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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
Autonomy Culture Indigenous Land Defense

On the Coast of Oaxaca, Afro and Indigenous Tribes Fight for Water Autonomy

By Samantha Demby

At dawn on March 14—celebrated internationally as the Day of Action against Dams and in Defense of Rivers—Afro-Mexican, Indigenous, and mestizo peoples met on the shores of the Río Verde to participate in a ritual of gratitude and resistance.

They were gathered for the Río Verde Festival, organized each March by the Consejo de Pueblos Unidos en Defensa del Río Verde (Council of Peoples United in Defense of the Río Verde, COPUDEVER). This water protector movement was formed in 2007 when dozens of communities organized to stop the Federal Electricity Commission from building a hydroelectric dam on their river, which they say would flood their homes and contaminate their only source of water.

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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:

Categories
Land Defense Repression

Ten Years After the Repression: When Oaxaca’s Gold and Silver was Handed to Canada’s Fortuna Mines

By Daniel Arellano Chávez, Regeneración Radio

“It was 9 a.m., we did not open the curtains or windows of the house because they were already firing tear gas. The helicopters were circling low; only briefly did we leave the house to see what was going on. We saw the people of my village running along the streets as the Federales arrived,” those, who at the time were six-year-old kids, remember. “We heard sirens, a lot of noise, fireworks, shouting, vehicles racing along the streets”.

The 3,500 combined troops of Federal and State Police came with military boots, bulletproof vests, clubs, shields, grenade launchers for tear gas, pistols and rifles as they descended upon the Valley of Ocotlán, Oaxaca on May 6, 2009, and occupied the territory of the municipality of San José del Progreso. This also meant handing over the gold and silver, which can be found in the Valley of Ocotlán to the Canadian mining company Fortuna Silver Mines for the next 10 years.

Categories
Indigenous Land Defense Repression

The Neoliberalism of Mexico’s New Government Continues to Dispossess and Kill

Following the article is a statement from the Popular Indigenous Council of Guerrero – Emiliano Zapata (CIPOG-EZ) on the assassination of two of its members.

By Ñaní Pinto, Avispa Midia
Translated by Scott Campbell

For the indigenous peoples of Mexico, the winds of war today seem to be the same as those of previous governments. Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s (AMLO) government has been in power just four months and the imposition of development projects, dispossession, persecution, harassment, forced disappearances, and murders continue as before.

On May 4, in the southern Mexican state of Guerrero, indigenous Nahuas belonging to the Popular Indigenous Council of Guerrero – Emiliano Zapata (CIPOG-EZ), held a meeting to coordinate actions at state and federal agencies to pressure them into meeting their social and political demands that had been rejected by the three levels of government. At the end of the meeting, at approximately 6pm, an armed group in Chilapa, Guerrero, kidnapped and later murdered José Lucio Bartolo Faustino and Modesto Verales Sebastián, both members of the National Indigenous Congress (CNI).

On more than one occasion, members of CIPOG-EZ informed the Mexican president that they had been under “siege by criminal organizations tolerated by the three levels of government,” reported members of the Indigenous Governing Council (CIG). The indigenous groups are unequivocal in asserting that AMLO had information about the situation in these communities and therefore cannot say that “he did not know.”

For their part, in a joint statement, the CNI-CIG and the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) said that the indigenous men were killed by narco-paramilitaries who receive government backing. “It is important to mention that our murdered compañeros and their communities have for years been organizing their own Community Police in order to resist the violence, extortion, and poppy cultivation imposed by two criminal groups in the area, Los Ardillos and Los Rojos. These two groups control municipal presidencies across the region and are protected by the Mexican army and the municipal and state police. At one point they even managed to get one of their leaders named president of the Guerrero State Congress,” the statement asserted.