cerro hydroelectric dam is one of the five dams planned on the waterway that divides Mexico from Guatemala. According to data from the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE), the works are planned over four years and will have a maximum height of 55.5 meters (approximately 182 feet).

The total surface of the reservoir contemplates 4,443 acres; 1,746 acres are within the municipio of Tenosique and 2,697 within the municipio of Palenque.

Those who attended the Forum pointed out that the start of the work will immediately result in: “the San Carlos Boca del Cerro community, Tenosique, will disappear because it will be converted into the offices and camp of the company that constructs the dam’s curtain.”

Their concern, they stated, is because in addition to all the damage that the dam will cause, “the government will not indemnify us for our lands, the cost of living will increase and we, Chols and Tzeltals, will disappear from the region as indigenous peoples.”

They made clear that the federal government is imposing the dam on them and violating Article 2 of the Mexican Constitution and Convention 169 of the International Labour Organization (ILO), which refers to the autonomy of Native peoples and their right to consultation.

 

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Due to the above, they committed to applying a work plan for stopping construction of the Boca del Cerro Dam and pledged solidarity “with the actions of sister organizations that are fighting to stop projects for mining, highways, hydroelectric dams and to expel from our lands the owners of the big companies who want to dispossess us of our territory.”

They reported that they agreed to apply actions that permit them to put into practice the control and care of their territory, because this project would contaminate the river and the fish.

They also stated their opposition to the construction of other dams projected for Chiapas territory, because “they would affect the life of the peoples, and the profits that they would generate would be used to enrich foreign companies, the result of the energy reform, at the expense of the eviction of our peoples and of our lands.”

They also demanded justice for the murder of the activist Berta Cáceres Flores, coordinator of the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras, “and for respect of the human rights and the lives of those that fight against the megaprojects and against dams, in Mexico, Central America and other places in the world.”

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Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Sunday, April 10, 2016

En español: http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2016/04/10/estados/024n1est

Re-published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee

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April 22, 2016

AN INTERVIEW WITH GUSTAVO CASTRO, SOLE WITNESS TO ASSASSINATION OF BERTA CÁCERES

Filed under: Dams, Displacement, Human rights, Indigenous, Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 8:09 am

 

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AN INTERVIEW WITH GUSTAVO CASTRO, SOLE WITNESS TO ASSASSINATION OF BERTA CÁCERES

Danielle Marie Mackey

gustavo-castro-article-headerActivist Gustavo Castro at a news conference at the Miguel Agustín Pro Juárez Human Rights Center in Mexico, April 4, 2016.

 

GUSTAVO CASTRO was the sole witness to the murder on March 3 of Honduran activist Berta Cáceres, the co-founder of the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Movements of Honduras (COPINH). Castro, the director of Otros Mundos, an environmental organization in Chiapas, Mexico, was also shot in the attack. After being barred from leaving Honduras, Castro was released on March 30 and has since settled in an undisclosed location. Last week he spoke by phone to The Intercept about the night of the murder and the reasons why environmental activism in Latin America is so dangerous.

Castro’s experience over the past month provides a remarkable glimpse into the Honduran justice system, which is notorious for its culture of impunity. In the months before her murder, Cáceres repeatedly said that she was being harassed by Desarrollos Energéticos, SA (DESA), the private energy company behind the Agua Zarca dam project, which she had vigorously opposed. After the murder, Cáceres’s family immediately pointed to DESA. On March 31, the Honduran public prosecutor’s office announced that it had seized weapons and documents from DESA’s office and questioned several employees.

Contacted for comment, DESA provided the following statement: “The board of directors of the company that is carrying out the Agua Zarca hydroelectric project has not given any declaration nor does it plan to do so until the authorities in charge of the investigation determine the causes and perpetrators of this regrettable incident that ended the life of the indigenous leader Berta Cáceres.”

What happened during your last hours with Berta Cáceres?

I arrived on March 1 in San Pedro Sula, and that day they put me up in another home that belongs to other COPINH members in La Esperanza. It had been years since I had seen Berta in person, although we had been in touch by email. I was there to facilitate a workshop on environmentalism. That day Berta said to me, brother, come to my house, I have internet so you can get in touch with your family. We spent a while talking, even discussing the threats that she had received in the past and in recent weeks — intimidation and threats to her safety by employees of DESA and people who seemed to be hit men contracted by DESA, the company behind the hydroelectric project called Agua Zarca.

And I said to Berta, this is a very isolated home, how is it that you live here alone? So I decided to stay the night. I started to get ready for the second day of the workshop, and she was in her room. At midnight, there was a loud bang on the door and immediately one hit man entered my room, and simultaneously another entered hers. Everything happened very quickly, within 30 seconds, in which simultaneously they assassinated her and shot me. They had clearly been following her and were expecting her to be alone, so I think it surprised them to find another person there and they didn’t know what to do, so they just shot me and ran away.

Were their faces covered?

I don’t know about the other one, but the one who shot me wasn’t masked. I wasn’t able to decipher his face well, but that’s the moment when I became the principal witness, and a protected witness.

