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Date: Fri, 6 Jan 1995 10:01:08 -0500 (EST)
From: Jose A. Briones <brioneja@ttown.apci.com>
To: Chiapas-L <Chiapas-l@profmexis.dgsca.unam.mx>
Subject: National Indigenous Convention (fwd)
Message-Id: <Pine.ULT.3.91.950106100054.9518C-100000@ttown.apci.com>
Precedence: bulk
Reply-To: chiapas-l@profmexis.dgsca.unam.mx

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Fri, 6 Jan 95 09:42:14 -0500
Subject: National Indigenous Convention

From: Michael Robin <mrobin>

/* Written 8:17 PM Jan 4, 1995 by tonatierra in igc:reg.mexico */
/* ---------- National Indigenous Convention ---------- */
From: Tonatierra <tonatierra>

>From Tonatierra@aol.com Wed Jan 4 18:02:26 1995
Date: Wed, 4 Jan 1995 20:58:36 -0500
Message-Id: <950104205748_7122227@aol.com>
To: tonatierra@igc.apc.org
Subject: IPA

Declaration from the Mountain of Guerrero

Convencion Nacional Indigena (CNI), 25 December 1994

Having reunited during the 16,17,18th of December of 1994 in the ancient territories of the People of the Rain, the People of the Heart of the Mountain, and the People of the Tiger in Tlapa, Guerrero the Indigenous Pueblos and Organizations of Mexico have spoken our Word, we have listened to our hearts and made them as one in this DECLARATION.

After 502 years of resistance, after 502 years of rights denied, the participants of the Convencion Nacional Indigena celebrated in the Heart of the Mountain, in Tlapa, Guerrero decide the following:

1. Profoundly concerned over the struggle of our brothers in Chiapas, we salute their effforts to remove the yoke of exploitation and oppression. We take as our own the 13 positions of the EZLN and understand the reasons for their decision to take up arms as the only method to be heard. From the Heart of the Mountain in Guerrero we declare: YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

Neither are you alone in terms of the conditions under which you live. The situation of the Indigenous Pueblos of Chiapas is the same for all the Indians of this country. The conditions of poverty, anti-democracy, intolerance, racism, discrimination and so many other agressions under which the Indian Peoples of Chiapas have suffered daily for 502 years we share completely.

For this reason we say that Chiapas is not the hot spot of the country.

Chiapas has erupted in fire! The hot spots are in found everywhere throughout the national territory, in each of the indigenous regions of Mexico, where the life of the Indians of Chiapas is reproduced daily. There should be no surprise over what is so evident.

At his moment Chiapas is in the heart of each Mexican Indian. The example of the struggle that the Indigenous Pueblos and campesino organizations of Chiapas are leading, a heroic effort to avoid open war, is inspiring. The search is for new social formulas among Chiapanecos which would depart from the old colonial relationships. This is how we interpret the declarations of of autonomy in fact and the constituting of indigenous parliaments among other efforts being brought forth by indigenous creativity to contribute to peace in Chiapas.

We support our brothers from Chiapas in the demand for a new constitution which recognizes the the right to Autonomy, the installation of a constituting congress to establish the foundation for a new social pact for state, and the full recognition of the Government in Transition, just as we join in repudiating the taking of power by the fraudulent government headed by Eduardo Robledo Rincon.

We join with the will of the indigenous people of Chiapas in saying NO to war and YES to a solution of the conflict via negotiation and and the political process. We demand of the government of Ernesto Zedillo rapid and efficient action to initiate NOW the the negotiations for peace. There is no more time for commissions and commissioners. What is needed are negotiators with the capacity of decision. We consider insufficient the proposal of Ernesto Zedillo to involve only the legislative branch as part of the solution. We consider that an effective negotiating commission must include the presence of the three governmental powers: the executive, the legislative, and the judicial, so that each according to their powers shall commit to undertake concrete actions towards peace.

The participants of the CNI demand of the government of Mexico the immediate withdrawal of the Mexican Army from the occupied Chiapan terrritories.

Likewise we repudiate the escalating militarization of the indigenous regions of our country and we reiterate that the solution to the actions of indigenous resistance shall never be resolved by force. The only solution shall be with the full satisfaction and attention to our demands, and not in repressive measures.

2. The participants of the CNI conclude that AUTONOMY constitutes one of our principal rights, which has been until now denied. In spite of the negation of our rights, nevertherless the practice of Autonomy has been constant among our Pueblos even though it has been clandestine. We do not want this situation to continue. We demand the constitutional recognition to the right of Autonomy. This right must clearly be established in the constition, in a Chapter specific to Indigenous Rights. As a consequence we consider as insufficient the content of Article Four, in that this article must be amplified to include recognition of our political and territorial rights.

We shall continue pursuing the Autonomy of our Pueblos, communities, municipalities and regions in spite of the government and their cacique-bosses in an expression of indigenous resistance. We shall recoup and reinforce our autonomy in each of our decisions, whether at the communal, municipal, or regional level.

>From the Heart of the Mountain of Guerrero we call on all our brothers to realize a great national crusade for Indigenous Autonomy, to strengthen the governments of our communities, our municipalities, our regions, and thus recuperate our liberty which has been trampeled.

This permanent Journey for Autonomy will include a national campaign of debate and sensitivity regarding our RIGHT TO AUTONOMY, that will encompass completely the significance of this right. From here we wish to reinterate that automony is not seccession, on the contrary automony is the first opportunity that our indigenous pueblos would have to become for the first time true Mexicans. The Indian Pueblos of Mexico desire and hope to become integrated completely into Mexico, but without the implication of assimilation or integrationism. The juridical recognition of autonomy is the guarantee that this should not occur. The recognition of indigenous autonomy constitutes the only way to establish a democratic foundation for the relationship between the indigenous pueblos and the state, and also betwe en Indians and mestizos.

