dorset chiapas solidarity

December 15, 2016

Lawyer for Yaqui Tribe Fighting Mexico’s DAPL Kidnapped

Filed under: Displacement, water — Tags: , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 5:26 pm



Lawyer for Yaqui Tribe Fighting Mexico’s DAPL Kidnapped


abogada-maria-anabela-carlon-flores-jpg_1718483346Human Rights lawyer and legal representative for the Yaqui Tribe, Anabela Carlon Flores | Photo: Radio Popular Enrique Torres


Yaqui tribe lawyer was kidnapped on her way to a community meeting to plan the next steps in their fight against the U.S.-Mexico Agua Prieta pipeline.

On Tuesday a group of masked men kidnapped at gunpoint Anabela Carlon Flores, a lawyer for the Yaqui tribe, who are facing increasingly violent repression in their fight against the cross-border Agua Prieta pipeline in Northern Mexico.

Anabela Carlon Flores told reporters she was driving with her husband to a community meeting in the Yaqui community of Bacum on Tuesday at approximately 7 p.m. when their car was stopped by a group of armed masked men. She and her husband were blindfolded and put in another car where the human rights lawyer was told to “stop fucking around.” She was later dropped on the outskirts of nearby Ciudad Obregon, while the kidnappers held on to her husband, Isabel Lugo Molina, who remains captive. Carlon Flores said she fears for his life.

The incident is the latest in a series of escalating attacks on members of the Yaqui Tribe who are opposing the construction of the Texas-based Sempra Energy pipeline project, which aims to bring natural gas from Arizona to the Mexican state of Sonora, crossing Yaqui territory.

On Oct. 21, a Yaqui encampment set up to block construction was attacked by an armed group of pipeline supporters leaving one killed. Some Yaqui Tribe members from neighbouring communities support the project, but those protesting the project say they are simply acting on behalf of the government and pipeline company. Teodulo Gonzalez, commissioner for the defence of land, water and human rights of the Yaqui tribe, said at the time, “It was a provocation by the state government and the IENova company (the Mexican partner of Sempra Energy) to finish with the defence of the territory.”

In November, with the help of Carlon Flores, the community won a temporary moratorium on pipeline construction, successful arguing that the project, undertaken without full, prior, and informed consent of the Yaqui people, is a violation of Yaqui sovereignty, which is also protected under Mexican law. Despite the moratorium, construction activities reportedly continue.

Despite her kidnapping and fears for the life of her partner, Carlon Flores remained defiant, telling reporters on Wednesday, “I think no company and no public servants are interested in respecting Mexican law. What interests them here is to do business, no matter the rights of Mexicans and even less of Indigenous peoples.”


Posted by Dorset Chiapas Soldarity



November 1, 2016

Mexico Clash Over Pipeline Leaves 1 Dead in Yaqui Community

Filed under: Indigenous — Tags: , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 12:46 pm



Mexico Clash Over Pipeline Leaves 1 Dead in Yaqui Community

Published 22 October 2016


The community of Loma de Bacum opposes the pipeline over safety and environmental concerns.

An Indigenous leader accused “provocateurs” of inciting violence in a Yaqui community in the northern Mexican state of Sonora that is at the heart of a conflict over the construction of a hydrocarbon pipeline that will cross their territory.

Teodulo Gonzalez, commissioner for the defense of land, water and human rights of the Yaqui tribe, said a group of people descended on a site where land defenders have set up a camp to prevent the construction of the pipeline and started a physical confrontation.

The clash reportedly lasted three hours and ultimately left one dead and eight injured. AP reported the man was killed as a result of gunfire.

“It was a provocation by the state government and the IENova company to finish with the defense of the territory,” Gonzalez told Proceso magazine.

State security officials descended on the community but according to witnesses did nothing to contain the violence.

Adolfo Garcia Morales, head of public security in Sonora, said the clash, involving a total of 400 people, was between members of the Yaqui people.

Mario Luna, a spokesman for the Yaquis, told AP that disagreements within the tribe have been ongoing, with some communities refusing to allow the pipeline to cross their territory.

“They have the agreement from the majority of the towns. However, here the decisions are not made by a majority, but rather by consensus,” Luna told AP.

The clash took place in Loma de Bacum, one of the holdout communities, where leaders have opposed the pipeline over safety and environmental concerns.

The concession to build the pipeline was granted by the Mexican government in 2012.

The proposed pipeline, being built by IENova for Mexico’s Federal Electric Commission, is designed to bring natural gas from across the border in Arizona to the Mexican states of Sonora and Sinaloa.




One dead and 8 injured in a fight between residents of Sonora

By: Cristina Gómez Lima, correspondent


 Hermosillo, Sonora. One dead, eight injured and twelve vehicles burned was the result of a confrontation between residents of the Lomas de Bácum and Lomas de Guamúchil communities, who disagree over construction of the Northwest gas pipeline, which is projected to cross territory that the Yaqui tribe inhabits in southern Sonora.

