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San Isidro. In their own words.

GS | 18.04.2008 14:26 | Ecology | Globalisation | History | Repression | World

Below is a translation of a document produced by the people of San Isidro Aloapam which explains in detail the history of the forest dispute. Also the corruption they have faced at every level. The picture below shows the injuries sustained by six of the villagers at the hands of the paramilitaries.

For details on how to show practical solidarity to those who have been beaten, tortured and imprisoned click here:

The imprisoned villagers shortly after they were beaten by the paramilitaries.
The imprisoned villagers shortly after they were beaten by the paramilitaries.

Special thanks to Ana for this translation:


The native grandparents of San Miguel Aloapam tell that from 1910 our parents and grandparents walked from San Miguel Aloapam towards the place which they called “Rancho Cueva” (Farm Cave). There they began to take care of the territory, since other neighboring communities came invading the territory. It was for this reason that they decided to work this land. We cultivated maize, beans, wheat, potatoes, chilacayote and peas in our land. They constructed our houses out of tree branches, maize leaves, wheat twig, wild palms and stones to protect to us from the water and the cold. We also took care of the water, we protect our forest. We were born, grew, died in these lands which with time have been called the community of San Isidro Aloapam.

In 1935 the population begins to grow and with it its needs of services. Our grandparents and parents saw that it was already necessary for the municipal agency of San Miguel Aloapam to be founded here. in 1940 trips and proceedings to the capital begin so that San Isidro Aloapam is recognised legally as a municipal agency. In 1946 it is recognized as “Congregación San Isidro xoa aloapam” ("congregation san isidro xoa aloapam") - “xoa aloapam” means “fertile land for the basic grain”. In 1947 the congress of the state recognizes "San Isidro Aloapam" as agency of municipal police of San Miguel Aloapam.

Our territory is rich in Pines oyomel, encino, avocado plantations, ash trees, jayle, white cedar and other varieties of trees and plants. In 1947, with the recognition of our community as an agency of municipal police, Also came the "Beni ditu" (strange people), contractors who brought instruments and machinery to install a sawmill in the forest. With them came discord and ambition to the hearts of the men of the town of San Miguel Aloapam. Because our territory holds greater forest resources.

In our community we practice "tequio", which is collective work on behalf of the town. We also practice "guetza" which is the mutual aid between the individuals and with the town. In work and in leisure time, we have our norms of living together, everything is decided in community assembly, our communitarian authorities and the appointment of our committees are elected by our internal norms. this is the position and service that they offer to the community.

In 1954 along with the neighboring communities the borders with San Miguel aloapam are decided by consensus.

In 1963 the Tuxtepec paper factory appears in the community with a concession for the logging of 32 thousand cubic meters for 25 years authorized by the federal government without consulting the towns that own the mountains. An assembly was held where the businessmen said that they already had permission and that they were going to work. They offered us some money for the logging, deposited in a bank account in the city, but we never received a cent from there. in 1965 an agreement is made by which San Miguel aloapam, host to a 30% of the cubic meters total in manpower, and from the “fondo nacional de fomento ejidal” (national fund for promotion of communal land) we never knew anything from that fund, nor we received any money. From there we were deceived by the federal government and by the state and local governments.

The community of San Isidro aloapam begins to realize that they had more rights and they began to process the claims, this began to annoy the authorities of San Miguel aloapam. San Miguel Aloapam refuses to recognize the participation in the production of the co-owners of San Isidro Aloapam, and already in 1974, San Miguel Aloapam tells us that we do not have any right to participate in the use of the forest. The authorities of San Isidro Aloapam resorted to the then Agrarian Delegation to denounce the abuse, and by means of a signed Agreement dated 11 of July 1974, San Miguel Aloapam is forced to give us 25% of the use of the forest.

On the 26th of August 1981 the act of execution of the presidential resolution is given. On the 3rd of November it was published in the official newspaper of the federation and executed on the 30th of September 1982, where the co-owners of San Isidro Aloapam are ignored.

