By: Javier Salinas Cesáreo, Correspondent
San Salvador Atenco, Mexico
Yesterday, the Peoples Front in Defense of Land (FPDT) commemorated the tenth anniversary of the repression and occupation of San Salvador Atenco community by federal forces. On that occasion they arrested more than 200 campesinos, and dozens of women suffered sexual abuse and two young men were murdered.
The FPDT assured that it would continue fighting until the project for a New Mexico City International Airport (NAICM) is cancelled.
“The torture that we experienced during the long night of May 3 to 4, 2006 is still fresh in our memory. Saying that 10 years have passed is only a reference for not forgetting all the pain and offense that we still have and relive today. The repression and political vengeance to which they subjected us still makes us angry,” said Adela Romero Núñez, a member of the FPDT.
On May 3, 2006, state police beat up on campesinos from the Frente that defended the eviction of a group of flower vendors from the Texcoco municipal market. Their leader, Ignacio del Valle Medina, was arrested during that action.
Hundreds of residents and ejido owners blocked the Texcoco-Lechería Highway and police arrested dozens. In the early morning of May 4, thousands of police agents irrupted in the community. They threw tear gas, broke into houses and arrested hundreds of the FPDT’s ejido owners, who five years earlier had achieved the suspension of airport construction.
The Atenco campesinos demanded that the material and intellectual authors of the repression be punished, as well as for the murder of the Autonomous National University of Mexico student, Ollín Alexis Benhumea Ramírez, and of the youth Francisco Javier Cortés. They warned that those who ordered the repression now occupy high positions, among them President Enrique Peña Nieto, then governor of the state of Mexico.
Since 15 years ago, they added, they have faced the threat of dispossession of their lands for the airport’s construction. “The Red May of 2006 was a cruel and condemnable vengeance. Now, in 2016, the government insists on the construction of its air terminal on our lands,” they pointed out.
They warned that they are not going to permit “more humiliation” and they will fight legally and with mobilizations to defend their lands against “the death project.”
The commemoration started with a mass that the priest Miguel Concha Malo officiated and with a press conference of the Atenco residents. Among those in attendance were the mothers of Martín Getsemany Sánchez, Jorge Antonio Tizapa and Abel García, three of the 43 Ayotzinapa students attacked in Iguala, Guerrero.
Miguel Concha stated that the FPDT has shared for a decade “hope and the fight for the defense of territories,” and is a symbol of “human rights defense in the face of violent repression” against the community.
“We don’t forget those who try to grab our land and our hope; they have made and now make a repressive use of State forces. We don’t forget that now justice must exist for the two murdered youths, the more than 30 sexually abused women and hundreds of people that suffered repression; we cannot forget and we are here because of that today,” he said.
Gilberto López y Rivas also participated in the name of the Committee in Defense of Mother Earth. He considered that the FPDT has become an “example of all the country’s struggles that are defending nature, land and all its life forms; and besides, Atenco has been a symbol in defense of human rights.”
At the same time it warned that the work of the Cypsa Vise company provoke tension and polarization in Tocuila, Texcoco municipality, where a superhighway to the airport is being built.
The commemoration continued in the afternoon with cultural and musical activities that the local PRI municipal council sought to boycott with an activity to celebrate the “Day of the Child,” for which it placed dozens of horns at full volume and a boxing ring on the esplanade.
Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada
Wednesday, May 4, 2016
Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee