The Narco News Bulletin
Name of Our Country is América"
II of The Mexican Transition: Spotlight on Chiapas
to December 1, 2000:
First Challenge: The San Andrés Peace Accords
not Words, will Decide from the Start the Ability of Mexico's
Next President to Govern
Text of San Andrés Accords, that Restore Autonomy to All
Aspects of Daily Life, Including Drug Policy, Are Published Below
presidents, kings, and even presidents-elect
speak more clearly when their words will be published in foreign
lands and languages, where the folks back home are unlikely to
The Narco News Bulletin has thus monitored the international press coverage
of Mexican president-elect Vicente Fox - who takes office next
Friday, December 1 - and found an interview, published in the
Catalan language of Barcelona (the autonomous region of Spain
known as Catalunya) on Sunday, November 26th.
In the interview, by Verònica Sanz,
Mexico City Correspondent of the daily Avui in Barcelona,
Fox partially revealed his plan for Mexico's southernmost state
of Chiapas, where the indigenous Zapatista Army of National Liberation
(EZLN, in its Spanish acronym) has rebelled against the State
for almost seven years.
And yet, in Mexico since his July 2nd
election, Fox has said little about the Chiapas conflict, which,
during his presidential campaign he boasted he would be able
to solve "in 15 minutes."
Indeed, Fox's ability to govern, as we
in our Chiapas analysis last August in Narco News, is absolutely dependent on his ability to end
the "low-intensity warfare" waged by the Mexican state
with Pentagon manuals, US arms, Davidow's
Embassy spooks and narco-paramilitaries
created and supported by governments to wage the dirty war against
the indigenous people of Chiapas.
Especially relevant to our work is how
the Mexican armed forces have used the Chiapas conflict to gain
monopoly control over drug trafficking through this border state
while repressing indigenous communities that not only do not
traffic in drugs, but refuse consumption of drugs and alcohol.
series on Chiapas published last
Spring reported what the Colombian daily El Universal
of Medellín concluded in an investigative report last
Wednesday, November 22nd: that in the past five years, with the
Mexican Army and 70,000 of its troops occupying every corner
of Chiapas, the drug trade in that State has increased exponentially.
Chiapas, in wartime, has become a Narco-State, where the government
trafficks the drugs in place of combatting them.
Bringing a peace with justice to Chiapas
is not just necessary for Fox's ability to govern at home; it
is an absolute requirement for the new president to continue
to enjoy goodwill abroad.
There is one sentence, however, that is
vitally necessary for Fox to speak, loudly and clearly. It is:
That the San Andrés Peace Agreements will be enacted,
in the form that they were signed. And then he needs to go
beyond words and enact them.
The Mexican State signed the peace accords
in 1996 with the Zapatista communities, and then proceeded to
break them ruthlessly and violently.
Had the ruling PRI party of 71 years respected
those agreements, it would still be in power. Thus, Fox owes
his historic presidential victory to the Zapatista rebellion
which began the end of the one-party state.
And yet Fox and his aides have ducked
those three words -- San Andrés Accords -- at home and
The press, domestic and international,
has also failed to pin him down on this central point.
We explained, last August, the reasons
for the cageyness regarding the San Andrés Accords by
Fox and too much of the media.
The San Andrés accords restore
autonomy to indigenous communities: that is to say, autonomous
control over local government, its form, its judicial processes
(including certain drug policies), its media, and, above all,
autonomous control over the land.
The US government has pressured the Mexican
State to break that treaty (just as the US has broken all its
treaties with indigenous peoples). The interests of multi-national
corporations who want the oil to be privatized and looted along
with the minerals, the hardwoods, the agriculture, the natural
wealth of the Lacandon jungle, and the cheap labor of persecuted
Chiapanecos, are mounted against the concept that Indians will
control those resources in and under their towns.
Furthermore, US officials fear the precedent
set: the enactment of the San Andrés Accords in Mexico
will restore autonomy not just to Chiapas, but to all of Mexico's
56 indigenous ethnic groups in regions from South to North. This
historic development would come as indigenous peoples in other
lands - Guatemala, Ecuador, Bolivia, Peru, Brazil, Nicaragua,
Panama, Colombia and others - are demanding the same justice.
Fox is caught between his campaign promise
to respect and enact the San Andrés Accords and the pressures
of the superpower to the North and its business interests (including
the media, which has a vested interest in opposing that part
of the treaty that would guarantee Indigenous access to the airwaves).
