Above Photo: Members of the “Tierra y Libertad” encampment, who have maintained a blockade for 60 days in Guichicovi, Isthmus de Tehuantepec municipality, were expelled yesterday by members of the National Guard, Navy and state police. To the right, members of the El Sur Resiste caravan and organizations of the Sierra de Santa Marta, in Veracruz, who blocked a stretch of the trans-Isthmus railway yesterday, in the municipality of Oteapan, to protest the aggressions against their compañeros of “Tierra y Libertad.” Photo La Jornada and Sayda Chiñas
By: Jorge A. Pérez Alfonso, Elio Henríquez and Sayda Chiñas, Correspondents and La Jornada Veracruz
Yesterday morning, members of the Mexican Navy, the State Police and the National Guard evicted the protest/occupation that Mixe residents have maintained for 60 days on the town of Mogoñe Viejo-Vixidu section, in San Juan Guichicovi, Isthmus of Tehuantepec municipality, Oaxaca, to protest the damage caused to their lands from the rehabilitation work on the interoceanic train.
According to testimonies and the Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Human Rights Center (Frayba), which condemned the action and demanded respect for the peaceful demonstration, the armed forces with riot gear and armed equipment arrived around 10:30 am yesterday at the point of the blockade and attacked the demonstrators.
The indigenous Mixes have indicated damage to their properties due to the modernization work on the railroad that will connect the port of Salina Cruz, Oaxaca, with Coatzacoalcos, Veracruz, of the Trans-Isthmus Corridor.
They denounced that the armed forces intimidated them with their weapons, uttered threats against the protesters, who they warned that they will return for them if they insist on their blockade, for which they blamed the government of Salomón Jara Cruz (Morena Party,) for what may happen to them.
Frayba added that they have “a report of a compañero beaten, the destruction of the camp and theft of their belongings. The blockade completed 60 days in resistance, with more than 60 mobilizations of the communities since July 2019, which have been harassed and threatened.”
The Union of Indigenous Communities of the Northern Zone of the Isthmus (UCIZONI) said that the eviction was made a day after the members of the El Sur Resiste caravan, organized by the National Indigenous Congress and made up of civil and campesino organizations that oppose the dispossession and pollution of their communities caused by large megaprojects, visited the camp.
The UCIZONI said that in the operation six indigenous people were arrested: María Magdalena Martínez Isabel, Fernando Hernández Gómez, Adela Severo Teodoro, Esperanza Martínez Isabel, Elizabeth Martínez Isabel and Eliodoro Martínez Isabel.
The state government announced, at 20 hours this Friday, that the six arrested residents were presented at the State Attorney General’s Office, but did not report of what crime they were being accused.
The Secretary General of Government, Jesús Romero López, said that the protest is being carried out by “a small group that opposes the works, while the majority of the community has endorsed them.”
However, the same community members in the area agreed, during an urgent meeting, to reinstate the sit-in in the community of Puente Malatengo, in San Juan Guichicovi.
Sailors arrived at the place who, according to the demonstrators, intimidated them.
This is the second time that police and Navy forces have withdrawn the “Tierra y Libertad” camp. The first time occurred in the early hours of March 24, when, together with a group of armed civilians, they removed machinery held by the indigenous Mixes, leaving two villagers injured; However, the protest was restarted.
CNI and EZLN demand release of six detained Mixes
The National Indigenous Congress (CNI) and the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN, Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional) demanded the release of six Mixe residents detained by federal and state agents during the eviction of the “Tierra y Libertad” camp.
In a statement they denounced: “with rage, the violent attack” against those participating in the camp. They added that “it is clear to us, once again, that the current governments are at the service of large transnational corporations and militarization, patriarchal violence and repression are the path they have chosen to face the struggle and resistance of our peoples to the Interoceanic Corridor and the Maya Train, to dispossession and the capitalist war. “
Harassment in Veracruz
Meanwhile tanto, indigenous and campesino organizations of Veracruz denounced the armed forces’ constant persecution of the communities in order to protect federal megaprojects and they condemned the eviction in Oaxaca.
Members of the El Sur Resiste caravan and organizations of the Sierra de Santa Marta closed the Trans-Isthmus federal highway, in the municipality of Oteapan, in solidarity with the indigenous people of the Oaxacan Isthmus.
Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada, Saturday, April 29, 2023, https://www.jornada.com.mx/2023/04/29/estados/024n1est and Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee