Xayakalan: Two years later, two calls for support

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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.

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In Cherán “we got fed up with keeping our heads down”

Gloria Muñoz Ramírez, La Jornada
Saturday, May 28, 2011
Translated by Scott Campbell

Cherán, Michoacán, May 27. In the face of government indifference and/or complicity, close to 20,000 community members have organized themselves for the past 42 days against illegal loggers who are supported by gangs linked to organized crime. Patrols, barricades of sandbags, trunks and stones at all the points of entry and 179 permanent bonfires in the four neighborhoods, have been in place since April 15.

Since then, the population has armed itself with sticks, rocks, machetes, pickaxes, shovels and anything they could, in order to confront those who “for the past three years have devastated the community’s forests, with the protection of armed groups and even the government, which has done nothing to stop them,” said one of the thousands of community members who guard the barricade which covers the path to Paracho.

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Xayakalan, Santa María Ostula: “Nobody’s going to move us out of here”

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The recovery of 1,300 hectares of Nahua lands in Xayakalan, Santa María Ostula, on June 29, 2009 was one of the most amazing things that’s happened in Mexico in the last few years. How did the people do it? Last week I had a chance to find out more about that.

As soon as I got to Xayakalan with two friends last week, the head of security didn’t take long to verify that we were trustworthy and show us a palm-branch shelter where we could camp.

“How’s everything going out here?”

“Well, here we are. You can see with your own eyes. We’ve been here for a year and a half and nobody’s left. And nobody´s going to move us out of here”.

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