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News > Latin America

Mexico: Indigenous Community Police Leader Murdered in Oaxaca

  • Rolando Crispin Lopez had been a member of the Binniza community police of Alvaro Obregon for five years.

    Rolando Crispin Lopez had been a member of the Binniza community police of Alvaro Obregon for five years. | Photo: Reuters

Published 25 July 2018

Rolando Crispin Lopez, an Indigenous Binniza from Mexico, was murdered after his shift.

The National Indigenous Congress (CNI) and the Government Indigenous Council (CIG) condemned the murder of the indigenous community leader Rolando Crispin Lopez in Oaxaca and demanded justice for him.


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Crispin was a member of the Assembly of Indigenous People of the Istmo in Defense of Land and Territory (Apiitdtt), the Peoples' Assembly of the Juchiteco People (APPJ) and the Peoples' Assembly of Alvaro Obregon in Juchitan, Oaxaca.

After finishing his duty as a community police officer on Sunday, July 22, Crispin went to a local convenience store only to be gunned down. An 8-year-old were who was walking by was also injured in the attack.

Crispin had been a member of the community police, an alternative to ordinary corrupt police departments, for five years.

“He was cowardly murdered by a masked person, apparently a member of Juchitan's municipal police, who shot and killed our comrade from a motorcycle taxi,” the CNI and the CIG expressed in a public statement.

According to the Apiitdtt, to which Crispin belonged, witnesses identified the attacker as police officer Alejandro Matus Chavez, known as 'Escarda.' This information has not been officially confirmed.

The indigenous organizations said the attack was part of a general, planned offensive orchestrated by governments and transnational companies against the Indigenous Binniza (also called Zapoteco, in Spanish) community of Alvaro Obregon, which with “dignity and determination defends its territory against invasion and destruction by wind park mega projects.”

The Binniza organizations, along with the CNI and the CIG, demanded justice and punishment for the killing of Crispin, and made the state and federal governments responsible “for their incompetence to guarantee security for human rights defenders.”

The community of Alvaro Obregon, mostly of Binniza origin, has been defending their territory against the wind energy company Mareña Renovables since 2012. A year later, circumstances made them organize the “Binni guia'pa' guidxi',” a community police, as a self-defense measure against the company and corrupt authorities.

“Starting on that day, the comrade and other members of the community police have suffered aggressions, putting their lives on danger, by those trying to occupy the Santa Teresa territory to develop the wind energy project Mareña Renovables and strip the territory from those defending it with dignity,” says a statement by the community police and the Apiitdtt.

The CNI and the CIG, on their part, are nation-wide indigenous organizations backed by the National Liberation Zapatista Army. Last year they announced an initiative to propose an Indigenous Nahuatl woman as a candidate for the 2018 presidential elections. The electoral system, however, didn't work in her favor.

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