FIRST OF MAY, 2001
WHEREAS, that 509 years of history have meant
exploitation, discrimination and poverty for our first peoples; and that
Mexican Nation, born of our seed and of our hearts, has been built by the powerful, denying our existence and denying our
supreme right to walk our own path, without eliminating the country founded with our blood.
REMEMBERING, that the San Andrés Accords
on Indigenous Rights and Culture, signed on February 16, 1996, correspond
to the First Table of Dialogue between the Federal Government and the Zapatista Army of National Liberation, and are promises
and proposals joined together that both parties agreed to in order to guarantee a new relation between the indigenous peoples
of the country, of Society and of the State. And that these proposals together, that were sent to the places of national debate and
decision, were collected by the Concord and Peace Commission (COCOPA) - constituted by legislators from the different
national political parties - in a bill that was presented as the Constitutional Reform Initiative. And that the Zapatista Army of
National Liberation (EZLN) accepted them, as did the Indigenous National Congress, on November 29, 1996, not without noting
the omissions it presented but recognizing it as the first step toward constitutional recognition of our rights.
RECOGNIZING, that the San Andrés Accords,
as well as their legislative and constitutional interpretations that are
the Constitutional Reform Initiative elaborated by the Concord and Peace Commission (COCOPA), reflect the majority consensus
of the indigenous peoples of Mexico, of the government, and of national society on the issue of indigenous rights and culture.
CONSIDERING, that the constitutional recognition
of indigenous rights and culture, according to the COCOPA initiative, as
of the three signals demanded by the EZLN, is the firm step toward the construction of a just and dignified peace in Chiapas.
CONSIDERING, that the march of the 1,111 Zapatistas
to Mexico City in September 1997, and the results of the National
Consultation on Indigenous Rights and Culture realized in March 1999, ratified the national consensus represented by the San
Andrés Accords and the Constitutional Reform Initiative elaborated by the COCOPA.
REMEMBERING, that our peoples, convened and
reunited in the Third Indigenous National Congress realized in Nurío,
Michoacán, on the 2nd, 3rd and 4th days of March of this year, agreed unanimously to demand: the constitutional recognition of
the rights of the indigenous peoples, consistent with the COCOPA initiative; the constitutional recognition of our inalienable
right to free determination, expressed through autonomy as part of the Mexican State; and the constitutional recognition of our
territories and ancestral lands that represent the totality of our habitat where we reproduce our material and spiritual existence
OBSERVING, that the International Treaty of
Civil and Political Rights, like the International Treaty of Economic,
Cultural Rights, both binding upon the Supreme Law of our country, establish that all peoples have the right to free
determination and that by virtue of this right freely establish their political condition and provide at the same time for their
economic, social and cultural development.
OBSERVING, at the same time, that Convention
169 of the International Labor Organization (OIT) on Indian and Tribal
Independent Countries, also binding upon the Supreme Law of Mexico according to our living constitution, establishes the right
of our peoples to assume control of their own institutions, forms of life, and economic development, and to maintain and
strengthen their identities, languages, territories and natural resources within the law of the State in which they live.
DENOUNCING, that once more our word and our
sense has only been used to for the mockery and cruelty of the powerful;
the first voice of our peoples and the majority voice of Mexican society expressed during February, March and April of the year
2001 in the March for Indigenous Dignity led by the Zapatista Army of National Liberation is not listened to by those who say they
are the depositories of the popular will; that the political and economic interests who control power try, once again, to impose
upon the very first peoples of these lands, of our towns, of the Indigenous peoples, who stand last in line without being
recognized for their fundamental rights, who are prisoners of looting, ethnocide and the forced integration of our nation outside
of our history and our common sense, that today they try to take everything from everyone.
