CNI Warns of the Reorganization of the Country Against Indigenous Peoples

Text and photos by Daliri Oropeza

The National Indigenous Congress decided in an assembly to accompany the tour of the EZLN to different continents and to go on the offensive in the face of the political landscape that is pushing energy megaprojects and imposing a territorial reorganization focused on profits. 
Before the pandemic, this was the march of the CNI on the mournful anniversary of the death of Samir Flores, a Nahua fromAmilcinco, Morelos that defended his territory from the Morelos Integral Project.

“Now we are on the offensive,” a Nahua campesino delegate of the National Indigenous Congress tells me, who, in the midst of the covid-19 pandemic, attended the Fifth Joint Assembly with the Indigenous Council of Government. It was a two-day meeting with 180 participants, representing most of the peoples that make up this network of peoples, communities and neighborhoods.

Once there, the social barriers created by Covid had were broken down. The meeting was held in the recuperated territory of Ejido Tepoztlán, Morelos. The Fifth Stone. It was taken back from the first to plunder it, Salinas de Gortari1 Only two representatives from each town were allowed to be present.

At the beginning, many were nervous about the pandemic. Little by little the environment normalized with the mutual care of following the health measures and the use of masks. The invitation of the EZLN to accompany the tour of several continents, and the crisis situation in which we are living, which is much more acute in the communities in resistance forced the CNI to leave the virtual world and make agreements face to face. 

Morelos is in the red zone for Covid. And also for the megaprojects. For this reason, it was symbolic that they carried out these collective decisions in Tepoztlán. There the government of the self-proclaimed 4T is the Huexca Thermoelectric Plant and with it, the culmination of the Morelos Integral Project. 

“The anti-capitalist proposal has body and substance,” affirms Carlos González, agrarian lawyer and delegate to the CNI. 

The CNI’s collective analysis sounds all the alarms. 

In the declaration, they denounce: 

“The imposition of the Mayan Train, coupled with the construction of 15 urban centers of the Salina Cruz-Coatzacoalcos InterOceanic Corridor, that considers 10 urban industrial corridors, and the International Airport of Mexico City-Lake Texcoco Ecological Park, together with the Morelos Integral Project, seek the reorganization of the country in accordance with the economic interests of big capital. Similarly, this project of building for the benefit of foreign companies three thermoelectric plants –one of which is finished–, a network of pipelines and a mega-plant to store fuels in the Río Santiago watershed, to the south of Guadalara, which in addition happens to be one of the most contaminated regions in the country, is very serious; to all of that you have to add the Centenary Canal, currently being carried out by the National Guard, which intends to draw from the San Pedro and Santiago Rivers in Nayarit. Open pit mining in the same way threatens hundreds of territories of indigenous peoples using the same formula of division, dispossession and destruction of our communities.”

“Capitalism in its incessant development is driving human societies to madness, it is propitiating the destruction of the conditions for human life, as we have already indicated during the tour of the compañera Marichuy2with the Indigenous Governing Council and the the Zapatistas over and over again,” assures Carlos González, and emphasizes that it is one of the core points in the collective reflection of the Fifth Assembly, in an interview with journalist Rubén Martín.

This crack that the Zapatistas open to denounce the plunder is important. 

In the five working groups as well as in the plenary session, the CNI decided that a commission made up of mostly women would attend the tour alongside the EZLN across 5 continents. And not only that. They agreed to incorporate a commission of care for the families that stay behind while the women heed the call.

Accordion to the sociologist and social anthropologist Márgara Millán, who also attended the Fifth Assembly, this is a qualitative advancement in the CNI’s way of organizing. To assume care in a collective way is a result of their lived experience during the tour of Marichuy, in addition to the imprint made by the Zapatista women that have led fundamental organizational gatherings. 

What Millán refers to as advances, the Nahua campesino of the CNI expresses as going on the offensive, through activating care. It is care for the countryside, care for the compañeras that predominates the discussions. It is not only denouncing, but acting. To subscribe to the Zapatista initiative for life is to participate in the activities and deepen the anticapitalist struggles of resistance.

This piece was published in Pie de Página on February 3rd, 2021. This English interpretation has been republished by Schools for Chiapas.

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  1. Carlos Salinas de Gortari, of the PRI was the president of Mexico between 1988 and 1994, notably during the Zapatista uprising.
  2. María de Jesús Patricio Martínez is a Nahua traditional healer and activist. She was chosen as “representative indigenous spokeswoman” by CNI for the 2018 general election, in which she ran as an independent candidate for the Presidency of Mexico.
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