The Secretary of state Public Security, Adolfo García Morales reported that municipal, state and federal agents cordoned off the zone of the confrontations, as well as members of the Secretariat of National Defense, who activated the code red in the southern community of Sonora.

“Armored vehicles entered conflict zone and through loudspeakers they ordered them to put down their weapons, we are going to be very alert in order to avoid new confrontations now that the security bodies are there, as well as the Mexican Army and the Federal Police,” García Morales stated.

For their part, leaders of the Lomas de Bácum Tribe assured that there were two confrontations, one after the arrival of members of the Army; in their numbers they count 7 indigenous Yaquis dead, 30 injured and their governor José Bacaumea and their secretary Martín Valencia disappeared.

The TransCanada Corporation is in charge of the project.


Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Friday, October 21, 2016







October 26, 2016

CNI and EZLN support the Dignified Resistance of the Yaqui Tribe

Filed under: CNI, Zapatistas — Tags: , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 4:22 am



CNI and EZLN support the Dignified Resistance of the Yaqui Tribe




October 2016

To the Yaqui Tribe,

To the peoples and governments of the world,

As the originary peoples who make up the National Indigenous Congress and the Zapatista communities, we send our simple words in solidarity with the Yaqui Tribe, its traditional government, and its troops. We are with you in these difficult moments after the confrontations this past October 21 in Lomas de Bácum.

We condemn the conflict and discord that are planted and promoted in the communities by the bad governments and their overseers, national and international corporations, who want to take control over the gas, water, and minerals of the Yaqui territory. To this end, the powerful sow division as a tool to impose death and destruction in our territories. For them, we are merely a path to more power and more money. As the peoples, nations, and tribes of the National Indigenous Congress and the Zapatista peoples, we salute the Yaqui Tribe’s defense of their territory. We call for unity in the face of a common enemy which aims to take everything that we as peoples have and which makes possible our collective organization, our history, our language, and our life.

In the various geographies of resistance of the originary peoples of this country, the bad governments are using our own people to generate violence among us in order to guarantee their ability to impose extractive projects of death, structural reforms, the destruction of communitarian organization, and terror among those who struggle. For those who struggle, in contrast to the capitalists, the life and future of the people is everything.

We call on national and international civil society, on the originary peoples, on the national and international Sixth, and on the free media to be attentive and demand the respect deserved by the indigenous peoples in their autonomous organization and self-determination.

October 2016

For the Full Reconstitution of Our Peoples

Never Again a Mexico Without Us

National Indigenous Congress

Zapatista Army for National Liberation


October 10, 2015

Yaqui leader Mario Luna is released and declared innocent

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 1:00 pm


Yaqui leader Mario Luna is released and declared innocent


Fernando Jiménez and Mario Luna, representatives of the Yaqui people. Photo @ Benjamín Flores

Fernando Jiménez and Mario Luna, representatives of the Yaqui people. Photo @
Benjamín Flores


On 23 September, Mario Luna Delgado, leader of the Yaqui people, was released from prison no. 2 in Hermosillo, Sonora, after having been imprisoned since 11 September 2014. His release was expedited by the fact that the corresponding judge found no evidence supporting the charges against him: that is, kidnapping and robbery of a vehicle. Mario Luna had led protests and organized roadblocks in the community of Vícam against the extraction of water from the dam system on the Yaqui River, which was to be transferred to the city of Hermosillo. Luna opposes the construction of the Independence Aqueduct.

This release took place 10 days before the departure of Guillermo Padrés Elías as governor of Sonora state, who is to be replaced by a representative of the National Action Party (PAN).

It bears mentioning that Fernando Jiménez, another of the leaders of the Yaqui nation, had been released on 28 August, after a Yaqui committee together with representatives from Amnesty International submitted a petition with 15,000 signatures to the Secretary of Governance demanding the release of the detained and the application of due process in both cases.



September 28, 2015

Indigenous Yaqui Leader Mario Luna Freed From Prison, Vows to Continue Defence of Tribal Water Rights

Filed under: Indigenous, water — Tags: , , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 5:58 am


 Indigenous Yaqui Leader Mario Luna Freed From Prison, Vows to Continue Defence of Tribal Water Rights



Gloria Muñoz Ramírez

La Jornada, 25th September, 2015

Translated by Esther Buddenhagen

Mario Luna, traditional secretary of the indigenous village of Vicam and commissioned by the Yaqui tribe to protect its water, was recently released from the Centre for Social Readaptation [Cereso] Number 2 in Hermosillo, Sonora, the prison in which he was confined for a year and ten days for crimes they could not prove he’d committed. On leaving the prison, he said, “Right now, I urgently need to go to see the community, to involve myself in the work of defending our water, to bring myself up to date on the legal fight, to be with my family,”