We say it again: Enactment of the San
Andrés Peace Accords by the Fox government will be the
sina qua non - that without which nothing else can happen
- of his ability to govern the great nation of 96 million people,
ten million or more of them indigenous, that is Mexico.
Our analysis begins with what Fox is saying
(as opposed to his silence on the San Andrés Accords)
in Sunday's edition of Avui ("Today") of Barcelona.
Translated from the original Catalan by The Narco News Bulletin,
here is what Vicente Fox told Mexico correspondent Veronica Sanz
for consumption across the ocean:
Sanz: Is it true that you will withdraw the army from
the State of Chiapas if the Zapatistas rejoin the peace negotiations?
Fox: I don't see reasons that justify the exit of the
army from Chiapas nor from any other state. What I have said
is that the army should return to the positions it held when
the conflict began. Within a month, this will be an unconditional
measure, a demonstration of good faith toward the leaders of
the EZLN that the new government has the sincere will to dialogue.
Sanz: You said that upon winning the presidency you would
try to put yourself in contact with the Zapatistas, but they
have not responded. To what do you attribute this silence?
Fox: It s clear that there has to be dialogue to solve
this conflict. I would think that the EZLN is making its analysis,
it's reflection with respect to the messages that I have sent
and that society has sent by electing for the first time a president
and a governor who are not part of the Institutional Revolutionary
Narco News Analysis: The withdraw of the Mexican Army "to the
positions it held when the conflict began," as Fox pledges,
ignores the role of those same Armed Forces in provoking the
rebellion on December 31, 1993 that continues today.
When the Zapatistas rose up and took for
cities on that New Year's Eve, they brought with them a pamphlet,
"El Despertador Mexicano" ("The Mexican
Awakener," alternately translated as "The Mexican Alarm
Clock"), dated December 31, 1993:
TODAY WE SAY ENOUGH IS
TO THE PEOPLE OF MEXICO:
MEXICAN BROTHERS AND SISTERS:
We are the product of 500 years of struggle: first against
slavery, then during the War of Independence against Spain led
by insurgents, then to avoid being absorbed by North American
imperialism, then to promulgate our constitution and expel the
French Empire from our soil, and later the dictatorship of Porfirio
Diaz denied us the just application of our Reform Laws, and the
people rebelled and leaders like Villa and Zapata emerged, poor
people like us. We have been denied the most elemental preparation
so that they can use us as cannon fodder and pillage the wealth
of our country. They don't care that we have nothing, absolutely
nothing, not even a roof over our heads: no land, no work, no
health care, no food, no education
Well aware of the US-imposed strategy
of using a hypocritical drug war to repress social movements
throughout America, the Zapatistas wrote in their opening statement:
Beforehand, we reject
any effort to disgrace our just cause by accusing us of being
drug traffickers, drug guerrillas, thieves or other names that
might be used by our enemies. Our struggle follows the Constitution,
which is held high by its call for justice and equality.
The Zapatistas declared war upon the Mexican
Army, when the military was in the very "positions it held
when the conflict began" and among its demands called, in
a clear reference to US influence over the Mexican Armed Forces
through the School of the Americas and other means, for:
against all soldiers of the Mexican Federal Army and the political
police who have received training or have been paid by foreigners,
accused of being traitors to our country..."
Thus, while Fox's planned repositioning
of the Mexican army in Chiapas will play well to those unfamiliar
with the causes that led to the conflict almost seven years ago,
it will not remove one of the key reasons why the conflict began:
the use of a military apparatus by the Mexican state, with US
aid, arms and advisors, not to defend the nation from foreign
attack, but to occupy and oppress its own people, particularly
the indigenous Mexicans.
Fox's post-electoral silence on the San
Andrés Accords - the one hope that he has for ending the
conflict and restoring peace - is bizarre, given that every national
public opinion poll demonstrates that the Mexican public - indigenous
or not - supports the Accords in numbers greater than it supports
Fox or any other politician.
Miguel Concha, who heads Mexico's Catholic
Dominican order and is one of the leading human rights advocates
in all América, wrote a "Proposal for Chiapas"
in his Saturday, November 25th column in La Jornada.
