By Felipe Vera
On June 21, 15 people were massacred and over 30 wounded in San Mateo del Mar in Oaxaca, Mexico on their way to an Informative Assembly led by the Union of Ikoots Agencies and Indigenous Communities.
San Mateo del Mar, home to many peasants and indigenous people, such as the Ikoots, is located within the Tehuantepec Isthmus, which spans over several states in Mexico. This region, centered between the Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific Ocean, has long been a site of imperialist energy mega projects due to its strong winds.
In 2012, several companies were met with resistance after attempting to construct a 396-megawatt off-shore wind farm. Today, capitalists such as Jorge Leoncio Arroyo Rodriguez, who works closely with the municipal government and it paramilitaries, promote the development of these mega projects of imperialism which only results in the displacement and murder of the local population.
On their way to the Informative Assembly, community members were obstructed by a sanitary checkpoint, preventing them from passing through. Tires were found set ablaze as masked men ambushed and shot at people attempting to cross. Over 30 were wounded and the attackers tortured others, leaving 15 people mutilated as well as others charred.
While the reactionary Mexican state and ruling class media have made the claims that the massacre was a result of “community infighting” or that it was carried out by organized crime, local organizations and community members have denounced these claims which gloss over the role of the imperialist interests in the region. One communique that was released on June 28 reads:
“The case of San Mateo del Mar is not an internal conflict between communities or agencies; It is an attack by an armed group, an external agent, an entrepreneur with economic and political interests that co-opts citizens of the community, who now intend to continue controlling, inventing information and distorting the truth for their own purposes.”