Mexico Named Deadliest Country for Environmental Activists

“Nothing has advanced: he is dead, they killed him, but who had him killed?” he said. “It’s infuriating.”

Sometimes environmentalists just disappear. In the Yaqui community alone, eight people disappeared last year, and if they were murder victims, finding them could be difficult. Bodies are often hidden or destroyed, leaving little evidence of the crime. The practice is known as forced disappearance, and in Mexico it is widespread: more than 100,000 people They have been considered missing since 1964, according to government figures.

Global Witness recorded 19 enforced disappearances of land rights activists in Mexico in 2021, including Irma Galindo Barrios, an environmentalist, who had faced intimidation from local officials due to her work defending forests in the southern state of Oaxaca. . she disappeared last October and has not been seen since.

The violence has continued this year. In March, an indigenous environmental activist, José Trinidad Baldenegro, was murdered in the northern state of Chihuahua. his brother, Isidro Baldenegro, prominent environmentalist, he was assassinated in 2017.

Despite the dangers, many environmentalists remain committed to preserving their land and resources.

“Since childhood they teach you that you have to fight for the interests of the tribe, the water, the land,” said Jiménez, the Yaqui activist. “We continue with the people, the people are what make us strong.”

Christina Noriega contributed reporting from Bogotá, Colombia.