Photo: @Mexican Commission for the Defense and Protection of Human Rights (Comisión Mexicana de Defensa y Promoción de los Derechos Humanos – CMPDH)
After a decade of struggle for conservation of the natural wealth of their territory, the community of San Francisco, Xochicuautla, Mexico State, obtained the definitive suspension of the construction of the Toluca-Naucalpan highway that threatened their forest. Following ten years of various strategies, political and legal, the suspension opposed the presidential decree of 2015 for the expropriation of 37 hectares of the ejido for the construction of the highway.
The infrastructure project was promoted by the then-governor of the State of Mexico, Enrique Peña Nieto. The company in charge of the construction of the highway, Autopistas de Vanguardia S.A., is part of the Grupo Higa, which sold the so-called “White House” to the wife of the current President of the Republic for seven million pesos, causing a huge scandal last year.
It is worth highlighting that the suspension is a “great step to protect the rights of indigenous peoples and communities, the defense of life, water, the forest, and the countryside”, although they hadn’t yet obtained the definitive cancellation of the project, according to the statement from the community. In spite of the judicial ruling, the inhabitants of Xochicuaulta pointed out that machinery had recently arrived to their territories in violation of the said ruling. The comuneros demanded “that the state, federal and municipal authorities honor the suspension“, and that therefore, the companies “immediately vacate the territory of San Francisco Xochicuautla, removing machinery, workers and also that the state police who tend to accompany the works be removed.”
For more information in Spanish:
Comunidad otomí de San Francisco Xochicuautla exige cumplimiento de decisión del Poder Judicial de suspender la autopista TolucaNaucalpan. (Frente de Pueblos Indígenas en defensa de la Madre Tierra, 11 de marzo de 2016)
Xochicuautla logra una gran victoria en la defensa de su territorio (Subversiones, 11 de marzo de 2016)
Ordena juzgado suspender obras de autopista de cuota en Lerma (La Jornada, 15 de marzo de 2016)
Xochicuautla logra suspensión del decreto expropiatorio de su territorio (Somos el medio, 11 de marzo de 2016)
Denuncian a Grupo Higa por posibles actos de corrupción (Aristegui Noticias, 16 de marzo de 2016)
For more information from SIPAZ:
Nacional: Anuncia Xochicuautla “contradecreto de reapropiación” (12 de agosto de 2015) Chiapas/Nacional: Marcha en solidaridad con la comunidad de San Francisco Xochicuautla (29 de julio de 2015)