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Land Grabbing in Mexico, the Violent Oppression of Protests Grows

Mexico - 30 Apr 14

“The situation is worsening. They want to silence the voice of the community.” Leonardo Durán Olguín called us from Mexico’s Sierra Norte mountain range, where permission has been given to the construction of hydroelectric power stations and open-pit mines, robbing land from local communities.  Durán Olguín coordinates the Puebla Sierra Norte Native Bees’ Honey Presidium, which has been directly affected by this land grabbing.


Durán Olguín called us to tell us about the spiral of violent repression that is growing in the Mexican states of Puebla and Morelos. “In the past few days the interference from authorities against the representatives of some indigenous communities has multiplied.” Their crime? Having protested against projects that exploit natural resources and are threatening the entire area.


To put an end to this wave of violence, cultural figures like the American linguist Noam Chomsky, Uruguayan intellectual Eduardo Galeano, and Mexican poet and journalist Javier Sicilia have signed an international petition with Slow Food and about eighty other civil society organizations.


The states of Puebla and Morelos are selling dozens of licenses to large foreign and Mexican companies to excavate gold and silver mines, construct enormous hydroelectric centers and extract natural gas and petroleum through the controversial technique called fracking.


“Since 2007, just in Sierra Norte the rights to some 120,000 hectares of land have been sold at extremely low prices,” reports Leonardo.


Additionally, infrastructure with a high environmental impact grows alongside these extraction sites: roads, aqueducts and pipelines that cut through unspoiled nature and the lands of the campesinos.


In Sierra Norte, the construction of three mines and a hydroelectric center is threatening the Náhuat and Totonaco populations that harvest the Slow Food Presidium honey.


“The states of Puebla and Morelos are selling off their lands, with their thriving wilderness,” said Slow Food president Carlo Petrini. “The life of the indigenous populations is in danger, and, if that were not enough, their protests are being brutally suffocated. It is an intolerable, double brutality that must end immediately.”


Find out more: 

Read the international petition


With Slow Food, the artist José Ernesto Vazquez Chanico has created a booklet to denounce the situation that threatens his community.

See the illustrated story: “Land Grabbing: A Mexican Presidium Under Threat”


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