Happy, with his two daughters in his arms and surrounded by Yaqui tribal authorities, Mario Luna passed through the prison for the last time on the afternoon of September 23. As he left, he emphasized, “strong, convinced that I should never have trod the floors of the jail, strengthened in my convictions, and bound always to the tribe´s fight against the Independence Aqueduct,”

The aqueduct is the mega-project which has been challenged since the bid for a contract was let and against which the courts granted injunctions that didn’t stop it either. Commissioned by the entire tribe to defend the water of the Yaqui River, Luna gave notice that today, more than ever, he will demand “the expansion of full rights, since now laws are only in writing, and that doesn’t help anything. We have to create a culture in which society in general, as well as the indigenous pueblos, have to demand and to exercise the rights that are theirs.”

Days Behind Bars

In more than a year in prison, Luna learned “the other face of civilization.” This is the face with which they have tried “to deceive us in the name of progress and development,” but which keeps innocents and young people in prison without opportunities.

“What I lived through in the Cereso for all this time leaves me marked forever. I saw how young people between 20 and 25 years old survived, fought, and tried to overcome their limitations inside an adverse society,” he pointed out in a telephone interview.

This last September 11, when he’d been incarcerated for a year, Mario Luna warned in an interview that, “We face even greater plundering of the natural resources of the indigenous pueblos.”

Thus, they have to maintain themselves “alert and united.” The country, he said, “is in convulsions, but there are various fronts armed for the fight” in the face of the exhaustion of the existing political and economic system.

He affirmed that if the government was trying to put down the tribe’s fight against the Independence Aqueduct by imprisoning him, it didn’t work, since the indigenous authorities and the rest of the pueblo continue to defend their water and to demand the territorial integrity of their community.
Viviana Bacasegua and Francisco Delgado accused Luna of illegal deprivation of liberty and theft of a car. There was not then, nor is there now, a valid legal argument since—he pointed out—he didn’t participate in any crime. Within the tribe they applied the internal laws and regulations to someone [Delgado] who said he was Yaqui, and he turned out to be a known political operator of Governor Guillermo Padrés. He insisted that the proceeding had been mishandled and for that reason they couldn’t establish who was responsible. Therefore, he emphasized, he is now free. [Delgado was apprehended by the community after he ran his truck into a demonstration protesting the Aqueduct.]

He followed the news from prison and when he had the chance, he held meetings with tribal authorities. Through them he learned that the Independence Aqueduct continued in operation, the work pushed forward by the PAN government of Guillermo Padres Elías—who is ten days from leaving office—to seize the water of the Yaqui River for themselves and deliver it to the businesses of Hermosillo [Sonora state capital].

The days in prison passed slowly. At times, they were filled with despair. In jail, the forty-four year old social activist and father of a family, recalled “I re-evaluated everything. For a free indigenous person, being in jail is difficult, although we now know that he can succeed.”

In whatever form, he said, “I felt privileged, because they never left me alone.”

Justice Is On the Tribe’s Side

An indefatigable man in defence of water and territory, Luna emphasized that justice is on the side of the tribe. He reaffirmed, “We are going to win,” in spite of the contested aqueduct, “which is already operational, diverting the water from the river towards the industrial zone of Hermosillo. They never gave consideration to connecting it to the domestic network. They did not even construct a water purification plant,” which made it clear, he emphasized, “that the liquid would not be for human consumption, as the government had always said it would be, but for automobile businesses, breweries, and the soft drink industry.”

In the last months of his captivity, the Yaqui leader read “about the history of his people and the most critical stages that are repeated like a vicious circle: how the tribe is divided to make it possible to loot it and to manipulate public opinion against what they call the uncivilized or barbaric.”

Behind bars, Luna dedicated his time to the attention of young people in the detoxification centre which is operated inside the prison. He counselled, supported, and accompanied the prisoners.

“We rescued three generations who succeeded in detoxifying themselves,” he confirmed, proud to have passed his days and nights at their sides, “encouraging comradeship” since, he made clear, “this system has its young people in jails, without schooling, without knowing how to read or write. It is the other face of what they call civilization.”

From the time he entered prison the prisoners and even the attendants welcomed him. They learned through the media that he was an indigenous person who defended water rights and who didn’t have to be there. They lent him clothes and a coat, and they respected him until the end. Today, he insisted, they are all part of his life, together with the community into which he was immediately reintegrated.



September 24, 2015

Mario Luna is free!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 7:02 pm


Mario Luna is free!!