On the 30th of September 1982, alongside topographer Abel Soriano Diaz, commissioned by the agrarian reform, begins the creating of a trail in a trino point, named "cueva larga" (long cave) in the presence of the authorities of the communities of San Miguel aloapam, and their annexed San Isidro Aloapam, santa Ana Yareni and San Miguel abejones to confirm that there was not any kind of conflict regarding the land of community goods. Being in that trino point cueva larga the act of resolution and execution is red by the topographer Abel Soriano Diaz, mentioning that only 387 co-owners of San Miguel aloapam are recognized. At that moment there is a complaint about the 141 co-owners of San Isidro Aloapam not being mentioned in that act. A discussion begins and the communities of santa Ana Yareni and San Miguel abejones through their authorities state that it is not possible to proceed with the works if the community of San Isidro Aloapam is not recognized and that San Miguel Aloapan would not sign any document as an authority because they recognize san isidro aloapam as their immediate neighbors. After so much discussion an agreement is reached between the authorities present by which San Miguel aloapam accepts that it does not have any problem in recognizing the co-owners of its annexed San Isidro aloapam, and the minutes are signed by San Miguel aloapam and San Isidro aloapam. this allows that the present authorities of Santa Ana and San Miguel Abejones accept to initiate the work in the limits of these communities, and so on continuing with the work in the other intermediate points, arriving at the trino point where San Miguel Abejones, San Miguel Aloapam and its annex San Isidro Aloapam and San Isidro el Carrizal Yolox border with eachother. in this trino point the presidential resolution where San Isidro Aloapam is excluded, and the minuted act signed in the trino point of Cueva Larga are read. el Carrizal Yolox shows its concern because san Isidro Alaopam is not recognized and that they cannot sign any document as authority. San Miguel aloapam state that there is already an act where they have no problem in recognizing the co-owners of their annex san Isidro Aloapam. With this agreement the works continue in that trino point called Otate. That way we continue through the other intermediate points. In each one of these trino points a certificate of possession and borders is issued where the co-owners of San Isidro Aloapam are recognized as annexed to San Miguel aloapam.

From 1982 to 2007 it is 25 years that San Miguel Aloapam deceives San Isidro Aloapam, and not only us but also the authorities of the other towns present in that year, maintaining this deceit bribing representatives at the institutions involved. Later with all the documentation we attend the meetings with the recognition act which is never made effective by San Miguel aloapam.

In 1982 Tuxtepec paper factory is removed for the use of the forest. This factory brought its own employees to work, and it was never a source of income for the co-owners, and in 1983 another contractor arrives, Jesus Villazante. An annuity is worked on and later the contractor is refused.

From then on in 1984 they decided to constitute economic unit specialized in communal forest use aloapam. Although by then, from 1985 to 1994 the participation of the co-owners of San Isidro Aloapam was limited to receiving a pay only to those who worked and the co-owners of San Miguel kept the utilities of the logging. That is to say, they received a treatment of wage-earning and not of proprietors.

We continued to struggle for the recognition of our co-owners rights before all legal instances. in 1991 an appeal for legal protection was issued against the act of execution of the presidential resolution of the 26th of August 1982. But we lost it in 1993. Later it is decided in 1994 to issue another appeal before the agrarian unitary court. the lawyer Federico Diaz is hired and he betrays the community of San Isidro Aloapam. In 1995 San Miguel Aloapam suspends the proportional part of the use of the forest that corresponds to us, and accuses us of being invaders from the community of San Miguel Abejones.

In 1995 the “Comisariado de Bienes Comunales” (Commissariat of Community goods) of the municipality of San Miguel issued a notice where it forbids us even the use of firewood for domestic use, taking away from us of our right as owners of the forest and indicating that the only owners are the inhabitants of San Miguel Aloapam.

In 1996 the authorities of San Miguel Aloapam summon our municipal authority of San Isidro aloapam to demand that he tells them who are trying to get the recognition, and they also tell him to tell his co-owners to give up about the recognition and the appeal for legal protection issued in 1994 and in return they would give the utilities of the logging. Again we trusted them and they deceived us like in 1982 in the place of cueva larga.

In 1995 the logging of the forest is analysed and it is decided to preserve it because the natural fauna was disappearing.

In 1999 when San Miguel runs out of trees they try to log in the lands of San Isidro. the trees were already marked. The logging is stopped and they arrange to meet in 15 days to negotiate. In November they meet and they say there is nothing to negotiate. In 2000 the proceeding of agrarian recognition begins in the agrarian unitary court number 21, in Oaxaca, for the agrarian recognition of the co-owners of San Isidro Aloapam.

In the same year 2000 an order to arrest 16 people who are against the logging of the forest of San Isidro Aloapam. Lawyers go to district offices to see if there were previous inquiries, they are told there are not but the arrest orders had already been issued. They are summoned for a meeting. When they were going to this meeting the municipal agent Gumaro López Alavez, the treasurer Mario Alavéz Méndez and Ricardo Perez Alavéz, proprietary representative of community goods and the substitute Alexander Chávez Perez are arrested and jailed for 6 months. The town of san Isidro meets and decides to release its people. the bail was 197 thousand pesos per person. With efforts and complete harvests the money is collected. Two people were in charge of bringing the money. One of them, Juan Alavéz Méndez, is arrested in the city of Oaxaca and imprisoned. And in May 2001 Joaquin Pérez Cruz, treasurer at that time of the festivities commission of the community, was arrested. Also in 2001 Jorge Cruz Pérez was arrested. In 2001 the community contracts the lawyer Matus Narcissus to deal with the agrarian and penal matters. This lawyer deceived and robbed money from the community.

