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Mexico

Otomí Community Evicted to Make way for Mexico-Toluca Highway

Residents of the community of San Francisco Xochicuautla in Mexico State were evicted by State security forces this morning

Personnel from the State of Mexico Police encircle the community of San Francisco Xochicuautla on the morning of April 11, SAUL LOPEZ
By The News Whatsapp Twitter Facebook Share
2 years ago

Around 10 a.m. on April 11, more than 800 personnel from State of Mexico evicted residents of the community of San Francisco Xochicuautla, State of Mexico, a rural community about 35 miles west of Mexico City.

XOCHICUAUTLA, ESTADO DE MÉXICO, 11ABRIL2016.- Personal de la Policía del Estado de México, cercaron el poblado de la Concepción en la comunidad de San Francisco Xochicuautla para derrumbar viviendas donde pretende se realice la construcción de la autopista de cuota Naucalpan-Toluca concesionada al Grupo HIGA. Durante el ingreso de los granaderos se registraron conatos de violencia dejando como saldo cuatro habitantes de la comunidad otomí heridos. FOTO: SAÚL LÓPEZ /CUARTOSCURO.COM

Photo: Saúl López/Cuartoscuro.com.

San Francisco Xochicuautla lies between Mexico City and Toluca, State of Mexico, and on the path of the proposed Mexico-Toluca highway, to be built by the HIGA Group. The HIGA Group’s owner, Juan Armando Hinojosa Cantú, was at the center of the “Casa Blanca” scandal in 2015 related to his ties to President Enrique Peña Nieto.

The police encircled the community and forced occupants out of houses that lie on the proposed highway’s route, after which they destroyed those houses. Residents who resisted being removed from their houses were beaten by police, including 64-year-old Isabel Hernández, a member of the Supreme Indigenous Council of Xochicuautla. The eviction left 4 Otomí residents of the community injured.

The residents of San Francisco Xochicuautla have been in a long legal battle to prevent the construction of the Mexico-Toluca highway in their community. In 2015, they won two injunctions preventing them from being deprived of their land. In March 2016, a federal judge ruled in their favor, suspending the construction of the highway until the end of the judicial processes. The ruling stated that the Otomí residents of San Fernando Xochicuautla have legal possession of the land on the proposed highway route, and that neither the government nor the Higa Group have a legal basis to take it from them.

XOCHICUAUTLA, ESTADO DE MÉXICO, 11ABRIL2016.- Personal de la Policía del Estado de México, cercaron el poblado de la Concepción en la comunidad de San Francisco Xochicuautla para derrumbar viviendas donde pretende se realice la construcción de la autopista de cuota Naucalpan-Toluca concesionada al Grupo HIGA. Durante el ingreso de los granaderos se registraron conatos de violencia dejando como saldo cuatro habitantes de la comunidad otomí heridos. FOTO: SAÚL LÓPEZ /CUARTOSCURO.COM

Two Otomí women with their belongings after being evicted from their homes. Photo: Cuartoscuro.com/Saúl López.

The National Campaign in Defense of Mother Earth and Territory, a grouping of 179 Mexican communities united to defend their territories, released a statement characterizing the evictions as illegal and blaming the governments of President Enrique Peña Nieto and Governor Eruviel Ávila Villegas.

“The actions taken this morning by the government of the State of Mexico not only constitute an attack against the will of the people of San Fernando Xochicuautla, but also violate Mexico’s own laws. Even though the community has legal support to stop the advance of the highway, the government of the State of Mexico, using public security forces, is imposing the highway project, destroying houses and threatening ancestral forests,” the release reads. “Such events are evidence of the lack of access to justice for indigenous communities and the policies of terror and criminalization towards them.”

THE NEWS

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