CIDECI-UNITIERRA / CARACOL JACINTO CANEK May 7, 2023.
To the General Command of the EZLN:
To the National Indigenous Congress:
To the Indigenous Council of Government:
To the national and international organizations that struggle and resist:
To the free, alternative, independent media or whatever they are called:
To the peoples of Mexico and the world:
From the heart of the land where dignified rage was born, came of age and now reproduces itself, the rebellious peoples of the geographies of the South/Southeast who walked in the caravan El Sur Resiste 2023, Binnizá, Ayuuk, Nahua, Nuntajiyi (Nuntajuyi), Maya, Chol, Zoque, Tzeltal, Tojolabal, Tsotsil and mestizos convened by various organizations of these geographies and by the National Indigenous Congress; we traveled through the territories affected by the interconnected military megaprojects, the Train, wrongly called Mayan, and the Interoceanic Corridor. We arrived at the Zapatista territory of CIDECI-UNITIERRA / Caracol Jacinto Canek in San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, where we met with many other Peoples and organizations of the original peoples as well as these from urban areas of the south-southeast of the country and many other regions of our Mother Earth to share the pains, hopes and strategies for articulation, to learn from the struggles of other geographies, and to continue weaving solidarity networks of resistance and global rebellion.
From April 25 to May 4, the members of the Caravan El Sur Resiste traveled through communities and towns in eight states of the Mexican Republic, starting in the community of El Progreso, municipality of Pijijiapan, with a stopover in Tonalá; We traveled along the coast of Chiapas and crossed the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, from the Binniza community in resistance of Puente Madera, municipality of San Blas Atempa, passing through the rebel camp “Tierra y Libertad” in the Aayuuk community of Mogoñe Viejo, municipality of San Juan Guichicovi, both communities in the state of Oaxaca, and arriving at the Nahua community of Oteapan in the south of Veracruz. From there, we set out for the Mayan territories of the Yucatan peninsula, crossing the State of Tabasco through Villahermosa and the coastal community of El Bosque, devoured by the sea due to global warming; arriving in Candelaria, Campeche, and following the route to the community of Zakí, today called Valladolid in Yucatan and the community of Noj Kaaj Santa Cruz, today Felipe Carrillo Puerto in Quintana Roo; returning through Xpujil again in Campeche territory to head back to Chiapas and meet the Zoque, Chol, Tsotsil, Tojolabal and Tzeltal peoples, with a stopover in Palenque, crossing the region of Los Altos to reach our final destination, Jovel, today San Cristobal de las Casas.
Throughout this journey, our hearts, feelings and thoughts were open to listening and observing the many pains and damages caused by the voracity of the great global capitalism felt in our own bodies through the constant harassment of our caravan by police and military forces of the Mexican State.
In the present times of global geopolitical rearrangements where the great capitals of the Western and Asian blocs are accelerating the process in this new stage of the war of colonization — disputing territories of our planet, destroying Mother Nature, dispossessing, exploiting and expelling the communities, murdering and disappearing those who oppose them –we confirm the complicity of the states and of organized crime in its various forms, all of them bloodthirsty.
We affirm that we are facing the worst expression of a patriarchal power system inherited thousands of years ago and imposed on our lands more than 500 years ago with the genocidal European invasion. We witness its devastating effects on our territories yet we also feel with great strength the resistance of our peoples, who have safeguarded our very existence as native people.
In this global rearrangement, the Mexican Southeast and the Isthmus of Tehuantepec play a strategic role in the interests of global corporations — to connect by land in only 200 kilometers the Pacific Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean, and facilitate the transport of commodities, hydrocarbons and other subsoil resources. Since ancient times, the inter-oceanic corridor has been a place of transit for the commercial routes of the peoples, but in times of the Spanish colony and the dictatorship of Porfirio Diaz, as well as during the governments of the XX and XXI century, they have attempted to appropriate it without success, due to the historical resistance of the native people of the region.
