News Release

Women’s March and Mexican Indigenous Activists in U.S.

LUCILA BETTINA CRUZ and FRANCISCO GRADO VILLA
Lucila Bettina Cruz Velazquez and Francisco Grado Villa are delegates with the National Indigenous Congress of Mexico and are currently in New York City to “express solidarity with the January 20 women’s march, and to ask people of conscience to hear their message of US TOO — denouncing the abuse of their ancestral land, their culture, their language, their history, and their dignity.” They will be in D.C. Sunday and Monday.

Contact via Tadii Angeles, LaZextaNJNY2018@gmail.com and Karlos Valseka, jerseykarlos@gmail.

They can also address how trade, drug and other policies drive desperate migration and how those impact “community dignity, autonomy, and justice” — the themes of their speaking tour. Indigenous groups are routinely marginalized in Mexico, which is scheduled to have general elections on July 1.

They are having a news conference in New York City on Friday afternoon from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. They are also speaking in there on Saturday and D.C. on Sunday.

Lucila Bettina Cruz Velazquez is an Indigenous Binnizá woman, originally from Juchitán, Oaxaca. She has a master’s degree in regional rural development from the Autonomous University of Chapingo. See her profile at the Nobel Women’s Initiative.

She said today: “Since 2007 I started with other compañer@s an organizational process for the defense of the communal lands of the region. … In 2011 I suffered an assassination attempt when members of the municipal police of La Venta, Juchitán and workers of the Acciona wind company evicted us from a demonstration that we were carrying out on the Pan-American highway. …

“In April 2012, I was imprisoned and released on bail after a four-year trial. … At this moment with other organizations in the region … [we are working] to defend ourselves from the systematic dispossession of our territory and our lives that are coming in the form of mining projects, a Special Economic Zone and the second phase of the wind project that intends to end the life of the peoples of the Isthmus.”

Francisco Grado Villa said today: “I’m from the central desert of Baja California. I am a Counselor for Baja California within the Indigenous Governing Council. … I engage in both the preservation and promotion of Cochimí culture in a moment when we have been declared extinct.

“I have been working for a year within the Indigenous Governing Council. The purpose of this tour in the U.S is to create consciousness of the actual situation in which the indigenous peoples of Mexico live.”