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|Asunto:||[LEA-Venezuela] Wayuu en la segunda reunion internacional de comunidades zapatistas |
|Fecha:||Viernes, 16 de Noviembre, 2007 05:45:36 (-0400)|
|Autor:||Jorge Hinestroza <jlhinestroza @.....com>
Venezuela: Interview with an indigenous activist
|* As part of the 2.300 delegates in the second
Zapatista and indigenous community's international reunion, which took
place last July in Mexico, members of the wayuu community delivered a
truly important message: Venezuelan indigenous community's situation is
very different than the declared by the government people in Caracas. El
Libertario talked about the experience with Jorge Montiel, member of the
|As part of the 2.300 delegates in the second
Zapatista and indigenous community's international reunion, which took
place last July in Mexico, there was a small delegation from Zulia. Jorge
Montiel and Diego, members of the wayuu community, delivered a truly
important message: Venezuelan indigenous community's situation is very
different than the declared by the government people in Caracas. The
message transmitted concerned the "zapatista" movement which, as previous
declarations confirmed, started to consider in good terms the Venezuelan
government actions. El Libertario talked about the experience with Jorge
Montiel, member of the Maikiralasa'lii, which means organization who does
not sell itself. |
What motivated you to assist to the Zapatista
- The invitation came from Professor Quintero Weil, from LUZ
(Zulia's University); he's studying a PhD degree in Mexico and has some
relations with the Zapatista movement. It was always part of our aims to
go to Mexico and share the experience with our fellow Zapatistas,
opportunity we had thanks to people like Cristian Guerrero, fellow
students from the UNAM (National Autonomic Mexican University) and also
other people who welcomed us with solidarity.
you are linked with, has taken a continue struggle about the coal issue.
Now the wayuu have formed a new group named Maikiralasa'lii. What's the
- Homoetnatura has always been linked to the indigenous
communities, but we wanted to have an organization strictly for wayuu
indigenous, despite this we have the same aims. Right now we are only
wayuu, but we are considering the possibility of associate with other
communities in order to include also our fellow Yukpa and Bari. With this
new organization and against the coal we went to Mexico.
the welcoming in the reunion?
- Our message surprised our fellow
Zapatistas and other indigenous, journalists and fellows from all
continents. We talked a lot about our struggle, which is very similar to
Zapatista's struggle: land, water, biodiversity. They loved the fact that
in Venezuela we have an organization not handled by political parties.
When we explained everything related to the struggle, the Zapatistas said
"you are the first Venezuelan indigenous organization who comes without
wearing the red shirt and cap (red is related to Venezuelan government).
We have met a lot of Venezuelan organizations who speak about a lot of
issues but don't explain the real situation". We explained our own truth
with no intention to attack President Chavez government, because we have a
truth in front of us and we need to inform it. We were the most
interviewed delegation in this reunion. We had almost 40 interviews from
all over the World. When we came back our struggle was clearer, since we
realized we are not alone.
Which activities you took part of
during the reunion?
- We participated in every workshop. We spoke in
the stage; we delivered messages to sub Commander Marcos, Moisés, Tacho
and Commander Hortensia. We couldn't speak personally with Marcos, but we
had a short conversation with Tacho. We delivered a folder with
information about our struggle. We expressed that we wanted support. We
delivered also the video "Socuy lucha por la tierra" and the movie
"Nuestro petróleo y otros cuentos". We offered a press conference for all
our fellows who couldn't attend. We were there for 2 hours, one hour
clarifying why Wayuu were attending the reunion and then we had the
_Not chavistas or antichavistas: indigenous_
What did they know about the indigenous situation in Venezuela?
- In the beginning a lot of people were surprised because we told the
truth. They had a different information, trough the ministries and
deputies, that everything was OK in the country, that they were settling
the historical rights in Venezuela. The wrong idea came also from the
president speeches outside the country. We said we had no representative;
no deputy speaks in favor of the indigenous threatened by the coal. We
explained that all the Perijá mountain range was going to be given in
concession and that Corpozulia was responsible of it. We also said that
the indigenous ministry was managed by the government, not the indigenous.
