Twenty days after the cowardly murder of our brothers Lucio Bartolo Faustino and Modesto Verales Sebastián, a crime that remains in complete impunity on the part of the three levels of government. With the pain and rage that invade the hearts of the Nahua peoples of the low mountains of the state of Guerrero, we make public the artful murder of our brothers Bartolo Hilario Morales and Isaías Xanteco Ahuejote. Both were indigenous Nahua and local promoters of the Indigenous and Popular Council of Guerrero–Emiliano Zapata (CIPOG-EZ). Those who consummated this atrocious murder are professionals of para-militarism and extrajudicial murder who are agreeable to taking lives. They denigrated and enraged them, dismembered and bagged the compañeros’ bodies, and with this vile act they thought that they could also denigrate their history, and denigrate their life. They were wrong.

Not only were they wrong, but also the dignity of their lives contrasts more and more with the cowardice of their murders. The peoples of the CIPOG-EZ and the CNI of Guerrero, Mexico have guarded the memory if the men and women who have given their lives in the struggle for the reconstitution of collective rights. So, we ask the dignified peoples of Mexico and the world to protect and grow the names, the history and the struggle of our brothers murdered for defending life; Bartolo Hilario Morales and Isaías Xanteco Ahuejote. Lucio Bartolo Faustino and Modesto Verales Sebastián.

The responsibility of los three levels of government, the federal government in charge of Andrés Manuel López Obrador, the State government of Héctor Astudillo Flores and the municipal government of Jesús Parra García, is complete. Each level of government has done nothing more than give continuity to impunity, passing the ball to one another, by saying that the problems are inherited from past governments, that is the PRI attitude that has submerged us in the blood bath that our country has become and doesn’t see any transformation that wants to change things. It seems that important changes only occur in the spheres above, below our lives continue without mattering to the powerful.

Different narco-paramilitary groups have operated in complicity with the Mexican State for more than 25 years in the Chilapa region and today is no exception. The state regime has attempted the disarticulation of our peoples again and again, and we have resisted the war of extermination for more than 500 years. Our crime has been defending our territory from the extraction of what they call natural resources and for us are sacred hills or springs of water and life. We fight to maintain the principle that our grandparents left us, called by us uses and customs, a world very different from the one the Mexican State has constituted and that doesn’t match our way of community government.

Our peoples are suffering a systemic violence in which they disappear or murder our women, children and men, and it would seem like nothing is happening. Everything remains in complete impunity because of this bad government, in which one of the state’s strategies is generating terror in the heart of our people. Using torture, psychological warfare, death threats and persecution against all the members that serve as promoters of community development.

As indigenous people we ask ourselves again and again: Why is there so much dehumanization? Why is human life no longer worth more? Why are some lives worth less than others? And it rather seems that they see those below as merchandise. We ask ourselves again and again: How would they, the powerful, the governments with more than 30 million votes, react if this violence happened to one of their relatives? Or perhaps disappearance, torture and vile murder are only reserved for us?

As a national indigenous movement we fight to reconstitute the social fabric of our peoples, we fight to re-establish our communities in peace, and we seek the recognition and reconstitution as indigenous peoples of our languages, our culture and the thinking of our peoples that is interwoven with Mother Earth.

On May 23, 2019 around 1:30 pm, our brothers Bartolo Hilario Morales and Isaías Xanteco Ahuejote disappeared near Chilapa de Álvarez. On May 24 in the morning we knew the terrible news, their dead bodies were found. Today we denounce it publicly and we ask the honest and dignified compañeros and compañeras of Mexico and the world: no matter how much they wanted to destroy their bodies, let’s embrace today their history of struggle, which is the history of struggle of the indigenous peoples of Mexico and the world.

We demand justice for our murdered brothers: Bartolo Hilario Morales and Isaías Xanteco Ahuejote, Lucio Bartolo Faustino and Modesto Verales Sebastián. That the pain that today besets the family members, friends and compañ[email protected] of struggle, does not remain unpunished, or in oblivion!

FRATERNALLY:

Justice for Bartolo Hilario Morales and Isaías Xanteco Ahuejote, members of the CNI!
Justice for Lucio Bartolo Faustino and Modesto Verales Sebastián del CIPOG-EZ, ex member of the CIG and the CNI!
Justice for Gustavo Cruz Mendoza, murdered indigenous communicator of the CIPO-RFM!
Justicia para Samir Flores Soberanes, murdered indigenous communicator!
Stop the counterinsurgency war against the EZLN!
Freedom for Fidencio Aldama of the Yaqui tribe!
Never more a Mexico without us!
Indigenous and Popular Council of Guerrero – Emiliano Zapata (CIPOG-EZ)
Regions: Costa Chica, Coastal Mountains, High Mountains and Low Mountains of Guerrero
Congreso Nacional Indígena, Saturday, May 25, 2019 ■

Originally published by Congreso Nacional Indígena. Translated by Chiapas Support.
Image above: Members of the Regional Coordinator of Community Authorities – Peoples Founders (CRAC-PF) in a November 2018 assembly, in Rincón de Chautla, municipality of Chilapa de Álvarez, Guerrero.

