La Parota Opponent Charged With Terrorism

The Land is Not for Sale! A community in resistance to La Parota dam.

The Land is Not for Sale! A community in resistance to La Parota dam.

11th November

In line with recent statements indicating a resumption of efforts to force through the construction of La Parota Dam, the Mexican government has also launched a new campaign of repression against the dam’s opponents.

First, dam opponents warned of increasing paramilitary activity in the region. Then came word that the federal government is seeking to relocate entire villages to hamstring the opposition to the dam. Now Marco Antonio Suástegui Muñoz, spokesperson for the Council of Ejidos and Communities in Opposition to La Parota Dam (CECOP), said the state government of Guerrero has issued a warrant for his arrest on false charges of terrorism, kidnapping and “attacks on federal roads.” He denounced these as blatant acts of repression related to his organizing work against La Parota.

Suástegui told a CECOP assembly that police set up three separate roadblocks in an attempt to detain him, with orders to immediately transport him to the maximum security prison in Tepic, Nayarit. Suástegui was forced to change vehicles to evade the roadblocks and reach the assembly.

In recent months, Suástegui said, he has been threatened by ranking state official Humberto Salgado Gómez. “Salgado Gómez told me: calm yourself, or we’ll put you in jail. Bad people are watching you. Either we put you in jail, or your life ends,” he said.

Suástegui accused Guerrero Governor Ángel Aguirre Rivero of violating the 2012 Cacahuatepec Agreement, which committed him to cease criminalizing or using force against opponents of La Parota dam, and to seek a meeting with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto and inform him that La Parota dam will not be approved.

Suástegui also said that in spite of the warrant, he will remain in his home village. “If the government wants to come for me, I will not leave my pueblo [village/community/people]. We will wait for them, ladies and gentlemen.”