NO ADVERTISING, GOVERNMENT OR CORPORATE FUNDING

  • Latest News
  • Pitch a Story
  • Work with a Journalist
  • Join the Blog Squad
  • Afghanistan
  • Africa
  • Asia
  • Baltimore
  • Canada
  • Egypt
  • Europe
  • Latin America
  • Middle East
  • Russia
  • Economy
  • Environment
  • Health Care
  • Military
  • Occupy
  • Organize This
  • Reality Asserts Itself
  • US Politics
  • Indigenous Town in Mexico Celebrates Two Years of Autonomy and Defense of their Community Forest


    After two years of resisting illegal logging and organized crime, indigenous people in the town of Cheran Mexico demand justice for their assassinated community members and respect for their autonomous government -   April 23, 13
    Members don't see ads. If you are a member, and you're seeing this appeal, click here

    Audio

      Share to Twitter
    Share to Facebook




    Real News simply has no entertainment value. But its news value puts CNN,MSNBC,ABC& BBC to shame! - Santhip
    Log in and tell us why you support TRNN

    Transcript

    Indigenous Town in Mexico Celebrates Two Years of Autonomy and 
Defense of their Community ForestANDALUSIA KNOLL, PRODUCER, TRNN: On April 15, 2011, the people of Cherán, a largely indigenous town in the state of Michoacán, Mexico, rose up to put an end to illegal logging and insecurity connected to organized crime in the region, marking the second anniversary of the uprising.

    The community of Cherán is celebrating their reforestation efforts and the autonomous forms of government that they have put in place.

    A group of women were among the first community members to prevent the illegal loggers from entering the town with the trees that they had cut down. They tried to prevent them from entering, and when the loggers refused to comply, other town residents joined in and set fire to their trucks. They set up fogatas, or bonfire barricades at all the main entrances to the town, and also on corners throughout the rest of Cherán, some which continue to this day.

    ROSA, CHERÁN COMMUNITY MEMBER (SUBTITLED TRANSL.): We organized the bonfire barricades, and then on April 15, when the people rose up—and all the women organized here in Cherán because they were destroying the forest. And here is where the [loggers] were passing through. We couldn't do anything, because they threatened us. But then on April 15, all the people rose up and took on all the clearcutting loggers, and we ran all of them out of town. Some of them left the town running.

    The bad ones wanted to enter here. We were posted at every corner. We were alert, all the people in the streets, all of the people, the whole town. We started to say, how are we going to do this? And we decided to erect a bonfire barricade. And this is where it all started.

    KNOLL: They started a ronda comunitaria, or a community guard, in line with their indigenous Purépecha tradition to secure the community and patrol the forest ensuring that no one is illegally clearcutting. Over the past two years, close to 100 people have joined the voluntary-run ronda to dedicate themselves to protecting the forest and promoting sustainable forest use, just as their ancestors did.

    MEMBER OF THE RONDA, CHERÁN COMMUNITY GUARD: [incompr.] Cheránas hacienda that we were doing something good, and a lot of people, you know, they said, this is good what you are doing, keep doing it. And a lot of people started coming with us. They say, I want to be in the group to, in la ronda. And we said, alright, you're welcome. You know.

    But you know what [incompr.] you know, what we're doing. This is dangerous. This is not just, like, a job. You know, this is [incompr.] But they were saying that they wanted to, 'cause they were from there, from Cherán, and they want to do something for the town. You know. So, yeah, we started.

    And finally, right now, it's—we have everything on control, you know, with a little bit of control. Maybe there's one or two still cutting trees, but not like they used to. So that's what we're trying to do and that's how we formed. So now we're, like, a lot of us.

    And people, you know, they recognize us, that we're doing something real good for—not just for us, for the whole world, right. I mean, this is a green planet. That's what we're trying to do, save it.

    KNOLL: Over the past two years in Cherán, over 13 community members have been killed while attending to their animals and crops in the forest or while sustainably harvesting trees. This lack of security has led the people of Cherán to separate themselves from the local corrupt government and implement a traditional form of government previously seen in indigenous Purépecha communities. They set up a community council of 12 elders to govern the town, as opposed to one mayor.

    JOSE MERCED, CHERÁN STORYTELLER/SHAMAN (SUBTITLED TRANSL.): In our case, we have a great responsibility to recuperate the community consciousness, to start with something elemental. Brothers and sisters, we have a great task at hand, to start to raise consciousness about what it really means to be a "comunero" or community member.

    Comunero is a very deep word. It is not a slogan or tag. It is a way of life and a cell to build a new society, a new humanity. This is how I see it, a grand responsibility. The result of consciousness raising is realizing that we are universal beings and part of the universe, we are not owners of the universe, this according to the indigenous philosophy of our wise ancestors. We are not owners of the land. We are part of the land.

    KNOLL: Over the past 30 years, the state of Michoacán, where Cherán is located, has seen large tides of migration to the United States. Community members in Cherán see their autonomy and self-defense as a way of curbing immigration and preserving their indigenous culture.

    DAVID ROMERO, CHERÁN LAWYER AND COMUNERO (SUBTITLED TRANSL.): This is something very important for us to achieve to maintain our community within our community. That's to say, while we reverse the effects of neoliberalism, we will be able to have more satisfying lives within our own community, just as our ancestors did. Our ancestors didn't have to migrate, because we have the right conditions to lead dignified lives.

    Now this is the work that we all have to do, all of the communities, not just the community of Cherán, all the communities of the world, to reverse the logic of neoliberalism, which makes us believe that processing raw materials is the only way to fulfill the necessities of our people, of our communities and ourselves as individuals. We have to return to the fundamental, return to our cosmovision, and understand that happiness isn't only achieved with material things.

    KNOLL: While the town celebrated the anniversary, a fire blazed in one of the forests nearby. These kind of forest fires are common due to a lack of respect for natural resources, and also reckless behavior on behalf of organized crime groups in the area. The community ronda and various volunteers attended to the fires to try to put them out. This blaze reiterated the need for reforestation efforts.

    The Cherán Committee for the Common Good started a greenhouse project shortly after the uprising to grow baby pine trees. Their greenhouses are home now to over 1.5 million pine tree saplings, and the project serves as a crucial source of work for 12 community members.

    LETICIA MEDINA, COMMITTEE FOR COMMON GOOD (SUBTITLED TRANSL.): On this end it has been very good, to avoid or at least curtail migration. There aren't many jobs here. For me it has been something very good, a very good project, because there exists this type of work, because it gives employment to more people. With migration as it is, there are many women who are alone who also need money. This is a big help for these kind of women. Also for the men. It has been a great advantage. The community has plans for more beneficial projects to curb migration.

    KNOLL: While proudly displaying the trees from the reforestation project, people from Cherán shared their feelings on the anniversary.

    WILBER TAPIA, COMMITTEE FOR COMMON GOOD (SUBTITLED TRANSL.): You feel great on this day being part of this movement. I live a block from where it all happened. At five in the morning, the people were there rising up in arms—we don't mean guns, necessarily, many people with sticks and rocks—all of this to prevent the [logging] vehicles from passing through, including rounding up some of those responsible. You feel motivated. You have something to tell the people. And on this side it fills us with joy, because the struggle that's taken place has not been in vain. We're here remembering it on the second anniversary, and it's pretty cool.

    KNOLL: While celebrating their autonomy and reforestation efforts, the people of Cherán also solemnly recognized those who have died in the struggle, demanding justice and investigations into their deaths.

    Andalusia Knoll, The Real News Network, Cherán, Mexico.

    End

    DISCLAIMER: Please note that transcripts for The Real News Network are typed from a recording of the program. TRNN cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.


    Comments

    Our automatic spam filter blocks comments with multiple links and multiple users using the same IP address. Please make thoughtful comments with minimal links using only one user name. If you think your comment has been mistakenly removed please email us at contact@therealnews.com

    Comments


    Latest Stories


    The Islamic State, Assad, and the Contradictions Faced by the US in Syria
    Michael Brown's Funeral Buried in Media Circus
    Ferguson Resident: "You Can't Talk about Race and Class and Privilege in a Soundbite"
    Fed Chair Signals Possible Policy Shift on Unemployment
    Special Report: Ferguson Police Profiling of Blacks a Major Funding Source for City Budget
    Protecting the Amazon Includes Defending Indigenous Rights
    "I Can't Breathe" - Gerald Horne on Reality Asserts Itself (6/6)
    Xavante's Song
    Canada's Largest Union Protests Pension Cuts
    The Powers Behind The Islamic State
    The Dahiya Doctrine: Evidence of Israel's Intentional Mass Slaughter in Gaza
    Falk: US Limits Ability of UN To Hold Israel Accountable for War Crimes
    Connecting the Dots Between Ferguson and Baltimore
    Abolition of Slavery was Not a Fight Against Racism - Gerald Horne on Reality Asserts Itself (5/6)
    Greenland Glaciers' Rapid Melting Will Have Global Effects
    In Ferguson, Money For Tanks And Tear Gas, But None For Education
    What My Friend Jim Foley Taught Me to Question
    White Unity and American Propaganda History - Gerald Horne on Reality Asserts Itself (4/6)
    Despite Renewed Attacks, Israel No Closer to Defeating Palestinian Resistance
    Police Continue to Violate Press Freedom In Ferguson
    US Escalates Iraq Airstrikes but Lacks Long-term Strategy
    The Counter-Revolution of 1776 and the Construction of Whiteness - Gerald Horne on Reality Asserts Itself (3/6)
    Civil Liberties Under Assault in Ferguson As Police Attack Peaceful Protesters
    Ferguson Protestors Defy Curfew to Demand Justice for Michael Brown
    The Black Scare and the Democratic Party - Gerald Horne on Reality Asserts Itself (2/6)
    Gaza Cease-Fire Extended, but What's Needed for a Just Solution to the Conflict?
    The Price of NAACP Compromise Was Too High - Gerald Horne on Reality Asserts Itself (1/6)
    Putin and Russian Nationalism on the Rise
    Foreign Oil Interests in Iraqi Kurdistan and the Rise of ISIS
    "A Tragic Mistake" To Not Explore Diplomacy With Hamas

    RealNewsNetwork.com, Real News Network, Real News, Real News For Real People, IWT are trademarks and service marks of IWT.TV inc. "The Real News" is the flagship show of IWT and Real News Network.

    All original content on this site is copyright of The Real News Network.  Click here for more

    Problems with this site? Please let us know

    Linux VPS Hosting by Star Dot Hosting