Mexican Environmental Leader Killed

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Escrito por FriscoJuan desde ( el día domingo, 20 de septiembre, 2009 a las 17:09:02 horas :

September 18, 2009

Environment News

Mexican Environmental Leader Killed

Internationally-known Mexican environmentalist and forest defender Felipe
Arreaga was killed Wednesday, September 16, while driving his ATV in
Petatlan, Guerrero. The longtime campesino leader was struck by a mini-bus
and died a few hours later in a hospital in nearby Zihuatanejo. Although
Petatlan is the site of a military base, it lacks civilian medical
facilities capable of handling serious injuries. The driver of the
mini-bus fled the scene of the crash, and many circumstances of the
incident are still unclear.

The 60-year-old Arreaga first rose to international prominence during the
1990s as one of the leaders of a movement to halt over-logging in the
Sierra Madres. The campesino environmentalists were persecuted by logging
interests a
nd authorities, and Arreaga himself was eventually jailed on
flimsy murder charges before being acquitted in 2005. In recent years,
Arreaga and his wife, Celsa Valdovinos, dedicated their efforts to
reforesting the Sierra Madres and promoting organic agriculture.

While still in jail, Arreaga was awarded the Chico Mendes prize by the
Sierra Club. In 2006, Mexico’s Ministry of the Environment and Natural
Resources also recognized Arreaga’s efforts. Arreaga was buried in his
beloved Sierra Madres on Thursday, September 17, 2009. As one Mexican
reporter wrote, “The cloudy sky seemed to indicate that even nature was
saddened by his passing.”

Below is an original 2005 article that first appeared in Frontera NorteSur
about Arreaga’s imprisonment and his life-long struggle to save the Sierra
Madres and the communities that inhabit the high forests and Costa Grande
of Guerrero.

-Kent Paterson

Frontera NorteSur (FNS): on-line, U.S.-Mexico border news
Center for Latin American and Border Studies
New Mexico State University Las Cruces,New Mexico

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