Murder of Indigenous Activist Opposing Megaproject “Confirms Terror in Puebla” – PRD

"No more hydroelectric dams"
Protest against hydorelectric project in Cuamono, Puebla
Foto: Leticia Animas Vargas

Proceso: Puebla, Puebla – The assassination of Antonio Esteban Cruz, leader of the Independent Movement of Urban and Popular Workers and Farmers (MIOCUP), on June 4, confirms the atmosphere of terror and repression of activists living in the state, PRD deputy Roxana Porquillo Luna charged.

The federal lawmaker urged the government of Rafael Moreno Valle [of the PAN] to promptly solve this crime that makes even more worrisome the situation of persecution that various social movements and organizations of the state are experiencing.

"The wave of terror that exists in Puebla and that has resulted in the murder of a leader of a major organization for the Sierra Norte [Northern Mountains region] is confirmed. It is worrisome. The strategy is clear: first intimidate, imprison and now there is the death of a fellow leader. All this in the climate of a campaign by the state government against the citizens of the state and their organizations," she lamented.

Antonio Esteban Cruz, an indigenous leader opposing the project to build a hydroelectric plant in the municipalities of Cuetzalan and Ayotoxco, was shot four times on Wednesday morning in “El Rincón” ["The Corner"], on the banks of the Apulco River, a tributary that he was defending.

At a press conference with members of the National Movement Los de Abajo, [Those From Below] Roxana Luna agreed with other activists that the death of Antonio Esteban has a political background, but she desisted from directly saying that the state government was responsible.

"I wouldn’t dare to make accusations that death is well conceived (by the intervention of the state government). We call on the responsible authorities to give an accoutnt to the citizens of Puebla as to why the assassination occurred, which already is generating much speculation, because he was a leader who opposed the megaprojects," she said.

Marco Antonio Cedeño Chavez and Hilario Alonso Flores, members of the Los de Abajo Movement, believe that this murder has to do with the resurgence of repression of protest movements responding to the social problems that are experienced in Puebla.

"In recent months, in Puebla, we have witnessed a process of repression of the leaders of social movements, and yesterday this cruel murder occurred," warned Cedeño Chávez.

Meanwhile, in a statement, PRI deputies Silvia Tanús Osorio, Maritza Marin Marcelo, Victor Giorgana Jiménez, José Chedraui Budib, Pablo Fernández del Campo, Rosalio Zanatta Vidaurri, Sergio Solomon Céspedes Peregrina and Leobardo Soto Martinez condemned the crime and demanded that the authorities provide prompt clarification.


Translated by Reed Brundage

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