When Berta told you that she had received threats from DESA and Agua Zarca, did she say at any point that the people threatening her were from Honduran state security forces? Or were they gang members, or just random individuals?

 

HONDURAS-PROTEST-CACERES

Human rights activists take part in a protest to claim justice after the murdered of indigenous activist leader Berta Caceres in Tegucigalpa on March 17, 2016. Caceres, a respected environmentalist who won the prestigious Goldman Prize last year for her outspoken advocacy, was murdered in her home on March 3, her family said. AFP PHOTO/Orlando SIERRA. / AFP / ORLANDO SIERRA (Photo credit should read ORLANDO SIERRA/AFP/Getty Images)

 

 

I don’t remember her saying anything like that. She did say they were employees, people in favor of the company. In fact when I arrived in Mexico, on March 30, the public prosecutor’s office in Honduras published a press release publicly linking the company to their line of investigation. In the press release they also announced that they had seized weapons and questioned some of the company’s people. But they didn’t want to get to this point. Before coming to that line of investigation, I got the impression they wanted to see if another line of investigation could be useful or believable for national and international public opinion, but that was impossible. Everyone in COPINH already knew the recent history, so they had no other option than to finally go after the company. I’m unaware of any advances they’ve had in this line of investigation.

Over the last decade there were more than 100 murders of environmentalists in Honduras. And these conflicts are often linked to the army and the police. That’s part of the reality of Honduras. In this specific case, Berta said that the guilty party was the company. It was the company with which she had a strong and direct confrontation.

At first we were hearing that they questioned you, took you to the airport, and then suddenly told you that you couldn’t leave the country. Is this how it happened?

The whole process was confusing and handled poorly. I spent the first three or four days in constant legal procedures in La Esperanza. I could have refused several times, because one has the right to solicit a six-hour prevention order as a victim and a protected witness. Nevertheless, I never used this instrument, and every time they asked me to take part in more legal procedures, I did — at any hour, in the middle of the night, whenever. So I went nearly four days without sleeping. I gave the statement for the attorney general, the statement for the public prosecutor, medical examinations, cross-examinations, photographic identification, etc.

And, yes, at first they said I could go. They always said, just one more thing, and then just one more thing, and then it finally seemed like everything was done and ready. They even prepared a helicopter for me to get back to Tegucigalpa on March 5. But because of weather conditions they weren’t able to land the helicopter, so instead they deployed a security detail to accompany me to Tegucigalpa by land. Later, the public prosecutor’s office claimed I was trying to escape, which was a huge lie.

So I arrived at the Mexican Embassy, where the ambassador and the consul bought me a plane ticket for March 6 at 6:20 a.m. But when we got to the airport, Honduran officials were waiting in hiding around the airport for me, as if this were necessary, as if this were a criminal matter and as if I weren’t a protected witness and a victim. It was so shameless. It felt like having an army at my heels. And the ambassador and the consul were with me. Suddenly eight or 10 people from the attorney general’s office and the public prosecutor’s office stood in front of the door and said that I couldn’t leave. They wouldn’t hand over any official document explaining anything. I know that this government is the result of a coup, but this game was so ridiculous that even they had to ask for apologies from the ambassador and me. What they did was totally unnecessary. And obviously they had to justify themselves before the national and international press by claiming they thought I was fleeing. Even then I could have said I was leaving. Because of a convention on penal matters between Mexico and Honduras, as a victim and a protected witness, I had the right to participate in the legal procedures from Mexico. I’m not a criminal — I’m a victim. But they forgot that.

They said, we need just one more thing. So I asked for more protection for the ride back: a bulletproof vest and more bodyguards. What they originally said they needed was more testimony, but what it ended up being was more cross-examination. At the end of the night they produced a document saying it was necessary for me to stay 30 days more. That was also illegal — the judge used arguments based on international human rights laws regarding suspects. When my lawyer argued they were violating my rights, the judge not only removed her from the case but furthermore suspended her ability to practice law for 15 days.

The government wanted me under its control. It has no laws that protect victims. Nor does it have regulations or protocols or a budget to protect human rights activists. Nor does it have regulations for protected witnesses. So they wanted me under their so-called protection where there is no law that obligates them to do anything. Which is why I stayed in the Mexican Embassy. But it was a month of horrible stress and tension, in which the government, with its complete lack of regulations or protocols, could easily accuse me of anything at any moment, show up with a judicial order, and the Mexican Embassy wouldn’t have been able to do anything. One week before I arrived in Honduras, the Judicial Commission had been dissolved, so there was no legal instrument with which I could defend myself. There was no commission before which I could denounce a judge who acted illegally, because that commission had been dissolved. So I found myself in total legal defencelessness — without a lawyer, because they suspended her. And it seemed neither international pressure nor the Mexican government could do anything. So it was a state of complete insecurity and a constant violation of my human rights.

Did they ever try to accuse you of anything officially?

