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By • May 31st, 2011 • Category: News & Analysis

Source: OSAG
written by the Oaxaca collective, translated by Nancy Davies

Monday May 23, 2011 10:28 – Updated the same day at 5:17 PM

The Peoples Mixe, Zapoteco, Mixteco, Chatino, Cuicateco, Wixárika, among
other indigenous peoples, as well as diverse civil and social organizations,
meeting the 20th and 21st of May 2011 en Capulálpam de Méndez, Ixtlán
Oaxaca, in the “Tercer Foro Nacional Tejiendo la Resistencia en Defensa de
Nuestros Territorios”, after undertaking profound reflection regarding the
main problems that today face our indigenous peoples and communities on
their lands, declare the following


* *

Capitalism in its neoliberal phase takes as a model the accumulation of
wealth for the few, the destruction of the environment, and individualism
which in our communities translates into despoiling lands of indigenous

In favor of this model of development the federal and state governments have
created laws and implemented policies, programs, plans and projects which
give economic privileges to large transnational and national corporations in
detriment to the rights of the peoples and indigenous, rural and farming

That some of the more visible aspects of this model of depredation are:

construction of dams, highways, mining projects, payment for environmental
and water service, as well as the promotion of extensive and transgenic
agriculture, among others.

That the present education system weakens the collective identity because it
promotes competition, individualism, private property, rupture of social
links, consumerism, and irrational exploitation of nature, all of which
represent values that do not respond to the real necessities nor to the
culture of our communities.

Facing the lack of legal effective resources for the defense of our
collective rights, we the people present ourselves in resistance to protect
the natural resources of our territory such as the water, forests,
biodiversity, and create and assert our free determination as a legitimate
right of the peoples.

For all the aforementioned, the organizations, institutions, communities and
peoples participating in the “Third National Forum Weaving Resistance in
Defense of Our Lands”.


Full respect for our collective rights over the ownership of our lands,
territories and natural resources which we hold as original peoples.

That our own forms of social and political organization be respected, as
well as the decisions that our community assemblies take regarding the
destiny of our territories.

That in accord with the International Treaties, such as Agreement 169 of the
International Organization of Work, that the right to consultation and
prior consent be respected in regard to development projects which threaten
our communities.

That our terriotires be considered as those the International Interamerican
Commission for Human Rights established as a space for spriritual
expression, places and with a symbolic relationship to mother earth.
Therefore our territories deserve to be recognized and respected.

This Forum declares itself as an education model which promotes respect for
the dignity of the person and his relationship with other men and women and
with Mother Nature.

That it takes into account diverse cultural, social, economic and political
expressions of our peoples, and their local contexts.

We recognize the important struggle women make in defense of our lands,
especially in the community of Capulalpam de Méndez against the mining and
we join the Declaration of a Communal Historic Zone for recharging the
Aquifers which the community carries out in their exercise of free

This forum stands in solidarity with the struggles that are being carried
out in the community of Capulalpam de Méndez against the mining project of
the company Sundance; Santa Cruz Itundujia, against the federal electric
Commission; the Coordinating Committee of the Peoples United for Defense of
Water in their struggle for the human right to water; San José Progreso,
against the mining Project of the company Cuzcatlán; The Council of Peoples
United for the Defense of the Río Verde, against the

hydroelectric project Paso de la Reina; the Ecological Front Agua San
Felipe, for the defense of water; the Wixárica people for the defense of
their ceremonial center and with the struggle for justice for the
assassination of our companions Bety Cariño and Jyri Jaakkola.

We call on all the indigenous peoples and communities, rural and farming, to
strengthen the assembly, the volunteer work, the collective territory, the
celebrations and values of the community

with a form of life and resistance to the supposed “development”.

Capulálpam de Méndez, Ixtlán de Juárez, Oax. 20 y 21 de mayo 2011.

*Farm and Municiapl authorities:*

Comisariado de Bienes Comunales de Santiago Lachiguiri, Comisariado de
Bienes Comunales

de Ixtlán de Juárez, Comisariado de Bienes Comunales de Santa Cruz
Itundujia, Comisariado

de Bienes Comunales de San Pedro Nexicho, comisariado de Bienes Comunales de

Capulalpam de Mèndez, H. Ayuntamiento de Capulalpam de Méndez, Regiduría de

Educación y Ecología de Guelatao, Regiduría de Obras de San Antonio

Comisariado de Bienes Comunales de San Francisco Cajonos, H. Ayuntamiento de

Francisco Cajonos.


Jaltepec de Candayoc, San José del Progreso, San Antonino Castillo Velasco,

Apóstol, Paso de la Reyna, Jamiltepec, Santiago Ixtayutla, Santiago
Cuajimalco, Santa Cruz

Itundujia, Capulalpam de Méndez, Maguey Largo, Ixtlán de Juárez, Lachatao,
Otatitlán de

Morelos, Santiago Xiané, Talea de Castro, Guelatao, La Guacamaya
Teococuilco, Santa María

Jaltianguis, San Miguel del Río, Tepanzacualcos, San Miguel Tiltepec,
Lachixila, Yahuiche,

Ixtepeji, Santiago Yagallo, , Santa María Yosaá, Santiago Teotlasco, San
Juan Juquila Vijanos,

San Miguel Abejones, San Juan Teponaztla, San Juan Luvina, San Andrés
Zautla, Santa Marta

Latuvi, San Andrés Yaá, Santa María Yavesía, San Pedro Apóstol, Asunción
Ocotlán, Playa

Limón, San Agustín Tuxtepec, Teococuilco de Marcos Pérez, San Miguel
Cajonos, El Porvenir,

Zaachila, Santa Gertrudiz Talea, San Isidro Huayapam, Santiago Laxoapam, San
Felipe el

Porvenir, Valle Nacional Tuxtepec, Yahuiche, El Cuajilote San José del
Progreso, Santo

Domingo Tepuxtepec, Mixe.


