FROM THE COMPAÑEROS FROM THE AUTONOMOUS REGIONAL COUNCIL OF THE COASTAL ZONE OF CHIAPAS (CARZCH)
Coast of Chiapas, June 22, 2011.
To the civil society in Mexico and the world.
To our Zapatista brothers and sisters.
To our compañer@s of the Other Campaign and the Zezta Internazional.
To the independent and non-governmental human rights organizations.
To the social and political organizations, and national and international networks.
To everyone who is fighting for an other world.
We, the inhabitants of the coastal region of the state of Chiapas, Mexico, are women, men, and children; we are fishermen and we live from what the sea offers us and the little harvest and livestock that we have.
We began our resistance because of the high electricity rates, because the poor people like us are charged for very high levels of consumption of energy by the big companies, here in the state of Chiapas, where so many dams have been built to generate electricity.
Since the beginning we decided to build our work and our struggle autonomously, organizing ourselves to see what we need to move forward with a more dignified, good life. We know that political parties and the government are always the ones that most oppress the people and they don't represent anyone other than their own interests
When our Zapatista brothers and sisters presented the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle in 2005, we became adherents to it and we participated in the Other Campaign, time when we also founded the Autonomous Regional Council of the Coastal Zone of Chiapas, CARZCH, (before Civic Tonalteco Front). We are also part of the networks of resistance to the high electricity costs at the state and national level.
In 2009, the Digna Ochoa Human Rights Center is founded as a necessity for the communities to have accompaniment and advocacy to help us confront the “law,” which is always serves those who have power, or the money to buy it. The Center is held by compañer@s from the communities, and they work as volunteers, with consciousness.
Nevertheless, the repression and harrassment of the coastal communities has grown. On February 22, 2011, when we were having mobilization over 50 of our compañer@s were violently arrested, among them minors, and 3 lawyers from the Digna Ochoa Human Rights Center, who had arrived at the site to do their work of observing and documenting the arbitrary detention of the compañer@s. Calls the attention that the compañeros from the Center are were held for 9 days by the state government at the CERSS No. 14 in El Amate, for the crime of rioting. They were released on legal grounds, because of the demands of people from Chiapas, Mexico, and around the world.
On March 15, Nataniel Hernández Nuñez, the director of the Center, was arrested again, accused of attacking communication channels, along four compañeros from CARZCH. The compañeros were freed some hours later, Nataniel until next day on bail, on the condition that he present himself every fifteen days and face a trial, with the risk of being detained again.
The government added additional charges to his case, totaling five: two counts of attacking the communication channels, rioting, violent theft, and extorsion, reason why the compañero along with the Digna Ochoa Human Rights Center and the Autonomous Regional Council of the Coastal Zone of Chiapas, has decided:
1. To not continue with the judicial process. We don't trust this “justice.”
2. Keep our compañero in a safe place, because he is subject of political persecution.
3. To fight for the cancellation of the legal cases that the federal and state governments have against our compañero Nataniel. We know these are efforts to halt the Digna Ochoa Human Rights Center's work of observation and accompaniment.
4. Launch a NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL CAMPAIGN AGAINST THE JUDICIAL HARRASSMENT AND CRIMINALIZATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS AND ACTIVISTS IN MEXICO.
We know that this is not the only case of political persecution in Chiapas or in Mexico, and we want to connect with everyone that is in a similar situation. We are going to look for other communities, peoples, and human rights defenders who in their fight and resistance against injustice and impunity, have similarly faced threats and repression.
Nowadays, in Mexico there is a war against people, against the people that fight and resist in defense of the earth, the coast, the resources and a dignified life. The federal and state governments criminalize social struggle. With threats of imprisonment, violence, and the media siege they seek to silence the voices that are making this attack against the people visible, as they declare: we are fed up! Estamos hasta la madre.
We are outraged, indignados, like many peoples around the world. From the Spanish state and the rest of Europe. We feel connected with the struggle for liberty in the countries of North Africa and the Middle East, and the struggles of our Latin American brothers and sisters. We are part of a common dream and process: the people are deciding, that from below and the left there be organization and freedom.
We, the inhabitants of the communities, the fishing areas, and the barrios that make up the CARZCH, continue to assert our right to organize and express ourselves, and to build an other, better life. We don't use methods of confrontation or violence to make our demands that our rights as people be respected. We invite everyone to walk with us, to look for strength among us, and to join our hands and voices to say: WE WILL NOT GIVE UP.
Autonomous Regional Council of the Coastal Zone of Chiapas