March Nine Years after the Repression

Atenco movement demands prison for Peña and Fox


"Without Justice, There Will No Forgetting Or Forgiveness." Photo: Pablo Ramos"

Javier Salinas y César Arellano

La Jornada, 5th May, 2015
San Salvador Atenco, State of Mexico – Nine years after the repression and seizure of the town of San Salvador Atenco by police forces, the Peoples Front in Defence of the Land (FPDT) indicated that ”there will be no forgetting or forgiveness”, because to date there has been neither justice nor punishment of the masterminds and perpetrators of either the women’s violations or for the murders of Alexis Benhumea and Javier Cortés.

Ignacio del Valle, FPDT leader, said: ”The first ones who should be in jail for murder and the wrongs they have done to our peoples—above all to the women—are former President Vicente Fox and Enrique Peña Nieto (governor of state of Mexico, 2005-2011), because they are the masterminds of the repression of our people. They gave the order to the police leadership, and this we do not forget, because it is an insult to our community.”

In Mexico City there was also a demonstration that marched from the Angel of Independence to the Zócalo. With machetes in hand and banners proclaiming support of the families of the 43 disappeared Ayotzinapa students, the ejidatarios [members of ejidos, lands owned and worked collectively] of Atenco asserted that their lands are not for sale.

The strong thunderstorm that lashed the capital did not deter the marchers, who shouted slogans against construction of the new Mexico City airport and for the live appearance of the Ayotzinapa students:

  • ”Yes, to the land, No, to airplanes";
  • "Rebellious Atenco does not give up or sell itself; it [Atenco] loves and defends itself”

The Atenco movement warned that it will continue with its resistance, and it will reinforce its demonstrations to prevent their farmland from being taken over for the alternate airport project announced by the federal government. They also warned that they will prevent the indigenous peoples and towns from disappearing.

Meanwhile, on Monday a group of activists held a march from the main plaza of San Salvador Atenco to the junction with the federal Texcoco-Lecheria highway, the site where on May 4, 2006, student Alexis Benhumea fell wounded by a tear gas projectile fired by police when federal and state forces burst into Atenco. The young man died a few days later.

For about 20 minutes, protesters blocked traffic on the highway and mounted an "honour guard" in memory of the murdered student. FPDT members recalled the events of May 3-4, 2006, when the police repression resulted in more than 200 people and activists arrested and in the sexual abuse of the women.

Protesters denounced that currently there is no punishment either for the masterminds and perpetrators of these multiple human rights violations or for the murders of José Enrique Espinoza Juárez (murdered in 2002), Javier Cortés and Alexis Benhumea.

Ignacio del Valle pointed out that in the coming days, demonstrations will be held to protest construction of the new Mexico City Airport. For now, this weekend they received the Caravan of Dignified Resistance, which brings together different social and resistance movements against projects that deprive villages of water and land.

The caravan will tour several cities in the state of Mexico and will conclude its journey on Teacher’s Day, May 15, in the city of Toluca [capital of state of Mexico, borders Mexico City].

Translated by Jane Brundage


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