Saturday, March 2, 2024

Indigenous activist who denounced lack of water murdered in Baja California

An indigenous water rights activist was murdered Thursday night in Tecate, Baja California. 

Witnesses say two vehicles with tinted windshields arrived at the house where Óscar Eyraud Adams lived and shot him at around 7 p.m.

A member of the Kumeyaay indigenous group, Eyraud had been an activist for years, speaking out about issues of ethnicity and environmental injustice, a family member said.

Last month, Eyraud publicly denounced the lack of water in his community and warned of cultural consequences to come.

In an interview with the newspaper Reforma in August, conducted in a dried-up field, Eyraud complained that water that should go to indigenous communities to irrigate their crops was being diverted to transnational companies, such as Heineken.

“All this disappeared due to lack of water,” he told the newspaper as the camera panned the desiccated plot of land where he said fruit trees used to grow.

“These [water] rights should be for the indigenous community first rather than businesses and people who have the purchasing power just to have them … That puts the culture of this community at risk,” he added.

In what would prove to be his last social media post on Thursday afternoon, Eyraud called for the struggle to continue.

“Express your concern for water and disappearances, for indigenous communities,” he wrote.

Activists from Baja California shared the news of Eyraud’s death over social media and highlighted his struggle in favor of indigenous peoples.

“Óscar was willing to fight in search of self-determination for the Kumeyaay community, and the use of water concessions that Conagua had denied them,” she continued. “He was assassinated by the narco-state in Tecate, Baja California. The fight for the defense of water and the territory has taken comrades from us because they want to silence us by sowing terror,” activist Diana Tlazohcamati wrote on her Facebook account.

At least four other activists have been killed in Mexico this year, and the country is one of the most dangerous in the world for those who publicly condemn environmental injustice, according to Amnesty International. Fifteen activists were killed in Mexico in 2019.

Source: Sin Embargo (sp)

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