Indigenous women between wars: old and new expressions of violence

Received: October 22, 2018

Acceptance: June 5, 2019


Throughout history it has been shown that in a large number of conflicts there is a constant: violence directed against women, using them as spoils of war to denigrate and hurt the contestants, be they peoples, groups or individuals. This is no different in contemporary conflicts faced by women of indigenous peoples, especially in those cases related to the struggle to build, defend and strengthen the autonomous models of their peoples and communities, as well as those related to the opposition of the peoples. against extractive megaprojects that threaten to deprive them of their territories. In this scenario, indigenous women are being objects of additional violence, not only considering them as spoils of war, but there is violence directed directly against them for their political activism, whether as autonomists, organization leaders, suffragettes, feminists or anti-women. extractivists. In this context, in this article we will provide an overview of the different intersections of gender, class, ethnicity that, in an extractive neoliberal context, violate men and women of indigenous peoples who put power, (in) justice and the economic model into question. current, focusing on the continuities and new expressions of violence against indigenous women.

Keywords: , , , ,

Indigenous Women in War: Expressions of Violence, New and Old

History discloses a constant in numerous conflicts: violence against women that treats them as spoils of war, as a means of denigrating and injuring opponents that can be peoples, groups or individuals. The situation is no different in current-day conflicts women from indigenous communities must face, particularly in cases related to struggles for building, defending and strengthening those peoples 'and communities' autonomous models; as well as those related to community opposition to extractive mega-projects that threaten to displace them from their homelands. In such scenarios, indigenous women are the objects of additional violence, now not only as spoils of war, but as a direct result of their political activism as autonomy-advocates, organization leaders, suffragists, feminists or anti-extractionists. The present study provides a panorama of numerous intersections — gender, class, ethnicity — that in the neoliberal extractive context violate indigenous men and women who call power, (in) justice and the current economic model into question. I also focus on continuities and new expressions of violence against indigenous women.

Keywords: Violence against women, instersectionality, gender, indigenous women, neoliberal extractivisim.


The violence exercised against indigenous women in recent decades has some features that are important to highlight; We will begin by pointing out that it is a long-standing problem that refers to the long-lived patriarchal culture that has traveled the history of the world. However, in each historical moment this violence has peculiarities; For this reason, in this work I would like to focus on the structural violence that is exercised against indigenous women who break with “gender mandates” (Segato, 2003), 1 women activists who fight not only against exclusion and discrimination, but also to exercise citizenship rights and their identity as members of an indigenous people. I will refer specifically to the violence exercised against the leaders and social activists who are fighting with their peoples to defend their autonomy and stop the devastating advance of the extractivist projects that for three decades have been promoted throughout Latin America.

I address the issue of violence against indigenous women from two perspectives that are complementary for the understanding of the new violence that runs through both Mexico and the rest of Latin America. The first is the intersectoral perspective as a broad methodological theoretical proposal, which allows understanding the different dimensions in which the domination, discrimination, exclusion and violence that are exercised against indigenous women due to their ethnicity, gender and class in a social, economic environment, political and legal that fuels and amplifies discrimination. I recover the debate undertaken by Mara Viveros when she affirms that intersectionality has become the expression used to designate the theoretical and methodological perspective that seeks to account for a reality crossed or interwoven by power relations, in a specific context and historical moment (Nurseries, 2016). In this case, the contextual framework that I analyze is that of new expressions of violence against indigenous peoples in general, and against indigenous women in particular, in this contemporary stage described by Harvey (2004) as a new imperialism, characterized by a form of accumulation based on the exploitation of raw materials in peripheral countries.

For this reason, the second analytical perspective refers to the critical views of the extractivist turn that leaves behind ecological devastation, as well as conflicts and new exclusions (Zibechi, 2015; Gudynas, 2009). Extractivism, whose expression is the multiplication of activities such as oil, mining, hydraulic, agricultural or tourist activities that result in the dispossession of territories, population displacement or the generation of inter-ethnic conflicts and that are being contested by vigorous social movements and indigenous peoples on the continent.

