Sección: MéxicoTítulo: Huelga de hambre de presos políticos en Guerrero, México
Texto del artículo: ¡Aquí estamos…!
NO NOS RENDIMOS
NO NOS VENDEMOS,
Acapulco, Gro., a 20 de Junio del 2005.
A la Opinión Pública Nacional e Internacional.
A las organizaciones Democráticas y Revolucionarias.
A los Estudiantes, Maestros e Intelectuales Honestos.
A los Campesinos Pobres e Indígenas, Ejidatarios y Comuneros.
A los Organismos Defensores de los Derechos Humanos (O.N.G.)
Al Pueblo de Guerrero y México.
¡¡HUELGA DE HAMBRE!!
15 DIAS Y NO HAY RESPUESTAS
Joviel Rafael Ventura, Ángel Guillermo Martínez González, Ismael Padilla Nava, Rogelio García Pineda y María del Rosario Merlín García, presos políticos recluidos en el CERESO de Las Cruces, del municipio de Acapulco de Juárez, Guerrero, que el día domingo 5 de junio del año en curso iniciaron HUELGA DE HAMBRE como una forma de lucha de nuestro pueblo, para exigir:
1.- Castigo a los culpables de las masacres de Aguas Blancas y El Charco;
2.- Libertad para todos los presos políticos del país;
3.- Presentación con vida de todos los detenidos-desaparecidos por motivos políticos;
4.- El traslado de Gilberto Aguirre Bahena y Antonio Barragán Carrasco, que se encuentran recluidos en el penal de Atlacholoaya, Morelos, al estado de Guerrero, así como a la reubicación de presos políticos del país a las cárceles cercanas a su lugar de origen; y
5.- Traslado del compañero Jacobo Silva Nogales al CERESO de Acapulco y que a la mayor brevedad lo saquen del aislamiento en que lo tienen las autoridades del CEFERESO de La Palma en el Estado de México y el regreso de Tomás de Jesús Barranco al Estado de Guerrero.
C O N T A C T A N O S:
A T E N T A M E N T E
“LA RIQUEZA Y EL PODER PARA LOS TRABAJADORES”
“POR LA LIBERACIÓN PROLETARIA DE LOS CAMPESINOS POBRES”
ZAPATISMO Y SOCIALISMO
V E N C E R E M O S
LIGA AGRARIA REVOLUCIONARIA DEL SUR EMILIANO ZAPATA CENTRAL UNITARIA DE LOS TRABAJADORES
Guerrero: Indigenous Peoples Profile
1. The Indigenous Peoples Profile of Guerrero consists of a State Diagnostic, a Tlapaneco Profile, and short reports on the amuzgos, the nahuas, and mixtecos. Guerrero is a mountainous state located along the southern Pacific coast of Mexico and it is considered one of the least developed states in Mexico. In 1995, the total indigenous population of Guerrero was about 319,707 (13 percent of the total state population and 5.7 of the total indigenous population in Mexico) with populations of nahuas (40 percent), mixtecos or tu un savi (28 percent), tlapanecos (mè’phàà) (22 percent), amuzgos or jñonda (9 percent), and a small percentage of groups from other states (1 percent). There is also a population of afro-mestizo descent in Costa Chica near Oaxaca.
2. Guerrero is divided into seven regions; and there are 76 municipalities. Eleven municipalities have majority indigenous population (over 70 percent), four have more than 50 percent, and eight have 30-40 percent. Most of the indigenous peoples are in four regions: la Montaña (85 percent), Centro, Costa Chica, and the Norte, and indigenous migrants are also found in larger urban and tourism areas such as Acapulco, Zihuatanejo, Chilpancingo, and Iguala.
3. The nahuas mainly live in 22 municipalities in the Montaña, North and Central zone along both sides of the Balsas River. The majority of the mè’phàà live in the municipalities of Acatepec, Atlixtac, Malinaltepec, Tlacoapa, San Luis Acatlán, and Zapotitlán Tlablas. The mixteco population lives mainly in Alcozauca, Metlatónoc, part of Tlapa, Xalpatláhuac and Copanatoyac. The amuzgos are concentrated in the municipalities of Xochistlahuaca, Tlacoachistlahuaca, and Ometepec.
4. Identity and Culture. The identity of the indigenous peoples in Guerrero is characterized by the community--the vital space where identity is defined through everyday life and political, economic, and family networks are created. The use of an indigenous language has an important role in the construction of identity, but it is no longer the only indicator since there are other elements that define indigenous identity. Another common element of the indigenous communities in Guerrero is tlacolole, the pre-Hispanic slash and burn agricultural system practiced on the steep hillsides.
5. Another element that characterizes the indigenous communities is the main space for uniting and creating cohesion among the indigenous communities--the Comisaría, the political administrative unit that is subordinate to the municipality. Indigenous government is expressed in the Comisaría and the cabildo accepts the election of the Comisario through customary practice. Within the Comisaría, there is a system of cargos, the election of a Comisario, and the role of the community assembly, which is the guiding authority of community life. The cargos consist of annual positions in a hierarchy of authority and responsibility. There are three types of cargos: civil, religious, and public. The cargo positions carry a substantial responsibility and they give “prestige” to those that occupy them. The nature of the cargo system varies among the indigenous groups; the amuzgos and tlapanecos maintain a more traditional system and the nahuas and mixtecos practice different systems in different areas depending on the extent of external influence.
6. The comisaría is subordinate to the municipal authorities. In recent years, this has caused significant political struggles in many municipalities, particularly in the Montaña. The municipality is the political space where the dominant group exercises power. The struggle for leadership has become an important goal, since most of the benefits and resources from the federal and state governments are channeled through the municipal government. In several cases, this conflict has led to the separation of communities to create a new municipality, such as in Acatepec, which achieved recognition in 1993 and Rancho Nuevo de la Democracia which since 1996 has been seeking recognition through local Congress.
