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Xoco, a town of pre-Hispanic origin, struggles to survive in Mexico City

The town of Xoco, in the south of Mexico City, has a great legacy that goes back to the Teotihuacan era, more than 1,700 years ago, an immersion in history today threatened by urban macro-projects that endanger its appearance.

In Xoco, architectural, ceramic and lithic remains have been found, as well as burials, which indicate the existence of settlements in the area during the Tlamimilolpa and Xolalpan stages of the Teotihuacan culture, which lasted approximately between the 3rd and 6th centuries AD.

Today, the most visible historical legacy of the town is linked to the colonial period, which highlights its intricate urban fabric consisting of winding streets, the San Sebastian Mártir chapel -constructed in the seventeenth century- or its rich traditions.

Among the local celebrations are the patron saint festivities, which take place on January 20 and April 20. These are commemorations that take place in community and during which you can enjoy multiple activities, such as dance.

Various groups centered on this discipline are invited, distinguishing those of “concheros” -of ritual character- or those of the “Moors and Christians” type, who also attend Xoco.

Also, you can enjoy traditional cuisine and a pilgrimage, which for centuries runs through the main streets of the old farmhouse, leaving and arriving at the sanctuary of San Sebastian Martyr, patron of the town.

“Danzantes, musicians and neighbors participate in this pilgrimage, and tables are placed on the doors of the houses, where jicama, fresh water or pulque are given,” says Eva Lara Muñoz, a native of Xoco.

These traditions have allowed Xoco has been declared by the Government of the capital as “original people”, a term that applies to communities whose social and political structure has been maintained for centuries.

This recognition allows the old village of Xoco to possess certain institutions, such as “stewardship”, whose holders -of a rotating nature- are in charge of preparing the festivities.

However, many of these customs “are breaking down, because people are going to other places in Mexico City,” denounces Lara, since “they are cheaper.” Gentrification also affects this “original people”.

In fact, the new urban projects that are developed in the place are what would be forcing “many neighbors to sell and leave, although they leave with a broken soul,” explains Efe Julia Torres Casas, another neighbor.

“But there is no other option, because property taxes have become super high,” he adds.

“They tell us that the surplus value of the land is going up, but to me what does it favor me in? I do not intend to sell,” points out Miguel Miguel Muñoz, president of the neighborhood assembly of the town of Xoco.

Among the measures envisaged in one of these urban developments was the intervention – now paralyzed – on the Calle Real de Mayorazgo, the main access to the town, and which meant ending up with some sixty trees existing on the road.

“We have seen how our town has been transformed due to permits that we believe were not legally granted,” says Galicia Muñoz, who is also an architect.

Remember that those works that are larger than 5,000 square meters are considered “urban impact”, so they require a “contact with neighbors, so we know thoroughly what it is intended to do”.

However, this requirement was not met. “We always find out when they are about to do things,” he says.

“We have a large number of buildings that will continue to impact Xoco, it will be very difficult for us to continue moving freely as we did 30 or 40 years ago,” says the president of the neighborhood assembly.

It is something that, according to the neighbors, can happen due to the increasing demographic pressure and vehicular traffic that is expected if all the projected complexes are built.

Therefore, they request that “not one more building be allowed in the town of Xoco”, at the same time that they demand that “the uses of the land be respected,” says Galicia. (EFE) .-

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