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  • Residents of Atenco, where Mexico City

    Residents of Atenco, where Mexico City's new airport is being constructed, demand a halt to the project, August 14, 2018. | Photo: Reuters

Published 15 August 2018

The People's Front in Defense of Land-Atenco (FPDT) has opposed the airport since 2014 and consistently asked Lopez Obrador to honor his campaign promises.

The people of Atenco have protested in front of Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador's home to demand Mexico's future president cancel construction of Mexico City's new international airport (NAICM) and instead "side with the poor."

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The People's Front in Defense of Land-Atenco (FPDT) has opposed the airport since 2014 and consistently asked Lopez Obrador to honor his campaign promises, which included canceling the airport project.

At that time, Lopez Obrador's remarks earned him support from leftist sectors that opposed the airport, especially from the FPDT, but he later softened his words as the campaigns developed, saying he would submit the matter to a consultation.

The FPDt said in a statement: “The NAICM is not a work that benefits the people of Mexico, but the interests of the economic elite of the country.

"We believe it's time to listen to the people, the organizations, specialists and the citizens unhappy with the construction of the NAICM."

The FPDT argues the new airport isn't viable for a number of reasons, including territorial characteristics, being a lacustrine area unsuitable for construction; the presence of subterrannean water a meter under the surface; general ecocide in the Valley of Mexico due to other large-scale projects such as mining; destruction of cultural heritage, as the area houses important mountains with historical significance and meseoamerican codexes; the lack of environmental impact studies; destruction of reforestation proyects; ethnic cleansing and destruction of the community life of the peoples' of the lake; and a huge debt for future Mexicans.

"Don't ignore the people, Lopez Obrador. No to the airport of death."

 

Organizations supportive of Atenco's demands marched from Mexico City's Angel de la Independencia, one of its most important landmarks, all the way to the future president's home, where they held a meeting and read their statement aloud.
 
AMLO was unavailable but the leadership handed a petition to the future president's team and demanded a meeting with him and other social organizations.
 
"To the new government of Lopez Obrador, we ask you to be coherent with that he promised during the campaign and side with the poor," said America del Valle, a member of the FPDT.
 
The political organization has opposed the new airport since it was first planned in Texcoco Lake zone in 2002, which led to brutal reppression from all government levels. The movement was criminalized and its leaders arrested.
 
In 2015, they filed an appeal on the grounds the people of Atenco weren't consulted according to the International Labor Organization's Convention 169 and Mexico's own law, but a judge rejected it because the community isn't considered Indigenous.
 
The FPDT appealed the decision and asked for an anthropological review of the community to determine whether they could be considered Indigenous.
 
"We don't agree [with the consultation] because we have been assaulted and put into jail, our rights have been violated and our female partners attacked," said the FPDT in July.
 
The organization is asking for the cancellation of the airport and any other large-scale project in the area; to declare the Basin of the Valley of Mexico a natural protected area and cultural heritage of humanity; to favor agriculture, live-stock ranching and crafts as part of the new economic model, and to stop further carbon emissions.

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