Tag Archives: mexico

Mexico: Atenco campesinos face new land dispute

June 11, 2014. Source: WW4 Report

Photo by Javier Salinas

Photo by Javier Salinas

While historic leaders of the community protested nearby, an assembly in San Salvador Atenco, a town in México state northeast of Mexico City, voted on June 1 to allow the sale of almost 2,000 hectares of communal land to private parties. Members of the Front of the Peoples in Defense of the Land (FPDT) charged that they had been barred from the assembly, which they said was packed with people who were not participants in the ejido (communal farm) that legally controls the land. According to the FPDT, the June 1 vote was engineered by current ejido president Andrés Ruiz Méndez, a member of the governing centrist Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), as part of the Ciudad Futura (“Future City”) development plan for the region, which includes a new international airport for Mexico City and will disrupt the area’s traditional farming practices.

The FPDT was formed in 2001 to oppose an earlier plan—heavily promoted by the center-right government of then-president Vicente Fox Quesada (2000-2006)—for a new Mexico City airport. The Atenco group defeated the plan in 2002 but was hit hard by a May 3-4, 2006 confrontation with México state police which resulted in the deaths of two protesters, 209 arrests and accusations that police agents systematically beat and sexually abused prisoners. The state governor at the time was the PRI’s Enrique Peña Nieto, now Mexico’s president. A state court sentenced 12 FPDT leaders to lengthy prison terms for their role in the incident, but the federal Supreme Court overturned the sentences in June 2010 after an international campaign for the prisoners’ release. Continue reading

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Mexico: Police crack down on community fight against water project

May 25, 2014. Source: Weekly News Update on the Americas

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Dozens of Mexican civilians and police were injured on May 21 in a violent confrontation over water resources in the centuries-old village of San Bartolo Ameyalco, now part of Alvaro Obregón delegación (borough) in the Federal District (DF, Mexico City). Over the past year a group of village residents has fought against a plan that the Alvaro Obregón government announced in April 2013 to run pipes off the natural spring now supplying water to San Bartolo Ameyalco. When workers arrived, with a police escort, in the morning of May 21 to lay down pipes for the project, residents armed with clubs, rocks and Molotov bombs attempted to block the construction. The protesters set up flaming barricades and detained at least two police agents, while the police arrested nine protesters, according to villagers. By the end of the day the village was without electricity and was surrounded by some 2,000 DF police agents, who ensured that the construction could proceed. About 50 police agents and 50 to 70 residents were reportedly injured.

According to delegación head Leonel Luna, the project’s goal is to use the spring to supply potable water to 20,000 area residents—without affecting access to water by the San Bartolo Ameyalco community. DF head of government Miguel Angel Mancera Espinosa, of the center-left Party of the Democratic Revolution (DF), claimed on May 22 that he’d received reports blaming the protests on water vendors concerned that the increased supply of water would cut into their sales. DF security secretary Jesús Rodríguez Almeida charged that the attacks on police agents constituted what he called “citizen brutality.”

Residents insisted that Leonel Luna’s plan is not to supply water to nearby neighborhoods but to divert the water to the Centro Santa Fe, a huge shopping mall about five miles away. Hundreds of villagers gathered in an assembly in San Bartolo Ameyalco’s main plaza on May 22 and announced that they would prevent the new pipe system from going into operation. They said they no longer recognized Luna as their representative; their only authority from now on would be the village assembly, they decided, and political parties would not be allowed to intervene. (Revolution News, May 21; La Jornada, Mexico, May 22, May 22May 23)

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BREAKING: Marcos to step down as leader of Zapatista army, says he no longer exists

Note: While the main stream coverage below (all we could find in English) insufficiently explains this momentous announcement, this article in Spanish explains that Marcos’ stepping down is related to the recent assassination of Galeano, a Zapatista teacher and the desire for a new generation of Zapatista leaders to take hold.

