Mexico to mediate in a land crisis

Mexican authorities announced the plan to create a working group to mediate land crisis between Wixarika (Huichol community) and cattle ranchers in the state of Nayarit, Mexico.

The conflict dates back to 1906, year in which the farmers received property titles, forcing the indigenous inhabitants to leave their property. On their part, the Wixarika community holds original documents, issued by the Spanish Crown in 1717. For this reason, after the government introduced the system of agrarian tribunals in 1990s, the community initiated the process of reclaiming their land titles.

Notwithstanding some advances on this field, the ineffective enforcement of judicial orders has prompted indigenous communities to question the government’s agenda. Only last month, a group of 1,200 Huicholes hiked for three hours down a mountain to participate in the court officials signing over the plot of 65h occupied by Erlinda Montoya Ultreras back to the community. The legal procedure never took place, however, as the farmers staged a roadblock that prevented the court officials from passing.

“It’s a social injustice,” commented Domínguez, the lawyer representing the farmers. “Huajimic is a 100% productive zone and the people here are simple and hard-working. They are mothers, they are fathers who devote themselves to the land, and that’s where they derive resources from to maintain their families,” she added. To lower resentments and the risk of violence the working group will be assigned a fund to provide farmers with restitution.

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