7. The number of indigenous language speakers (ILS) has decreased, with the most dramatic decrease from 199,377 ILS in 1960 to 160,182 ILS in 1970. This situation can be attributed to several factors such as over-registration in the 1960 Census, massive out-migration, high levels of infant mortality or a combination of these factors. For 1995, based on the age structure for the state, 45 percent of the population is between 0-14 years of age. The population is very young, which in the future will translate into a high demand for services. About 54.6 percent of the women will also be of childbearing age.
8. Nahuas. The nahuas are the most numerous indigenous group in Guerrero and they are dispersed throughout the state in 22 municipalities in three regions: la Montaña, Centro, and Norte, with some populations in Costa Chica, Costa Grande, and Tierra Caliente. Tlapa is the most important commercial center. As the majority indigenous group, the nahuas have achieved a better political position than the other groups; they live near the main cities and they have established linkages with the governing class. It is difficult to identify a common nahua identity since, although they have a common origin and language, nahuas in different regions have different characteristics due to their environment, population movements, and interactions with outsiders. In general, the nahuas have nearly abandoned the use of their language except for in some isolated areas. Nonetheless, there are some nahua communities with very high levels of monolingualism and illiteracy--levels higher than the municipal levels. For example, the community of Xitopontla in Ahuacuotzingo has 70 percent monolingualism (higher among women) and 89.4 percent illiteracy. There is an organization of Midwives and Traditional Medicine Practitioners among the nahuas with about 40 members. Also an interdisciplinary nahua group is preparing herbal medicine and establishing health clinics in certain communities.
9. The nahuas in Centro live near the Balsas River, which functions as an important communication system and they have developed their own identity based on artisan work, particularly the amate paper. The production system is unique since some communities specialize in collection of raw materials, others in the production, and others in the final work. Close social and commercial relationships have developed between the mestizo and indigenous families related to the artisan products. There is a need for support for commercialization and export or artisan work. The nahuas of this region have also successfully organized and lobbied against the construction of a dam that would have inundated several communities.
10. The main economic activity among the nahuas is agriculture and living conditions vary by region. Due to low productivity and high demographic growth, many nahuas migrate to the cities to work or to sell artisan work and they eventually settle there. There are substantial nahua settlements in Acapulco. These urban residents continue to retain links with their origin communities and they are called upon to contribute to community work when needed, although they live outside. Most commonly, the household head migrates, but increasingly, there are more families migrating together and youth migrating illegally to New York City through a network of connections. It is common to see only pregnant women with small children living with the extended family in the rural areas since the spouse went to “the other side.” Young women are able to migrate for work as domestic help near their origin communities.
11. Mixtecos. The mixtecos live in Oaxaca, Puebla, and Guerrero and they are known as the “men and women of rain.” In Guerrero, the mixtecos live mainly in 262 communities and 10 colonies (colonias) in 16 municipalities in la Montaña (8 municipalities) and Costa Chica (7 municipalities). The settlements are dispersed and 70 percent has less than 500 inhabitants (1990). The mixtecos see themselves as strong men and women that are brave and well organized. They are proud that they have more territory than the nahuas or tlapanecos and they are aware that they have fought for respect for their territory and they will fight to the end to defend their patrimony and kin.
12. This area was under the Aztec tribute system before the Spanish arrival and the Spanish colonists simply replaced this system with the encomienda system. During colonization, this area was developed for mining, cattle raising, and sugar cane. In the majority of the mixteco communities, the Assembly is the maximum authority. Women do not participate in the assemblies and their involvement in decision-making is non-existent. Recently, the mixtecos have engaged in an extensive process of recuperation and preservation of their language through the Academia de la Lengua Ñu Savi. The levels of illiteracy and monolingualism are higher among the mixteco women.
13. Territory and participation in social organization are the central axes of mixteco identity. This area has low production levels of food for self-consumption and high levels of ecological deterioration, which have forced migration. Over the last 30 years, the mixtecos have developed extensive migration networks and they have facilitated long-distance participation in civil-religious cargos through remittances or substitution of a family representative. From a very early age, mixteco youth (about age 10) are involved in migrant agricultural labor and therefore, there are high levels of school drop out. Among the migrants working in New York City illegally, it is estimated that about 30 percent is mixteco.
14. The mixteco economy is based on productive activities including: agriculture, cattle, collection of wild plants and insects, hunting, fishing, and some use of forest products, production of mezcal (alcohol), and artisan work (work with palm, particularly hats). Sixty percent of the population complements this household economy with salaried work. There are more than 350 species of wild plants that are used by the mixtecos. There is some extraction of wood with concessions. The productive infrastructure in the mixteco municipalities is only 19 percent, as compared to the state level of 27 percent and the national level of 42 percent. The lack of paved roads has impeded the development of a regional economy. Only one mixteco municipality in la Montaña has a paved road and the majority of the communities are cut off during the rainy season when the roads are impassable. Recent studies carried out by the Natural Resource Program of the University of Mexico (PAIR-UNAM) in la Montaña show the need for productive projects that consider sustainable use of resources, developed in coordination with the demands and needs of the indigenous communities.
15. The mixteco region has faced serious social and political problems and the relationship between the political parties and the indigenous communities has been difficult. There are more than 40 cases of strongly divided communities. These communities are dual-each has their own authorities, school, music band, teachers, sports facilities, Comisaria, and some have their own church and saint. The only things that keep them together are their land and now, the PROCAMPO and PROGRESA programs. Historically, the most political organizations dedicated to revindication of indigenous rights are mixteco. The guerrilla group (Ejército Popular Revolucionario, EPR) is also present in this region. There is militarization, violence and drug trafficking has taken hold here.
