While millions of Mexicans will vote Sunday, in the country’s largest national and local elections, some Indigenous communities have vowed to boycott voting in their territories as a way to protest a political system that excludes them and threatens their interest.
“The politicians haven’t done anything besides enriching themselves, and they’ve left us behind,” said Antonio Arriola, a member of the Indigenous Governing Council.
The Council, self-defined as “the collective word from below and to the left,” was created in December 2016 and consist of over 43 Indigenous Nationalities.
Residents in Michoacan have destroyed campaign signs and set up roadblocks to prevent government officials from delivering ballot boxes. According to electoral authorities, 16 towns in the state of Michoacan are “unviable.”
The municipality of Cheran has blocked political campaigns and the electoral process in two previous elections since 2012, after organizing to expel illegal loggers, the mayor and the chief of police.
Since then, they govern themselves through their customs and the country's Supreme Court has recognized Cheran’s Indigenous form of self-government.
Aranza, Zopoco, Santa Fe de la Laguna, Sevina, Urapicho, San Felipe de Los Herreros, San Benito, Pichataro y Arantepakua are among the other towns that will prevent electoral authorities from entering their territories.
Indigenous communities in the southern Mexican states of Chiapas and Guerrero have also vowed to block electoral authorities and prevent the installation of polling stations.
In May, after their presidential candidate and spokesperson for the National Indigenous Congress (CNI), Maria de Jesus Patricio Martinez or "Marichuy," was disqualified over insufficient signatures, the CNI announced “neither the CIG nor our spokeswoman will look for or accept any alliance with any political party or candidate, nor call for voting or abstention... Whether you vote or not, organize yourselves.”
The CNI is commonly defined as fighting for a self-governed, anti-capitalist society. Despite the disqualification, Marichuy has continued to tour the country to promote the organization.