I am interested in highlighting how, despite the criticisms expressed by academics, biologists, geographers, political scientists, anthropologists, sociologists, economists, among others, as well as the proliferation of broad social movements against this economic model, the States celebrate the arrival of million-dollar investments arguing their spillover into jobs and the reactivation of national economies, while making invisible the environment of violence that is generating against indigenous peoples, autonomist movements and their leaders, both men and women, who denounce threats against their territories, their ancestral cultures, worldviews and ways of life. In this sense, the Mexican government has expressed with great fanfare the increase in foreign investment, since during the current government administration (2012-2018) foreign direct investment (ied) accumulated was of the order of 156,194.3 million dollars, a figure 51.9% higher than the amount reported six years ago. Of these, 11.7% has been destined for mining (I know, 2017). Although investment in mining would seem modest, there is strong interest in continuing to expand this sector, as can be seen in the 2013-2018 Mining Development Program (dof, 2014), which states that Mexico has in 70% of its territory proven mineral resources, while there is a “positive geological evolution” to consider that this activity can be expanded, so a plan has been established to continue with the delivery of concessions to interested investors.2

According to official figures, mining is not the sector with the greatest contribution to the GDPIt neither offers a significant number of jobs, nor does it generate higher profits for the country. However, it is causing a large number of socio-environmental conflicts and has jettisoned the constitutionally recognized autonomy of indigenous peoples, thus threatening their survival as culturally and politically differentiated peoples. Everything seems to indicate that this will be the trend in the following years, since mining has been placed as a strategic sector for national development. In this same sense, the current mining law (2014) declares, in its sixth article, that mining is an activity of public utility and it establishes that the exploration, exploitation and benefit of the minerals or substances to which the law refers are of public utility and will be preferred over any other use or exploitation of the land, subject to the conditions established by it.

Two quantitative data will help us to show the scale of the ongoing process: according to Eckart Boege (2013), mining impacts affected at least 42 of the 62 indigenous peoples until five years ago. It documented that between 2000 and 2012, of the 28 million hectares identified as the hard core of indigenous territories, around 2,173,141 hectares were concessioned, mainly for metal mining. Which means that in those twelve years the indigenous people had lost jurisdiction over 7% of their territory only because of mining concessions. Their investigations show that most of the concessions in the national territory were granted under the mining law approved in 1992, during the administration of Carlos Salinas de Gortari (1988-1994). Only during the years 2000 to 2012, 2,814 concessions were granted to exploit gold, 71 silver and 25 copper. Undoubtedly, the process of dispossession of indigenous territories is advancing vertiginously as a consequence of the boom miner who was legally and fiscally prepared since the 1990s, with the neoliberal policy in vogue (López and Eslava, 2011; López, 2017).

According to Svampa (2012), in the last decade Latin America has moved from the Washington Consensus, based on financial valuation, to the consensus of the commodities, supported by the export of primary goods on a large scale. He rightly asserts that although the exploration and export of natural assets are not new activities in the region, in the last years of the century xx and in a context of change in the accumulation model, the expansion of projects aimed at the control, extraction and export of natural goods, without greater added value, intensified. In such a way that the current consensus of the commodities implies underlining, precisely, the entry into a new economic and political order, sustained by the boom of the international prices of raw materials and consumer goods, highly demanded by central countries and emerging economies.

For this model to be imposed, the transmutation of the State into a security one was important, which turned the reason of the social welfare State to the defense of the economic interests of the transnational corporations that lead and control the extractive sector. For authors like Gledhill (2014), we move to a security of public policy, within the framework of a shadow state, while Giorgio Agamben (2016) speaks of the constitution of a security or emergency state. For its part, the People's People's Court (tpp) calls these states failed. That is, there are a series of phenomena, processes, contexts and circumstances that allow us to speak of violent political and economic models, which in order to maintain the economic model and under the argument of national and social security, resort to establishing States exceptionally, thereby criminalizing and repressing the just protest of vast social sectors, generating what has been called new victims of development, which leaves a stream of murders, including women, throughout the national territory (Belausteguigoitia and Saldaña, 2015).

In this context, the violence generated against indigenous women has intensified, because although it has been a constant (Hernández, 2015), we see that as they have become political actors who position themselves in front of the problems of their peoples and who fight for their rights as women, violence is intensifying. It seems to me that now they are not only attacked to punish and harm their men, that is, their peoples and their political projects, but that as women play a leading role in these struggles, be it as part of the anti-movement movement. extractivists, as human rights defenders, advisers or consultants, are victims of excessive violence, as I will show shortly.

