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Autonomous indigenous community in #Mexico make 6 demands in their 11th anniversary

Mexico. Michoacan. Statement from the indigenous community of Santa Maria Ostula eleven years after recovering its communal lands.

Originally published by Voices in Movement.

JUNE 29, 2020 


In the context of the 11th Anniversary of the recovery of communal lands pertaining to the Xayakalan township on June 29, 2009 and the reorganization of our Communal Guard, we declare the following: 

Today, our community marks the eleven year anniversary of recovering Xayacalan lands that, for more than 50 years, had been occupied by wealthy fuedal landlords of La Placita, Michoacan. Likewise, today is the eleventh anniversary of our community’s founding of the town of Xayakalan and the reorganization of its traditional Communal Guard, in full exercise of its autonomy. We were able to accomplish this because we achieved complete unification of the town of Ostula and the 24 towns and townships that make up our community, casting aside governments, political parties, teachers’ unions and religions. 

Since that historic day for the Nahua people of the Costa-Sierra of Michoacán and even before, we have suffered threats and constant aggressions from powerful paramilitary groups that persecute, assassinate and conduct forced disappearances of members of our community with total impunity and in full view of all levels of government due to the complicity of the government with the criminals, even though we have had, since 2010, protective orders issued by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights; highlighting the murders of Professor DIEGO RAMÍREZ DOMÍNGUEZ on July 26, 2008, then-Coordinator of the Commission for the Recovery of Communal Lands, PEDRO LEYVA, TÉODULO SANTOS GIRÓN and J. TRINIDAD DE LA CRUZ CRISÓSTOMO, key leaders in the recovery of our lands; as well as the forced disappearances of our friend FRANCISCO DE ASÍS MANUEL, president of the Communal Lands of Santa María Ostula, and of the community members JAVIER MARTÍNEZ ROBLES, GERARDO VERA ORCINO, ENRIQUE DOMÍNGUEZ MACÍAS and MARTÍN SANTOS LUNA, forced disappearances that have not been clarified by any government body and that signify an open wound for our community and for the indigenous peoples of Mexico. 

To this day, the federal government has given no satisfactory response to the agrarian problem afflicting us, dealing with this very complicated situation little by little and offering fancy-worded solutions that never arrive. In view of the above, we declare that the land we have recovered, which is protected by our former titles and the agrarian court order based upon them, we will not abandon our land except at the cost of our lives, as we will never again allow another theft, another plundering against our community. We very clearly understand that, in the face of the powerful interests of drug trafficking and big foreign capital, this fight is crucial for our community and its future depends upon it. 

Specifically, the Mexican State, within agrarian cause number 78/2004, of the Unitary Agrarian Court Number 38, with headquarters in Colima; and the Superior Agrarian Court, within the appeal for review number 308/2019, have each given rulings against our territorial claims, supported by expert opinions that are detached from reality and curtailing all our territorial rights, having granted a final order against our community in the month of January of this year. 

All of the above has occurred within the context of the quarantine imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, in the face of which our community and the communities of the region have very little medical infrastructure and clear disadvantages due to their historical social marginalization; and in the face of the siege that the New Generation Jalisco (Jalisco Nueva Generación) and “Viagras” (formerly Knights Templar) cartels have launched on our community in face of the the lackadaisical attitude of the armed forces of the State and the Federation. 

To the indigenous peoples and people of the whole world, as well as to international organizations, we reiterate once again that in the face of the war unleashed against the Nahua people of the Michoacán Coast, our territory will remain totally protected and our unity and commitment to the fight are stronger than ever, our demands consist of the following: 

1. Respect for the integrity of indigenous lands that form a part of the communal property of Santa María Ostula and in particular respect for the lands that our community recovered with great sacrifices on June 29, 2009 in what is now the township of Xayakalan. 

2. The immediate stop in operations or any action to disarm and detain members of the community police, self-defense groups, and community guards of the indigenous communities of the Coast of Michoacán. 

3. The dismantling of criminal cartels operating in the region such as the New Generation Jalisco Cartel and the so-called “Viagras.”

4. The safe return of the community members FRANCISCO DE ASÍS MANUEL, president of communal properties, JAVIER MARTÍNEZ ROBLES, GERARDO VERA ORCINO, ENRIQUE DOMÍNGUEZ MACÍAS and MARTÍN SANTOS LUNA; as well as the punishment of the intellectual authors and parties involved in the 35 murders of community members of Santa María Ostula. 

5. The granting of guarantees for the operation and formation of the Communal Guard and the Self-Defense Groups in the territory of the Michoacán Coast. 

6. Adequately equipped medical infrastructure, medicines and health personnel so that our community and the communities of the region, one of the most marginalized of the country, can cope with the current pandemic. 

Respect for all of our communal lands!

Respect for our Communal Guard! 

Punishment of those guilty of murdering our communal farmers in the struggle for land and community freedoms! 

Safe return of our friends Francisco de Asís Manuel, president of the communal property of Santa María Ostula and the communal farmers Javier Martínez Robles, Gerardo Vera Orcino, Enrique Domínguez Macías and Martín Santos Luna! 




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