Colectivo Oaxaqueño en Defensa de los Territorios: Servicios del Pueblo Mixe
(Ser Mixe) A.C.,

Servicios para una Educación Alternativa (EDUCA) A.C., Centro de Derechos
Indígenas Flor y

Canto A.C., Unión de Organizaciones de la Sierra Juárez de Oaxaca (UNOSJO
S.C.) Centro de

Derechos Humanos Miguel Agustín Juárez (Centro Prodh) A.C., Centro de
Derechos Humanos

Bartolomé Carrasco Briseño (BARCA) A.C.; Frente Ecologista Aguas San Felipe,

Enlace Comunicación y Capacitación A.C., UCIZONI, COPUDEVER, , Tequio
Jurídico A.C.,

Colectivo Subversiones, Grupo Nashwin “madre tierra”, Apoyo Guacamaya,
Riday, Sistema de

Agua Potable Tecamac estado de México A.C., Área de Pastoral Social de la
Parroquia de

Zaachila, Coordinadora de Pueblos Unidos en Defensa del Agua, Colectivo Hoja
Verde, , FAO

San Luis Potosí, RMALC, Coordinadora de Pueblos Unidos del Valle de Ocotlán,

Comunitaria Yaxhil Disha Kiery, Secc 22 SNTE, CACTUS, Código DH, CEBS,

Comité Estatal Urbano Campesino de Oaxaca, Promotoras de Salud, REMA,

autónomo Cuicateco, Fundación Comunalidad A.C., UZACHI, Radio Comunitaria de
Talea de

Castro, Casa Chapulín A.C., Foro Permanente de Abogados A.C., Coordinadora
por la Defensa

de los Recursos Naturales de Tlacolula, Clan Huizache, la Voz de los Xiches,
Centro de

Estudios de la Región Cuicateca, RDS, STIRT, CAMPO A.C., XEGLO La Voz de la

FUNDAR, Ojo de Agua Comunicación A.C., Luna del Sur A.C, Movimiento Popular
Revolucionario, Alianza Mexicana por la Autodeterminación de los Pueblos

History of this action: Sitting atop a Gold Mine: Bad News for Indigenous Communities

by Nancy Davies

In an attempt to fore-stall exploitation of a vein of gold discovered
beneath their territory, the peoples of Capulálpam, in the Sierra Norte of
Oaxaca, unanimously declared their town a “Sacred Zone” of historic
communal lands which recharge aquifers lying beneath the area. Their action
is based on the federal government’s model of declaring environmental
reserves or protected lands. The declaration presents a first of a kind
effort to form a legal framework for refusing exploitation of land occupied
by peoples who don’t want to lose their lifestyle, farmlands, culture or
control, nor endanger the water which provides sustenance to a broad area.

During the Third National Forum “Weaving resistance in defense of our
lands”, carried out on the 20th and 21st of May, 2011 in Capulálpam de
Mendez in the state of Oaxaca, fifty-nine indigenous communities and
fifty-one social and civil organizations declared themselves in favor of
respect for collective rights to control land and natural resources. The
participants called on the state and federal governments to respect the
assembly decisions; they demand the right to be consulted in projects for
investment and development which will impact the life of the communities.
During this event the indigenous community of Capulálpam declared the
territory of the Y area located around a sacred hill of the town “a historic
communal territory for recharging the aquifers”.

In other owns where mining rights have been conceded by the federal and
state governments to foreign companies, primarily Canadian, the mining
agents have first entered the towns and leased communal lands prior to any
assembly notification or decision, often with minimal prices, and sometimes
dealing with non-Spanish speakers. The exploration efforts proceed rapidly.
Frequently town officials were bribed when a town became aware of
danger, setting up internal conflicts like that in San Jose de Progresso, a
situation ultimately resulting in state police protection of the mine
entrance, confrontations, beatings and finally two murders, in 2009. The
federal and state concessions to foreign companies usually carry an
obligatory environmental safety declaration which in reality is often
purchased and false, because gold and silver mining historically pollute
water tables with chemicals used in the mining processes, leaving behind
towns whose sustenance is destroyed. The federal and state concession to
Continuum Mining Corporation (whose local name and ownership seems to shift
frequently), which dominates the state of Oaxaca, follow this pattern.

The municipal president of Capulálpam, Nestor Baltasar Hernandez, during the
solemn session of the town council naming the Y an historic area, declared,
“This is a place in which our ancient memory as indigenous Zapotec peoples
endures, and where for generations we have dwelt with the water, the hills,
and nature. We make public to all the communities of the Sierra Juarez, to
society in general and in particular to the state and federal governments,
that our Capulálpam patrimony will not be the object of any kind of

The third national forum in defense of land and water declared itself in
solidarity with the struggles of: Capulálpam de Mendez against the mining
projects of La Natividad; Santa Cruz Itundujia against the Federal Electric
Commission; The Coordination of Peoples United for the Defense of Water in
the Valley of Ocotlán; San Jose Progreso against the mining project of the
Canadian subsidiary Cuzcatlán; The Council of Peoples United to Defend the
Rio Verde against the hydroelectric project at Paso de la Reina: the
Ecologic Front Water San Felipe for the defense of water; the Wixarrica
people for the defense of their ceremonial center and with territorial
struggles taking place in the state and the nation, as well as the demand
for justice for the assassination of Bety Cariño and Jyri Jaakola on the
Triqui caravan April 27 of 2010 on route to San Juan Copala.


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