Forest Defender Murdered in Mexico
June 1, 2007
Many people do environmental work to make the world a better place for their children to live in. Imagine, then, what it must be like for a prominent environmental activist to loose one of his children because of his and his child’s environmental work.
Earlier this month, this is exactly what happened to Ildefonso Zamora, a Mexican indigenous environmental leader in the Great Water Forest.
Because of their environmental work, Ildefonso and his two sons (ages 21 and 16), have received many threats from timber gang members. On May 15th, Ildefonso’s two sons were ambushed while they were traveling with relatives. One son was shot and is now stable condition. He identified the attackers— 2 local loggers whose father, Feliciano Encarnacion, is one of the main leaders of the logger gangs from this area. The other son died the night of the attack.
Ildefonso has worked against illegal logging in his community since 1998. Despite his work, authorities have not taken measures to stop the loggers. According to the Mexican Federal Bureau of Environmental Protection (PROFEPA), the areas of Lagunas de Zempoala and Huitzilac have been identified as one of the 15 critical regions of Mexico due to illegal logging. Together, these areas account for 60 per cent of the illegal logging in the country.
In April 2006, Ildefonso and Greenpeace informed PROFEPA about illegal logging in the Great Water Forest. As a result, the local PROFEPA office began monitoring the area, making raids and arresting many loggers. In November of that year, the Public Prosecutor requested 47 arrest warrants against loggers. These orders were denied by a judge, who argued that there were not enough elements to determine if a crime was committed.
TAKE ACTION: Send a message to President of Mexico Felipe Calderon Hinojosa demanding justice for these killings and better protection of forest activists