Filed under: Community Organizing, Indigenous, Land, Solidarity, Southern Mexico
Reportback and statement from the Gathering for Life “The Istmo is Ours” in the Istmo de Tehuantepec, Oaxaca
On June 19-20, in the pueblo of Puente Madera, in the Istmo de Tehuantepec, Oaxaca, Indigenous communities and solidarity organizations got together in the Gathering for Life “The Istmo is Ours” with the intention of better strengthening and articulating community and regional organization in resistance to the Interoceanic Corridor Megaproject in the Istmo de Tehuantepec.
The event was attended by community organizers and solidarity organizations from throughout the Istmo region and the state of Oaxaca, as well as participants from the states of Veracruz, Puebla, Morelos, Jalisco, Chiapas, and Mexico City. The event was facilitated and hosted by Indigenous Zapatecos from Puente Madera who are in direct struggle against the imposition of an industrial park in their community as part of the Interoceanic Corridor Megaproject.
Over the two days, collective discussions and workshops were held touching on issues of land defense, extractive capitalism, women’s struggles, community organizing, state repression and cooptation, political imprisonment. The discussions went beyond the Istmo region, in recognizing the interconnectedness of local contexts of dispossession, femicides, environmental destruction, political repression and cooptation. The general consensus was that capitalism is at war with life, and that it must be destroyed by means of community organization and collective solidarity.
Statement from the Event:
Gathered in the Indigenous Binnizá community of Puente Madera, San Blas Atempa, on June 19 and 20, with representation from the Indigenous communities of San Blas Atempa, Matías Romero, Unión Hidalgo, Juchitán, Tehuantepec, Álvaro Obregón, La Ventosa, San Mateo del Mar, San Dionisio del Mar, San Francisco del Mar, Jalapa de Marqués, Santa María Mixtequilla, Santa Maria Xadani, Ixtepec, Ixtaltepec, San Juan Guichicovi, Ixhuatán, Reforma de Pineda, Huanacastal, El Jícaro, Zanatepec, Tapanatepec, Santa María Petapa, Congregación Comunal La Libertad, Salina Cruz, Eloxochitlán de Flores Magón, Cuatro Venados, Cuilapam de Guerrero, Tatahuicapan, El Salitre, Cuautla, Huexca, Ocotepec, along with representation from the communities of the Indigenous Organization for Human Rights in Oaxaca (OIDHO) and other organizations, human rights centers, and collectives of the different states of Oaxaca, Veracruz, Puebla, Morelos, Jalisco, Chiapas, and Mexico City.
With the “Gathering for Life: The Istmo is Ours,” we get together amidst the imposition of the Interoceanic Corridor Megaproject in the Istmo of Tehuantepec, to denounce the projects of dispossession which are nothing new, but are derived from the arrival of the conquistadores, passing for the liberal governments, and now the current neoliberal governments. We get together to analyze the onslaught of the patriarchal capitalist system and its megaprojects taking place throughout the country. We organize in particular to strengthen the resistance struggle of the communities of the Istmo and all of Mexico against the Interoceanic Corridor of the Istmo de Tehuantepec. We denounce that the current government seeks to transform this region into a vast corridor of manufacturing, assembling, and transportation of commodities, in the hands of the United States and international capital. Simultaneously the corridor will function as a wall containing the migratory processes coming from Central America. The project seeks the installation of ten industrial parks in Oaxaca and Veracruz, as well as the modernization and amplification of the ports of Salina Cruz and Coatzacoalcos, along with the train lines of the Transistmic Train. The project also seeks to install a series of gas pipelines parallel to the train lines. All of this shows that the Interoceanic Corridor is much more than simply a train, it is a project of production and transportation of commodities that derives from the necessity to insert the region into the relations of production, circulation, and consumption of the environment, fossil fuels and cheap labor, in the service of national and international finance capital.
