PBI-Mexico accompanies Nahua water protector Miguel López Vega as he faces hearing for his defence of the Metlapanapa River

Published by Brent Patterson on

On March 26, Sputnik Digital reporter Jaime López tweeted:

“Representatives of Peace Brigades International indicated that, in the last year, Mexico has become the most dangerous country for environmental defenders. They stressed that they will accompany the actions in favor of Miguel López Vega.”

Urbano explains:

Representatives of Peace Brigades International (PBI) arrived in Puebla to observe the reactivation of the trial against the Nahua defender of the Metlapanapa River, Miguel López Vega.

At a media conference, where the activist appeared accompanied by defenders of land and water in the region of the volcanoes and Cholula, international activists expressed their concern that the Judiciary of Puebla will reopen a case judged three years ago.

They denounced that the prosecution against the activist by the State of Puebla constitutes acts of harassment and repression against citizen protest.

“These reprisals are related to the protest of the right to defend water and to defend the self-determination of peoples and the defense of territory, land and life,” said the representatives of Peace Brigades International.

They also said that Mexico became the most dangerous country for environmental defenders, so they will be present as observers at the hearing to be held next Wednesday, March 29, at 1:30 in the afternoon, at the House of Justice in Cholula, Puebla.

On October 30, 2019, Miguel led a blockade of the road leading to the Hermanos Serdán airport, municipality of Juan C. Bonilla.

Three months after this protest that ended with the intervention of the State Police, the National Guard and the Mexican Army, Miguel was arrested, accused of obstruction of public works, use of explosives and attacks on communication routes; Only the last offence was confirmed, and he was released on 29 January 2020.

El Sol de Puebla also reports:

López Vega, together with national and international civil groups, convened a press conference on Sunday, March 26, to pronounce against this series of legal actions.

Representatives of the Peace Brigades International (PBI) attended the event convened by Puebla activists, and indicated that the international community observes with concern the reactivation of the trial against López Vega.

Specifically, they denounced that the judicialization against the activist, by the State of Puebla, constitutes acts of harassment and repression against citizen protest.

And Angulo 7 adds:

[López Vega] recalled that since 2019, Ciudad Textil and the Water and Sanitation Commission of Puebla (Ceaspue) have been seeking to build a storm drain for the discharges from this industrial corridor, which would flow into the Metlapanapa River, despite the fact that it discharges heavy metals that are “highly polluting”.

In October of that year, there was a confrontation between the inhabitants and the State Police, National Guard and the Army due to their protest.

On 24 January 2020, López Vega was arrested for obstruction of public works by not allowing their construction, damage to roads and means of transport, for allegedly detonating a Molotov cocktail bomb against a vehicle.

For his part, Juan Carlos Flores Solís, one of his lawyers, commented that this new hearing “is illegal”, since the National Code of Criminal Procedures establishes that in the initial hearing it is not necessary for all those involved to be present, since the presence of three people, the Public Prosecutor, the accused and his defence counsel, is sufficient, and the presence of the injured party, which in this case is Ceaspue, is not necessary.

In view of this situation, he said that “there is fear” that the activist could be imprisoned again, which he considered to be an attempt to put pressure on the inhabitants and that the businessmen of this textile zone could conclude with the collector project, given that it has been detained since 2020 due to appeals from the inhabitants of the zone.

For this reason, López Vega, together with the organisations, asked the governor Sergio Salomón Céspedes Peregrina to establish a dialogue with the activists in the region, with the aim of putting an end to the “persecution of the activist” and to ensure that there are no more similar cases.

They also complained that no company or ex-officials are being tried for the contamination of the various tributaries that make up the Alto Atoyac basin, such as the Metlapanapa River, despite the fact that Alfredo Ávila Salazar, of Ceaspue, was denounced before the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office for diverting around one billion pesos that were intended for the clean-up of the river and for being the driving force behind the project.

Finally, they informed that there will be various activities prior to this event, such as a virtual forum on Monday about the activist’s situation, a demonstration on Tuesday at 10am outside the judicial city and a rally at the Casa de Justicia on Wednesday in the context of López Vega’s hearing at half past one in the afternoon.

The three news articles can be read at: Brigadas Internacionales de Paz llegan a Puebla para juicio contra defensor del río Metlapalapa (Pueblo),  Citan a activista Miguel López por delitos “no probados” hace 3 años, acusan (Angulo 7) and Miguel López, activista en defensa del agua, será juzgado nuevamente (El Sol de Puebla).

Past accompaniments of Miguel López Vega.


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