There wasn’t anything explicit. There were rumours in the press that the public prosecutor’s office was trying to justify involving me in the crime in some way. But with the evidence and my declarations, it was simply impossible for them to invent such a farce. No matter how many circles they ran around the matter, they eventually had to go to DESA. They had no other option. I had the sense that they wanted to keep me there while they were trying to find something. It was a horrible uncertainty, because you have no lawyer. They have the ability to leave you totally legally defenceless.

 

honduras-dam-constuction-1000x681A 745-foot-high dam under construction for a future power plant in Honduras, April 4, 1983. Photo: David A. Harvey/National Geographic/Getty Images

 

How do you explain the fact that opposing dams is interpreted as a threat?

This isn’t true only in Honduras — also in Guatemala, Mexico, Chile, etc. One of the reasons is that these dams mean flooding out huge swaths of jungle, forest, and indigenous and campesino lands. And this causes a strong reaction from these communities, because there are thousands and thousands of them displaced violently.

Another reason is that one of the most profitable businesses at the moment is the sale of electrical energy, especially in Latin America, because free trade agreements are opening huge investments for transnational corporations. And what does this mean? For example, free trade agreements allow major investors to put up factories, industrial parks, infrastructure, and mines, which all consume a ton of electricity and a ton of water. And bear in mind that one gold mine can use between 1 and 3 million litres of water every hour. That implies relinquishing the water that belongs to communities, their rivers, and their wells — using it to instead generate electricity for the big industrial corridors. So the sale of energy, and thus investments in energy, is one of the most profitable businesses for big capital. But that means entering into battle over territory with campesino and indigenous communities.

Additionally, with the Kyoto Protocol they’ve invented the stupid idea that dams make “clean energy.” Thus in order to gain carbon credits and reduce their greenhouse gases, wealthy countries started investing in dams. That’s why we have a world full of dam construction.

In Latin America almost every country has free trade agreements with the U.S., Canada, and Europe, and many also with Asia. This means changing your constitution, your environmental legislation that concerns water, energy and foreign investment, in order to adopt and facilitate these free trade agreements. If you don’t, companies sue. For governments, it’s easier to repress people than to pay damages and compensation to corporations. A good example is the case of the gold mine in El Salvador. El Salvador has had to pay millions to defend itself against a mining company before the World Bank’s International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes. And we are talking about one mine. But imagine 10,000 or 15,000 — we are talking about thousands of mining concessions in the region. And to this if you add dams, and to that you add highways, ports, airports, mines, fracking, petroleum, huge shopping malls, tax-free zones, charter cities, huge elite tourist resorts — there are so many concessions.

If the human rights claims that activists make are actually upheld — contamination of water and land, violating previous and informed consent of communities — or if they kick out a company for dumping toxic waste into rivers, for murdering community members, for causing cancer around mining sites like we’ve seen in Honduras, Mexico, Guatemala — if governments have to do something about these human rights claims by kicking out the extractive industry, they’ll have to pay millions and millions of dollars that they don’t have. Each country would have to sell itself 20 times over to pay off the debt. So this is not easy to solve.

This leads to confrontation with communities. This will only deepen with things like the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and governments prefer to react by criminalizing citizen protest. Peaceful protest used to be a human right. Now they call it “terrorism,” “violence.” They’re criminalizing human rights.

In a recent interview, Hillary Clinton said that the coup in Honduras was legal. What do you think about this statement?

It seems to me that in the end, the government had to justify a way for another group to come to power. And Honduras’s legal antiquity allows you to make any argument you want. For example, one of the reasons they gave for overthrowing Zelaya was that he proposed to modify the constitution to allow for re-election. Which the current president, Juan Orlando Hernández, is now trying to do, to modify the constitution to allow for re-election for him next year. So that’s why I say it depends on how you want to see it. If Zelaya proposes it, it’s unconstitutional and he has to go. If the oligarchy and the global hegemony says it, it’s legal, it’s democratic.

How do you see your future? Or are you living more day by day right now?

More day by day. Many are asking me if I’m going to throw in the towel, if I’m like the boxer who can’t take any more and gives up. I say no, I’m picking that towel up. This struggle must continue. I am not alone. Across Latin America there are thousands of people who are criminalized, who are being persecuted and threatened for defending human rights, who are defending the well-being of our planet. We must realize that that no one is exempt from this criminalization. Like so many friends who have been murdered for resisting. But there are many of us, and we will carry on.

The voracious capitalism we face cannot continue as is, with its accelerated and extractionist logic that is finishing off our planet. I think our great challenge is to realize that other worlds are possible. We can build something different, something dignified and just. There is enough water for everyone. There is enough land, enough food for everyone. We cannot continue feeding this predatory system of capital accumulation in the hands of so few. That system is unsustainable. So from wherever we are — in the Americas, in Europe, in Asia — we will all be affected by this system. Sometimes it seems that the crisis doesn’t touch certain places, and sometimes we don’t make the structural link to capitalism with the crises that the U.S. and Canada and France and Spain face. But I hope that we realize this soon, because it will affect us all sooner or later. And I want to say that there is still time to do something. This is urgent.

 

https://theintercept.com/2016/04/18/an-interview-with-gustavo-castro-sole-witness-of-the-murder-of-berta-caceres/

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