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Peru: Water Crisis, Extractivism, and Food Insecurity

Coverphoto: Red de Comunicación Regional

Half of the Peruvian population is at risk of food shortage; a situation worsened by the water crisis caused by El Niño. This year, draught has caused the loss of thousands of hectares of crops, also affecting water supplies. As a consequence, the government declared a state of emergency in September in 544 districts, pertaining to 14 regions.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, 50% of the inhabitants of Peru are experiencing food insecurity; one of the highest rates in Latin America. In 2022, the country recorded the highest number in South America, with 16.6 million people lacking nutritious food.

In this context, in recent months, the prices of certain staple products have increased by levels not seen in the last two decades. This is due to the strong rains and flooding in the coastal zones. For example, the price of limes increased by up to 500%. Climate volatility is also affecting labor activities. There are 8.5 million people at risk of not being able to carry out their economic activities due to the water deficit, warns the Sociedad de Comercio Exterior del Peru.

The delay in the seasonal rains in the Andes and Altiplano, which didn’t fall until the month of September, has caused havoc. In Puno, the region hardest bit by the draught, nearly 17,000 hectares of crops were lost. According to the Encuesta Nacional de Siembras, 9,000 hectares of Quinoa were also lost, which represents one fourth of the expected total amount of production. Of potatoes, a staple food in many parts of the country, 5,000 of the 60,000 hectares being cultivated were lost. Alpaca breeding for textiles and livestock are other sectors that have been affected by the draught in the southern Andean region.

Draught in Peru. Photo: Agencia Andina

“The period between 2022-2023 was critical. The rains didn’t come on time, and agricultural production was affected. We were forewarned about the situation; they are cyclical. Now the rains have arrived and according to our observations, they will only last for a short duration. This third harvest, at the end of November, will be better. The communities have techniques of water collection that the state doesn’t care to pay attention to. They believe that Western technology will resolve everything. The Ministry of Agriculture should consider our observations and techniques. There are catchment areas for water storage during draughts,” explained Rubén Apaza Añamuro, the spokesperson for the Consejo de Autoridades Originarias, Mallkus, Jilacatas y Mama Tallas de Puno, to Avispa Midia.

An undeniable effect of climate change in the Altiplano is the decreasing water levels in the emblematic Lake Titicaca. This year, the lake dropped by 80 centimeters due to high temperatures during the day, according to the National Meteorology and Hydrology Service of Peru. According to specialists, among the social implications of the decrease in water levels is the potential migratory exodus of the population of Puno.

Extractivist Industries Use Excessive Water and Pollute Headwater Basins

Water use in Peru is monopolized by agroindustry. The National Water Authority of Peru states that this sector uses 87.7% of the liquid, while 9.9% is destined for the population. The mining industry uses 1.5%, yet its impact is amplified due to the damage caused to the headwater basins. In Peru, 38% of extractivist projects are located in Indigenous and campesino territories, and 56% are in areas more than 3000 meters above sea level, where the rivers are born.

“Agroindustry is concentrated on the north coast, and mining activities are principally in the Andes. They attack the watersheds. The state doesn’t care if they contaminate the grass for livestock production. The rivers look yellowish due to the oxide residues, and this is then transmitted to the pastures, then to the dairy products. In consequence, this affects the entire country. As communities, we emphasize that we must specifically avoid the contamination of the headwater basins,” added Apaza, Indigenous authority of the Puno Province of Huancané.

In September, the Special Rapporteur on the Human Right to Safe Drinking Water and Sanitation, Pedro Arrojo, stressed that the destruction of aquifers, wetlands, and rainforests is principally due to mining. The report signals that the consequences are devastating: 31% of the population of Peru (more than 10 million people, 84% of which are minors), face daily risks of contamination from heavy metals and other toxins.

As a conservation alternative, the Sociedad Peruana de Alpacas Registradas proposed the creation of an autonomous organization to protect the Andean and Altiplano wetlands. “We want to emphasize that these wetlands are the source of small rivers that eventually connect to large rivers that flow into Lake Titicaca,” says a representative of the organization. According to the National Institute for Research on Glaciers and Mountain Ecosystems, Puno, Cusco, and Arequipa are home to more than 50% of Peru’s wetlands,

With the lack of rain and the drilling of wells for mining, these types of high Andean wetlands have been drying up, which adds to the increasingly frequent draughts and the decrease in water supplies.