August 30, 2015

Yaqui Leader Fernando Jiménez Released From Prison Vows to Continue Opposition to Independence Aqueduct

Filed under: Indigenous, water — Tags: , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 8:24 am


Yaqui Leader Fernando Jiménez Released From Prison Vows to Continue Opposition to Independence Aqueduct

fernando j

Ulises Gutiérrez Ruelas

La Jornada, 29th August, 2015

Hermosillo, Sonora – On Thursday night, Fernando Jiménez Gutiérrez, one of the Yaqui leaders opposed to the Independence Aqueduct, was released from the Social Rehabilitation Centre (CERESO) one in Hermosillo. Jiménez had been imprisoned almost a year.

Greeted by members of the tribe and his family, Jiménez Gutiérrez said that during his captivity he was Governor Guillermo Padrés Elías’s political prisoner. He said that he will continue fighting for the Yaquis’ right to water and for the release of his compañero Mario Luna Romero, who remains in CERESO.

Jiménez explained: “This is another example of the arrogance of a political leader who didn’t know how to take the reins of this state. Right now we are not complete, because compañero Mario Luna isn’t here. I was his support in activities for defending the water, when we went to the federal courts, so the government already had me on file.”

11887964_949043011821068_6873389259668987496_nJiménez pointed out that law enforcement authorities coming under the state governor accused him of robbery and kidnapping as a result of his participation, together with other members of the Yaqui Tribe, in the roadblocks at the Vícam community against the extraction of water from the Yaqui River, and its transfer 120 kilometres to the Sonora state capital, Hermosillo, via the Independence Aqueduct, built during the PAN administration of Governor Padrés.

Jiménez explained: “They’re not going to be able to put an end to the cry of the Tribe. We were imprisoned for a while, but others remained outside. We [Mario Luna and I] are just a single cog in the struggle. This is going to continue until the rule of law is respected, and the looting of the water is ended.”

The Yaqui Tribe charges that the aqueduct deprives this Yaqui community of the water needed for agricultural use; thus, condemning the southern Sonora region to poverty and unemployment.

Translated by Jane Brundage



August 27, 2015

“Judge’s Decision to Order Release of Yaqui Leader From Prison Must Be Implemented Now” – Human Rights NGOs

Filed under: Indigenous, water — Tags: , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 4:54 pm


“Judge’s Decision to Order Release of Yaqui Leader From Prison Must Be Implemented Now” – Human Rights NGOs


José Antonio Román

La Jornada, 26th August 2015

After learning about a new court decision in favour of Fernando Jiménez Gutiérrez, leader of the Yaqui tribe imprisoned since September 2014 for opposing construction of the Independence Aqueduct in the state of Sonora, several human rights and civil society organizations demanded that the Mexican State refrain from carrying out other delaying tactics and order his immediate release.

The day before, the Second Appellate Court for Criminal and Administrative Matters in Sonora rejected the appeal lodged by the Public Ministry against the indirect amparo won by Jiménez Gutiérrez, in which the Second District Court ordered the Judge to release the leader.

Fernando Jiménez, human rights activist and spiritual leader of the Yaqui tribe, and Mario Luna, who at that time was spokesman and traditional authority of the village of Vícam, are currently imprisoned. Jiménez was arrested on September 23, 2014, and Luna was arrested on September 11, 2014, by the Sonora state government, which charged both men with illegal deprivation of liberty and robbery—crimes they did not commit.

The NGO’s declared: “We call on the Second Appellate Court for Criminal and Administrative Matters in the state of Sonora, the Second State District Court Judge and the Tenth Judge in Criminal Matters to notify and implement expeditiously the decisions granting the release of Jiménez Gutiérrez. We call on the Mexican State to prevent any criminalization of Fernando or any other person or traditional authority who defends the human rights of the Yaqui tribe.”

Translated by Jane Brundage



July 17, 2015

New Arrest Warrant Issued Against Yaqui Leader Mario Luna

Filed under: Indigenous, Political prisoners, water — Tags: , , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 6:11 pm


New Arrest Warrant Issued Against Yaqui Leader Mario Luna

   Fernando Jiménez and Mario Luna, representatives of the Yaqui people.  Photo: Benjamin Flores

Fernando Jiménez and Mario Luna, representatives of the Yaqui people. 
Photo: Benjamin Flores

Hermosillo, Sonora – The Third District Criminal Judge, based in Hermosillo, Manuel Palafox Octavio Ocaña, issued a new warrant of arrest against the Yaqui leader Mario Luna* for the crime of illegal deprivation of liberty. The sentence could be four to ten years in prison.Milton Martínez

Proceso 14th July 2015
On June 29, the Tenth District Judge had upheld the amparo [order of protection, appeal] granted to Luna in February of this year [against the original arrest order] and, within 20 days, he was to have been released after nine months of imprisonment in the Social Rehabilitation Centre No. 2, in Hermosillo.

Luna’s lawyer, Francisco Javier Mejia Cisneros, explained that on Monday he received notification of the new arrest warrant, for the alleged deprivation of liberty of Francisco Delgado Romo. Apart from this, Luna will be exonerated of all responsibility for the theft of a car, for which he also had been charged. Mejia Cisneros said:

“The judge has violated the human rights of Mario Luna because he has not studied the case, and the case has a high political content. However, I am convinced that he will be released from prison sooner or later, as there is no evidence to prove his alleged role in a kidnapping and robbery,” the lawyer said.

Mario Luna and Fernando Jimenez were imprisoned on September 11 and 23, respectively, … by the current state government, headed by PAN member Guillermo Padres.

The two spokesmen for the tribe are considered political prisoners, as they were the most visible faces in the defence of the Yaqui territory and water, after the governor decided to transfer the water belonging to the ethnic group to the Sonoran capital through the Independence Aqueduct, the notable work of the governor at a cost of 4 billion pesos.

Lawyer Mejia Cisneros announced that, in response to the warrant, he will meet this week with the rest of the defence team, as well as with Mario Luna to plan their way forward in this process.

“The options that the defence team will raise will be three: present a new appeal, appeal the detention order or ask the court to enter into the merits of the case … Mario will be informed about it and choose the path along with us,” he concluded.

Translated by Reed Brundage

*MV Note: Luna and Fernando Jiménez, Yaqui tribal spokesmen, were arrested in September 2014 on charges of kidnapping and theft committed on June 8, 2013, against Francisco Delgado Romo, another Yaqui tribe member considered by the tribal leaders to be an agent of the state government. The context was a protest closing the Mexico-Nogales Highway because the state government refused to comply with the judgment of the Supreme Court of Justice, which recognized that if the Independence Aqueduct, carrying water from the Yaqui River to the state capital of Hermosillo, violated their rights to a percentage of water from a dam on the river, it had to be cancelled.

Delgado apparently drove a car into the demonstrators. Under the rights of indigenous people to exercise jurisdiction via traditional uses and customs, the protestors detained Delgado and his car. Delgado went missing in August of 2014. He was found dead on Sept. 8, a few days before Luna and Jiménez were arrested. The orders for their arrests had been issued sixteen months previously, but not executed. 



June 10, 2015

Mexico’s Grassroots Caravans for Water, Land, Work and Life

Filed under: water — Tags: , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 6:01 pm


Mexico’s Grassroots Caravans for Water, Land, Work and Life


By Victor M. Quintana

The three contingents of the Caravan in Defence of Water, of the Land, and of Work and Life converged in Mexico City on May 22. The Yaqui tribe led the caravans, heading out May 11, to traverse the entire country from three routes: northwest, northeast and the south. When they arrived at their destination, their numbers had swelled with hundreds of grassroots activists from many different causes, organizations and locations.

The original demand of the Yaquis sought to defend the water in their dams and their rivers in the face of Sonora Governor Padrés’ Independence Aqueduct project that would drain water from their territory to carry it to the state capital. From there they gathered other regional, sectional and national demands as the caravans made their way through the scarred geography of Mexico.

Water is a pivotal issue that cuts across all regions. In the northwest state of Sonora, the defence of the Yaquis’ water has garnered enormous public sympathy, but there is also the demand to stop the contamination of the Sonora and Vacancia rivers and to repair the damage caused to the environment and to communities.

In Chihuahua, the defence of the Rio Carmen basin and of the submerged aquifers that have existed for thousands of years deep beneath the desert has become a major demand, along with access to potable water for poor families. In a good part of the northeast and the Gulf, citizens are standing up against the use of the sacred liquid to extract gas and petroleum by fracking.

There is also grassroots organization to reject the transfer of the Rio Pánuco for supplying the useless—for the people – aqueduct of Monterrey No. 6, to defend communities and  territories against dams like those of Temacapulín and La Parota, to protect community water sources like those of Tepeaca. On the national level, the Citizens’ Initiative of Water has become the rallying point to confront the Peña administration’s “Korenfeld Law”, which continues in force in spite of the fact that its namesake, former director of the national water commission accused of corruption, is dying politically.

Water has nourished the parched earth so that other protests can sprout. The defence of territory is very important. The Rarámuri stopped the construction at the Creel airport, fought against the hotels’ dumping of sewage into their marvellous ravines, and fought against the invasion of their lands by the Gasoducto El Encino-Topolobampo

The pueblos of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec have succeeded in blocking transnationals that push to install more wind parks to generate electricity. Many communities are resisting a new wave of mining that is more destructive that anything known before, as mining companies have already gained concessions to more than half the national territory.

The caravan also stands for life, this especially because so many activists have fallen in the struggle. Ismael Solorio and his wife Manuelita Solis were murdered in Chihuahua in 2012, and just this past Feb. 28, Alberto Almeida was killed. All three were defenders of the Rio Carmen basin.

It is a caravan for democratic freedoms, and so it also demands the immediate freeing of hundreds of political prisoners and prisoners of conscience throughout the country. Like Mario Luna Romero and Fernando Jiménez of  the Yaqui tribe, Marco Antonio Suástegui Muñoz of the Council of Ejidos and Comunidades in Opposition to La Parota Dam, Nestora Salgado and José Manuel Mireles Valverde of the self-defence units of Guerrero and Michoacán.

Work, the right to decent, paid work, is another causes represented by the caravan. The day workers of San Quintin, the labour union members of SME, the street vendors of Puebla, among others, have joined to represent their own demands and support the others.

All these banners, all these causes on the move with the caravans, show us that in this phase of demented capitalism, the facts have changed dramatically. If before we spoke of the inhabitants of the impoverished suburbs as “the reserve industrial army”, now we speak of the communities and people where businesses practice extraction of water, gas shale, and mining as “the territorial throw-away army”.

This was the term used by people of the Sierra Tarahumara at the reception of the caravan in the city of Chihuahua–for the mining projects and for the drug traffickers, the people of the communities are simply in the way. In the way of the powerful who want to control the territory; in the way of state-organized collusion with crime; in the way of drug traffickers who want to seed, process and transport drugs. In the way of allowing mining or forest companies to completely deplete forests and subsoil.

For these people it is easier to agree and pay the tariffs to the cartels and to the gangs than to convince the communities to let them strip the land.

In recent years, Mexico has seen the grassroots caravans that cross its vast geography multiply. Caravans for peace, for the re-establishment of the country, against hunger, against feminicides, to denounce forced disappearances.

Why? Because we are a centralized country that concentrates both the generation of and the solutions to problems in the capital. Because the caravan is a long journey into the conscience of public opinion. Because the caravan is a necessary act for communication and popular education in a context in which the powerful media block coverage of all the injustices enumerated above. Because to pass through many pueblos and communities is not only to communicate the demands and protests, but also to construct a new and greater solidarity among the dispossessed, the excluded.

The caravans are an important instrument in the construction from below to above, from the periphery to the centre. The great challenge now is to succeed in keeping the caravans traveling along their alternative routes. So that the accumulation of forces, the broadening of the coming together that they achieve, does not disperse or fade away.

Translation: Esther Buddenhagen, Americas Program

Spanish Original:



May 23, 2015

Yaqui Indigenous Tribe Travels for 11 Days to Defend Water

Filed under: Indigenous, water — Tags: , , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 8:36 am


Yaqui Indigenous Tribe Travels for 11 Days to Defend Water

Tomas Rojo, spokesperson of the Yaqui Tribe, denounces the Independence Aqueduct in front of Mexico's Supreme Court. | Photo: Clayton Conn

Tomas Rojo, spokesperson of the Yaqui Tribe, denounces the Independence Aqueduct in front of Mexico’s Supreme Court. | Photo: Clayton Conn

The Yaqui Caravan has travelled the country calling for communities to unite to end the destruction of land, life, water, and air.

The Yaqui indigenous people’s National Caravan for the Defense of Water, Land, Work and Life arrived in Mexico City’s Xochimilco area Thursday night after traveling 11 days to communities across Mexico in order to connect with and bring together different social struggles.

The Caravan will convene a demonstration Friday in Mexico City’s historic Zocalo square to deliver their final message.


“The Xochimilco community, Mexico City, received the different caravans convened by the Yaqui Tribe.”

Addressing a diverse crowd of indigenous peoples, campesinos, human rights defenders, trade unionists, students, and other social organizations in Xochimilco Thursday night, Yaqui Caravan leaders urged Mexican to resist water privatization and the robbing of indigenous peoples natural resources, La Jornada reported.


“We are sad because we have seen many injustices,” the Caravan declared in reference to its cross-country tour. “It is time to struggle all together, the time has come to organize ourselves.”


The call to organize comes after the Caravan heard testimonies from communities fighting against land and resource dispossession that mining and energy companies use divisive strategies to break the resistance of communities in struggle.

“Yaqui Resistance. Defending water defends everyone.”


The Yaqui indigenous tribe in the northern state of Sonora has been struggling for years against the concessions in the Yaqui River, which the indigenous people have relied on for survival for generations. Some 40,000 Yaqui people live in 55 communities in the region.

The caravan calls for an end to all mega-projects, like the Independence Aqueduct, that destroy life, water, land, and air. They also reject neoliberal policy reforms, militarization of the country, and demand a return of the 43 Ayotzinapa students, freedom for political prisoners, and strengthening of food and energy sovereignty.

Earlier this year, Mexico’s Supreme Court ruled in favour of the controversial Independence Aqueduct project, saying water concessions to the state and federal government to pump water from the river were legal.



