San Salvador Atenco commemorates 10 years since the repression against opponents to the airport
- Two murders, torture, harassment of women and other abuses by the authorities remain unpunished
- The FPDT movement is a symbol of the defence of human rights, say Miguel Concha Malo and Gilberto Lopez y Rivas
Father Miguel Concha Malo officiated at a mass in memory of the individuals who died on May 3 and 4, 2006, in the repression against the San Salvador Atenco ejidatarios who opposed the construction of an airport. Photo: Javier Salinas
By: Javier Salinas Cesáreo, Correspondent
San Salvador Atenco, Mexico, 4th May, 2016
Yesterday, the Peoples Front in Defence of the Land (FPDT) commemorated the tenth anniversary of the repression and occupation of the community of San Salvador Atenco by federal forces. On that occasion they arrested more than 200 campesinos, dozens of women suffered sexual abuse and two young men were murdered.
The FPDT confirmed that they would continue fighting until the project for a New Mexico City International Airport (NAICM) is cancelled.
“The torture that we experienced during the long night of May 3 to 4, 2006, is still fresh in our memory. Saying that 10 years have passed is only a reference for not forgetting all the pain and aggravation that we still have and relive today. The repression and political vengeance to which they subjected us still makes us angry,” said Adela Romero Núñez, a member of the FPDT.
On May 3, 2006, state police beat up campesinos from the Frente who defended a group of flower vendors from eviction from the Texcoco municipal market. Their leader, Ignacio del Valle Medina, was arrested during that action.
Hundreds of residents and ejidatarios blocked the Texcoco-Lechería Highway and police arrested dozens. In the early morning of May 4, thousands of police agents burst into the community. They threw tear gas, broke into houses and arrested hundreds of ejidatarios from the FPDT, who five years earlier had succeeded in achieving the suspension of construction of the airport.
The Atenco campesinos demanded that the material and intellectual authors of the repression be punished, as well as those responsible for the murder of the Autonomous National University of Mexico student, Ollín Alexis Benhumea Ramírez, and of the youth Francisco Javier Cortés. They warned that those who ordered the repression now occupy high positions, among them President Enrique Peña Nieto, then governor of the state of Mexico.
For the last 15 years, they added, they have faced the threat of the dispossession of their lands for the construction of the airport. “The Mayo Rojo (Red May) of 2006 was a cruel and condemnable revenge. Now, in 2016, the government insists on constructing its air terminal on our lands,” they said.
They warned that they will not allow “more humiliation” and they will fight legally and with mobilizations to defend their lands against “the project of death.”
The commemoration started with a mass officiated by the priest Miguel Concha Malo and with a press conference by the Atenco residents. Among those in attendance were the mothers of Martín Getsemany Sánchez, Jorge Antonio Tizapa and Abel García, three of the 43 Ayotzinapa students disappeared in Iguala, Guerrero.
Miguel Concha stated that the FPDT has shared for a decade “hope and the fight for the defence of territories,” and is a symbol of “human rights defence in the face of violent repression” against the community.
“We don’t forget those who try to grab our land and also our hope; they have made and continue to use State forces for repression. We don’t forget that now justice must exist for the two murdered youths, the more than 30 sexually abused women and the hundreds of people who suffered repression; we cannot forget and that is why we are here today,” he said.
Gilberto López y Rivas also participated in the name of the Committee in Defence of Mother Earth. He considered that the FPDT has become an “example of all the struggles in the country which are defending nature, land and all forms of life; and also, Atenco has been a symbol in defence of human rights.”
At the same time, he warned that the work of the Cypsa Vise company is causing tension and polarization in Tocuila, Texcoco municipality, where a superhighway to the airport is being built.
The commemoration continued in the afternoon with cultural and musical activities that the local PRI municipal council sought to boycott with an activity to celebrate the “Day of the Child,” for which it placed dozens of horns at full volume and a boxing ring on the esplanade.
Based, with thanks, on an English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee