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20 de febrero | | |

Interview with Francisco López Bárcenas, Mexican indigenous law expert

Mexican lawyer Francisco López Bárcenas, is an expert on indigenous law, he works as an advisor for several organizations and is a journalist with independent newspaper “La Jornada”. After joining several resistance processes, Francisco identifies changes in the configuration, methodologies and demands of the resistance.

In an interview in the Zacualpan community, Colima State, Mexico, during the recent Forum called by the Indigenous Council for the Defense of the Zacualpan Territory, the Bios Iguana organization and the Mexican Network of People Affected by Mining (REMA), López Bárcenas talked about the new features of indigenous movements and placed the territorial struggles in a continental context in the framework of the global capitalist crisis.

The interview was carried out by Real World Radio´s collaborator in Mexico, Monica Montalvo, member of Hijxs de la Tierra, the group that covered said Forum.

After the European conquest, the consolidation of national states –considered by some as a second conquest- today, it is transnational capital in its most violent expression that leads this stage of domination. And the role of states, through ecosystem “protection” programs, agricultural modernization or others, contributes to this displacement.

At the forum held last week, people shared experiences of struggles and mobilization challenges to make territories free from mining. “We analyzed the growing wave of mining concessions around the country joined by lies, deceits, repression, bribing of leaders and community authorities, dividing communities and their families, polluting waters, deforesting, displacing and criminalizing protest and the social movement that struggles for the defense of land and demands the respect of human rights”, reads the Forum´s Declaration.

In addition, the organizations that participated in the Forum sent a message to the meeting of Mexico, Canada and the US who met this week to assess the agreements that resulted in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) 20 years ago.
Along these lines, they said that as a consequence of said agreement, “the companies are taking local governments to international arbitration courts to solve disputes around natural resources, as if they were their resources, and not of the people or nations”.

López Bárcenas also explained the reforms that the Mexican government led by Peña Nieto has promoted to provide continuity to these reforms adhered to NAFTA. “Despite the 1992 reforms, the State kept control of oil extraction and power generation”. The new reforms aim to “facilitate” the entrance of capital to these strategic areas, such as around land control, due to the constitutional amendment that eliminated limits after the Revolution of the beginning of the 20th Century.

In the interview with Real World Radio, the rural development researcher said that all rural models should prioritize food and biodiversity preservation, as opposed to extractivist proposals. Also, Bárcenas said that there is a new kind of state violence aiming to silence movements, many cases disguised as a fight against drugs. In response to this, “community police officers” take the streets with the aim to dismantle, monitor and neutralize grassroots social movements.

López Bárcenas articles are available (in Spanish) here: http://www.lopezbarcenas.org

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