16. Amuzgos. The amuzgos are mainly concentrated in three municipalities between la Montaña and Costa Chica: Ometepec, Tlacoachistlahuaca, and Xochistlahuaca. The amuzgos are also found in Oaxaca. The amuzgos were devastated by epidemics during the conquest with numbers reduced from an estimated 59,615 in 1520 to 1,100 in 1582. Over the centuries, the amuzgos lost most of their land and they pressured authorities for restitution, which was finally granted in the 1930s. This group has not been studied extensively and of the little that is known of their language; it is complex and the amuzgos in different regions cannot understand each other. The amuzgo language is an accurate indicator of ethnicity since compared to other indigenous groups, the language is used in everyday social situations and it would be unusual to encounter an amuzgo that does not speak their language. The amuzgos can also be distinguished by their origin community, clothing, and mannerisms. The amuzgos produce nearly all their own work tools and household items. Social indicators show very high levels of marginality in Tlacoachistlahuaca, and Xochistlahuaca and a high level of marginality in Ometepec.
17. Agriculture for self-consumption is the main economic activity (maize, beans, squash, and collection of wild plants). There is some small livestock. Artisan work (production of woven clothing) is an important economic activity. There are ejidos and agrarian communities in the amuzgo region and in practice, both are managed communally. The ejido authorities and the assemblies determine the use of lands. Recently, regional commercial activity has decreased and is generally controlled by mestizos. Fewer artisan products are sold outside the communities. The main social conflicts in this area originate from conflicts over land, local politics, and rivalry among individuals. Violence, particularly vengeance killing is common. The amuzgo youth have increasing migration trends, mainly due to lack of lands, employment, or economic resources to continue studying. The main areas of attraction are Acapulco, Ometepec, Lázaro Cárdenas, Michoacán, and Mexico City for work in construction, cleaning services, or as gardeners, laborers, service industry employees, and domestic help.
18. The majority of amuzgos are Catholic. There are a number of beliefs among the amuzgos attributed to nagual animals. “Nagualism” is a strong belief about the powers of certain people, particularly witches, to harm others through an animal or “nagual.” There is a complex structure of social control, religion, and sickness, which involves the medicine men and witches as important elements. With support from UNICEF, the amuzgo traditional medicine practitioners created an organization dedicated to treating the population. There are a total of 60 doctors and 40 midwives working in different areas. They constructed the Centro Regional de Medicina Indígena in Cozoyoapan, which carries out consultation, meetings, and preparation of medicines and coordination of regional centers.
19. Migration. Development policies after the 1940s and import substitution have resulted in a serious deterioration of the economic and social production systems among indigenous farming families. In Guerrero, this has resulted in a high degree of marginality and poverty among the indigenous communities. The majority of the indigenous peoples turn to temporary or seasonal migration to the northern agroindustry plantations as a survival strategy. For most families, the production of maize provides food for about three to four months a year. For the remaining time, one or more family members have to leave the community to earn income.
20. The indigenous peoples from the Montaña region migrate more than the others in the state. In quantitative terms, more inhabitants of the Chilapa municipality migrate. Based on recent data from the Day-Laborers Program, during the fall-winter cycle of 1998-99, 56.94 percent migrated from the Central region, 31.80 percent from Montaña, 11.15 from the Costa Chica, .09 from Acapulco, and only .02 percent from the North. There is also important internal migration in Guerrero, which has modified the ethnic borders in some cities, such as Acapulco, Chilpancingo, Tlapa, Iguala, and Ometepec. In these cities, different ethnic groups have begun to live together and form concentrations, or colonies (barrios).
21. In the 1970s, only 14 percent of the state population migrated, in 1990, it was 20 percent. Migration has increased due in part to several factors: the conditions of reproduction of the indigenous family; lack of services; and a high concentration of the economically active population in the primary sector (78.9 percent). These factors, among others have caused indigenous peoples to leave their communities and look for employment alternatives (INI, 1993: 41 and 90). The Montaña region is considered to be an area of labor expulsion and strong expulsion (mainly municipalities of Metlatónoc and Alcozauca, majority mixtecos) (CONAPO). The migrants from la Montaña normally tended to migrate to the coastal region for work on coffee plantations, but more than eight years ago, migration started to move to the north for agroindustry, and to other regions such as Mexico City, Cuernavaca, Puebla, Tijuana, and Mazatlán. Morelos has received many in-migrants from Guerrero and there is some permanent settlement. Migration strategies also include USA and Canada.
22. The composition of migration has changed since the 1970s. There has been an increase in demand for female migrants for export crop processing. In 1993, in Culiacán-Sinaloa during harvest time, there were about 80,000 workers, 35 percent were women and there was a significant increase in the number of children working (Barrón, 1993; information from SEDESOL Program for Day-Laborers). Of the 80,000 in-migrants, about 30,000 were minors from Guerrero. Another example is that in 1976, only 25 percent of women in migrant families were incorporated in salaried work, but in 1995, this rose to 48 percent. The women work up to nine hours on the job in addition to household work. Workers are often recruited by intermediaries and transported en masse in overcrowded buses. The living conditions for these temporary laborers tend to be very poor with multiple families living in a small space and they usually do not have access to any public services. In 1990, it was estimated that during the dry season, 30 to 40 percent of heads of household turned to temporary migration for income.
[ Economy ]
23. Agriculture and Tourism. Guerrero is characterized by its structural inequalities and limited economic growth. The state has substantial biodiversity, which has not been sufficiently valued. The State has promoted tourism to the detriment of other economic sectors. Large investments in the tourism industry have resulted in less economic/financial support for agricultural activities carried out by the indigenous peoples. The rural economy is weak and the main agricultural activities carried out by the indigenous people have deteriorated. Seventy-one percent of the indigenous population is involved in the primary sector (rural). This situation signifies an opportunity for investment and development of the rural sector (primary sector) rather than an obstacle for the state economy. It provides an opportunity for the promotion of new products and support for productive activities in these areas that have historically been overlooked.