3. The constitutional recognition of the right of indigenous autonomy forms part of a much larger process which includes other profound transformations, including the construction if a new State, with a new federalism, a new territorial distribution of the country and a new social pact among Mexicanos.

Likewise we proclaim our right to participate in all of the political decisions within our regions and nationally. The indigenous pueblos demand to be the authors of our own self-development. We pronounce in support of the efforts of the Consejo Guerrerrense of the 500 Years of Indigenous Resistance to realize the Autonomous Fund for the Development of the Indigeno us Pueblos of Guerrero and we salute with happiness the decision of the brothers in Chiapas to throw off the control of the indigenistas, to expell the INI (National Indigenous Institute) from Chiapas and assume control of the federal resources for development channelled to these regions. We demand the cancellation of all forms of patronizing indigenism and we defend the right of our indigenous pueblos to control our own lives and decisions, as is established within the Article 169 of the ILO (International Labor Organization), which is Constitutional Law within our country since September 5, 1991.

In this context the CNI delegates, in agreement that poverty is the gravest problem facing the indigenous pueblos, present before the new federal government that this is nothing more than the result of ANTI-DEMOCRACY. The poverty of the indigenous peoples is result of the lack of democracy and the denial of rights. The poverty in the indigenous regions will NOT be erradicated by development programs or with assistance projects such as PRONASOL. The poverty in the indigenous regions can only be erradicated when we as indigenous pueblos are allowed to decide how to administrate the resources which by right are ours. To the official politicians we say that we are NOT percentages of poverty or indices of marginalized which can be dealt with through only economic measures. We are Indigenous Pueblos which live under a condition of political oppression and whose problems only can be resolved with political measures.

4. Nevertheless the delegates of the CNI conclude that the recognition of the rights of our Pueblos will not result from a struggle isolated from the rest of society, but only within a comprehensive process of national democratization. In this sense the CNI delegates are are entirely convinced that the objectives of our struggles can only be achieved within a national transformation, for which reason we ratify our participation within the National Democratic Convention, as the only road which at this moment is viable to produce the changes which our Indigenous Pueblos and Mexicanos demand.

The CNI ratifies our willingness to establish respectful alliances with all those mestizos who also struggle to build a new Mexico. In a very special manner we unite our efforts with our brother campesinos to recuperate along with them our lands and territories, to fight together against poverty, against economic exploitation and the anti-democracy which oppresses us.

This is the problematic which also unites and identifies us with all the popular sectors in this country. The unity among the indigenous peoples and the mestizos is a necessary basic condition for the changes which Mexico requires. We insist nevertheless that this relationship must be based on respect for our differences and equality of rights.

The indigenous pueblos shall continue resisting - no longer alone, no longer separated. The participants of the CNI proclaim our right to resistance to struggle and to political mobilization. We shall continue resisting until we achieve a life with justice and dignity with autonomy.

5. The CNI salutes and congratulates the important and rich participation of our women delegates. The participation of the women is felt strongly in the indigenous struggle and even though there have been many, many more are needed. We wish that more indigenous women become actively incorporated within the transforming political dynamic. The CNI commits to respect and promote in each our communities, municipalties, regions and organizations the rights of women. We indigenous pueblos have initiated a process of struggle and change which cannot be reversed. These changes involve the life of our own pueblos as well. We shall make the transformations and changes that are necessary, including our traditions and customs, to guarantee fully the rights of women.

6. We indigenous pueblos know that we have been on a long journey. Within the last 20 years the Indigenous Nations and Pueblos have been strengthened in our struggle. With this renewed effort, the resurgence and empowerment of the indigenous movement that now exists at the global level proclaims that indigenous unity is today a reality.

On this road we have learned the importance of laws and international juridical instruments because the indigenous struggle has been waged within the national arena but also increasingly at the international level.

Nevertheless we have also realized that these juridical sources are insufficient when we confront antidemocratic governments, such as the government of Mexico, which has violated and does not comply with international agreements they have signed in recognition of our rights.

For this reason we are pleased but yet doubtful regarding the recent inaugurat ion the International Decade for Indigenous Populations adopted by the United Nations. We are pleased because this and each one of the measures which the goverment-states undertake regarding the protection of our indigenous rights comes as a result of our efforts and our struggles. Yet we remain doubtful because we have had the experience of 1993 whcih was declared by the United Nations as International Year of Indigenous Peoples and yet the government of Mexico did nothing to fufill the commitments which were made. Los Pueblos Indios know very well that the government never gives anything freely, but must be forced to respond to our demands by our unity and resistance.

Before this situation the participants of the CNI declare that this shall be our Decade. Not because the government would do something in favor of the Indios but because we Indios shall do for ourselves. This convention shall make of this decade a decade of struggle, a decade of resistance, a decade of recognition of our rights.

7. Indigenous Brothers and Sisters: the end of silence has arrrived. The Heart of the Mountain of Guerrero announces a new birth. The People of the Land, the People of the Rain, the men and women of the True Word, the People of the Tiger, all of the men and women native to this land are now alert to the birth of a new society.

We call out to all; let all come, let no one remain behind. To all of our pueblos and sister organizations which at this time could not be with us: We invite you to join with us to create the future that is needed in Mexico. We announce that from this convention onward that all the pueblos and sister organizations are welcome and that neither religion, nor political party, nor ideology shall impede our indigenous unity.

The indigenous struggle is a road from which there is no return. No one can any longer hold it back. This our word, this our heart.