Indigenous Woman Will Run to Be Mexico’s Next President

Rick Kearns

Activists in Mexico intend to endorse an indigenous woman as a candidate for president in the next election, slated for 2018.

On October 13, the National Indigenous Congress (CNI) and the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) announced that the CNI wants to enter an indigenous woman candidate for president in the upcoming election. They intend to pursue the topic with their membership in the coming months to seek support for the plan.

The 500 delegates of the CNI held their Fifth National Indigenous Congress between October 9-14 in collaboration with the EZLN. The two organizations addressed many issues including 27 specific incidents involving conflicts between indigenous communities and mining companies, oil corporations, ranchers, police, the military and Mexican political authorities; and issue #27 referred to “The Dakota Nations sacred territory is being invaded and destroyed by gas and oil pipelines; which is why they are maintaining a permanent occupation to defend what is theirs.”

While the delegates from at least 40 different Indigenous communities addressed all of the issues listed, they made sure to publicize why they’ve decided to engage with the Mexican political process via the presidential election.

“Given that the offensive against the people will not cease, but rather grow until it finishes off every last one of us who make up the peoples of the countryside and the city, who carry profound discontent…this Fifth National Indigenous Congress has decided to launch a consultation in each of our communities to dismantle from below the power that is imposed on us from above and offer us nothing but death, violence, dispossession and destruction.”

“Given all of the above, we declare ourselves in permanent assembly as we carry out this consultation in each of our territories, on the accord of the Fifth CNI to name an Indigenous Governing Council who will would be manifest by an Indigenous woman, a CNI delegate, as an independent candidate to the presidency of the country under the name of the National Indigenous Congress and the Zapatista Army of National Liberation.”

Both the CNI and the EZLN have not directly participated in the Mexican political process since 2001 after attempting to negotiate with the authorities to secure constitutional recognition of Indigenous rights and autonomy. Following the negotiations, in that same year the Mexican government passed a constitutional reform that ignored all of the Indigenous demands.

As of press time, no further announcements have been made regarding community reaction to the proposal.

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