March 14, 2000, Chiapas, Mexico.
To the People of Mexico
To the Peoples of the World
Sisters and brothers:
We are raising our voices in order to tell you: The government is continuing to threaten us with dislocations and persecution, they are proceeding now with the communities and villages that are inside the arbitrary "Montes Azules" reserve. Yesterday they persecuted our companeros with the paramilitaries, they have threatened, jailed and tortured them, as we have denounced, as in the case of Viejo Velasco. Today the government is sending them legal threats and proposals that seem to be a joke, they are using them as an excuse today, so that they can persecute us tomorrow in this way.
Here we are going to show you the threat the government has been sending the communities in this area, and the response we have sent to the bad government. Circulars like these have been arriving:
"Department of Agrarian Reform Department of Agrarian Development Agrarian Department of Justice
cc Members of the Group (?)
In order to resolve, through coordination and dialogue, the illegal possession you have taken of lands belonging to the Lacandona community - which are also located within a protected area, known as the "Montes Azules" comprehensive biosphere reserve, created by presidential decree - allow us, through these means, to invite you to a working meeting (?)
It is important to point out that it is important that we hold this meeting, in virtue of the fact that the institutions which make up the environmental sector - in the face of the obvious felling of trees and the process of preparing the lands for cultivation - are ready to present charges for ecological crimes to the relevant public minister in order to see that legal action be taken against those responsible.
For this reason we urge you to jointly establish with us the bases for reaching accords which will allow your relocation, for which we present the following proposal for your consideration:
First - Authorization for the purchase of lands you yourselves will propose and will negotiate with the owners, up to 5 hectares for each member making up the group they represent (?)
Second - (?) The state government assumes the commitment to build the so-called "pie de caswa" for each family that is relocated.
Third - The institutions of the productive sector (?) commit themselves to formulating and developing economic programs according to the economic vocation of the lands that are acquired for your relocation."
Our Municipality responds to the bad government:
To the Federal and State Government.
To Governmental Institutions.
In response to the request you sent, here is our response:
We do not accept coordination, we are not going to permit relocation, and we do not accept the lie of the bad government, and, in addition, we say YA BASTA.
Ya basta, because no one asked us anything, and we were not taken into consideration when a president happened to declare that "Montes Azules" reserve, they never looked at those to whom those lands belonged by historic right, that is, at us, the indigenous. It did not matter to them how many efforts, resources, hopes and dreams they were throwing into oblivion by decreeing that reserve, because we have been requesting and working to obtain those lands legally for years. It did not matter to them that our peoples occupied them in the past(before the Mexican nation existed), now nothing matters to them. The government took them away for years, granting concessions. But they only took us into consideration in order to violently dislocate us during the '80s, they only took us into consideration in order to refuse our historical and constitutional right to the land. Through different administrations we were legally requesting these lands, and no one saw us, but, in just one moment, a president signed the reserve decree, but he never signed our requests and resolutions. After that bad signature, then they saw us, but as invaders and predators, they never saw as us applicants, and they are trying to destroy us with violence.
Now you are repeating the history of denial and forgetting, you do not look at us as indigenous with rights as peoples, among them those concerning land, you do not look at the demands of the San Andre's Accords. Once more you are looking at us as illegals, as invaders and predators. Once more you are threatening us with violence, persecution and jail. You only see in your laws what serves those ends, but you have never had to look at our rights.
But we say to you, we are not the same, we have regained dignity, we have seen our rights, we have organized ourselves, and today we are fighting to be heard, to be taken into account, to have all our rights recognized and fulfilled, not just for ourselves, but for all Mexican men and women.
We are not going to coordinate with state institutions and government, because our struggle is for the entire nation, because this is a reflection of a national problem, because the bad government has not dealt with the rights and needs of its people throughout the nation. In addition, it has betrayed the Mexican Revolution with the reforms of Article 27, betraying Zapata and the indigenous and campesino blood spilled in those struggles. Once more, no one asked us if we wanted that reform, that betrayal, we were never in agreement, once more they ignored and excluded us. Along with the betrayal came the cancellation and legal denial of our rights, dreams and hopes. If you really want to negotiate and to coordinate with our peoples and communities, carry out the San Andre's Accords on indigenous culture and rights, carry out the points for reinitiating the dialogue, carry out the will of the Mexican people, expressed on March 21, 1999, and then we will continue to negotiate with the Federal Government at the San Andre's table, but first, carry out your given word.
Do you truly believe a family can live in dignity with 5 hectares? Do you believe that the land, to us, is merchandise and simply a means of production? Do you believe that everything will be resolved through small productive trials? If that is what you think, we are telling you "you are very wrong."
We have had 70 years - or perhaps 500 - of your economic programs, of seeing that they do not work, of seeing that they do not meet our needs, that others benefit from them, that they do not take us into consideration, that they do not see our culture, that after a while the support is withdrawn, in a few words, they always fail. In addition, our communities and our people are in resistance against the bad government.
This is part, just one part, of our truth, reason and rights, for which reasons we oppose you.
Liberty, Justice and Democracy.
Communities in Resistance and Ricardo Flores Mago'n Autonomous Council.
Originally published in Spanish by Enlace Civil A.C. firstname.lastname@example.org ___________________________ Translated by irlandesa Date: Wednesday, March 22, 2000, 7:15 PM From: email@example.com