He noted that Fox's own appointed "Study
Commission for the Reform of the State," a body that delivered
its report last Wednesday to the president-elect, called for
the passage of the San Andrés Accords, as interpreted
by the Cocopa Peace Commission of federal legislators and citizens,
so that "ethnic and cultural autonomy must be consecrated
in the Constitution."
The commission's call for the passage
of the San Andrés Accords and the "demilitarization
of Chiapas" was met, wrote Concha, "with intense applause
by the 130 academics, specialists and intellectuals who are members
of the commission" that attended the Wednesday presentation
of the report.
It was Fox who appointed these 130 members
of Mexican Civil Society to his commission. Thus his silence
on the San Andrés Accords is puzzling.
Fox made a reference in his Barcelona
interview to the newly elected governor of Chiapas, Pablo Salazar.
The new Chiapas governor was also a member of Cocopa, the peace
commission that drafted the legislation based on the San Andrés
Fox's new special envoy to Chiapas --
the 85-year-old statesman Luis H. Alvarez - was also a member
Alvarez, who will replace the whiney and
disingenuous Emilio Rebasa who made a violent mess of Chiapas
policy as outgoing President Ernesto Zedillo's Chiapas envoy,
also seems to understand the primary importance of the San Andrés
Accords, and yet since his nomination last Wednesday, Alvarez
has not used the words even when he has referred to the broken
Interviewed in last Thursday's El Universal
of Mexico City, Alvarez made a reference to the San Andrés
Accords without naming them, when he spoke of "broken promises"
by the State toward the indigenous Zapatistas:
El Universal: Do you now hope for some statement
from the EZLN, which has not happened since the July 2nd election?
Alvarez: I personally don't even expect such a statement
in the near future. I believe that the entering government will
have to demonstrate with deeds that, in effect, it will conduct
a new and different manner of governing.
El Universal: What is the fundamental step to
initiate the dialogue?
Alvarez: The instituting of measures that have the capacity
to revive the confidence in the various parties. The distrust
is lamentable but understandable, because they (the Zapatistas)
have been victims on innumerable occasions of tricks and broken
And in an interview that same day with
Proceso online, Alvarez said:
"We propose to demonstrate
to the indigenous communities that the results of July 2nd have
at their base the change of attitudes that lamentably have been
present in the past and that have kept the people marginalized."
Not hearing the words "San Andrés
Accords," Proceso nonetheless called Alvarez's statement
"a clear allusion to the San Andrés Accords that
President Ernesto Zedillo ignored."
If that is the case, then why won't Fox,
nor his new Chiapas envoy, nor anyone else on his staff other
than the 130-member commission on Reform of the State, use the
words "San Andrés Accords?"
The optimistic view is that Fox, ever
the showman, is holding back in order to bring more impact to
his immediate adherence, next Friday, to the San Andrés
But if the new government will merely
talk of peace and dialogue in Chiapas while continuing to break
the promise made by the Mexican State in the San Andrés
Accords, the hopes and aspirations that the Mexican public have
placed in their new leader will be extinguished before they even
have a chance to be achieved.
Or, as the San Andrés Accords state
"Autonomy is the
concrete expression of the exercise of the right to self-determination."
We have often stated that, in formulating
a new drug policy, autonomy -- of the sovereign nation, the community
and the individual -- is our guiding principle.
The San Andrés Accords, in their
guarantee of local autonomous systems of justice, provide community
autonomy -- what more commonly in North America is known as "local
control" or "home rule" -- over certain drug policies.
That includes the right to prohibit, on a local scale, certain
drugs, including alcohol, as the Zapatista communities have done.
And it also includes, according to the agreements, "The
rights of the indigenous towns to the protection of their sacred
sites and ceremonial centers, and the use of plants... that are
considered sacred for strictly ritual use must also be insured."
In this historic agreement that creates
a saner drug policy more tuned to local customs and needs, The
Narco News Bulletin adheres to the San Andrés Accords.
Beyond our own theme of drug policy, the
historic importance of the San Andrés Accords is how they
have applied the principle of autonomy to all aspects of everyday
life, thus providing América a path out of the globalized
inferno, imposed upon us without democratic vote nor consultation,
under which we reside today.
Vicente Fox owes his victory to the possibility
of defeating one-party rule, a hope that was raised valiently
by the resistance that the indigenous Mexicans who rose up on
December 31, 1993.
