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Declaration from Mezcala: In Defense of Mother Earth and Indigenous Autonomy
by Indigenous Congress of Mexico
Sunday Nov 26th, 2006 1:34 PM
Mezcala (Jalisco, Mexico), November 19, 2006

This declaration was released during the convocation and gathering of the National Forum in Defense of Mother Earth and Indigenous Autonomy on November 17-19, 2006. The authorities and delegations of the peoples, nations, and tribes nanncue ñomndaa, caxcan, ch'ol, coca, cucapá, chichimeca-huachichil, kumiai, maya peninsular, ñu saavi, nahua, ñuhu o ñahñu, purhépecha, rarámuri, triqui, wixáritari, yaqui, mayo-yoreme, zoque, tzeltal y uwa, from the states of Guerrero, Zacatecas, Chiapas, Jalisco, Nayarit, Durango, Baja California, Chihuahua, Sonora, Estado de México, Guanajuato, Michoacán, Campeche, Yucatán, Distrito Federal, Colima, Veracruz and Chisco, Colombia declare that:
1. We were born from mother earth and in her we exist, safeguarded within her; on mother earth people and communities have settled and in her our lives, culture, and knowledge grow and remain.
2. Mother Earth, watered with the blood of our ancestors, shelters the word, the memory and history of our people, in her our culture lives and our dead rest; and because of this, it is not merchandise that can be bought nor sold.
3. For our people all the elements of mother earth are not merchandise either, such as the water, the land, the hills and mountains, the wind, the forests, the deserts, the rainforests, the animals, plants, rocks, the water springs, rivers, lakes, coasts, and sea; all of these are like our mother earth, sacred and part of our ancestry.
4. We are corn people and we demand respect towards our most sacred plant that sustains our life and culture.
5. Our territories are sacred and we will know how to defend and retake them, even against large corporate interests and bad government politics.
6. Capitalism has a fundamentally different vision from ours; it seeks the destruction of our mother earth to turn it into merchandise that is bought and sold for profit and the benefit of the few who call themselves capitalists and the governments and politicians who serve them.
7. The neoliberal ideology of the Mexican government is part of a war without end and the conquest of our people. Its politics seek to destroy the earth and disappear our culture through the plundering of our territories and traditional knowledge. This includes the contamination of our native corn, the privatization of all the elements that make up mother earth, and the repudiation of our own ways of organization and governing.

Consequently, we declare:

1. Mother earth and all life that is born from it are sacred and therefore, cannot be bought nor sold and no one can appropriate them for the benefit of the few.
2. We declare ourselves anti-capitalists and prepared to build a great force that will arise from below, from our people and together with other brothers and sisters from the country and the city, who have been dispossessed, exploited and oppressed, in order to put an end to this system of death and the governments that sustain it.

3. We ratify the San Andres accords as the supreme law of our people and our adherence to the Sixth Declaration of Selva Lacandona and the treaties created during the Fourth Indigenous National Congress. We call our people to exercise autonomy and strengthen the Indigenous National Congress as the house of our people and move forward the anti-capitalist force that leads towards a new constitution and fair government, free and democratic.

4. We pronounce ourselves:
a. In support of the people of Oaxaca and their dignified struggle represented by the APPO. We demand the immediate resignation of Ulises Ruiz Ortiz as the governor of Oaxaca, the unconditional release of all political prisoners, and the repudiation of orders to arrest APPO members. We demand that those responsible for the repression of the Oaxacan people to be punished.

b. In support of the unconditional release of all political prisoners detained in San Salvador Atenco on May 3 and 4, 2006, as it is the case of our sister
mazahua Magdalena Garcia Duran, the repudiation of orders to arrest members of the People's Front in Defense of the Land, and that those responsible for the repression to be punished.

c. For the release of all political prisoners in the country.

d. For an end to violence in Viejo Velasco Suarez, Chiapas, and that the assassins of our Zapatista brothers and sisters be punished.

e. We demand the investigation and disclosure of the cowardly assassination of Concepción Gabiño Quiñones who was fighting against the partitioning and certification of communal lands in nahua de Cuzalapa, Jalisco.

f. For the unconditional release of all our brother prisoners in the Maya community of Oxcum who have defended their lands ejidales against large transnational projects in Maya territory.

g. For the restitution and recognition of the Wixarika territory in Bancos de San Hipolito, Durango, and against the determination of the Mexican government to disregard the ancestral rights to the land of the Wixarika people.

h. Against the mega project known as the "nautical ladder" and the tourism enterprise "sea paradise" that pretends to rob and plunder coastal lands from the mayan, yaqui, cuacapá, kiliwa, kumiai and o'odham people as well as other campesino communities. We reject the privatization of the coastal land that corresponds to the nahua people in Michoacan and zapoteco in Huave del Istmo.
i. We demand that all territories of tribal nations in the northeast of Mexico be recognized and that access to such territories is guaranteed, including in fishing and aquifer areas. We reject the imposition of reserves and national parks, disguised as ecological projects but that have as their main goal to sabotage the autonomous management of indigenous lands.

j. Against the certification of lands, of our people, and the privatization of water, forests, coasts, biodiversity and ancestral knowledge. We reject the introduction of any transgenic crop in our country and the prohibition of the use of sacred plants that have lived with our people since the time of our ancestors. We reject the blood sampling targeted to the theft of the genetical code of our people.

k. We reject any kind of landfills in our territories, as is the case of the nuclear and toxic disposal in the land of Tohono O'odham and the large landfills in Morelos and the state of Mexico.

l. Against legal propositions for Jalisco, for the recognition of the coca people in Mezcala and in Baja California; any law pertaining to indigenous people that has been approved at the federal or state levels as long as there is no constitutional recognition of our fundamental rights.

m. We demand respect for our sacred spaces, particularly, and end to the privatization of the El Presidio de Mezcala Island, Tiburon Island of the Comca'ac nation, and the wixaritari territories in Xapawiyeme, Wirkuta and Haramara.

n. Against the mining companies in our people's lands who steal, destroy, and pollute our territories. We support the strike carried out by the nahua people in Ayotitlan against the expansion of Pena Colorada Mines. We pronounce ourselves against the mining companies that pretend to develop activities in nahua territories in Michoacan and huachichil territories in Zacatecas and San Luis Potosi.

Finally, as the last point of our declaration, we ask the Other Campaign to consider indigenous self-governments, with their own control of territories in the exercise of autonomy, as a proposal and contribution coming from our people and tribal nations for the National Struggle Program and the new Mexico that we want to build.

Pronounced in the indigenous community of Mezcala, coca territory of Jalisco, November 19, 2006. Never again a Mexico without us! For the integral reconstruction of our pueblos!

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