Day 7 of the Caravan El Sur Resiste begins with a ritual among all the participants: women, children, young people, and elders. Many come from various parts of the Republic while others come from other countries; in this caravan we have walked together in order to listen to the pain of the Original Peoples and give voice to their resistance.
During the ritual, the compañeras of Casa Colibrí talked about remembering all the people and compañeros who have transitioned from this life and spoke of the defenders of the land who have been murdered defending the territory. They emphasized the need to remember that the children and youth are the reason to fight for a better world in every sense, including the right of children to have a healthy environment.
“Today I pledge that my actions as an adult will make a difference for children, where the value of our land and our culture is priceless, simply not for sale.”
Finishing the ritual, we set off towards the center of Valladolid. During the walk, the compañeros and compañeras from communities of Original Peoples and all the groups that accompanied them, shouted loudly: “Jungle yes, train No! Water yes, train No! Cenotes are not for sale, they are cared for and defended! That train is not Mayan, that train is military!”
Members of the caravan handed out flyers with information regarding the effects of the Maya Train to the people of Valladolid who watched the march with interest. Many recording with their phones and looking through the windows of their businesses, homes, and cars.
Violence and environmental destruction in the Yucatan due to the imposition of megaprojects.
At the end of the march, a meeting was held where people from different communities of Yucatan and other areas of the Peninsula gathered. The compañeros and compañeras engaged in dialogue about the dispossession, the environmental contamination, and the violence they experience in their communities.
- Valladolid: discussed the gentrification of the city and how it is practically impossible for youth and new generations to buy or acquire land in the city, thus violating the right to have a decent home. This is caused by the arrival of tourism that leaves aside the well-being of the people who are originally from this territory. Despite the critical situation in the state regarding the destruction of the environment, the colleagues who spoke highlight the hope they have in continuing the work to change the situation and leave a better world for the next generations.
- Council of Xpujil, Calakmul: the council assert the legal hold and protection they have in place in attempts to stop the construction of the Maya Train in their territory. The compañero talked about the use of the National Guard and the Army and above all, the construction of a hotel that possibly contain 162 rooms. This hotel is being built in the heart of the Calakmul biosphere reserve. Land which also has been awarded to the Mexican army, similarly to that of the Maya Train project. This proposed construction set off alarms because if carried out, it would destroy one of the last preserved jungles in the entire continent.
- Cancun and Playa del Carmen: the compañera spoke about all the destruction that the Maya Train project is already causing in this area. Such as the deforestation of 9 million trees between Mérida and Xpujil alone. She also highlighted all the violence that the model of tourism promoted in Cancun and Playa del Carmen has generated (this same model will be applied following the construction of the Train Maya throughout the Yucatan peninsula and in each territory it crosses). Forced disappearances, femicides, and violence generated by drug cartels are three phenomena that have been shown to be interrelated with the arrival of megaprojects such as the Maya Train.
“We have had more than 9 million trees cut down after it was said that none were going to be cut down, we now have 9 million lies; lies scattered around as if they were nothing.”
“We have the result of this kind of development, we have Cancun as one of the most violent, most dangerous cities, they hide facts like this all the time, presenting beautiful hotel figures, how many hotel rooms we have, how many jobs are generated, but they never say at what cost?”
Siltepech: The compañeras shared their fight in defense of the water in their territory, which is at risk due to the increasing presence of mega industrial pig farms. The water has been shown to be highly contaminated by the waste they generate. There was also mention made of the criminalization, of which the Maya residents of Siltepech have been victims of. Currently eight members are facing criminal proceedings for the defense of their territory. They also recalled the acts of police brutality and arbitrary arrests that occurred against various participants after a march in support of the Siltepech community in the city of Mérida, Yucatán.
“We want clean water, the water is ours.”
The voice of hope from the youth
Chirro, a young man from the indigenous community of Oteapan, Veracruz – was visited by the caravan El Sur Resiste – spoke on behalf of his community with a hopeful message, full of vitality and strength.
Their participation makes it clear that young people are not the future, but the present. In order to continue with this fight we must listen to them, integrate them, share their vision, listen to their word, and understand that this fight needs everyone.
The following includes a portion of his message:
“If we don’t have the territory, we won’t be able to take care of it. But I come to tell you, do not despair, as a people we must resist because the jungle always sprouts. Because the beetles and all the little animals look for their life in the dry trunks. They may want to fill us with concrete, but nature always defends itself and the people are nature defending itself.
We are the mountain, we are the water, we are the animals. We can be the voice of the bees, of the jungle and of everything that inhabits
We are focused on talking to other young people, we do it through music, video capsules, and radio.
From the south of Veracruz we continue to resist, and we must continue resisting because we are the mountain. Long live the Maya jungle.”
The day in Valladolid ends with sharing cochinita pibil that the compañeras lovingly prepared for the caravan. We leave for Felipe Carillo Puerto, Quintana Roo where they are already waiting for us with a cultural act in the center of the community. With music, theater, and poems we begin this journey, because art is also resistance.