The National Indigenous Congress (CNI), a nation-wide Mexican organization backed by the National Zapatista Liberation Army (EZLN), denounced the aggression on two of its members fighting to restore lands to the indigenous Wixarika people in western Mexico, illegally taken by landlords and ranchers.
Zapatista-backed Community Denounce Paramilitary Attack
Lawyer Carlos Gonzalez Garcia and the assessor Cristian Chavez Gonzalez, both members of a coordination and monitoring commission of the CNI and the Indigenous Government Council (CIG), were traveling to the Huajimic community in Nayarit on April 12, along with local legal authorities, to reclaim the ancestral lands of the Wixarika (also known as Huichol in Spanish), when they were stopped and threatened by a group of about 200 people driving more than 20 cars.
According a press release by the CNI, the aggressors threatened them with burning their cars with gasoline, hanging them and then cutting their heads if they ever came back, and then pinched the rear tires of one of their accompanying vehicles and tried to push it to a cliff all the while about 21 police officers present at the scene did nothing. Also, they say two military vehicles approaching the scene, witnessing the events, and then leaving in silence. They were detained for two hours.
They both have led about 45 lawsuits demanding the restitution of ancestral lands belonging to the Wixarika people of San Sebastian Teponahuaxtlan in Nayarit and the neighboring state of Jalisco, illegally seized by ranchers and landlords in 1952 and encompassing about 10,500 hectares. They have been successful in many, but in some cases, such as this, the sentence was not enforced due to violence.
“We hold the bad federal and Nayarit’s state government responsible for the safety of our friends Carlos Gonzalez Garcia and Cristian Chavez Gonzalez, as well as that of the community authorities of San Sebastian Teponahuaxtlan.”
The CNI demanded the immediate restitution of the ancestral lands of the Wixarika community of San Sebastian Teponahuaxtlan in the Mezquitic, Tuxpan de Bolaños and La Yesca municipalities.
They also blamed both the federal government and the State government of Nayarit for “increasing tensions in the agrarian conflict with their negligence, and therefore for the serious situation that prevails in all the region, which could lead into new and more aggressive violent acts.”
This is the third time the group, accompanied by judicial authorities and state’s security forces, have been stopped by local ranchers from enforcing their land restitution sentence. The lawyers declared they would file a complaint to the corresponding authorities.