News Latin America San Gregorio Atlapulco: a town united in fear of the disappearance of...

San Gregorio Atlapulco: a town united in fear of the disappearance of their water possessions

A barricade made of tires and wooden stumps cut off the access to San Gregorio Atlapulco from the center of Xochimilco. Protest signs are hung from a bridge and between some trees. “The water belongs to the people and for the people”, reads a part of the writings. A series of works begun days ago in the pipes by the Mexico City Water System (Sacmex) were the trigger for the mobilization of the town’s residents, who considered that it could be a job to divert water from their territory. The complaints, which began last Thursday, were harshly repressed by hundreds of riot police a day later. The situation ended with more than 20 injured. Five days have passed and the residents continue to criticize the lack of consultations by the authorities, the insufficient information about the projects and the political “harassment”.

The work of Sacmex directly generated discontent among the neighbors. Faced with the controversy, the capital’s Secretary of the Interior, Marti Batres, reported that the works carried out were “drainage”. “[Es un trabajo que los habitantes] They have requested for health and environmental reasons,” Batres added in a tweet. Despite the explanations from the authorities, some residents, such as Ignacio Jimenez, continue to mistrust. “How is it possible that they want to connect the sewage with the drinking water?” he asks rhetorically. Jimenez is only a few meters from one of the bonfires that have burned during the night and now only leave ashes and a small trail of smoke. He refers to the actions of the authorities as an “abuse of power”, a reference repeated by several of the town’s residents.

Next to the entrance of the small original town, the person in charge of the Pro-Council Assembly, Hortensia Telesforo, asks for the signature of the neighbors. “There has been a policy of harassment and bullying towards the town of San Gregorio,” she says next to the table, where the town’s inhabitants come to get more information. She assures that the actions of the authorities have generated annoyance and suspicion among the neighbors: “There have been no consultations for the works that are carried out in San Gregorio, and those that have been have been rigged or fragmented.” Telesforo concludes that the authorities have tried to dissuade them in order to gain their trust. She does not deny the possibility that the works are sanitation, although she considers that “there is bad faith” in the works. “A machine tried to rip where the drinking water valves are. What does drainage have to do with touching drinking water valves?” she comments.

A banner displayed by the neighbors indicates Jose Carlos Acosta, mayor of Xochimilco.Rogelio Morales Ponce (Dark Room)

A few blocks away, Rosa Serralde works in her small establishment. “First they carry out the works and then they consult us,” she says. Although Serralde is not at the site of the blockade, she is in favor of the fight of her neighbors. “Unfortunately, we affect many people behind us who have nothing to do with it, but we do ask them to put themselves in our situation for a little while, to see that, as a people, it will harm us,” she adds. This is the case of Gonzalo Gonzalez, the driver of one of the dozens of trucks that this Tuesday seem to be inhabiting the city due to the impossibility of making his usual route. The closure of the main entrance affects Gonzalez’s “worker” and “civilian” status “quite a bit”. “I have a relative who suffered from covid and it is difficult for us to go to the IMSS [Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social] from Xochimilco. Since he is not breathing well, he has to walk that stretch [los metros conquistados por el bloqueo]”, indicates.

On the banners, criticism is focused on the mayor of Xochimilco, Jose Carlos Acosta, who is being asked to resign. “We repudiate the violence and repression of the 4T against the original peoples,” indicates one of the writings. The police action last Friday culminated in the dismissal of two officials and the request by the head of the Government of Mexico City, Claudia Sheinbaum, for a request for investigations to clarify what happened. Despite this, Telesforo considers that it is not enough. He calls for “corresponding” responsibilities for the authorities who ordered the action of the grenadiers. He considers that they were not the two people dismissed.

The person in charge of the Assembly, like other inhabitants of San Gregorio, goes further with the criticism of what happened. She assures that the General Development Plan, a project that seeks to build the territorial “future” of Mexico City, creates a “greater problem of land conservation”, which would affect the reduction of water. For her part, Sheinbaum has defended in recent days that the capital’s government “has always defended the uses and customs of the original peoples.” “We are never going to privatize conservation land. […] We will always defend the conservation land, and no territorial ordering will pass over the towns”, he stated last Monday during his four-year report.

On the hill that welcomes visitors to San Gregorio Atlapulco, the flow of people these days is constant. In it, Domingo Castillo, one of the town’s inhabitants, sits on a chair. Around her other neighbors prepare sandwiches, tacos, coffee and other food for the rest of the people. Castillo exalts at all times the action of the people gathered. “They could be doing other things, however, they are here, supporting”, he reflects. For the resident of San Gregorio, the situation seems “calmer” than last Friday, when the tension began, although he believes that “alert” should be maintained.

here to newsletter from EL PAIS Mexico and receive all the key information on current affairs in this country



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here