24. Land Tenure and Use. One of the most important historical events for the indigenous peoples was the creation of agrarian communities. Most of these communities have legally converted to ejidos, but the Procuraduría Agraria recognizes them as communities. More than 80 percent of the land in Guerrero is ejido or community land. There are 1,021,250 residents in ejido or community land; 75,279 are monolingual and 133,147 are bilingual (XI Censo General de Población y Vivienda and VII Censo Agrícola, Ganadero, y Ejidal 1991).
25. Of the 1,238 ejidos and communities in the state, 1,041 are ejidos and only 197 are agrarian communities (this number does not correspond to the number of indigenous communities). Of these, 75 percent are dedicated to agriculture, 46 percent to cattle, and the remaining to other activities. Historically, agrarian conflict is common among the indigenous villages and communities since they have always defined themselves by control of territory and productive resources. Currently, there is less land, overpopulation, and deterioration of the environment, which has exacerbated this problem. A study in the 1980s by UAG found that in eight municipalities, the main conflicts were over land borders. In the 1990s, another study by IISUNAM showed that the number of conflicts had increased, and now they were mainly due to internal problems in the community.
26. Crops. At the state level, maize is the most extensive cultivation. In some regions, the yield per hectare is 2.10 tons, but in the majority of the indigenous communities in la Montaña, it is only 500 kg per hectare. Regardless of the low yield, the indigenous peoples continue to cultivate maize since it is part of their culture and history. In the areas where there are 30 percent or more ILS, the main crops are maize, beans, pumpkins, coffee, and fruit and vegetables. In addition to these crops, the indigenous communities grow a variety of crops depending on geography, culture and location including: rice, alfalfa, sorghum, chili peppers, fruit, tomatoes, melon, sugarcane, potatoes, tomatoes, yucca, peanuts, onion, hibiscus, jimaca, sesame, and watermelon.
27. Maize is cultivated in a system of temporary agricultural production. Crop rotation has decreased in recent years and the land has become over-utilized. The indigenous communities mainly grow maize for self-consumption during certain times of the year. The harvest only produces enough for several months. The rest of the year, they have to buy grain at high prices. Faced with decreased production, the indigenous farmers have begun to use chemical fertilizers, which has resulted in an increase in yields. In Xalatzala, a municipality of Tlapa, the yields have increased to 2,205 kg per hectare and in the few areas that have irrigation, such as Cañada, it has reached exceptional yields of 3,905 kg per hectare.
28. The indigenous communities of Guerrero are agricultural societies that live in remote areas of the state with limited communication routes. A unique characteristic of the farming practices of these communities is that it was developed on steep slopes and over history, the farmers have learned to make the most of their environment. The “tlacolole” is a slash and burn agricultural system that is generally used on the hillsides that have previously been cleared and leveled. It is well suited for delicate soils. This practice, in addition to improving the quality of soil on the steep slopes, takes advantage of the daily movement of the sun.
29. Livestock. Livestock production was developed in Guerrero, as in other regions of the country, with three main emphases: (a) cattle raising by a farmer, which is closely linked to temporary agriculture; (b) large-scale, corporate cattle raising with infrastructure and advantageous market relations; and (c) small scale livestock near the household (various animals) and multiple use, ranging from family consumption to sale. Livestock among the indigenous communities has fulfilled a need for emergency resources or social obligations, but it can and should be considered as a source of food for the families and for generating income. In 1992, there were about 267,262 head of cattle in la Montaña region. There are about 100,096 hectares of pastureland and 378,515 hectares of primary and secondary forest that could be used in pasture/forest systems.
30. Among the forms of livestock production, the “traspatio,” or small-scale, family based production in the indigenous economy, is perhaps the most important in the region for its versatility. It is however, less developed technologically. The farmer families dedicate their limited resources to other areas that are seen to be more profitable and it competes to some extent in the physical space for other household activities. Nonetheless, this production system is able to incorporate the active involvement of women, children, and elderly in the economy of the domestic unit.
31. The “chivera” or raising of goats has an important cultural component, particularly among the mè’phàà, since the relationships established among the participants forms a network. The activity consists of a “cultural network” with the participation of the owner of livestock, the owner of pastures, the priest, the intermediary, and the consumer. The cultural expression of this economic activity is represented in the daily activity of the communities as well as a vocabulary of terms for the different phases of the work; the use of byproducts in artisan work or cooking; and the participation of goats in ceremonies, particularly in the ritual for rain. There are also a variety of stories, songs, and dances related to this activity, such as musical performances that narrate the importance and significance of goats.
32. Forestry Activity. The forest surface of Guerrero is 3,132,854 hectares, which represents 48 percent of the state territory. Of this, template forest covers 1,766,929 hectares (mainly in Sierra Madre del Sur) and the low moist and sub-humid forest covers 1,365,926 hectares (ridges of Sierra Madre and the Balsas River Valley). Forestry activity has developed in several distinct periods. There has been private control of the exploitation of forestry resources and the federal government tried to organize this activity through a parastatal company in the 1970s. This experiment was not profitable and the communities again were alone to negotiate with logging companies.
33. The majority of the indigenous communities do not participate in forestry production although they own the resource. In some areas, this activity is incipient and in others, it does not exist at all. Most sign contracts with large logging companies and they only receive small remittances with the promise from the companies to open and maintain the roads. Generally, the contracts are not upheld and the companies log more wood than was authorized. Most indigenous communities do not have a vision of forestry use; they view it as “selling the monte-the forest” for needs, rather than considering the sustainable use of forestry resources as a source of long-term income.
34. The main obstacles to establishing productive enterprises are the lack of information, clandestine practices, and internal conflicts. There is also substantial internal disorganization, a lack of financing, and opposition from the timber purchasers. In the case of the 14 communities that have forest industry, with the exception of El Balcón in the Costa Grande, these social enterprises need to modernize and diversify in order to be more competitive and have the capacity to generate added value to the production.
