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  • Meeting of the National Indigenous Congress in San Cristobal de las Casas, Mexico, May 28, 2017.

    Meeting of the National Indigenous Congress in San Cristobal de las Casas, Mexico, May 28, 2017. | Photo: EFE

Published 31 May 2019

A "Global Action" is being carried out in defense of Mexican indigenous peoples' right to land, territory and autonomy.

International networks supporting the Indigenous Council of Government (CIG) and the National Indigenous Congress (CNI), organizations that emerged from the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN), are protesting Friday in a "Global Action" in defense of land, territory and autonomy of Indigenous peoples and communities of Mexico.

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In San Cristobal de las Casas, hundreds of people protested in the main square changting: "Chiapas is not a barrack, get out military," and "we want schools and not military."

Citizens there are of protesting the oncoming presence of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador's National Guard that is setting up to establish at least three bases in EZLN territory and in Chiapas state. According to Contralinea media, this amounts to more bases within any other same-sized region in the country even though the Chiapas autonomous territories have some of the lowest crime and violence rates in the country.

Human rights defenders in Mexico are demanding that Mexico's federal army and new National Guard leave the state of Chiapas and the EZLN-controlled territory. The Fray Bartolome de las Casas Human Rights Center (Frayba) denounced on May 2 that the National Defense Secretariat (Sedena) had already conducted 14 military incursions around the Caracol de la Realidad, one of the EZLN headquarters in the Lacandon Jungle of southern Chiapas.

"Military incursions are intimidation and harassment acts against the Zapatista Indigenous peoples. They mean an aggression against their right to autonomy and they represent a risk to the life, integrity and security of the entire population," Mexico's Global Action organization said in a statement May 31.

Other Indigenous communities throughout the country are also dennouncing the murder of popular leaders such as Modesto Verales, Bartolo Morales and Isaias Xanteco, who resided in the state of Guerrero, and demanding justice for their deaths. In February, they also dennounced the murder Samir Flores, a well-known activist from Morelos who long-protested against a federal thermoenergy infrastructure project that will likely affect the states of Morelos and Puebla, at least.

"If the current [Mexican] government prides itself on being democratic, then it must withdraw its army from Zapatista territories. !No to war, Yes to life!"

Zapatista organizations and other social movements are also demonstrating Friday against infrastructure megaprojects proposed by President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) as part of his new National Development Plan.

Among them are the “Transisthmus Corridor,” a project that will connect the Gulf of Mexico with the Pacific for commercial purposes. It includes a million hectares fruit and wood trees plantation to replace native "unproductive" forests. Also being protested is the already-initiated “Maya Train,” which has been called “a humiliation and a provocation” because of its potential effects on Mayan Indigenous lands.

"We reject the country's militarization through the creation of the National Guard, we reject complicity with paramilitarism and organized crime, we reject the continuation of war against peoples who oppose the neoliberal capitalist system," organizers in San Cristobal de las Casas said.

In Mexico city, ​​​​​Indigenous and Campesino organizations protested Friday in front of the presidential National Palace.​

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