Extractivismo: Oaxaca

Extractivismo: Oaxaca

A series of dispatches from the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, documenting the social, political, and environmental impacts of Transistmico, a planned interoceanic railway corridor to rival the Panama Canal.

In September 2018, Mexican President Lopez Obrador announced plans to develop an interoceanic railway corridor (Transistmico) that will span the Isthmus of Tehuantepec and link shipping ports on the Gulf and Pacific coasts. The project is being touted as a historic investment in the future of Mexico, one capable of modernizing the country and revitalizing the stagnant economy. In fact, it is a collection of projects that will include the development of wind energy, opening mining concessions to foreign interests, the construction of oil and natural gas pipelines across the isthmus and updating harbors to international standards. A large swath of Oaxaca and Veracruz will be designated as a “special economic zone” in an effort to attract foreign investment to the overland trade corridor and eventually replace the Panama Canal as the “most important passage in the world for international cargo.”

Extracitivismo: Oaxaca is a series of dispatches from the Isthmus of Tehuantepec that document the social, economic and environmental impacts of the Transistmico projects on communities in Oaxaca. The project explores the political dynamics of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec through the perspectives of indigenous activists, academics and artists who are allied in a broader struggle for self-determination and a voice in Oaxaca’s future.


Harbour Blues, Salina Cruz
7 min Read Now

Harbour Blues, Salina Cruz

Rafael Mayoral recalls spending the idylls of his youth in Salina Cruz and the three development projects that ultimately devastated the gritty port city and left fallow farmlands, water shortages, and urban poverty in their wake.

Confessions of a Looted Soul
12 min Read Now

Confessions of a Looted Soul

Victor Terán has long used poetry to preserve Zapotec language, but as wind farms envelop his hometown of Juchitán, his words have become weapons of resistance to post-colonial development that threatens the future of Zapotec culture.

Guardians of the Wind Farms
9 min Read Now

Guardians of the Wind Farms

A Zapotec activist from Juchitán, Oaxaca is organizing an indigenous resistance movement to combat violent land appropriation for wind farms and extractive development projects while facing threats to his life.

Isthmus at the Crossroads
6 min Read Now

Isthmus at the Crossroads

The grisly murders of 15 Iko’ots activists in July 2020 created a wave of backlash that pitted community leaders against one another and threatens to undermine communal governance structures among one of Mexico’s most unintegrated Indigenous groups.

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