Mexico: gas pipeline opponents arrested

Popular organizations in the Mexican states of Puebla, Tlaxcala and Morelos announced protests to demand the liberation of three campesinos detained in connection with opposition to a planned gas pipeline through their communities. Juan Carlos Flores SolĂ­s of the Puebla and Tlaxcala Front of Pueblos in Defense of Water and Land (FPDATPT) was arrested April 8 with Enedina Rosas VĂ©lez, the comisariada ejidal (administrator of communal lands) at the village of San Felipe Xonacayucan, Atlixco municipality, Puebla. Later that day, Abraham Cordero CalderĂłn, president of the Campesino Front of Ejidatarios and Small Property Owners of the Valley of Texmelucan and the Sierra Nevada, was arrested at Atlixco. The three have apparently been charged with threatening public officials and “illegal privation of liberty” in connection with protests against the Gasoducto Morelos.

The new pipeline would move gas from fields in Tlaxcala to industrial zones in Morelos. Opponents say the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE) has failed to properly consult with the big majority of the approximately 80 campesino and indigenous communities whose lands will be impacted by the project. Roadblocks and other local actions have also opposed the planned Arco Poniente highway linking the region to Mexico City, and the privatization of water services in Puebla. Organizations including the Union of Indigenous Communities of the North Isthmus Zone (UCIZONI) and the Indigenous Agrarian Zapatista Movement (MAIZ) have pledged new militant protests to demand the release of the detained campesino leaders. (Municipios Puebla, April 9; Proceso, La Jornada de Oriente, e-consulta, April 8)