May 18, 2015

Mexico’s Ordinary People Struggle for Life, Land, Water and Work

Filed under: Indigenous, Mining, water — Tags: , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 6:24 pm


Mexico’s Ordinary People Struggle for Life, Land, Water and Work

Miguel Concha

La Jornada, May 16th,2015

Mexico finds itself immersed within hundreds of disputes over land, native territory, water and shared resources. It is precisely these aforementioned resources that benefit each and every one of us—those of us at present, in addition to generations to come. If we embrace the knowledge of the pueblo [traditional village], we would not only conserve, but would also hold a deep respect for the natural world. At the same time, we would ensure the proper stewardship of our resources, and a full guarantee to others that they would also be able to enjoy them.

However, much to our regret, we know that at present, the agendas of those at the top are in opposition to the maintenance and care of our resources. The conflict also seems to lack the appropriate mechanisms to provide for the State’s effective response to the problems suffered by traditional villages and indigenous communities—the result of the imposition of megaprojects, the dispossession of shared natural resources, and the violation of rights as indigenous peoples or campesinos.

We have also witnessed the struggle against the lack of consultation [under Mexican and international law, indigenous communities must be consulted about any development project affecting their territory] and their participation in development plans, road infrastructure, or legal reforms that invalidate and ignore forms of organization and management of resources typical to indigenous communities and traditional villages—not only in rural areas, but also in metropolitan and urban areas.

It is an unprecedented crisis in the history of mankind, and this war against the pueblos goes beyond life, dignity and true democracy. As so eloquently written by Don Pablo González Casanova in his paper presented at the seminar, Critical Thought against the Capitalist Hydra, organized by the EZLN:

“Those at the top put all of their attention into the resources that the war brings to them and none to the suffering they cause. They are effective and efficient presidents, managers, governments, and commanders—who maximize their power and reap the benefits—whether through indirect and unclear ways, or through wars and open measures that they put into play daily, which Harvey called the economy of dispossession.

It is, in fact, an economy of plunder, open and concealed, formal and informal, direct or by sub-planting, with formal armies or duly trained, sadistic criminal bands. All of this is at the conscious or unconscious service of networks and corporations that take billions and billions of dollars from the poor and the Earth’s resources (La Jornada, 9/5/15).

11138145_1449219808704763_2476360292965428636_nIt is precisely against these managers and commanders at the top that the pueblos respond and organize. They mobilize to prevent them from gaining access, and they resist the attempt to convert their resources into spoils of war. In recent weeks, we have witnessed two revelatory experiences of these movements coming from below: The Caravan of the Fire of Dignified Resistance and The National Caravan for the Defence of Water, Land, Work and Life.

The first was held from April 29 to May 15 and through it, indigenous peoples, traditional peasant farmers, social organizations, independent systems for drinking water, and student collectives are strengthening their struggles. They denounce the imposition of a political and economic project that violates the dignity and identity of organizational forms of the indigenous communities and traditional villages.

11174715_979110498775197_6051646316108744441_oRepresentatives from the pueblos of Atenco, Coyotepec, San Francisco Magú, Tecamac, San Francisco Xochicuautla and San Lorenzo Huitzizilapan, among others, gave life to a revitalized social movement in the State of Mexico and its nearby regions, whose aim is the defence of their human rights, the creation of alternatives, and the recovery and conservation of their history, culture, and collective organization. It is in this very state of the Republic, so plagued by the scourge of the heavy hand of regimes and their violation of human rights, where fire, energy and passion for justice is embodied within alternatives and resistances that come into being one step at a time. [MV Note: the PRI, the Party of the Institutional Revolution, has held control of the state since the 1920s. Peña Nieto was governor 2005-2011]

11233157_1591814717764492_1411579587_o-300x232The second caravan is headed by the Yaqui tribe [of Sonora]. It began on May 11 and is due to arrive in Mexico City on May 22. They come from Vicam, Sonora, from Pijijiapan, Chiapas, and others from Piedras Negras, Coahuila. In 11 days, the group will pass through 23 Mexican states, and visit nearly 75 cities and towns. It provides an opportunity for people from traditional villages and indigenous communities that are part of the resistance to exchange thoughts, share experiences, and strengthen their partnerships to address the war that has been declared against them.

Interestingly, both caravans—one touring the cities and towns of Mexico, and the other arriving from the north and south to Mexico City—have denounced the widespread dispossession suffered more each day throughout our land. They highlight the imposition of water transfers through the creation of aqueducts, toxic mining, risks associated with fracking, dams, wind farms, pipelines and power stations, as well as deforestation, rampant urbanization, the construction of highways, and the privatization of energy [oil, gas and electricity] and water systems.

11251159_889723621069331_1994182215851632178_nParticipants also bear witness to industrial and agrochemical pollution, and to the control and destruction of our indigenous seeds [via GMOs] and the overexploitation of our workers. Both examples of struggles have arrived at a sense of understanding in their shared pain. They know that the land and water war is already upon us, and yet, you have to recognize that the pueblos are mobilizing despite the fact that the situation that surrounds them is quite bleak.

