PBI-Mexico expresses concern about the criminalization of ten water defenders opposed to the Morelos Integral Project
PBI-Mexico accompanied the People’s Front in Defence of Land and Water at a march against the PIM on November 28, 2020.
On February 26, the Peace Brigades International-Mexico Project posted on its Facebook page: “We express concern about criminalizing human rights defender in the context of extraction of natural resources and mega projects.”
La Jornada reports: “The president of the Association of Users of the Cuautla River (ASURCO), Rogelio Plascencia Barreto denounced to the Attorney General’s Office (FGE) alleged ‘threats’ by 10 opponents of the Morelos Integral Project (PIM).”
The article adds: “The complaint filed by the president of ASURCO against the 10 water defenders in Morelos was interpreted by [lawyer Juan Carlos Flores] as ‘a practice of criminalization’ against opponents of the operation of the thermoelectric plant that is in [the town of] Huexca [in the state of Morelos].”
Those named are: Jorge Zapata González, Mara Aragón Franco, Teresa Castellano Ruíz, Juan Carlos Flores Solís, Hugo Lázaro Pérez, Antonia Nava Martínez, Aida Galicia Aguilar, Vicente Domínguez Campos, Sergio Ortíz Fernández, and Mario Servín Ortíz.
This comes just days after the People’s Front in Defence of the Land and Water of Morelos, Puebla and Tlaxcala (FPDTA-MPT) commemorated the second anniversary of the killing of Indigenous Náhuatl land and water defender Samir Flores Soberanes.
The 30-year-old opponent of the PIM was shot to death on February 20, 2019.
The PIM megaproject consists of a 171-kilometre gas pipeline across the states of Tlaxcala, Puebla and Morelos; a gas-fuelled thermoelectric plant in the town of Huexca, Morelos; and a 12-kilometre aqueduct to divert water from the Cuautla River near Huexca to cool the turbines at the thermoelectric plant.
The megaproject being built by Italian and Spanish companies (including Seville, Spain-based Abengoa) could be operational by the end of this year.
Some have asked that the thermoelectric plant be converted into a solar panel factory.
The FPDTA-MPT has stated: “Lopez Obrador [supporting the PIM] betrays the peasant and the promise of change of his government, to favour transnational corporations [including] Canadian miners like Alamos Gold, among others.”
Last year, Toronto-based Alamos Gold reactivated work on their Esperanza open-pit gold mine near the community of Tetlama (about 60 kilometres due west of Huexca). Mines can be energy-intensive and could use electricity generated by the plant.
PBI-Mexico began to accompany the FPDTA-MPT in early 2020.