In 9 years, 37 activists of the Rarámuri ethnic group (Tarahumara) have been murdered in Chihuahua

(photo: excelsior)

Data from Amnesty International and the Sierra Madre Alliance have unmasked a hidden reality in Chihuahua: the systematic extermination of Rarámuri activists in the Tarahumara mountains

(Amnesty International) .- Data from Amnesty International and the Sierra Madre Alliance (ASMAC) have unmasked a hidden reality in Chihuahua: the systematic extermination of Rarámuri activists in the Sierra Tarahumara, mainly in the region known as the Golden Triangle.

Only from the Baldenegro family, three activists have lost their lives defending the Tarahumara forests, Julián Baldenegro father, and his children Isidro and José Trinidad 4 days ago.

The cause has been identified as the presence and control of criminal groups, mainly drug traffickers, who have diversified their line of work to logging, other that clear areas to sow marijuana and poppy plant, and the struggle between drug cartels to control the area.

Most of the homicides (31) were perpetrated in the municipality of Guadalupe y Calvo, El Triángulo Dorado, an area of ​​wealth, impunity and a paradise for drug traffickers.

ASMAC has closely followed their activism in this Tarahumara municipality, and has revealed that not only drug traffickers besiege the Rarámuri, but also politicians and local chiefs to develop tourist sites, livestock or mining.

“Choréachi (Guadalupe y Calvo), is a Rarámuri community in the state of Chihuahua, Mexico, without legal recognition by the State of ownership of their ancestral territory. A group of mestizo people from the neighboring community seeks control of the area, with violence consisting of homicides, threats with firearms, burning of houses, theft of cattle, rape of women, and forced displacement,” the statement says.

It adds that the authorities have been aware of the problem since 2013 and that since March 2017 there has been a Resolution of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (CoIDH) for the implementation of protection measures for the community, without adequate attention to date. ”.

Since the end of 2021 and so far this year, the exodus of hundreds of inhabitants from this municipality has been constant, to such an extent that the state police, supported by the National Guard, have escorted and protected the migrants so that they are not massacred in their flight.

The most serious fact is that, in only 9 years, 37 activists have been shot to death, because they opposed dispossession, forced displacement, illegal logging and the exploitation of their forests.

In recent actions in this month of February, the State Prosecutor’s Office reported the seizure of illegally cut and transferred pine trees.

Impunity has even generated a type of modern slavery. For example, in July 2019, the State Prosecutor’s Office announced the rescue of 21 men who had been enslaved for two years in the municipality of Ocampo, for work planting poppies. They were fed with water, flour and beans and slept in caves, watched, intimidated and beaten by their captors.

A 33-year-old man was rescued last January in the community of Yoquivo, in the same municipality of Ocampo, where he was forced to work in narcotics fields since October 2021.

However, the murderous violence for the control and illegal exploitation of the Tarahumara forests has been concentrated in the municipality of Guadalupe y Calvo, right in the area known as El Triángulo Dorado, where the wildest regions of the states of Sinaloa converge. Chihuahua and Durango.

Amnesty International keeps track of 36 indigenous activists murdered, the majority in Guadalupe y Calvo, to which is added the most recent, on March 7, of José Trinidad Baldenegro.

The list of indigenous activists killed by drug traffickers begins in 2013, with Jaime Subía Cevallos and Socorro Ayala Ramos, in Choreachi, Guadalupe and Calvo.

They are followed in 2014 by Ayala Ramos, Irineo Meza Solís; in 2015 Santiago Quiñones Cruz, Cresencio Molina de Coloradas de la Virgen, Guadalupe y Calvo, in 2016, and that same year Elpidio Torres, Víctor Carrillo Carrillo, Guadalupe Carrillo Polanco, Julián Baldenegro; in 2017, Isidro Baldenegro, Juan Ontiveros, Alberto Quiñones Carrillo.

In 2018 Francisco Chaparro Carrillo and Julián Carrillo Martínez. The following year, Otilia Martínez Cruz, Cruz Soto Caraveo, and in 2020, Juan Zamarón Torres and Antonio Montes Enríquez, were murdered in the municipality of Bocoyna.

Alianza Sierra Madre stated in one of its communiqués that “the insecurity and violence that prevails in the Sierra Tarahumara as a result of the fight against drug trafficking undertaken by former President Felipe Calderón in 2006 and adopted by President Enrique Peña Nieto in 2012,  left a balance of death, desolation and forced displacement of families.”

Faced with this violence of murders, forced displacement, destruction of property and dispossession, the response of the Chihuahua Prosecutor’s Office has been laconic, “there is a permanent operation coordinated with Sedena, that has been going on for a month, more or less”, according to a statement by Enrique Rodríguez.

Tarahumara children with Elvira; La Bufa, Chihuahua, Mexico

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