Just over 200 indigenous communities in Mexico are victims of aggression of some sort, according to the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN) and the National Indigenous Congress (CNI).
Originally published by Mexico News Daily
The two organizations, meeting in Chiapas for the fifth national indigenous congress, issued a map indicating the locations of conflicts affecting Mexico’s indigenous peoples.
The document indicates that 202 indigenous municipalities suffer some kind of aggression, including the dispossession of their land, the effects of mining activities or the presence of organized crime groups.
Among the cases cited:
- Toxic spills in Veracruz that have devastated water sources and the occupation of lands belonging to the Wixárika people of Jalisco, Nayarit and Durango.
- Communities in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec region of Oaxaca face the dispossession of their land in favor of industry while the creation of natural protected areas has had the same effect on the territory of indigenous peoples elsewhere in the state.
- A new highway between Toluca and Naucalpan threatens a 23-kilometer stretch of forested area in the State of México and communal indigenous lands in Morelos face a similar threat due to the construction of the Pera-Cuautla highway.
- The Cerro Grande forests of Colima, the only source of water for the state, are currently under threat by a mining entrepreneur.
- Organized crime and government are both a threat to Nahua communities in Michoacán.
“In the Nahua communities of Santa María Ostula, Coibe and Pomaro, part of the coastal Aquila municipality of Michoacán, organized crime and the government have killed 34 of their members, including two children, while six more remain disappeared,” said a speaker at the congress, being held in San Cristóbal de las Casas.
To face these attacks, say the EZLN and the CNI, communities have had to develop autonomous forms of government and defense.
Indigenous peoples from across Mexico are participating in the meeting, one of whose outcomes is expected to be the designation of an indigenous woman as an independent candidate for president in the 2018 election.
While the Zapatista movement has stated its support of the candidacy, it has made it clear that the nominee will not be a Zapatista.