Violence without limits: structural violence-gender violence

Official data show that violence is spreading across the continent against women who denounce extractivist dispossession and / or the violation of universal human rights, whether they are leaders, authorities of peoples or communities, journalists or human rights defenders. Cases such as the murder of lawyer Digna Ochoa, on October 19, 2001, who was a prominent human rights defender and member of the Miguel Agustín Pro Juárez Human Rights Center, outraged the country. Another of the most irritating cases was the murder of the leader of the Lenca indigenous people of Honduras in March 2016, Berta Cáceres, who led the campaign against a controversial hydroelectric project of Chinese capital that would build the Agua Zarca dam, planned in the northeast of the country on the Gualcarque River, in a sacred territory and a breeding ground for the Lencas. The protest campaign of this social fighter succeeded in getting the world's largest Chinese state-owned dam builder, Sinohydro, to withdraw its participation; the same happened with the other investor, which was the World Bank. In recognition of his tireless struggle, he was awarded the Goldman Environmental Prize. However, nothing could do this recognition and triumph to prevent her from being assassinated.3 Within the framework of resistance to extractivism, two other indigenous women have been recognized with the Goldman award: the Peruvian Máxima Acuña, for the fierce defense of her territory where the Yanacocha mining company intends to exploit an open pit gold and copper mine in the heights of the North Andean department of Cajamarca, destroying the water sources.4 And this year it corresponded to Francia Márquez, activist and Colombian community leader from the town of La Toma, in the southwestern department of Cauca, for her fight against legal and illegal mining (ocmal, 2018). However, these recognitions have had practically no impact to stop the mining maelstrom that continues to spread terror and violence.

Returning to the case of Mexico, the figures place it as one of the most violent countries in Latin America, a situation that worsened in 2006 when the federal government declared a frontal war against drug trafficking, which has resulted in In the last decade (2006-2016) civilian deaths have risen to 175,000. The worst year was 2011, when the figure rose to 27,200 murdered, and during the year 2017, 26,502 were added until November. Similar figures have been reported for 2018. We are talking about a monthly average of more than 2,000 malicious homicides.5 However, this fight against drug trafficking hides other dimensions of violence that it is important to point out, such as the violence carried out by common and organized crime that is expressed in robberies, assaults, rapes, which place citizens in suspense on a daily basis. It is worth noting that in a large number of cases violence is linked not only to judicial impunity, but also to the enormous social inequality that prevails in the country, which leads many young people to join the ranks of drug trafficking or criminal groups in the face of crime. lack of job or educational opportunities. This is paradoxical, because despite the prevailing inequality and high levels of corruption and violence, our country is ranked 15th in the world. ranking of the world's economies.6 Meanwhile, with regard to inequality indices, according to figures provided by the Economic Commission for Latin America (cepal, 2016), the poor distribution of wealth reaches a very high figure, since 80% of financial assets are concentrated in only 10% of families, while 10% of companies in the country concentrate 93% of physical assets.7 To this violence we must add the criminalization, persecution, deprivation of liberty and the assassinations of leaders of indigenous peoples, both men and women, who lead struggles against dispossession or the threat of dispossession of their territories.

In such a way, inequality, difference, racialization, gender violence and femicides are categories and phenomena that intersect and draw the new violence that many social activists on the continent are being subjected to. As a sign of criminalization, a recent Amnesty International statement noted that in the last two years alone (2016-2017) 437 human rights activists had been murdered in 22 countries, and 75% of the cases took place in Latin America and had to do directly with extractivist activities (ai, 2017).8

Regarding the data available to access official figures on violence against women, during the month of November 2017 the disaggregation was established into different categories related to gender violence. The Ministry of the Interior released a list where 31 new crimes, recorded during the years 2014-2017, appear disaggregated. With this new classification, it was announced that 1,500 investigations for femicide were opened (Table 1).

Table 1. Investigations opened by judicial authorities related to violence against women in Mexico 2014-2017. Source: ADN40 2017.

Among the disaggregated data, the complaints filed for domestic violence also stand out, exceeding the figure of 40,000, higher than any of the other sections accumulating the three years counted. Other crimes for which figures are already available are: those committed by public servants (36,478), corruption of minors (5,489), electoral crimes (1,840), abortion (1,540), human trafficking (1,034) , trafficking of minors (467) and incest (76).9

While these numbers are worrisome in themselves, they refer to reported cases for which an investigation was initiated; However, according to the data provided by the Ombudsman national, Luis Raúl González Pérez, there is a trend towards an increase in feminicidal violence in recent years. Along this path, the data presented by the National Women's Institute (Inmujeres) indicate that femicides rose to 12,811 in 2017 alone. It is stated that these are “deaths of women with presumption of homicide”, which made 2017 the most violent year against women (dna40: 2017). It is not known, however, what is the proportion of indigenous women who have been victims of femicide and forced disappearance, since the data are not segregated by ethnicity.