[ Market Production ]
35. Coffee. In the middle-altitude areas of the Costa Chica and la Montaña, coffee cultivation is a productive option for many families. However, low levels of organization and limited use of productive and commercialization processes make them extremely vulnerable to the cyclical fluctuations in the price of coffee and exploitation by intermediaries. In the 1980s, INMECAFE (Instituto Mexican del Café) developed a large program for the farmers in the Costa-Montaña area to convert their lands to coffee production. The farmers moved from production of maize (family subsistence) and sugarcane (income generation) to an economy based on maize and coffee. After INMECAFE disappeared, the indigenous farmers had to become organized to find a solution to the problems of producing and commercializing their coffee. The Unión de Ejidos “La Luz de la Montaña” in the community of Paraje Montero, took the lead and organized the coffee producers in the surrounding municipalities. The Unión Regional Campesina Costa Chica/Montaña de Guerrero, founded in 1991, also groups together 25 coffee producing communities.
36. Artisan Work. The indigenous peoples of Guerrero are recognized internationally for their artisan products, including the paper of amate produced by the nahuas of Alto Balsas. An artisan industry per se does not really exist, but the indigenous communities have specialized in certain activities such as, the nahuas of Alto Balsas are dedicated to painting on paper of amate and pottery; the inhabitants of la Montaña work wood, making boxes and figures and some are dedicated to making palm hats; the amuzgos are weavers and they make huipiles and traditional clothing; and the mixtecos also weave palm and they make men’s and women’s clothing.
37. Many communities earn income to cover basic needs through artisan work. Some communities manufacture items for domestic use such as baskets, pottery and textiles, which are sold in the main markets of Chilapa, Tlapa, and Ometepec. Artisan work is done all year round, but the production varies depending on the time of year with more work after sowing and harvesting the crops. The role of intermediaries in this market is prominent and very little of the profit is returned to the communities.
38. Social Development and Marginality. Although education is the most consistent state program, the reality is that support for education has not translated into a decrease in illiteracy rates among the indigenous population. The Census of 1995 shows that at the national level, the illiteracy rate is 10.6 percent (ages 15 and older), but for Guerrero, this rate rises to 23.9 and among the municipalities with 70 percent or more ILS, it rises to 50.9 percent. The illiteracy rates in Guerrero are the highest in the country. The highest levels are from the regions of Montaña, Costa Chica, Centro, and Costa Grande, with 36.2 percent monolingual population-a percentage only superceded by Chiapas with 38.1 percent. The highest levels of illiteracy are found in la Montaña among the mixteco and amuzgo populations. The main causes of illiteracy are the absence of children from school when the entire family migrates to work as temporary agricultural laborers and children are pulled out of school due to the lack of resources. There are bilingual schools, but most are concentrated in the municipal centers and in some isolated areas of la Montaña, there are schools, but no teachers
39. Guerrero, along with Chiapas, Puebla, and Hidalgo are the states with the highest levels of marginality in Mexico (CONAPO). The municipalities with majority indigenous population show the highest levels, particularly those in the la Montaña area. The mixteco municipality of Metlatónoc is the second place nationally in this ranking. Ten of the municipalities in la Montaña are in the top 100 poorest at the national level and among poorest 15 at the state level. According to the same criteria to measure marginality, only the regions of Costa Grande and Acapulco, with less indigenous residents, show lower levels of marginalization. The health sector has more coverage in areas with high mestizo populations. In la Montaña, health coverage is about 68 percent. Infant mortality rates in 19 majority indigenous municipalities are above 62 per 1,000 live births.
40. Indigenous Organizations and Political Movements. Even with these economic and social difficulties, the indigenous peoples of Guerrero have shown a great capacity for adapting and responding to their problems. There is a tradition of organization for the defense of their interests. In the 1950s, some indigenous groups in the municipality of Chilapa created the State Indigenous Federation of Guerrero (Federación Estatal Indígena de Guerrero). However, in the 1970s and in the last decade of this century, the indigenous peoples have developed large mobilizations and they have created their own organizations.
41. An antecedent to the indigenous movement in the state was the process generated by the Professor Orthón Salazar in the 1970s in the municipality of Alcozauca, majority mixteco, which developed into the Consejo de Pueblos de la Montaña. This movement was significant since it successfully promoted for the first time a leftist municipal presidency and it generated a significant effect in the other municipalities. This region began to be known as la Montaña Roja (Red Mountain). In Alcozauca, control of the municipal presidency has been and currently remains in accordance with the PRD (Partido de la Revolución Democrática). This is an example of how the indigenous peoples of la Montaña, especially the mixtecos, have expressed and made their ethnic identity explicit.
42. One of the distinguishing characteristics of the indigenous organizations is that they generally developed out of a political party or a political theme. This is the case of the Liga Agraria Revolucionaria del Sur “Emiliano Zapata” (LARSEZ) which operates among the mixtecos and nahuas of la Montaña. This organization maintains a close relationship with the Coordinadora Nacional de Pueblos Indigenas (CNPI), directed by Genaro Domínguez. The UOCEZ, Union Obrera Campesina “Emiliano Zapata” has political affiliations and works among the nahuas.
43. There are other organizations in the region that focus on social issues and community development. These organizations include the Union de Comunidades de la Montaña, located in the highest areas of the region and their work is mainly among the mixtecos. The Consejo de Autoridades Indígenas de al Costa Montaña (CAIN) works with communities along the coast and their community base is mixteco and tlapaneco. This organization unites various communities that have re-instituted old mechanisms such as community vigilance to defend against violence and respond to the insecurity in the region.
44. In addition to these organizations, there are other organizations that are focused on production and commercialization such as the Union Regional Agropecuaria Forestal y de Agroindustrias de Ejidatarios y Comuneros de la Montaña-a group which originated from the Central Independiente de Obreros Agricolas y Campesinos (CIOAC). After many years of organizing for agricultural day laborers, they have dedicated themselves to promoting productive projects and more recently, to distributing fertilizers. In the Costa Chica area, the Unión Regional de Ejidos de la Costa Chica (URECH) specializes in commercialization of food and it played an important role in the 1980s to unite local social demands.