From Marcos’ final communique:

“Pensamos que es necesario que uno de nosotros muera para que Galeano Viva. Así que hemos decidido que Marcos debe de morir hoy”

We think it is necessary that one of us dies so Galeano may live.  So we decided that Marcos should die today

¡Galeano presente!

-The GJEP Team

By Michael O’Boyle and Tomas Sarmiento, May 26, 2014. Source: Reuters

The leader of the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN), Subcomandante Marcos (C) smokes a pipe during opening of the forum to mark the fifteenth anniversary of the Zapatista uprising in San Critobal de las Casas in Mexico's state of Chiapas, January 2, 2009. Photo: REUTERS/JORGE DAN LOPEZ

The leader of the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN), Subcomandante Marcos (C) smokes a pipe during opening of the forum to mark the fifteenth anniversary of the Zapatista uprising in San Critobal de las Casas in Mexico’s state of Chiapas, January 2, 2009.
Photo: REUTERS/JORGE DAN LOPEZ

Subcommandante Marcos, who led an indigenous uprising in southern Mexico and became one of Latin America’s most iconic revolutionaries, on Sunday said he was stepping down as spokesman for the Zapatista rebels and would disappear.

The ski-masked, pipe-smoking guerrilla leader became an idol of the anti-globalization movement after he led the 1994 Zapatista rebellion in the southern state of Chiapas, but he had avoided public appearances in recent years.

“We have decided that today Marcos no longer exists,” he wrote in a lengthy statement published on the Zapatista website that he said was his last message as the rebel leader.

Marcos denied rumors he had become ill, saying he was making way for a new generation to take over speaking for the rebels, who still hold a handful of communities deep in Chiapas.

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Women in the Zapatista movement

Note: A belated celebration of International Women’s Day!

-The GJEP Team

March 7, 2014. Source: Schools for Chiapas

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Filed under Chiapas, Indigenous Peoples, Latin America-Caribbean, Rights, Resilience, and Restoration

Communities in Veracruz, Mexico resist plans to build 112 dams

February 11, 2014. Source: Radio Mundo Real

“They are going to flood us,” fear the inhabitants that protested the dam. Photo: AVC Noticias

“They are going to flood us,” fear the inhabitants that protested the dam. Photo: AVC Noticias

In Veracruz, to the South of Mexico, there are plans to build 112 dams and 6 hydroelectric power plants without authorization by communities, who in the past weeks have mobilized in different municipalities of La Antigua River basin and managed to get the government to intervene throught an inspection of Odebrecht construction company, whose works could cause flooding in several territories.

In addition to not having authorization from the National Water Commission (CONAGUA), La Antigua dam will be built in an area where there is a seismic fault and therefore it would be a time bomb for the communities living by La Antigua River and other tributaries.

The inhabitants of the region had access four years ago to documents expressing the intention to building this dam by the Brazilian multinational construction company, although they did not obtain information from official sources.

Even today, with the company established in the area and carrying out exploration activities, which have already accumulated materials by the riverbed, risking the population of Jalcomulco, Apazapan, La Antigua, Paso de Ovejas, Emiliano Zapata, Teocelo, Xico and Ixhuacán de los Reyes, totaling 1.2 million people, the Evironment and Natural Resources Secretariat (SEMARNAT) of the Mexican Union stated that “there is no project” since there hasn’t been a request for an environmental impact assessment. Continue reading

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Filed under Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Energy, False Solutions to Climate Change, Green Economy, Hydroelectric dams, Land Grabs, Latin America-Caribbean, Water

New report shows record decline in Monarch Butterflies: Monsanto a major culprit

By Larissa Walker, January 29, 2014. Source: Center for Food Safety

Photo: Center for Food Safety

Photo: Center for Food Safety

We hate to be the bearer of bad news, again, but the 2013-2014 overwintering population numbers for Monarch butterflies in Mexico were just released this morning, confirming our bleak predictions from a few months ago: the situation is worsening. Last year’s overwintering numbers were an all-time low, with monarchs occupying 1.19 hectares. The area occupied by monarchs this year is a frightening 0.67 hectares – a 44% decline in just the past year. So what does that number actually mean for the population size of monarchs? An average estimate of about 50 million butterflies per hectare would mean there are roughly 33.5 million monarchs – a huge drop from just one year ago. Another way to visualize this downward spiral is to look at the trend of declining overwintering numbers in Mexico throughout the past two decades:

