The Mexican Chamber of Deputies approved this Wednesday, November 19, 2020 by a qualified majority of 384 votes in favor, zero against and zero abstentions, the opinion with a draft decree that adds article 2 of the Mexican Constitution to establish that the ‘State “recognizes Spanish and the indigenous languages as national languages, which will have the same validity under the law”.
The document, approved in a face-to-face session, says indigenous languages ”are part of the nation’s cultural heritage, so the state will encourage their preservation, study, dissemination, development and use.”
In addition, he specifies that “the State will promote a multilingual linguistic policy, which encourages indigenous languages to alternate on an equal basis with Spanish in all public and private spaces”.
The notice states that, according to the National Institute of Indigenous Languages (INALI), “there are 11 Indo-American language families that are present in Mexico with at least one of the languages that compose them.”
In addition, there is a register of 68 linguistic groupings corresponding to the 11 mentioned families, as well as 364 variants belonging to this group of groups.
Supporting the opinion, the chair of the constitutional points committee, MP Aleida Alavez, from the party of the national regeneration movement (Morena), explained that this addition complements the right of peoples to preserve their languages.
“It is an act of justice and recognition of the more than 20 million Mexicans who speak an indigenous language today. Mexico is the eighth country with the largest indigenous population in the world, ”he said.
The MP stressed that this measure will serve as a basis for rethinking the processes in which the indigenous population intervenes, such as court processes in which it is not enough that there are translators.
He considered that the protection of languages ”implies the assurance of culture because traditions, beliefs and forms of organization are transmitted orally”.
Alavez stressed that by raising them to constitutional status, like Spanish, “we preserve the culture of a people, the identity, the roots, even their form of social interaction”.