June 29 marked the second anniversary of the founding of the community in resistance Xayakalan, thanks to the historic recovery of the communal lands of Santa María Ostula and the formation of the community police and indigenous community guard ––all of which was accomplished after an arduous process of organization. A rally was held outside the Michoacán House of Government in Mexico City in solidarity with the commemorative activities planed in Xayakalan, Michoacán.
The main call that went out was for an end to the war of retaliation against Ostula, which has resulted in the deaths of 27 community people (16 of them in the last 6 months), 4 people disappeared, dozens of widow and orphans and hundreds of displaced people.
As if the intense repression weren’t enough, however, Xayakalan and other coastal communities of Ostula suffered extensive damage to their houses, cornfields and fruit trees during Hurricane Beatriz, which hit the area in the early morning hours of June 21. And so the second anniversary has also become a call for support for the community in the form of supplies and help with rebuilding houses.
At the Mexico City rally, the messages and songs of support included the following lines:
Community Police of Guerrero: “We’re making this civil support campaign our own; it’s cost the lives of 16 people for keeping the people’s land and resources in their own hands. Only the people themselves support and defend the people.”
Frente Popular Francisco Villa –UNOPI: The only crime the people of Ostula have committed is defending their territory, defending their customs, defending what is rightfully theirs. If the government doesn’t respect their rights, there will be a response here in the city and in the country as a whole.”
Yoali: “They talk about security. What security? Security or insecurity? That’s the question wherever you go. And the answer is insecurity.”
In the war now being waged against the people of Mexico, insecurity, violence, and death are the norm. In Santa María Ostula, insecurity, violence, and death are accelerated ––except in one community: Xayakalan.
In their communiqué of June 8, 201l, The Commission for the Defense of the Communal Property of the Indigenous Community of Santa María Ostula says: “The solution is SELF DEFENSE and EXERCISING AUTONOMY. In Xayakalan, where our community police is fully operational, there is no violence and there are no murders. These have mainly occurred on Coastal Highway 200, under federal supervision, and in communities outside of our territory”.
So then, why is a war being waged against this community? Because people are creating a space of peace, security and life ––a space where their children will have a future? Yes. And above and beyond that, to take the lands that have belonged to the Nahua indigenous people for centuries.
This is explained in the Second Pronouncement of Xayakalan, which was read aloud at the Mexico City rally:
“In the struggle to reclaim our lands, we stopped two huge projects that the federal and state governments planned to implement on the lands of the Nahua Coastal people in a move to step up the plunder of their lands and beaches. These projects were the Coahuayana-Lázaro Cárdenas Toll Highway and the Integral Tourist Development Plan on the Michoacán Coast. In the second plan, in particular, our beaches, THE FIRST OF WHICH WAS TO BE XAYAKALAN, would be placed in the hands of wealthy national and international capitalists.”
“The bad government hasn’t given up, and that’s why it doesn’t want to resolve the agrarian problem that it alone created. It continues to expect that the recovered lands, along with the mines and beaches of the Nahua communities, will end up in the hands of private business interests, and that’s why it encourages an ongoing war against Ostula. In this light, we ratify our position that we will never abandon the lands we’ve recovered in keeping with our ancient land titles. Though it may cost us our lives, we will never again allow our community to be looted.”
A new national and international campaign was announced at the meeting: Stop the War against Ostula. It consists of the following demands to the state and federal governments:
- Stop being accomplices to the criminal mafias than now control most of the territory of Michoacán.
- Respect the life and culture of our community.
- Recognize the communal lands of Xayakalan.
- Guarantee the ability of our community police to function.
- Punish those responsible for the kidnapping, torture and murder of community people who have struggled for the lands and liberty of Ostula.
To endorse the campaign, write to [email protected] with the message “Favor de agregar mi firma a la campaña. _______________.”
To support the rebuilding and strengthening of Xayakalan after damages suffered during the hurricane, make a deposit in the bank account of the Head of Security in Xayakalan, Bernardino Gómez Mata, Cuenta de Ahorro Número (Savings Account Number) 2776589065, Banco BBVA Bancomer, Sucursal 1256 in Tecomán, Colima, CLABE 012 097 027765 890652.
Send a confirmation of your deposit to: [email protected]
This post is also available in: Spanish