Chihuahua: rural activist killed

At around noon on March 14 a group of armed men killed farmer leader Armando Villarreal Martha with submachine gun blasts near his house in Nuevo Casas Grandes municipality, in the northern Mexican state of Chihuahua. Villarreal Martha was the leader of the National Agrodynamic Organization (OAN). He was well-known for his campaigns for lower electricity rates for farmers and campesinos, and was imprisoned for a year and a half before being acquitted of charges in connection with the occupation of the Janos and Villa Ahumada customs station in 2002. Earlier this year he was involved in national protests calling for the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and in demands for the reactivation of the petrochemical industry to make fertilizers and other chemicals cheaper for farmers. He ran as a local candidate for the centrist Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) in 1988 and for the center-left Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) in 1992. (La Jornada, March 15)

From Weekly News Update on the Americas, March 16

See our last posts on Mexico, the anti-NAFTA struggle, and Chihuahua.