Categories
Autonomy Indigenous Land Defense

Indigenous Nahua Community Removes Politician, Forms Self-Government to Defend its River

On January 19, the Indigenous Nahua community of Zacatepec, Puebla, removed its mayor and replaced him with a Council of Elders in response to his failure to stop a toxic drainage system that is part of the Mexican government’s neoliberal Morelos Integral Project. Shortly thereafter, on January 24, Miguel López Vega, the community’s representative to the National Indigenous Congress and its Indigenous Governing Council, was detained moments after delivering official notice of this action to the state government, setting off protests and highway blockades that won his release five days later. The following day, January 30, the municipal government temporarily suspended construction of the drainage system.

Text and photos by Daliri Oropeza, Pie de Página
Translated by Scott Campbell

While forming lines, residents of the Nahua community of Santa María Zacatepec look at one another. They smile. They check who is in each line, which one is the longest.

Facing the threat of a toxic drainage system emptying into the Metlapanapa River, they have decided to practice self-determination and choose their own government according to their own internal system.

Categories
Indigenous Patriarchy

Life, Respect and Word: Chronicle of the Second Zapatista Gathering of Women Who Struggle

From Radio Zapatista and translated by Scott Campbell. Additional photos, along with audios, can be found with the original text.

Text, audios and photos by all of us.

We dreamed “that the patriarchy burned” and that it was possible to inhabit spaces free of cruelty. For a long time, we graffitied it, theorized it, protested for it, and proposed it. We then came to shout this dream in a territory free of femicides. Here we cried it and wailed it. Here we sang it, danced it, cared for it in this valley of organization and work. From December 26 – 29, 2019, the Zapatista women sheltered us in their collective and rebellious lap to clothe us in dignity inside the seedbed carrying the name of Commander Ramona, who died 14 years ago. Walking in her footprints, in those of Susana and of all the founding mothers of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation, we arrived at this gathering that never should have been. Violence against women, the topic of discussion at this international gathering, should have decreased if the systemic conditions of parity and equity we enacted as a result of feminist debates were enough. But they aren’t. These autonomous and self-managed Zapatista rebel islands, that have multiplied in the past year, resist within a rough sea of generalized violence that led to 38,000 murders in 2019 in a Mexico that doesn’t work. That same violence impacts billions of people, particularly women, boys and girls, as explained by the some 4,000 women who came from 49 countries that also don’t work.

Categories
Media Repression

Four years without justice “in this country that is no longer ours”

Four years ago, on July 31, 2015, Nadia Vera Pérez, Yesenia Quiroz Alfaro, Mile Virginia Martin, Alejandra Negrete Avilés, and Rubén Espinosa Becerril were murdered in a Mexico City apartment. Nadia, a social justice activist and human rights defender, and Rubén, a photojournalist, had both fled Veracruz after receiving death threats for their work. Before her murder, Nadia stated that if anything should happen to her, it would be Javier Duarte who was responsible. Duarte was then governor of Veracruz, renowned for his corruption and human rights abuses, including the deaths of 17 journalists during his rule. The state’s investigation into the murders has been condemned as full of irregularities. Nadia’s mother, Mirtha Luz Pérez Robledo, wrote the following two pieces on the fourth anniversary of her daughter’s murder. Translated by Scott Campbell, the original texts in Spanish can be found here and here.

In my name and on behalf of my family, I send my deepest thanks to all those who have supported us with your kindness and solidarity from every corner of the world, through your messages, your political protests, your artistic protests.

Because without you, without your solidarity, without your art, without your protest, without your demand for justice, this tragedy that has touched us would have passed unnoticed, like so many others in this country.

At four years without justice, we are not the same, and we need to continue supporting ourselves with your kindness. For those of you who have embraced us, we embrace you now, after four years of our Nadia Dominique Vera Pérez’s absence, because thanks to you, her voice and protest continue to be heard.

To those who murder, to those who order the murders, to those who violate due process, we say: There are dead who will never be silenced.

Mirtha Luz Pérez Robledo

July 2019

Categories
Prisoners

Torture, Tears, and Desperation in Mexico’s Migrant Jails

By Movimiento Migrante Mesoamericano
Translated by Scott Campbell

“‘You’re going to die! Sign your deportation and go back to your country!’ was what I heard as I struggled to recover from the asthma attack I suffered in the migrant detention center. I felt cornered by the guard and considered doing it, but remembering the problems that led me to leave my country, I dropped the idea.”

Lizzi is one of 51,607 people detained in Mexico by the National Migration Institute (INM) during the first four months of 2019. She was detained for 45 days, during which time she says she suffered physical and psychological torture. “We felt like we were in a jail, it was horrible! I had two asthma attacks inside. When we came back from the doctor, another guard asked me, “And you want to ask for refuge? Do you know you’ll be locked up for three to six months?”

A few meters from Pakal’ Ná park, near the train tracks in Palenque where hundreds of migrants meet to share their stories, the young, twenty-year-old mother recalls her painful experience. She left Honduras because she had problems with her son’s father, who belonged to one of the gangs. After years of abuse and threats, one day she decided to flee with her son to the United States to start a new life.

Categories
Indigenous Land Defense

Call for the Global Campaign: The Isthmus is Ours

From El Istmo Es Nuestro
Translated by Scott Campbell

#ElIstmoEsNuestro
Isthmus of Tehuantepec
June 2019

The Isthmus of Tehuantepec is a region of Mexico shared by the states of Oaxaca and Veracruz. It is the narrowest part of the country between two oceans: the Pacific to the south and the Atlantic to the north (better known as the Gulf of Mexico), and a meeting point between flora and fauna from the north and south. These characteristics make the Isthmus the most biologically diverse area of the country, an invaluable richness of life concentrated on the territories of 11 different Indigenous peoples. Eight with ancestral lands (Zapotec, Mixe, Ikoots, Zoque/Chimalapa, Zoque Popoluca, Chontal, Chochoco and Nahua) and three peoples who migrated due to displacement and forced relocation (Chinanteco, Mixtec, and Tsotsil). Indigenous peoples who to this day have resolutely protected the natural wealth of our territories.

Facing the imminent threat of the Fourth Transformation government and President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) to impose on the peoples of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, the people of Mexico, and the nation itself, the so-called “Integral Development Plan for the Isthmus of Tehuantepec – Interoceanic Train” (popularly known since 1996 as the “Isthmus Megaproject”), and considering that: