It is one scandal atop another that about 16 months after the arrest warrant was issued against him Mario Luna Romer, the secretary of the Yaqui tribe, was arrested. Plainclothes policemen aboard four unmarked vehicles, seized him on September 11.
The arrest and imprisonment of the indigenous leader–who, according to the state attorney, PAN member Carlos Alberto Navarro, is a person “immersed in a struggle against state authority”–was executed in the midst of the battle between the federal government and Governor Guillermo Padres over the poisoning of the Bacanuchi and Sonora Rivers by Groupo Mexico mining company. There is also the legal complaint that the governor built on his 8,900 acre family ranch a reservoir with a dam over 100 meters [328 ft.] wide, capable of storing more than 4 million cubic meters [141 million cubic feet] of water.
Mario Luna is a translator and representative of the Vicam Yaquis, one of eight villages that make up the tribe. He has led protests and lawsuits to stop the construction and operation of the Independence Aqueduct, which takes water from the Yaqui River’s El Novillo dam. The aqueduct directly threatens the survival, traditional culture and livelihood of the tribe. Just on September 4, a week before he was arrested, he had traveled to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to present the case.
For more information on Mario Luna’s Detention and Yaqui’s Fight for Water see: Yaqui Tribal Authority’s Jailing in Water Conflict Signals Need to Implement Environmental Justice, Imprisonment Of Indigenous Activist Without Evidence Is “Outrageous” – Yaqui People