On 8 August, some 40 persons participated in a caravan in solidarity with the Otomí-ñatho community of San Francisco Xochicuautla, Lerma municipality, Mexico State. With this action, they expressed their disagreement with the expropriatory decree that seeks to plunder the community of more than 37 hectares of its sacred forest for the construction of the Toluca-Naucalpan highway. The community was never consulted before this decree was announced, thus violating its rights as an indigenous community. Besides this, the act would threaten to destroy the “water lung for the Toluca and Mexico valleys.”
The spokesperson for Xochicuautla, José Luis Fernández, has denounced that personnel from the construction company and government agents have been invading their forests, this despite the precautionary measures released by the National Commission for Human Rights (CNDH). These ended on 10 August, thus leading to the expression of concern for the well-being of the residents of the community amidst the possibility that the expropriation be carried out. “We do not doubt that in the next few days, despite the precautionary measures, police will prepare their invasion,” he added. The spokesperson further noted that there are rumors that the Army will invade to occupy the land, such that he called on civil society to be attentive to what might happen in the next few days.
Beyond this, it was announced that on 30 August the traditional authorities will release a “counter-decree of reappropriation” that would symbolically invalidate the expropriatory decree released by the federal government. According to Antonio Lara, from the Zeferino Ladrillero Center for Human Rights (CDHZL), the idea is to counterpose the ancestral vision of rights before the Western concept. “The public interest is not above any right. Rights are violated for business.” Other indigenous peoples are invited to the ceremony, such as the Nahua of Ostula, the Yaquis from Sonora, and San Salvador Atenco, besides intellectuals and the bishop Raúl Vera.
For more information (in Spanish):
Boletín de Prensa del día de ayer en Cencos, #Xochicuautla “NO tenemos nada que festejar” (Frente de Pueblos Indígenas en Defensa de la Madre Tierra, 11 de agosto de 2015)
Comuneros de Xochicuautla realizan caravana en defensa del territorio otomí (La Jornada, 9 de agosto de 2015)
Pueblos indígenas e intelectuales acompañarán a Xochicuautla en “reapropiación” de su territorio (Más de 131, 10 de agosto de 2015)
Pedaleando en defensa del bosque (SubVersiones, 11 de agosto de 2015)
La CNDH ya nos dejó solos: pobladores de Xochicuautla; piden frenar autopista de Higa (Sin Embargo, 10 de agosto de 2015)
Higa destroza cosechas de habitantes de Xochicuautla; “dicen que si nos seguimos oponiendo el Ejército nos va a reprimir” (Revolución tres punto cero, 11 de agosto de 2015)
For more information from SIPAZ (in English):