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Resistencia en San Salvador Atenco, México

by Scott Gibson, Joy Toujours, Breen Casey Wednesday, May. 15, 2002 at 11:35 PM

A group of pueblos outside Mexico City organize themselves to fight the theft of their land, the introduction of a new airport, and the globalization of Fox´s Plan Pueblo Panama. San Salvador Atenco fights back, evicts the town president and all of the police and has declared and held an autonomous zone for more than 6 months.

So we just arrived here in San Salvador Atenco, just outside Mexico City, and we are very quickly learning about the political situation here, and about the amazing actions of people in resistance.

Back in October, a bill was signed that sold a very large piece of land in the city of Texcoco, to the east of Mexico City, for the building of a new airport. This along with a recent string of privatizations and appropriations of land all around Mexico is all a part of the process of globalization pushed by Fox as part of his Plan Puebla Panama, a plan created for the continued industrialization of the southwest portions of Mexico.

The people found out after their land was sold. The president of the town, giving no opportunity for public input, made agreements with the government to the selling of the land without informing the people. The people of San Salvador Atenco came together in resistance and took over the city. These are not political activists, they are people that just want to live with their land and be left alone by the governments greed. They had no previous experience with organized resistance and used no arms but they raised the machetes already in their hands as a symbol of struggle. The government says the people of Atenco have weapons but the people tell us that their determination and numbers are bulletproof and they do not need weapons. With or without whatever you want to consider a weapon, the people of Atenco took back their city, kicked out the president and the rest of the government, literally chased out the police, and have kept it an autonomous zone for over half a year. When they hear of police hanging around the entrance to the city, they go and chase them away. Sometimes the people of Atenco make the police walk home, keeping their shoes, clothes, and other useful things.

The government is using an old technique to fight the struggle here. They are attempting to create division and disagreement within the communities involved in the struggle. The government is making many different promises, including drinkable tap water, if the communities will comply with the plan for the airport. Many of the communities are not allowing the government to reel them in, but the problem, as usual, is education. The people willing to compromise do not realize that the use of the 5000 hectares now

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