A group of displaced Triqui women from the Autonomous Municipality of San Juan Copala, have been forced by the government of Oaxaca to suspend their peaceful sit-in which began more than 12 months ago.
According to The Autonomous Community Council Of San Juan Copala, the government recently threatened to violently remove all women and children from the main plaza in Oaxaca city, where they have lived since August 2010.
San Juan Copala initially agreed to suspend the sit-in temporarily as part of a new agreement with Oaxaca government.
At the center of the new agreement, at least for the Triqui, is the right to return to the town of San Juan Copala, which Triqui Authorities evacuated just one month after the sit-in began.
The evacuation was ordered after paramilitaries threatened to execute all supporters of the autonomous municipality. Having already endured seven months of violence and inhumane treatment at the hands of the same paramilitaries, the Triqui simply couldn’t take the chance of ignoring the threat.
In addition to the right to return home, the newly formed agreement with Oaxaca included an understanding that the Triqui would suspend their sit-in for two days to make way for the “Grito de Independencia” celebrations on September 16. In exchange for this, the government promised to give the Triqui women and children temporary lodging; after which they could return to the plaza.
“But as is well-known of those who fail to govern this country, if anything distinguishes them it is their lack of honor… police fenced in the palace corridors preventing us from sitting in, and we were called again by the same officials who bring lies and deceit in order to present us with the offer of another round table,” said the Community Council in a Sept. 20 statement. The officials also asked the Triqui for ten days to respond to their principle demands.
“Not being capable of more resistance actions, and because our movement is one of peace and dialogue we again agreed with the warning [of returning to reinstate the camp]” said the Community Council.
However, they also decided to issue their a deadline of September 30th, giving the government more than enough time to adequately respond to the demands.
If the government fails to do so, the Triqui say they are going to reestablish the sit-in “at any cost” and where everyone “will take responsibility for what might happen.”
September 20, 2011
TO THE INDIGENOUS PEOPLES OF OAXACA AND MEXICO
TO FRIENDS IN SOLIDARITY
TO SOCIAL ORGANIZATIONS
TO THE “OTRA CAMPAÑA”
TO THE HONEST MEDIA
Sisters, brothers we wanted to take a few days before sending word to let you know the reason why, after more than one year, we suspended the sit-in in the corridor of the government palace.
We did this in response to the hateful and false statements towards our dignity which some people have expressed in anonymity, which is the mask of cowards, and once it was known that the sit-in was suspended they started spreading an account that some of our people received money in exchange.
Throughout the resistance that has been principally sustained by women and children displaced from San Juan Copala, we have received a helping hand from many friends who selflessly decided to discretely walk with us in our fight, always respecting our decision.
As a result, we have received the cooperation that helps us with expenses, medical care and the company of brothers and sisters that have been with us at all times enduring the difficult conditions under which you live when you have no home and you live practically out in the open, and as if this were not enough there was the constant threat of eviction, especially with the prior government during which we were displaced on two occasions with the police force, to all of these friends we extend our heartfelt appreciation and promise that we have not sold out nor have we surrendered, simply that confronted with the threat of violent eviction of the sit-in on the part of the government, our Autonomous Community Council which are a part of our authorities, and that were here to strengthen our sit-in, made the decision that we do not have the ability in this moment to resist a violent eviction, because we do not want to jeopardize the physical integrity of anyone that is a part of our sit-in.
It is for this reason that on the evening of September 14th, we agreed to leave, accepting in only return a place to spend two nights because the agreement with the government’s representatives was that on the morning of September 17th we could reinstate the sit-in, but as is well-known of those who fail to govern this country, if anything distinguishes them it is their lack of honor and if they don’t have honor, then even less so do their words and that is why on September 17th we intended to reinitiate the sit-in, but police fenced in the palace corridors preventing us from sitting in, and we were called again by the same officials who bring lies and deceit in order to present us with the offer of another round table, then asked us for a period of 10 days to respond to our principle demands, not being capable of more resistance actions, and because our movement is one of peace and dialogue we again agreed with the warning on our part that if it didn’t happen before the 30th of this month, we will sit-in at whatever cost and that each individual will assume the responsibility of what happens to them, for this we call on those who have stood with us to await for the 30th, and to those who are interested in antagonizing and creating division we tell you that your words may create doubt in another of our friends who are not evil without realizing it, thus helping those you claim to be fighting.
INDIGENOUS DIGNITY CANNOT BE CHEAPENED OR SOLD
MORE DETERMINED THAN EVER TO ACHIEVE PEACE WITH JUSTICE AND DIGNITY
AUTONOMOUS COMMUNITY COUNCIL OF SAN JUAN COPALA
September 20, 2011
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