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LDPI Working Paper 48: The political value of land, remittances and a possible case of land grabbing - The case of an indigenous village in Oaxaca, Mexico

by Iván Sandoval Cervantes in 2013
LDPI Working Paper 48

This paper explores the ways in which transantional capital is reshaping land politics in the Zapotec Indigenous community of Zegache, Oaxaca. Oaxaca is a predominantly rural state in southern Mexico, characterised by land conflicts and a high rate of migration. Zegache, in the Zimatlán Valley, is not a stranger to these phenomena; its economy depends on remittances and nonindustrialized agriculture, and land is still a central element in local political conflicts. Zegache‘s inhabitants are divided between comuneros (those who defend communal land) and propietarios (who are in favor of private property), and this division informs the political struggles not only in Oaxaca but also in the immigrant community of Zegacheños living in Oregon, US. The paper explores how transnational capital reinforces the continuation of traditional subsistence agriculture while also promoting increased political conflict that is directly connected to local politics, social relationships, and land ownership.