Demanding respect for the right of self-determination for the people of San Sebastian Bachajón

Hermann Bellinghausen

La Jornada
Friday May 20, 2011, p. 21

For the release of five Tzeltal peasants in prison of San Sebastian Bachajón in Chiapas, intellectual Noam Chomsky, the American Indian Movement, United States, the Uruguayan writer and researcher Raul Zibechi Sergio Tischler, from Guatemala, pronounced in a “world declaration” supported by 55 national and 33 international organizations.

Demanding “respect the right to self-determination and the exercise of autonomy of the people of San Sebastian, adherent to the Other Campaign”, as stipulated by the Convention 169 of the International Labour Organization concerning Indigenous and Tribal Peoples in independent countries, the United Nations Declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples and the San Andrés agreements, all signed by the Mexican government.

The statement calls for “respect the right to use and enjoy of natural resources by native peoples who have been careful in the course of centuries, and the immediate release of Jeronimo Guzman Mendez Alvaro Domingo Pérez, Juan Aguilar Guzman, Domingo Garcia and Mariano Gómez Demeza Silvano. Finally, demands “the immediate withdrawal of military and police forces who have surrounded the area of ​​the San Sebastian ejido, especially the entrances to the Azul Waterfalls, now administered by state and federal governments.”

Also signing the document are Fernanda Espinosa (Ecuador), Val Thien Tlapaltic (Philippines), Nikolitsa Angelepulou (Greece) and Jared Fogel Benjamin Sacks (South Africa) as well as hundreds of people, especially Mexico, USA and Italy, along with Spanish state organizations, Switzerland, Germany, Argentina, France, Austria, Slovenia, New Zealand, Canada, United Kingdom, Uruguay, Belgium and Costa Rica. Abahlali Base also base Mjondolo Movement (Casas de Carton Dwellers) and Students for Justice Rhodes University in South Africa for Global Justice and Kolkata, India.

The statement says: “Today, the Chiapas government has arbitrarily detained under constant harassment and threats five ejidatarios (peasants) from San Sebastian, all innocent of the crimes they are accused. They are victims of the Mexican justice system, which is corrupted and obeys the voice of the interests of domestic and international investment. This system serves to punish and destroy the people, organizations or individuals that do not coincide with the interests of neo-liberal government, that is causing ravages and death to those who bet on a life where human rights are fully respected. ”

In Chiapas, the alleged “development” through eco-tourism and infrastructure as part of Mesoamerica Plan, represents “a crucial dispute against the construction of alternative livelihoods from indigenous peoples, who struggle for recognition of their autonomy” that “on practice are exercising. ”

According to international condemnation, the region of Agua Azul, which is located in San Sebastian, “has become a clear example of state and federal governments applying all the state’s force for the dispossession of indigenous territory.”

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