Letter Against Superhighway in Mexico City, in Support of La Malinche community Makes News

A letter of support for the La Malinche community in Mexico and against the building of the Western Superhighway in Mexico City made the news.  Big ups to Kelly Archbold of the Labor/Community Strategy Center for coordinating this effort.  Kelly was part of the La Via Campesina Caravan to Cancun that visited the La Malinche community and learned about the struggle of the Frente Amplio Contra la Supervía Poniente de Cuota en Defensa del Medio Ambiente (Broad Front Against the Western Superhighway and in Defense of the Environment).  There are parallels between this fight and the struggles of many GGJ organizations against community displacement, environmental degradation, and civil rights violations—such as the movement for public transportation and against freeway expansion in Los Angeles.  Kelly will be keeping GGJ and allies posted on future developments in this fight.

 

Click Here to Read the Solidarity Letter Signed by Grassroots Organizations

by Kelly Archbold, Labor Community Strategy Center

The Frente Amplio Contra la Supervía Poniente de Cuota en Defensa del Medio Ambiente (Broad Front Against the Western Superhighway and in Defense of the Environment) is leading a major fight to stop the construction of a supervía (superhighway) in Mexico City, D.F.  The Supervía Poniente would be a toll-road constructed by corporations OHL and COPRI in the western part of D.F. and would connect to Santa Fe, a wealthy financial district.  It would cut through many communities and destroy neighborhoods in the city.  It would also devastate important natural green areas that serve as the lungs of D.F. and a source of groundwater recharge—it is estimated that 36,000 trees would be cut and contamination would threaten the Magdalena River. 

The project is being pushed by Mexico City Mayor Marcelo Ebrard, who presents himself as an environmental leader.  The Frente Amplio had led a powerful environmental justice and civil rights struggle against the supervía.  For 6 months they have held a “sit-in” encampment in the community of La Malinche (in the borough of Magdalena Contreras), where 51 buildings have already been expropriated by the government for the supervía. 

The encampment and community were visited in December during the International Caravan of Resistance, which was a joint effort of La Vía Campesina (International Peasant Movement), Asamblea Nacional de Afectados Ambientales (National Assembly of People Affected by the Environment), Movimiento de Liberación Nacional (National Liberation Movement), and Sindicato Mexicano de Electricistas (Mexican Electricians Union).  The caravan was en route to Cancun for the UN conference on climate change and visited communities affected by the climate crisis and engaged in resistance.  The caravan was made up of Mexican and international leaders, including a delegation of Grassroots Global Justice Alliance members, representing diverse grassroots movements.  Many of us who visited the community of La Malinche initiated this solidarity letter in support of their current struggle. 

It is an especially important moment because on January 1st hundreds of granadero police officers and government officials entered the community with a surprise incursion into La Malinche.  The expropriated buildings are being torn down, barbed wire and fencing surrounds the area, and trees have already been cut.  Many people, including community organizations, local leaders, and urban & environmental specialists, have strongly denounced this repression and the supervía project.  The Human Rights Commission of D.F. just released a report detailing how the human rights of the community have been violated.  The Frente Amplio has asked for an international solidarity letter as a way to put pressure on Mayor Ebrard.  The attached letter has been a collaborative effort among international allies and the Frente Amplio. 

News Coverage:

La Jornada:
Apoyan ONG de EU y Canadá demandas contra la supervía

22 de febrero de 2011, p. 36

http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2011/02/22/index.php?section=capital&article=036n1cap

 

The Narco News Bulletin:

Spanish letter:  Carta abierta a Marcelo Ebrard, Jefe de Gobierno del Distrito Federal

http://narconews.com/Issue67/articulo4323.html

English letter:  Open Letter to Mexico City Mayor Marcelo Ebrard

http://narconews.com/Issue67/article4323.html

 

Indymedia Mexico:

Carta de apoyo internacional contra la Supervía

http://www.mexico.indymedia.org/?article1919

 

More information about the struggle

Frente Amplio’s website:  http://prociudad-procontreras.blogspot.com/

Photos from caravan’s visit:  http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=318464&id=703603968&l=d7f7266fdc

Articles in English:  http://www.narconews.com/Issue66/article4183.html and http://www.narconews.com/nntv/video.php?vid=16 and http://ecolocalizer.com/2010/12/05/mexican-caravan-for-life-and-environmental-justice-day-2/