This government that calls itself the government of the Fourth Transformation is no different. It envisions the modernization of the ports of Coatzacoalcos and Salina Cruz, the construction of a highway and the modernization of the railroad for cargo trains that will not only connect the two ports, but also the train they call the Mayan train in the Yucatan Peninsula.
That is why we say that the Interoceanic Corridor, the Train wrongly-called the Mayan Train, and the Morelos Integral Project in the center of the country are part of the interconnection and energy supply network for the corporations that will operate in the south of the country and Central America, most of them of private and foreign capital.
A high tension line will be installed, and the extension of the isthmus gas pipeline to be connected to the new maritime pipeline that will bring fracking gas from Texas to our lands. This project will be built near the reef system, along the coast of Veracruz, from Tuxpan to Coatzacoalcos, and with another maritime branch to the new Dos Bocas refinery, which is also part of this megaproject.
This infrastructure reflects the deepening of a model, based on the extraction of fossil hydrocarbons, which accelerated during the 20th century, in a way never seen before, the indicators of pollution and global warming, reinforced by supposedly clean energies owned by large foreign capital that does not represent any fair energy transformation for the people.
As a matter of fact, the project does not only contemplate the construction of these infrastructures, but also the opening of new territories for the extraction of hydrocarbons, mining and the implementation of industrial and wind farms as well as the construction of new urban centers for semi-enslaved national workers, but mostly migrants who, by the orders of the master of the North, will be detained at the Isthmus, turning this territory into a new wall of human containment.
In the Mayan territories of the Yucatan Peninsula and the states of Chiapas and Tabasco, a new territorial reordering is being conceived to place at the service of the great capitals of the tourist and industrial development.
The Caravan witnessed the devastation of the jungle to clear the way for train tracks, hundreds of kilometers and millions of trees cut down where the deer and jaguar used to walk. The flows of the sacred water are being altered with catastrophic consequences for the people –which in the future will be called natural disasters .
In the Mayan territories that in the beginning of the 20th century fell victim to the state-sponsored Genocide during the Mayan Social War, today, the train and the illegally imposed megaprojects are part of the new genocidal practices.
The construction of this train is accompanied by the installation of 21 development stations and tourist sites, wind and photovoltaic parks, thermoelectric plants, breweries, pig farms, palm, soybean and other monoculture crops, as well as large real estate developments, hotel complexes, shopping malls, casinos, restaurants and everything necessary for the large masses of tourists expected to arrive on the peninsula, causing dispossession, voracious extractivism and the destruction of the Mayan peoples’ way of life.
Both in the peninsula and in the Isthmus, through disinformation and false promises of well-being linked to the misleading manipulation of concepts of progress and development where social programs have played a fundamental role, it is due to fear of violence, separation from the community and possible loss of social programs, that many people remain silent and do not organize, despite knowing about and witnessing the growing violence and the destruction in the territories.
But the evils that come with these mega-projects of death are becoming more evident every day. All of these infrastructures represent the dispossession of our territories for the benefit of big capital as a part of a scheme run by the Mexican armed forces, army, navy and national guard in coordination with the police and immigration agencies, and in collusion with the organized crime cartels and resulting expansion of the capitalist and patriarchal criminal economies.
We have heard and witnessed that the first of the dispossessions is that of ancestry and communality, for when we are stripped of our sense of belonging to Mother Earth, we cease to feel her, to listen to her and to feel her pains. First they strip us of our memory and our spirituality in order to deprive us of our way of life, our roots and our land. Because the one who no longer sees the land as a mother, but rather as a commodity that can be bought and sold, gets rid of it without thinking about what those who only seek to exploit it will do to it: uprooting its trees and poisoning her without caring about the destruction of our communities and our ceremonial centers; the contamination of the air, the land and the waters, springs, rivers, lagoons, seas and the cenotes that are the waters of the womb of our mother.
We saw how the sea has literally and tragically swallowed the community of El Bosque in Tabasco. It is a consequence of climate change caused by global megapollution, mainly due to an energy model based on the extraction of hydrocarbons, which this government and big capital are reinforcing.
