PBI-Mexico accompanies Indigenous Nahua river protector Miguel López Vega at court hearing

Published by Brent Patterson on

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On September 13, the Peace Brigades International-Mexico Project posted: On Friday [September 10] in Puebla we accompanied Miguel López Vega, his defence and members of Pueblos Unidos. We are concerned about the risk that Miguel and other members of the @fpdtampt [Peoples’ Front in Defence of Land and Water] face for their legitimate work in defense of the territory and water.”

Angulo 7 has explained: López Vega, defender of the Metlapanapa River, was arrested after opposing the installation of the storm and sanitary sewer system in the Ciudad Textil Industrial Park, a project that could contaminate the tributary.”

And La Journal de Oriente further reports: “López Vega participated on the eve of his arrest, on January 24, 2020, in resistance actions together with residents of Zacatepec, belonging to the municipality of Juan C. Bonilla, to prevent the progress of the Wastewater Discharge Project of the Textile City from Huejotzingo on the Metlapanapa River. The project would include the installation of Audi and Volkswagen suppliers in that area.”

“It should be remembered that on October 30, 2019, locals of Zacatepec faced stones and sticks against state and municipal police, as well as agents of the National Guard who tried to open [the closure of the Mexico-Puebla highway] through force, to the machinery that would install the drainage pipes.”

That article adds: “In the crash, the neighbors were beaten and gassed by the police who were trying to set up a sit-in they had to prevent the completion of the work, because in August 2019 they held an open session of the Cabildo in which they confirmed their refusal to permit permits for the drainage passage that, they assured, would increase the degree of contamination of the tributary, on which its human consumption and agricultural activities depend.”

Prior to his hearing, López Vega stated: “Every day there are more polluted rivers, more waste of water from businessmen, but we do not know one, a predator, an environmental polluter who is in jail; but yes to environmentalists who defend water, land, life, who suffer unfair judicial processes and fierce judicial persecution. It is a danger to be a defender in this country. Some take their lives, others their freedom.”

Following the court appearance, La Journal de Oriente reported: “The Criminal Orality Court of the House of Justice of Tlaxcalancingo determined that it will review the suspension of the process against the environmentalist and defender of the Metlapanapa River, Miguel López Vega. As a condition, it imposed that the activist continue to sign in the San Miguel prison every Thursday, not change his address and do social service in the High School of the Santa María Zacatepec community.”

That article adds: “The judge summoned a second review of the evidence presented by López Vega’s legal defense, in order to determine the suspension of the case [anticipated to be on October 11 at 9 am].”

With concern, El Ciudadano comments: “Although it is expected that this time the suspension of the criminal process will be granted, the defense did not rule out that the process would continue to be delayed, including the risk that he would be detained again, given the criminalization process and the defamation campaign that exists against indigenous communicators and defenders in the region that now undertakes a new resistance against the dispossession of water in Juan C Bonilla.”

PBI-Mexico began accompanying the Peoples’ Front in Defence of Land and Water (@fpdtampt) in early 2020.

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