Photo: Red de Comunicación Regional

“There are experiences to prevent ecocides. There are countries that have been devastated. This system of production isn’t interested in people, in living beings. We are acting from Mother Earth to insure our activities. We openly confront the neoliberal extractivist model that considers natural resources to be means to enrich oneself. We consider nature and Mother Earth to be alive. The elites promote genetically modified seeds, but they do not think about coexistence. As Indigenous authorities, as Indigenous and campesino peoples, we are insuring that our ways of life and production are in harmony,” said Apaza.

In recent weeks the situation has forced the rationing of water distribution in more than half of the 25 regions, among them in Lima. Ten percent of Peruvians do not have access to drinking water and are forced to pay a higher price. One fourth of the 25 departments of the country are receiving less than 12 hours of water service daily.

In this context of water scarcity and climate crisis, there are government voices suggesting the privatization of water in Lima. For the Ministry of Housing, Hania Pérez de Cuéllar, it is necessary to “analyze whether restructuring or privatization is better.”

The private management of water failed in the only region where it has been applied, in Tumbes, which now has the lowest access indicator, with only seven daily hours. Now, the water supply in the capital, Lima, the second largest desert city in the world, as well as throughout Peru, is being included in the privatization debate, opened up by groups of power aligned with the Dina Boluarte regime.

Indigenous Radios Resist Political Party Propaganda

In the memory of the people, knowledge of plants, water, and mountains, of how to be a community and what it means to serve the community, is safeguarded and maintained. Generation after generation, in a ritualistic way, this knowledge is passed down through spoken word. In the heart of the Sierra mountains of the Mexican state of Puebla, Masewal and Tutunaku peoples decided to expand and preserve the power of the spoken word through an Indigenous radio, Radio Tosepan Limakxtum.

In 2010, the founders of the radio were debating the best way not of starting the radio, but of defending it. “We discussed how seeking a concession meant accepting the programmatic guidelines of the Federal Electoral Institute (IFE). Not having a concession meant running the risk of being classified as a clandestine or pirate radio,” explains Bonifacio Iturbide Palomo, a collaborator of the radio.

The decision had to be made by the maximum authority in the community, the assembly. There it was decided to support the initiative. Through collective work (known as faena) and economic donations, without permission from the state, they built the radio cabin and bought the necessary equipment. They also received training. “It was not until September 2011 that we launched our first broadcast. Our main topics were how to care for mother earth, the importance of our Indigenous language, traditional medicine, and identity. We focused on community harmony and its importance for us as Indigenous peoples,” explains a collaborator of Radio Tosepan to Avispa Midia.

In 2013, the Mexican government implemented a telecommunications and radio broadcasting reform which ordered the legal recognition of community and Indigenous radios through concessions. As of today, there are 140 community radios with concessions, 18 of them registered as Indigenous radios, according to data from the United Nations.

The reform didn’t come out of nowhere, but rather derived from the necessity to concretize what had been stipulated in the San Andrés Accords; agreements reached in dialogues between the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) and the Federal Government. Among other things, these accords influenced Fraction VI of Article 2 in the Mexican Constitution:

“Extend the communication infrastructure, enabling integration of communities to the rest of the country, but constructing and expanding transportation routes and telecommunication means. Also, authorities are obliged to develop the conditions required so that indigenous peoples and communities may acquire, operate and manage media, in accordance with the law.”

However, this law imposed certain restrictions and obligations on Indigenous radios, like the broadcasting of political party spots and propaganda of the National Electoral Institute (INE). “We are opposed to broadcasting these messages because they are contrary to our forms of organizing and making decisions. Our system is made up of different community positions, and is not a system of groups like political parties that divide us,” adds Iturbide.

