On January 23, 2021, the lifeless body of Fidel Heras Cruz was found with gunshot wounds inside his truck at the entrance to the La Esperanza community, Jamiltepec municipality. Previously, the defender had received threats for his work defending the Río Verde. Two days earlier, on January 21, he received an anonymous letter with death threats.
The events take place in a context of conflict over the defense of the Río Verde stemming from the extraction of stone material by local businessmen. This exploitation of the river’s natural resources was publicly denounced by Fidel Heras Cruz and the Paso de la Reyna community. The defender also participated actively in the fight against the Paso de la Reyna Hydroelectric Project and the Río Verde Hydroelectric Project.
Oaxaca is the most dangerous Mexican state for environmental defenders. Between 2012 and 2019, 85 attacks were recorded.
This attempt on Fidel’s life provoked a multitude of reactions at the national and international level. More than 1,200 people and groups signed the urgent action demanding #JusticiaParaFidel. Also, the OHCHR and the Diplomatic Corps made swift declarations of condemnation, urging to initiate a thorough investigation and protect members of COPUDEVER, an organization to which Fidel belonged. Likewise, European Member of Parliament Soraya Rodríguez from the Renew Europe group requested Mexican authorities to investigate so that this crime does not go unpunished.
Read the full article by PBI Mexico: The Mexican State is not effectively protecting environmental defenders