This just in from our colleagues in Mexico:

Hi all,

I'm very sad to inform you that the son of one of our indigenous allies against illegal logging in the Great Water Forest [in Mexico] was murdered last week by four loggers. Yesterday we had a press conference with Ildefonso Zamora, father of Aldo Zamora who died on Tuesday, May 15th. During the conference we called upon Felipe Calderon, president of Mexico, to act to arrest Aldo's killers and to guarantee the security of Ildefonso, his family and all the people of the community (San Juan Atzingo).

I would like to ask your help to pressure the Mexican Government to act immediately to grant justice to Aldo, Misael (Aldo's brother, who was also injured) and his family.

Thank you very much for your support.

Remember to complete your signatures at the end of the letter.


UPDATE August 3 2007:

Thanks to the more than 1,313 folks who took action by writing to Mexico's president.

Patricia writes:

I´m very happy to inform you that two (of the four) murderers of Aldo

Zamora´s were arrested yesterday!!!

This is a great step towards justice in this emblematic case that shows the

injustice and dangers that the defenders of human rights and the

environment have to face in Mexico, in the fulfillment of their task.

The police found the two guys (only 18 and 20 years old) in their home,

which means the have been hiding in the area for the last two and a half

months. The other two thugs are still free, but I´m sure that they will be

arrested soon now that their accomplices are in jail.

There are still 57 well known and fully identified illegal loggers in the area.

Justice will not be complete until the are all in jail.

Here are the facts:

On May 15th at 18:30 hours two brothers, Aldo and Misael Zamora, were ambushed by four thugs while they were traveling with three of their relatives who were unharmed.

Misael, who was shot and is now hospitalised and in stable condition, identified the attackers as Luis and Alejo Encarnacion, known loggers from the area, who are both sons of Feliciano Encarnacion, one of the main leaders of the loggers gangs from this zone. The other two attackers were identified as Fernando Jacinto Medina y Silvestre Jacinto Medina.

Who is Ildefonso Zamora?

Ildefonso Zamora has denounced the illegal logging of forests in his community since 1998. However, authorities have not taken measures to stop the loggers. According to the Federal Bureau of Environmental Protection (PROFEPA by its Spanish acronym), the zones of Lagunas de Zempoala and Huitzilac have been identified as one of the 15 critical regions of the country because of the illegal logging. Together, these zones account for 60 per cent of the illegal logging in the country.

On December 2005, Ildefonso and other community members filled charges against illegal loggers in the area and and presented a video and photographs documenting this illegal activities.

On April 2006 Ildefonso and Greenpeace informed PROFEPA about the illegal logging situation. As a result, the local PROFEPA office from the State of Mexico began monitoring the area and making raids where many loggers were arrested.

On November of that year, the Public Prosecutor requested 47 arrest warrants against loggers including Feliciano and Alejo Encarnacion. These orders were denied by the Judge Gerardo Garcia Anzures, who argued that there were not enough elements to determine if a crime was committed. In addition, Feliciano Encarnacion was arrested just two weeks ago during a legal operation undertaken by PROFEPA. However, he was released on bail.

Who were Aldo and Misael Zamora:

Between June 2006 and May 2007, Aldo and Misael Zamora worked with Greenpeace to collect data for a research project assessing the impacts of illegal logging in San Juan Atzingo’ forests. This research is still in process.

Because of the previous situation, Ildefonso and his sons were a target of many threats from logger gangs members and from Feliciano Encarnacion, the logger previously mentioned.

We are requesting of mister Calderon the following:

That this attack is clarified immediately and the people responsible for the homicide of Aldo Zamora, the damages to Misael Zamora and other related crimes are punished.

That the security of Ildefonso Zamora and his family are guaranteed along with that of the people people from the community who have fought against illegal logging, particularly Neri Carlos, Nicolás Hernández Alberto and Alejandro Ramírez Raymundo and their families.

That immediate measures are taken to stop illegal logging in the zone in coordination with the states of Mexico and Morelos in order to stop and punish those who are found responsible.

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