On January 23rd, Fidel Heras Cruz, community defender and president of the Paso de la Reina Ejidal Commissariat was shot to deathe3 at the entrance of the town of La Esperanza, municipality of Santiago Jamiltepec, Oaxaca. Fidel Heras was an active member of the United Peoples Council for the Defense of Rio Verde (COPUDEVER), an organization that maintains active resistance against the Paso de la Reina and Rio Verde hydroelectric projects. Therefore, it is presumed that his murder is linked to his defense work.
“Due to these events, prior to the crime committed against the community defender and communal authority of Paso de la Reina, Fidel Heras Cruz, a political motive in this execution is not ruled out, due to his active defense of the territory and the Rio Verde. In addition to the antecedents of defense of the territory against the construction of the Paso de la Reina Hydroelectric Project and the Rio Verde Hydroelectric Project”, they reported.
The Union of Indigenous Communities of the Northern Zone of the Isthmus (UCIZONI) reported that “there is a history of threats by powerful economic groups linked to the exploitation of stone material, in addition the comrade stood out in the resistance against the construction of the represents Paso de la Reina, by the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE).”
Ejido and municipal authorities, as well as civil society organizations condemned this event through a statement and demanded that a thorough investigation be carried out so that the crime does not go unpunished. Likewise, they demanded that the case be followed up until it is clarified since, according to this document, the environmental defender had been threatened in the days prior to his murder.
For its part, the Human Rights Ombudsman of the People of Oaxaca (DDHPO) condemned the murder of the defender and demanded that the authorities create a comprehensive policy of protection for defenders as well as effectively punish those responsible for the attacks against him.
For more information in Spanish:
Asesinan a Fidel Heras Cruz defensor comunitario de Paso de la Reina(Copudever, 25 de enero de 2021)
Asesinan al activista Fidel Heras en Oaxaca (Excelsior, 24 de enero de 2021)
Asesinan a Fidel Heras, defensor del Río Verde en Oaxaca (El Universal, 24 de enero de 2021)
Condena DDHPO homicidio de defensor comunitario (RíOaxaca, 25 de enero de 2021)
For more information from SIPAZ: