Women from the village of San Isidro Aloapam in the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca are struggling to save an ancient forest from a US-sponsored logging company.
Demonstrations against the forest’s destruction have led to serious confrontations with paramilitary groups. Villagers have been shot at and three pregnant women have miscarried after being severely beaten by hired thugs.
The women were not alone in boycotting Mexico’s recent state elections.
Over 70 percent of eligible voters in Oaxaca, Mexico’s poorest state, stayed away from the polls. The record low turnout was repeated across Mexico. Many are still angry at the result of last year’s farcical presidential elections.
The rejection of Mexico’s conservative system has seen community organisations grow. This is most marked in Oaxaca where an uprising last year saw popular assemblies take control of local services for months following a teachers’ strike.
Although the state eventually regained control after using extreme violence, the Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca (APPO) continues to campaign for social justice.