The struggle of the Peoples Front in Defence of Land and Water against the Proyecto Integral Morelos

Published by Brent Patterson on

On February 18, NACLA reported on The Legacy of Samir Flores, One Year Later. That article shares the following story:

Resistance to the Proyecto Integral Morelos (PIM)

At this time last year, the Nahua community of Amilcingo, Morelos was caught in a series of social struggles.

The government was about to implement a regional consultation vote on the Proyecto Integral Morelos (PIM), an energy megaproject involving a thermoelectric plant in nearby Huexca and a gas pipeline that would cross through Amilcingo.

Activists from the town had been particularly vocal in their opposition to the project, as part of the coalition Frente Nacional de Pueblos en Defensa del Territorio y Agua Puebla Morelos Tlaxcala (FPDTA-PMT), a group encompassing land struggles in three states.

Coincidentally, the referendum wouldn’t have voting booths in the town of several thousand. Local activists presumed this was because of Amilcingo’s vocal opposition to the project—and to the referendum itself.

On top of that, the town had spent months fighting for state accreditation of its primary school, which operated without state resources and on a teaching staff of volunteers.

The murder of Samir Flores Soberanes

Samir Flores Soberanes, a local community radio broadcaster and activist, played a central role in both of the fights. Early in the morning February 20, 2019, though—just days before the consultation vote—Flores was shot in the head outside his home.

Despite the widespread regional and national protests sparked by his murder, after the elapse of a year, authorities have yet to release any advances in the investigation of Flores’s death.

Flores was a vocal advocate for Indigenous rights and land protection, a member of the FDPTA and the Indigenous Governance Council (CIG), a Zapatista-affiliated organization of Indigenous groups across Mexico.

Despite suspicions that the murder could have been linked to the upcoming plebiscite, and demands for its cancellation, the vote took place as planned. On the day of the vote, Amilcingo residents burned ballot urns in neighboring towns in protest. The project was approved, with nearly 60 percent voting in favor.

Court injunction against the Morelos pipeline

This past July, though, a judge in Morelos’s 9th District ruled in Amilcingo’s favor on the injunction against the Morelos pipeline, due to the project’s execution having violated the community’s right for a free and informed prior consultation. The gas pipeline project has been suspended, and it won’t pass through Amilcingo.

Rerouting the pipeline

Now, though, the state is courting nearby towns to accept the rerouted pipeline’s passage through their region.

The state has recognized Amilcingo’s elementary school, which Amilcingo human rights defender Samantha César, also a member of the FDPTA, says is now fully operating. Amilcingo renamed the school: Escuela Primaria Samir Flores Soberanes.

Repression against the FPDTA

The human rights network Red de Todos Los Derechos Para Todos y Todas (RTDT) documented 21 murders of human rights defenders in Mexico throughout 2019.

In addition to demanding the cancellation of the PIM, the FPDTA continues to face repression as they fight against the incursion of megaprojects in Puebla, Morelos, and Tlaxcala.

To read the full NACLA article, please click on The Legacy of Samir Flores, One Year Later. You can also read the February 2019 article Indigenous land defender killed in Mexico days before referendum on controversial gas pipeline.


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