45. Organizations of indigenous women merit special mention since they are becoming more important and creating a space, which until recently would have been unimaginable. There are three Sociedades de Solidaridad Social in la Montaña made up of women: Voz y Fuerza de las Mujeres de Tlaquiltzingo (in Ahuacuotzingo), Organización de Mujeres de Amatitlán (Tlapa), and Axale (Copanatoyac). During the previous presidency, the fund for Women in Solidarity was created in Tlacoapa.
46. In recent years, groups dedicated to the defense and promotion of human rights for the indigenous communities have appeared. These non-governmental organizations include Altépetl A.C., the Grupo de Derechos Humanos José María Morelos y Pavón, the Centro de Derechos Humanos de la Montana Tlachinollan A.C, and many others which are supported mainly by INI.
47. Relationship between the State and Indigenous Peoples. The indigenous peoples have struggled to open a space in the legal framework in Guerrero. Compared to other states where they have begun to recognize the normative systems of the indigenous peoples, there has been little advancement in Guerrero. In the Penal Code of the State of Guerrero, modifications to consider the indigenous condition during processing have been introduced, including consideration of the indigenous condition of those processed with reference to the formalities, judicial resolutions, the initiation and the general rules of instruction in the opinions, testimonies, and confrontations. The Civil Code of Procedures of the State of Guerrero was modified so that, during the judicial actions and the activities where documents in another language are exhibited, a translator should be appointed. The same should occur when a person does not know the language. Although these modifications do not refer directly to the indigenous peoples, some lawyers and defenders of human rights have considered them as instruments that can be employed in judicial system.
48. In addition, agencies have been created that with the local governments, seek to attend to the demands of indigenous communities. In the 1980s, the Procuraduría Social de la Montaña y de Asuntos Indígenas (PROSOMAI) was formed--this became the Procuraduría Social, Campesina, y de Asuntos Indígenas de la Montaña (PROSCAI). In 1999, it became the Secretaría de Desarrollo Indígena. The State Government decided to create this structure without modifying the state legislation, in spite of calling public hearings to design a legal initiative to recognize the rights of indigenous peoples, as they have done in other States. Tlapaneco (Mè’phàà) Profile
49. The tlapaneco or mè’phàà in Guerrero are located mainly in la Montaña, el Centro, and Costa Chica regions with 536 communities in 13 municipalities. The mè’phàà are the third largest indigenous population in Guerrero after the nahuas and the mixtecos. Four municipalities in Montaña have 100 percent mè’phàà population and in the others, they share territory with the nahuas, mixtecos, and mestizos. In Costa Chica, tlapanecos co-exist with mixtecos and mestizos and Centro, there are nahuas and mestizos. The name tlapaneco was an Aztec designation during the Mexican conquest, but this work has a pejorative connotation since it is translated as the “one that is painted” and is now “dirty.” After the event of the 500 year anniversary of the arrival of Europeans in America, the mè’phàà began a movement of revindication of their identity and they began to stop self-identifying as tlapaneco.
50. The mè’phààs were settled in Guerrero at the time of conquest. There were two groups of mè’phààs: the mè’phààs of the north were settled in the Tlapa area and the yopes lived in the south and they moved continuously from one area to another. In 1531, the yopes rebelled to keep their lands and they maintained resistance. They continued to fight for their land during the Mexican revolution. During the Cardenas era, they had some success in their struggle for land, but the reforms were only carried out in a few communities. Today, there are border conflicts in nearly every community.
51. Culture and Identity. There are a diversity of identities among the mè’phààs, and within each region (considered to be about 14 different regions), there are linguistic and cultural borders. Each region retains their own identity, but they self identify as mè’phàà to differentiate themselves from other ethnic groups. The mè’phàà only recently have written their language (a tonal language) and very few know how to read and write in their own language. About 31 percent of the population is monolingual. The mè’phààs maintain respectful relationships with the other ethnic groups and they easily learn other languages.
52. The local administrative and political dynamic of the indigenous communities is sustained in the municipality with three levels of cargos: the Ayuntamiento (municipal authorities); Comisariados Municipales (represent the indigenous communities); and the Comisariados of Communal Lands (agrarian authority). The political parties have a strong role in the election of the municipal president. The indigenous peoples play an active role in the election of the municipal and agrarian comisariados-there is not political party participation. The candidates are proposed and analyzed by the Council of Elders and elected by the Community Assembly. To be considered for these positions, one must have served a series of cargos and have knowledge of social organization and the ability to resolve community problems.
53. The religious cargos are divided in two categories: the local Catholic Church and the mè’phàà religious cosmovision (Mesoamerican origin). The cargos are a hierarchy of positions that carry “prestige” if one fulfills the duties. The mayordomía is one of the highest positions, which unites a series of cargos. This function consists of representing a group of workers that will cooperate economically to put on a festival for one of the religious saints adopted by the community. The festival is a meeting place for the families that guarantees the consumption of meat by all the members of the mayordomía, the musicians, the authorities, the Council of Elders, and the pilgrims. Collective work, known as xtàjà, is organized through the mayordomía. An important element in the mayordomía is the presence of a system of cofradías that consists of lends money to community members with interest.
54. All the men of a community are obligated to fulfill the cargos once they turn 18 even if they are not married. If a male community member migrates, he must return to fulfill the cargos. One of the requirements to belong to a community is to fulfill the cargos; it is an aspect that also regulates access to land. If the cargo requirements are not fulfilled, one can be expelled from the community and the land would be given to “one that completes.” In the case of migrants, they are asked to fulfill their cargos so they can retain land rights. The migrants cannot sell their land due to the risk that outsiders will buy the land.
