A land dispute that has been going on between two communities in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec was highlighted yesterday with mock crucifixions in the city of Oaxaca.
Members of the Huave indigenous group from Santa María del Mar staged their event in front of Federal Electricity Commission (CFE) offices to protest a delay in restoring power to about 1,000 households.
The reason they don’t have electricity has nothing to do with CFE: their neighbors in San Mateo del Mar, also a Huave community, stole the power lines, the protesters allege.
A group of armed men, they say, entered an area between the two towns and removed both power lines and poles, stealing more than 900 meters of copper wire in the process. Residents have been without power for a week, and claim that the problem is a recurring one.
Along with their electricity, residents want more police patrols to prevent further thefts of electrical installations.
But the problems don’t stop there.
Officials from Santa María del Mar say gangs of armed men linked to organized crime groups have been responsible for deaths, kidnappings and torture over the past four years, and despite an accord signed with the state in late 2011, officials have not intervened.
The town has also been cut off due to a highway blockade for the past two years by their neighbors in San Mateo del Mar. Their only access is by sea.
The conflict is over 1,000 hectares of farm land, allegedly “invaded” by those same neighbors in San Mateo.
Clouding the issue are disputes with wind farm developers who have allegedly installed turbines on land considered sacred. San Mateo residents decided at a public meeting that if necessary they will take up arms to fight wind farms on their territory.
Like disputes involving indigenous peoples in other parts of the country, this is another that continues to fester.
Source: Milenio (sp)