PBI-Mexico renews accompaniment agreement with the Peoples’ Front in Defence of Land and Water

Published by Brent Patterson on

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On August 16, PBI-Mexico tweeted:

“Last week PBI extended its agreement with the @fpdtampt [the Peoples’ Front in Defence of Land and Water – Morelos, Puebla and Tlaxcala] for another three years. This accompaniment allows us to make visible the serious risks faced by #human rights defenders who are members of the movement and contribute to the opening of safe spaces for action.”

PBI-Mexico further notes:

“The @fpdtampt has been working for more than 10 years in defense of the #land, #territory and the self-determination of #Indigenous peoples, against extractivist projects, for which they have been threatened, attacked, harassed, criminalized and murdered.

We recognize the importance of the work in defense of land and territory and reiterate the duty of the State to comply with international obligations and protect defenders of #human rights in their work.”

Nahua land defender and Peoples’ Front member Miryam Vargas Teutle: “We’re here to show that Indigenous peoples still exist and are still resisting colonialism.”

 Peoples’ Front members Liliana Velázquez and Samantha Cesar have commented: “[Extractivism] is a policy of death aimed at destroying the lungs of the world. As we know, the most important forests are located on indigenous territories. Hence the offensive against indigenous people.”

The Morelos Integral Project (PIM)

The PIM megaproject consists of the 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 FPDTA-MPT has also stated: “[Mexican president] Lopez Obrador [support for the PIM] betrays the peasant and the promise of change of his government, to favour transnational corporations [including] Canadian miners like Alamos Gold.”

Toronto-based Alamos Gold has reactivated work on their Esperanza open-pit gold mine near the community of Tetlama (60 kilometres west of Huexca). Their statement suggests that this mine could draw energy from the plant.

PIM and the right to water

Latino Rebels has reported: “To cool the turbines at the plant, the adjoining aqueduct must draw 50 million liters of water daily from the Cuautla River, despite a statement by the state-owned electricity utility the Federal Electricity Commission that said that the plant would only draw from treated sewage [water].”

That article adds: “The river sustains 32 ejidos, or communal agriculture lands. Many of the ejidatarios —who collectively regulate use of increasingly scarce water supplies for irrigation through the Cuautla River Users Association (ASURCO)— warn that the project will deplete remaining supplies and return to the river contaminated water.”

PBI accompaniment

PBI-Mexico began to accompany the Peoples’ Front in 2020.

Náhuatl land defender and Peoples’ Front member Samir Flores Soberanes (second from the right) was murdered in February 2019 for his opposition to the PIM megaproject.

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