(Main photo: road blockade at the Zanatepec River Bridge (Oaxaca) by the Assembly of Peoples of the Isthmus in Defense of Land and Territory (APIIDTT).
Yesterday, May 30, 2022, the National Network of Civil Resistance (RNRC)1 and all the organizations that make it up, and others that have joined it, mobilized throughout Mexico on the day of the resolutory hearing of their comrade Fredy García Ramírez. They have demanded his freedom after two and a half years of unjust imprisonment. Fredy is a Defender of Human Rights and Territories and spokesperson for CODEDI (Committee for the Defense of Indigenous Rights) of Oaxaca, part of RNRC. Mobilizations have taken place in Campeche, Chiapas, Oaxaca, Veracruz, Morelos, Puebla, CDMX, State of Mexico, Michoacán and Chihuahua.
In Mexico City’s Zócalo, the Coordinadora de Pueblos Unidos en Defensa de la Energía Eléctrica (Coordinating Committee of Peoples United in Defense of Electricity) (CPUEDEE), the Front of Peoples in Defense of Land and Water Puebla, Morelos y Tlaxcala (FPDTA-MPT), the Huitzitzilapan Indigenous Community and the Autonomous Magonista Collective mobilized in front of the National Palace. The Consumers Front (FEDECO) and the Autonomous Movement of Civil Resistance (MARC-HOMERO) concentrated in the main square of Chihuahua. In Santiago Juxtlahuaca (Oaxaca) the Juxtlahuaca Indigenous Resistance Front. Communities of Istmo de Tehuantepec (Oaxaca) also blocked the highway at the Zanatepec River bridge. The communities of Tapanatepec, El Jicaro, Zanatepec, Huanacastal, Reforma de Pineda, Ixhuatan and San Francisco del Mar, which make up the Assembly of Peoples of the Isthmus in Defense of Land and Territory, participated in the blockade. The Regional Indigenous Council of Xpujil (Campeche) as well as the Indigenous Communities of Ostula (Michoacán) also demanded the release of Fredy García Ramirez. Civil Resistance Motozintla «Nueva Constituyente Ciudadana Popular» also blocked the Huixtla-Comitán highway. Civil Resistance of Pomoca, Urban Zone and Colonies of Palenque, demonstrated in front of the CFE offices in Chiapas, as well as Civil Resistance Luz y Fuerza del Pueblo, adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle, in the same state. In Veracruz, the Nahua and Popoluca indigenous communities that make up the Indigenous and Popular Civil Resistance against high electricity rates in the Southern Sierra Zone demonstrated in front of the CFE delegation in Coatzacoalcos.
As reported in its communiqué by the National Network of Civil Resistance «Fredy was unjustly arrested and imprisoned on November 6, 2019 while he was in the city of Oaxaca carrying out activities for the defense of the rights of indigenous peoples; they invented crimes against him that have no basis whatsoever as we have constantly demonstrated. Our comrade is innocent; he is a political prisoner and prisoner of conscience, hostage of the government of Alejandro Murat Hinojosa, current governor of the state of Oaxaca, for his work in defense of the rights of the peoples. Using the pretext of the pandemic, his visits to prison were limited and his hearings were postponed, clearly violating his rights and the principle of procedural speed. In addition, since his admission to the prison, where living conditions are totally inhumane, Fredy undertook, together with the other prisoners, an arduous struggle to assert his rights within the prison and as a punishment, he was isolated from the rest of the prison population and beaten on repeated occasions».
The mobilization coincides with a failed attempt at energy counter-reform which, as an organization that fights high electricity rates and megaprojects, the National Network of Civil Resistance opposes. In this new privatization maneuver, the RNRC reaffirms its political proposal of civil resistance by promoting the non-payment of electricity. Its proposal is not limited to this specific situation but to achieve the «constitutional recognition of access to electricity as a human right» and fair rates. The RNRC now takes the recent achievement of the Chilean people as an example to follow: thanks to their struggle, they have succeeded in having the human right to energy included in their new constitution. Not in vain, last September (2021) the same Mexican organizations presented a proposal for modifications to the Constitutional Reform initiative on electric energy.
