PBI-Mexico accompanies acquittal of Nahuatl water protector Miguel López Vega criminalized for defending the Metlapanapa River

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PBI-Mexico has posted:

“PBI also accompanies the victory.

We remember this long road and we feel very happy because Miguel López Vega was acquitted of all charges against him, he defeated the criminalization of his legitimate work in defense of the Metlapanapa River and the right of the Nahua peoples to self-determination. 

Miguel, his community and the Indigenous peoples of the state of Puebla are an example of resistance, struggle and dignity. This is a victory for the peoples.”

Video clip: Miguel López Vega speaks after his acquittal.

Defending the Metlapanapa River

La Jornada de Oriente notes: “Miguel López Vega is a representative of the Nahuatl community of Santa María Zacatepec, a popular communicator for Radio Zacatepec, a councillor of the National Indigenous Congress (CNI) and a member of the People’s Front in Defense of Land and Water of Puebla, Morelos and Tlaxcala, which works together with Nahua communities in the United States [of Mexico].”

And it provides the background that: “On 24 January 2020, Miguel López Vega … was arrested by agents of the Puebla State Attorney General’s Office as he left the Government Directorate of the state of Puebla, Mexico. The environmentalist was part of a peaceful protest in Santa María Zacatepec on October 30, 2019, which was met with excessive use of force by state police and the National Guard. On January 29, 2020, López Vega was released, but the People’s Front in Defense of Land and Water of Puebla, Morelos and Tlaxcala, considers him to be the ‘first political prisoner of the Fourth Public Transformation of the Country.’”

The peaceful protest was against the installation of the Wastewater Discharge Project/ a storm and sanitary sewerage system in the Ciudad Textil Industrial Park in Huejotzingo, a project that could contaminate the tributary.

Ojalá has also reported: “Women and elders who had joined a human barricade against the construction were brutally beaten [by Puebla state police and the National Guard who had arrived en masse to their territory to protect the construction site]. The wastewater pipeline was pushed through without transparency—even using false information—despite its many potential risks to the health of the community.”


Puebla News now reports: “Miguel López Vega, an activist from the municipality of Juan Crisóstomo Bonilla, has been acquitted of the three crimes he faced after four years of fighting against industrial discharges into the Metlapanapa River. In a hearing held at the House of Justice in San Andrés Cholula, the judicial authorities informed him that he will be released and will no longer have to sign.”

Another article in La Jornada de Oriente further explains: “Last Friday morning, Miguel López Vega ended four years of criminalization for defending the Metlapanapa River.”

“The Judicial Branch of Puebla had to recognize the innocence of the environmental communicator in the last hearing of the trial that was politically mounted since January 24, 2020, inventing the crimes of obstruction of communication routes, opposition to public works and damage to other people’s property with the use of explosive devices.”

The article adds: “Observers from Peace Brigades International, Amnesty International, Serapaz and the All Rights for All Network were also present at the event following today’s hearing, outside the Cholula House of Justice.”

El Sol de Puebla adds: “In the courtyard of the House of Justice of San Andrés Cholula, he reported that he attended his last hearing, where the judicial authorities informed him that he will stop signing and that he enjoys absolute freedom.”

López Vega says: “I was given four years and 10 days in jail for allegedly setting fire to an official unit and committing other crimes that I did not commit, but now justice is coming and I am still standing. …Until today and after more than four years, we are already totally free, I will stop signing and I will be able to go to other places.”

“The struggle continues”

López Vega adds: “I would like to comment that this is not over because the struggle continues and we have many issues to defend.”

Of particular concern is the existence of a landfill in the Cholula region and the “residual discharges carried out by companies in Ciudad Textil, an area corresponding to the neighboring jurisdiction of Huejotzingo.”

The Peace Brigades International-Mexico Project has accompanied the Peoples’ Front in Defence of Land and Water (@fpdtampt) in early 2020.

Further reading

PBI-Mexico accompanies Indigenous Nahua water defender Miguel López Vega, criminalized for his defence of the Metlapanapa River, at court hearing (April 27, 2023)

PBI-Mexico accompanies Nahua water defender Miguel López Vega at hearing for defending the Metlapanapa River (March 30, 2023)

PBI-Mexico accompanies Nahua water protector Miguel López Vega as he faces hearing for his defence of the Metlapanapa River (March 27, 2023)

PBI-Mexico accompanies Metlapanapa River defender Miguel López Vega at court hearing (September 11, 2021)

PBI-Mexico joins call for the release of Indigenous land and water defender Miguel López Vega (January 28, 2020)

PBI-Mexico tweet.

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