Communiqué from the People of Magdalena, Aldama, Chiapas

MAGDALENA ALDAMA, CHIAPAS. OCTOBER 31, 2021.


TO THE PUBLIC OPINION.
TO THE INTER-AMERICAN COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS.
TO THE INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS AMNESTY.
TO THE STATE HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION.
TO THE NATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION.
TO THE INDEPENDENT HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS.
THE ZAPATISTA ARMY OF NATIONAL LIBERATION.
TO THE NATIONAL INDIGENOUS CONGRESS CNI.
TO THE INDIGENOUS COUNCIL OF GOVERNMENT CIG.
TO THE NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL SEXTA.
TO THE NETWORKS OF RESISTANCE AND REBELLION.
TO THE WOMEN WHO STRUGGLE.
TO THE NON-GOVERNMENTAL SOCIAL ORGANIZATIONS.
TO THE LOCAL, NATIONAL, INTERNATIONAL AND INDEPENDENT COMMUNICATIONS MEDIA.
TO THE PEOPLE OF MEXICO AND THE WORLD.

Present.

We are the voice of the people.

We are a people that lives under the hail of gunfire from armed paramilitary groups from Santa Martha in the municipality of Chenalhó, we are people of struggle and resistance. We are the seed of our Mayan ancestors. We are people. Whose blood, to this day, still runs in our veins. We are bats ‘i vinik-antsetik. We are Tsotsiles. 

The problem is not new, in the 70’s a presidential resolution of José Portillo gave to the community of Santa Marta (Manuel Utrilla) 60 hectares that belonged to the municipality of Santa María Magdalena Aldama. Later it was acknowledged that those from Aldama were the proprietors and in the 1977 agreement they agreed to respect the rights of ownership of Aldama and also that contributions and responsibilities would be made in Aldama, but the agreements were not respected and in 1997, Santa Martha demanded the return of the 30 hectares, and in 2009 the Unitary Agrarian Tribunal awarded possession to the 115 community members of Aldama.

In 2016, the problems grew worse with the dispossession of lands during the government of Manuel Velazco Cuello and now under the government of Rutilio Escandón Cadenas. We have had 60 acres taken from us by people from the township of Manuel Utrilla (Santa Marta sector) of the municipality of Chenalhó. The 60 hectares are the ancestral lands of the people of Magdalena Aldama. On the 60 hectares lived 7 families who in 2016 were dispossessed,  threatened at gunpoint, and forced to take refuge in various communities of the municipality of Aldama. In this year of 2016, the armed group that operates in Chenalhó was mobilized.

We are 115 Community members who have been dispossessed, threatened and displaced from our homes and our lands; that our grandparents and parents have passed down to us ancestrally, and which is certified before the Unitary Agrarian Tribunal and which recognizes us as the legitimate owners of our native land.

In 2018, the attacks with high-caliber firearms intensified and there were 2036 people internally displaced into the mountains by the armed group, which attacked from different points, and they surrounded us with gunfire from the localities of Yok Ventana, Saclum to Santa Martha Sector, affecting 10 localities.

On March 14, 2020, our comrade Cristóbal Santiz Jiménez was arrested and detained in the “Amate” prison in the municipality of Cintalapa, Chiapas. At the time of his arrest, his human rights were violated, and he was physically and verbally assaulted and threatened by the police when he was transferred from San Cristóbal to the CRSS No. 14 El Amate.

The reason for the detention of our comrade Cristóbal Santiz Jiménez is because he is one of the representatives of the 115 community members affected and displaced from the 60 hectares of land from the town of Sector Santa Martha, Chenalho.

Cristóbal Santiz is one of the hostages of the government of Rutilio Escandón Cadenas and Ismael Brito Mazariegos (Secretary of the Interior), of the State Prosecutor Jorge Luis Llaven Abarca and of the Indigenous Prosecutor of the Highlands of Chiapas.

Since the beginning of the year 2020 and 2021, armed aggressions have been increasing in intensity towards our communities, affecting 12 communities and between 5000 people; women, children, elders and men, who have been affected and victims of these aggressions.

Today once again we want to express our feelings, as the people of Magdalena Aldama we want to publicly denounce the threats and aggressions that we have received from the paramilitary groups of Santa Martha Chenalhó.

At the same time, these armed groups continue to attack us. As indigenous peoples we continue to resist and today is an important day for the indigenous peoples who continue to resist the dispossessions and threats as our people of Magdalenas who live under armed aggression days and nights by armed groups operating in the villages of Santa Martha, Saclum belonging to the municipality of Chenalhó.

