“We have to struggle, come what may, whatever happens, against anyone we have to.
A struggle isn’t easy. It’s exhausting –economically, physically, and emotionally. They want to fill us with fear with their arms, with their show of force. But we must not fear them. We must struggle without fear for our land, for our freedom, for our dignity.”
Pedro Leyva, Santa María Ostula,
July 6, 2011.
Today [October 7th] at approximately 9 p.m. in the community of Xayakalan, Santa María Ostula, municipality of Aquila Michoacán, our comrade and community member, 34-year old Pedro Leyva, was killed in a cowardly attack by paramilitaries operating in the region. Pedro has been a member of the Commission for the Defense of Communal Property, and of the Santa María Ostula Communal Guard, as well as Ostula’s representative to the National Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity. The paramilitaries are at the service of organized crime groups that have pursued, killed and disappeared members of this and neighboring communities with total impunity especially since the recovery of Xayakalan on June 29, 2009.
Despite the fact that the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights issued Precautionary Measures in September 2010 for some communal landholders, the violence and aggression against them continue with the complicity of federal, state, and local governments.
We call on all members of the civil society to spread the word about this terrible situation through all possible media and to be alert for new attacks against the comrades in this community.
In addition to Pedro Leyva, the following indigenous Nahua people from Santa María Ostula have been killed or kidnapped / disappeared:
Date of killing — Víctim
July 26, 2008 — Diego Ramírez Domínguez (teacher and communal landholder)
August 15, 2009 — Simón Pineda Verdía (communal landholder)
August 15, 2009 — Simón Pineda, hijo (communal landholder)
September 11, 2009 — Quintín Regis Valdez (communal landholder)
September 15, 2009 — Erick Nemesio Domínguez (communal landholder)
September 18, 2009 — Froylán Medina Álvarez
September 18, 2009 — Demetrio Olivero Álvarez
July 17, 2010 — Humberto Santos Valladares (communal landholder)
July 27, 2010 — Venancio Ramírez Cirino (communal landholder)
July 27, 2010 — Manuel Flores Álvarez (communal landholder)
July 27, 2010 — Miguel Ángel Flores Álvarez (communal landholder)
August 3, 2010 — José Martínez Ramos (communal landholder)
December 10, 2010 — Horacio Martínez Ramos (communal landholder)
January 1, 2011 — Ernesto Nicolás López (communal landholder)
January 1, 2011 — Pedro Nazario Domínguez (communal landholder)
February 1, 2011 — Pedro Guzmán (communal landholder)
March 20, 2011 — Isidro Mora Domínguez
March 20, 2011 — Feliciano Cirino Domínguez
May 2, 2011 — Fortino Verdía Gómez (burned and later killed)
May 2, 2011 — Jonathan Verdía Gómez (burned and later killed)
May 13, 2011 — Francisco Verdía Macías (communal landholder and Principal of the Ostula Elementary School)
May 13, 2011 — Ambrosio Verdía Macías (communal landholder and teacher at the Ostula Elementary School)
May 28, 2011 — Nicolás de la Cruz (communal landholder, First Commander of Third Communal Guard Group that recovered Xayakalan on June 29, 2009)
May 28, 2011 — Nicolás de la Cruz, hijo (communal landholder)
May 28, 2011 — Juan Faustino Nemesio (communal landholder, First Commander of Second Communal Guard Group that recovered Xayakalan on June 29, 2009)
Date — Víctim
February 23, 2010 — Gerardo Vera Orcino
February 23, 2010 — Javier Martínez Robles
April 20, 2010 — Francisco de Asís Manuel (Presidente of the Ostula Community Property Commission)
June 26, 2010 — Máximo Magno Valladares (Representative from El Potrero community)
April 8, 2011 — Enrique Domínguez Macías (17 years old)
Furthermore, on February 20, 2011, a commando tried to kill Semeí Verdía, a member of the Communal Dialogue Commission for Agricultural Problems, who is currently unable to live in Ostula.
Stop the War against Ostula Campaign
October 5, 2011
Write to state, federal and international authorities to demand the following:
- Compliance with Precautionary Measures of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights with respect to the live presentation of disappeared persons.
- An end to military and paramilitary harassment of community leaders and civil and agrarian authorities.
- An immediate solution to the agrarian conflict through the Program of Attention to Rural Social Conflicts of the Ministry of Agrarian Reform.
- The necessary legal guarantees for the operation of the community police and community guard.
- Respect for the community decision regarding non participation in the upcoming elections in the state of Michoacán
Urgent action letters may be addressed to the following authorities:
• Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
• Governor of Michoacán
• Secretary of the Interior of Mexico
• Felipe Calderón Hinojosa
This post is also available in: Spanish