PBI-Mexico laments the murder of forest and water defender Marco Antonio Arcos who opposed illegal logging in Guerrero
Marco Antonio Arcos Fuentes (second from right to left), during an informative assembly on February 21, with the residents who denounced the immoderate logging by organized crime groups. Photo by La Jornada.
On May 24, the Peace Brigades International-Mexico Project posted: “PBI regrets the murder of Marco Antonio Arcos, Guerrero’s environmental defender. We demand security guarantees for those who defend human and environmental rights.”
La Jornada reports: “The forest defender and curator of Jaleaca de Catalán, municipality of Chilpancingo, Marco Antonio Arcos Fuentes, was killed by an armed group when he was in a food business in the capital, on Friday [May 21] afternoon.”
Forest and water defender Marco Antonio Arcos Fuentes
La Izquierda Diario reports: “His murder follows that in February this year the community began organizing to demand the departure of clandestine groups of loggers in the forests of the area. [Arcos Fuentes] denounced the felling of trees in the village of Chicahuales, as it is creating serious environmental problems, ‘it is leaving us without water’, he said.”
“During a demonstration last February, in the municipality of Chilpancingo, Arcos Fuentes denounced the collusion of authorities with these illegal logging groups, as they allegedly granted permits in a corrupt and immoderate manner.”
That article adds: “At the same time he warned that immoderate logging could cause the Papagayo River to dry out, watering communities in the municipalities of Acapulco and Chilpancingo, among others.”
Animal Politico also notes: “[At that protest in February, Arcos Fuentes] asked the government to declare a ban and financially compensate the ejidatarios [farmers of communal land] of the Chicahuales community – who carry out the felling of pine – because they know that they are people in poverty situation.”
Environmental defenders at risk in Guerrero and Mexico
La Jornada further notes: “Jaleaca villagers held accountable all three levels of government for the killing, ‘because they do not address the allegation that criminal groups steal the timber and the authorities do nothing’.”
Animal Politico adds: “The National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) condemned the homicide and demanded that the law enforcement authorities investigate the events with special attention to their possible relationship with Arcos Fuentes’ human rights defense activity.”
“For this reason, the organization expressed its concern ‘for the absence of coordinated actions and strategies of the instances of the three levels of government, aimed at guaranteeing the life, security and personal integrity of human rights defenders, since said attacks constitute an obstacle and inhibit the full exercise of the defense of rights’.”
That article also notes: “According to the National Human Rights Commission, with this homicide there are 66 defenders killed since 2006 in Mexico. The Network All Rights for Everyone has documented the murder of 45 rights defenders in the first two years of the government of Andrés Manuel López Obrador.”
And Proceso reports: “Raymundo Díaz Taboada, state representative of the Collective Against Torture and Impunity (CCTI) … insisted that violence against human rights defenders in Guerrero and the territory has increased, especially ‘in the areas of dispute of common goods, water, forests, minerals, which have always been in dispute in the state, but before only affected some families and now the assailants leave against indigenous and peasant communities of the entire mountain range.”
PBI-Canada extends our condolences to the family and friends of Marco.