The coming days and weeks will determine
whether Vicente Fox honors that debt.
From somewhere in that country called
In the public
interest, Narco News hereby publishes the full text of the San
Andrés Accords of January 18, 1996, signed by the Mexican
Federal Government and the Zapatista Army of National Liberation.
The translation to English
was by Rosalva Bermudez-Ballin for the Irish Zapatista Homepage:
San Andrés accords
January 18, 1996
Joint Proposals which the
Federal Government and the EZLN commit to send to the Debate
and National Decision Authorities, in Accord with Point 1.4 of
the Rules of Procedure.
"The various parties commit
themselves to sending to the Debate and National Decision Authorities
the following joint proposals upon which they have agreed".
the basis of the new relationship between
the State and the indigenous peoples it is necessary to recognize,
insure and guarantee rights within an emended federalist framework.
Such an objective implies the promotion of reforms and addenda
to the Federal Constitution and the laws emerging from it , as
well as to State Constitutions and local Judicial Dispositions,
to further, on the one hand, the establishment of general foundations
that may insure unity and national objectives; and, at the same
time, allow the federative entities the true power to legislate
and act in accordance to the particularities of the indigenous
issues coming before them.
To urge a profound transformation of the State, as well as of
the political, social, cultural, and economic relationships with
the indigenous peoples, which satisfies their demands for justice.
To urge the emplacement of an all-inclusive new social agreement,
based on the understanding of the fundamental plurality of Mexican
society and on the contribution that the indigenous people can
make to national unity, beginning with the constitutional acknowledgement
of their rights, and in particular, to their right to self-determination
The legal reforms to be promoted must originate from the principle
of the equality of all Mexicans before the law and judicial organs,
and not by the creation of special codes of law that privilege
particular people; respecting the principle that the Mexican
Nation is a pluricultural entity which is originally supported
by its indigenous peoples.
constitutional modifications represent one of the most important
factors in the new relationship between the indigenous peoples
and the State within the framework of reforming the State, so
that their demands may find support within the State legal system.
creation of a judicial framework that establishes a new relationship
between indigenous peoples and the State, based on the recognition
of their right to self-determination and the judicial, political,
social, economic and cultural rights that obtain from it. The
new constitutional dispositions must include a framework of autonomy.
a judicial framework must be produced with the recognition of
the self-determination of indigenous peoples, who, with previous
societies, are the ones who have suffered a historical continuation
of colonial oppression, maintain and recognize their own identities;
and possess the will to preserve them, based on their own, distinct
cultural, social, political and economic characteristics. Those
attributes characterize them as indigenous peoples, and as such,
they are constituted as subjects with a right to self-determination.
Autonomy is the concrete expression of
the exercise of the right to self-determination, within the framework
of membership in the National State. The indigenous peoples shall
be able, consequently, to decide their own form of internal government
as well as decide their way of organizing themselves politically,
socially, economically and culturally. Within the new constitutional
framework of autonomy, the exercise of self-determination of
indigenous peoples shall be respected in each of the domains
and levels in which they are asserted, being able to encompass
one or more indigenous groups, according to particular and specific
circumstances in each federal entity. The exercise of autonomy
of indigenous people will contribute to the unity and democratization
of national life and will strengthen national sovereignty.
It is appropriate to admit, as a fundamental
demand of the indigenous peoples, their right to autonomy, insofar
as they are communities with different cultures and they have
the faculty to decide their own local issues within the framework
of the National State. This acknowledgement is based on Agreement
169 of the OIT International Labor Organization, and ratified
by the Senate of the Republic. Thus, the recognition of autonomy
is based on the concept of indigenous group, which is founded
on historical criteria and on cultural identity.
legislation must acknowledge indigenous peoples as subjects with
the right to self-determination and autonomy.
It is proposed to the Congress of the Union to recognize, in
national legislation, these communities as entities with public
rights, with the right to free association in municipalities
with populations that are predominantly indigenous, as well as
the right of a group of municipalities to associate, in order
to coordinate their actions as indigenous peoples.
Competent authorities will execute the
orderly and gradual transference of resources, so that the people
themselves may administer the public funds assigned to them,
and to strengthen the indigenous participation in government,
negotiations and administration in the various domains and levels.
It will be up to state legislatures to determine, in their case,
the obligations and faculties that might be transferred.
