Photo: Protests over El Barzon deaths
Hundreds of peasants staged a protest outside the Governor’s Palace in the northern Mexican state of Chihuahua and in front of the state’s representative office in Mexico City to draw attention to the murders of two members of the El Barzon debtors’ organization.
“We have taken the state Governor’s Palace and we are going to honor Ismael and Manuelita, his companion,” El Barzon national leader Alfonso Ramirez Cuellar told Efe by telephone Tuesday from Chihuahua city.
The bodies of Ismael Solorio, El Barzon’s leader in Ciudad Cuauhtemoc, Chihuahua, and his wife, Manuela Solis, were found on Monday.
The two had left Namiquipa, a city in a Mennonite agricultural area, in a pick-up truck.
El Barzon, which was founded in 1994, protects Mexican farmers whose properties face the threat of foreclosure for failing to pay bank loans.
The grassroots organization has also taken up other causes in rural areas.
The organization’s leaders have met with representatives of the Government Secretariat and with Chihuahua Gov. Cesar Duarte, who vowed to clear up the case, Ramirez Cuellar said.
The two activists killed had been subjected to harassment for demanding that officials halt the operations of a unit of Canadian mining company MAG Silver Corp. and end pollution from the illegal release of contaminated water, the El Barzon leader said.
“We have a commitment from Gov. Cesar Duarte to put a definitive end to the mine, which has been polluting and causing confrontations in the community of Buenaventura,” Ramirez Cuellar said.