However, the figures regarding violence against human rights defenders, environmentalists and social and indigenous leaders are equally alarming both for Mexico and for the rest of the Latin American countries, for example in Honduras Chis Moye (bbc News, 2016), from Global Witness, pointed out that between 2002 and 2014, one hundred and eleven murders of environmental activists had occurred in Honduran territory, eighty of which had taken place in just three years (2012-2014). In what corresponds to Mexico between 2010 and 2016, forty-one human rights defenders had been murdered, this according to the data provided by the National Network of Human Rights Defenders in Mexico, of which eleven were journalists (rnddhm, 2014). This is the scenario where indigenous women's leaders and organizations are fighting to stop violence and the dispossession of their body-territories, as we will see shortly.

Resistance of indigenous women in Latin America against extractivism

From this broad scenario of generalized violence against indigenous women, I want to present some data referring to Mexico and Latin America. I am interested in emphasizing that women fight alongside their peoples, as direct victims, as political actors and not only as companions; in multiple cases they have shown their political agency by leading resistance movements, exposing injustices and building organizations first with their peoples and in parallel creating women's organizations, cementing positions, reflections and epistemological proposals. This activism, as we will show, has placed them as the center of preferential and focused violence, in actions that range from criminalization to sexual violence (Hernández, 2015) and from displacement to murder.

It is against this scenario that politically organized women express in their agendas a series of demands that have ranged from the defense of their rights as women to a political position called culturally situated feminism (Sánchez, 2005); We can also speak of an anti-extractivist feminism and territorial feminisms (Ulloa, 2016a and 2016b). Some are located in popular and community feminisms, others start from ecofeminisms and many are not explicitly recognized as feminists. But all, from their diversity, share the horizon of an anti-extractivist or post-extractivist, decolonizing and anti-patriarchal struggle, and are empowered within the framework of resistance. Its main contribution, according to Miriam Gartor (2014), has been to make visible the close links between extractivism and patriarchy.

Among the women's organizations against extractivism, the network of Latin American Women Weaving Territories stands out in Central America, who undertook a caravan between January 7 and 17, 2018 that traveled through Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador to denounce the effects of extractive industries in women, and stated that

As women participating in this effort, we have confirmed that in our countries the extractivist logic is seriously threatening the territories and populations that we inhabit there (Gartor, 2014).

For their part, the members of the Network of Communities Affected by Mining in Honduras, in the voice of Xiomara Gaitán, affirm that “most extractivist projects promote a context of violence, stigmatization and criminalization against community leaderships, especially towards the women who fight from the territories in Central America, where multiple human rights violations are committed ”(Gartor, 2014).

In the same vein, they have been linked in continental networks and organizations, for example the most recent meeting took place in Montreal, Canada, in April 2018, under the name of International Meeting "Women in resistance against extractivism", where they denounced the aggressions suffered by indigenous peoples and women in particular in their ethno-territories. They spoke about the oil enclaves in the Ecuadorian Amazon, the mining exploitation of Cajamarca in Peru or the soy route in Argentina, denouncing that they are experiencing the impacts that the massive arrival of workers brings, which has caused the increase in the sex market . Alcohol, violence and the trafficking of women and girls for the purpose of sexual exploitation are established in the daily lives of peoples as an expression of sexist violence (Gastor, 2014; Comunicaciones Aliadas, 2018).

In these meetings, other dimensions and impacts have been realized with the arrival of the companies, such as the militarization that accompanies certain mining regions. It is a problem that has been present for several years; for example, in 2011, within the framework of the Latin American Women and Mining Encounter, carried out in Bogotá, Colombia, women from thirty-four organizations, networks, committees and associations denounced that

Mega-mining is accompanied by military bases, a greater presence of all armed actors and an increase in private surveillance, which makes women more vulnerable.

The health of women and girls is also severely impacted by megaprojects. Sexually transmitted diseases are accentuated (ets), respiratory, mental and skin, hearing and all those derived from extractive mining activity and fumigations. In addition, the increase in abortions, malformations, cancer and adolescent pregnancies, among other health problems, stands out.