THE PEOPLES, COMMUNITIES AND ORGANIZATIONS
THAT BELONG TO THE INDIGENOUS NATIONAL CONGRESS STATE
FIRST: We reject absolutely the Initiative
of Indigenous Law approved by the Congress of the Union, because it not
the popular will and is unconstitutional, but also is profoundly regressive in disowning fundamental rights of our peoples,
granted by the same Constitution, as well as the international treaties, pacts and agreements that Mexico has adopted and that
are binding upon the Supreme Law in agreement with our living Constitution. In particular, the approved initiative incorporates
in a partial and distorted form some concepts and rights guaranteed by Convention 169 of the OIT, and omits many others that
SECOND: The Indigenous Law Bill approved by
those who say they represent the popular will does not incorporate the
the letter of the San Andrés Accords and it substantially changes the Constitutional Reform Initiative elaborated by the COCOPA,
signaling that the recognition of indigenous peoples and communities will be made in the laws and constitutions of the states, a
situation that, in reality, implies that constitutional recognition of our peoples and their rights will not be recognized. The
approved initiative represents an obstacle to renewing the dialogue between the Federal Government and the Zapatista Army of
National Liberation with the goal of constructing a just and dignified peace. The vote of the legislators was not a vote for peace.
THIRD: This constitutional counter-reform represents
a mockery of our peoples and a major affront to Mexican society, who
decided to back our just cause, because it leaves in the hands of the Federal States the definition of indigenous autonomy and
the mechanisms for its realization, nullifying our rights of free determination expressed by autonomy inside the law of the
Mexican State and the aspirations of our peoples for their plain recognition.
FOURTH: The initiative approved reduces the
application of our autonomous rights to the municipal level. It does not
our access to, and administration of, municipal resources that correspond to our peoples, nor does it make possible the
construction of authentic indigenous municipal reservations.
FIFTH: The constitutional counter-reform delivers
to indigenous communities, in the form of charity and pity, the character
state of public interest and not of public rights as was established in the COCOPA initiative so that, inside the structure of the
State and being plainly recognized for its standing, those municipalities that recognize their belonging to an indigenous people
can associate freely between themselves with the goal of coordinating their actions of free determination by the indigenous
peoples at each of the levels that give value to their autonomy, in agreement with particular and specific circumstances of each
SIXTH: In the approved initiative, the possibility
of redistricting the territories inhabited by indigenous peoples is omitted,
that fact - that the territorial reorganization of districts, with the goal of propitiating the political participation by indigenous
peoples - is left in a non-binding article of law and does not accomplish that, but rather affirms the illusory and regressive
character of the imposed constitutional reform.
SEVENTH: The initiative that the Congress of
the Union approved ignores, relative to the territories of our peoples,
right already established by Convention 169 of the OIT, and doesn't recognize our lands and territories in agreement with the
concepts stated by that Convention. The term "territories" is grossly substituted by that of "places," and we remain denied the
immediate physical space to exercise our autonomy and the material and spiritual reproduction of our existence.
EIGHTH: The Indigenous Law that today they
try to impose upon our peoples and society reaffirms the individualist
inspired the counter-reform of Article 27 of the Constitution in 1992 and is expressed just the same, now that it doesn't recognize
the CONSTITUTIONAL right that we have to decide collectively the use and enjoyment of the natural resources that are found in
our lands and territories. To the contrary, it restricts, regressively, this exclusive right that we have. And it turns it into a simple
right of preference, already limited by the forms and norms of property and tenancy of the land already established by the
Constitution and by the rights that have been acquired - generally, through illegal means - by third parties over our peoples. We
have demanded the recognition of the right that we have to access the natural resources that are found in the entire habitat that
the peoples occupy. And the legislators, to the contrary, decide to reduce rights that we have historically already won, in fact and
in law, through ancient titles and agrarian resolutions and with the sweat and blood of our ancestors.
NINTH: The initiative approved, in contradiction
to the format of dialogue established between the Federal Government and
EZLN, tries to dodge the agrarian question in the same terms that Article 27 of the current Constitution does, without considering
the grand opposition by our peoples to the reform of that Article and forgetting that the agrarian theme must be discussed in the
Table of Dialogue together with the theme of Well-Being and Development.
TENTH: At the same time, the Indigenous Law
establishes a part "B" in the Second Constitutional Article that, beyond
corresponding its content to an appropriate constitutional text, reproduces the indigenist policies of ethnocide that the Mexican
State has historically applied, signaling a series of aid policies that the legislators, in authoritarian form, have supposed will
serve our peoples, being that our demand is the effective recognition of the indigenous peoples so that they can define their
own development priorities.
ELEVENTH: Today, like yesterday, we say: Never Again a Mexico Without Us!
Never again will the voice of the indigenous peoples be silent before injustice!
