The end of October is a time of traumatic memories for the Indigenous Rarámuri community of Coloradas de la Virgen in the Tarahumara mountains of northern Mexico. It was on October 24, 2018 that community leader and forest defender Julián Carrillo was shot dead. The assassination came just a week after Julian spoke out against the environmental impacts of a mining concession awarded by authorities to a Canadian mining company without the free, prior and informed consent of the Indigenous people whose lands would be impacted.
The killing of Julián Carrillo is no isolated case. A shocking number of defenders of land, Indigenous territory and the environment have been killed in Mexico. Many others have received death threats and must decide whether to abandon their efforts to protect rights and the environment, or live in constant fear of being gunned down.
This crisis is largely invisible, despite the election of President López Obrador, who promised to bring human rights change to Mexico. Violence and injustice continue, especially when communities speak out against resource extraction projects they say will damage their land and the environment.