Members of the CECOP (Council of Ejidos and ‘Comuneros’ Opposed to the Parota) have defended their land in Guerrero for the last fourteen years, opposing government plans to build a dam called “La Parota” and affirming their “Land Is Not For Sale” (“la tierra no se vende”). These ejidatarios and opponents have been threatened with fabricated denunciations, time in prison, and orders of arrest, with 14 arrest warrants having faces their spokesman alone. Houses have been raided in military operations in an attempt to criminalise the struggle of these people, especially Community Police Forces of the CRAC – which have been undermined and persecuted by the state government of Guerrero (seeing the arrest of key members like Nestora Salgado). One of the political prisoners is José Palma Tornés, a 59-year-old lime vendor who was imprisoned in Acapulco on May 29th (along with eight others) – accused of attempted homicide in a Community Police operation (even though he didn’t belong to that police force).
The government has claimed that those it is trying to dispossess have in fact been involved in dispossessions themselves in an attempt to push through its plans for La Parota, the reservoir project of El Zapotillo, reservoir projects elsewhere (like in Veracruz and Oaxaca), the Airport Project and its complementary road and water project in Atenco, the water project in San Bartolo Ameyalco, and other Mega-Projects throughout Mexico.
Below is a summary of a CECOP communique from June 1st, 2014, in which its members denounce government aggression and affirm their will to continue resisting:
Firstly, the group claims that the government in Guerrero has recently intensified the pressure exerted on the communities resisting the reservoir project. It claims that their peasant rights, freedoms, and lives are not being respected, and that the government is determined to push the project through whether the people like it or not. With lucrative contracts having been signed with private companies, the reasons for the government’s determination to continue with the project at all costs is made much clearer. They claim they have been harassed by the military, which has hoped to detain opponents, with eighty members of the CECOP having arrest warrants in their names.
The government, according to the communique, has claimed opponents have been involved in: illegal occupation or dispossession (though the land belongs to them); kidnappings (or legal detentions made by the CRAC – which keeps 47 towns safe from drug traffickers); robbery (which the CECOP claims is what the government is doing by seeking to take land without proper compensation); and even attempted homicide (although CECOP members have been shot – with one still being supported by the CECOP in his recovery from a bullet wound to his face). And these are the ‘crimes’ reported in the media – portraying the CECOP members as criminals when, in reality, they are simply seeking to defend their land, water, and environment.
The communique claims that, in spite of government harassment, the ejidos y comuneros of Cacahuatepec are stronger, more resistant, and more united than ever. They believe it is worth continuing their fight for justice, and that it is necessary to inform society about what is happening. They assert that they are standing up for law and justice, and call on sympathisers to stand up and defend those ideals as well.
Translated by Oso Sabio from an article originally written in Spanish at http://zapateando.wordpress.com/2014/06/04/se-agrava-el-acoso-del-ejercito-y-del-gobierno-de-guerrero-contra-el-cecop/