In this harvest season, the cornfields will not glean, nor will there be a celebration in the communal property of Cacahuantepec because the government persists in treating the peasants who have dared to wield their steel to defend their lands as criminals. His slogan that the land is not sold, it is loved and defended! It has cost them dearly. We demand an end to the persecution against members of CECOP!
In memory of Mrs. Euología Ortega Carlos who died this Saturday in Ayutla de los Libres at the age of 55. At the same time that he fought tirelessly against cancer, he joined his brothers Elocadio, Meliton and Hermenegildo in demanding the presentation of his nephew Mauricio Ortega Valerio, one of the 43 disappeared students from Ayotzinapa, a member of the Me'phaa people and originally from Monte Cheerful municipality of Malinaltepec.
The drama that the authorities are not interested in addressing is the agricultural crisis facing farmers in the countryside who since 1992 were overwhelmed by the presidential power, when Carlos Salinas de Gortari imposed his reform to article 27 of the Political Constitution. This reform laid the foundations for the privatization of community territories. By decree, the poor peasants were abandoned and programs aimed at legalizing dispossession and weakening the organization of agrarian nuclei were promoted. The agrarian distribution was arbitrarily terminated and a capitalist exploitation model based on extractivism was promoted, instead of betting on food self-sufficiency. The entrepreneurial vision of neoliberal governments made importing grains more profitable than encouraging the production of small producers. The reconversion of the field to transnational capital was dismantling the community economy. New institutions were created to give priority to the mega projects that with the free trade agreement acquired a legal status that allowed them to exploit the natural assets of native peoples on a large scale. The important thing is the appropriation of the territory to make long-term investments, what is irrelevant now are the indigenous and poor peasants who have jealously cared for mother earth. The government erased them from the map and used them only to obtain authorization to change land use. The Agrarian Attorney General's Office (PA) is far from being an instance that defends the rights of indigenous peoples and the peasantry. Its institutional design is rather overturned to supplant the agrarian authorities who are given a secondary role as simple representatives of the agrarian nucleus. Little by little this attorney general's office has been taking control of the assemblies, mediating the legitimate demands of the owners of these territories. The PA is the spearhead to convince ejidatarios and community members of the benefits that megaprojects promoted by transnational companies bring.
The case of La Parota is a clear example of how the Federal Electricity Commission, the PA, SEMARNAT and other branches of the branch joined forces to impose the hydroelectric plant in the Communal Assets of Cacahuantepec. They held spurious assemblies, used public force to prevent community members opposed to the dam from participating in the assemblies, committed a series of irregularities in the procedures in order to guarantee the approval of the hydroelectric plant, and went so far as to criminalize their leaders and imprison them , to demobilize them. The opposition peasants were forced to form the Council of Ejidos and Communities Opposing the La Parota dam (CECOP), to resist the attacks of the three levels of government. They fought in the streets and inside their Communal Assets to prevent the robbery and nullify the assemblies in the Agrarian Courts. With the law in hand, they defeated the federal government. The same former UN Special Rapporteur for indigenous peoples, Rodolfo Stavenhagen, recommended that the Mexican State respect the free decision of the community members not to allow the construction of the dam, due to its social, economic and environmental unfeasibility.
It has been fifteen years of tenacious struggle, of fighting hand in hand, of facing a repressive government that has been determined to subdue the CECOP by criminalizing their struggle and generating divisions to wear them down internally, encouraging confrontation between the groups. What happened in the community of La Concepción, Acapulco municipality on January 7, was the outcome of a conflict announced both by the state authorities with their political operators in the region who work in coordination with businessmen who have promoted the creation of shock groups to challenge the CECOP and the Community Police that operated in Concepción.
The bloody balances of this skirmish were 6 people murdered from the commissioner's group supported by the gravilleros businessmen and two elements of the Concepción Community Police. The state authorities, instead of having prevented this tragedy, not only allowed it to be consummated, but also pounced on the members of the CECOP and in an ostentatious operation by state and ministerial police, they reached the community, not to restore order, but to unleash their weapons and exact revenge. In this operation, they executed 3 members of the Community Police, detained and tortured the historical leader of the CECOP, Marco Antonio Suasteguí, carried out illegal arrests and searches, and transferred more than 30 peasants from the CECOP, initially accused of crimes against health. This criminal action by the police was consummated with the imprisonment of 25 peasants who, upon winning an amparo, the Judge ordered the reestablishment of the initial hearing process where two people and seven more were released in the bonding hearing.
The vices reproduced in these arrests came to light in the new criminal justice system. It has been possible to demonstrate that evidence and testimonies were fabricated and that torture was practiced, as well as cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment in several of the arrests. What would be expected of the authorities in charge of investigating these crimes is that their actions adhere to due process, however, after the release of the comrades was achieved, the ministerial police have launched a fierce persecution against the members of the CECOP. Currently they maintain a spectacular operation in the main entrances to the Communal properties of Cacahuatepec such as Las Chanecas, San Pedro Cacahuatepec, Las Palmitas, Tasajeras, San Isidro Gallinero and La Concepción. With a list in hand, he illegally checks all peasants who leave or enter the Communal Assets. More than 80 elements roam the area.
Recently, ministerial police illegally searched the home of Clemente Cabrera Benítez, a prominent member of CECOP in the Tasajeras community, and took him into custody. On September 4, Tomás Cruz Valeriano from the community of Ilamos was arrested in San Isidro Gallinero, both of them have an arrest warrant for the crime of damage and dispossession derived from unfounded accusations and fabricated evidence.
The Prosecutor's Office has released more than 50 arrest warrants against the same number of CECOP community members, whose crime has been to defend their lands and natural assets such as the Papagayo River, which is irrationally exploited by gravilleros businessmen. For a week the state and ministerial police have practically besieged the Communal Assets of Cacahuatepec with the aim of dismantling the CECOP and decimating its historic struggle.
The actions of the Guerrero General Prosecutor's Office are a clear expression of the State's persistence in continuing to criminalize CECOP community defenders. The factious use of the justice apparatus to dismantle the organization and resistance of the peasants in their defense of their territory and natural assets is evident.
The perversity of power not only focuses on imprisoning the peasants who defend their land, they know perfectly well that with this action they cause serious damage to their families and to the communities themselves. Instead of dedicating themselves to the work of their plots and orchards they have to wear themselves out in every way to fight for the freedom of the detainees, their economic dependence is based on what they sow on their plots. If the milpa does not spike, it is because the government locks them up so they will stop loving their land. The worst punishment for the peasant and their families, in addition to prison, is violating their right to remain peasants and to live off the fruit of their work.
In this harvest season, the cornfields will not glean, nor will there be a celebration in the communal properties of Cacahuantepec because the government persists in treating the peasants who have dared to wield their steel to defend their lands as criminals. Because during these fifteen years they have canceled the La Parota dam, derailing the plans of the big businessmen to transform the Papagayo River into a juicy business to amass fortunes in exchange for the forced displacement of the peasants and their confinement to the peripheries of violent Acapulco.
We demand an end to the persecution against members of the CECOP; the removal of illegal checkpoints maintained by the ministerial police. That the illegal searches of the homes of CECOP members cease. That the unfounded arrest warrants be canceled and the factual use of the justice apparatus against the peasants who defend the territory stops.
Immediate release of the CECOP prisoners!
September 11, 2018
Tlachinollan Mountain Human Rights Center
Originally posted on Tlachinollan
Source: Let's get uninformed