These data points and trends, compiled by World Wildlife Fund Mexico, clearly illustrate North American Monarch butterfly populations are in serious trouble, and it’s only going to continue to get worse unless we make some big changes to our agricultural system. Continue reading

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Indigenous Nahuas reject mine in Colima, Mexico

By Mónica Montalvo, Translated by Scott Campbell January 7, 2014. Source: El Enemigo Común

For our indigenous people, the land is not merely an object of possession and production.

The integral relationship between our people’s spiritual life and our lands has many profound implications. Furthermore, our land and our water are not commodities to be appropriated, but a common good which we and our children should freely enjoy.

-Indigenous Council for the Defense of the Territory of Zacualpan

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In recent weeks, the town of Zacualpan, in the municipality of Comala, has joined the growing number of farming and indigenous communities facing conflicts over mining. A few months ago, this indigenous Nahua community began hearing about a plan to build a mine – backed by Rigoberto Verduzco Rodríguez – from which gold, silver, copper and manganese would be extracted, without an environmental impact study or any approval process or permits in the offices of the Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT) in Colima.

The planned mine is one kilometer from a water spring that supplies the metropolitan area of Colima-Villa de Álvarez, which would mean contaminating the water source in an area known as Cerro Gordo, which is important from a biological and geological point of view and where there is a large number of species at risk of extinction. This would translate into putting at risk the water supply for 260,000 people in the state.

The case of Zacualpan is one of the first conflicts emerging in the state, but it will not be the last, as in Colima alone there are 360 mining concessions covering virtually the entire state with the exception of the volcanos. There is already an example that shows all the negative implications of these extractive projects: the Peña Colorado mine. This mine, operated by an Italian-Argentinian-Indian firm, has been in operation for the past 44 years on the border between Colima and Jalisco and has caused severe environmental damage, territorial displacement and human rights violations in the Nahua communities. The Peña Colorado mine has also meant threats, assassinations and disappearances, as in the case of the indigenous Nahua Celedonio Monroy Prudencio, member of the Ayotitlan Council of Elders.
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Filed under Actions / Protest, Corporate Globalization, Indigenous Peoples, Land Grabs, Latin America-Caribbean, Mining, Victory!, Water

Chiapas: Localities declare ban against mining, hydroelectric development

December 29, 2013. Source: World War 4 Report

Eight municipalities in southern Mexico’s Chiapas state on Dec. 10 were declared territories free of mineral or hydro-electric development, asserting principles of local autonomy and prior consultation. The joint statement was issued by 56 communities, ejidos (communal agricultural settlements) and popular organizations in the municipalities of Tapachula, Motozintla, Huehuetán, Cacahoatán, Mazapa, Comalapa, Chicomuselo and Tuzantán.

The officially notarized statement directed to President Enrique Peña Nieto, Chiapas Gov. Manuel Velasco Coello and other authorities protested illegal entry onto communal lands by personnel from development interests, attempts at corruption of local officials, the pending neoliberal reform of the energy sector, and high electric rates. The statement was read aloud in a public gathering in the central plaza of Tapachula—after which, hundreds of attendees occupied the town’s municipal palace to demand that the mayor endorse the statement.

“Official” authorities in the eight municipalities generally did not endorse the statement. The municipalities are in the state’s rugged Sierra Madre, headwaters of the Rio Grijalva, already under major hydro-electric exploitation. The Grijalva hydro-dams are a major source of power for Mexico, yet impoverished Chiapas is the state’s least electrified state, and high rates have repeatedly sparked protests. (Rebelión, Dec. 24)

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Chiapas, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Hydroelectric dams, Mining