Mexico: Armed Group Sets Bus on Fire, Threatens Zapatista Indigenous Agrarian Movement - It's Going Down
To the media
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To social and human rights organizations
To the indigenous peoples of Mexico and the world
Rebellious people walk towards freedom;
submissive people march towards slavery.
Last Friday, armed and masked individuals traveling in a black Ford Lobo extended cab pickup truck burned a bus belonging to the AU line that was rented by our organization, near the community of Alcomunga in the Sierra Negra of Ajalpan.
The AU drivers were returning from dropping off our compañeros in the municipality of Tlacotepec de Díaz after participating in mobilizations and protests in Mexico City against the Ministry of Energy (SENER), demanding the definitive cancellation of the Coyolapa Atzala Hydroelectric Project, a property that Autlán Mining is seeking to build in the lower part of the mountain.
The attackers blocked the road outside the community mentioned above. The drivers were handcuffed and violently removed and threatened. Later they sprayed gasoline and set the bus on fire, indicating that it was a warning for us.
We denounce Cirilo Trujillo Lezama, mayor of Tlacotepec de Díaz, as the material author of this criminal act of intimidation. Gunmen at his and his brother Marcel’s command pointed their weapons at the drivers and set fire to the bus. Behind these acts of violence and intimidation one will find, of course, Autlán Mining.
This is not the first time that Trujillo Lezama turned to violence as his modus operandi. On November 24, 2016, two armed gunmen contracted by him and his brother attacked Radio Tleyole, The Voices of the Corn, an independent and community station that belongs to our movement. This attack left announcer Gerardo Rivera Juarez wounded by a 9mm bullet, a crime that remains unpunished.
The same thing has happened with Fermín González León, the mayor of Zoquitlan. He, his family and relatives have repeatedly resorted to threats and physical attacks against us, publicly and in assemblies held in Coyolapa, Zoquitlan and Poztitla, among other communities opposed to the megaprojects.
These mayors belong to Senator Miguel Barbosa Huerta’s political group, who is MORENA’s likely candidate for governor of Puebla and their main mentor. They act as the mining company’s armed wing, which, in addition to the Coyolapa Atzala Hydroelectric Project, has plans for two other hydroelectric dams in the Sierra Negra.
On February 4, taking advantage of López Obrador’s visit to the town of Zoquitlan, we protested and publicly accused these two mayors of operating violently and openly in favor of mining interests. In response to this, both López Obrador and Barbosa Huerta were forced to declare their opposition to the hydroelectric dams.
Now we call upon them to be true to their statements, demanding that they veto and withdraw Cirilo Trujillo Lezama as PT-MORENA’s candidate for representative of the Ajalpan district, for acting outside the law and for being an operator for Autlán Mining.
We also denounce the complicit behavior of the federal government in favor of Autlán Mining. For a year and a half, the Ministry of Energy has tried using threats, bribes, corruption, violence, and the help of these two mayors to impose an “indigenous consultation” that would endorse the construction of the dam, a project that would irreversibly affect the Huitzilac, Coyolpa and the Tonto rivers in Puebla and also in Oaxaca and Veracruz, impacting the entire Papaloapan River basin.
We affirm our position against megaprojects in the Sierra Negra and tell them that they will not be able to build them, because the determination of our communities has been overwhelming, firm and uncompromising in defense of this territory, its forests and rivers.
We state that Convention 169 of the International Labor Organization has been left behind by reality, as it is not a legal instrument for the self-determination of indigenous peoples but the key with which the Mexican government and companies guarantee and legalize the dispossession of our territories through the consultation mechanism that this international norm establishes and obliges.
We publically hold these two mayors, Autlán Mining and the Ministry of Energy (SENER) responsible for whatever act of violence that may occur against MAIZ and the Nahua communities in resistance in the Sierra Negra.
For the free self-determination of our peoples!
Zapatista Indigenous Agrarian Movement (MAIZ)
Commission of Human and Labor Rights of the Valley of Tehuacan A.C.
The rivers are not sold, they are taken care of and defended!
Autlán Mining out of the Sierra Negra!
Tehuacán, City of Indians; Puebla: February 12, 2018
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