Yaqui Leader Fernando Jiménez Released From Prison Vows to Continue Opposition to Independence Aqueduct
Ulises Gutiérrez Ruelas
La Jornada, 29th August, 2015
Hermosillo, Sonora – On Thursday night, Fernando Jiménez Gutiérrez, one of the Yaqui leaders opposed to the Independence Aqueduct, was released from the Social Rehabilitation Centre (CERESO) one in Hermosillo. Jiménez had been imprisoned almost a year.
Greeted by members of the tribe and his family, Jiménez Gutiérrez said that during his captivity he was Governor Guillermo Padrés Elías’s political prisoner. He said that he will continue fighting for the Yaquis’ right to water and for the release of his compañero Mario Luna Romero, who remains in CERESO.
Jiménez explained: "This is another example of the arrogance of a political leader who didn’t know how to take the reins of this state. Right now we are not complete, because compañero Mario Luna isn’t here. I was his support in activities for defending the water, when we went to the federal courts, so the government already had me on file."
Jiménez pointed out that law enforcement authorities coming under the state governor accused him of robbery and kidnapping as a result of his participation, together with other members of the Yaqui Tribe, in the roadblocks at the Vícam community against the extraction of water from the Yaqui River, and its transfer 120 kilometres to the Sonora state capital, Hermosillo, via the Independence Aqueduct, built during the PAN administration of Governor Padrés.
Jiménez explained: "They’re not going to be able to put an end to the cry of the Tribe. We were imprisoned for a while, but others remained outside. We [Mario Luna and I] are just a single cog in the struggle. This is going to continue until the rule of law is respected, and the looting of the water is ended."
The Yaqui Tribe charges that the aqueduct deprives this Yaqui community of the water needed for agricultural use; thus, condemning the southern Sonora region to poverty and unemployment.
Translated by Jane Brundage