“The Territory is ours and we will defend resisting”

The southern caravan: “The territory is. ours and we will defend resisting.” Photo: Diana Manzo.

By: Diana Manzo / IstmoPress News Agency

#PuenteMadera (#Istmopress) – The voices and struggles of the peoples, collectives, communities and defenders reached Oaxaca on the Southern Caravan, which left Chiapas yesterday. The objective is to articulate the struggles around defense and resistance to the megaproyectos, especially the Interoceanic Corridor and the Maya Train |Tren Maya, the “consented” works of the president of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador.

The caravan started in Pijijiapan, Chiapas, on April 25, continues its journey through Oaxaca, Veracruz, Tabasco, Campeche, Yucatan, Quintana Roo to return to Chiapas and meet at the CIDECI, in the city of San Cristobal de Las Casas, on May 6 and 7 in the Internal Technical Meeting “The South Resists.”

Betina Cruz, as host and Binnizá defender was the first to speak of the struggle of the Isthmian peoples against wind companies, who since 2005 are installed in this southern area of Oaxaca.

The activist pointed out that the only thing that these “development” models have brought are violence and conflicts between citizens and peoples, so this new project that the federal government intends to implement will not improve the development of the Isthmian peoples at all; on the contrary, the effects of climate change will be felt even more.

She explained that for the peoples is development means to have a dignified life, where the milpa prospers and where water abounds, but that with the industrial estates and the gas pipeline, the only thing there will be is more violence.

Binnizá defenders from Ixtepec and Ixhuatán also spoke about mining, and their struggle that began a decade ago, where they have declared their territory free of mining.

The Triqui and Mazatec women of Eloxochitlán de Flores Magón also spoke out and demanded justice from the Mexican state for their struggles.

“Today we come to demand from the government a safe return, we have been away from home for many days, we leave everything there, our lives, and it is not possible that we cannot return, because the government has not been able to guarantee our security,” they said.

Elliot Escobar, defender of the group “Sol Rojo” said that the communal struggle in Isthmian territory has become violent. They have murdered community members and also authorities for opposing megaprojects.

No to the industrial park on El Pitayal bridge

Holding this meeting in Puente Madera was no coincidence, in this Zapotec territory, men and women have resisted the installation of one of the 10 industrial parks contemplated by the Interoceanic Corridor, and they defend it because it is their life and territory.

The Interoceanic Corridor of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec (CIIT) is a project that is composed of the railway, airport, port and industrial development and that aims to connect the port of Veracruz with Oaxaca for the transfer of merchandise, in addition to including the construction of industrial parks and a gas pipeline.

Puente Madera is a municipal agency of San Blas Atempa where about 529 Zapotecs live, where women are dedicated to the elaboration of tortilla chips of small zapalote corn and men are campesinos.

The community members and residents of Puente Madera denounced irregularities in the acquisition of land for the project, which was carried out through the staff of the Agrarian Prosecutor’s Office, which endorsed the forgery of signatures of more than 80 percent of the community members and the signature of two community members who have already died.

While the assembled women cook the chicken broth, as an act of love for life, others talk about their struggle.

“From El Pitayal we get firewood to cook our food, from here we hunt some animals to eat, it is our life and now here they want to put a wind farm, and we are not going to allow it,” said Antonia Salazar Patiño.

Antonia is the mother of David Hernández Salazar, who has been arrested and criminalized for defending El Pitayal.

“Here you already know, our struggle is true and real, we are not going to allow them to occupy a communal territory, to dispossess us of our lands just to install a wind farm, here there is experience that the parks have not brought equal development for all, if not for a few. “

The Zapotec women also denounced that the Isthmus of Tehuantepec will be the new border with the Central American region and will be monitored and guarded by the US army, which will provide security to companies that come to industrialize the territory.

This Thursday, the caravan will continue in Oaxacan territory, and will be in Mixe territory of Mogoñe, in San Juan Guichicovi, in the northern part of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec where they will meet to learn about the struggle carried out by ejido members and peoples of that area, who for more than 50 days have maintained a blockade of the railroads, preventing the progress of the rehabilitation works. Due to non-compliance by the authorities.

Originally Published in Spanish by Chiapas Paralelo, April 27, 2023, https://www.chiapasparalelo.com/noticias/2023/04/llega-la-caravana-del-sur-a-oaxaca-el-territorio-es-nuestro-y-lo-defendemos-resistiendo/ and Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee

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