Santiago Xanica Santiago Xanica, March 23, 2011
To the Other Campaign
To the Zezta Internacional
To internationalist collectives and organizations
To human rights organizations
To the organized people
The European Collectives Nodo Solidale (Italia), Zapatista “Marisol” Collective of Lugano (Suiza), and Nomads of XM24 (Italia), which make up the Internationalist Platform for Resistance and Self-Initiative Weaving Autonomies (PIRATA) organized a brigade for the observation of the violation of the rights of native peoples in the municipality of Santiago Xanica, Oaxaca, México, in which activists from France and the Spanish State also participated. The brigade went around the municipality and outlying areas, taking audio and video testimonies of parties affected by violations from Monday March 14 to Monday March 21, 2011.
The task that the International Brigade set for itself has been to listen, understand, relate, and make public what is happening in the community of Santiago Xanica. In recent months the townspeople of Xanica have been denouncing outrageous violations and abuses by PRI party members and power groups against the local Committee in Defense of Indigenous Rights (CODEDI Xanica), Adherent to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle, and against the general population.
Historically, the native Zapotec people of Santiago Xanica have suffered constant repression, militarization, and dispossession brought on by capital and international capital. There are now three highly significant problems that affect the community:
1. the tourist and development projects that the State and national and international businessmen seek to implement in their territory;
2. the invalidation of their election according to traditions and customs of the municipality;
3. the arrest of political prisoner Abraham Ramírez Vasquez, imprisoned since January of 2005.
Since ancient times, the community, like many others in the state, has governed itself according to the traditional system of responsibility positions in which the authorities are elected in General Assembly. And so, on December 4, 2010, the people of Xanica, in assembly, elected their Municipal President. Afterwards, the State Elections Institute refused to validate the election, thereby ignoring the will of the people and the General Assembly.
In the municipality of Xanica the PRI continues to be utilized in opposition to traditions and customs. Their behavior obscures private, strategic interests that mainly have to do with the plunder of the natural resources of this rich region, making it clear that power and the powerful cannot allow the election of an authority who is not submissive to the business interests in the area.
The true wealth of this lands is water, abundant in the mountains and scarce on the coast; the hotel owners of Huatulco began to pipe it in 2005. It is primarily for this reason, the plunder and privatization of the territory for the interests of local and transnational businesses, that in recent decades the indigenous peoples in the area, including the townspeople of Santiago Xanica, are suffering from heavy militarization, repression, and the continual political intervention of the State.
Big lobbies that rub shoulders with politicians of all parties, are intent on making big business deals in the indigenous territories through Plan Puebla Panamá (or Plan Mesoamerica), which, in the Zapotec Sierra Sur translates into projects like the Copalita-Tonameca Basin, tourist projects on the Chacahuha-Huatulco Coast, the Paso de La Reina Dam and Reservoir, the Huatulco-Salina Cruz Toll Highway, the concessions to transnational mining companies, and the plunder and privatization of the territory in general.
This denunciation report, in addition to being addressed to the mass media and Mexican authorities at all three levels of government, is also addressed to human rights organizations, social movements and networks from below and from the left, national and international independent communications media, and all people who move and act in solidarity with peoples in struggle for their rights, customs, lands, and natural and human resources, with peoples in the farthest corners of the planet who are in day to day resistance against neoliberal capitalism and its forms of domination, plunder, contempt and repression.
We ask you all to do the following:
– Help to distribute the REPORT as widely as possible to help prevent recent threats from being carried out against CODEDI members and members of the broader group that supports decision making by traditions and customs in Xanica. The report can be downloaded at the following addresses:
– Stay on the alert to the situation unfolding in the municipality of Santiago Xanica.
– Exert all due pressure for the immediate, unconditional release of Abraham Ramírez Vásquez, and for carrying out the reconstruction of events in the town of Santiago Xanica WITH the presence of Abraham himself, in order to definitely prove his innocence.
PIRATA Platform International Observation Brigade:
Colectivo Nodo Solidale – Roma, Italia – México;
Colectivo Zapatista “Marisol” – Lugano, Suiza;
Nomads XM24 – Bologna, Italia;
and activists from France and the Spanish State