Puente Madera Resists Attempt to Fence Off Common Use Lands for Industrial Park

In the morning of Monday October 24, a group of thirty people identifying themselves as private security of the Interoceanic Corridor of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec (CIIT) accompanied by state police hung a sign at the entrance to the area known as El Pitayal in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, Oaxaca. The sign read, “Property of the CIIT (Interoceanic Corridor of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec).”

In a communique from the Community Assembly of Puente Madera and the Assembly of Indigenous Peoples of the Isthmus in Defense of Land and Territory (APIIDTT), they explained that community members spoke with the delegation demanding that they take down the sign “because these are common use lands” of the Binnizá community of Puente Madera.

However, there was no response. Members of the community removed the sign and set it ablaze. Meanwhile, the government functionaries retreated from the area.

To show their disapproval of the latest encroachments on their common use lands, members of the community installed a highway blockade. “There is the threat of the arrival of the national guard, but as of now we have only seen state police,” members of the community shared with Avispa Midia.  

There is a lawsuit in the Local Agrarian Court of Tuxtepec to nullify an act of the assembly on March 14, 2021, where the installation of the industrial park in the common use lands of El Pitayal was approved. The protestors explained: “We have presented evidence to different state and federal institutions of the falsification of signatures, even signatures being used of dead people” in that act.

The assemblies denounce: “Because of our stance of respect for and defense of our territory and common use lands… [we have been] subjected to political violence as an Indigenous community being denied the [economic] resources that we require for the most basic maintenance of our public services.”

In addition, they explain: “[We have been] subjected to harassment, intimidation, and physical aggressions…as well as an ongoing campaign of defamation and criminalization against our representatives, community and regional organization.”

The assemblies demand an end to the criminalization against representatives and inhabitants of the community of Puente Madera, a resolution to the nullity trial in the Local Tribunal Court, and the cancelation of the industrial park in the common use lands of El Pitayal.

Security

The sign that government functionaries sought to hang at the entrance to the common use lands of El Pitayal bore the logo of the CIIT and of the private security company, Duxon. In addition to providing security services, Duxon also provides construction services in infrastructure, energy, development, and technological projects. The majority of their contracts are linked with the federal government.

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