From El Enemigo Comun
179 peoples, communities, barrios and organizations say: ¡State police out of Xochicuautla! ¡Stop destruction of forest and homes!
— Sandra Patargo (@spatargo) April 12, 2016
On Monday, April 11, 2016, around 800 State of Mexico riot police at the service of Grupo Higa laid siege to the Otomí community of San Francisco Xochicuautla, destroyed the camp set up in defense of the forest, used heavy machinery to illegally tear down the house of Dr. Armando García Salazar, and violently dragged out at least 25 men, women and children who were inside the house, including 64-year-old Isabel Hernández, a member of the Supreme Indigenous Council of Xochicuautla.
— ميجيل (@chikilinsUr) April 12, 2016
During the past decade, the Xochicuautla community has struggled against the destruction of this forest–– one of the country’s most important lungs ––, a forest threatened by the construction of the Toluca-Naucalpan Toll Highway by the Autovan company, affiliated with shady businessman Juan Armando Hinojosa.
Community people finally achieved the suspension of the highway construction and were granted a writ by a federal judge that protected them against an expropriation decree for 37 hectares issued in 2015 by Hinojosa’s intimate friend Enrique Peña Nieto.
The violent eviction took place just after the approval of state legislation dubbed “The Atenco Law,” promoted by Governor Eruviel Ávila, which gives the police almost unlimited powers to trample on human rights in their drive to eliminate resistance movements. It’s not surprising, therefore, that the federal protection granted to the Xochicuautla community has been scorned by Grupo Higa and its shock troops, which have indicated that they will be committing even more atrocities in the days to come.
— SubVersiones AAC (@SubVersionesAAC) April 12, 2016
Nevertheless, this new attack against the Otomí community and its forest has already aroused widespread repudiation. It comes only two days after the founding of the National Campaign in Defense of Mother Earth and the Territory, made up of 179 peoples, communities, barrios and organizations in an effort to confront the massive plunder of their territories and the destruction of land, water, air and life itself. In the following statement, the Campaign responds to this new offensive against the Xochicuautla community.
Statement on San Francisco Xochicuautla
April 11, 2016, Editorial Committee
To the federal government of Enrique Peña Nieto,
To the state government of Eruviel Ávila Villegas,
To all peoples, barrios and communities,
To the organized and non-organized civil society,
To the news media,
To all who defend life and struggle against injustice:
The 179 peoples, communities, barrios and organizations that make up the National Campaign in Defense of Mother Earth and the Territory, raise our voices against the actions taken today in the San Francisco Xochicuautla community.
At around 10 o’clock in the morning, April 11, more than 800 state police forces laid siege to the community, blocking the entrance or exit of any person whatsoever. They then began to attack the community members by tearing down the encampment set up in 2015 to protect and defend the forest. Once the camp was dismantled, the police went for the houses located within Grupo Higa’s Toluca– Naucalpan highway project area.
— Másde131 (@masde131) April 12, 2016
Without presenting valid documentation, Luis Enrique García, head of the State of Mexico highway system, informed Dr. Armando García and his family that a valuation of their home would be conducted. Dr. García cited the existence of a protective writ that grants the provisional suspension of the project and invalidates the eviction of his family and the destruction of his home.
Comrades who were inside the house to prevent its destruction were beaten and dragged out. Among them was 64-year-old Isabel Hernández, who was knocked down along with her baby granddaughter, only to be kicked and beaten by the police. It’s important to note that Isabel is a member of the Supreme Indigenous Council of Xochicuautla. All of the family’s belongings were taken away by state agents, and a bulldozer began to destroy the house.
These actions taken by the government of the State of Mexico are an example of the politics of plunder being carried out nationally against peoples, communities and barrios in order to implement any number of megaprojects without consulting the people who live in the coveted territories. Such projects systematically violate the rights of indigenous peoples to self-determination and are clearly projects of destruction and ecocide.
This morning’s actions of the government of the State of Mexico are not only an attack on the will of the people of San Francisco Xochicuautla, but also violate the state’s own laws. They fail to respect protective order #1123/2015- V issued by the Second District Judge and Federal Courts in the State of Mexico, which grants the provisional suspension of the highway project. These actions also reveal the absence of access to justice and the politics of terror and criminalization against indigenous peoples in the State of Mexico.
Despite the fact that the community has been granted legal measures to stop further construction of the highway, and precautionary measures by the National Human Rights Commission to protect the population, the government of the State of Mexico is using the state police to impose the highway project, destroy homes and provoke the imminent devastation of the ancestral forest.
The peoples, communities, barrios and organizations that make up the National Campaign in Defense of Mother Earth and the Territory emphatically reject the abuses and acts of violence employed against San Francisco Xochicuautla, which violate their collective rights as an indigenous Otomí people and the individual guarantees of women and men, through the plunder of their forest and their homes.
We hold the federal government of Enrique Peña Nieto and the state government of Eruviel Ávila Villegas responsible for any and all damages to the physical and psychological integrity of the comrades in the community of San Francisco Xochicuautla. We condemn the criminalization and repression of the legitimate defense of the forest of San Francisco Xochicuautla.
¡We demand that they respect their own laws and the protective orders issued in favor of the people of Xochicuautla and that they suspend the highway project!
¡We demand an end to repression and the immediate exit of the armed forces of the State!
¡We demand reparations for the damages suffered by the affected families!
¡We demand respect for the self-determination of the people of San Francisco Xochicuautla!
WE are the ones who live on these lands, waters, mountains and hills. We are the guardians of our Mother Earth, and we will not permit her destruction.
— radiozapote (@RadioZapote) April 12, 2016
National Campaign in Defense of Mother Earth and the Territory