Planting trees to prevent the highway being built in Atenco
By Javier Salinas Cesáreo, correspondent
La Jornada, 11th May 2016
A member of the Peoples’ Front in Defence of the Land (FPDT), along with the planted trees. Photo Javier Salinas
Texcoco, Mexico. Campesinos from the Peoples’ Front in Defence of the Land (FPDT) of Atenco and Tocuila have begun to plant dozens of trees on their farmland to form a green barrier, as part of their efforts to prevent the construction of the Pyramids-Texcoco highway for the new Mexico City International Airport (NAICM) which is invading their hectares.
The ejidatarios of Tocuila have, since 23rd April last maintained a sit-in occupation and stopped the construction of this highway. They also have the protection of amparo 349-2016-III so that they cannot be deprived of the possession of their plots of land nor can any works be built on their lands; this was given to them by the Ninth District Court of the State of Mexico.
The comuneros, using picks and shovels, have begun to form brigades to plant trees, just opposite the place where they are holding up the works. The trees are small pines.
“This is more of a symbolic action, because by planting trees we are telling the world that these lands are cultivated and their vocation is completely organic and to benefit the environment, and to build an airport here, as well as a highway and the necessary infrastructure for a project of that kind would put an end to this vocation of our land.”
“They must understand that we do not want an airport project in our lands and that we will carry out all possible actions and mobilizations because our right to preserve our lands must be respected. We also want to emphasize that the construction company and the government have violated the amparo we have which the judge gave us,” said Ignacio del Valle Medina, leader of FPDT.
The pyramids-Texcoco highway is planned to connect the highways Mexico-Piramides and Peñón Texcoco as well as the Mexico-Tuxpan corridor with the NAICM.
The federal government began the construction of the highway almost two years ago and in September 2015 opened to traffic the first four kilometre stretch linking Acolman and Tezoyuca; to build this they used the expropriation of land and demolished several houses.
However, 13 kilometres, which is yet to be built, is expected to pass through the ejidos of Tocuila, San Felipe, Santa Cruz de Abajo, Magdalena, Francisco I Madero, Atenco, Acuexcomac, and Nexquipayac.