We also observe the terrible increase in a culture of violence that has permeated all of society, from the communities to the neighborhoods of the cities, with drug trafficking, extortion, and the charging of extortion fees, particularly affecting youth, women, migrants, and environmental and human rights defenders.
More and more young people from indigenous communities and poor urban neighborhoods fall victim to drug trafficking networks, as one of the few “alternatives” to overcome this disaster, they destroy their own brains with cheap drugs such as crystal meth; they become hired killers and end up murdered.
Particularly, we notice the increase in gender violence: from family violence to femicides with the terrifying figure of 13 women murdered daily in our country; and a clear increase in repression against those who oppose megaprojects, defend the territory and denounce impunity and chains of complicity – repression that ranges from threats, to forced displacements, to imprisonment, to disappearance and murder.
We identify the racist policies, the strategy of persecution and stigmatization on the part of the National Institute of Migration against our migrant brothers and sisters that denied entry into the country to our compañeros from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador.
We note the systematic violation of the rights of indigenous peoples and particularly the right to self-determination and autonomy –the exercise that is essential to the reconstruction from our ancestral cultural roots of a free and dignified life based on communality through decision-making in assemblies, with full respect for women, otroas, youth, children and the elderly, and in harmony with nature.
We observed the pressure from all government agencies, beginning with the agrarian attorney general’s office, to transfer the agrarian nuclei and indigenous communities to full ownership and thus put an end to the social/communal ownership of the land that represents the strength of our struggles.
But in contrast to all these calamities, the Caravan also allowed us to travel through hope and life, to meet the countryside and its native seeds that are being protected by peasant hands. We felt the joy of rebellious music that excites the hearts and inspires resistance. We enjoyed the art as a means of struggle that, with its colors, sounds and noise, allows us to continue in the joyful rebellion.
The Caravan allowed us to encounter the jungle that resists. Where the trees are cut down, life springs up again. We listened to the birds and their messages, drank the crystal clear water from the wells and breathed the clean rural air. We met people and communities that organize themselves, resist and do not allow the dispossession or even the entry of companies into their territories. Furthermore, they are taking steps to recover ways of life that build hopeful autonomies for humanity. In other parts, we found rebellious cities that build collectivity and autonomy in the midst of urban monsters, in which love for the land and the territory flourishes once again.
We make an offering to the Mother Earth, we invoke the spirit of fire, water and air, recognizing that long struggles are sustained by a spirituality linked to the territory and our ancestry. Knowing that we do not seek a final victory, but that we fight just as our grandfathers and grandmothers did, and before them our ancestors, and as our children and grandchildren will continue to do.
In our 10 working groups at the South/Southeast meeting on May 5, we reaffirmed that we are building other possible worlds by celebrating what we are harvesting and recognizing that our strength comes from our memory and wisdom as people in struggle. We reflected that we resist by embracing the values of a full and dignified life that is close to the land, such as growing our food, the use of traditional medicine, and the protection of our peoples through community defense.
We recognized that even in the midst of all the destruction of the capitalists there are many achievements that we are reaping: The first and most important is that after 500 years of attempts to exterminate us we are still here, the organization of the community against dispossession, likewise the lands recuperated in different towns, the struggle of women for the recognition and exercise of their rights, the struggle for water, the liberation of political prisoners, the relocation of the train stations in Merida and Campeche, the establishment of zones free of extractive projects, the conservation of languages and traditional festivals and the construction of autonomies.
After the caravan and our internal meeting we gathered at the International Meeting “Global Corporate Capitalism, Global Patriarchy, Autonomies in Revolt”. There were 940 people from 40 native communities from all over the world, representatives from 27 states of the Mexican Republic, participants from 30 countries and members from 10 autonomous regions. We listened to the words of 5 speakers to analyze and study the geopolitical situation of the world, Mexico, and specifically of the south-southeast and the global south. We also listened to the sharing of experiences of struggle from all these regions along with the proposals to continue the construction of autonomy.
