Congress to resubmit original Cocopa Proposal

Mexico City

17:59 A group of 160 deputies from the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), the Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD), the Labor Party (PT) the Mexican Greens (PVEM) and the Convergence Party have once again signed the statement of purpose and proposal for the Cocopa Law on indigenous rights and culture.

Their goal is to present the proposal to the Congress of the Union in the next few days, with the intention of having it reported out during the general session, which is to begin on March 15, stated Deputy Jaime Martínez Veloz.

The legislator, who is a member of the Commission of Concordance and Peace (Cocopa) believes that this is the only option for “breathing new life, a new dimension, into the peace dialogue in Chiapas. If not, many years could go by and the conflict will continue there. We hope that all groups, the government [and] the EZLN will see this action as positive.”

By presenting this proposal, Martínez Veloz explained, the purpose is also to “open a space for discussion, for analysis, for the debate to take place inside Congress, with the participation of the Indian peoples of Mexico, and for the EZLN itself to be invited, in an institutional manner, always with an attitude of prudence, of consistency and of an opening for dialogue.

“I believe the Executive will have it, because it endorsed the Cocopa proposal itself, which was presented in 1996.”

– But is the ultimate purpose then the approval of the Cocopa proposal, word for word?

“The first thing is seeing that the Cocopa proposal is once again the central focus of the discussion of a new congressional approval regarding indigenous rights and culture.”

Jaime Martínez spoke of the need for reopening debate on the issue: “First, because the legislation approved by the Senate and ratified in the Chamber of Deputies was rejected by those states which have a broadly indigenous population.”

In addition, “it didn’t solve the indigenous problem, and this fact can be overwhelmingly observed in this year’s Budget, because the resources approved for development of the indigenous peoples are very meager.”

Also, he added, “the central issue of the third conflict is still unresolved, it was not in line with Article 6 of the ILO’s Convention 169, which declares that any legislative changes in this regard must be done in consultation with the indigenous peoples.”

Martínez Veloz concluded that Chiapas is one of the current legislature’s challenges. “The Congress has endorsed the cause of peace. Dialogue took place in Chiapas thanks to a law approved by the Congress of the Union, and the accords that were signed by the parties were done so under the protection of that law.”

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