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

In southern Mexico, a multi-ethnic network of towns has halted the construction of a mega-dam. Now they are organizing to manage their own natural resources and revitalize their culture as native water protectors.

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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Call for the Global Campaign: The Isthmus is Ours

We are initiating the rebuilding of a broad and diverse movement and an intense global campaign called “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:

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

On May 6, 2009, 3,500 Federal and State Police descended upon the Valley of Ocotlán, Oaxaca, and occupied the territory of the municipality of San José del Progreso, handing over the gold and silver to the Canadian mining company Fortuna Silver 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.

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CODEDI Demands Justice for Assassination of Abraham Hernández Gonzales

CODEDI holds Governor Alejandro Murat responsible for assassination of Abraham Hernández

TO THE PEOPLES OF OAXACA

TO THE SOCIAL ORGANIZATIONS

TO HUMAN RIGHTS ORGANIZATIONS

TO INDEPENDENT AND COMMERCIAL NEWS MEDIA

Today Tuesday 17th of July at 11:30 AM, a group of armed men with ski masks dressed in military style uniforms broke into Abraham Hernández Gonzales’ home in Salchi, Pochutla, and they violently took the compañero from his home. They later transported him in a gray pick-up truck with license plate number RH-70-92 along with motorcycles which escorted the truck.

Immediately after Hernandez Gonzales was picked up several police agencies were notified and none of them made any effort to find the compañero, who after five hour was found dead near the same community.

Oaxaca Governor Alejandro Murat is directly responsible for this kidnapping and assassination of our compañero Abraham Hernández, who carried out the important job of local coordinator for the community of Los Ciruelos. The government’s lack of interest in solving cases like this one demonstrates its complicity with criminal organizations that operate in the region and the state. Allowing these organizations to operate freely at all hours of the day without being detained by anyone illustrates the farce that is the government operation “Safe Beach”; in reality these are the places with the greatest degree of insecurity, and even more so with the return of the PRI to Oaxaca’s state government, whom we know are connected to narcotics trafficking.

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Support an Independent Journalism Collective in Latin America

Avispa Midia, an independent journalism collective in Latin America whose work has appeared in translation on El Enemigo Común, recently launched a fundraising campaign to continue expanding their important work.

For the past four years, Avispa Midia has provided in-depth coverage of events throughout Latin America, from risky situations like the 2016 teachers’ protests in Nochixtlan, Oaxaca, where federal police assassinated 8 people, to catastrophes like the major earthquakes that devastated Mexico in September 2017. They have also worked throughout Central America and Brazil to investigate how military and police forces collude with organized crime to control populations and protect corporate interests.

Today, this independent journalism collective — which has made the best of limited resources in the absence of stable funding — is asking for your solidarity so that it can continue to visit and document resistance movements and fix and replace basic equipment.

DONATE HERE

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