The midday sun burns relentlessly on the small patio of Santa María Mixtequilla (SMM) in the Mexican state of Oaxaca, where 50 people have gathered. Some of the women try to keep cool with paper fans, while the men wear large sombreros to alleviate the heat of Istmo. An elderly man stands up and speaks decisively, while the crowd shows their support for his words with subtle movements of their heads: “they want to pay us for a metre of land with the value of a kilo of tortillas”.
"In the face of forgetfulness, which contributes to oppression and marginalization, the weapon of memory is vindicated. Memory is fundamental in the life of peoples, since it prevents us from falling into oblivion. Through memory we give meaning and, therefore, stability to human existence. In memory the land is much more than a productive space, since it is full of symbols and endearing references, that is why the old people of Temoac vehemently exclaim 'this land cost blood' in reference to the Zapatista deed 'and that is why it is not for sale'.
Human Rights Defenders from Civil Society in Mexico and Europe met through Human Rights Trialogue with representatives of Mexican Government and the European Union
On March 10, 2021, PBI-Canada organized a virtual meeting for Isela Gonzalez of Alianza Sierra Madre (ASMAC) in Chihuahua, Neftali Reyes of Services for an Alternative Education (Educa) in Oaxaca, and Rubén Flores from the community of Magdalena Ocotlán.
"We oppose development that reduces our forests, that destroys our lands" (...) With the pandemic we will have to live the rest of our lives. "
Jorge Sibas, leader of the Brörán people and Costa Rican defender.
Located in the south of Mexico, the Isthmus of Tehuántepec crosses both Oaxaca and Veracruz. The Pacific and Atlantic Oceans are divided by only around 200km, making this Mexico’s narrowest point. Development projects have been operating in the area since the early 20th century, and PBI has accompanied human rights defenders protecting land and territory – and facing threats for their opposition to such projects – since 2011.
“The isthmus, commercial route for the world”
“Pasta de Conchos is very important because it will set a precedent for how mining should operate, how workers should be treated, and [show] that companies should think twice before opening mines”, Cristina Auerbach.
For more than a decade, totonaca indigenous communities in the Sierra Norte de Puebla have fought for the survival of their traditions and the defense of their territory. In January of this year, they won an important legal battle against the building of a hydroelectric dam with the local municipality revoking the permits for Puebla 1 to be built, due to illegal activities in the administrative processes.
Photo credits: Reforma
During the past few months, PBI along with other national and international organisations, has called attention to the extraordinary risk people defending their territory against economic projects are living through in Mexico and across the whole region of Latin America. During the past weeks these warning have become a reality in Mexico, and unfortunately, the situation we foresaw is beginning to take place.
Crédito de la foto: Reforma
Durante los últimos meses, PBI junto con varias otras organizaciones nacionales e internacionales, hemos llamado la atención sobre el riesgo extraordinario en que viven las personas quienes defienden su territorio en contra de proyectos económicos en México y por toda la región de América Latina. Durante las últimas semanas en México estas advertencias se han convertido en realidad, y lamentablemente, la situación que prevenimos se ha empezado a llevar a cabo.