With pain and indignation, we affirm the permanent demand for sexual services by officials and workers of the energy mining industry, easements, human trafficking, migration of women, as well as the stigmatization of women who perform sex work promoted by this type of economic activities (Ecological Action et al., 2011).

From this perspective, both the land and the woman's body are conceived as sacrificial territories. Starting from this parallelism, feminist movements against extractive projects have built a new political and struggle discourse that focuses on the body of women as a first territory to defend. The recovery of the territory-body as an inseparable first step in the defense of the territory-land. It is a reinterpretation in which the concept of sovereignty and self-determination of territories is expanded and linked to women's bodies. From this perspective, we can refer to the community feminism of Xinka women in resistance against mining in the mountain of Xalapán (Guatemala), who argue that defending a territory-land against exploitation without taking into account the bodies of the women who are being violated it would be inappropriate. In that same country, other struggles that have been going on for a decade have been expressed; For example, in June 2008 Gregoria Crisanta Pérez and seven other women from the community of Agel, in San Miguel Ixtahuacán, sabotaged the power lines by interrupting the supply of the Montana Exploradora mining company, a subsidiary of the Canadian Goldcorp Inc. them an arrest warrant for sabotage of the operation of the mine. Finally, in May 2012 the criminal charges were dropped and the women managed to recover part of Gregoria's lands, which had been used irregularly by the company, thus achieving an important victory.10

The Latin American meetings and networks of women against extractivism are of enormous importance, both because they are constituted as spaces for denunciation and for the creation and exchange of strategies of struggle and resistance. They are spaces from where women are proposing alternative forms of community life in harmony with nature, their cultures, worldviews, as well as to think about new agreements between genders, with logics that break with the current capitalist model. In this direction, the proposals expressed in the Regional Meeting of Feminisms and Popular Women held in Ecuador in June 2013, where the attendees considered another way of organizing economic life. An economy based on the management of common goods that guarantees the daily reproduction of life; that is, it is not only about resistance struggles, but also about searches and constructions aimed at the exercise of new solidarity and sustainable economies with a new logic of identity in ethnic and socio-environmental terms, and therefore of defense of their territories, their life as communities and as peoples (Suárez, 2017).

The costs of resistance to this economic model of dispossession have been high, long in time and costly in economic, social and political terms, but they have also generated new and vigorous processes of organizational construction, as well as theoretical reflections and ideas. construction of alternative paradigms; Along this path, some triumphs have been added against the large extractivist companies and against the states that support them. Such is the case, for example, of the Sarayaku town in Ecuador, where women played an important role in the fight against the Yanacocha company, which acquired the Conga mining project in 2001. As is widely known, the women of the Sarayaku town, in the Ecuadorian Amazon, led the resistance against the Argentine oil company Compañía General de Combustibles (cgc), which they managed to expel from their lands in 2004. In this case, the Ecuadorian State had granted 60% of its territory to the company, without carrying out any information process or prior consultation with the affected peoples. It was the women who, from the beginning, took the initiative. When the army entered their territory, militarizing the area in favor of the oil company, they requisitioned their weapons. Even the army wanted to negotiate the return of the weapons secretly. The people of Sarayaku, pushed by the women, summoned the Ecuadorian press to bring the case to light. Finally, in 2012, after a decade of litigation, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (cidh) declared the responsibility of the Ecuadorian State in the violation of the rights of the Sarayaku people (Gartor, 2014).11

Now, it is important to point out that although in Latin America we can speak of different states and development models, in the case of extractivism researchers such as Eduardo Gudynas (2009) speak of the existence of a post-extractivist model to refer to countries “ progressives ”such as Venezuela, Ecuador or Bolivia, which positioned themselves as post-neoliberals and undertook the construction of new constitutions of a pluriethnic and plurinational character, recognizing the rights of their indigenous peoples, even in the case of Bolivia, rights of nature were established. ; However, there are still great challenges to achieve an equitable relationship that respects the rights of these peoples.

The case of mining is eloquent because it allows us to see the coincidences or continuities with the neoliberal model. Initially, we can see that the new states have followed the path of extractivism, perhaps the biggest difference with the rest of the countries in the world is the much more active role that progressive states have in directing the economic model, which is expressed by example in the imposition of high tax rates and in which a good part of these resources are destined for their investment in different areas and social programs. However, the ecological damage, the violation of rights and the resistance of the peoples and their women, as well as the criminalization and violence that they unleash are a constant shared throughout the continent, regardless of the promoting State.

I return here as an example to the case of the Mining Arc, in Venezuela, which dates back to 2016, when the government of Nicolás Maduro granted mining concessions in 112,000 square kilometers, which cover a part of the northern region of the state of Bolívar and Amazonas , south of the Orinoco River. In that territory, national and foreign companies can legally exploit coltan, gold and diamond. This means that the Venezuelan government opened the doors to the development of mining in 12% of the national territory, with the intention that this activity would replace oil and become a new source of income for the State (Mongabay Latam, 2018 ). From the beginning, environmentalists and scientists opposed this decision, also pointing out that the Venezuelan government did not comply with conducting an environmental impact study, nor did it comply with prior, free and informed consultation with indigenous peoples, as mandated by the Constitution and the instruments of international law, such as Convention 169 of the oit. In the opposition process, one of the most active groups has been the indigenous Amazonian women united in the Wanaaleru organization, who have denounced that an ecocide is being generated in this region, since thousands of hectares of Amazonian forest are being razed, with the concomitant contamination of surface and groundwater caused by the oxidation of sulphurous minerals. Likewise, they have denounced the project as ethnocidal while arrests, persecution and the murder of indigenous leaders have been presented. Regarding the effects on the health and well-being of Amazonian women, they have denounced the violence caused by the increase in trafficking in women and the expansion of prostitution, as well as damage to maternal and child health, caused by the abandonment of traditional crops, migration and increased infant deaths, as well as high concentrations of chemicals in the blood that cause abortions (Wanaaleru, 2016).

In short, we are facing an enormously worrying panorama, both due to the violence, social decomposition and factionalism that mining operations generate in indigenous peoples and due to the new scenarios of aggression against women. Unfortunately, this model seems to continue in the following years, because practically all Latin American countries continue to bet on the arrival of large investments from national and foreign companies, despite the social and environmental disaster that they leave in their wake. For example, in the case of Ecuador, former President Rafael Correa stated that it was not possible to have a poor people sitting on sacks of gold, alluding to the mineral wealth of the country that had to be exploited, in order to detonate economic development. In other words, his post-neoliberal project raised a neo-extractivist model that sought to "transform the pattern of specialization of the economy in order to achieve a strategic and sovereign insertion in the world."12 It seems that all Latin American countries have taken up that old statement expressed in the 20th century. xix by the Italian naturalist, geographer and explorer Antonio Raimondi, whose research led him to affirm that “Peru is a beggar sitting on a bench of gold” (Villacorta, 2006).

This economic model known euphemistically as "development" is advancing despite dozens of investigations that have indicated that relocating ourselves as exporters of raw materials does not generate well-being, but on the contrary, economic dependencies and regional inequalities with the creation of extractive enclaves. In political terms, it implies a decrease in national sovereignty, because the economic destiny of our countries is yielded to the logic of large extractive companies. It is also worrying that the dozens of dispute processes are by legal means or through vigorous social mobilizations and protests that fail to stop the processes of expropriation or dispossession of vast territories rich in bioenergy resources. As I have pointed out, in anti-mining activism women are playing a central role, from where different organizations and groups are documenting, denouncing and mapping these processes; such is the case for example of Environmental Justice Atlas, which aims to show the different ways in which both peoples and women are being affected by mining, and their role in building alternatives to this devastating economic model.13

I close this recount of the resistance against extractivism leaving testimony of the most recent expression that occurred in Mexico on October 11 and 12, 2018 in the city of Oaxaca, where a “popular community trial against the State and the companies was held. mining companies ”that had been agreed upon during the Second State Meeting of Peoples, Communities and Organizations "here we say yes to life, no to mining", held in the Zapotec community of Magdalena Teitipac, on February 23 and 24, 2018. Around 60 communities and 36 organizations participated in this meeting (Colectivo Oaxaqueño en Defensa de los Territorios, 2018).

During the popular trial, 22 cases of companies that are violating the rights of indigenous peoples in the entity were presented. Likewise, testimonies from various communities and organizations were recovered, documented and disseminated. I want to highlight those presented by indigenous women's organizations in defense of their territories, who produced a short video to give an account of the situation of their rights; are the cases of women defenders of the land of San José del Progreso14 and that of the Defenders of the Territory of San Martín de los Cansecos,15 which are constituted as a testimony of the struggles of indigenous peoples where women, along with men, are playing an important role.

The cases were presented before a jury made up of prominent and prominent social fighters, human rights defenders, lawyers and lawyers with extensive experience and recognition: Blanca Chancoso, Vice President of the Ecuarunari of Ecuador;16 Jakeline Romero Epiayu, member of the Fuerza de Mujeres Wayuu organization and National Human Rights Award of Colombia;17 Daniel Cerqueira, Brazilian lawyer expert in Indigenous Rights of the Foundation for Due Process (dplf); Ignacio Henríquez, master in public administration with experience in cooperation with Oxfam in El Salvador; Miguel Álvarez, president of will be peace and the National Human Rights Award of Mexico; Abel Barrera, director of the Tlachinollan Mountain Human Rights Center, Mexico; Beatriz Gutiérrez, Community Defender of the Ikoots People of San Mateo del Mar, Oaxaca; Carmen Herrera García, from Lawyers and Lawyers for Human Rights Justice AC; Francisco López Bárcenas, Mixtec lawyer expert in indigenous rights. The jury was supported by experts Ana de Ita, director of the Center for Studies for Change in the Mexican Countryside (ceccam); Saúl Rosado Zaidi, from the Multidisciplinary Collective for Local Alternatives (comal) and the National Assembly of Environmental Affected (anaa), and Saúl Aquino, a citizen of Capulálpam de Méndez.18

The jury, after listening to the testimonies and reviewing the documentation sent by the peoples and community authorities, issued a final verdict of nine points, in which they call on the Mexican State to respect the rights to self-determination of indigenous peoples, to declare the State of Oaxaca free of mining projects, and cancel the concessions that have been granted in frank violation of the rights of indigenous peoples and peasants.19

Although it is a non-binding sentence, it will be sent to the Mexican authorities in order to seek to disseminate this problem and influence the adoption of measures that stop the territorial dispossession and the violation of rights that multiply throughout of the national territory.

Final thoughts on violence against indigenous women in the extractivist context

The study of the situation of indigenous women who are victims of various types of violence has been approached from different perspectives, one of the most suggestive is the one that raises the concept of intersectionality, coined by African-American activist and scholar Kimberle Crenshaw in 1991. In her article "Mapping the margins: Intersectionality, Identities Politics and Violence against Women of Color," she reflects on the marginality of women of color, which occurs so much in the anti-racist movement , whose subject of enunciation is the black man, as in the feminist movement, whose referent (subject) of enunciation is the white woman. For this reason, it appeals to the importance of making visible how the multiple forms of violence are connected in an intersectional way and aims to rethink the margins that go from domestic to structural violence, crossed in turn by the racialized historical construction of identities in the margins of the larger society (De Marinis, in press).

In parallel, Latin American feminists raised the multiple forms of oppression that indigenous women experience due to their class, gender, and ethnic status, and the way in which these multiple forms of oppression were denied by left and indigenous movements in Mexico ( Espinosa, 2010). These have been central contributions from Latin America. As Natalia de Marinis affirms (in press), situating the concept of intersectionality through coloniality and from the perspective of territory and collective rights becomes an important element to incorporate in order to think about the reality of indigenous women. In the same vein, Mara Viveros (2016) calls us to analyze the networks of violence from historical and politically situated approaches in order not to lose their political potential.

Another element that is important to highlight in the current extractivist context that violates the collective rights of indigenous men and women is the Latin American political turn in which conservative right-wing governments are dangerously being installed, strongly repressing social movements critical of neoliberalism .

What we can verify is that with the expansion of extractivist capital, the neo-colonial discourse and practices that damage the land and territories of indigenous peoples and, with it, the living conditions of their members are renewed. The establishment of extractive industries has brought greater violence to indigenous and Afro-descendant regions, and have a greater impact on the lives of women, either due to the arrival of paramilitary groups that seek to inhibit social protest or because their operation It carries with it the proliferation of businesses, legal and illegal, such as bars, brothels, prostitution and human trafficking, activities that affect the lives and rights of girls and women, as various organizations have been denouncing, including Amnesty International (Damiano, 2017).

