On January 25th, as part of the eighth jubilant anniversary of Jtatic Samuel Ruiz, the Believing People of the Diocese of San Cristobal de Las Casas made a pilgrimage to this city to celebrate a mass and remember the former bishop and well-known defender of human rights worldwide, in particular those of indigenous peoples. More than three thousand people from different pastoral areas of the Diocese participated. The Mass was concelebrated by the current bishop, Rodrigo Aguilar Martinez, Raul Vera Lopez, bishop of Saltillo, Coahuila, and some 20 other priests.
They recalled that the Believing People is an organized process within the diocesan structure: “We are indigenous peoples, we are mestizo, we are not slaves, we are builders of our history, we live and fight for a community life that seeks “Lekil kuxlejal” (good living) that proposes a culture of life for the whole ofsociety”, “seeking to give a significant boost to reconciliation, unity, peace and justice …” (Diocesan Pastoral Plan).
In its pronouncement, the members of Believing People denounced that “at first sight in our country everything is calm according to the authorities, but in reality the people are the ones who feel and suffer the situations of injustice, abuse, corruption and impunity of the authorities together with threats, violence, forced displacements of communities that are divided from outside.” In addition, “there is a lack of employment, low wages, rising prices of basic products, insecurity, recruitment of people for organized crime groups and trafficking in persons, which leads to migration from the countryside to the cities, to other states of the republic or the United States and Canada, which causes family breakup with its fatal consequences.” They also criticized the deficiencies of the education system and the health system.
They added that “there are transnational and national companies, as well as caciques that cause pollution and destruction of natural resources: cutting down trees, mining, hoarding and privatization of water and wetlands; promotion of monoculture of African palm and rubber that is affecting health. The fumigations in our crops without permission and also by the modification of our creole seeds, by Monsanto.”
They demanded among other things, the solution of the sociopolitical conflicts of Chenalho-Chalchihuitan, Santa Martha-Aldama; Chabajebal and Amatan; that they cease militarization and paramilitarization in communities that generate violence, insecurity, rape of women and unpunished deaths; the release of political prisoners; that there be no threats or aggressions against human rights defenders or ecclesial servants who fight for the common good; and that the rights of indigenous peoples are respected. They also spoke out against megaprojects that “are strategies of low intensity warfare, keeping us disorganized, full of conflicts and generating dispossession (hydroelectric dams, the San Cristobal-Palenque highway, the Maya Train, mining)” and against the Guard National.
They finalized their pronouncement announcing that they will continue “forward in the process of liberation of the peoples” and making “conscience in respect to Mother Earth: seeking ways and agreements within the autonomy of our peoples and family to avoid the indiscriminate felling of trees and pollution.”
For more information in Spanish:
Comunicado completo: Chiapas: “No somos esclavas ni esclavos, luchamos por una vida comunitaria”, octavo aniversario de Jtatic Samuel Ruíz (Pueblo Creyente, 25 de enero de 2019)
Por Tren Maya, pueblos originarios exigen se respeten sus derechos (La Jornada, 25 de enero de 2019 )
Rechazan pobladores Tren Maya en Chiapas (El Universal, 25 de enero de 2019)
En aniversario luctuoso recuerdan legado de Tatic Samuel Ruíz García (Ultimatum, 25 de enero de 2019)
Conmemora Pueblo Creyente Octavo Aniversario Luctuoso de Tatik Samuel (NVI Noticias, 26 de enero de 2019)
Solución a problemas de límites: Creyentes (El Heraldo de Chiapas, 26 de enero de 2019)
For more information from SIPAZ:
Chiapas: Believing People Pilgrimage (February 5th, 2017)