Letter of Solidarity and Support for Zapatista Resistance and Autonomy
We, intellectuals, academics, artists, activists and people of goodwill, as well as organizations, associations and collectives, from various countries, express our solidarity with the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) in this crucial moment in its history, and strongly reject the current campaign of disinformation, lies and slander directed against the Zapatistas.
For us, as well as for many other people around the world, the Zapatista struggle represents an example of resistance, dignity, congruence and political creativity. 25 years ago, the cry of YaBasta! was an action of great transcendence and one of the first strong reactions at a planetary level against neoliberal globalization, opening the way toward the rejection and criticismof a model that at that time seemed unquestionable. It was also, and continues to be, an expression of the legitimate struggle of indigenous peoples against the domination and contempt they have suffered for centuries and continue to face today, as well as in favor of their rights to autonomy. The peoples’ self-government that the Zapatistas have put into practice with the Juntas de Buen Gobierno (Good Government Councils)in the 5 Caracolesis an example of radical democracy that inspires peoples around the planet, and that shouldbe studied in all schools of social science in the world. For us, the Zapatista construction of autonomy represents the persistent, honest and crucial search for an alternative, emancipatory model of great importance for a humanity facing the challenges of a world that is rapidly sinkinginto a deepening crisis that is simultaneously economic, social, political, ecological and human.
Therefore we express our concern over the situation currently faced by Zapatista communities and many other indigenous peoples in Mexico, as their territories are attacked by mining, tourism, agribusiness, large infrastructure projects, etc., as recently denounced by the National Indigenous Congress (CNI) and the Indigenous Council of Government (CIG) of Mexico. Right now we are worried about a series oflarge-scalemega projects being imposed by the new Mexican government, such as the Trans-isthmus Corridor, the million hectares of commercial tree planting, and the so-called “Mayan Train”, recently denounced as an humiliationand a provocation by subcomandanteMoisés, spokesman of the EZLN, as it would have very serious impacts on the territories of the Mayan peoples that inhabit the Mexican southeast.
In addition to the devastating environmental effects of this project and the massive tourist development it is designed to detonate, we are concerned about the rush to start laying the tracks for the “Mayan Train”, behind the obfuscationof a pseudo ritual to ask permission from Mother Earth, denounced by the Zapatista spokesperson as an unacceptable mockery. We are outraged by these further attacksthat are being prepared against indigenous territories, and that the rights of indigenous peoples have been ignored, evading the obligation of real, prior, free and informed consultation and consent, as established in Convention 169 of the ILO and the UN Declaration on Indigenous Peoples. It is not trivial that this violates the international commitments assumed by Mexico.
We share the total rejectionof these and other mega projects expressed by the EZLN,projects that seriously threaten the territories and ways of life of peoples.We denounce in advance any aggression against Zapatista communities, either directly by the Mexican State, or through groups or organizations of armed or unarmed “civilians.”We hold the Mexican government accountable for any confrontation that may arise in the context of the implementation of these mega projects, which correspond to an already superseded,unsustainable and devastating model of “development,” decided at the highest spheres of power in violationof the rights of original peoples.
We call on all people with a good heart to see through the current wave ofdisinformation both about the Zapatistas and about the proposed mega projects, and to be alert to the imminent risk of aggression against Zapatista communities and other indigenous peoples.