Erick Huerta, an advisor to Radio Tosepan and lawyer for the Network of Diversity, Equity, and Sustainability, AC, explains that the main objective of Indigenous media is to strengthen the autonomy, culture, and identity of Indigenous peoples. “It is contrary to those objectives that Indigenous peoples are forced to broadcast political party advertisements. Imagine the EZLN, negotiating the San Andrés Accords, accepting the possibility to have their own radios, but having to broadcast political party propaganda,” the lawyer suggests.

“This imposition affects the autonomy of Indigenous peoples. Furthermore, it is contrary to the form in which authority is exercised in the communities. It is not organized around different groups or factions, but rather is based in mutual aid, work, and service to the community,” Huerta tells Avispa Midia.

Iturbide, a collaborator of Radio Tosepan, explains that in Masewal territory in the Sierra mountains of the state of Puebla, they have prohibited political party interference, “but recently we are seeing that their influence is present.” More and more we are seeing groups of people who want to control positions in the community, and that is not how things work. Here we have our own system, and it is not for personal interests, but for the entire community. If we permit this, the community fabric will begin to unravel,” he says.

Radio Tosepan is currently registered as an Indigenous radio and has appealed on several occasions to the Federal Electoral Tribunal in Mexico City to revoke the legal ruling made on February 27, which says “that this Indigenous radio is obligated to include in their programming political party spots.”

“So far we have not broadcasted any of these messages,” says Iturbide.

On July 5, with two votes in favor of the radio and four against it in the Electoral Tribunal, the request was denied to the community. According to the court, “No right is violated by broadcasting political party propaganda…it does not violate the customs and traditions or the internal normative systems.” The Magistrate Mónica Aralí Soto Fregoso added, “On the contrary, it is the people’s right to information.”

These communities have not let down their guard. “Before taking the case to international courts, we want to exhaust all resources in the country,” said the lawyer Huerta.

For this reason, on October 11, the president of the Auxiliary Council of the Nahua community of San Bernardino Tlaxcalancingo, Rogelio Xinto Coyol, as an Indigenous authority, filed a lawsuit to protect the collective political-electoral rights in his community, against the different acts of the INE. The lawsuit was directed specifically at the General Agreement INEC/CG445/2023, which modifies the telecommunications law and reaffirms the order to broadcast electoral propaganda.

The radios in Tlaxcalancingo and Tosepan are the only 2 radios considered for “social Indigenous use” in this region. There are 2 other community radios, 6 social radios, 12 public use radios, and 50 commercial concessions.

They point out that with at least 70 radio concessions in the state, “it is disproportionate and incomparable to consider that not broadcasting the political party messages (spots) is violating the right to information and to be informed, when the radio spectrum is 97% saturated with these messages.”

In the lawsuit, the community argues that the law “violates our collective rights to strengthen, promote, protect, and make known our own form of organization and our normative systems, as a Nahua community that has managed their own media.”

In addition, the community considers the law to be “discriminatory and racist.” Therefore, they are adhering to their self-determination and autonomy as Indigenous people, making the decision not to broadcast the propaganda. This case was again assigned to Magistrate Soto Fregoso.

In a communique released by Radio Tosepan, Radio Cholollan, and the Network of Diversity, Equity, and Sustainability, they say that the Nahua community has the authority “because the acts notoriously violate the right to autonomy of the community and their right to have their own media. Furthermore, these legal decisions were made without consultations that were previous, free, informed, and culturally adequate to Indigenous communities.”

On October 18, through the auxiliary president of the locality of Yohualichan in the municipality of Cuetzalan del Progreso, Puebla, another lawsuit was filed on behalf of the citizenry arguing that the Masewal community has the right to manage their own media according to the logic of autonomy.

“We are not going to broadcast propaganda of any political party, we are going to resort to other legal resources. Because we are defending our autonomy as organized communities,” adds Iturbide.

The lawyer Huerta assures that, if this legal battle is won, it will benefit all Indigenous and community radios in the country. “The instruction would be to the INE, annulling this obligation or broadcasting political party messages. In the meantime, these radios resort to civil disobedience because their defense is legitimate. They are not broadcasting any type of electoral publicity,” he concludes.

