Worldwide Declaration in Support of the Indigenous Tzeltal Peoples of San Sebastián Bachajón, Chiapas, Adherents of The Other Campaign

In Chiapas, Mexico, the investment in eco-tourism and infrastructure,
in the logic of governmental “development” via the “Palenque
Integrally Planned Center” (CIPP), which is also part of another more
ambitious project called “Mesoamérica” (previously known as Plan
Puebla Panamá), remains a central dispute against the construction of
alternatives ways of life offered by the native peoples of Chiapas.
They have for many years sought the recognition of their autonomy as
indigenous peoples within a framework of “free determination” and
in practice are exercising their autonomy. These are peoples who have
historically conserved their natural resources and territory in
equilibrium with humane and rational relationships. The civil
resistance of the ejidatarios of San Sebastián Bachajón (SSB),
adherents to The Other Campaign (TOC) in the Agua Azul region can be
found within this struggle for survival.

People who fight in defense of their rights face numerous forces,
emanating from the neoliberal governments, which seek to destroy the
organization and efforts to build other possible worlds. Today, the
government of Chiapas continues to arbitrarily detain five ejidatarios
of SSB of TOC, who are subjected to endless harassment and threats.
Innocent of their accused crimes, these ejidatarios are victims of the
corrupted Mexican justice system, which obeys the interests of
national and international investment. This system works to repress
and destroy the communities, organizations, and individuals who do not
coincide with the neoliberal government’s interests – interests
that ravage and bring death to those who strive for a life where human
rights are fully developed and lived.

The most recent repression that the ejidatarios have faced occurred on
April 9, 2011, when around 800 agents of state, federal, and military
police forces displaced roughly 126 ejidadatrios of SSB and TOC who
just hours earlier had regained control of the tollbooth. It was,
moreover, this same tollbooth that was seized from them on February 2,
as part of a concerted effort by the Chiapas government and
“officials” of the ejido. The Agua Azul region has become a perfect
example of how state and federal governments exercise the full force
of the State towards the historical displacement of indigenous peoples
from their territory.

Due to the innumerable violations of human rights committed against
the ejidatarios of SSB of TOC, the collectives, committees, social
organizations and civil society, we pronounce the following:

1. Respect for the right of the Tseltal people of San Sebastián
Bachajón to free determination and to exercise their autonomy as
stipulated in the Agreement (No. 169) regarding indigenous and tribal
peoples in independent countries; United Nations Declaration on the
Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the San Andrés Accords, Document 1,
3. 1. Document 2, II, IV (2. 3.); Document 3.1 (c, d); Document 1,
Principle of the New Relationship 5.

2. Respect for the right to use and enjoy their natural resources,
which as indigenous peoples they have protected for centuries, as
referenced in the Agreement (No. 169) regarding indigenous and tribal
peoples in independent countries: art. 13.2; United Nations
Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. San Andrés Accords,
1.4 B. 2.; Document 1, Principle of the New Relationship 2.

3. The immediate release of Jerónimo Guzmán Méndez, ejidatario of
TOC; Domingo Pérez Álvaro, member of the Commission to Promote TOC;
Juan Aguilar Guzmán, head cashier of TOC; Domingo García Gómez,
member of the Human Rights Defense Committee; Mariano Demeza Silvano,
adolescent member of TOC.

4. The immediate withdrawal of the police and military entities
that maintain under siege the area of the San Sebastián Bachajón
ejido, concretely, from the entrances to the Agual Azul resort that is
presently administered by the state and federal governments.

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