|Photo Essay: The "Caravan for Land and Territory" in Mexico|
|Written by Clayton Conn|
|Monday, 06 August 2012 15:14|
This past week a caravan of more than 200 Ch’ol Mayan indigenous from the Mexican State of Chiapas arrived in Mexico City to demand that the nation’s Supreme Court recognize their right to their communal lands (ejido), which are being denied by Chiapan state authorities. The “Caravan for Land and Territory” arrived to the nations capital on August 1 with a dignified, combative yet peaceful march from the city’s Monument of the Revolution to the main plaza where the Supreme Court is located.
According to the Ch’ol, the Chiapan government has ignored and denied their right to their communal lands in the municipality of Tila, expropriating more than 130 hectares (21 acres) from the community through an illegal decree in 1980. The State has since ignored court orders to return the land, and now an appeal filed by the Ch’ol has reached the Supreme Court.
The decision of this case may prove to be a precedent as many indigenous and farm workers throughout the country continue to face various battles to protect their lands and rights from expropriation, privatization, exclusion and marginalization.
The Supreme Court was to make its final decision on August 2, but has put the decision on hold.
After traveling for hundreds of miles, with nearly 4 days of little to no sleep, the Ch’ol of Tila, adherents to the EZLN’s Other Campaign, wearing the distinguishable bright red paliacate (scarf) a symbol of resistance in Chiapas, displayed their dignified rage in the historic center of the capital. They virtually shut down the city center with chants of “The land is not for sale, it is loved and defended” and “Zapata lives, the struggle continues!”
Aside from the ejiditarios from Tila, other organizations participated in the march to show their support and solidarity. Members of the Mexican Electricians Union (SME in it’s Spanish initials), the Other Campaign, participants of the student movement #YoSoy132 (I am 132), the People’s Front in Defense of the Land (FPDT), and the Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity (MPJD) all were present.
“Enough of the dispossession of the Tila ejido!”
“Zapata Lives the Struggle Continues!”
Members of the student movement #YoSoy132 (I am 132) joined the march in support and solidarity.
“We want respect for our Mother Earth and Territory. Long live autonomy and the culture of indigenous peoples.”
“Maiz: Remember your Root” – The expropriation of communal or ejidal lands for many indigenous and farm workers, is not simply just the loss of territory, but also autonomy and culture. Maiz or corn is the base of the diet but also a symbol of their culture, heritage and autonomy.
Chiapas – Our - Culture
"Land and Liberty"
Members of Atenco’s Peoples Front in Defense of the Land (FPDT in it’s Spanish initials).