[Documents menu] Documents menu

From: kekula@aloha.net
Message-Id: <v03102807b13de1875989@[]>
Date: Tue, 24 Mar 1998 12:18:40 -1000
To: WarriorNET@speakeasy.org
Subject: CNI Translation to English
Sender: owner-warriornet@speakeasy.org
Precedence: bulk

Netwarriors—March '98 CNI Report

From the National Indigenous Congress, 13 March 1998

To All Peoples of Mexico
To the National and International Public Opinion

Us, Indigenous Peoples live in the most difficult times of our history. We are still waiting for our rights to be recognized. For so long the rights of Indigenous Peoples have been denied. We are witnesses of the fact that at the foundation of the authoritarian government and the racial prejudice we experience, there is a political-military strategy against our people.

Faced with our insistence to build a new relationship with the State and the national society, a relationship based on the principles of plurality, sustainability, integrity, participation, and free determination declared in San Andres Sacam Ch'en de los Pobres, the response of the Mexican government has been one of military harassment and repression against our people.

The San Andres Accords and its conversion to Initiative for Constitutional Reform by COCOPA are two very important documents to us Indigenous Peoples. The Initiative states the basic principles for the recognition of our rights, and it is the result of an extensive consensus among Indigenous Peoples from all over Mexico.

For the Indigenous Peoples of Mexico, the San Andres dialogue signify the possibility to participate for the first time in history in a process of national dialogue, receiving the sincere support from the Civil Society. Since the 1917 Constitution, until the present, it has been difficult to find an initiative that could awaken such national and international support like COCOPA's Initiative for constitutional reforms. Never before in the history of Mexico has a Law Initiative provoke such a widespread national public debate.

The Statement by the Indigenous Peoples supported by the civil society has given ground and sustenance to COCOPA's Initiative—which is a result of the San Andres Accords' dialogue.

We have continuously declared that: COCOPA's Initiative embraces our fundamental rights. The process that began with this dialogue and with the participation of the Mexican people, must culminate with the approval of this initiative. Only then we will be able to open a channel for the participation of Indigenous Peoples and all Mexicans in general; once the Accords are honored, then we will have evidence that the dialogue has a real meaning.

However, the government has proven to work in the opposite direction: it creates a dialogue and accords without fulfilling what is stated, it legislates without consensus, and it denies the full recognition of Indigenous Rights to its indigenous populations.

The government ignores and gives no recognition to the dialogue nor to the accords that have emanated from it, attempting to disappear COCOPA from the process of negotiations. The government's accusations which attempt to limit our rights are false, they only promote a breakdown in the dialogue and thus block the accords. The government acts to suppress the power of negotiation of national and international mediators, pressures political parties to present initiatives for constitutional reform but dictated from the Secretary of State, and consequently omit our most fundamental rights stipulated in the San Andres Accords.

The government has denied the recognition of our rights as Indigenous Peoples and rather than integrating itself to the peace proposals presented by CONAI and COCOPA, it has acted against these plans and thus beginning a campaign against its own credibility.

Like many other times in the history of Mexico, there are attempts to reform the Constitution under the President's ordinance. But the President does not seem willing to let go of his extra legal powers to exercise veto power as Executive-Chief, and thus institutes himself as the upmost legislator, even above the will of the citizenship and the Legislative power.

The political parties must not support these maneuvers. Representatives of all political parties have participated in the elaboration of the Law Initiative presented by COCOPA. COCOPA has developed an initiative based on consensus by request of the different parties involved. This initiative recognizes indigenous rights and makes way for peace.

We declare to all the people affiliated to political parties, that the alternative history is offering you is: to legislate in favor of war or to legislate in favor of peace. Make your own decision in accordance to your deep feelings as Mexicans. This decision must come without a bargain or promise from the government that is heavier than the weight of peace.

Considering this, we Indigenous Peoples raise our voices to honor the memory of all our people who have died, young ones, our grandparents and elders, and keep close to us their indomitable spirit and unbreakable will to struggle.

We Manifest:

1. Our disagreement and deep indignation to the Federal Executive Power and to the political parties that have given themselves to the dirty maneuvers of the government. The serious situation we are presently living based on the conflict provoked by the lack of acknowledgement of our rights declared in the San Andres Accords, while rejecting the original initiative presented by COCOPA on November 29, 1996—an initiative aligned to the constitutional terms of our rights for free determination and autonomy.

2. Our demand for respect and fulfillment of: the San Andres Accords and the original initiative presented by COCOPA.

3. We, Indigenous Peoples, have acknowledged and exercised since time immemorial, our rights presently included in the San Andres Accords. These have been inalienable rights for our people who have exercised them without asking permission to no one. Therefore, the Constitution must recognize our daily practices as we exercise our autonomy and free determination. Accordingly, we have participated responsibly in the dialogue, consultations, and consensus development at San Andres Sacam Ch'en de los Pobres, Chiapas, regarding the Article 4 of the Constitution and Covenant 169 of the IWO— ratified by the Senate in 1991 in agreement with Article 133 of the Constitution.

4. Given this, we do no accept nor we will accept in the future, any changes done by Executive Power to the Law Initiative presented by COCOPA, nor we will accept the initiative of any other organization or political party.

5. More than 20 million indigenous peoples from Mexico are in a new cross-road of history, similar to that of 1917, when Article 27 of the Constitution was emitted, recognizing Indigenous Peoples and peasants' land rights, consequently, preventing war and the killing of more people.

6. We declare our support to COCOPA, an organization supporting the peace talks and negotiations in Chiapas. The principles of this dialogue are based in the Law in support of the Dialogue and Reconciliation in Chiapas signed on March 11, 1995, and therefore we expect that COCOPA take the responsibility necessary to defend its initiative with full autonomy when negotiating with the Executive Power.

In the face of this national emergency, and in order to prevent the strategies of war by the government, the Peoples, communities, and organizations participating in the National Indigenous Congress, through this document, we invite all the Mexican people:

1) To the National Indigenous Movement and the the Civil Society in general to join the National Indigenous Hunger Strike in support of the free determination and autonomy, and against the war strategy by the Mexican. The hunger strike will begin January 15th, demanding to enforce the 5 conditions in order to resume the dialogue, and:

a) Constitutional recognition of the San Andres Accords in respect to the the Law Initiative by COCOPA.

b) The reactivation of the Commission of Continuation and Verification of the Accords of Table 1 regarding Indigenous Rights and Culture.

c) Freedom to all the Zapatistas who are presently political prisoners—participants of the National Indigenous Congress, and of the National Indigenous Movement.

d) The naming of a serious commissioner (by the government) for the continuation of the dialogue and with the capacity for decision making.

e) Stop to the militarization, paramilitarization, and harassment occurring in indigenous communities throughout the country.

2) To participate in the March of 100 hours which begins next Monday, March 16, 1998, at 4 p.m., at the Zocalo, Mexico City.

3. To participate in the March to commemorate the 79th anniversary of the assassination of general Emiliano Zapata Salazar, April 10th at 10 AM, at the Monument of the Revolution in the Zocalo in Mexico City.

4. To Strengthen the unity and coordination between Indigenous and non-indigenous Peoples and organizations, and therefore promote a consistent mobilization.

Given in Tenochtitlán, Mexico City on March 13, 1998.

Never Again a Mexico Without the Inclusion of Indigenous Peoples!!