Movement in Defense of Life and Territory Denounces Megaprojects in Chiapas

Movement in Defense of Life and Territory Denounces Megaprojects in Chiapas:

Today, November 25th, International Day Against Violence and Exploitation of Women, as Mayan and Mestizo people we have arrived from the tributaries of Tumbalá, San Cristóbal de las Casa, Yajalón, Huixtán, Cancúc, Tenejapa, Oxchúc, Ocosingo, Altamirano, Salta de Agua and the communities of Bachajón-Chilón to unite our voice to make visible the situation in our communities.

As the Movement in Defense of Life and Territory, that forms part of the Dioceses of San Cristóbal de las Casas, we are pilgrimaging in a peaceful manner asking that our constitutional rights to protest are respected. We want to animate the heart of our people to search better pathways in the direction of buen vivir and that the municipal, state, and federal authorities listen and address our disagreements.

Today, we want to unite with our mothers, daughters, and sisters, that have been physically and psychologically abused, excluded, exploited, mistreated, violated, discriminated against, and we want to respec them and participate in defending them from the institutions and persons that hope to violate their rights, starting intimately from within our homes.

In this pilgrimage, our principal demand is the care of the Mother Earth that is not only the place we live, but is part of us as we came from her and we owe it to her. Our Mother Earth is feeling looted, devastated, and insulted by the economic interests behind the megaprojects that threaten to destroy her. To continue, we want to mention some plans and project that threaten our mother earth:

–Hydroelectric dam in Chakté in the municipality of San Juan Cancuac

–The Jatzá damn of the Jataté river that threatens the municipalities of Ocosingo and Altamirano. This megaproject will flood 2900 hectares of jungle and ejido lands, and will affect the valley of Las Tazas, destroying communities like La Sultana, Rómulo Calzada among others.

–The central dam in Nancé of the Tzaconejá river in the municipality of Altamirano

–The “Salto de Agua” dam of the Tulijá river that will flood 396 square kilometers of jungle and land.

–The Dam in Bajatzén of the Shamulhá river in the municipalities of Yajalón, Tila and Tumbalá. This dam will also flood ten thousand hectares of land.

–The eco tourist projects in the communities of Ulubil, Polcolna’, inside the municipality of San Juan Cancuc.

–The eco tourist projects in the communities of the ejido Candeleria of the municipality of San Cristóbal de las Casas.

–The eco tourist project in Laguna Ocotal in the Municipality of Ocosingo

–The mining project in the municipality of Tenejapa

–The mining project in the community of Emiliano Zapata in Yajalón, in the mountain of Ah Cabalnaj

–The mining project in the community of Ocotal in the municipality of Yahalón

–The mining project inside of the ejidos Carranza and Macedonia inside of the municipality of Ocosingo

–The mining project in the ejido of Guquirepec inside the municipality of Chilón

–The construction of a super highway from San Cristóbal to Palenque that will affect the diverse communities of the municipalities of Candelaria, Chilón, Yajalón, Salta de Agua, Tenejapa, Cancuc, Oxchuc and Ocosingo. This megaproject also will affect the small communities of the Ejido Sibacá, Patria Nueva and the community of Lucum Mil ha, among others.

–The oil well in the municipality of Tenejapa

–The oil well in Xaquilá in the municipality of Chilón

–The oil wells in Ocosingo, in the area of Jardín and other in the area of San Miguel

–The oil well in the vicinity of Chilón and Ocosingo, in the land of the ejido of Carmen

These projects among others affect our communities. They are works that are destroying Mother Nature and will only enrich the major companies but with no benefit to the great majority of the poor people. The structural reforms that protect the megaprojects are solely a strategy to enrich those that have the most, and impoverish the original peoples of this land.

It is a joke to say that these projects will improve our lives. What life will be improved if we are without land? The government does not ask us if we are in agreement in the construction of these projects, and this is a violation of our rights as indigenous peoples.

Like the International Organization of Work indicates, in agreement number 169, we have the right to be consulted and to participate in the political decisions and programs that affect us. We have the right to determine our own mode of development and we have the right that our integrity, our culture, and our land are respected.

Therefore, we unite ourselves with the voice of Pope Francis saying “No to an economy of exclusion and inequity where the money rules instead of service. That economy kills. That economy excludes. That economy destroys the Mother Earth (Pope Francisco, Bolivia, July 9th 2015).

We demand that the municipal and state authorities stop the corruption. They cannot turn a blind eye or a closed ear continuing to permit, in spite of the hundreds of signatures and demonstrations against them, the expansion of permits for the sale of alcohol, underground outlets, prostitution in the bars, or the planting and selling of drugs. We have learned the hard way, in our cases, that alcohol and drugs are causes of family violence, of murders, suicides, and they continually make our people poorer.

We are also pilgrimaging in solidarity with the more than 100,000 victims of organized crime and especially the families of the 43 disappeared of Ayotzinapa in Iguala, Guerrero; and the victims of Acteal who for nearly 20 years since the massacre, the government has not brought justice.

Pope Francis, in the encyclical Laudato Si’, expresses that the state policies react slowly, and far from being up to the collective challenges, are responsible for their own discredit. This was confirmed in the recent elections where the political parties only brought corruption and division, damaging the community harmony searching for buen vivir in our communities. Therefore, it is indisputable to search for new forms of organization. We need to unite in roads toward peace and justice.

We need and want to continue analyzing the signs of our times, caring and defending Mother Earth, denouncing the structures of injustice and sin that “kill our people” (Pope Francis) as well as constructing alternative model of economic and social organization exemplify another world is possible and necessary (Congress of Mother Earth, January, 2014).

The heart of the sky and the heart of the earth, dreamt and created man, women, and nature, illuminating and strengthening us in all of our capabilities of the good life, because as Monseños Oscar Tomero reminds us, “All people that struggle for justice, in an unjust environment, are working for the kingdom of god.”

Dioceses of San Critsóbal de las Casa, Chiapas, on the 25th of November 2015.

Movement in Defense of Life and Territory:

Canadalaria, Huixtán, Tumbalá, Cancúc, Tenejapa, Oxchuc, Ocosingo, ALtamirano, Bachajón-Chilón, Yajalón, Salto de Agua

Poorly translated from the original here: http://www.pozol.org/?p=11561

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