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February 25

We Are All Samir: Roundup of Three Days of Action in Defense of Territory and Mother Earth

In the early morning hours of February 20, 2019, Samir Flores Soberanes, an Indigenous community organizer, radio worker and land defender from the community of Amilcingo, Morelos, was assassinated in front of his home. Samir had long been engaged in the struggle for community autonomy and territorial defense in the region, and he was one of the founding members of the community radio station Amiltzinko 100.7 FM. He was also a member of the People’s Front in Defense of Land and Water, Morelos, Puebla, Tlaxcala, and one of the principal organizers against the PIM (Proyecto Integral Morelos): a energy megaproject which includes a thermoelectric plant in Huexca, Morelos, a gas pipeline that crosses more than 60 campesino communities in the states of Morelos, Puebla and Tlaxcala, as well as an aqueduct to move 50 million liters of water daily from the Cuautla River to the thermoelectric plant.

The assassination of Samir took place three days before a “popular consultation” to decide the future of the Huexca thermoelectric plant. The “popular consultation” was President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s attempt to legitimize a megaproject that had faced stiff resistance from Indigenous and campesino communities in the region for nearly nine years. Samir’s assassination was a cold-blooded act of repression, using cowardly violence as a means to intimidate those engaged in the struggle against the PIM, as well as to eliminate one of the most powerful community organizers in the region. Like nearly all assassinations of community organizers and land defenders in Mexico, the “investigation” into his murder has failed to net any substantial results. Meanwhile, López Obrador has continued to say that those claiming his government is responsible for the murder are just conservatives trying to smear the reputation of his “popular” administration.

On January 7, 2020, the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN), the National Indigenous Congress/Indigenous Governing Council (CNI-CIG), and the Amilcingo Resistance Assembly put out a call for three days of action in defense of mother earth and territory under the slogan “We Are All Samir,” to commemorate the one year-anniversary of the assassination of Samir and to continue organizing against state violence and capitalist exploitation in the territory of so-called Mexico:

February 20: Different actions in Mexico and other parts of the world in defense of territory and mother earth, demanding justice for our dead, our disappeared, our prisoners and against megaprojects of death.

February 21: March for justice for our brother Samir Flores Soberanes, for our dead, our disappeared, our prisoners and in defense of territory and mother earth. Mexico City. Starting point: Offices of the Federal Electricity Commission on Reforma Avenue, 4 pm. 

Feburary 22: Assembly in defense of territory and mother earth, in the community center of Amilcingo, municipality of Temoac, Morelos, starting at 10 am. 

What follows is a roundup of those three days and the actions that occurred around Mexico and in several other countries.

February 19: 

On the evening of February 19, as the community of Amilcingo prepared for the commemoration of the one-year anniversary of the assassination of Samir, community members denounced the presence of military and police in the community. This was a clear act of provocation and intimidation from the state.

February 20:

As of the morning of February 20, the CNI reported that 77 activities were planned to occur in 22 states in Mexico and eight countries.

In support of the three days of mobilizations, independent media and pirate and community radio stations organized a “radio chain” ensuring constant coverage of the actions:

Morelos:

In Amilcingo, Samir’s relatives and compañerxs held a march through the community, stopping at the Amiltzinko Community Radio, which he founded, and continuing on to the elementary school that now bears his name. In front of the school, an “anti-monument” to Samir was unveiled and a cultural event with songs, poems, and dancing was held. One of the chants included, “The people ask, ‘Who are those ones?’, We’re Samiristas, defending the nation.”

The Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity, led by Cuernavacan poet Javier Sicilia, issued a statement demanding an investigation into Samir’s murder, safety for those opposing the government’s megaprojects, and an end to “the discourse of hate” that is being “encouraged by the government.”

Mexico City:

A blockade and protest was held in front of the National Institute of Indigenous Peoples:

The intersection of Insurgentes and Reforma was blocked by the Metropolitan Anti-Capitalist and Anti-Patriarchal Coordination:

A toll booth was taken at the entrance to Mexico City in Tlalpan:

A Forum in Defense of Water and Territory, an offering, and a march were held in Pedregales in Coyoacán in the south of Mexico City:

A gathering and artistic commemoration of Samir was held at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM):

Chiapas:

Throughout Zapatista communities, mobilizations, tributes, and protests were held. More photos can be seen here.