State legislatures will be able to move
forward on the remunicipatization in the territories in which
the indigenous villages are established, said remunicipalization
must be based on consultation with the towns involved.
In order to strengthen the federal contract,
it is essential to revise in depth, not only the relationship
between the Federation and the state governments, but also the
relationship between the latter and the municipalities.
The union between townships and predominantly
indigenous populations is proposed, not as a different type of
municipality, but as one which, within the framework of the general
concept of this political institution, may allow indigenous participation
in its composition and unity, while, at the same time promoting
and integrating indigenous communities into the municipal government.
As to what constitutes a municipality with a predominantly indigenous
population, reaffirming the full meaning of a free municipality
on which federalism is based, it is considered necessary that
the organizations be constitutionally strengthened, in such a
may be endowed with duties that guarantee the exercise of autonomy
of the indigenous peoples;
structure foreseen in the Municipal Organic Law will guide and
orient them toward facing the new challenges of development,
and in particular to the needs and new forms of organization
specifically for indigenous towns;
It is proposed that the Congress of the Union and to the State
Legislatures acknowledge and establish the characteristics of
self-determination and the levels and modes of autonomy, taking
into consideration what "autonomy" means.
Every indigenous town is found in a territory that covers the
entire habitat occupied or used by indigenous people in one form
or another. The territory is the material base of their reproduction
as a people and it expresses the inseparable unity people-land-nature.
Demarcation of application. Jurisdiction is the spatial, material
and personal normative field of validity in which the indigenous
people apply their rights. The Mexican State will acknowledge
the existence of said fields.
Responsibilities. There must be compatibility with various federal,
state and municipal authorities, as well as a distribution of
political, administrative, economic, social, cultural, educational,
judicial resources, for the management and protection of natural
resources, with the purpose of responding opportunely to the
requirements and demands of indigenous peoples.
Furthermore, it will be required to specify
the obligations, faculties and resources that are likely to be
transferred to the indigenous communities and towns under the
established criteria in Section 5.2 of the document entitled
"Joint Pronouncements", as well as the various forms
of participation by the communities and towns vis a vis the government
authorities, so that they may interact and coordinate their actions
with them, particularly at the municipal level.
Self-development. The indigenous communities and towns themselves
must determine their development projects and programs. For this
reason, it is considered appropriate to incorporate, in local
and federal legislation, the ideal mechanisms that would promote
the participation of indigenous peoples in the planning for development
at all levels; so that the design of this participation may take
into consideration their aspirations, needs and priorities.
Participation in the national and state channels of representation.
Local and national participation and political representation
must be ensured, respecting the various socio-cultural characteristics,
in order to create a new federalism.
It is proposed to the Congress of the
Union, the recognition, in constitutional and political reforms
that may derive, of the rights of the indigenous woman to participate
as an equal with men in all levels of government and in the development
of indigenous peoples.
It is proposed to the Congress of the Union and to the State
legislatures that, in acknowledging indigenous autonomy and for
the determination of all its levels, they take into consideration
the main rights that are the objects of said autonomy; establishing
the characteristics required to insure its free exercise. Among
said rights, the following may be emphasized:
exercise the right to develop the specific forms of social, cultural,
political and economic organization;
to obtain the recognition of their internal normative systems
for regulation and sanctions, insofar as they are not contrary
to constitutional guarantees and human rights, especially those
agree to State jurisdiction in a better way;
to agree collectively to the use and enjoyment of natural resources,
except those which fall under national jurisdiction;
to promote the development of the various components of indigenous
identity and cultural heritage;
interact with the various levels of political representation
in government and the administration of justice;
cooperate with other communities of their ethnicity or different
groups, in joining efforts and coordinating actions for optimal
use of resources, and the initiation of regional and general
development projects for the promotion and defense of common
design their community and their municipal government representation
freely, as well as selecting their authorities as indigenous
peoples, in accordance with their own institutions and traditions;
promote and develop their languages and cultures, as well as
their political, social, economic, religious and cultural customs
in political participation and representation. Municipal strengthening.
It is convenient to anticipate at the constitutional level the
necessary mechanisms that:
the adequate political participation of indigenous communities
and peoples in the Congress of the Union and local congresses,
incorporating new criteria in setting the boundaries of the electoral
districts that correspond to the indigenous communities and towns;
Allow participation in the electoral processes without requiring
participation of the political parties;
the effective participation of the indigenous peoples in the
publicity and supervision of those processes;
Guarantee the organization of internal election or nomination
the system assignation of offices and other forms of organization,
methods of designation of representatives, and the making of
decisions in the assembly and of popular consultation.