However, the current administration of Andrés Manuel López Obrador has tried to justify the dispossession of this territory through a series of farcical Indigenous Consultations in the communities of San Blas Atempa, Santa María Mixtequilla, Ciudad Ixtepec, and another one which is about to begin in Asunción Ixtaltepec. These consultations are mere bureaucratic and sham processes, violating and trampling on the right to self-determination of Indigenous peoples.
In this context of imposition, as the communities of the Istmo, we are confronting different processes of dispossession and the violation of our rights. For this,
- The imposition of industrial parks on the common use lands of Pitayal in San Blas Atempa, Mixtequilla, Ixtepec, and Ixaltepec.
- The use of the right to consultation as an instrument for the dispossession of territories.
- The Agrarian Attorney of Tehuantepec who is in collusion with interests of different political and business groups to dispossess the community of Jalapa del Marqués from their territory, as well as to log the forests for agave monoculture.
- That there exists a lack of information on the environmental, social, and cultural impacts of the megaprojects of the Interoceanic Corridor and other projects linked to it.
- That in the community of San Mateo del Mar, they are facing a series of actions to impose the political party system via the production of division and intercommunity violence, without respecting the community’s traditions and customs.
- The armed aggression and forced displacement of the community of El Rebollero and Rio Minas, Cuatro Venados, derived from the interests of two mining concessions with a total extension of 1532 hectares.
- The congresswoman of the state of Oaxaca, Elisa Zepeda, for the climate of violence that she has generated in the community of Eloxochitlán de Flores Magón.
- The imposition of the Integral Project of Morelos, as well as the gas pipelines that are being projected throughout national territory.
- Cancellation of the criminal charges from the SCT and the municipality of San Blas Atempa against our compañeros David Hernández Salazar, Oseas Salazar Patiño, and Alberto Patiño de la Rosa, land defenders of Puente Madera.
- Cancellation of the Program of Integral Development of the Istmo de Tehuantepec—Interoceanic Corridor and all of the megaprojects that threaten life.
- Solution to the agrarian appeals and constitutional controversy in the communal Zoque territory of Chimalapas with the invasion of loggers and ranchers facilitated by the government of Chiapas.
- Cancellation of all mining concessions in the communities of Zanatepec, San Miguel Chimalapa, La Ventosa, and other concessions that exist in the Istmo de Tehuantepec.
- Immediate end to the repression against the Rural Normal schools, end to the repression against the Rural Normal of Mactumatza, Chiapas and the Rural Normal of Teteles, Puebla.
- Punishment to those responsible or the disappearance of the 43 Normalistas of the Rural Normal school Raúl Isidro Burgos.
- Recognition of energy as a human right.
- Cancellation of the two electric substations in the territories of the Popoluca and Nahua peoples, as well as an end to exploration and extraction of natural resources in the Sierra de Santa Martha, Veracruz.
- End to the repression against members of the Popular Indigenous Council of Guerrero-Emiliano Zapata (CIPOG-EZ).
- Justice for the assassination of our compañero Samir Flores Soberanes.
- Immediate freedom for our political prisoners: Fredy Garcia of CODEDI, Fidencio Aldama of the Yaqui Tribe, Herminio Monfil, Jaime Betanzos, Fernando Gavito, Omar Morales, Isaias Gallardo, Alfredo Bolaños, and Francisco Duran, from the community of Eloxochitlán de Flores Magón.
We have agreed to continue articulating the different communities and social and territorial organizations, to demonstrate that solidarity between those who defend life is not only a written word. We will continue calling for organization and territorial defense. As Indigenous communities, our grandparents taught us to struggle in order to defend the ocean, wind, and territory.
“We are aware that there exists a war between the system and the environment, that confrontation does not allow lack of clarity or cowardice. You are either with the system or with nature. With death or with life.”
We reject the Interoceanic Corridor and all of the megaprojects pushed by international capital and the government of the fourth transformation.
We do not negotiate, nor surrender.
The Istmo is ours, belonging to the Indigenous peoples and people of Mexico, not of businesses nor governments.