Agroindustry Causes Widespread Deforestation and Violence in Latin America

Representatives of organizations from Africa, India, and Latin America gathered in Bogota, Colombia, to discuss the impacts of agroindustry in ancestral territories, along with the importance of food sovereignty. The international forum was called, National Food Sovereignty: Industrial Agriculture v. Community and Family Agroecology.

Present at the event were networks of campesinos, Indigenous, and Afro peoples, along with civil society organizations like Grain, Vía Campesina, Alianza Biodiversidad, and el Grupo de Investigación en Territorios, Agroecología y Sistemas Agroalimentarios (Terras) of the National University of Colombia, to mention just a few.

Álvaro Acevado Osorio, professor at the National University of Colombia, and Doctor in Agroecology, explained that agroindustry is focused on business. It is based upon the appropriation of common goods, and generating political favors for the benefit of social development policies. While that happens, the rights of the communities are diminished.

As an alternative to agroindustry, there is agroecology, which is based in rights and permitting the rural and urban communities to produce food according to their own cultural conditions. Conditions that are “appropriate for both producers and consumers and that allow access to the common goods that facilitate production like seeds, water resources, etc.” At its core it is a discussion of rights, it is a dilemma between privileges and rights,” says Acevado Osorio.

In Latin America

Southwest Colombia, in Cauca, is predominantly inhabited by Afro peoples, and their lands are the most productive of the entire country. This has caused conflicts over land and the displacement of communities.

The monopolization of land in Colombia is occurring due to the production of palm oil and the flower agroindustry. In Ecuador, there is an issue with Tilapia fish farms contaminating water. All these examples show the dominance of agroindustry which is contaminating the Latin American region.

Mexico was mentioned for the construction of the Maya Train megaproject, the contamination of animal industries, avocado plantations, among other things. These industries also generate violence in the communities and the forced displacement of thousands of people.

“Extensive deforestation is taking place in Latin America. For example, the Amazon has the highest deforestation rate on the planet, and the effects are becoming ever more evident,” said Javier León, of the organization Grain.

Resistance against agroindustry has led to increased criminalization of Indigenous peoples and communities characterized by persecutions, harassment, and violence from the state.

On this point, the organizations lamented the systematic violence against Indigenous and campesino leaders in different countries. They expressed their concern that the Latin American region has the highest number of deaths and disappearances for the defense of human rights and life. Women are the main protagonists of these resistances or of alternative proposals to this intensive model of expansion in Latin America.

Speaking of a more complex situation, they mentioned India, where there have been suicides related to industrial agriculture. Between 1993 and 2006, there were around 150,000 suicides of campesinos, and according to the Indian Ministry of Agriculture, the number has continued to rise. In September 2023 alone, the United Nations documented an increase in youth suicides.

A Disaster

The experts agree, the Green Revolution “was a disaster.” One of the immediate impacts was the loss of local diversity of seeds. For example, India had 100,000 varieties of rice, now they have less than 5,000. There are 4,000 endemic varieties of cotton, but in ten years they have become extinct. Now they only plant genetically modified cotton that is controlled by one company: Monsanto.

The agrotoxins are part of the problem. They contaminate the soil, water, and air. In many cases, they are dispersed from above, into the air.

Other impacts are the degradation of soil, erosion, monoculture, the disappearance of species, water toxicity, including subterranean waters, and also hundreds of patients sick with cancer.

“That was the devastation of the Green Revolution, but it was not sufficient. In various countries in Africa, along with in India, they are talking about a second Green Revolution, like the first one wasn’t enough,” said the representative of Grain from India.

For the organizations at the event, the alternative is food sovereignty organized by the people from below. The object is to be independent of external inputs and companies. They are committed to the conservation and preservation of seeds and the practices of sustainable agriculture.

Indigenous Otomíes resist violent eviction of the House of the Peoples “Samir Flores” in Mexico City

Cover photo: Press conference outside the House of the Peoples “Samir Flores Soberanes.” Photo: Regina López

In the early morning of Monday, October 16, more than 500 Mexico City riot police surrounded the House of the Peoples and Indigenous Communities “Samir Flores Soberanes,” seeking to evict the members of the Otomí community, who have recently marked three years squatting the building, located in the south of Mexico City.

