Tuesday, September 17, 2013

  Yaqui maintain highway blockade, call for international support
 VICAM PUEBLO, Sonora, Mexico -- Yoeme (Yaqui) in Vicam Pueblo maintained their highway barricade in defense of their water in the Rio Yaqui, as representatives of the National Indigenous Congress met over the weekend with directives from the Zapatistas Little School.Ofelia Rivas, O'odham representative of the National Indigenous Congress, attended the gathering in Vicam on Saturday, Sept. 14, 2013."Vicam Yoeme are calling for international support for a meeting on October 18 in the defense of water in Vicam," Rivas said. The Northwest regional meeting of the National Indigenous Congress included the states of Sonora, Sinoloa, Chihuahua and Baja."Yaqui are sending a special invitation to the Mohawks to attend this important meeting on water rights on October 18," Rivas said. 
Earlier, Mohawks joined Subcomandante Marcos and Zapatistas commandantes in Vicam Pueblo for a gathering in 2007. It is located about seven hours southwest of Tucson on the coast of Mexico. "Water is essential to our survival," said Mario Luna, spokesman for the Yoeme Traditional Authority of Vicam."Generations paid with their blood to maintain our homeland for future generations," Luna told the gathering this weekend.Luna said the illegal construction is already underway on the Independence Aqueduct. It is a diversion project of Yaqui water from the Rio Yaqui to the city of Hermosillo. Luna said neither the diversion project, nor Mexico's government officials have consulted with Vicam Yaquis as required for the impact statement.Yaquis said their around the clock, 24-hour a day, highway barricade of federal highway 15, manned by Yoeme warriors, has lasted more than 100 days and has had a major impact on produce flowing into the US. The barricade blocks traffic on the major highway between the Pacific Coast and the city of Hermosillo, a major route from the coast to the US. Yoeme lift the blockade for short periods, allowing trucks to pass after halting the trucks for hours, causing extensive delays, around the clock. Rivas said, "They have cars blocking the highway now. It is causing delays in produce like tomatoes getting to the US on time."Traditional Authorities of Yaqui Vicam Pueblo issued a summons for this weekend's gathering, in accordance with the Zapatistas Little School.
The Traditional Authorities said the water theft of the Yaqui River Basin will destroy the natural resources of this Indian territory."Considering that we have inhabited this territory for 2,500 years, a place where we were born and we have developed our existence, where mother earth provides us with everything for our life and like all the world's indigenous peoples live as brothers, with plants, trees, animals, birds, insects, the air, the heat, the cold, the sun, moon, stars, earth and water, of which is our home, food and healing, and the source of our power.""Whereas in the territory of the Yaqui tribe, our people are made of earth and water and all that comes from them. While building our culture and creating and consolidating our own institutions, in the vicinity of the river today known as Rio Yaqui, the current government perpetrated one of the most colossal robberies of living memory, stealing the waters of the basin and trying to spoil our people more.""Whereas for more than 520 years we have suffered, in our lives and in our hearts, the war of extermination, one of the longest and bloodiest wars of living memory, brought on by the political and economic power that is in power today," Yaqui said of the current authoritarian misrule.Yaqui said today the resistance and civil disobedience is for Yoeme Autonomy and Self-determination."Whereas the existence of Mother Earth and humanity is threatened by the hegemonic capitalist system for their insatiable greed and excessive economic and natural resource exploitation and death of ecosystems, carried out by large multinational corporations seeking to divest from our territories and to be strongholds of natural resources, in collusion with corrupt government institutions and the collusion of free market policies, such as NAFTA Puebla-Panama Plan, and its project northwest of the Sea of Cortez known as the Coastal Highway, along with that project, the current state government is stealing water from the Yaqui River basin through the illegal construction of the Independence Aqueduct, with the aim of more plunder, and giving an existential hit to our people.""Today through unfair and illegal, bidding, construction and operation of the Independence Aqueduct, they steal Yaqui river water and divert it to the city of Hermosillo, with the evil purpose of feeding large transnational businesses, real estate developments, and to encourage the speculation of businesses, with the rampant corrupt government complicity of Guillermo Padres Elias and consent of the current Federal Government.""The Yaqui Tribe, like most indigenous peoples and the more than 50 million poor who inhabit the country are on the border of extermination, as a result of economic policies that favor the success of the market," Yaqui said.
The Traditional Authority said Mexico wants to "turn water into a commodity, by privatizing and commodifying," water while neglecting the development, autonomy and the right to self-determination of Indigenous peoples.The Zapatistas, in conjunction with the Mexican Indigenous National Congress, issued a statement of solidarity and support for Yaqui.
“We believe that the earth is our mother and that the water that runs through her veins is not for sale. The life it gives us is a right, not something that the bad government or the business owners have granted us."“We demand the immediate cancellation of the arrest warrants and false accusations against members of the Yaqui Tribe, and we condemn the criminalization of their struggle. To the political party-based bad governments we say that the Yaqui River is the historical carrier of the ancestral continuity of Yaqui culture and territory, and that a slight against any of us is a slight against all of us. We will respond accordingly to any attempt to repress this dignified struggle or any other. We make a call to the international community and to our brothers and sisters of the International Sixth to be alert to the events in Yaqui territory and to join in solidarity with the Yaqui Tribe and its demands.”

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