On 8th anniversary Xayakalan inspires defense of land and life

“We want to tell the world that we’re resisting, come what may.”

x carolina

Under heavy rains, two busloads of people and dozens of others traveling in cars or public transportation came together in the community of Xayakalan in Ostula, Michoacán, on June 29, 2017. There, the compañeras welcomed us with steaming coffee, tortillas and a delicious stew.

The purpose of the trip?  The celebration of the eighth anniversary of one of the most amazing things that’s happened in Mexico in many years ––the recovery of 3000 acres of land stolen from Ostula half a century ago, and the construction of a community where resistance is part of its identity.

A bit of history

In a brief history of the defense of the lands of Santa María Ostula and the founding of Xayakalan, the lawyer Carlos Gonzalez told us that for centuries, including the entire twentieth century, the community had constant border conflicts. When a presidential decree issued in 1963 certified that the communal lands rightfully belonged to Ostula, small landowners in La Placita took advantage of errors in the decree to take over thousands of acres. In 2008, they won a court case that took land away from Ostula precisely in the area where they’d obtained concessions from the transnational mining company Termium.   Continue reading “On 8th anniversary Xayakalan inspires defense of land and life”

Police Open Fire on Rural Students in Michoacán, One Seriously Injured

The escalation of violence against social protests is evident in the harassment and repression of teacher-training students in Michoacán, Aguascalientes, or wherever they are based.

Rural activism by normal school (teacher-training) students has once again become the target of armed repression by the Mexican state. On Wednesday, June 21, students from the Vasco de Quiroga Rural Normal School in Tiripetío, Michoacán, were brutally repressed by Special Operations Group police (GOES) who detained, beat and shot at the students. One student, Gael Solorio Cruz, was shot in the head and is reported as being in critical condition.

The students reported that “elements of the Michoacán Police entered the school buildings while fourth-year youths were carrying out team activities. As youth attempted to stop them, the police opened fire. One of their targets was a white van that the students used to move around the community, and as they fired, they wounded Gael in the head. He is now in critical condition.”

Continue reading “Police Open Fire on Rural Students in Michoacán, One Seriously Injured”

Cherán community says no to single police command

In spite of all the attacks, they remain firm. “Cherán is not going to give up the fight. We won’t hand over our form of government or self-determination.”

By Ninx Salvaje and Regina López
March 17, 2016
SubVersiones

What is the single police command?

Basically, it’s a reform to the country’s police system with the stated aim of ending corruption and collusion among municipal police forces and organized crime, relieving municipal governments of their responsibility for public safety and security. While these governments “design non-police oriented public policies”, they will “assume responsibility for public safety and security” through state police forces. 

Beginning last week, articles have come out in several different newspapers announcing that the autonomous municipal government of Cherán, Michoacán has signed a document agreeing to the “single police command.” Members of the Pur’épecha community deny this news report and reaffirm their determination to continue struggling for their autonomy. A spokesperson makes their position clear:

Those who work for the bad government and the press that strategically tries to destabilize us, always report lies, announce things that aren’t true, and have now announced that Cherán will accept the single command, when we have not done so.

Continue reading “Cherán community says no to single police command”

Cartel Land: A myopic glance at Michoacán reality

Little research has gone into the film, and the narrative lacks depth and analysis. It’s full of holes.

By Romeo LopCam – A number of critics have said that Cartel Land by Matthew Heineman is a good documentary, «basic for understanding what’s gone on in Michoacán in the last few years.» They exaggerate. The film shows only a small part of this reality, a fact the director consistently overlooks. He gives no context or perspective, just a sequence of dramatic scenes that grab the reader’s attention with sensationalistic details. Little research has gone into the film, and the narrative lacks depth and analysis. It’s full of holes.

The story he tells us is limited to what has happened in the Tierra Caliente (Hotlands) area —with no mention of the P’urhépecha Plateau or the Coastal Highlands region. It focuses on the charismatic figure of Doctor José Manuel Mireles Valverde, a man who has certainly played a key role in the uprising in Michoacán, but does not fully exemplify it. And here it must be said that given its complexity, no individual could do so.

Continue reading “Cartel Land: A myopic glance at Michoacán reality”

DF: Xochicuautla and Ostula Solidarity March

March against the plunder of indigenous communities

x carolina

A sacred ceremony performed by the authorities of the Supreme Indigenous Council of Xochicuautla set the tone for a march to the Ministry of the Interior in Mexico City on Tuesday, July 28. There, speakers demanded the repeal of an order for the expropriation of the ancestral lands of the Otomí-Ñatho communities of Xochicuautla in Mexico State and an end to the war against the Nahua indigenous community of Santa María Ostula in Michoacán.

Demonstrators also demanded freedom for Cemeí Verdía ––the Commander of the Ostula Community Police and Coordinator of the Self-Defense Groups of Aquila, Coahuayana and Chiniquila, Michoacán–– and punishment for those responsible for the murder of 12-year-old Hidelberto Reyes in Ostula territory.

In an operation carried out by a joint command of more than 1000 agents of the Mexican Navy, Army and Federal Police, officers sprayed teargas and opened fire on the people, killing Hidelberto and wounding 6-year-old Yeimi Nataly Pineda Reyes, and 9 more people last July 19. The following videos taken by the people of Ostula and compiled by Agencia SubVersiones dispute government versions of what happened there that day.

Continue reading “DF: Xochicuautla and Ostula Solidarity March”

Cherán K’eri: Political parties are dead to us in this town

In April, the Purépecha municipality of Cherán K’eri, Michoacán is celebrating four years of its uprising to end organized crime in its territory.

By Niñx Salvaje

In April of this year, the Purépecha municipality of Cherán K’eri, Michoacán is celebrating four years of its uprising to end the presence of organized crime in its territory. Following the uprising, indigenous women and men not only managed to throw out to the narco cartel, but also expelled all authorities (police, local government and political parties) that supported the illegal activities in the community. They decided to retake their traditional forms of self government to start a long process of building their autonomy. A few months back they inaugurated a new weapon to continue defending their traditions and reaffirm their rejection of the institutional political method: a communal television.

Continue reading “Cherán K’eri: Political parties are dead to us in this town”

SOA Graduate Takes Control of Security in Michoacán, Mexico

General Pedro Felipe Gurrola, a US Army School of the Americas graduate has taken control of security for the state of Michoacan, Mexico.

[ WHINSEC/SOA Logo ]

by Simón Sedillo

Alfredo Castillo, the federal envoy in charge of security for the State of Michoacán since January 2014 has stepped down and is being replaced by General Pedro Felipe Gurrola Ramírez, a US Army School of the Americas (SOA) graduate. The School of the Americas is notorious for training a wide variety of infamous military officials from all over Latin America in strategies and tactics which include but are not limited to torture, coercion, kidnapping, rape, murder, mutilations, massacres, mass media manipulation, political manipulation, and paramilitarism. In 1989, religious based faith groups and concerned individuals created the School of the Americas Watch, an organization that has outspokenly opposed the SOA, demanded the release of the names of individuals trained at the school, and exposed a number of atrocities and crimes committed by SOA graduates throughout Latin America.

Continue reading “SOA Graduate Takes Control of Security in Michoacán, Mexico”