So far in the month of October, these aggressions continue daily even though the authorities three levels of government have intervened, but it seems that it is a war that no one pays attention to. On Sunday, October 10 of this year, a group of people belonging to Sector Santa Martha Chenalhó put an ultimatum to the state government (on October 12) to solve this problem and if the response is not favorable to Santa Martha, there is an explicit threat. This is very serious and threatening for us. We know that, in order to take their anger out on us, they attack us and our communities, and so far in October there have been 203 direct attacks on 9 communities in Magdalenas: Xuxch’en, Coco’, Tabac, San Pedro Cotzilnam, Yeton, Ch’ivit, Coco’, Tabac, San Pedro Cotzilnam, Ch’ivit, Ch’ivit, Ch’ivit, Ch’ivit, Ch’ivit, Ch’ivit, Ch’ivit, and Ch’ivit, Yeton, Ch’ivit, Stzelejpotobtik, Juxton and the municipal capital of Aldama. There have been direct attacks on houses where there are houses with bullets, broken sheet metal, cars and machinery with bullet holes, and road workers, construction workers, contractors, engineers and the inter-institutional route itself have been attacked by these armed groups. And just as on the Chenalhó side, the patrols of the National Guard and the State Police say that the residents of Aldama are the ones attacking — as armed groups themselves are accusing us — and even the patrols on the Aldama side are attacked by these armed groups, so it is not true, and they are witnesses to these cruel acts.

We only want to live in tranquility and peace to be able to work our lands, and therefore we demand compliance with the schedules of entrances and exits of the route (from 9 am to 4 pm) which these elements only come to collect signatures of the agents to prove the completion of their work and do not comply with the departure time since they have not complied with the installation of the Base of Mixed Operations.

As a result of the intense armed aggressions we receive daily in our communities of Tabac and Coco’, the workers on 2 kilometers of road abandoned the work because there are no conditions for putting their lives and physical integrity at risk.

As residents of Magdalena Aldama we demand the fulfillment of the agreements and  the completion of this stretch of road that has only put the lives of many people at risk and where tragically the lives of our brothers have been lost. This should have been finished and to date there has been no progress. It is only in worse condition and affecting the 12 communities that, in the harvest season, can not drive the cargo vehicles, and several vehicles have been trapped after the destruction of the Tabac bridge, where the life and integrity of our brothers are at risk and with the fear of losing their lives on this stretch of road (2kmtrs).

We also call for the fulfillment and implementation of the precautionary measures issued by the IACHR and to comply with the demands of the Representatives of which, to date, not a single point has been met.

As indigenous peoples who continue to resist colonialism and threats, we say enough is enough and we hold the three levels of government responsible if something happens to us again, as happened to our comrades Pedro Lunez Perez and Domingo Santiz Jimenez, members of the EZLN, who were murdered by cowards and like our wounded, we demand true justice and a solution. We are rural people who work day after day to provide for our families, but now it is not possible to work, the person who works is at risk of losing his life because he is attacked. We are not the invaders, we are the ones dispossessed of our lands.

In our denunciations — the government has ignored our situation, it only intimidates by locking up our representatives and putting them in jail, and as a people we publicly denounce the state government and the secretary of the interior. We are tired of so many threats and we have not seen the government act, they have merely used us as a pawn.

We are fed up with a government that only manipulates us despite having established the working group with the three levels of government. It has not worked, therefore, there has been no progress on the 60 hectares, and it only dispossesses us of our lands, because we are indigenous people, the authorities trample us as they wish. We are also human beings who have always lived on our lands, the land is for those who work it, because ancestrally these lands have been passed down to us by our ancestors and have belonged to us, because our parents, grandparents and great-great-grandparents lived there.

We demand the immediate solution for the 60 hectares in dispute, since we as the people of Magdalena Aldama already gave our will in the division of our lands, but to date there has been no progress,  the three levels of government only manipulated the information and administered the conflict, and to date there has been no progress.

Today we demand true justice.

We demand the immediate and unconditional release of our comrade and brother Cristóbal Santiz Jiménez.

Ya no más presos políticos
Ya basta de tantas mentiras
Ya basta de despojo de tierras
No más negociaciones, la tierra no se negocia.
No al carpetazo
Alto a las agresiones de armas de fuegos y alto a las amenazas de los grupos paramilitares.

Atentamente

La Voz del Pueblo de Magdalena Aldama, Chiapas.

This communiqu´e was released on Radio Zapatista on October 31, 2021. Comunicado del Pueblo de Magdalena Aldama, Chiapas
English translation by Schools for Chiapas.