In this national hour, we ratify and strengthen
this cry against the new aggression that this recent constitutional counter-reform
signifies. We will make everyone see that a true Mexico, just and dignified, will exist only when the rights of our people are
For all that has been said, WE CALL:
To all the indigenous peoples, communities
and organizations of the country to unite with our belief, our paths and
with the goal of demanding the constitutional recognition of our rights in agreement with the COCOPA initiative, and TO
ORGANIZE FROM EVERY CORNER OF THE COUNTRY THE MOBILIZATION AND RESISTANCE AGAINST THE NEW MOCKERY
BY THE FEW THAT CONTROL POWER IN THIS COUNTRY AND WHO HAVE KIDNAPPED THE CONGRESS OF THE UNION AND
THE WILL OF THE NATION THROUGH THE MOST REACTIONARY POSITIONS THAT EXIST IN OUR COUNTRY, REPRESENTED
BY DIEGO FERNANDEZ DE CEVALLOS AND MANUEL BARTLETT. WE CALL FOR THE EXERCISE OF POLITICAL SOVEREIGNTY
THAT ARTICLE 39 OF THE CONSTITUTION DELIVERED TO US, NOW THAT THE CURRENT LEGAL ORDER HAS VISIBLY BEEN
OVERTHROWN THROUGH THE APPROVED UNCONSTITUTIONAL INITIATIVE.
WE WILL UTILIZE ALL EXISTING LEGAL, NATIONAL
AND INTERNATIONAL MEANS: SO THAT THE VOICE AND THE PRESENCE
OF THE VERY FIRST PEOPLES, THE INDIGENOUS PEOPLES, IS LISTENED TO AND IS FELT BY THE ENTIRE NATION.
To the workers of the town and the city and
to the entire Mexican people, to organize a mass national movement that
to the unity of action and at the same time permits us to construct consensus and overcome weaknesses with the goal of
achieving the constitutional recognition of the rights of our peoples and the cancellation of the neoliberal policies that today
destroy the entire nation.
May 1, 2001
NEVER MORE A MEXICO WITHOUT US!
FOR THE INTEGRAL RECONSTITUTION OF OUR PEOPLES!
INDIGENOUS NATIONAL CONGRESS
April 27 Communique of CNI
CONGRESO NACIONAL INDÍGENA
TO THE INDIGENOUS PEOPLES, COMMUNITIES AND
ORGANIZATIONS OF MEXICO.
TO NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL CIVIL SOCIETY.
TO THE NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL PRESS.
Mexico City, April 27, 2001
In compliance with the resolutions and agreements
of the 3rd Indigenous National Congress realized in Nurío, Michoacán
March 2nd, 3rd and 4th, and the session of the CNI coordinating committee on April 21st of this year, all the indigenous peoples
of Mexico are convened to mobilize and realize actions of civil resistance this Tuesday, May 1, together with the workers and the
people in general in every state of the nation.
Whereas the Legislative Branch (Senators and
Deputies) represent the will of the Mexican people, we demand of the different
factions and the political parties the strict respect to the original edit of the Initiative of Constitutional Reforms elaborated by the
The indigenous law approved by the Senate eliminates
substantial parts of the COCOPA intitiative, such as: recognition of
indigenous territories; the use and collective enjoyment of the natural resources in those territories and the possibility of
associations of indigenous communities and municipalities.
The indigenous law approved by the Senate of
the Republic reduces indigenous autonomy to the municipal level and passes
recognition of the indigenous peoples to the State constitutions and laws, nullifying their constitutional protection.
This law legitimizes the strategy of ethnocide
that historically has been expressed in the indigenous policies of the
Because of that we express our rejection of
the Indigenous Material Bill approved by the Senate of the Republic last
and sent to the House of Deputies for their revision on the 26th, because it does not correspond what the federal government
and the EZLN signed in San Andrés SakamChem de los Pobres, Chiapas, in October 1996, and embodied in the Initiative of
Constitutional Reforms presented by the COCOPA in November of that year.
At the same time, we demand the passage of
the COCOPA initiative - and not a different one - on the part of the Legislative
Branch (House of Deputies and Senate of the Republic) and by the local congresses, to be elevated to a Constitutional
Amendment, as part of the three signals demanded by the EZLN and the CNI for the renewal of dialogue.
Upon complying with these three signals a space
will be given for the next steps that permit arriving at a peace with justice
dignity. That this is clear: not before.
Indigenous National Congress
Never Again a Mexico Without Us