Filed under: Environment, Indigenous, Land, Southern Mexico
Communique from the Indigenous Zapotec community assembly of Jalapa del Marqués, Oaxaca, denouncing ongoing attempts of dispossession being carried out by local power holders aligned with the state.
To the Zapatista Army of National Liberation
To the National Indigenous Congress-Indigenous Governing Council
To the Isthmus People
To the Indigenous Peoples, Organizations, and Collectives of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec
To the People of Oaxaca, Mexico, and the World Who Struggle and Resist for Life
We are comuneros pertaining to the agrarian assembly of Santa María Jalapa del Marqués, Oaxaca. We are an Indigenous Zapotec community who refuse to forget our roots and traditions. That is, we refuse to forget our history and collective memory.
As a community, more than sixty years ago, we were displaced by the bad government. With an already well-known discourse of development, employment, and well-being for our community, they began the construction of the “Benito Juarez” dam. With the same discourse, the people of the coastal plain were promised agricultural development, which was debunked within a couple of decades, as the principal reason for the dam was to satisfy the water consumption needs of the oil refinery in Salina Cruz. Before the dam was built, our community was 100% campesino. Our productive capacity stood out with fertile lands surrounded by two rivers: one coming from the north named “Rio Grande” and the other coming from the west named “Rio Tequisistlán.” This ended due to the personal ambition of the few.
In 2003, it was announced that the dam would be modernized for hydroelectric use. This modernization project was rejected by the community, organizations, and collectives, who denounced the handing over of money and land by political groups who sought to impose the hydroelectric project. These political groups were strengthened by governmental support, until they managed to take control of municipal and community power, in order to serve their particular interests.
For decades and up to this day, Jalapa del Marqués has been held hostage by municipal and community authorities linked to organized crime, who have threatened, intimidated, and bought off people in order to sustain their position in power. This has allowed them to give lands to their families, politicians, and associates to whom they owe favors, in exchange for money, which is their ultimate interest.
For all of the above, on the eve of the elections for Communal Commission, we denounce the following:
- We denounce the ex-Municipal Trustee, Ricardo Miniaga, for buying votes for the Commission’s election, financed by the re-elected municipal president Joselin Esquivel Balseca, who is linked to the recent assassination of the journalist Hebert López Vázquez.
- We denounce the Agrarian Court of Tehuantepec, led by its director and agrarian officials, for being in collusion with Ricardo and Joselin, giving them priority and ignoring the necessities and appeal of the assembly.
- We denounce and hold responsible the aforementioned figures for the climate of conflict and violence in the interior of our community, and for any threats and/or aggressions carried out against our representatives, members of the community assembly, or members of our organization.
We oppose the buying off of people, being carried out by those who feel to be owners of Jalapa del Marqués, and who seek to continue holding the community hostage in favor of their interests.
We call on all comuneros of Jalapa del Marqués to participate in the upcoming community elections this Sunday, February 20, to decide the future that we want for our natural and communal resources.
Likewise, we call on the general population of Jalapa del Marqués, the media, unions, and social organizations, to be attentive to the elections for whatever aggression or action that might be carried out by this political group that wants to impose its will on the community.
Never more a Mexico without us!
For the integral reconstitution of our peoples and communities!
Community Assembly of Santa María Jalapa del Marqués
Assembly of Indigenous Peoples of the Isthmus in Defense of Land and Territory- APIIDTT