Sr. Presidente Andrés Manuel López Obredor, President of the Republic of Mexico
Sra. Ministra Olga Sánchez Cordero, Minister of the Interior of Mexico
April 25, 2019
Dear President López Obredor and Minister Sánchez Cordero:
We are horrified at the murder of indigenous environmental defender Luis Armando Fuentes Aquino in San Francisco Ixhuatán municipality in the Isthmus (Istmo) of Tehuantepec region of Oaxaca State.
We have been writing to Mexican officials since 2013 in support of indigenous communities opposing construction of wind farms on their ancestral lands on the Isthmus of Tehuantepec and off-shore. Several wind farms already exist, constructed without the prior, free, and informed consultation of local communities. Those who organize vocal opposition have been repeatedly harassed, threatened, criminalized, and even assassinated. Luis Armando Fuentes Aquino is the latest victim.
Luis Armando Fuentes Aquino, a 35-year-old fisherman, was active with several organizations: Commission in Defense of the Land and the Territory of the East Istmo Zone, the Istmo Regional Committee, and Corriente del Pueblo Sol Rojo (The Red Sun People's Running Organization). He worked on issues related to community development, accountability of local and national authorities in the context of corruption, and the promotion of the indigenous right to self-determination.
On April 11, around 7pm, unknown attackers ambushed Luis Armando Fuentes Aquino while he was on his way to the Cerro Grande community and killed him with a gunshot to the head. He had reported being threatened on several occasions by local authorities and members of the Federal Electricity Commission for his opposition to development policies and megaprojects that conflict with indigenous peoples’ right to self-determination.
This killing occurred in the context of a renewed wave of attacks and intimidation attempts against Corriente del Pueblo Sol Rojo, which has suffered reprisals for its peaceful resistance against mining and energy megaprojects:
March 25: three unidentified persons broke into the home of community leader, Bernardo Sánchez López, a member of Corriente del Pueblo Sol Rojo,in San Francisco del Mar and attacked him.
April 3: human rights defender Rosa María Santiago received threats against her children
Some members of Corriente del Pueblo Sol Rojo are being targeted for their work on the case of Ernesto Sernas García, a lawyer and human rights defender who was forcibly disappeared in May 2018 for his work defending 25 members of Sol Rojo in a criminalization case.
Because of our concern about the pattern of attacks against members of Sol Rojo, we strongly urge that you:
- carry out an immediate, thorough and impartial investigation into the killing of Luis Armando Fuentes, publish the results, and bring those responsible to justice in accordance with international standards
- take all necessary measures to guarantee the physical and psychological integrity and security of members of Sol Rojo, in consultation with them
- cease targeting all human rights defenders in Mexico, especially in the state of Oaxaca, and guarantee in all circumstances that they are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions, including judicial harassment
Brian J. Stefan Szittai
Christine Stonebraker Martínez
Arturo Peimbert Calvo, Ombudsman for Human Rights of the State of Oaxaca ~ via email
Martha Bárcena Coqui, Mexican Ambassador to the US ~ via email
John S. Creamer, Chargé d’Affairs, US Embassy in Mexico ~ via fax and US mail
Political Officer, Mexico Desk, US State Dept ~ via email
Esmeralda Arosemena de Troitiño, Rapporteur for Mexico, Inter-American Commission on Human Rights ~ via email
Antonia Urrejola,Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Inter-American Commission on Human Rights ~ via email
S!Paz ~ via email
US Senators Brown & Portman and US Representatives Beatty, Fudge, Gibbs, Gonzalez, Johnson, Jordan, Joyce, Kaptur, Latta, Ryan ~ via email
Jan 5, 2019_Telsur_Mexico