Mexico: 500 Years of Dispossession

FROM THE EDITORS: To understand the reality of Mexico we must first understand that the Mexican State was created as a colonialist, racist, patriarchal governmental body of control. The government of Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) may be shaded leftist, but the developmentalist megaprojects, political persecutions, and murders continue. We see, for example, the struggle of those communities affected by the so-called “Train Maya”, a neocolonial project that is being built on sacred territory and in disregard of the right to free, prior, and informed consent. The state captures the narrative and makes invisible the Voice of the Peoples, writes Yasnaya Elena Gil in her article in El País, and does so by recreating the history of the conquest without recognizing the establishment of the colonial order, promoting instead “progress and development” through the appropriation of indigenous culture and territories. “What good does it do to apologize for grievances of the past when in the present, the colonization of our territories, our bodies, emotions, and thoughts persists every day with more violence and intensity,” a coalition of Yucatán Mayan Peoples, the Campaña U Jeets’el le Ki’ki kuxtal tell us. 

Thanks to a recommendation by Pedro Uc, below we translate a declaraion of the Congreso Nacional Indígena, established in 1996, after their June 19 and 20 congress, calling for permanent resistance against the Mexican colonial State.

SOURCE: Congreso Nacional Indígena

DECLARATION OF THE MEETING FOR LIFE “THE ISTHMUS (which we have, defend, and love) IS OURS” 

Gathered in the Binnizá Community in Puente Madera, San Blas Atempa, on June 19 and 20, with representatives of the indigenous communities of San Blas Atempa, Matías Romero, Unión Hidalgo, Juchitán, Tehuantepec, Álvaro Obregón, La Ventosa, San Mateo del Mar, San Dionisio del Mar, San Francisco del Mar, Jalapa de Marqués, Santa María Mixtequilla, Santa Maria Xadani, Ixtepec, Ixtaltepec, San Juan Guichicovi, Ixhuatán, Reforma de Pineda, Zanatepec, Tapanatepec, Santa María Petapa, Congregación Comunal La Libertad, Eloxochitlán de Flores Magón, Cuatro Venados, Cuilapam de Guerrero, Tatahuicapan, El Salitre, Cuautla, Huexca, Ocotepec, and from organisations, human rights centers, and the collectives from the states of Oaxaca, Veracruz, Puebla, Morelos, Jalisco, Chiapas and Mexico City. 

We have assembled in response to the call for a “Meeting for Life: The Isthmus is Ours,” to discuss the imposition of the Macro-project Interoceanic Corridor of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec to denounce these projects of dispossession, which have been happening since the arrival of the conquistadors, during liberal and the current neoliberal governments. 

We are meeting to discuss the onslaught of the patriarchal capitalist system and its mega projects throughout the country; and to reinforce, in particular, the struggles of resistance of the people of the Isthmus and all of Mexico against the Interoceanic Corridor along the Isthmus of Tehuantepec; 

WE REJECT the current government’s plans to transform this region into a large manufacturing, assembly, and freight transport corridor owned by US and international capital, and that would also function as a retaining wall for Central American migratory processes. It also intends to build 10 industrial parks in Oaxaca and Veracruz, in the communities of Salina Cruz, Puente Madera, Mixtequilla, Ixtepec, Ixtaltepec, Barrio la Soledad, San Juan Evangelista, Texistepec, and Coatzacoalcos; as well as the modernization and expansion of the ports of Salina Cruz and Coatzacoalcos, and the Trans-Isthmic railroad routes, as well as the installation of a series of gas pipelines parallel to the tracks. The Trans-Isthmus Railroad is much more than a simple train. It is a project for the production and transportation of goods that arises from the need to insert the region in the cycle of production, circulation, and consumption of nature, fossil energy, and cheap labor to the benefit of international capital through transport networks that they intend to impose upon the indigenous communities of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec. Nevertheless, the current administration of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has tried to justify the handover of this territory, through a series of consultations processes with indigenous peoples in the communities of San Blas Atempa, Santa María Mixtequilla, the City of Ixtepec, and soon to take place in Asunción Ixtaltepec, however, as simple bureaucratic simulation process, violating and trampling indigenous rights to self-determination. 

The Isthmus communities are facing a process of dispossession and a violation of rights brought on by this imposition. For this reason:  


The construction of the Parque Industrial on communal lands in Pitayal. 

The use of the Right to Consultation as a weapon for the dispossession of the territories. 

The Agrarian Attorney’s Office, which is in collusion with various political and business groups’ interests, to dispossess the Jalapa del Marqués community of their territory, as well as cutting down hectares of forests to make way for Agave monocultures. 

The lack of information regarding the macro project’s environmental, social, and cultural impacts of the Interoceanic Corridor and other related projects. 

That the community of San Mateo del Mar is facing a series of actions to force the party election system, without respect to the normative system, by promoting division and intra community violence. 

The armed attacks and forced displacement of the communities of Rebollero and Río Minas, Cuatro Venados, amidst interests of two mining concessions with a total area of 1,523 hectares.  

Deputy Elisa Zepeda for the climate of violence that she has generated in the Eloxochitlán de Flores Magón community.

The imposition of the Morelos Integral Project as well as gas pipelines that are being planned across the national territory.  


The withdrawal of legal proceedings against David Hernández Salazar, Oseas Salazar Patiño and Alberto Patiño de la Rosa, Puente Madera land defenders, by the Public Transport System and the municipality of San Blas Atempa. 

A solution to agrarian protectionism and the constitutional controversy of impunity to the invasion of loggers and ranchers encouraged by the Chiapas government in the communal territory of Zoque de los Chimalapas.  

The elimination of mining concessions in the Zanatepec, San Miguel Chimalapa and La Ventosa Juchitán communities.  

The immediate ending to the repression against the rural teacher-training colleges [Escuelas Normales Rurales], and the repression against the Matumactza Normal in Chiapas, and the Teteles Normal in Puebla. 

Penalization for those responsible for the disappearance of the 43 normalista students from Raúl Isidro Burgos School.  

We demand a fair price in place of the high rates of electricity and the recognition of electricity as a human right.  

The cancellation of the two electrical substations in the territories of the Popoluca and Nahua people, as well as an immediate stop to any exploration and extraction of natural resources in Sierra de Santa Martha, Veracruz. 

The end of repression against the members of the Indigenous and Popular Council of Guerrero (CIPOG) 

Justice for the murder of Samir Flores Soberanes.  

The immediate release of political prisoners Fredy Garcia from the Committee for the Defense of Indigenous Rights (CODEDI), of Eloxochitlán de Flores Magón, and Fidencio Aldama from the Yaqui tribe.  

We agree to continue in the process of cooperation between Nations and various social organizations and territorialities, to show that the solidarity among those of us who defend life is not solely written word, and will continue calling to organize and in defense of the territory. 

As original people, our ancestors taught us to fight and defend the sea, wind, and territory. 

To that end: 

“We are aware that a war exists between the system and nature; that confrontation does not support nuances nor cowardliness. You are either for the system or for nature.  Either for death or for life.” 





It belongs to the indigenous people, the Mexican people, not to companies nor governments. 

By the way, WE ARE COMING… 421. 

  • The National Indigenous Congress (CNI) was constituted on October 12, 1996, as the home of all indigenous peoples, a space where indigenous peoples can find shared thought and solidarity to strengthen their struggles of resistance and rebellion, with their own forms of organization, representation, and decision-making. We are the pueblos, nations, and tribes of this…

    Visit Organisation Profile