PBI-Mexico accompanied Indigenous Nahua water protector Alejandro Torres Chocolatl arbitrarily detained by state agents
On June 30, PBI-Mexico tweeted:
“URGENT. They have just arrested defender Alejandro Torres Chocolatl, from Zacatepec, Puebla. Member of the FPDTA-MPT, guardians of the Metlapanapa River and Pueblos Unidos. At PBI we call for the State to guarantee their protection immediately.”
Periodico Central further reports:
“Relatives of Alejandro Torres Chocolatl, an indigenous activist of Juan C. Bonilla, reported his arrest on the afternoon of June 30. The indigenous activist led struggles against death projects such as the Morelos Gas Pipeline and water extraction at the Bonafont plant in Zacatepec.
Social associations in Puebla denounced the detention of the indigenous activist Juan C. Bonilla. They accused that it is a form of harassment against movements against the extraction of aquifers in the area. So far, the crime that Alejandro Torres Chocolatl is accused of is unknown.
Alejandro Torres Chocolatl is a member of the People’s Front in Defense of Land and Water – Morelos, Puebla, Tlaxcala (FPDTA-MPT). The FPDTA-MPT is an organization made up of Nahuatl indigenous communities from the states of Morelos, Puebla and Tlaxcala. It has been working for more than 10 years in the defense of its territory.
Since 2020, Peace Brigades International (PBI) accompanies other activists of the Front such as Juan Carlos Flores Solís.”
The Morelos Gas Pipeline and Bonafont bottled water extraction
La Jornada has previously reported: “For 25 years, the Bonafont company has irregularly exploited more than 1,400,000 liters of water daily from the Iztaccíhuatl volcano veins, workers from the French company that belongs to the Danone Group.”
The EU-LAT Network has also explained: “The PIM [Morelos Integral Project] consists of two combined cycle gas thermoelectric plants in Huexca, Morelos; a 160 km gas [Morelos Gas] pipeline that crosses the states of Tlaxcala, Puebla and Morelos; two 12 km aqueducts to transport drinking water and discharge water that will be used by the thermoelectric plant, modifying the composition and flows of the Cuautla River (Morelos); and a 20 km high voltage network.”
And 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].”
Corporate connections in the UK, Europe and Canada
The Spanish company Abengoa built the PIM thermoelectric plant while the Italian company Bonatti constructed the pipeline. The Spanish companies Engas and Elencor and the French company Saint-Gobain have also been involved.
Engas has receiving financing from various banks including the London, UK-based Barclays that also has offices in Toronto and Calgary.
In December 2021, Engas and Elecnor sold the Morelos Gas Pipeline to the Australian global financial services company Macquarie, which also has offices in Toronto, Montreal, Calgary and Vancouver. Macquarie Infrastructure Holdings LLC has also received financing from the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC).
Along with Bonafont, the French transnational Danone’s water brands include Evian which are distributed and sold in Canada by PepsiCo Beverages Canada.
Video: “Moments in which Alejandro Torres Chocólatl is taken irregularly from the Cholula House of Justice, where the Peoples Front is holding a protest.”
Voices in Movement now reports:
“Alejandro Torres Chocolatl was arrested by 4 men in civilian clothing in two private vehicles & taken to a court in nearby San Andres Cholula. Hours later, charges of obstruction & damage to public facilities were dropped. The Mexican State is trying to intimate & criminalize Indigenous activists who are at the forefront of resistance in the defense of land & the environment. As government authorities try to scare activists, we continue to fight for land & water!”
Milenio also reports: “After being presented before a judge, the judicial authority determined that there were no factors necessary to keep Alejandro Torres Chocolatl rooted, so it ordered his release. Given what happened, the activist himself said when leaving, that he would not stop fighting for the care of the Los Volcanes Region, for the environment in the cholulas and that this act was only a sign of oppression, so they will seek to engage in dialogue with the state authorities to avoid political persecution.”
Animal Politico adds: “Torres Chocolatl assured that it was an arbitrary detention that he will denounce to the corresponding authorities, since there was a violation of his rights.”
E-consulta.com further notes:
“Environmental activist Alejandro Torres Chocólatl described his detention by ministerial police as a kidnapping or express kidnapping, who then tried to free him and hand him over to his lawyers under a bridge. The organization Frente de Pueblos en Defensa del Agua y de la Tierra de Morelos, Puebla y Tlaxcala, as well as his lawyers, refused to accept the irregular situation and demanded a meeting with Governor Sergio Salomón Céspedes to clarify the facts, which violate due process.”
We continue to follow this situation.