Establish the election of municipal agents or allied figures
or, when appropriate, be named by the corresponding towns and
Foresee in the state legislation the mechanisms that may allow
the revision, and, when appropriate, the modification of the
names of the municipalities, proposed by the population located
in the corresponding boundaries.
guarantee of full access to justice. The State must guarantee
the towns full access to the jurisdiction of the Mexican State,
with recognition and respect for their own internal normative
systems, guaranteeing full respect for human rights. It will
promote the recognition that positive Mexican Law may acknowledge
the authorities, norms and internal procedures for conflict resolution
of towns and communities, will guarantee that local judgments
and decisions are confirmed by the judicial authorities of the
The recognition of jurisdictional spaces
to the designated authorities in the heart of the indigenous
communities, towns and municipalities stems from a restructuring
of the municipal charter, so that said authorities will be able
to settle internal conflicts of coexistence; their knowledge
and resolution may imply a better acquisition and distribution
The marginalization in which the indigenous
people live and the conditions of disadvantage to which they
consent in the system of granting and procuring justice, create
the need for a serious revision of the federal and state judicial
frameworks, so that effective access of the indigenous peoples
be guaranteed, or in place of local action, access to its members
to the State jurisdiction, and in this manner, avoiding partial
distribution of justice to the detriment of[the indigenous sector
of the population.
In the legislative reforms that may enrich
the internal normative systems it must be determined that, when
sanctions are imposed upon members of the indigenous towns, the
economic, social and cultural characteristics of those sanctioned
must be taken into consideration, privileging sanctions other
than incarceration. Preferably sentences may carried out in places
that are closer to home and also, that integration into the community
be favored as an essential mechanism of social readaptation.
The insertion of the norms and judicial
practices of the indigenous communities as a source of law applicable
to procedures and resolutions of controversies under their authorities,
will be encouraged; also, in order to provide constitutional
guarantees, it is strongly suggested that federal and local judgments
in which the indigenous people are involved be taken into consideration.
and respect of indigenous culture. It is considered necessary
to elevate the constitutional rank of all Mexicans by means of
a pluricultural education that acknowledges, disseminates and
promotes the history, customs, traditions and, in general, the
culture of the indigenous peoples, root of our national identity.
The Federal Government will promote the
laws and necessary policies so that the indigenous languages
in each state may have the same social value as Spanish, and
it will promote the development of practices that deter discrimination
against them in administrative and legal transactions.
The Federal Government commits itself
to the promotion, development, preservation and practice of indigenous
languages by providing education in the indigenous languages;
moreover, it will favor the instruction of writing and reading
in the languages themselves; and measures will be adopted to
insure that these peoples have the opportunity to learn Spanish.
Knowledge of indigenous cultures is national
enrichment and a necessary step to eliminate misunderstandings
and discrimination toward indigenous peoples.
Integral Indigenous Education. The various governments commit
themselves to respect the educational tasks of the indigenous
peoples within their own cultural space. The allocation of financial,
material and human resources must be brought about with fairness
to plan and carry out educational and cultural activities determined
by the indigenous towns and communities.
The State must bring about the indigenous
peoples' right to a free and quality education, as well as to
encourage the participation of the indigenous towns and communities
in selecting, ratifying and removing teachers, taking into consideration
criteria on academic and professional performance previously
agreed on by the indigenous peoples and the corresponding authorities,
and to form supervisory committees on the quality of education
within the framework of local institutions.
The right to bilingual and inter cultural
education of the indigenous peoples is ratified. The definition
and development of educational programs with regional content,
where their cultural heritage is recognized, are established
as the jurisdiction of federative entities in consultation with
the indigenous towns. It will be possible, through educational
action, to insure the use and development of indigenous languages,
as well as the participation of towns and communities in conformance
with the spirit of Agreement 169 of the OIT (International Labor
provision of basic needs. The State must set up mechanisms to
guarantee the indigenous towns the conditions that may allow
them to satisfactorily tend to their nourishment, health, and
housing at an adequate level of well-being. Social policy must
set up priority programs for the improvement of the levels of
health and nourishment of children, as well as support programs,
in an egalitarian plane, for the training of women, increasing
their participation in the organization and the development of
the family and the community. Priority must be given to the intervention
of the indigenous woman in the decisions regarding economic,
political, social and cultural development projects.
and employment. Historically, development models have not taken
into consideration the productive systems of the indigenous peoples.
