The Cucapa Camp - The Struggle for Indigenous Rights

 
On March 15 of 2007 the Indigenous Community of El Mayor entered the Colorado River to exercise their international right as indigenous people to fish the waters they have for thousand of years. A delegation of humanitarian brigades and international observers made up of La Otra Baja California, L.A. Otra (Banda Martes/Autonomous Peoples Collective), students from the University of Humboldt, Organic and Collectivo Zapatista both of San Diego accompanied the community during 3 days of fishing which resulted in a catch of more than 6 tons of fish all without incident.

Banda Martes/Eastside Café March 18, 2007 - El Mayor, Km57 photos by Andres Lopez Pino Just outside of Mexicali, Baja California, lies the Cucapá Indigenous Community of El Mayor that has been displaced, oppressed, marginalized and everything else you can think of, and their current state is the direct result of the border, workers exploitation, racism, capitalism and so forth. On Oct 15 - 20, 2006, The Other Campaign, a transnational initiative spearheaded by the EZLN, made stops in San Quitin (Triqui & Mixtecos), San Jose de la Zorra (Kumiai), Ensenada, Tijuana, Mexicali and El Mayor (Cucapá), all cities and communities in Baja California. After witnessing the neglect, abuse, mistreatment and systematic isolation of indigenous communities in Baja California, Subcomandante Marcos (aka Delgado Zero) announced that after carefully analyzing the situation in Baja, something, anything had to be done to stop the overall extermination of indigenous communities in Baja at the hands of the Mexican Government.
Consequently, Delegado Zero arrived on Oct 20th, 2006 at the Indigenous Community of El Mayor, home to the Cucapá, an indigenous group native to the Mexicali region of Baja California. After listening to members of the Cucapá community speak of abuses by the Mexican Government, Delegado Zero made a proposal. This proposal during his trip in Baja California discussed the ways in which the Cucapá have been stripped of their ancestral rights to fish, one of the last traditions they still hold. "On June 10th of 1993 the federal government decreed the delta a Protected Zone, The Reserve of the Biosphere, preventing fishing by the Cucapá, arguing that we caused an ecological impact. We have been witnesses of how other cooperatives enter and capture tons of fish under the consent of the same government, and they still deny us the right to fish knowing that it is an ancestral activity for survival. The other requirement is that we must work under their laws and lately the government offered us the opportunity do recreational fishing, which is a great offense to us. In 1980 the first permits were granted to the first communal cooperative that was called Jawimak, nowadays to be fisherman means to be delinquent. The army and navy, the corporations who benefit from these same waters that are in the Biosphere are armed and are a constant danger to us." - Francisco of El Mayor On March 15 of 2007 the Indigenous Community of El Mayor entered the Colorado River to exercise their international right as indigenous people to fish the waters they have for thousand of years. A delegation of humanitarian brigades and international observers made up of La Otra Baja California, L.A. Otra (Banda Martes/Autonomous Peoples Collective), students from the University of Humboldt, Organic and Collectivo Zapatista both of San Diego accompanied the community during 3 days of fishing which resulted in a catch of more than 6 tons of fish all without incident. Although this community has been used as a scapegoat by animal wildlife protection groups like the WWF as well as CONANP (National Commission for Natural Protected Areas) and blamed for the contamination of the waters and risk to endangered species in the Gulf of California they only represent less that 5% of the boats that enter the same waters without restrictions or fishing quotas who easily catch in one day what the community catches in 3 years.

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