The RNRC as a movement already reached agreements with the government as a result of its struggle on November 12, 2013 in Villahermosa (Tabasco) that included «no more cuts, no payment requirements, no imposition of digital meters, proper maintenance of power lines and equipment». On February 24, 2020 another agreement was signed with the government to facilitate dialogue with the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE). However, these achievements are threatened or the case of the negotiation with CFE is not materializing. The government has used the pandemic as a pretext for not moving forward.
The CFE is theoretically a public company, created by the government of Lázaro Cárdenas in 1937 in what is understood to be the first attempt at energy reform. That reform was advanced in 1960. Although the current President AMLO (López Obrador) initially tried to recover the spirit in which the CFE was created and to reinstate that energy reform, the CFE continues to be the body from which the privatization of the sector is deepened, as it is responsible, together with the Energy Secretariat (SENER) and the Energy Regulatory Commission (CRE), for granting energy and macro-project licenses to foreign companies.
The RNRC, due to its composition, also demands in its communiqué respect for rights such as autonomy for those most affected by these energy politics: indigenous peoples such as. For this reason, they ratify their opposition to energy megaprojects or those that entail an increase in energy production imposed on their territories such as «the Mayan Train, the Interoceanic Corridor, the Morelos Integral Project, among others», which in addition to hydrocarbons and minerals polluting and destroying Mother Nature also include others considered more benign such as wind and sun farms and hydroelectric plants that are causing so much damage to their communities but also to the ecosystems. Faced with these energy proposals that cause more damage to their societies and environment, they reflect that these are not the solution to the global climate crisis affecting the planet, but that the solution lies in those very affected communities, because of their autonomy, commitment and sustainability. For this reason, the RNRC claims the «construction of community with justice and dignity».
«We will defend and rebuild,» they explain, «alternative lifestyles to the disaster that we live in our country and on the planet as a result of the dominant capitalist, patriarchal and colonial system, seeking autonomous electricity generation, food sovereignty, water care, production for life and not for capital, shared decision-making, community vigilance and justice, etc…».
This national mobilization coincides not only with a critical moment at the energy, political and economic level, but also of great mobilization and repression with the indigenous peoples always in the spotlight, who continue to resist the dispossession of their territory and the destruction of Mother Earth. On May 12, 3 community activists were assassinated in Coyomeapan, Puebla. Zapatista communities also continue to suffer harassment. The (Huichol) people of Jalisco continue to resist, most recently with a march of more than 900 kilometers to the capital. The Triqui people of Oaxaca are fighting for their autonomy and the Otomi community in Mexico City is fighting for the right to housing.
In this context the RNRC understands the imprisonment of its comrade, Fredy Garcia, as an attempt to criminalize his struggle and the questioning of neoliberal imposition, to dissuade society to mobilize and act. For all these reasons, from here, from Euskal Herria, we applaud the struggle and coordination of the Mexican peoples who, from their autonomy and ancestral organization, stand up to the neoliberal energy model and we join in their demand for the release of Fredy García.
#RedNacionaldeResistenciaCivil (National Civil Resistance Network)
1The RNRC is configured by the Assembly of Indigenous Peoples of the Isthmus in Defense of Land and Territory – APIIDTT, Oaxacan Isthmus. Committee for the Defense of Indigenous Rights – CODEDI, Oaxaca. Consejo Autónomo Regional de la Zona Costa de Chiapas Coordinadora de Pueblos Unidos en Defensa de la Energía Eléctrica- CPUEDEE, Edo. Mx, Zona Oriente. Tonalteco Civic Front, Chiapas Coast. Consumers Front – FEDECO, Chihuahua. Frente de Pueblos en Defensa de la Tierra y el Agua de Puebla, Morelos and Tlaxcala. Indigenous Community of Huitzitzilapan, State of Mexico. Autonomous Movement of Civil Resistance – MARC, Chihuahua. Autonomous Civil Resistance Movement – MARC-HOMERO, Chihuahua. Indigenous Community of Ostula, Michoacan Coast. Organization of Autonomous Mayan Peoples, Northern Region Chiapas, Tila, Tumbalá.