Demanding to Know Status of Resources for Indigenous People
In early 2020, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said “Organización comunitaria será el eje para la aplicación de recursos y programas federales en las comunidades indígenas” (Community organizing will be the focus for the application of federal resources and programs in indigenous communities). It is now clear that this support does not exist and likely is not forthcoming. For example, the respected Animal Político reports, “Despite the fact that the services of attention to violence against women were declared “essential” during the COVID-19 pandemic, those that attend to indigenous women were left without money by the government in full contingency”.
For the last five years, we’ve helped indigenous women partners to organize around their unprecedented Regional Development Agenda with its seven fundamental axes for increasing the wellbeing of families and sustained development of their communities. In the first-quarter 2020, a number of women’s organizations worked with PSYDEH to submit proposals for funding to the Instituto Nacional de los Pueblos Indígenas (INPI).
One project promotes and develops personal and collective spaces and processes for the prevention and care of domestic violence from the perspective of building new masculinity in young men between the ages of 15 and 20. A second project strengthens indigenous women’s leadership and advocacy capacities. A third project would promote indigenous teen awareness of their rights. Each project is created by women according to their communities’ needs. Then the pandemic hit.
Our partners have since tried to establish communication with INPI authorities. They want to know the status of the resources designated for these kinds of proposals to help indigenous and Afro-Mexican women exercise their rights. But they have not yet received any response.
In mid-June, women leaders and PSYDEH sent a letter to President López Obrador demanding clarity on the government’s decisions to suspend funding programs for indigenous peoples. As we write in this letter,
TODAY, with the severe situation of COVID-19, we are all experiencing moments of great uncertainty and anguish in the face of an unprecedented global health and economic crisis. This crisis is testing our ability to adapt, our resilience and our ability to work as a team.
OUR PROJECTS CONTAIN A GREAT COMPONENT of community organization and health prevention actions that will be extremely important in the phase of re-establishing the social life of our communities when the health and economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 subsides.”
Press outreach is another strategy we use to encourage responsible government action in this case. And our efforts are beginning to bear fruit. This article in the regional capital’s newspaper, El Sol de Tulancingo, explains our ongoing outreach efforts.
Strengthening rural and indigenous communities’ capacities to solve their own problems is always important. It is especially so now if we are to emerge from this crisis with communities collectively working together to combat anticipated increased economic and social challenges. We hope that AMLO and his team will be kind enough to respond to this letter and the requests.