In the face of the repression, members of the Indigenous community were able to repel state forces, “hundreds of riot police, as if we the Otomí community were the criminals, as if we were the ones with the weapons,” explained Isabel, delegate of the National Indigenous Congress (CNI). As a result of the violent operation, ten people were injured, among them, adolescents, elders, and disabled peoples.

“A 17-year-old was attacked by a group of five riot police who kicked and beat her causing immobility in one of her legs; a 13-year-old girl was beaten by three male riot police who kicked her in the head causing her to faint,” detailed the communique.

The government of Mexico City proclaimed via a communique that the police operation was aimed at merely evicting the street encampment in place since October 12 which is demanding dignified housing for 40 Otomí families. However, the Indigenous community denied that telling of the events, arguing police tried to enter the House of the Peoples.

An hour after the operation, a group of more than six motorcyclists arrived to provoke and insult those present in the encampment on Avenue Mexico-Coyoacán. After another attempted incursion, they threatened members of the Otomí community with firearms.

“This is the response from the government to the demands of the Otomí people,” they denounced, showing the firearm cartridges in evidence of the attack, along with images of the aggressors and license plates of their vehicles. They also denounced the absence of the Human Rights Commission of Mexico City (CDHCM) emphasizing that the police operation was never peaceful.

“Three years after the occupation of the National Institute of Indigenous Peoples, racism, discrimination, and repression are the offers of the fourth transformation,” said members of the Otomí community in a press conference.

“We hold Martí Bartes (Head of Government of Mexico City) responsible for whatever else happens to us. The riot police beat us regardless of there being children, women, and elders. Enough of this discrimination,” said an Otomí woman who was assaulted.

“Having a Roof Over Our Head is a Right”

The primary demand of the Otomí community is the expropriation of two buildings located in the Juarez neighborhood in Mexico City, at the addresses of Roma 18 and Londres 7, to serve as housing for Indigenous families. Since two and a half years ago, the building at Zacatecas 64 was expropriated with the intention to house 40 Otomí families, but there are still no indications of fulfilling the demand.

Art in the encampment on Avenue Mexico-Coyoacán. Photo: Aldo Santiago

The Otomíes explained that they are tired of lies from government officials like Juan Gutiérrez and Rodrigo Chavez with whom they held a meeting on October 14, where they offered dialogues “without response, without real commitment, their offers are pure simulation of the fourth transformation.”

“We do not believe their words, because we’ve gone four years of this administration that is on its way out and they still have not given us a response,” explained Isabel, delegate of the National Indigenous Congress, who emphasized that this is a decades-long struggle for dignified housing for the Otomí community.

The Otomí community denounced that, on Saturday, October 14, they were informed that the building could not be expropriated because they are not occupying it. With that, they demanded that the government of Mexico City expropriate the building that they are occupying, that House of the Peoples “Samir Flores Soberanes.”

“We demand the expropriation of this building, because here we are occupying it,” they said. The Otomí community announced that they will not remove the encampment on Avenue Mexico-Coyoacán until the demands are fulfilled for social housing of the Otomí community.


Collectives and organizations from different parts of Mexico City and the country arrived to support the struggle and resistance of the Otomí community.

“That is the struggle, so that they don’t continue handing over our territory to real estate companies, for police and military barracks, that are doing away with our lands…to serve the interests of transnational corporations that come for the minerals, the oil. Here, the occupation of the National Institute of Indigenous Peoples building was necessary. The insurrection was necessary,” explains María de los Angeles Fernández, also known as Doña Fili, organizer for dignified housing in Santo Domingo, Coyoacán.

Doña Fili reminds us that just recently on October 12, cultural activities with children were organized in the House of the Peoples. “How can they attack people who struggle so peacefully? And deny housing to the people,” she asked.

For their part, members of the Coordination of Peoples, Original Neighborhoods, and Districts of Xochimilco denounced that the violent actions against the Otomí community are part of the strategy of Juan Gutiérrez Márquez, General Coordinator of Political Concertation, Prevention, and Good Governance in Mexico City.