Las Abejas de Acteal hung a banner and released a statement demanding justice for Samir and all assassinated human rights defenders as well as an end to the government’s neoliberal megaprojects:

In the autonomous Indigenous community of Ejido Tila, residents gathered and erected signs in memory and protest:

Members of the CNI in San Sebastián gathered and erected signs in memory of Samir:

Indigenous prisoners in struggle in Chiapas released two communiques expressing their solidarity with the days of action in remembrance of Samir and against megaprojects of death. Translations of both can be found below, along with illustrations the compañeros put together.

On February 23, eleven members of the CNI in Chilón were arrested when police and MORENA party activists attempted to take down signs commemorating Samir that were put up on February 20 as part of the day of action.

Oaxaca:

In the city of Oaxaca, streets were shut down, a mural was painted, and an all-day “Cultural Barricade” was held. At the barricade, a communique from the community of San Pablo Cuatro Venados, Oaxaca, was read. The translation can be found below:

The Huajuapan-Oaxaca highway was blockaded by members of the organization MAIZ in solidarity with Samir and other assassinated compañerxs:

In the Isthmus, members of UCIZONI shut down a local office of the Federal Electricity Commission and blockaded the Trans-Isthmus Highway:

Also in the Isthmus, the Indigenous People’s Assembly of the Isthmus in Defense of Land and Territory (APIIDTT) and the National Network of Civil Resistance painted a mural and held a protest for Samir and against megaprojects and high electricity costs in Zanatepec:

Guerrero:

In Tepetixtla, the Organización Campesina de la Sierra Sur blockaded a federal highway:

United States:

A protest was held in front of Mexican Consulate in New York City:

The Mexican Consulate in Minnesota was vandalized in solidarity with Samir:

Spain:

In Valencia, trees were planted in memory of Samir:

More than 60 organizations in Spain, Catalunya, and the Basque Country released a joint statement calling for justice for Samir, the cancellation of the PIM, and for the Spanish companies Abengoa, Elecnor, and Enagas to withdraw from the PIM and face legal action for their involvement in human rights violations.

Denmark:

A protest was held in Denmark:

February 21:

On Friday afternoon, a “March for justice for our brother Samir Flores Soberanes, for our dead, our disappeared, our prisoners and in defense of territory and mother earth” departed from the Federal Electricity Commission building and made its way to the Zócalo, or central square, in Mexico City. According to mainstream media reports, at least 7,000 people participated. During the march, stops were made to rally in front of the Federal Attorney General’s office and the anti-monument to the 43 disappeared students from Ayotzinapa. A closing rally was held in the Zócalo, led by the National Indigenous Congress. An anti-monument of Samir was also installed.

In the Zócalo, Marichuy, spokeswoman of the Indigenous Governing Council of the National Indigenous Congress said, “They want to take the wealth and leave us with all the contamination, all the death. It is on us to care for the land we inherited from our ancestors so that it may be inherited by those who are yet to come. That is why we’ve come out today, that is why we are talking to the bad governments and telling them that we will not be silenced, we will not be stopped, because the struggle has already begun and we’re going to continue.”

The spokeswoman for the People’s Front in Defense of Land and Water said in her remarks that, “There’s no justice one year after Samir’s murder. On the contrary, they’re killing more compas who are defending mother earth. We are here demanding justice for all our brothers and sisters. We don’t want the Maya Train, the mines, we don’t want them to kill off our environment, we want all our lives to be respected. Samir Flores did not die, Samir multiplied.”

A un año de tu vil asesinato #SamirSomosTodasyTodos

Posted by Laura Salas on Friday, February 21, 2020

Members of the Committee for the Defense of Indigenous Rights (CODEDI) were present demanding justice for their dead and freedom for their spokesperson, Fredy García Ramírez.

