Mexico’s violent “War on Drugs”, backed by the United States government and transnational corporate interests, has come to dominate global headlines, but behind the graphic images of mass graves and decapitated bodies, a lesser-known war against indigenous peoples is being waged. Equally as worthy of local, regional and international attention, this war is steeped in a complex history of direct and structural violence, which has been exacerbated by the influences of neoliberal economic policies, government complicity, and an underlying epistemology that supplants traditional practices and knowledge systems with an unrelenting faith in modernity and consumption. According to the online network, Indigenous Peoples Issues, the criminalization and repression of social movements has increased as a result of the ‘War on Drugs’. Actions taken by armed militia groups and gunmen in the service of transnational corporations in collusion with the state government, have claimed the lives of countless indigenous social activists” (www.indigenouspeoplesissues.com).
In an al Jazeera video entitled “Fault Lines”, reporter Josh Rushing investigates claims that Mexican security forces, supplied with ammunition and oversight from the United States, are using the narco-economy as a pretext to repress rural indigenous campesino communities. Numerous indigenous communities are caught between the narco-trafficantes, who forcibly remove them from their lands, the Mexican military and police, who are quick to label them as narco-growers, and transnational corporations—such as Canadian-based Goldcorp Inc.–seeking to exploit the land and abundant resources these communities have depended upon for generations. In addition to forced turnover of lands and false imprisonments, Rushing’s investigation confirmed countless cases of extra-judicial killings and other abuses by Mexican military and police forces which continue to go unchecked.