“He did it to us as Xochimilcas and he does it again…These actions have been repeated. I raise my voice so that this person is removed from office. In the CDHCM, we filed a complaint for the aggressions against citizens of Xochimilco. The man is a coward…he brings a group of motorcyclists to attack, which we documented and filed the information with the CDHCM,” they said in response to the aggressions.

“We want to denounce the act of violence committed by three riot police causing a 13-year-old girl to lose consciousness…she was savagely beaten, that is what we are saying today, not in 1968, not in Palestine, or in another part of the world, we are saying it here in Mexico City, which claims to have a vanguard government,” said Carlos González, member of the National Indigenous Congress.

González said that the conditions of the different Indigenous peoples residing in Mexico City are inhumane. “The government does not give a damn, it is interested in political control, clientelism, giving handouts, not recognizing nor respecting rights, that is the innovative city of rights that this government is selling us.”

He also pointed out that the violence against Indigenous people is being repeated at the national level. For example, on October 13, two Chol youth, 19-year-old Juan Carlos Jiménez, and 17-year-old Oscar Pérez, both of the community of Tila, “were cowardly assassinated by paramilitary forces in their community…that is the reality that we are living,” denounced González regarding the situation of war in Mexico.


Lastly, the Otomí community called for actions in Querétaro in defense of water and territory and in support of the population of Santiago Mexquititlán.

“This cowardly action is because they are afraid of us, they have to attack us at the cost of life and in favor of the capitalist and real estate interests that have the titles to the land. We will continue struggling together, we will continue organizing, so that this patriarchal power, these transitional companies do not continue to dispossess us,” finalized Isabel, Otomí delegate of the National Indigenous Congress (CNI).

10,000 Indigenous People Protest Organized Crime Violence in Chicomuselo, Chiapas

In the early morning hours of Thursday, October 12, with some uncertainty and caution, families, friends, and neighborsarrived one by one to the location known as “the Arch of the Seven Jaguars,” in the municipality of Chicomuselo, Chiapas. The objective was to march in protest toward the municipal government building.  

Days before, a call out had been circulated for a “march for unity, justice, and peace,” signed by the Unidad de Pueblos, a group “made up of ejido commissioners for social peace in Chicomuselo.” The organizers called on the people to break the silence and peacefully march, as an act of Indigenous and campesino resistance in Mexico and Latin America. 

In recent months, in the Mexico-Guatemala border region, clashes between the Sinaloa Cartel and the Jalisco New Generation Cartel have worsened the climate of violence. The two cartels have been fighting for territorial control in the region. These criminal groups have sown fear in towns like Pacayalito, in the municipality of Motozintla, as well as in the ejido Tres Maravillas, and in Chicomuselo, causing forced displacement and curfews.  

You might be interested in- Chiapas: Disappearing on the Southern Border of Mexico

Due to the escalating violence, the organized ejido commissioners called on “all sectors of society to peacefully unite as people and as municipality to call for government intervention.”  

They even alluded to the Mexican president’s signature slogan: “No one above or beneath the law,” demanding him to act accordingly. “Because the people are tired of these groups seeking to control our territory, imposing themselves with total impunity,” declared the Indigenous people.

Those organizing the protest reiterated that impunity has led to increased assassinations, disappearances, forced displacement, threats, intimidations, among other things. “The families of the disappeared are searching for their loved ones. The authorities are not involved in the search,” said one of the protestors who, for security reasons, omitted their name.  

Regardless of the fear, along with uncertainty caused by rumors “that the protest was to support one of the two cartels, the Sinaloa cartel, the people took to the streets to protest all groups provoking violence in our territories, and so that President Obrador listens to us,” added one protestor.

In Chicomuselo, even before the recent intensification of violence, community members had already denounced the presence of the narco-paramilitary group, MAIZ, linked to the Sinaloa Cartel. “They wanted to displace the market vendors so as to impose their own people,” said an interviewee for Avispa Midia via telephone.

Different sectors of society all mobilized together, including the teacher’s union, transport workers, healthcare workers, athletes, vendors, members of social organizations, community authorities, and ranchers.

