Realized on assignment for the AVSI Foundation

From the state of Guerrero to Oaxaca, corruption, uncertainty of justice and fear of violence do not spare anyone. Across Mexico, almost 40.000 people are categorized as “missing” by the government.

When the first shadows of the night envelope Acapulco, crossing the street, entering a pub or taking a cab, can be very dangerous. One of the oldest beach resorts in Mexico, once known as a holiday destination for Hollywood stars and millionaires, Acapulco has recently been ranked as the second most violent city in the world with a rising number of extortions, kidnappings, and murders. More than often, corrupted policemen are the ones who facilitate abductions and kidnapping for ransom. Just like violence against women forcibly taken from the streets. The United Nations say that 4 of every 10 Mexican women will experience sexual violence, such as unwanted groping or rape, during their lifetimes, and that 9 women are murdered on average every day in the country. This widespread violence has claimed more than 250,000 lives since 2006. Supported by an international project funded by the European Union and implemented by the AVSI Foundation together with local NGOs, between the States of Guerrero, Oaxaca and Puebla, indigenous communities are implementing solutions to solve problems concerning security, access to water and the defense of workers’ rights in the maquilas. Long before the “discovery” of Columbus and the successive invasions by European conquistadors, in the Mixteca region, an area straddling Central and Southern America, the first cohesive and stable settlements, including those of the Mixtecs, flourished. A population that, after 4000 years, continues to live in the same area, which stretches over 40.000 square kilometers between the western half of the State of Oaxaca and some northwest areas of the states of Puebla and Guerrero. In the Mixteca, as well as in many rural areas of southern Mexico, the lack of infrastructures and investments for the construction of water pipelines, has left the natives in precarious conditions, with problems of access to water for domestic and agricultural use. Although during the rainy season, it rains up to 6 or 7 months a year, rainwater collection tools have always been lacking. At least until the local NGO “Mujeres en Desarrollo para el Progreso de San Luis Morelia” (Women in Development for the Progress of San Luis Morelia), has thought to start building ferrocement tanks, inside which the rainwater collected through channels installed on the roofs of the houses, can be harvested to meet the needs of the communities. In addition to the issue of water scarcity, the indigenous people living in La Montaña region, also have to face the institutional absenteeism. In this area, about 3 hours drive from Tlapa de Comonfort, in the state of Guerrero, some of the citizens founded the “Policia Ciudadana y Popular” (Citizen and Popular Police). Patrolling the roads and monitoring vehicles in transit among the harsh and mountainous landscapes of the area, they try to avoid problems for locals, already afflicted by thefts and assaults on trucks and livestock along the roads. At the same time, they try to carry on the ancestral values ​​of their forefathers, handed down through practices such as self-discipline, taking care of one another and the ancient curanderos techniques. Walking down the same path, these associations are trying to generate and develop hope, so people can believe in themselves, but also in the possibility of a different future.