A statement from poet Homero Aridjis on the dangers of environmentalism in Mexico:
It’s becoming more and more dangerous. … Every week, you read in the newspapers, that they killed the fisherman, they killed the peasants, they killed the indigenous persons, and you don’t know who. It might be criminals; it might be organized crime, but also the army, or the state governments. And sometimes when they want to stop a project that is dangerous for the environment in the local communities, the easiest way is to kill the person. Sometimes [those murdered] are unknown. If they disappear, nobody cares. … It’s not always big news. Nobody knows what happens. There’s no investigation.
We feel distance with American groups, because sometimes American groups are more concerned with fundraising than direct action with local communities, and that is the difference, you see. It’s becoming very dangerous for the environmentalists in Mexico to be defending their own ecosystems, their own habitats. It’s becoming really dangerous here in Mexico. And the worst thing is that these people are killed, they disappear, and there is no investigation.
People are fearful, you see.
… Criminals have been committing atrocious crimes against innocent people. It’s a kind of social penalty. When they kill in organized crime, they do that to keep innocent people, collateral victims they try to impose fear in the society, in order that a citizen doesn’t go to the police.
They say if you are a peasant, an indigenous person, woman or man, old or young, if you defend the existence and you oppose business, you can be killed. Something can happen to you or your wife and your children, and that is a way to [deter] activism.
See www.americaslatinofestival.org for the full schedule.