55. The mè’phàà family is predominantly nuclear extended and there are clear divisions of labor by gender. Men work in the fields, care for animals, cut firewood, construct houses, and migrate for income. Women administer the household, take care of children, do artisan work, and care for small animals kept in garden. Women do not participate in community meetings even if they are windowed or single. Children have important roles and they are expected to contribute to the household in the fields or in the home at a very early age. An entire family may migrate for temporary work, leaving the houses closed up and the local schools empty.
56. The mè’phàà belief system is a combination of the Catholic religious elements and pre-Hispanic deities. The religious festivals originated in the agricultural cycle. They begin with the request for water, they have ceremonies for the control of pests and finally, there are festivals to give thanks for the harvest that literally reflect the expulsion of the mè’phàà god of hunger. Generally, most mè’phàà are Catholic, but recently, other churches have arrived in the region. Protestantism arrived in 1938 with the Summer Language Institute. In 1972, the Weathers family arrived and they translated parts of the New Testament to mè’phàà. The presence of this family has been very important in the region since not only did they dedicate themselves to learn the language, but they also founded a Religious Association, the Christian Tlapanecas Churches with headquarters in Mexico City and registered in the USA as the Tlapanec Indian Ministries, Inc. This organization includes churches and missions in more than 40 communities in the municipalities of Tlacoapa, Malinaltepec, Acatepec, and Atlixtac. The pastors are indigenous, the majority has completed secondary school, and they have three years of training in the Centro Educativo Indígena established in Córdoba, Veracruz.
57. World Vision, an international organization, promoted a community development program in communities with some Protestant members in the late 1980s and early 90s. The program was stopped, however since there was Protestant proselytism which created internal conflicts in the communities. Although there are contradictions between the mè’phàà beliefs and the teachings of the protestant churches, there is some conversion. This can attributed to several factors: (a) the churches are carrying out a strong economic program that translates into benefits for the community members in health, work, housing, and other services; (b) women favor the religion since it is reducing the levels of alcoholism among men and reducing social problems; and (c) the services are held in their native language as compared to Catholic masses in Spanish.
58. Economy. The mè’phàà region is characterized by extreme poverty and a rapid process of environmental deterioration. The levels of production are low, there is high migration, and poverty although they live in an area rich with natural resources. The Montaña region has significant climate variation with heavy rainfall that varies from year to year, poor soils, and severe topography. The main socio-economic issues include: low income from agricultural production; limited credit support; limited experience among producers for commercialization of products and presence of intermediaries; weak indigenous organizations dedicated to sustainable development; and little research on the potential of agriculture in the region. There is indiscriminate use of fertilizers with no training and other technical deficiencies such as undervaluing indigenous practices, lack of technical assistance related to conservation of natural resources, and lack of appropriate technology for the specific conditions of Montaña. (Matias Alonso, 1997).
59. The majority of mè’phàà territory is ejido and community land (86 percent; 775,372 hectares) and only about 14 percent is private property. In comparison to the neighboring mixtecos, the mè’phàà have territories that include hot, template, and cool regions. This diversity in climate allows them to have a variety of agricultural products to complement their precarious economy. It is estimated that 35 percent of families do not have land and 60 percent have less than one hectare. The base of their economy is maize, but they have other crops for income, such as coffee and hibiscus. The mè’phàà land is generally poor and maize yields are about 500 kg/ha. In the colder areas, the following items are produced: maize, beans, squash, chayote, peaches, apples, pears, and other items. In the template areas, the following items are grown: maize, beans, pomegranate, guava, mango, sugarcane, avocado, pineapple, lemons, and especially coffee. In the low, tropical areas, hybrid maize, beans, squash, chile, garbanzo, and hibiscus are grown.
60. Coffee has been cultivated in these areas since the 1980s due to promotion by INMECAFE, the Instituto Mexicano del Café. Actually, 35 percent of the state coffee production is in the mè’phàà region. About 72.6 percent of the producers have less than two hectares, 22 percent have between 2 and 4 hectares and only 5.4 percent have more than four. In terms of productivity, 75.6 percent are small producers that obtain less than 20 quintals per year. The majority of the producers have also been severely affected by the recurring crises in the price of coffee. In order to find a solution to this problem, the mè’phàà have organized in the Unión de Ejidos y Comunidades, “La Luz de la Montaña” and the Unión Regional Campesina de Costa Chica and Montaña de Guerrero.
61. Hibiscus is, next to coffee, the product that contributes to annual net income for the families. The main producing region is the municipality of Ayutla de los Libres. The average production per hectare is 250 kilos. The producers sell nearly all the hibiscus to intermediaries from Costa Chica where it goes to Guadalajara, Jalisco for processing.
62. The mè’phàà have forestry resources, but most production is carried out for profit without considering long-term sustainable use. The forestry resource is underutilized and it does not have an economic impact. Pine-oak forests predominate in the Montaña. Until the arrival of logging companies, the mè’phàà region was covered with vegetation, mainly pine. With logging, roads, and few reforestation projects, erosion has increased and there have been many landslides. The forestry sector offers good potential for indigenous development in Montaña with appropriate management plans and sustained use of the resource to meet community needs.
63. The mè’phàà economy is complemented by work with palm fiber, mainly the creation of belts and hats. In some communities, everyone is involved in this activity during the harvest time. The primary material is collected or purchased (more commonly) from wholesalers. Most of the primary material is from Zapotitlán Lagunas in Oaxaca. At one time, the Fideicomiso de la Palma (FIDEPAL) played a role in commercialization, but after they disappeared, a small group of dealers control the process.
64. In addition to these activities, the mè’phàà also are dedicated to raising small livestock. The “chivera” or raising and production of goats has an important role in the family economy and it has become part of a complex network of social relations. The municipalities of Tlapa, Metlatónoc, and Atlixtac have the largest number of livestock. Most of the production is sold to intermediaries or directly in the cities of Tlapa, Chilapa, Chilpancingo, Taxco, Acapulco, and in the Morelos, Puebla, and Mexico City.
