Communique from the Oaxacan Assembly in Defense of Land and Territory on the continued Indigenous resistance against contemporary colonialism
To the Indigenous Peoples of Mexico and the World
As Indigenous peoples, movements, organizations, and unions of this geography called Oaxaca, those who inhabit, protect, and defend the territories, natural resources, and cultures that we have inherited from our ancestors, we are here to tell you that we remain alive and we continue resisting. We continue reproducing the knowledge and skills which have allowed us to survive this system of death for more than 500 years, since when they arrived to invade our lands trying to exterminate us. Today we celebrate the struggles and resistance of the Indigenous peoples, those of us who have decided to remain alive for those who did not succeed in doing so.
Since the arrival of the invaders, they have sought to impose their model of development on our communities. With the cross and the sword, they began a war in the name of progress on those of us who decided to continue coexisting with the elements that give us life, like water, land, wind, and the sun. And despite the spilled blood, dispossession, and extermination, our word and our hearts have transcended time: dignified, rebellious and unsubmissive.
Today, August 13, articulated as the Oaxacan Assembly in Defense of Land and Territory, as Indigenous peoples, communities, organizations, and unions, we denounce that NOTHING HAS CHANGED. The invasion, looting, dispossession, and destruction carried out against Indigenous peoples has worsened every day. The perpetrators have changed their name, form, and colors, but the pain and death continue the same. Now the perpetrators call themselves the “Fourth Transformation,” and they have established the institutions which are said to represent the Indigenous peoples and defend their autonomy. They say this, but in practice, they promote and impose megaprojects across this territory called Mexico. These megaprojects are nothing more than strategies of national and international businesses to continue turning life into a commodity.
The reality is the same. So far in this “Fourth Transformation,” our brothers and sisters who oppose these megaprojects have been cowardly assassinated. Ninety-one human rights, land, and territorial defenders have been assassinated. A serious situation that this administration does not seem to care about.
With deep concern we see how the COVID-19 pandemic is an ally for them, above all in the Istmo de Tehuantepec, where they utilize the pandemic to continue imposing the so-called Interoceanic Corridor. In its path, they have planted fear in the population, and in those who are opposed to giving up their land and who have decided to defend their territory.
As the Oaxacan Assembly, we also join the pain and rage of the people and families who continue demanding TRUTH and JUSTICE. We share that we will join the National Campaign convoked by our Zapatista brothers and sisters.
Yesterday and today, in no way do we celebrate the invasion, the dispossession, and death, but we revindicate the resistance of our peoples and we reiterate that we will defend our land and territories because we are part of them: here we were born, here we were raised, and here we will be seeds.
Oaxacan Assembly in Defense of Land and Territory