Consequently, the utilization of their potentials must be encouraged.
The Mexican judicial system, both at federal
and state levels must push for the recognition of the indigenous
peoples' right to the sustainable use and the derived benefits
of the use and development of the natural resources of the territories
they occupy or utilize in any form, so that, in a framework of
global development, the economic underdevelopment and isolation
may be overcome. This action also implies an increase in and
reorientation of social spending. The State must foster the development
of the economicbase of the indigenous towns and must guarantee
their participation in designing the strategies directed toward
the improvement of their living conditions and the provision
of basic services.
of migrant indigenous peoples. The State must set up specific
social policies to protect migrant indigenous people, both in
the national territory as well as beyond its borders, with inter
institutional actions to support work and education of women,
and health and education for children and youth, which, in rural
regions, must be coordinated in the areas of contribution as
well as those that attract agricultural workers.
Means of communication. With the purpose of creating an inter
cultural dialogue from the community level up to the national
level, that may allow a new and positive relationship between
the various indigenous groups and between these groups and the
rest of society, it is essential to endow these towns with their
own means of communication, which are also key mechanisms for
the development of their cultures. Therefore, it will be proposed
to the respective national authorities, to elaborate a new communications
law that may allow the indigenous towns to acquire, operate and
administrate their own means of communication.
The Federal and State governments will
promote that the means of communication currently in the hands
of the Indigenists become indigenous means of communication,
which is a demand made by the indigenous communities and towns.
The Federal Government will recommend
to the respective authorities that the seventeen INI (National
Indigenist Institute) radio stations be given to the indigenous
communities in their respective regions, with the transference
of permits, infrastructure and resources, when an expressed request
by the indigenous communities has been issued to this effect.
In the same manner, it is necessary to
create a new judicial framework in the area of communications
that may consider the following aspects: national pluriculturalism;
the right to use indigenous languages in the media; the right
to rebuttal; guarantees to rights of expression, information
and communication; and the democratic participation of the indigenous
towns and communities before the authorities who decide on matters
of communication. The participation of interested parties in
establishing a civic responsibility process for the decision
making authorities in the area of communication, can be realized
through the creation of a communications Ombudsman or a citizens'
Council of communications.
THE ADOPTION OF THE FOLLOWING PRINCIPLES,
WHICH MUST GOVERN THE NEW RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN INDIGENOUS PEOPLE
AND THE STATE AND THE REST OF SOCIETY:
Pluralism. The contact between the peoples and cultures that
constitute Mexican society must be based on respect for their
differences, and must assume their fundamental equality. Consequently,
it must be the policy of the State to regulate its action, to
promote a pluralist orientation in society, capable of actively
combating every form of discrimination, and of correcting economic
and social inequalities. Similarly, it will be necessary to move
towards the creation of a judicial order nourished by plurality,
reflecting intercultural dialogue with common standards for all
Mexicans and respect for the internal systems of law of the indigenous
Self-determination. The State shall respect the exercise of self-determination
by indigenous peoples, in all fields and levels where they will
try to validate and practice their separate autonomy, without
damaging national sovereignty and within the new normative framework
for the indigenous towns. This implies respect for their cultural
identities and their forms of social organization. It will also
respect the abilities of the indigenous towns and communities
to determine their own development, as long as national and public
interest is respected. The various levels of government and State
institutions will not intervene unilaterally in the affairs and
decisions of the indigenous towns and communities, in their organization
and forms of representation, and in their current strategies
for the use of resources.
It is necessary and urgent to safeguard the natural areas and
culture of the territories of indigenous peoples. Legislation
will push for the recognition of the rights of the indigenous
towns and communities to receive the corresponding indemnization,
when the exploitation of natural resources carried out by the
State causes damages to their habitat which may endanger their
cultural survival. In the cases where damage has already occurred,
and the towns are where damage has already occurred, and these
towns are able to show that the given compensation does not allow
their cultural survival, the establishment of review mechanisms
will be promoted to allow the State and the affected to jointly
analyze the specific case. In both cases the compensatory mechanisms
will try to insure the sustainable development of the indigenous
towns and communities.
