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Apr 28, 17

Indigenous Communities Blockade Highway in Oaxaca

We, the communities of Puente Madera, Rancho Llano and Loma Bonita, from the indigenous Zapotec municipality of San Blas Atempa, Oaxaca, are continuing intense mobilizations with a now 24-hour-long blockade of the Trans-Isthmus Highway between Tehuantepec and Juchitán.

The participation of women, children and elderly people is important, as our entire communities – and not a “handful” of people like the bourgeois state claims – are strongly opposing these megaprojects, as we have not been consulted and believe our rights, based on Article 169 of the International Labor Organization, have been violated.

The projects that have created great controversy and flagrant human rights violations are the electricity substation for the National Defense Ministry’s wind farm, the extraction of stone from Iguu’ Hill, a Zapotec ceremonial center, and the landfill in the Pitayal neighborhood.

Despite the existence of injunctions and legal action, the current mayor, Augusto Acevedo Osorio from the MORENA Party, has ignored them. The current state government has as well. Another controversial neo-MORENA character is former mayor Antonino Morales Toledo, the stand-in for José Antonio Estefan Garfias, a PRD federal representative. With their thirst for money, both of these crooks, protected by public power, have impacted the communal well-being of these communities.

That is how these three types of interests – economic, political and social – are connected through these projects.

Parties and politicians who traffic in networks of transnational interests.

The former mayor owns construction equipment and has boarded the “development train” as its judge and jury.

The blockade continues under the intense sun, the unusual drought, and the night that cloaks the Isthmus of Tehuantepec. The General Assembly of the Binniza’ People in Struggle has decided to call for Carmelita Ricardez, the head of the Oaxaca State Ministry of the Interior, to come to the Isthmus to dialogue in order to reach an agreement and to stop the destruction of the hill and the lands mentioned above.

As communities in opposition to megaprojects, we reject their imposition and repression.

Municipal representative David Hernández Salazar and community member Jorge Rasgado López received death threats from César Morales Toleda and Victor Ramírez’s gunmen and thugs (mercenaries in the service of city hall), who have also set the community’s grasslands on fire near to blockade in order to intimidate those in the struggle.

Don’t be confused by the enemies of the people: This struggle is dignified because it is rooted in the power of the General Assembly of the Binniza’ People in Struggle! Here, no one backs down nor retreats in the defense of our lands and territories!

San Blas Atempa, Oaxaca

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Scott Campbell is the author of the "Insumisión," which was a featured column on It's Going Down and currently writes news and analysis on social movements and struggles, with an eye towards Mexico.

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