The counterinsurgency strategy in regions populated by first peoples supporting the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN) has intensified since President Andrés Manuel Lopez Obrador’s (AMLO) administration took power in Mexico, according to human rights watch groups deployed in Chiapas. In a report published on May 2, 2019, the Fray Bartolomé de las Casas Human Rights Center, (“Frayba”) stressed that in April alone, army units conducted 14 incursions into the territory surrounding La Realidad Caraol in the Lacandón rainforest.

Among the operations that were spotted, observers saw military patrols with tanks. In January, just days after the EZLN released a strong critique of AMLO’s government from La Realidad, soldiers entered the community four different times and conducted another four helicopter flyovers.

According to the watch groups’ report, personnel from the Ministry of National Defense (Sedena, its Spanish acryonym), dressed as civilians, had entered La Realidad to ask about the EZLN’s activities.

The Denunciations Increase

On April 10, 2019, during the commemoration of the 100 year anniversary of Emiliano Zapata’s assassination, the EZLN decried that, with the new government, “the military, police, and paramilitary presence has increased, as has that of spies, listening ears and informants. This, on top of the appearance of airplane and helicopter flyovers, “as well as armored vehicles, like in the times of Carlos Salinas de Gortari” [translator: Mexican president in office at the time of the Zapatista declaration of war.]

María de Jesús Patricio, spokeswoman of the Indigenous Government Council (Consejo Indígena de Gobierno), read the text, which was signed by Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés. “They show up in the communities saying that war is coming and that they’re just waiting for orders from ‘way up.’ Some of them make themselves pass for what they’re not and never will be, in order to learn the supposed ‘military plans’ of the EZLN. Perhaps ignoring the fact that the EZLN does what it says and says what it does… or perhaps because the plan is to set up a provocation and then blame the EZLN.”

Thus they asserted that López Obrador is really just acting like his predecessors, “but now he changes the justification: today, the persecution, harassment, and attack on our communities is ‘for the good of everyone’ and it’s done under the banner of the supposed ‘Fourth Transformation.'” [Translator: The Fourth Transformation is AMLO’s term for supposed broad changes in Mexican politics under his leadership. The first three “transformations” were independence from Spain, the reform laws of Benito Juárez, and the Mexican Revolution.]

This militarization that persists in Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s new federal government and Rutilio Escandón Cadenas’s new state government represents an assault on the lives of First Peoples’ communities in Chiapas that defend their right to autonomy, self-determination, and territory.

It’s worth recalling that on May 2, 2014, during the same action in which José Luis Solis López was extrajudicially executed, members of the Historic Independent Union of Agricultural Workers and Peasants (Central Independiente de Obreros Agrícolas y Campesinos-Histórica, a campesino organization and paramilitary group) destroyed the school and the autonomous clinic, also threatening to dismantle the Madre de los Caracoles del Mar de Nuestros Sueños (Mother of the Sea of Our Dreams Caracoles, another name for La Realidad Caracol). That action was a pretext for the Sedena to intensify militarization, which the Frayba pointed out was an act of intimidation, instead of looking for justice and for civil and peaceful means to resolve the conflict.0

One of the Causes: Mining and Megaprojects

This isn’t the first time this year that the human rights group, based in San Cristóbal de las Casas, has denounced military actions against organizations against communities that defend their territories in Chiapas, in the south of Mexico.
During the Women’s Rights are also Human Rights land defenders’ encuentro, which took place March 23, 2019 in the community of Lázaro Cárdenas, in Chicomuselo municipality, they denounced espionage actions against the activists and human rights defenders present at the event.

“Members of the Mexican Army’s 101st Infantry Battalion carried out acts of espionage during the encuentro. Victorino Morales Morales and Alejandro Yera Reyes, soldiers dressed as civilians, surveilled and photographed the activity, which was called for by the Women’s Diocese Coordination (Coordinación Diocesana de Mujeres, CODIMU), of the San Pedro and San Pablo Parish… this constitutes a violation of the right to freedom of association, as well as a risk to the personal safety and security of those who defend human rights in Chicomuselo,” the organization stated to local media. In that region of the Chiapan Sierra Madre, people are organizing against mining activity by a Canadian company called Blackfire that extracts baryte, titanium, and magnetite in several regions of Chiapas.

The parish of San Pedro and San Pablo, located in the municipal capital, has questioned the investment in construction of a military base in the vicinity, which would give soldiers easy access to the municipalities of Frontera Comalapa, Chicomuselo and La Concordia. “The huge investment of public funds in the construction and maintenance of a base raises questions for us, in a time where there are no resources to give Mexicans access to basic necessities like health, education, and water,” declared the campesinos who oppose the project. The project is currently suspended.

There are at least 99 mining concessions in Chiapas, spanning 15% of the state’s territory. Some of them are found in buffer zones for important protected natural areas like the El Triunfo and Encrucijada reserves in the Soconusco region.Hydrocarbon extraction projects and the installation of geothermic power plants remain active in the Zoque region in the north of the state, as do mini-hydroelectric plants and wind farms in the coastal-isthmus region.

Written by Ñaní Pinto This article was originally shared on the 7 May, 2019 on Avispa Midia, you can see the original here.

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