In the same manner, there will be launched,
in common accord with the indigenous towns, rehabilitation activities
of those territories, and support of initiatives to create the
conditions that may insure the sustainability of their practices
of production and of life.
and Accord. The policies, laws, programs, and public actions
that might relate to the indigenous towns will be consulted.
The State must promote the integrity and agreement of all the
institutions and levels of government that influence the life
of the indigenous towns, avoiding partial practices influence
the life of the indigenous towns, avoiding partial practices
that may split up public policy. To insure that their action
corresponds to the distinct characteristics of the various indigenous
towns, and to avoid the imposition of uniform policies and programs,
their participation in all the phases of public action, including
conception, planning and evaluation must be guaranteed.
Similarly, there must be a gradual and
orderly transference of powers, obligations and resources to
the municipalities and communities so that, with the participation
of the latter, the public monies assigned to them may be distributed.
As for resources, and for whatever purpose they may exist, they
may be transferred to the forms of organization and association
that are anticipated in point 5.2 of the document of Joint Pronouncements.
Since the policies in the indigenous areas should not only be
conceived with the towns themselves, but implemented with them,
the present indigenist and social development institutions that
operate locally must be transformed into different entities that
may be conceived and operated jointly and in concert with the
State and the indigenous peoples themselves.
of the Federal System and democratic Descentralization. The new
relationship with the indigenous peoples encompasses a process
of decentralization of the obligations, faculties and resources
of the federal and state authorities to the municipal governments,
in the spirit of point 5.2 of the document Joint Pronouncements,
so that with the active participation of the indigenous communities
and the population in general, they may assume the initiatives
CONSTITUTIONAL AND LEGAL REFORMS
The establishment of a new relationship between the indigenous
peoples and the State has, as a necessary point of departure,
the peoples and the State has, as a necessary point of departure,
the creation of a new judicial framework at the national level
as well as in the federative entities. The constitutional reforms
that recognize the rights of the indigenous towns must be achieved
through a creative legislative spirit, that may produce new policies
and may give real solutions to social problems. To that effect,
we propose that these reforms must contain, among others, the
following general aspects:
To legislate on the autonomy of the indigenous communities and
towns, to include the recognition of the communities as entities
with public law; their right to associate freely with municipalities
that are of predominantly indigenous populations; and also the
right of various municipalities to associate for the purpose
of coordinating their actions as indigenous towns;
To legislate to "guarantee the protection of the integrity
of the lands belonging to indigenous groups," taking into
consideration the specifics of the indigenous towns and communities,
in the concept of territorial integrity contained in Agreement
169 of the OIT (International Labor Organization), as well as
establishing the procedures and mechanisms for the regularization
of the various forms of indigenous property rights and for thepromotion
of cultural cohesion;
issues related to natural resources, to install a preferential
order that privileges the indigenous communities in the granting
of concessions in order to reap the benefits of the exploitation
and use of natural resources;
on the rights of the indigenous people, men and women, to have
representatives in the legislative entities, particularly in
the Congress of the Union and in the local congresses; incorporating
new criteria to delimit the electoral districts that may correspond
to the indigenous communities and towns, and that they be allowed
to have elections in accordance to the legislation on that matter;
Legislate on the rights of the indigenous towns to elect their
own authorities and to exercise authority according to their
own internal norms in their autonomous localities, guaranteeing
the participation of women on equal terms;
the content of the legislation, to take into consideration the
pluricultural nature of the Mexican Nation that may be reflected
in intercultural dialogue, with common standards for all Mexicans
and with respect for the internal normative systems of the indigenous
In the Constitution, to insure the obligation to not discriminate
on the basis of racial or ethnic origin, language, gender, beliefs
or social condition, thus, making possible the designation of
discrimination as a crime.
The rights of the indigenous towns to
the protection of their sacred sites and ceremonial centers,
and the use of plants and animals that are sites and ceremonial
centers, and the use of plants and animals that are considered
sacred for strictly ritual use must also be insured;
so that no form of coercion may be exercised against the individual
guarantees and the specific rights and freedoms of the indigenous
the rights of the indigenous towns to the free exercise and development
of their cultures and their access to means of communication.
Mexican Transition: Immediate History
Where Deeds Count
More Than Words