Translated By Jonathan Luevanos
(Author’s note: The Zapatista Army of National Liberation is a revolutionary leftist political group formed by indigenous people from the Lacandon Jungle in southeastern Mexico. Since 1994, the Zapatista Army has been in a declared war against the Mexican government, military, paramilitaries and national and international corporate interests. The National Indigenous Congress was formed in 1996 by Zapatistas in an effort to nationalize and solidify the political struggles of indigenous people. The following text is a translated version of a December, 2016 press release from the Zapatista Army and National Indigenous Congress. The text is divided into two sections: the struggle against the corrupt political situation in Chiapas, Mexico and the solidarity of global movements in their political fight against the interests of capitalism.)
TO THE PEOPLE OF MEXICO:
TO THE PEOPLE AROUND THE WORLD:
TO THE FREE PRESS:
Great is the progress of our people, wise is the progress when the people are collective and the National Indigenous Congress turns with their attentive ears to hear us speak in accordance with the agreements of the 5th National Congress. We continue as a permanent assembly traveling to all of the hidden corners of our country Mexico.
Our assembly permanently grows and meets in the pueblos, nations and tribes that speak the languages of the National Indigenous Congress, in great and small assemblies, in meetings of communal counseling, in profound reflections of dispersed families, in regional forums and in ceremonial spaces. In collective words, we continue to conclude that it is now the time of the people and let the earth tremble at its center.
And the fear of the strong, of the extractive businesses, of the military and of the narco-paramilitaries is so great, that our efforts are being assaulted and harried where our people meet to discuss and decide the steps to take with the National Indigenous Congress. Because of this, we denounce the following:
– Whereas in the Nahua indigenous community in Santa Maria Ostula, Michoacan, Mexico, narco-paramilitary harassment has intensified from the Knights Templar drug cartel, who through a document signed with the date of November 19, 2016, threaten to do a “clean sweep” of those who participate in political mobilizations along with the leaders of the local communitarian police.
– Whereas our comrades, in accordance with the agreements of the assembly of the 5th National Indigenous Congress, have been dispersed to different geographical areas in the country where the native people have expressed a desire to communicate with delegates from other pueblos about our political propositions, they have been victims of aggressions and harassment by criminal groups, having their houses burned in their pueblos.
– Whereas foreign businesses aspire to have power over 12 oil wells in the territorial region of Zoque del Norte de Chiapas, Mexico, on November 23, 2016, a group of armed men posing as professors of the government and with the consent of the undersecretary of Federalized Education of Chiapas, kidnapped a group of indigenous professors from the National Coordination of Workers of Education of the northern territory of Chiapas. They were attacked with high-powered assault weapons outside of the office of the Secretary of Education in the municipality of Ixtacomitan, Chiapas. The sneaky attack took the life of Professor Roberto Diaz Aguilar, who was originally from Chapultenango, Chiapas and three more people were wounded.
– From the collective hearts of the indigenous people of the National Indigenous Congress, we pronounce absolute respect to the territory of the Sioux people, in Standing Rock, North Dakota, where more than 200 tribes are organizing themselves against the dispossession intended by the capitalists to impose pipelines that destroy the sources of water and ceremonial places. We repudiate the brutal repression that capitalists seek to actualize in announcing an ultimatum to separate the people from their land. If the indigenous people of Mexico would have consented to the ultimatum of the powerful, we would have ceased to exist centuries ago. We send our fraternal solidarities to the Sioux people and we reiterate to them that you are not alone, that your pain and rage are ours as well. We call on indigenous people in the United States of America and Mexico, on the free media, and also civil society to strengthen the solidarity with this historic fight.
We send our solidarities to our comrades in the community Chanti Ollin, adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle, who were violently displaced in the early hours of November 22, 2016 from the building where they promote culture, arts and the alternatives necessary for a new world, and we repudiate repressive and corruptive politics which represent the evil government of Mexico City.
In the same manner, the people, nations and tribes of the National Indigenous Congress manifest our profound respect and solidarity towards the Cuban people, who have proved to the world that with dignity, one can reconstruct the tissue undone by capitalism. We know that with their resistance and rebellion, they will continue to shine and establish hope.
FOR THE INTEGRAL RECONSTITUTION OF OUR PEOPLE
NATIONAL INDIGENOUS CONGRESS
ZAPATISTA ARMY OF NATIONAL LIBERATION
Jonathan Luevanos is a writer, musician and political activist. Contact him at email@example.com.