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Indigenous Mexico Rising Again

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Representatives of Mexico's indigenous peoples have issued a new declaration and announced upcoming mobilizations to further their cause.  Unveiled on August 9, the UN-celebrated International Day of the World's Indigenous People, the declaration followed a week-long meeting between the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN) and National Indigenous Congress (CNI) in the southern Mexican border state of Chiapas.

Detailing 29 points, the Declaration of the Plundering of Our Peoples blasted the Pena Nieto Administration, big corporations and capitalism in general for threatening the culture and survival of indigenous peoples. Couched in historical terms that reference the sacrifices made by indigenous people and small farmers for a Mexico that was denied to them,  the statement was read by Venustiano Vazquez Navarette, indigenous resident of Tepotzlan, Morelos, in the Zapatista base community of La Realidad.

It read in part:  "Capitalism has grown from plunder and exploitation since the beginning.  Invasion and plunder are the words that best describe what is called the conquest of America, plunder and robbery of our lands, our territories, our knowledge, our culture.  Plunder accompanied by war, massacres, jail, death and more death "

The declaration accuses "neoliberal capitalists" together with the U.S.-advised Mexican government of opting for military and paramilitary methods in stripping indigenous Mexicans of their patrimony. "We say to the powerful, to the companies and to the bad governments, headed by the criminal chief of the paramilitaries, (President) Enrique Pena Nieto, that we do not surrender, we do not sell out and we do not give up," the statement vows.

More than 1,600 people attended the gathering in the Zapatista base community of La Realidad, including 1,300 Mayan Zapatista supporters from Chiapas. Coming from all corners of the nation, the CNI delegates represented more than two dozen indigenous groups, among them the Raramuri, Huichol, Purepecha, Mixteco, and Tzotzil Maya.     
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