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Jan 26, 20

Indigenous Organizer, Miguel López Vega, Detained in Puebla, Mexico

Communique from the People’s Front in Defense of Land and Water, Morelos-Puebla-Tlaxcala, following the arrest of compañero, Miguel López Vega.


To the Media

To the Organized Civil Society

To the National Indigenous Congress

To the Zapatista Army of National Liberation

As Nahua peoples of the slopes of the Popocatépetl volcano, we express our indignation for the recent arrest of our compañero, Miguel López Vega. Miguel is a member of the Indigenous Governing Council of the National Indigenous Congress, a community representative of Santa María Zacatepec, Puebla, and a member of the People’s Front in Defense of Land and Water, Morelos-Puebla-Tlaxcala.

Our compañero has remained steadfast for ten years in the struggle against the Integral Project of Morelos and in defense of life. Since 2017, as a community representative, he has demanded the cancellation of the wastewater discharge project in Ciudad Textil, Huejotizingo, which will pollute the Metlapanapa river. Recently, he has worked together with his community to recuperate their traditional forms of community organization and to carry out community elections beneath the model of their customs and traditions.

On Friday January 24, at 2:30 pm, while leaving the offices of the Secretary of Government in the Puebla city center, he was stopped by an official vehicle of the prosecutor’s office. The vehicle was accompanied by a group of armed men, who traveled inside a black vehicle with tinted windows. They surrounded Miguel and the rest of his compañeros. They asked for identification. When the compañeros responded that they didn’t have identification, they were then asked, who is Miguel López Vega? Miguel said, “I am.” He was showed a paper, saying that it was an arrest warrant.

Miguel and his compañeros were leaving the office after a meeting with Víctor Flores Báez, general director of government. They had gone to see Victor Flores Báez to inform him that this past January 19, an assembly was held in the community of Zacatepec where it was decided to remove the local president and to elect a new one, recuperating their system of customs and traditions. They gave Victor Flores written notice of the assembly and asked him to sign an acknowledgement of receipt. The members of the community of Zacatepec stopped to eat something, and as they walked in front of the government offices, Miguel was detained. Our compañero was then taken to the State prosecutor’s office of San Bernardino Tlaxcalancingo where he has been detained until now.

In the last few months, Miguel has been victim of harassment and persecution on part of businessmen of Ciudad Textil, and on part of the municipal and state governments. He has also received death threats for his defense of the Metlapanapa river.

We demand the immediate freedom of our compañero, friend and brother, Miguel López Veda. We demand an end to the criminalization of land defenders. The rise in violence within the framework of the so-called fourth transformation is evident. We demand that the municipal, state and federal governments cease the harassment against defenders of life and territory.

The Metlapanapa River Waste Discharge Project is the continuation and expansion of the dispossession that we are living on the slopes of the Popocatépetl volcano, following the ongoing imposition of the Integral Project of Morelos (PIM). In this case, the Morelos pipeline, which crosses the slopes of the volcano, blocks a possible evacuation route in the case of volcanic activity. The toxic material that is intended to be dumped in the Metlapanapa river comes from the companies already present in Huejotzingo and would incorporate the toxic waste of new companies on the branches of the Morelos pipeline. The continuation of the PIM project has been supported by the federal government of MORENA, of Andrés Manual López Obrador (AMLO), and now supported in Puebla by the government Miguel Barbosa. As we all know, the fight against the PIM has caused not only the loss of our territory and the traditional forms of life of our communities, but it has also meant threats, persecution, torture and incarceration of various of our members. It has also claimed the life of our compañero Samir Flores Soberanes.

Up until now, AMLO has continued the imposition of the PIM, expanding the rigged illegal consultations and rigged Indigenous consultations, backing the authorities that carry out these consultations. He has imposed the PIM with the use of the National Institute of Indigenous Peoples and the national guard as a coercive method to provoke fear. It is important to mention that the national guard also has been present in the construction of the sewage corridor of Ciudad Textil that crosses Zacatepec, making evident the militarization of the country.

We have always maintained a posture of dialogue, but for their part, the federal and state governments have responded with violence, tear gas, rubber bullets and the national guard. And now, with the kidnapping of our compañero Miguel. The Barbosa government has issued a statement saying that they are open to dialogue, but with their actions, they demonstrate the opposite. They only betray us again and again. They deceive us and abuse our dignity. However, we are not willing to allow this. We are not willing to allow any more corporate government deception. We are not willing to hand over territory, our life, our dignity.

True change did not arrive to Puebla, nor to the country as a whole. It is just more deception. Miguel Barbosa represents the same interests as those represented by Rafael Moreno Valle. Today his posture and his response to the problems we face in our communities is the same. They promised no more political prisoners, but the state has not been a guarantor of our rights. Thus, we are ready to conquer them, to take them, to exercise them and to walk toward autonomy and community organization. That is the only response before the situation that we live as Indigenous peoples and as society.

We the people have searched all possible peaceful means of dialogue, to propose and make known the vision of development that derives from within our communities. We have made our posture clear on various occasions, to maintain ourselves as Indigenous peoples with our customs and traditions, with our lands to sow, with our traditional forms of organization. This is the struggle that our compañero Miguel López Vega has maintained for ten years against the Integral Project of Morelos. This is the reason for which those in power have persecuted him and for which he is now a prisoner.

We demand immediate freedom for Miguel López Vega. We demand respect for our forms of life as Nahua peoples of the volcano. We demand our right to decide how we want to live in our territory. We demand the right to mother earth to continue sustaining, feeding and caring for us. We demand that they let us live in peace.

Freedom for Miguel López Vega!

Cancellation of the Integral Project of Morelos!

No to the contamination of the Metlapanapa River!

No to the thermoelectric plant, gas pipeline, aqueduct!

Justice for Samir Flores Soberanes!

T´neki tlalle uan atl para tenochti, amo timiiske por tumi

We want land and water for all, not to die for money

People’s Front in Defense of Land and Water, Morelos-Puebla-Tlaxcala


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