New Attacks in Puente Madera Seeking to Impose Industrial Park on Indigenous Communal Lands

Cover image: Train tracks in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, Oaxaca. Photo: Santiago Navarro F.

The Community Assembly of Puente Madera has denounced that on Friday September 30, César Octavio Morales Toledo, the current Communal Lands Commissioner of the Municipality of San Blas Atempa, ordered people who work for him to insult, beat, and threaten to kill Ismael Luis López, inhabitant of the Zapotec community.

This act of violence is the latest recorded and denounced by the Community Assembly of Puente Madera and the Assembly of Indigenous Peoples of the Isthmus in Defense of Land and Territory (APIIDTT). Through a communique they affirmed that the aggressions are a consequence of the Zapotec community’s resistance to the imposition of an industrial park on their communal lands.

“These aggressions against Ismael Luis López continue what we have already been denouncing, part of the criminalization of our community for roundly rejecting the installation of the PODEBI (Development Pole for Wellbeing) on our collective lands,” they emphasized through a communique.


The Indigenous organizations denounce that days prior, on September 25, a mock assembly of community members was held, “putting in place another piece for the imposition of the industrial park of the Interoceanic Corridor on our common use lands of El Pitayal, through the appointment of César Octavio Morales Toledo” as representative of the commission.  

See also - México: Global Trade Bridge will Devastate Indigenous Peoples and Biodiversity

The assemblies recall that since the end of August they have warned of the possible appointment of new agrarian authorities, whose urgency “responds to the necessities of Antonino Morales Toledo to continue with the intimidation and criminalization that we as the community of Puente Madera have been suffering since 2021,” due to their rejection of the industrial park.

Furthermore, they point out that César Octavio, known in the region as “Santa,” is brother to Antonino Morales Toledo, the ex-municipal president and right-hand man of the governor-elect of the state, Salomón Jara Cruz. In López’s testimony, the Indigenous Zapotec claims that Morales threw him to the ground while declaring that the park, “is going to be built because he is now the authority and that the people of Puente Madera will not impede the construction of the industrial park,” detailed the communique.

The Indigenous organizations stressed the necessity to review the legality of Toledo’s appointment as Communal Lands Commissioner due to his criminal record.

They point out that Morales has been detained on two occasions. The first by Federal Police in 2018, during the operation “Special Security Force Oaxaca,” for illegally carrying $250,000 pesos in cash. The second detention, documented by the magazine Proceso, occurred in January of 2022, when the military arrested him for carrying weapons designated exclusively for military use.

Photo: The brothers César (to the left) and Antonino (to the right) Morales Toledo

César Octavio Morales Toledo operates through the organization, United Front of Oaxacan Communities (FUCO), a political movement formed by his brother Antonino Morales to support the candidacy of the now governor-elect, Salomón Jara.

See also - US Ambassador to Mexico Leads Meeting in Oaxaca to Advance the Interoceanic Corridor Megaproject

According to an investigation published by El Muro MX in May of this year, the US Government asked the Financial Intelligence Unit (UIF), which depends on the Ministry of Finance and Public Credit (SCHP), to freeze the accounts of 1,669 people linked to the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG). One of the people linked to the organized crime group is Antonino Morales Toledo, who has served as the main financial operator of Salomón Jara for the last six years.

The Violence Continues

The Indigenous assemblies also denounced aggressions against David Hernández Salazar and his family, who were physically assaulted on July 19 by Mariano de la Rosa Jiménez, Roberto Trinidad Jiménez, and Faustino de la Rosa Quecha, people who operate inside the community in favor of the industrial park and for the selling off of communal lands.

The Indigenous organizations blame the climate of violence in the Zapotec community of Puente Madera on local, state, and federal government officials. Among them, the brothers Antonino and César Morales Toledo, as well as Gonzalo Villalobos López, representative of the Agrarian Attorney in Oaxaca, and Rafael Marín Mollinedo, General Director of the Interoceanic Corridor of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec.

Lastly, they demand respect for the self-determination of Puente Madera in their rejection of the construction of the PODEBI on their common use lands, as well as an end to the harassment and criminalization of inhabitants and representatives of the community.



Por favor ingrese su comentario!
Por favor ingrese su nombre aquí


Maya Train Will Cause Significant Increase in Electricity Consumption in the Yucatán Peninsula

The Yucatán Peninsula will be the region of Mexico with the greatest increase in electricity consumption; the Maya Train will intensify tourism and the expansion of industrial activities.

Communities of the Choluteca Region Denounce the Contamination of Water Caused by Irregular Landfill Operation

Communities of the Choluteca region of Puebla demand the definitive closure of the landfill which is contaminating local wells and water sources.