The Struggles for the Future

The arrival of the 4T to the governments of several states in the country, since 2018, has not meant a substantive change in the violence against peoples and defenders of territory and life. Many of these violations have been made invisible, or have been politically minimized and inserted into a discourse that normalizes them, as if there were no other choice but to get used to living in this scenario.

In Morelos, on February 20, 2019, barely four months after the former soccer player and member of the right-wing Social Encounter Party, Cuauhtémoc Blanco, was sworn in as governor, the assassination of Samir Flores Soberanes occurred. Samir was a community organizer, popular communicator and key person in the articulation of peoples who have resisted for more than 20 years the territorial reordering brought about by the Morelos Integral Project (PIM). Samir had participated in the protests against López Obrador who, during his campaign, had rejected the project and once he became President, took it up again and justified it. López Obrador went from referring to the PIM as a “garbage dump in Jerusalem” and calling those who opposed the megaproject social activists, to calling it a necessary project for energy sovereignty and those who continued to oppose it “radical left-wing conservatives.” Samir’s murder today remains unpunished.

In Chiapas, governed by the Morenista Rutilio Escandón, the situation is extremely critical. Throughout his six-year term, the criminal corporations have been imposing their power throughout the state. Trucks full of migrants overturning on the highway, parades of armed organized crime groups in vans, cars and motorcycles, forced displacements, extortion, confrontations in Tila, Comalapa, Chicomuselo, Pantelhó and many other places; all of these have raised the alarm of social organizations and journalists who have denounced the situation. The reports of the Fray Bartolomé de las Casas Human Rights Center are a detailed portrait of the horror that has prevailed in Chiapas. The murder committed on July 5, 2021 of Simón Pedro Pérez López, a member of the Civil Society Organization Las Abejas de Acteal, stands out. An indigenous person and community organizer, Simón Pedro had documented the growth of criminal corporations in the region.

In Puebla, under the government of the deceased Morenista Miguel Barbosa, the communities of Cholula and Los Volcanes confronted the transnational Danone and its subsidiary Bonafont, which plundered the water of the municipality of Juan C. Bonilla for more than 30 years. Where the looting company used to be, the people built the Altepelmecalli or Casa de los Pueblos, a community center and meeting and dialogue point. In response, the government of Puebla, in coordination with the federal government, sent the National Guard to evict the people in resistance. The message was clear: the Mexican State sided with capital and against the people fighting in defense of their water. It should be noted that today an important battle is once again being fought in this region. The Union of Towns and Communities Against the Landfill and in Defense of Water is demanding the closure of the San Pedro Cholula intermunicipal landfill, a situation for which they have faced intimidation and threats from federal, state and municipal institutions.

The brutal repression recently perpetrated in Veracruz, a state governed by Morena, has once again set off alarms. The murder of the brothers Jorge and Alberto Cortina Vázquez, members of the Movement in Defense of Water in the Eastern Libres Basin, while protesting against Granjas Carroll, dedicated to the breeding and commercialization of pigs, is the most severe toll. The situation of the injured people, as well as those who were chased from homes and hospitals, must continue to be investigated. The social outcry against the repression was such that Governor Cuitláhuac García was forced to decree the disappearance of the Civil Force of Veracruz, a police force that participated in the attacks. Although this is an important measure, a long process of justice and the closure of the farm and other companies that steal and pollute the region’s water is still needed.

At the state level, the governments of the 4T have shown an inability to care about, understand and respond to the demands of the peoples in defense of life and territory. Cases similar to those discussed here can be found in Guerrero, Michoacán, Oaxaca…. The Federal Government has minimized this great subject of popular environmentalism that alerts us to the serious problems of ecocide and the climate crisis that we are experiencing in the world. The situation is serious in itself, but it becomes urgent if we understand that these struggles are in defense of life for everyone, and that they are struggles for the future.

Original text by Raúl Romero in La Jornada on June 25th, 2024.
Translation by Schools for Chiapas.

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