“They are Literally Killing Us” – Call for a National Caravan for a Dignified Life for Indigenous Peoples

Via the National Indigenous Congress (CNI)
Translated by Scott Campbell

As men, women, boys, girls, grandfathers and grandmothers of the Indigenous communities that we are: Na Savi, Me´pháá, Nahua, Ñamnkué, mestizos and Afro-Mexicans from the state of Guerrero, and who are organized in the Indigenous and Popular Council of Guerrero – Emiliano Zapata (CIPOG-EZ), together with our comradely communities in the National Front for the Liberation of the Peoples (FNLP) and the Campesino Organization of the Southern Sierra (O.C.S.S.), we have not forgotten that we are suffering a war against our peoples. A war that began 527 years ago and one that continues. Governments come, governments go, be their logos of one color, two colors or three colors, it doesn’t matter: their boss is the same.

We continue dying from hunger, from the lack of hospitals and doctors, and from poverty, but not just that: they are literally killing us. As if we were animals, as if we were something worthless, something that isn’t human. The narco-paramilitaries hunt us on the roads, in our homes, and our families have to flee. They are the ones they call the displaced, and they go, walking, uprooted from their land, entire communities without a home, with the pain of their murdered relatives, and without knowing if they will eat tomorrow or if they will sleep under a roof, worse off than animals.

This harm is caused by the bad governments who overlap with and allow narco-paramilitary groups into our towns in the Costa Grande, in Chilapa, and in the Sierra of Guerrero. And we know that the same thing is happening at least in the states of Michoacán, Oaxaca, and Chiapas. How many brothers and sisters have been disappeared? It’s not that they’re lost, it’s that a wrong was done to them, done with complete impunity, done in the light of day, in public places, and nothing happens.

Porfirio Díaz said that we did not deserve to live because we were Indians. That we are ignorant, without consciousness. And during the whole, long history of PRI governments, the same old song: that we are stupid, Indians who don’t want progress, that again, we are ignorant. With Fox and Calderón, the theme changed and they started up with the “Who knows what they’re up to?” And that’s how they sowed doubt, and while the government financed and armed drug traffickers, it blamed us for dying in the midst of a simulated war, disguised as being against drug trafficking but that continued to be the same war, against the peoples.

The result was that many drug trafficking groups were strengthened and enriched, while they murdered, disappeared, displaced, and dispossessed us, the Indigenous peoples in Mexico. And on top of it, they blamed us for it, as they have always blamed us, with the conquistadores saying that we are not people of god, that we don’t have a soul, and therefore our lives don’t matter. Today we can’t say anything, we can’t complain, we can’t say that we want justice, that we need food, health care, housing, work, and safety, because immediately they’ll say that we’re conservatives, that we’re part of the PRI or PAN, that “did you really have it better with the PRI?” and once again, they return to calling us ignorant.

The priest Hidalgo was welcomed in our lands. We listened to and fought alongside Vicente Guerrero and José María Morelos against the Spanish Crown. We fought alongside General Emiliano Zapata for land and freedom. We fought against all the PRI regimes, and we shed our blood while hundreds of our brothers were hurled into the sea. The bad PAN governments tried to continue the looting of our lands and we defended them. Now they are saying that we’re PRIAN, that “why didn’t we do anything before?” When in reality, those who are saying that are the ones who never did anything and who think that with one vote the country has changed.

So yes, we continue resisting and fighting as we have for 527 years, because the war against us continues, it hasn’t changed, and the evidence for that is that narco-paramilitaries keep killing us, the evidence for that is that we continue dying of malnutrition, that in our schools there is no distance learning, that our roads continue collapsing, that our houses are falling to pieces, that there is no work in our towns, there are no clinics nor doctors to treat illnesses that already have a cure. And in this COVID-19 pandemic, Indigenous peoples continue to be the most forgotten, the ones that don’t matter if they live or die. Absolutely no one sees, no one listens.

They have never left our brothers and sisters of the EZLN in peace. They continue waging war. The PRI and the Mexican army armed paramilitaries to kill them, the PRD and their paramilitaries constantly harassed them, the PAN used the same paramilitaries to kill the teacher Galeano and seek provocation, and now it’s happening again. The same paramilitaries created by the PRI are now being used by the MORENA government to attack and harass our Zapatista brothers and sisters, their struggle, and their autonomy. They will not forgive them for defending their territory against the so-called Mayan Train, for continuing to build autonomy, and again, they are saying they are against progress, that they are ignorant. But they leave out that our Zapatista brothers and sisters have built their own education system, health clinics, communication and justice systems without the aid of any bad government and all for the benefit of their own Maya people.

There are many injustices in our lands and so much impunity that they can do such harm as killing us, disappearing us, and leaving us to die of neglect. Because of this, we can’t endure any more, we can’t take anymore. Enough of the injustice and deafness of the government. Mr. AMLO, we’re not with the PAN, we’re not with the PRI or the PRD, nor with any other party. We are communities that are fed up with the hunger, we’re fed up with the injustice, we’re fed up with the poverty, and we demand solutions. No more promises. Solutions. All peoples deserve to live and to live in dignity. We want a decent life for all the Indigenous peoples of Mexico, not something more for the friends of Adelfo [head of the National Institute of Indigenous Peoples], nor something more for those towns who vote for MORENA, or those who vote for the PRI or the PAN or the PRD.

Because of this, we are going to come down from our mountains, we are going to leave our forests, we are going to cross the rivers and hills of our sierras, and we are going to go as a caravan to the heart of Mexico. We will arrive in the Zócalo of Mexico City on September 10, 2020. The men, women, boys, girls, grandfathers and grandmothers will come, so they can see that we are not lying, that curable diseases are killing us, hunger is killing us, neglect is killing us, COVID-19 is killing us, and the narco-paramilitaries continue killing us.

We invite all the men and women of this country, those whom it truly hurts when an injustice is committed anywhere, those whose thinking is anti-capitalist, whether they voted or not. We invite those whose hearts want a true and profound transformation. We invite the Indigenous peoples of Mexico who are suffering as we are. For them all to join the National Caravan for a Dignified Life for Indigenous Peoples: End the Narco-paramilitary War Against the Peoples of Mexico!

We are not coming to ask any political party to come back or to leave. We come to the heart of Mexico to gather with other peoples, to gather with the good-hearted citizens, willing to listen to our problems and we will listen to theirs. We come to seek a solution to the death they have planted among us, we come to sow seeds of life, through dialog, through agreements, through organization.

SINCERELY:

Indigenous and Popular Council of Guerrero – Emiliano Zapata (CIPOG-EZ),

Regions: Costa Chica, Costa Montaña, Montaña Alta, and Montaña Baja of Guerrero.

National Front for the Liberation of the Peoples (FNLP),

Campesino Organization of the Southern Sierra (O.C.S.S.).

End the narco-paramilitary war against the Zapatista communities of the EZLN!

End the narco-paramilitary war against the Indigenous communities of the CNI-CIG!

Justice for all our prisoners, our fallen, and our disappeared of the CNI!

Never again a Mexico without us!

This post is also available in: Spanish