There was no popular vote, the indigenous did not vote to found the
ministry or assign a minister. We said we have the land issue, since the
land demarcation stopped and we didn't know why. We also said that the
Mara indigenous community legitimacy was not accepted, even when the law
establishes that for tradition or even foundation you can create an
indigenous community. Fellow Zapatistas said "Wow, how come? If they speak
positive about the indigenous situation in Venezuela, the deputies and the
ministries... " No, we answered, it's completely the opposite. Deputies
are with Corpozulia, with the transnational companies. We also made clear
that we are not chavistas or antichavistas: we are indigenous against
imperialism and capitalism. If we were antichavistas we would be running
for high positions in the opposition. If we were chavistas we would be
running for deputy in the assembly, the legislative counsel or running for
counselor. We are in the middle, standing for our own interests, which is
Was there a negative reaction towards these words?
At the beginning of the speech in San Cristóbal, Chiapas, in the
university, some North Americans became very upset. They were chavistas
and said we were conservators and we shouldn't speak like that when
everything is OK in Venezuela. But one fellow who speaks English, because
we don't, said "have you been to Socuy? Have you seen the situation of our
fellow indigenous?". "No". "Then how come you say there are no problems
there? You have to go there first, and then you can criticize them.
What's the thing you remember the most?
- The workshops, since
we have them in a different way in Venezuela. For the Zapatistas it's all
about giving response to what they've done, because many organizations
support them. For example they talk about the doctors. They say there's a
"huesero" who is in charge of repairing the bones. Another doctor is the
naturist "yerbatero", and he is in charge of preparing the traditional
medicines. They also explained the effects of the medicines. They also
talked about the maternity medicine they use for childbirth, which is not
the regular university medicine. They explained how they do it, and also
explained everything about their teachers and the "good government
boards". People asked, but for me it was clear. It was very organized.
That part we highly recommend, there were 14 years old young men standing
in the stage, giving speeches and explaining how they manage themselves as
an autonomic community. They also explained the punishment for men who
mistreat their women: 60 days of social work in the community. There was a
fellow asking about the zapatist jail compared to the government jail.
They answered: "different, since we do not torture".
Did you make
any agreements with other Latin American organization?
- With one
indigenous organization from Mexico named FUDEM, they protect electric
energy. We reached an agreement with the zapatistas so two fellow wayuu
woman can go to a women reunion, which is going to take place in December
30 and 31. We subscribed the historical book of our fellow Zapatistas, and
we also had the chance to talk to the indigenous movements in Oaxaca,
Guerrero and also with the Mexican Indigenous Congress. We reached
commitments with organizations from France, Italy and Spain, agreements
establishing they are going to visit us and we are going to visit their
countries to speak about the indigenous consensus. We also had relations
with anarchist groups, and they are going to visit us too. We are
multiplying and growing and we have no fear because we are fighting for
our rights. We said we would always be in touch. We are planning to ask
for permission to have the third Zapatistas reunion with the world in El
Socuy. It's up to them, because they are coming down to Latin America to
have the other campaign.
What are you going to do now, what plans
do you have for Maikiralasa'lii?
- To fortify it, get together more
fellows and keep making conscience. We are not going to fall for the same
ambition than CONIVE (National Venezuelan Indigenous Confederation), which
Nohelí Pocaterra manages. It's going to be a strictly indigenous
non-profit organization with no parties' relation. When you have political
interest the organization can't succeed. We have different projects:
schools, museums, radio stations, houses. We have no resources but we are
advancing, we are strong and we are many. A struggle like this is
dignifying and a lot of people admire it. Sub Commander Marcos itself used
one of our phrases and said it was from the "Venezuelan indigenous who
fights". Here we are, here we stand, and here we resist.
_Retaliation to the dissidence_
Wayuu indigenous, after
their trip to Mexico, started to suffer intolerance attacks in their own
flesh. They were invited to a National Venezuelan Radio workshop, from a
state radio station; all of the sudden Montiel was notified that they were
no longer invited. The reason? They signed the letter delivered to Marcos
from the EZLN, regarding the local indigenous situation. "That's a
retaliation against us", said the indigenous activist who decided to live
the protagonist democracy that claims the Venezuelan government. "Can't we
criticize anything? This was said specifically to the person who invited
us. In Mexico we said: probably from now on there is going to be a police
persecution against us and our fellow ecologist. We fear that persecution,
since that's the way coal people, transnational companies and their
[El Libertario, # 51, November 2007, Venezuela]
www.nodo50.org/ellibertario - firstname.lastname@example.org