Press release: “We Reject Aggressions Against the Caravan of Concejo Indígena de Gobierno (CIG) and the Journalists Reporting their Activities”
By International Assistants Network of CIG “With Marichuy Without Borders”
To the media,
To the civil society in Mexico and international community,
On Sunday 21st of January, we received with outrage the breaking news of aggression against the caravan of the Indigenous Government Council (CIG) and its spoken person María de Jesús Patricio Martínez, also known as Marichuy. CIG and Patricio Martínez, is the first indigenous effort for running in next presidential elections in Mexico. The CIG was the result of a process of consensus made by the National Indigenous Congress (CNI), founded in 1997, and it represents more than 60 indigenous communities in Mexico by 141 council members. CIG’s campaign follows the seven Zapatista principles and are not looking for power, but building a horizontal structure that adequately represents the willing of the people, and particularly the indigenous communities. The campaign has been systematically challenged by the lack of sources, deliberated mass media censorship, and technological obstacles since the recollection of signatures for entering to the ballots requires a high tech cell phone that many people in Mexico do not have access. Moreover, during the opening of the campaign in Chiapas there was a suspicious outage affecting the areas of Altamirano and Ocosingo. Independent journalists had to travel several hours to send their reports.
As the CIG denounced, the caravan was intercepted during their trip from the Nahua community of Santa María Ostula to Paracho in the state of Michoacán, which is one of the many states affected by the organized crime and state violence. It is worth noting that Santa María Ostula is an indigenous community that has successfully eradicated the influence of organized crime by building a communal guard. A gray Honda CR-V with five men armed with high caliber guns forced to stop the last vehicle of the caravan, in which independent journalists Daliri Oropeza, Aldabi Olvera y Cristián Rodríguez were traveling. Cristian y Aldabi were forced to step down the car, were threatened and the gunmen took away their camera equipment and cell phones.
2017 was, without precedents, the most violent year against journalists and human rights activists, particularly the ones who are defending the territories of indigenous communities. Only in the first two weeks of this month Carlos Domínguez, a journalist in Tamaulipas, and Guadalupe Campanur, an indigenous activist of Cherán, Michoacán, were assassinated.
For these reasons, we furiously reject and denounce these acts of harassment and intimidation that generate a social and political climate of uncertainty, mistrust, and terror among citizens. Moreover, the attack against the caravan uncovers the systematic obstruction of CIG’s campaign to gather citizens’ support and reach the more than 800, 000 signatures for entering in the ballots for next elections. The goal of CIG is to collect testimonies of violence and oppression that indigenous people suffer in Mexico, and building bonds between communities and neighborhoods, between the city and the countryside. Only by building a robust grassroots network, it would be possible to make a real change.
These attacks infringe the right to a free press, a free speech, and the liberty of gathering, as the Mexican Constitution guarantees and the State should obey.
For these reasons, we make responsible for the attacks the federal, state and local levels of government. We demand guarantees of safety to the journalists that are covering CIG’s activities, to María de Jesús Patricio Martínez, and to the council members of CIG.
We, the signatories of this letter, are Mexican citizens who live abroad, including students, professors, professionals, activists, displaced migrants. We are supporters and volunteers for the CIG, and we firmly reject and denounce to the international community this coward attack. We demand safety conditions for all members of the National Indigenous Congress, the Indigenous Government Council, and the journalists who accompany the campaign. We also call human rights and independent community organizations, as well as citizens of the world to condemn this attack.
International Assistants Network of CIG “Con Marichuy Sin Fronteras”
Barcelona (Catalonia), Brussels (Belgium), Cali (Colombia), Donostia/San Sebastián (Basque Country), Dortmund (Germany), Exeter (UK), Filadelfia PA (USA), Fortaleza (Brazil), Gold Coast (Australia), Grand Rapids Michigan (USA), Guatemala, La Haya (Netherlands), London (UK), Lyon (France), Madrid (Spain), Marseille (France), Norristown PA (USA), Quito (Ecuador), Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), Santiago (Chile), São Paulo (Brazil), Sevilla (Spain), Sherbrooke (Canada), Valencia (Spain), Zaragoza (Spain)
Red de Apoyo a la Participación de Mujeres y Pueblos Indígenas de Barcelona
Desde Europa con Marichuy
Coalición Fortaleza Latina PA, EUA
Asamblea de Solidaridad con México en el País Valencia
London Mexico Solidarity
Despiertos y Actuando, Red solidaria de Mexicanos en Bélgica
Colectivo Y Retiemble, Madrid