No to Militarization by the National Guard!

Tseltal People of Chilón: We Are Defending Our Mother Earth and Our Territories

Village Pamal-Navil Annex of the Ejido San Jerónimo Bachajón municipality of Chilón, Chiapas, Mexico.

Photo by FrayBa

On April 8, 2022.

To the original peoples of Mexico and of the world
To the independent social organizations
To the different religious beliefs
To non-governmental human rights organizations
To international human rights observers
To the national and international media
To the United Nations

We are Tseltal peoples, defending our Mother Earth and our territories, which for generations has given food and life to our families. We know that by divine order and by right it is incumbent upon us to look to our Mother Earth to shelter our hopes.

But, the ambitious interests of the rich and powerful have tried to dispossess us of our lands and territories in collustion with the rulers and the government system who have implemented reforms to the Agrarian Law and the Political Constitution of the United Mexican States. They have also invented programs and projects to deceive and divide our communities and make them vulnerable. They have carried out the imposition of ejido and community authorities to facilitate their attempts to dominate and dispossess us of our lands and territories.

This is the case of the construction of National Guard barracks in our territories to block any peaceful demonstration in protest of the defense of our lands and territories. Since the purpose of militarization is only to give access and protection to national and transnational companies that are after the extraction of natural resources.

In many cases, the governments and the authorities in charge of procuring and administering justice are accomplices of crime, and for this reason, they cannot control such violence and death throughout our national territory.

Nevertheless, the people demonstrate peacefully to demand justice against the violations of our most basic rights, such as the defense of our lands and territories, and to demand the peoples’ right to elect our authorities.

The governments and authorities that should be protecting and caring for us are repressing, persecuting and imprisoning us. This has been the case of the arbitrary detention of our brothers José Luis Gutiérrez Hernández and César Hernández Feliciano, who were arrested, tortured and imprisoned on October 15, 2020 in the Temó crossing, territory of the San Jerónimo Bachajón ejido, for defending Mother Earth.

We hold the municipal authorities, municipal police, sectoral police and soldiers of the National Guard, as well as public officials appointed in the region, responsible for these unfortunate events.

For all the outrages and repression committed by the authorities, we demand the unconditional release of Jose Luis Gutierrez Hernandez and Cesar Hernandez Feliciano.

We say no to militarization through the construction of National Guard barracks and their activities in our territories.

We say no to violence, we are People of Faith (or “Believing People” as it translates literally) who are building peace for our peoples.

We reject extractive companies, whether national or transnational.

We are grateful for the solidarity of the People of Faith the indigenous peoples, human rights organizations and all those who have joined in the demand for the freedom of Cesar and José Luis and the defense of life.

 People of Faith “Believing People” of the Pastoral Center Jet-Ha

This communiqué was published on April 8th, 2022 by FrayBa Center for Human Rights. https://frayba.org.mx/pueblo-tsetal-de-chilon-estamos-defendiendo-nuestra-madre-tierra English translation by Schools for Chiapas.