We who are the National Indigenous Congress – indigenous peoples, nations, tribes and barrios of this country – call on the indigenous and non-indigenous peoples of Mexico, honest human rights organizations, the media, and the intellectual and scientific community to repudiate the escalated repression against our compañeros and compañeras in the communities that have been naming council members to form the Indigenous Governing Council for Mexico. For us this represents an aggression against the CNI and the proposal that we have launched throughout the whole nation. We therefore report and denounce that:
In Chiapas, hostility and serious tensions created by the bad government in the Tila ejido are growing. Local strong-men (caciques) linked to paramilitary groups are trying to bring about the return of the bad government to the community. Among them is the leader of the paramilitary group Paz y Justicia[i] (Peace and Justice) Arturo Sánchez Sánchez and his son Francisco Arturo Sánchez Martínez who, firing weapons and accompanied by others who belong to their organization, closed the access road to the village of Tila. As recently as June 5 of this year they blocked the highway that goes from Tila to Salto de Agua which passes in front of the Tila hospital, and another part of the highway connecting Tila to Yajalón. They even used masked and armed individuals to block pathways inside the ejido lands. The escalation of aggressions intensified as of a June 2 mobilization in the city of Tuxtla Gutiérrez lead by partidistas [political party affiliated] and paramilitaries from Paz y Justicia.
We hold all three levels of bad government responsible for anything that occurs with regard to these aggressions and call for solidarity with our brothers and sisters of the Tila ejido.
In the same state (of Chiapas), the rich are seeking once again to wrest control of the lands recuperated with dignity by our brothers and sisters from the San Francisco community, municipality of Teopisca, who are members of the work group Semilla Digna (Dignified Seed). This includes the aggressions perpetrated by the rich men Juan Hernández Molina, Pedro López Girón, and Pedro Hernández Espinoza. This past June 4, Mr. Pedro López Girón showed up with a group of about 50 people who violently destroyed the pasture gate, barbed wire, and fence surrounding the land that had been recuperated on September 19, 2016. They threatened the compañeras with rape and threatened to cooperate with the police to throw them out of their houses that night. We condemn these cowardly attacks and demand full respect for the territory recuperated by our brothers and sisters of the San Francisco community as well as the definitive cancellation of the six arrest orders which are pending against our compañeros.
Also in Chiapas, this past May 28 the home of the compañera Alejandra Padilla of the Semilla Digna work group was raided and a laptop stolen from her room which included information about her accompaniment of the struggles of indigenous communities of the CNI as well as about about her work as part of the CIDECI-UNITIERRA team.
At 5:20am on May 22 of this year, a paramilitary group identified as Nuevo Guadalupe Victoria used high-caliber weapons to attack a group of compañeros and compañeras from the community of Cruztón who are CNI participants. At 7:00am, our compañero Rodrigo Guadalupe Huet Gómez emerged from where he had been shielding himself from the attack to verify that the aggressors had left when a bullet struck him in the temple. The aggressors were identified as coming from the Guadalupe Victoria ejido.
In Querétaro, we demand the immediate release of the Otomí compañeros Jerónimo Sánchez and Anselmo Robles, both delegates to the National Indigenous Congress, who together with Pablo González and Luis Alberto Reyes have been kidnapped by the bad government under arrest orders that were issued for them by the 9th lower criminal court for the supposed crime of intellectually authoring a riot. This is not a felony and they should have been released on bail – a right that has been denied them. It is clear to us that the purpose of these charges is to put an end to the struggle, honesty, and coherence that our compañeros have demonstrated.
In Morelos, we salute the dignified struggle of the Nahua people of Tepoztlán against the expansion of the La Pera – Cuautla highway, and we repudiate any attempt to repress them using either police or grupos de choque[ii] like the one that, on June 7 of this year under the command of ex-municipal president Gabino Ríos, entered their encampment with the intention of dismantling it and stirring up violence to attack our compañeros on the highway as well as in the municipal palace. Compañer@s, you are not alone.
In the State of Mexico, the Ñuhú community of Santa Cruz Ayotuxco, in the municipality of Huixquilucan, is facing the destruction of its territory in the midst of the complete absence of legal protection as the machinery of the bad government and construction companies devastates the Otomí Mexica forest in order to construct the Toluca – Naucalpan highway. Despite the fact that on April 26 of this year they were given notification of the judicial suspension of the construction project, this suspension has not been respected by either the bad government authorities or the construction companies, violating the bad government’s own laws.
In Michoacán, the bad governments continue to hold hostage our compañeros from the Calzontzin community, municipality of Uruapan, following the repression the bad government inflicted against this community this past February 24. They are: Ramón Ortiz Marín, Daniel Pérez Anguiano, Francisco Javier Rodríguez Amezcua, Lorenzo Aguirre Rangel, Jorge Daniel Oros Cuin, José Luis Rangel Rangel, Humberto Romero Martinez, Josué Yair Romero Ortiz, Guillermo Romero Ortiz, José Alejandro Esquivel Alvarez, José Artemio Zinzun Galván, Juan Zavala Guevara, Jose de Jesus Belmontes Arrollo, Roberto Isidro Jiménez, Juan Carlos Rangel Morales, Angrey Raúl García González and J Jesus Magdalena Chávez. We demand the immediate release of our compañeros who are unjustly imprisoned.
In (the Mexican state of) Campeche and in Guatemala, we denounce the dispossession and destruction of homes and lands which has led to the forced displacement of our Maya Kekchi and Chu brothers and sisters from El Petén, Guatemala. This has been perpetrated by members of the military who are shielded by supposed armed conflicts. We also denounce the capitalist devastation of natural resources and the plantations protected by the bad governments of that country which has brought hundreds of brothers and sisters to Candelaria, Campeche, where they have set up an encampment to resist and make visible the capitalist war they are facing in their lands just a few meters from the Mexican border.
We denounce, thus, the intensification of the war against our peoples, the storm that flashes across the sky and now seeks to snuff out the hope that the Indigenous Governing Council and our spokeswoman represent for all Mexicans. We denounce the use of grupos de choque and paramilitary groups to attack the struggle of the peoples who make up the CNI, and the criminalization and persecution of those who struggle for a just world, from below and to the left.
To those who think that our struggle will fall because of their repression, we remind them that our march is for life and freedom, and therefore death will not stop it; entirely to the contrary. We continue to call on civil society to be conscious, attentive, and in solidarity with this struggle and with this offensive which is for the reconstruction of democracy, freedom, and justice for everyone.
For the Full Reconstitution of Our Peoples
Never Again a Mexico Without Us
National Indigenous Congress
[i]For more on Paz y Justicia, see here: “Mayor of Tila accused of reactivating the Paz y Justicia paramilitary group” https://dorsetchiapassolidarity.wordpress.com/2015/12/29/mayor-of-tila-accused-of-reactivating-the-paz-y-justicia-paramilitary-group/
[ii]Grupos de choque or “shock groups” are mercenaries hired by the government to provoke violence and rough up protesters at otherwise peaceful demonstrations.