|English | Español||April 24, 2014 | Issue #43|
Marcos: The Zapatistas Will Defend the Cucapa and Kiliwa Peoples of Baja California
The Kiliwa Had Declared a “Death Pact” After the Government and Gringo “Conservation” Groups Forbade Them from Fishing; Next Fishing Season Will See a Zapatista Camp on Their Lands
By Kristin Bricker
Photo: D.R. 2006 Anna Mauri
The problem isn’t that the Cucapas and the Kiliwas don’t want to preserve the endangered fish and dolphins. They point out that it is in their best interest to protect the species they rely upon for their livelihood, and they want very much to be custodians of the river and its fish, as they have been for generations. Hilda Hurtado Valenzuela, the secretary of the Cucapa fishing cooperative, maintains that the Cucapas and Kiliwas are not responsible for the over-fishing, though they bear the brunt of its consequences. She says that they never intentionally fished the endangered species, though if they happened to catch some they used them for their own consumption – they never sold them. Now, she says, they don’t even do that, because if they get caught taking a protected fish from the river they will go to jail, or worse.
To protect the endangered fish, armed federal soldiers constantly patrol the reserve and accost the fishermen who come to fish. Hilda Hurtado Valenzuela recounted to Subcomandante Marcos how soldiers detained her pregnant daughter, who was trying to fish, by pointing their guns at her belly. Furthermore, the community has approximately thirty outstanding warrants for illegal fishing, including one for seven kilograms of fish.
In protest against the forceful dispossession of their lands and the destruction of their culture, the Kiliwas took a death pact. The women have agreed to stop having children, and the Kiliwas will die with this generation. Marcos, however, intends to use the power of the Other Campaign to convince them that they are not alone, and that it is not worth it to die from a death pact when they can die fighting.
Photo: D.R. 2006 Anna Mauri
This request isn’t likely to come. In reaction to Delegate Zero’s proposal for a Zapatista camp, Hilda Hurtado Valenzuela, a Cucapa authority herself, said, “We’re very happy to have someone come here and give us a hand because we’ve already petitioned the government, gone through mediation – all the legal routes.” Their requests and negotiations with the government have not produced any positive results.
The proposed Zapatista camp in El Mayor could very well change the route of the next phase of the Other Campaign, when two comandantes go to each zone to live there and organize. Marcos revealed that the proposal to adherents for the next phase will include the following: that they will organize the tour in December, release the First Declaration of the Other Campaign in January, and begin the next phase of the Other Campaign in February with the Kiliwa in the Mexican northwest – not in the southeast, as had originally been planned.
- The Fund for Authentic Journalism