The way in which vigour has been strengthened from below in order to make possible a more dignified and just world is almost prodigious. New times are coming. After the tempestuous war, there will come, without a doubt, a time of justice and dignity. Traditional pueblos and indigenous communities are making sure of this. Will we all join in this struggle? Could it be possible? The answer will be given in resistance against those who intend to take ownership of our shared resources.

Translated by: Laura Turner



May 17, 2015

Caravan from Yaqui Nation in defence of water arrives in San Cristóbal

Filed under: caravan, water — Tags: — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 3:56 pm


Caravan from Yaqui Nation in defence of water arrives in San Cristóbal


 On 12 May the National Caravan for the Defence of Water, Land, Work, and Life arrived in San Cristóbal de las Casas Chiapas, having been organized by the Yaqui people of Sonora, Mexico.  Via three different routes (northern, north-western, and southern), Yaqui have been touring the country to raise awareness about their struggle against megaprojects.

About 50 members of the Southern Caravan marched in San Cristóbal de las Casas, together with constituent members of other social processes in favour of the right to water, neighbours from Cuxtitali, defenders of wetlands, and female members of the Movement in Defence of Land and Territory, which struggles for the participation of women and their recognition within decision-making processes, among other goals.

It should be stressed that the indigenous Yaqui people, who have for 3 centuries striven to defend their autonomy, territory, and right to water, have two of its members politically imprisoned: Mario Luna and Fernando Jiménez, both of whom are charged with kidnapping and robbery during the protests against the Independence Aqueduct, which transfers water from the Yaqui River to Hermosillo.  This outcome was based on the violation of the indigenous peoples’ right to prior consultation.

The three routes of the caravan will continue their paths toward the Mexican capital, where they plan to arrive on 22 May in a joint concluding action.



May 13, 2015

Mexico’s Yaqui People Launch Defence of Water and Territory

Filed under: Indigenous, water — Tags: , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 4:56 pm


Mexico’s Yaqui People Launch Defence of Water and Territory

Reina Lourdes, Yaqui activist, affirms the defence of water is the defence of the Yaqui's existence | Photo: Clayton Conn / teleSUR

Reina Lourdes, Yaqui activist, affirms the defence of water is the defence of the Yaqui’s existence | Photo: Clayton Conn / teleSUR

Dozens of social organizations, unions and indigenous groups are backing the defence of Mexico’s natural resources and indigenous peoples’ rights.

The Yaqui indigenous people launched three simultaneous routes this week as part of a National Caravan for the Defence of Water, Land, Work and Life.

The convoy aims to reach the historic Zocalo square in Mexico City on May 22nd.

It will travel through 23 states of Mexico with the goal of bridging different social struggles into a so-called “National Process”.

Specifically the caravan seeks the cancellation of all mega-projects that affect life, water, land and air; the cancellation of recently approved neoliberal structural reforms; an end to the militarization of the country; the presentation alive of the 43 disappeared Ayotzinapa students; the recuperation of food and energy sovereignty; and the freedom of political prisoners.

Caravan participants also underscored the need to maintain an active struggle against the so-called General Water Law that federal lawmakers postponed in March after widespread public outcry denounced it as an attempt to privatize the administration and distribution of the resource.

“With this reform, water won’t be available to anyone, because they increasingly seek to privatize it, over exploiting groundwater and aquifers, and what is left is not even water, it is something highly contaminated,” said caravan participant, Laura Gutierrez of the rights group, Water for All, Water for Life.

For five years the Yaqui people have experienced head-on the effects of such public policy.

In 2010, the Sonora State government approved the Independence Aqueduct project.

The 172 km long mega project transports more than 60 million cubic metres of water per year from the Novillo dam, which is fed by the Yaqui river, to supply the growing urban complexes of Hermosillo, and to supply the large agro-industry in the region.

The project was proposed and initiated by the current Sonora governor, Guillermo Padres, of the centre right National Action Party (PAN). The project openly violates a 1940 presidential decree by then president Lazaro Cardenas, which guarantees that at least 50 percent of the water from the Yaqui River is for the Yaqui people.

The project was initiated violating the indigenous people’s right to an open and free prior consultation. In 2011, the Environment Secretary (SEMARNAT) approved the Environmental Impact Statement and granted permission to begin the project, which also included the use of 50 million cubic meters of water for construction.

Since the start of the project, the Yaqui people have maintained stiff resistance, utilizing protests, roadblocks, and legal injunctions to fight against the aqueduct that they argue is an attack “on our entire identity.”

Sonora State authorities have responded by incarcerating two of the people’s most visible spokesmen, Mario Luna and Fernando Jimenez, both who have received federal court rulings for their freedom.

Although in 2013 Mexico’s Supreme Court ruled against the construction of the project, Sonora State authorities have not responded by dismantling or stopping the pipeline.

This content was originally published by teleSUR at the following address:



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