In same year 2001 the community decides to join as supporters of CIPO RFM to carry out in an organized way the different matters and needs of the community, the organization itself, and the other communities.

On the 11th of August 2002 between 500 and 600 people from San Miguel aloapam arrive to reforest within the boundaries of San Isidro Aloápam from where the means to sustain their families come from. Within this attempt to invade the land the citizens of San Miguel aloapam beat men and women among whom there were 2 pregnant women who aborted because of the beating, 5 of the people beaten up by those from San Miguel aloapam are kidnapped and taken to the jail for defending nature.

On the 10 of April 2003 court ruled in favor of San Isidro Aloapam although an appeal for legal protection was filed by San Miguel and used defamation strategies trying to overturn the sentence that was obtained without tricks.

In September 2006 a declaration is signed where peace and tranquillity are requested by the communities of San Isidro Aloapam and San Miguel aloapam.

All the conflicts that arise between these communities are the consequence of the agrarian conflict that the government of the state has created because their interests and income are bigger than the forest.

Now the government disguises the actions saying that there is worm plague. We know that they have come to seed the plague themselves to come and log the mountains; it is well known that they are given packs of money to come with the permission and log, we live in a place where anyone can come to our land, use our resources and they beat us in our own house.

Our imprisoned comrade including a female comrade.

On Monday 18 of June of 2007 we learnt that some people from San Miguel Aloapam were in the forest, we went to explain the importance of taking care of the forest to them, the municipal president of San Miguel Aloapam , named Fidel Alejandro Cruz Pablo who was leading the supposed work, said: "I am not going to talk with anybody because I am going to fulfil a cleaning, you already know what we came for" he shouted at his, "shoot the motherfuckers but they nothing but hindering us they are not the owners". the municipal president intoxicated in alcohol began to shoot without looking at that he was shooting. the people of San Isidro Aloapam saw themselves surrounded by the people of San Miguel aloapam, we were besieged, every one ran where they could. Their people ran and some were reached by their bullets in the chasing and died. In that same day people from San Miguel knocked down trees in the way to Oaxaca city, until this date it is blocked and we have no access towards the city of Oaxaca.


Five comrades and one comrade were arrested. They were seen beaten up and stripped off their clothes. After several hours it was not known where they were held. After some time we were informed that they were being tortured in the jail of San Miguel Aloapam. The government of the state and the municipal president of San Miguel alleged that they were carrying arms and cartridges. The people from San Miguel robbed our two cars; without having they it key took them. These cars are part of our source of work.

We were not going to confront them but to speak to them, because we know that violence generates more violence. We did not even take weapons. It is said that the army can enter. We know that in order to obtain their goals they may be able to plant weapons on us or even say that there is marijuana here. Because San Miguel Aloapam has the support of the authorities because it is a PRIísta municipality (i.e. supporter of the party in power in the federal government) advised by the same people as Murat and Ulises Ruiz Ortiz.

We consider the state government to be responsible of everything that happens in San Isidro Aloapam. we know that they try to take us to jail because they say that we killed those people which they themselves assassinated. We have not doubt that this was on purpose, to use it as an excuse and take our lands. The comrades arrested under torture were made to say that they received orders to confront the people of San Miguel Aloapam from Dolores Villalobos Cuamatzin, of the Organizing Meeting of the CIPO RFM, who is now subject to an arrest order alongside the five people who form our main communitarian authorities of San Isidro Aloapam.

The 6 ecologist indigenous prisoners who were kidnapped, brutally beaten up, tortured and jailed in prison of Ixcotel, Oaxaca; having their constitutional and human rights violated, are: Anastasio López Pérez, Santos Pérez Cruz, Artemio Pérez Cruz, Juventino Cruz Pérez, Eutimio Méndez López and Juana Morales Pérez.

At the moment the community is isolated by the illegal squads of the paramilitaries of San Miguel Aloapam, the doctor and the nurse of the community was retired from of 20 June leaving the patients at their own devices. They returned on the seventh of july.

In spite of everything, the community of San Isidro continues to resist defending the forest in spite of the SEMARNAT authorities turning a deaf ear to the demands of justice. They can only look at the million pesos that they receive for the logging of our forest. San Miguel Aloapam and the government of the state are at the moment frequently putting groups of people trying to ambush us in the other way that we use towards the city of Oaxaca, and they threaten to take to whoever they find to jail, or to attack and torture us like they did with our comrades. they are already trained; in the years 1987, 1988 and 1989 they attacked, undressed and beat up people of their own community, because of some religion matter that they disputed in those years.

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