rabble blogs are the personal pages of some of Canada's most insightful progressive activists and commentators. All opinions belong to the writer; however, writers are expected to adhere to our guidelines. We welcome new bloggers -- contact us for details.

Justice for Indigenous land and water defenders killed in Mexico

Please chip in to support more articles like this. Support rabble.ca for as little as $5 per month!

Photo by Peace Brigades International.

In January 2017, two Indigenous land defenders, Isidro Baldenegro Lóperz and Juan Ontiveros Ramos, were killed in the state of Chihuahua in northern Mexico. Both Lóperz and Ramos were Rarámuri or Tarahumara, an Indigenous people in Chihuahua.

Lóperz was focused on stopping illegal logging in the municipality of Guadalupe and Calvo, while Ramos was defending his ancestral territory of Choréachi, which is also situated in the same municipality.

According to the Dublin-based group Front Line Defenders, "Juan Ontiveros Ramos was dedicated to combating illegal logging and land grabbing for illicit crop harvesting on the ancestral lands of the Rarámuri people in the Sierra Tarahumara."

The Guadalupe and Calvo municipality is situated in the Sierra Tarahumara, a mountain range in Chihuahua where logging and mining without the free, prior, and informed consent are critical issues of concern.

In October 2018, Julián Carrillo Martínes, another Rarámuri land and water defender, was killed in the same municipality. He was an outspoken defender of Indigenous rights, an opponent of deforestation, and concerned about the impacts of mining.

Just prior to his murder, Amnesty International had "observed a community assembly in which Julián Carrillo expressed opposition to [the granting of a mining concession on their territory] because of its environmental and social impact and because it could lead to a rise in violence in the area."

Martínes was also a member of the Alianza Sierra Madre AC (ASMAC), "a civil society organization that accompanies the Indigenous peoples of the Sierra Tarahumara in the exercise of their human and collective rights, the conservation and restoration of their natural and cultural assets, for the well-being of their communities."

In January of this year, Amnesty International released its report that focuses on the death of Julián Carrillo and what needs to be done.

Peace Brigades International-Mexico Project was at that media conference to accompany the speaker from ASMAC and has supported the broader call for an investigation into the murder of Julián Carrillo.

According to Amnesty International, "In 2014, following its assessment of the serious threats that Julián Carrillo faced, the Ministry of the Interior's Protection Mechanism for Human Rights Defenders and Journalists granted him protection measures. [...]The measures -- which included satellite phones, panic buttons and police escorts when he travelled -- were not enough to prevent him being killed."

PBI-Mexico also supports the call by Amnesty International and numerous allies that the Mexican government implement a comprehensive policy to improve the security situation for land and water, human rights, and Indigenous rights defenders so that they can carry out their work without risk of threats, harassment or death.

Brent Patterson is a political activist and writer

Image: Peace Brigades International

Help make rabble sustainable. Please consider supporting our work with a monthly donation. Support rabble.ca today for as little as $1 per month!

Thank you for reading this story…

More people are reading rabble.ca than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all, while striving to make it sustainable as well. Media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our main supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help. You are what keep us sustainable.

rabble.ca has staked its existence on you. We live or die on community support -- your support! We get hundreds of thousands of visitors and we believe in them. We believe in you. We believe people will put in what they can for the greater good. We call that sustainable.

So what is the easy answer for us? Depend on a community of visitors who care passionately about media that amplifies the voices of people struggling for change and justice. It really is that simple. When the people who visit rabble care enough to contribute a bit then it works for everyone.

And so we’re asking you if you could make a donation, right now, to help us carry forward on our mission. Make a donation today.


We welcome your comments! rabble.ca embraces a pro-human rights, pro-feminist, anti-racist, queer-positive, anti-imperialist and pro-labour stance, and encourages discussions which develop progressive thought. Our full comment policy can be found here. Learn more about Disqus on rabble.ca and your privacy here. Please keep in mind:


  • Tell the truth and avoid rumours.
  • Add context and background.
  • Report typos and logical fallacies.
  • Be respectful.
  • Respect copyright - link to articles.
  • Stay focused. Bring in-depth commentary to our discussion forum, babble.


  • Use oppressive/offensive language.
  • Libel or defame.
  • Bully or troll.
  • Post spam.
  • Engage trolls. Flag suspect activity instead.