"There is no other way to live in this world than loving Mother Earth, respecting each other and collaborating collectively. This view of how we build our lives collectively is so important because we are not alone in the world, we are here together." Silvia Villaseñor
Sylvia Villaseñor works for the Mexican Institute for Community Development. She is involved in defending indigenous land rights in Puebla, Mexico. Mining and hydroelectric companies, sanctioned by the government are appropriating indigenous lands and threatening the lives of the communities.
In 2011 the Mexican constitution was modified to extend indigenous rights a little, particularly in the recognition of collective rights. This led to some attempts at consultation. But so far in Mexico there has not been a single consultation with indigenous communities which meets the criteria set out in the ILO Convention 169 on indigenous rights. One example is the case of the Walmart hydroelectric Project in Puebla, they carried out a fake consultation, co-ordinated by the Energy Ministry which did not meet the standards required by law. But unfortunately this consultation has been recognised by the government as if it had been adequately completed, in order to allow the project to advance.
Because of their indigenous roots, these communities are strongly organised. They have tried all possible ways to defend their territories. They say “Where will we go if they move us from these lands?” Because if these extractive projects go ahead this would lead to a vast displacement and tremendous environmental devastation in the Sierra Norte of Puebla.
"When you have a link to the land and the water, it hurts you that they want to destroy it. Here in Mexico we all have indigenous roots whatever the colour of our skin. I lived several years in an indigenous community and you learn the values and the riches of the original cultures." Silvia Villaseñor
Silvia Villaseñor is part of the Documentary 'In Defence of Our Lands about land and environmental rights campaigners in Latin America.
"I want to enjoy all the wonders of Mother Earth because I am part of her. They can’t kill me. I will give up my life defending life." Silvia Villaseñor