No peace in the valley: community representatives sign an accord that didn't last long. No peace in the valley: community representatives sign an accord that didn't last long.

Oaxaca land disputes complicate delivery of government programs

A program to pave rural roads has been delayed by territorial conflicts

A government program to pave rural roads in the state of Oaxaca that has been promoted by President López Obrador is facing obstacles as a result of ongoing territorial conflicts.

One of the disputes has been going on for decades between the indigenous Mixe communities of Quetzaltepec and San Juan Bosco Chuxnaban in the northern sierra. It left four people dead in 2018.

However, the federal government chose Quetzaltepec to be one of the first 50 communities in Oaxaca to have its municipal seat connected by a paved road.

In order to receive the federal support, Quetzaltepec and Chuxnaban started a peace process organized by the National Institute of Indigenous Peoples (INPI).

But according to residents of the latter, the community of Quetzaltepec is not respecting the agreement, and continues to occupy the disputed area.

“It was all a show to get the paved road to the municipal seat,” one resident of Chuxnaban told the newspaper El Universal.

INPI indigenous rights coordinator Hugo Aguilar told El Universal that in addition to the Quetzaltepec case, the paved roads program has been delayed by a post-electoral conflict in San Juan Ozolotepec and a territorial dispute between Santa María Ecatepec and San Lucas Ixcontepec, both in the southern sierra.

The latter led to the murder of 13 Ecatepec residents in July 2018.

Aguilar said the goal of the paved roads program is not to heighten the conflicts but to help resolve them.

“The instructions we have are that the program shouldn’t generate more conflicts,” he said. “When we detect a conflict area, we prefer to suspend the program and start a peace process.”

This year, at least three peace agreements mediated by state and federal governments have been broken in Oaxaca.

Source: El Universal (sp)

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