NATIONAL INDIGENOUS CONGRESS REGION OF THE ISTHMUS
DECLARATION OF THE NATIONAL INDIGENOUS CONGRESS
CNI – ISTHMUS
Binnizá Community of Gui’xhi’ Ro’-Álvaro Obregón, Juchitán.
Isthmus of Tehuantepec
29 March 2014
The Binnizá, Ikoot, Ayuuk, Chol, Nuntaj+yi, Nahua, Zoque and Mestizo peoples of the States of Oaxaca, Veracruz, Chiapas and Mexico City, compañeros of the 14th of June Teachers’ and Popular Collective, of the United Struggle Front of the Popular Assembly of Peoples of Oaxaca (FUL APPO) Juchitán section, of the Ayuuk Higher Intercultural Institute of Jaltepec de Candayoc and the Asunción Ixtaltepec Ikoojt High School of San Mateo del Mar, as well as visitors from countries such as Italy, France, and the United States, and international observers from Peace Brigades International (PBI), who participated in the first session of the National Indigenous Congress (CNI) – region of the Isthmus, met in this Zapotec community of Gui’xhi’ Ro’ – Álvaro Obregón, which is currently struggling for the defense of its territory against transnational wind energy firms and for the construction of their autonomy. We were received by the compañeros of the community council, the council of elders, and protected by the Binni Guia’pa’ Guidxi’ – the “General Charis” community police of this community, who continue more firmly than ever despite the constant harassment that they have suffered in recent months from the municipal and state governments and from the leaders of the COCEI-PRD-PT and PRI political parties of Juchitán, Oaxaca.
We began our session of the CNI with an Ikoots ceremony, under a Guanacaste tree in the main plaza of the community. Afterwards, the 200 delegates participating remembered the steps we have taken as a National Indigenous Congress, from our founding in October 1996 to the Tata Juan Chávez Alonso Forum held in August 2013, in which we agreed to strengthen ourselves from the various indigenous regions of the country and to accept the invitation of the representatives of the EZLN in the Forum to send representatives of our communities in the near future to visit the Zapatista autonomous communities.
We also recalled the five fundamental pillars of communality that characterize us: the community assembly, enjoyment and celebration, territory, the cornfield, and community labor. We opened a space for dialogue, communication, and reflection among the peoples who live together in the Isthmus, about diverse aspects of our community life: autonomous government; defense of the territory; community justice and security; production, food and health; communication and education.
We recognized that we confront pillage by the transnational corporations and harassment by the bad governments through their political parties, and handouts through government programs and money that corrupt many leaders and divide us in our communities. New constitutional reforms are coming in the agrarian area as well as other laws that attempt to prohibit demonstrations and social mobilizations. They threaten us, they imprison us, they repress us.
In the face of all this, we agreed to organize ourselves at the regional level to resist the wind energy and mining and other foreign megaprojects that attempt to dispossess us of our territories. We commit ourselves to struggle for the reinforcement of our autonomies as indigenous, peasant, and mestizo communities. We know that it is a complex process of struggle that implies threats and risks but also great lessons.
We dream of defending our communal territories and reconstructing our organizational forms through community assemblies, with participation of men and women, youth, elders, as well as through our own lifestyles and community systems of justice. We reaffirm the tremendously valuable participation of women in our community struggles.
We recognize the importance of strengthening processes of dissemination of information about our experiences of struggle and our rights as indigenous peoples, and of strengthening the efforts of autonomous indigenous universities to prepare youth who can support our processes of reconstruction of autonomy and reinforce in a participatory manner the proposal for an Internationalist Indigenous Pluriversity of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec. We also consider it fundamental to join forces to strengthen our community economies, through recovery of community production, mutual aid, communal labor (tequio), regional commerce, barter, consumption of our regional products such as corn, beans, squash, fish, and use of our languages and traditional health, as well as promoting community enterprises as forms of resistance against transnational enterprises.
We commit ourselves to support the struggle of our grandfather, compañero Ta’ Pedro Martínez Guerra, community member (comunero) of Juchitán, to recover his lands that are currently invaded by the firm Gas Natural Fenosa, and to continue denouncing and demanding that they cease the pattern of harassment, threats and repression that he and his family are suffering.
We will not permit the invasion and extraction of minerals for construction in the Santa Cruz Igú hill, a sacred, historic and communal site, part of the communal properties of Juchitán, and we declare our opposition to the construction of the mining project in Ixtepec, which will have serious effects on the health, the environment, and the way of living of all our communities.
We will support the struggle of the Chimalapas for the respect and recognition of their territorial rights, recognized in primordial titles and definitive maps of the presidential resolutions that support the communal properties of San Miguel and Santa María Chimalapa, which go beyond the border disputes between the States of Chiapas and Oaxaca.
We will not permit the entry of mining, wind energy, tourist, and other enterprises in the Sierra Nuntaj+yi and Nahua of Santa Marta in the South of Veracruz, and we denounce the interference of the organization Antorcha Campesina and the political parties in our communities.
We ratify our forceful opposition against the official pillage and permanent harassment by the foreign wind energy firms that continue to operate in the region, in disregard of various legal injunctions filed and won by our communities. We are prepared to confront the mining companies that are attempting to enter into the city of Ixtepec and Ikoots territories.
We demand respect for our autonomous processes, and we totally reject the intrusion of political parties in all our communities and the imposition of “administrators” in the communities of San Mateo del Mar and San Dionisio del Mar.
We express our appreciation to the Binnizá community of Gui’xhi’ Ro’-Álvaro Obregón for receiving us, and we give our full support to their struggle in defense of the territory and for respect for the decision of the community to recover their system of community life: their general assembly, community council, council of elders, and community police. Likewise we demand that the government of Saúl Vicente Vásquez respect the decision of the Binnizá community to name compañero Odelio López Vicente as the community agent, elected in the general assembly held on 8 December 2013.
We confirm that we will accept the invitation of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation to visit the Zapatista autonomous communities to learn and to strengthen ourselves mutually.
¡THE LAND, THE SEA, AND THE WIND ARE NOT FOR SALE,
THEY ARE TO BE LOVED AND DEFENDED!
¡LONG LIVE THE AUTONOMY OF THE PEOPLES!
¡NEVER AGAIN A MEXICO WITHOUT US!
NATIONAL INDIGENOUS CONGRESS REGION OF THE ISTHMUS