To the National and International Press
To All the Peoples of the World
To Non-Governmental Organizations
To Human Rights Centers
Brothers and Sisters:
On this 21st of March of 2000, in which the birth of Benito Jua'rez is celebrated, according to the official calendar, he who stated some words which have not, to date, been carried out by the Mexican Government, the Federal and the State. What Benito Jua'rez said was "RESPECT FOR THE RIGHTS OF OTHERS IS PEACE." You might ask why we are saying this, it is for the following:
1. We are almost imprisoned in our communities in this Selva-Border region, by the incredible number of soldiers and various kinds of police that there are in the region, we cannot move about freely in order to carry out our daily activities on our plots, without fear that they will take away our tools, such as machetes, axes, chain saws and others.
2. Since the conflict arose in 1994, we have been subjected to the attack of the low intensity war, which is how we view the fact that, through the MOSCAMED program which fights the Mediterranean fly (the fruit fly), using this as an excuse, they have fumigated our plots planted with coffee, maize, beans, pineapple, bananas, and other fruits and vegetables, with MALATHION (we are well aware, through the training we have received, and through what our companero and companera campesinos have shared with us, that the use of this liquid is prohibited, because it is considered to be one of the most dangerous poisons to humans).
3. We consider this to be part of the aggression of the war of extermination against the indigenous peoples being waged by powerful countries, who want to efficiently impose NEOLIBERALISM, we consider this to be so because the liquid has caused:
a) Acceleration of the destruction of the region's ecological equilibrium.
b) A decrease in the production of coffee crops, beans, maize, fruit trees and shade trees, since the crops are easily losing their leaves, flowers and tender fruit.
c) A worsening of malnutrition and health of the boys and girls, and of the residents in general, since, with the decrease in production, the consumption of vegetables and fruits decreases, and, in general, the provision of well-being in clothing, shoes, and the education of our boys and girls, because, by not harvesting the same amount of products such as coffee, family income decreases.
d) Contamination of the water and air, since they are throwing Malathion in plastic bags which then break, and the poison falls in the water and the air which we breathe, and health is being affected by consuming contaminated water.
e) Because of the foregoing, we consider these actions to be violations of the Indigenous Human Rights, by violating what is put forth in Convention 169 of the ILO:
Article IV, Paragraph 1: Special measures should be adopted which are necessary to safeguard persons, institutions, property, work, cultures and environment of the concerned peoples.
Article VII, Paragraph 2: The improvement of living and working conditions and of the level of education of the concerned peoples, with their participation and cooperation, should be a priority in the global economic development plans of the areas in which they reside. SPECIAL DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS FOR THESE REGIONS SHOULD ALSO BE DRAWN UP IN SUCH A MANNER THAT THEY PROMOTE SAID IMPROVEMENT.
Article VII, Paragraph 3: Governments should be vigilant to always see that studies are made in cooperation with the concerned peoples, for the purpose of evaluating the social, spiritual and cultural impact, and on the environment, that planned development activities could have on these peoples.
Article VII, Paragraph 4: Governments should take measures in cooperation with the concerned peoples in order to protect and to preserve the environment of the lands which they inhabit.
These articles refer to the Rights which all of us, as Indian peoples, have, in the lands which we have under our care, where we are living, working, playing and loving.
As can be seen in this case, nothing that is put forth in Convention 169, and which refers to respect for the cultures of the Indian peoples, has been respected. The government is deciding what is best for the people, and they do not take our opinions into account.
4. We have made our voice and opinions known many times, and the government does not hear, does not see, does not smell, it does not perceive the flavors of such diverse words, our words.
We have seen this confirmed in the word given, and not fulfilled, regarding the peace process in Chiapas. Civil Society and the Indian peoples have declared ourselves in support of a peaceful solution and dialogue in order to solve the armed conflict in Chiapas and in the country, because HEAR IT WELL, this conflict is not about the state of Chiapas or just four municipalities in Chiapas, it is NATIONAL, the EZLN carried out its word by sitting down to dialogue and signing the SAN ANDRES SAKAMCH'EN DE LOS POBRES ACCORDS, but the GOVERNMENT IGNORED THEM, they did not respect either their word given or their signature.
Nor has our voice been heard, seen and felt IN THE NATIONAL CONSULTA FOR RESPECT FOR INDIGENOUS RIGHTS AND CULTURE AND FOR AN END TO THE WAR OF EXTERMINATION, once more the government ignored our word and our opinions.
FOR ALL OF THAT, THE INDIGENOUS AND NON-INDIGENOUS PEOPLES AND COMMUNITIES OF THE SELVA-BORDER REGION:
- We are denouncing the Mexican government, in front of the peoples and governments of the world, for putting in programs in an indigenous territory, where they have to take the word of the peoples into consideration. - We are denouncing that, through these kinds of programs such as Moscamed, the number of malnourished boys and girls is increasing, and there are, therefore, a greater number of deaths for this reason. - We denounce that, with these programs, the Mexican government is also bringing about a greater environmental deterioration, dangerously affecting the ecological equilibrium.
Due to all the above, we are calling on all non-governmental organizations and international institutions interested in the conservation of the environment and in respect for the rights of native cultures, to support us in recovering the environment in general, and our crops in particular, because we need to renew the coffee plantations, to make studies of the contamination, etcetera, and, in order to introduce alternative crops and to thus improve our family economies and our food. In general, then, our living conditions.
This process of recovering the ecological equilibrium and our crops will take a long time, since, just to obtain the benefits from coffee production, we need 3 to 4 years before the plant produces fruit.
We will be having a very large decrease in production next year, which will cause us to have a period of greater hunger in the region.
For all the above, WE DEMAND OF THE MEXICAN GOVERNMENT THE IMMEDIATE WITHDRAWAL OF THE MOSCAMED PROGRAM from the region, as long as there is not a dialogue with all the communities and peoples of the Selva-Border region, having, as a precedent, the carrying out of the San Andre's Accords.
WE ARE ALSO DEMANDING THAT THE OPINIONS OF THE REGION'S PEOPLES AND COMMUNITIES BE TAKEN INTO ACOUNT IN THE INTRODUCTION OF SPECIAL PROGRAMS IN THE REGION.
VIVAN THE INDIGENOUS PEOPLES!
VIVAN ALL THE PEOPLES OF MEXICO AND OF THE WORLD!
VIVA MEXICO, VIVA MEXICO, VIVA MEXICO!
VIVAN THE INDIGENOUS WOMEN!
VIVA THE STRUGGLE OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLES OF THE WORLD!
Originally published in Spanish by Enlace Civil A.C. email@example.com __________________________ Translated by irlandesa Date: Tuesday, March 21 2000 See also