Communique from the Popular Indigenous Council of Guerrero-Emiliano Zapata on the 500th anniversary of the so-called “Conquest of Mexico”
To the Zapatista Army of National Liberation
To the National Indigenous Congress
To the Indigenous Governing Council
To the National and International Sixth
To the Networks of Resistance and Rebellion
August 13th, 2021
500 years of resistance against death and oblivion.
In Mexico, Latin America, and the world, more and more people are questioning the so-called “Conquest of Mexico”—a process of genocide, extermination, dispossession, and imposition that began in 1492 with the arrival of Christopher Columbus, and was made worse with the arrival of more and more invaders like Hernan Cortés. Millions of dead, sick, and suffering were left in their wake.
However, there were Indigenous peoples, entire communities, in resistance, who were able to preserve their languages, culture, traditions, and beliefs. They maintained their relationship to the earth and the natural resources, which the invaders sought to destroy. Men and women of corn who resisted becoming forgotten history, keeping the memory alive for the coming generations. They are those who inherited what some call the Indigenous ethic, caring for mother earth and with it, caring for life.
Just as in 1521, today the bad governments and the neoliberal system continue seeking to do away with Indigenous peoples. They change the name and the forms, development, well-being, progress, fourth transformation, they now call it the war of conquest, but in essence they continue the same acts of death, dispossession, and destruction. They continue wanting to exterminate, dispossess, and disappear us.
Behind their words of development, progress, and fourth transformation, the governments and this system seek to exterminate everything that doesn’t fit into their neoliberal logic. They want to do away with those of us who don’t speak of competition but of cooperation, not of profit but of common good, and not of democratic elections but of autonomy and self-government.
Today, they continue threatening us: the mining companies that want to impose themselves in our territories, organized crime and narco-paramilitary groups. The dirty war of the bad government continues. Political parties and their clientelism threaten us, seeking to divide our communities, buying us off with crumbs. All of them are heirs to those who arrived in 1521 with the idea of their superiority over our people. They are successors of the idea of destroying to reconstruct, of depopulating to repopulate (and as our brothers of the EZLN have already explained) working beneath a new logic, one based on the death of Mother Earth and the death of those living with her. We are heirs of those who have resisted.
In spite of everything, in spite of them, we continue here, defending our territory, caring for the lives of the boys, girls, grandfathers and grandmothers, men and women of our communities. Today more than ever, we make it clear that we have not been conquered, and we do not sell out, surrender, nor forget. We walk alongside the Indigenous peoples of the National Indigenous Congress and the brothers and sisters of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation. We also walk alongside the Indigenous peoples of the world who continue on their feet with dignity in the face of extermination.
We resist, remembering that resistance is not only to endure, but to struggle, confront, propose, organize, and self-construct a new world autonomously, from the people, from below and to the left.
Here we continue and here we will continue.
Long live to Indigenous Peoples in Rebellion and Resistance!
Long Live the Zapatista Army of National Liberation!
Long Live the National Indigenous Congress and the Indigenous Governing Council!
Long Live the Popular Indigenous Council of Guerrero-Emiliano Zapata!