On February 20, 2019, Samir Flores Soberanes was murdered. He was one of the founders of Amiltzinko community radio where he was a communicator, a member of the Peoples’ Front for Defense of Land and Water for the states of Morelos, Puebla, and Tlaxcala (FPDTA); a land defender against the Morelos Integral Project (PIM); and a promoter of community education and Indigenous Peoples autonomy.
Four years and four months after his murder, his family and community still have no justice. The investigation of his murder has been riddled with irregularities. It has focused only on the perpetrators of the crime but not the masterminds behind it and has limited the line of investigation to organized crime without taking into account his work as a land defender and communicator and the violence that such defenders face in Mexico and globally.
The case is currently under the jurisdiction of the office of the Prosecutor General of the state of Morelos. Due to the irregularities the case has faced, we echo the demand of the FPDTA that the case be urgently taken up by the office of the Special Prosecutor for Crimes Against Freedom of Expression as the first step to ensure justice for Samir.
Before his murder, Samir had already received multiple threats related to his work as a territorial defender. It is no coincidence, then, that he was murdered three days before a consultation imposed by the government on a thermoelectric plant in Huexca–one of the infrastructure projects of the Morelos Integral Project–which did not comply with international standards. Just a few days prior, Samir had expressed his opposition to the imposition of these projects without a legitimate consultation process through which the communities could give or withhold their Free, Prior, and Informed Consent.
Cultural Survival demands justice from the corresponding authorities to clarify the case and the cessation of every type of violence against Indigenous rights defenders.
Top photo: FPDTA