State and Water Policy in Mexico: The Confl ict of the Mazahuas Indigenous People
In September 2003, indigenous Mazahuas from Villa de Allende, State of Mexico, suffered flooding on 300 hectares of crops due to the overflowing of the Malacatepec River, stemming from the failure of the Villa Victoria dam in the Cutzamala system. This event led farmers to organize themselves in order to demand compensation for their crop losses from the National Water Commission. The request of the Mazahuas soon developed into a conflict because both federal and state authorities failed to respond promptly to their demands. The centralized manner in which the Mexican State managed water resources revealed the scarcity of water and the structural social inequality and marginalization of the Mazahua communities affected by the Cutzamala system. Moreover, the government was questioned about the management and resolution of the conflict, since the constant mobilization of the Mazahuas for over a year had an important economic and political cost for the various state institutions involved.
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