Tarahumara leader assassinated in Chihuahua

Julián Carrillo Martínez, a Tarahumara indigenous leader at the community of Coloradas de la Virgen, Guadalupe y Calvo municipality, in northern Mexico's Chihuahua state, was assassinated by unknown assailants Oct. 24, according to local advocacy group Alianza Sierra Madre. Carrillo Martínez was leading an effort by Coloradas de la Virgen to recover usurped traditional lands, with a case pending before the Agrarian Tribunal for the local district 5. Community residents were also petitioning Mexico's Secretariat of the Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT) to halt logging operations in forested areas of the disputed lands. (La Jornada, Amnesty International, Oct. 25) Several community residents have been assassinated in Coloradas de la Virgen since the community began its land recovery effort.

The slaying at Coloradas de la Virgen came one day after another Tarahumara community in the same municipality, Choreachi, won its 20-year case before the Agrarian Tribunals, recovering nearly 33,000 hectares that had been usurped by caciques (local political bosses) in the neighboring communities of Coloradas de los Chávez, Ejido Pino Gordo and Tuaripa. Choreachi residents had similarly been targeted with threats and attacks over the years for demanding recovery of their traditional lands. (El Diario de Chihuahua, Oct. 24)

Photo: Amnesty International