At the end of the march, the organizers estimated at least 10,000 people were present. Arriving to the central plaza of the community, the protestors chanted slogans like, “The united people will never be defeated! The silent people will never be heard,” ending the protest in relative calm.  

Indigenous Nahua Communities in Puebla Resist the Construction of a Police Facility

Photo-U.S. Bureau of Investigation instructors train Puebla state police officers

In a communique, the human rights organization Front Line Defenders denounced ongoing attacks against Nahua land defenders in the municipality of Juan C. Bonilla, Puebla, articulated together in the organization, Pueblos Unidos de la Region Cholulteca y de losVolcanes (United Peoples of the Cholulteca and Volcano Region).

The organization is made up of 20 Nahua communities from the valley of Puebla who have historically struggled in defense of human rights and against the dispossession caused by extractive projects in their territories.  

The most recent attack occurred on October 2, 2023, in San Lucas Nextetelco, when Indigenous Nahuas were repressed during a protest against the construction of a police facility in the community.

Without consultation, the construction of the police facility was given the green light by the state of Puebla on September 5. The facility’s construction is excepted to be finished in December of this year, and the baseline cost is 8 million pesos(over 440k dollars).  

The construction of the police facility is taking place in the context of “a concerning rise in militarization and growing construction of police facilities and military barracks in communities throughout the country, particularly where there are processes of resistance and opposition to megaprojects, and where there has been no previous, free, or informedconsultation,” alerted the organization.

On October 2, 2023, people presenting themselves as employees of Decosa, the company with the contract to construct the police facility, arrived to the community of San Lucas Nextetelco. The workers left the area after members of the community organized an assembly as an act of opposition, where they decided collectively to reject the construction of the police facility.  

Later that day, at 4pm, the same workers returned to the community of San Lucas Nextetelco, this time with an excavatorand protected by Puebla State Police. They tore down the fence and began to work. 

In response, community members alerted the rest of the community, who joined the protest seeking to stop the construction of the police facility. After that, the municipal government of Juan C. Bonilla mobilized a group of individuals in the area who have been previously identified in the community as “violent actors,” said Front Line Defenders. 

The group began to physically threaten community members, including youth and elders, who were peacefully protesting. More community members arrived to the protest, facing off with police. Eventually, due to the protest, the violent group along with the state police left the area. To make clear their rejection of the police facility, and to denounce the repression, the community blockaded the federal highway at San Lucas Nextetelco for around 6 hours.

Other Attacks

Previous attacks have been documented against the organization. On June 30, 2023, Alejandro Torres Chocolatl was detained by state agents of the Public Prosecutor’s Office of the State of Puebla (FGE). The human rights defender was freed without the FGE presenting him at a hearing and formalizing his release.

On November 28, 2022, different national and international organizations denounced the attacks, threats, repeated break-ins, acts of surveillance, intimidation, and harassment carried out throughout 2022 against the lawyer and human rights defender of the FPDTA-MPT, Juan Carlos Flores Solís.

On June 10, 2021, the Puebla State Police carried out an operation with approximately 100 policemen and 60 police vehicles interrupting and intimidating a peaceful protest in Santa María Zacatepec. During the operation, the human rights defender and community media worker, Alejandro Torres Chocolatl, was threatened by state police. Upon seeing him taking photos, the police forcefully took his cell phone and threw him to the ground.

On December 3, 2019, an international mission of observation to the Nahua community of Santa María Zacatepec, Juan C. Bonilla, Puebla, was organized by national and international organizations. There, a series of violations were documented of individual and collective human rights of the Zacatepec community. 

On January 24, 2020, the human rights defender and member of the FPDTA-MPT, Miguel López Vega, was detained by agents of the Public Prosecutor’s Office of the State of Puebla as he was leaving governmental offices in Puebla.

It wasn’t until March 16, 2023, that two of the three charges against him were dropped, following advancements in hislegal process. The human rights defender is awaiting a date for the final hearing in order to have all charges dropped.

The organization Front Line Defenders has urged authorities to take the necessary measures to guarantee the safety of human rights defenders and the Nahua communities.