65. Migration. The mè’phàà migrate within Guerrero and to other states, mainly for agricultural labor in Morelos, Sinaloa, and Yayarit. They do not migrate to the United States (as the mixteco do). There is some permanent migration to the urban areas of Acapulco, Chilpancingo, or Mexico City. The mè’phàà subregions that expulse labor are Zilacoyotitlán and Acatepec. Most migrants retain strong linkages with their origin community. Family is the most important-most migrate to obtain resources to support the family unit. Some family members return for the festivals and it seems that at that time of year, all the families are expecting a migrant to return. The best food is served during this time and it is the only time they eat meat. Some migrants send money to the mayordomía if they cannot attend the festival. Most migrants eventually return because they have land or they inherit land. Recent migrations of youth are bringing new cultural changes to the villages such as the increased use of Spanish and western dress.
66. Institutions and Programs. Since the 1970s, when the first INI Centro Coordinador Indigenista in the city of Tlapa was established to work with the mixteco, nahua, and mè’phàà populations, the institutional presence in this region has increased. The indigenist action of the State has multiplied in the indigenous regions, not only due to the construction of new INI Centers, but also the development of new instruments to channel financial resources to specific projects developed by the indigenous communities, such as the Fondos Regionales de Solidaridad for the development of indigenous communities operated by the Centros Coordinadores. At present, this region has three INI Centers, Tlapa, Tlacoapa, and Ometepec and there are five Regional Funds. In proportion, the mè’phàà have received significant resources. The most commonly financed programs are those related to the cultivation of maize and coffee and projects for production of hibiscus, potatoes, flowers, and fruit. There are livestock projects for small and large livestock. Other projects in demand are supplies, roads, and transport, provision of mules, and artisan work. Support from the Regional Funds for coffee is needed since over the last ten years, producers have suffered from market uncertainty and the drop in prices. The organizations which have received the most support for coffee are the “La Luz de la Montaña” Union and the Unión Regional Campesina de la Montaña Alta.
67. Social Development and Services. The mè’phàà region is among the poorest areas of the state and the country. This territory has severe topography and few roads. The majority of the communities lack basic public services and mortality indices and illiteracy are higher than the rest of the state. The mè’phàà municipalities have weak social well being indicators: in some areas, up to 79 percent of the economically active population does not receive income; illiteracy is 86 percent in Metlatónoc (state level is 31 percent); and the population 15 years and older that does not have instruction reaches 88 percent in Metlatónoc (state average is 26 percent).
68. The population age pyramid is very young-77 percent are 35 and under. There have been some efforts to publish texts in the indigenous language (a project with support from the World Bank), but only two books have been produced. Four municipalities in this region have percentages of households without piped water higher than 90 percent, five municipalities have 80 percent of households lacking electricity; and the municipality of Tlacoapa has one of the highest mortality rates in the state at 21.1 per 1,000 inhabitants. Traditional medicine is practiced among the mè’phàà.
69. Indigenous Organizations. In contrast to the other indigenous groups of the state, the mè’phàà have few social organizations. Most of the organizations have been promoted by external organizations or government programs. During the last government, the PRONASOL program received substantial federal support and some of the organizations it produced are the Comités de Solidaridad del Café and the Unión Regional de Productores de Café such as the Fondo Regional Renacimiento Tlapaneco.
70. In addition to these groups, there are other organizations such as the Sociedades de Solidarida Social (SSS), the Union Regional Agropecuaria, Forestal y de Agroindustrias de Ejidatarios, Comuneros, and Pequeños Propietarios de al Montaña de Guerrero, URAFAECPPM-G (coffee producers) and the Mantis Religiosa that support other productive projects. These organizations have had success, but above all, the Unión de Ejidos y Comunidades “La Luz de la Montaña,” a group of 5,000 coffee producers has successfully commercialized their own brand of coffee.
71. The Grupo de Mujeres de Colombia de Guadalupe, which was supported by the Mennonite Committee, has developed projects on traditional medicine. The Grupo de Mujeres de El Llano Chico, which was supported by the missionaries of the Christian Tlapaneco Churches trains women on family health, nutrition, and elaboration of artisan work. The Grupo de Artesanos de Xkua xtuti that originally was dedicated to creating huaraches faced some commercialization problems so now they are expanding their work to fabricate morrales and gabanes. In 1992, Tlachinollan A.C. began workshops for linguistic development to promote the reading and writing of the mè’phàà language.
72. There are two serious security problems in the region that began in the 1990s: attacks and robbery along the roads and theft of cattle. Due to this situation, the comisarios of the municipalities of San Luis Acatlán and Malinaltepec have supported the formation of community police to enforce justice. It is perhaps the only case of this type of indigenous justice in the country. The community police are volunteers selected by the communities themselves. They petitioned government for uniforms and transport (with some success) and registered weapons. The police patrol the main roads and more recently, their role has expanded to include investigations of theft of cattle. It has been successful and it may be expanded to other municipalities.
73. There are also political organizations such as the Council of 500 Years of Resistance in Guerrero with influence in certain municipalities and the Organización Independiente de Pueblos Mixtecos y Tlapanecos that has influence in Ayutla de los Libres. The most recently created municipality, Acatepec was approved by the local congress in 1993. This municipality resulted from conflicts between the municipality and the Comisaria and the designation of this municipality is seen as hope for autonomous municipalities. There are at least eight other places in Guerrero, not just in mè’phàà territory that seek to establish a new municipality.
74. Future Directions. The main issues which should be considered with respect to development in this region are: (a) addressing the education sector, particularly the migrant children; (b) elaboration of bilingual materials and enhance training of bilingual teachers; (c) promotion of activities to strengthen cultural identity such as music, dance, and artisan work; (d) make health services accessible; and (e) consider traditional roles of indigenous government in development projects.
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