The sisters and brothers of Abya Yala from Guatemala, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Honduras, Colombia, Ecuador, shared with us the situation they have to face and we confirmed that this predatory capitalist system is acting in the same way in all the geographies where the peoples still protect the natural and cultural treasures and life itself. But we also noted the joy, the strength and the living organization of the organized peoples.
We denounce the violent eviction of the Tierra y Libertad encampment as well as the imprisonment of 6 compañer@s perpetrated by the navy and state police on April 28, one day after the passing of our caravan. We demand that the government of Oaxaca and the federal government immediately cease harassment against defenders of land and territory, particularly in the case of the Tierra y Libertad encampment in the Isthmus, and that the arrest warrants against 17 members of the community of Puente Madera, San Blas Atempa be dropped, as well as the acquittal of the comrade David Salazar, who has been indicted.
We repudiate the racist and rights-violating immigration policy of this government that prevented the entry of the daughter of comrade Berta Cáceres, prohibiting her from flying to Mexico City despite having all her papers in order, and the harassment of 7 Central American comrades at the border post in Tapachula, Chiapas.
We demand the revocation of the illegal assembly of March 5, 2023 in the ejido Nicolás Bravo, which illegally approved the location of the stop for the so-called Mayan train in favor of the Azcarraga group, owners of Televisa, and which will damage more than 100 Mayan ceremonial centers.
We demand the cancellation of the eviction order against the community of Emiliano Zapata III municipality of Candelaria Campeche promoted by the alleged owner Fernando Oropeza Arispe and ordered by the civil judge of first instance of the state of Campeche. Likewise, we demand the cancellation of the arrest warrants for the compañeros of the community.
Immediate cancellation of the work on the so-called Mayan train, especially the illegal construction of section 7, the installation of the military casino and the tourist development in the community of Xpujil, since in spite of the definitive suspension granted by a federal judge, SEDENA continues its construction in contempt of the federal order.
An end to the pressure of the Agrarian Procurator’s office on the communities and ejidos to convert the lands from social property to private ownership, ending the collective lands of the indigenous communities of the country.
Urgent and immediate relocation of the El Bosque community in the municipality of Centla, Tabasco, who are environmentally displaced victims of global warming produced by the voracious extractivist system that continues to depredate and deforest the territories.
We demand the immediate release of all political prisoners in this country, political prisoners supporting the voice of Amate, Fidencio Aldama, the prisoners of Eloxochitlan de Flores Magón, Oaxaca, all those unjustly imprisoned for defending water and territories and the compañero Manuel Gómez Vázquez who is the support base of the EZLN and the revocation of the sentence of 50 years against compañero Miguel Ángel Peralta Betanzos, persecuted politicians of Eloxochitlan.
We firmly stand with and join the demand of the families of the victims of feminicidal violence in Mexico to achieve truth, justice, reparation and non-repetition, not only for the violated women, but particularly for the children (daughters, sons, sisters and brothers), collateral victims of this vile violence in this country that insists on sowing fear, death and impunity. Neither forgiving nor forgetting, I punish the guilty (facebook: @FeminicidiosCrimenesdelesahumanidad, @FatimaVariniaEnTuHonorYRecuerdo, @JusticiaParaLupitaBastida).
In the case of the ejido of Tila, Chiapas, we demand the execution of the RAN (Rainforest Action Network) ruling in favor of the recovery of the 130 hectares that the municipality has taken from them.
We demand presentation with life for the thousands of disappeared people in the country, of the community member Antonio Díaz Valencia and the lawyer Ricardo Lagunes Gasca who were disappeared due to a conflict between the community of Aquila, Michoacán and the Canadian mining company Ternium.
Justice for the 43 normalistas disappeared in Ayotzinapan, because they were taken alive, we want them back alive!
We affirm strongly and clearly and from our hearts which struggle and organize, that we will continue to meet and coordinate with other struggles around the world.
Neither the National Guard, nor the Navy, nor the Army will stop us!
While you destroy, we build.
Caravan and International Gathering El Sur Resists
Published by El Sur Resiste on May 9th, 2023. English translation by Schools for Chiapas.