Confronted with a system of neoliberal capitalism which sustains itself on plundering, deprivation, repression, exploitation and discrimination in all its forms, we assume our responsibility to join the struggle of the communities for the construction and defence of our rights.
As a non-governmental organisation we hold a communitarian vision that promotes compliance with and respect for women’s rights. We identify ourselves with the resistance of the people and the construction of their autonomy.
We make our decisions collectively and are independent from any political party or religious organisation.
DECLARATION FROM THE REGIONAL ENCOUNTER FOR THE DEFENSE OF OUR TERRITORIES
On the 6th of December, this year, we met in the community of Morro Mazatán, Municipality of Santo Domingo Tehuantepec, as the Agrarian Authorities and representatives of the communities of: San Miguel Chongos, Guadalupe Victoria, Santa María Zapotitlán, San José Chiltepec, Santa Lucía Mecaltepec, Santa María Candelaria, San Pedro Sosoltepec and San Pedro Tepalcatepec, all members of the Asamblea del Pueblo Chontal para la Defensa del Territorio [Chontal People’s Assembly for the Defense of the Territory]; as well as representatives of Morro Mazatán, Santa Gertrudis Miramar, Tilzapote, San Pablo Mitla, Tlacolula de Matamoros, Rincón Bamba, Asamblea de Comuneros de Unión Hidalgo [Comuneros’ Assembly of Unión Hidalgo], Colectivo Matzá [Matzá Collective] from the community of San Miguel Chimalapa, and Tequio Jurídico AC [Collective Legal Work Civil Association], to advance the “Regional Encounter for the Defense of Our Territories,” with the goal of informing each other and articulating ourselves for our own defense in the face of megaprojects that dispossess us and extractive projects, among them, mining and Special Economic Zones.
In our analysis, our territories find themselves at risk under a capitalist system which in our country began to deepen in the 90s with the reconfiguration of the state’s legal framework. This included reforms to constitutional article 27, the mining law, the foreign investment law, and the entry into the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA, generating legal conditions favoring national and international businesses that seek to impose neo-extractivist projects such as mining, wind energy projects, hydroelectric dams, high-tension towers, Special Economic Zones, tourist projects and as a consequence the militarization and paramilitarization of the territory.
In this encounter we listened to the experiences of regional organization processes from San Pablo Mitla and Tlacolula de Matamoros, who are defending their territory in the face of the installation/relocation of a military zone by the federal government through the Ministry of National Defense (SEDENA), the state government, the Ministry of the Interior, and the Municipal Presidents of San Pablo Mitla and Tlacolula de Matamoros.
Thanks to citizen organization, they have suspended this project; however, they remain attentive before new threats to reactivate the project utilizing a real estate company on land in Tlacolula. The residents also denounced the mining concessions in the district of Tlacolula de Matamoros.
Likewise, we listened to the experiences of the Chontal People’s Assembly for the Defense of the Territory, who have organized to defend themselves faced with the imposition of the mining concession Zapotitlán 1 granted to the companies Zalamera SA de CV and Minaurum Gold by the Ministry of the Economy. It would strip 5,413 hectares [13,375 acres] from six Chontal communities in the high region.
In this encounter, the representatives of the communities of Tilzapote and San Francisco Cozoaltepec, Municipality of Santa María Tonameca, denounced the supposed small proprietors Pedro Martínez Araiza and Domitila Guzmán Olivera. The community doesn’t know these people, who are trying to take away their territory under the argument that they are executing a resolution of the Unitary Agrarian Tribunal that recognizes them as the owners of 300 hectares [741 acres] where the village sits, in so doing, displacing them from their community. The Agrarian Ombudsman’s office, the Ministry of Agrarian, Territorial, and Urban Development, the National Agrarian Register, and the aforementioned Unitary Agrarian Tribunal Number 21 are among those responsible for this situation, putting the pueblo—composed of 70 families—at risk. These government institutions and small proprietors threaten the inhabitants with the loss of 300 hectares, which spans the entirety of their territory, and the neglect of their personal defense. [Translator’s note: read more about this situation here, and there is a video in Spanish here.]
Those representing the Matzá Collective from the community of San Miguel Chimalapa denounced the fact that their 134,000 hectare [331,000 acre] communal territory has been pierced by a series of landgrabs characterized by agrarian conflicts with the state of Chiapas and mining concessions, which span 7,200 hectares [18,000 acres] of communal lands. The companies involved are Zalamera, Minaurum Gold, and Gol Cooper, and their projects would put at risk the Espíritu Santo, Zacatepec, and Ostuta rivers, on which the lives of the Zoques, Binniza, and Ikoots peoples depend.
The representative of the Comuneros’ Assembly of Unión Hidalgo denounced the illegality of the contracts on common lands signed by wind energy companies like France Electric and EDEMEX with supposed small proprietors. The Unitary Agrarian Tribunal of Tuxtepec does not acknowledge the experts’ reports offered by the agrarian community, and validates these contracts.
As the Regional Encounter for the Defense of Our Territories, We Denounce:
- The intimidation and aggression against land defenders.
- We denounce the strategies that the government uses for the dispossession of territory in Tlacolula by using supposed real estate companies to put in a military barracks.
- The internal division of pueblos caused by megaprojects of death.
- The threats and arrest warrants against the community of Tilzapote, as well as the supposed eviction on December 8, 2017.
- The imposition of mining projects, special economic zones, hydroelectric dams, wind farms, and all types of megaprojects that may affect our territory.
- We reject the approval of the Federal Special Economic Zones Law and the Internal Security Law that allow the plunder of our territories and a military presence in the streets, which puts human rights at risk.
- The utilization of the pain of families affected by the earthquake to impose the interests of the voracious wind energy companies, among them the company EDF France Electric (France Eolian).
- We reject the extraction of minerals and materials from Unión Hidalgo’s territory, as well as the concession built into the company Cooperativa Cruz Azul.
As participants in this encounter we propose:
- We assume the work of strengthening our forms of organization, prioritizing community agencies, assemblies, community authorities, and the pueblos’ communal education to defend the territory.
- To propel true communication among the pueblos to defend our territory.
- To maintain these spaces of communication, exchange, and territorial defense.
- We will not allow the imposition of mining projects on our community lands because they mean death.
- To work for the strengthening of the communitarian structures and the participation of new generations in defense of the territory
- To accompany the activities that the community of Tilzapote promote as part of the defense of their territory.
- To strengthen historical memory as an element for the territorial defense and resistance of our pueblos.
- To put in the necessary legal resources against the projects, citing indigenous rights.
Our total support to the community of Tilzapote!
Our total support to the communities in resitance!
To defend our territories from the killer megaprojects!
Morro Mazatán, Santo Domingo Tehuantepec, December 6, 2017.