Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has signed a decree that sets up a Justice Commission for the Yaqui People, seeking to solve land, water and infrastructure problems of the group. The decree, signed on Thursday, focuses on the central themes of “[t]erritory, water, justice and well-being for the Yaqui people.”
The Yaqui have long been persecuted, experiencing massacres, slavery and land theft throughout their history. López Obrador said that the Yaqui are Mexico’s most persecuted indigenous group, stating on Thursday: “All the original inhabitants suffered robbery, but no people suffered as much as the Yaqui.”
More recently, in 2010 the Sonora government built a major water pipeline across Yaqui territory without properly consulting the Yaquis. On Friday López Obrador also said that he had agreed to modify the route of the planned Guaymas-El Oro gas pipeline that was supposed to run through Yaqui territory.
The commission created on Thursday will be made up of various department heads and will be chaired by the federal executive head. It will focus on territorial and water issues, as well as on basic health, education, housing and public space improvement. The commission will work to solve longstanding land, water and infrastructure issues. It will provide housing, schools and medical facilities to the Yaqui community. The plan also includes support for agricultural, livestock and fishing production.
On creating the commission, López Obrador said, “[W]e are not going to betray you, we are not going to fail you, we are going to fulfill all your commitments; and it is not only for you, it is historical justice, it is doing justice to the people.”