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Indigenous Peoples Demand End to Military Occupation

By: Staff | Real Acapulco News - 16 October, 2010

(San Luis Acatlán, JG) The Jornal de Guerrero reports that those in attendance at the National Meeting for Justice and Security of the Indigenous Villages, which took place on the "Costa Chica" south of Acapulco, approved a communiqué demanding the demilitarization of their communities and the release of all political prisoners. They also called for the arrest and punishment of those guilty of violating the human rights of indigenous peoples. The group reiterated its support to the autonomous municipality of San Juan Copala in Oaxaca, which was suffering “an extreme climate of death and intimidation,” as they alleged. At a morning mass, Fr. Mario Hernández Campos, one of the founders of the Community Police (a peace-keeping force made up of indigenous members), stressed the important role played by this organization over the last 15 years in reestablishing peace and order, and in avoiding the violence and sexual assaults that plagued the indigenous communities during armed occupation by the military.

The Community Police, in celebration of its 15th anniversary, marched from the premises of the organization of coffee producers of Nueva Luz de la Montaña, to the center of San Luis Acatlán, bringing together regional coordinators and representatives of the villages of La Montaña and Costa Chica, together with several other country-wide organizations. The crowd numbered around 200,000 persons. The indigenous rights group known as the Regional Coordinating Group of Community Authorities (CRAC) took the opportunity to demand once more the return of all the “disappeared persons” and the restoration of local governing systems.

A minor incident occurred when the immigration authorities went through the crowd, checking documentation of anyone who appeared to be not Mexican. The INM authorities explained that their ID check was routine and just a coincidence that it occurred during the time of the meeting of the activist group. No serious conflicts arose.

In a statement to the Jornal de Guerrero, Cirino Placido Valerio, a board member of CRAC, said that the Community Police had completed 15 successful years of pursuing criminal delinquency even while being persecuted by the government with threats and intimidation, and that the indigenous villages had learned how to advance their interests without causing insults or violations. “It was a tactic designed not to provoke the Devil, but rather to keep on growing,” he said. He added that the Community Police had proved to be an educational experience, which no one could have imagined would have lasted this long. Though mistakes were made, the experience served mainly “to help form the basis for an integrated system of daily life, not only for justice, but for the adequate development of an internal market, because a village that is unable to feed itself has no future.”

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