The march ended with the installation of an anti-monument in the Zócalo of Mexico City to honor Samir and his commitment to the struggle in defense of territory and mother earth.

February 22:

On February 22, an assembly in defense of territory and mother earth was held in the center of Amilcingo to reflect on the two previous days of action and to continue organizing against the destruction brought by capitalism and the repression and violence brought by the state. In the city center of Oaxaca, an assembly of towns, communities, organizations, unions and collectives gathered to give echo to the assembly in Amilcingo, as well as to organize locally in the Oaxacan context.

According to a report from Pie de Página, around 600 people from 17 Indigenous peoples, 21 states and 11 countries attended the assembly in Amilcingo. Agreements reached include a plan to call for global actions of resistance and organization occurring between April 10-30; that the CNI-CIG will join May Day marches with a message focused on anti-capitalism and women’s struggle; and for a follow-up assembly to be held on May 16-17.


Communique from the Community of San Pablo Cuatro Venados, Oaxaca

February 20, 2020

To the Media

To the Indigenous People of Oaxaca and Mexico

To the National Indigenous Congress

As community members of San Pablo Cuatro Venados, Oaxaca, we express our pain and rage one year after the murder of our brother and comrade, Samir Flores. He was ambushed on February 20, 2019, and assassinated for defending his territory and his community.

With this atrocious event, a new epoch of death and persecution has begun for the Indigenous people of our grieving country, Mexico. There are now more than a dozen brothers and sisters that have paid for the defense of our mother earth with their lives. We know well that behind these deaths is the false myth of progress, development and modernity, which they have always sought to sell to us. Regardless of who governs, with this discourse, they have brought death, dispossession and destruction, while the businessmen increase their wealth at the cost of our blood.

They think we are backwards and ignorant because we do not accept this discourse of development. In reality, it is destroying more forests, drilling more oil wells, exploiting more mines, destroying rivers and life along with it. High intelligence isn’t necessary to imagine what will happen if the more than 320 mining concessions planned in Oaxaca are exploited—mining concessions issued by previous governments and continued by the new government.

We have identified at least three mining concessions planned in our municipality of San Pablo Cuatro Venados. The mining concessions are the following: Title 217598, issued in 2002, located in the Cuatro Venados lot, with an area of 132 hectares; Title 227548, issued in 2006, located in La Soledad Lot, with an area of 3600 hectares; Title 242664, issued in 2013, located in the Moisés lot, covering an area of 1400 hectares which sits in both the municipalities of Cuatro Venados and San Miguel Peras. These three concessions have the objective to exploit principally gold and silver.

There are also four other concessions in the neighboring communities that, if exploited, would also directly affect our water tables, forests and community ties. Since we know that alongside the implementation of these projects comes organized crime to establish forms of social control. These concessions are the following: Title 202828, located in the municipality of San Miguel Peras, in the Peras lot, with an area of 32 hectares, issued in 1996; Title 196021, located between the municipalities of San Miguel Peras and Santiago Tlazoyaltepec, in the Santa Patricia Lot, covering an area of 400 hectares, issued in 1992; Title 209799, also in Santiago Tlazoyaltepec, located in the El Triunfo lot, issued in 1999, with an area of 30 hectares; Title 201830 in Santa María Peñoles, in the San Silvano lot, covering an area of 200 hectares, issued in 1995. These concessions will exploit mainly gold and silver, and other minerals.

Adding to this, in the regions where the mining concessions exist, there is ample biodiversity and abundant water, to such an extent that these areas are considered of “extreme” importance for conservation. To put these areas at risk not only puts our communities at risk, but all of the municipalities that are fed by this water, including the city. Therefore, we call on the inhabitants of the neighboring municipalities to continue with our organization and defense of mother earth, because she represents our life. We also call on the citizenry in general to support this resistance, because in Oaxaca one of the worst water crises in the country is on the horizon and we must care for the rivers and forests that are still alive.

We also denounce that certain people from the neighboring municipality of Cuilapam de Guerrero, together with politicians and businessmen that have interests in these projects and in our lands, water and forest, threatened to invade our territory on more than one occasion, principally at the sites of El Rebollero, Rio Minas and Los Arquitos. They are arguing that it is part of their territory.