However, in terms of violence against women in Mexico, as in the rest of the continent, their own testimonies show that it covers a wide social spectrum, since it does not affect only indigenous women, although they are among the most vulnerable sectors. . Every day, the numbers of hate murders grow due to the impossibility of society to stop this scourge. The impunity with which criminals act and often in complicity with the authorities speaks to us of a failed state, corroded by corruption and infiltrated by crime. A "shadow state" called Gledhill (2000), which has grown up under the protection of neoliberal reforms. Hence, Aída Hernández (2010: 95-96) affirms that gender analysis in militarized regions, such as those carried out by Diana Nelson (1999) in Guatemala, Davida Wood (1995) in Palestine or Dette Denich (1995) in Sarajevo , indicate that in contexts of political-military conflict, female sexuality tends to become a symbolic space for political struggle and rape is instrumentalized as a way of demonstrating power and dominance over the enemy. Cases such as those that occurred in the Mexican states of Chiapas, Atenco, Guerrero and Oaxaca have not been an exception; militarization and paramilitarization have specifically affected women in an undeclared dirty war. From a patriarchal ideology, which continues to consider women as sexual objects and as depositories of family honor, rape, sexual torture and bodily mutilation are an attack on all members of the enemy group.

It is unfortunate that despite the fact that there is enormous information on Latin America that accounts for the impacts of the extractivist turn, little has been achieved to stop it. Suffice it to note that the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (cidh) has issued between 2000 and 2016 seventeen reports on the merits, pointing out the Mexican State for violations of various inter-American instruments. Between 2007 and 2014, 39 precautionary measures have been adopted for both individuals and communities whose rights are at risk. For its part, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (cidh) has issued seven convictions regarding Mexico, three of which refer to women.20

And finally, in the last report of the United Nations Special Rapporteur on her visit to Mexico in 2017, it was noted that Mexico has contributed greatly to promoting the indigenous agenda at the international level, including the approval of the Declaration of the United Nations on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. At the national level, the recognition of the rights of indigenous peoples to autonomy and self-determination in article 2 of the country's Constitution is an important advance, as are the initiatives aimed at facilitating their political participation.

However, more work is needed to make these initiatives effective and to tackle the root causes of the marginalization of indigenous peoples.

During her visit to the country, the Special Rapporteur observed serious situations of exclusion and discrimination against indigenous peoples [and stated that] current development policies, which promote “mega-projects” in the sectors of extraction, energy, tourism, agribusiness and others represent a great obstacle to the enjoyment by indigenous peoples of their human rights. There has been a significant increase in these types of investment projects, which are being carried out on indigenous peoples' lands and territories without adequate consultations to obtain their free, prior and informed consent. This situation has led to the expropriation of land, negative effects on the environment, social conflicts, and the criminalization of members of indigenous communities who oppose the projects. Furthermore, when they try to access justice to denounce human rights violations related to these investment projects, indigenous peoples face serious obstacles, such as the physical distance that separates them from the institutions of administration of justice, language barriers, lack of adequate legal assistance, fear of reprisals if a complaint is filed, and lack of appropriate protection mechanisms (un, 2018: 9).

Faced with this violence, both indigenous men and women have led various processes of defense of territories and natures, demanding the recognition of the right to make decisions through free, prior and informed consent, or generating new spaces for participation such as processes of autonomous, community or popular consultations (Ulloa, 2016a and 2016b), such as the popular trial carried out in the state of Oaxaca. Likewise, it is important to note that through the protests and resistance actions undertaken by indigenous, Afro-descendant and peasant women, criticisms and alternative proposals are raised in relation to the territories and both other visions of development (alternatives to development) and Cultural constructions of gender in the context of extractivisms, such as the ethics of care and environmental justice. Astrid Ulloa has called these political dynamics that women lead not only in Colombia, but in Latin America, “territorial feminisms” insofar as they are territorial-environmental struggles that focus on the defense of caring for the territory, the body and nature, and in open criticism of development processes and extractivisms. Faced with these scenarios, it will continue to be essential to combine strategies for the defense of the territories, from social pressure, collective protests, incorporate the gender perspective that makes visible the differential impact of violence against indigenous and non-indigenous social activists, as well as maintaining a vigorous legal struggle: in the face of horrors, the law; in the face of environmental deterioration, the construction of alternative projects that seek to recover or build harmonious societies where human rights, collective rights and gender rights prevail. We all deserve it as citizens committed to building better worlds.


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