We want to make it known to the public that we have documents dating back to 1811, including a presidential decree of 1951, that affirms and reaffirms the limits of our territory. We know every boundary, every path, river, and above all, the history of our community. Therefore, we will not play the game of territorial dispute. Neither will engage in confrontation with our Indigenous brothers, because there exist legal documents. We call on the people of this municipality and above all to the elders to teach their authorities the boundaries of their territory.

We also denounce a series of aggressions carried out against us by these people. One of the most atrocious happened on May 31, when a group of more than 500 people, with high-caliber weapons for the exclusive use of the military and with heavy machinery, tore down our houses, burnt our crops, stole our livestock and shot thousands of rounds of ammunition throughout the day and through June 1 and 2, 2019.  We know from unofficial sources that some of them were paid by certain politicians who also gave them guns and ammunition.

It is well known that in the neighboring municipalities there are hundreds of lots for sale. It is also known there is interest in constructing a housing complex, which would require an extensive demand for water. Our territory is not for sale. We will defend it from mining and whatever other project that seeks to destroy it. We will defend the water and forests.

Long live Samir Flores. He walks with us!

Never more a Mexico without us!


Communiques from Indigenous prisoners in struggle in Chiapas

February 21, 2020

CERSS No. 10

Comitán, Chiapas, Mexico

Brothers and sisters, compañeros and compañeras

To the people of Mexico and the world, we make a conscientious call in favor of our mother earth.

We already know that president Andrés Manuel López Obrado has received orders from his bosses, the capitalists and businessmen, to sow death and destruction by means of megaprojects. Those in opposition have been cowardly assassinated. That is the case of our compañero, Samir Flores Soberanes, assassinated for defending mother earth. We are assassinated for defending the traditions of the Indigenous people, for maintaining the ceremonies that have sustained Indigenous culture and knowledge, and transmitting that culture and knowledge through generations of repression and genocide.

The dreams of the businessmen are constructed through the extraction of natural resources. We, those of the resistance, our consciousness has told us to stop the extractive megaprojects of death with its discourse of supposed development, like the so-called Mayan Train. It is better named, the death train, because it brings destruction to the jungle and the extinction of animals.

We know that the projects extract the natural recourses of our sacred lands. They rob from our territories, contaminating the land and water. The intention is to sell them, denying the possibility to live off the land. That is the interest of the patriarchal, white supremacist and capitalist colonizers. Our path will be the liberation of our mother earth and culture from the claws of the capitalist tyranny.

We unite our voices and forces.

Never more a Mexico without us.

Sincerely,

Organization Viniketik en Resistencia

Adherent of the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle of the EZLN

Marcelino Ruíz Gómez

February 21, 2020

“The Death Train”

To the Mexican people.

To the Compañeros and Compañeras

To the Brothers and Sisters

Here we bring you a reflection, not of love or rhymes. It is a reflection to struggle against the “death train.”

We must prepare ourselves and be ready to struggle because there are many Mexicans with sad faces. They are sad with hatred, not with fear. Theirs hearts beat more and more because the death train is coming. Time is gasping because the train brings destruction. The bad government says, “the train goes because it goes, thunder, rain or lightening, screaming or kicking.”

That is why many people are uncomfortable. They trusted his words. They trusted his claims of being a leftist fighter, but this one was only a disguise. Rather, he is a voracious wolf. Now he brings the death train. The time has arrived. Now more than ever it is time to defend mother earth. It is time to defend her against the suicidal death train.

Let us rise up people of Mexico and defend our territories. The death train brings annihilation. Today more than ever, we must defend mother earth.

Organizations:

La Voz de Indígenas en Resistencia: Adrián Gómez Jiménez

La Voz Verdadera del Amate: Germán López Montejo, Abraham López Montejo

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It's Going Down

It’s Going Down is a digital community center from anarchist, anti-fascist, autonomous anti-capitalist and anti-colonial movements. Our mission is to provide a resilient platform to publicize and promote revolutionary theory and action.

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