Death Threats Over the Movement to Stop El Zapotillo Dam

Friday, April 9, 2010

Press release by IMDEC and MAPDER

9 April 2010

Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico

Members of the Committe to Save Temaca, Acasico and Palmarejo, a Human Rights Activist, and a Journalist Threated Over the Movement to Stop El Zapotillo Dam

On Saturday April 3, 2010, in Temacapulín, Jalisco, Mexico, brothers Jesus and Juan Manuel Agustín Jiménez Carvajal, members of the Committee to Save Temaca, Palmarejo, and Acasico; Marco Joachim von Borstel Nilsson, a member of the Mexican Institute for Community Development (IMDEC); and Jade Ramirez Cuevas Villanueva, a journalist for News Media Network UDG Radio Universidad de Guadalajara, were threatened with death.

At approximately 10:15 P.M. on 3rd April, three strangers identifying themselves as federal employees entered the local business owned by Manuel de Jesus Carvajal Jiménez (El Bombon) and threatened Marco von Borstel and Jade Ramirez Cuevas Villanueva, launching a series of curses and insults, saying "The dam is going to be built, we don't understand why you continue with this and don't respect the government." Before this, they had approached Juan Agustín Jiménez Carvajal, saying, "you, your brother (Manuel de Jesus Carvajal Jimenez), the woman (referring to Jade Ramirez) and the guy in the hat (referring to Marco von Borstel), you four are screwed and will die soon for stirring up trouble."

Media contacts: 

Mexican Institute for Community Development (IMDEC), A.C.
+ 52 3811 0714 Ext. 111 - 116

Colectivo COA
+52 3825 4903

More information: 

Facts from the night of April 3, 2010

1. From 6:30-9:00 PM, a public meeting was held in Temacapulín by the Committee To Save Temaca, Acasico and Palmarejo in Plaza Hidalgo. The Committee presented the main actions of resistance to El Zapotillo Dam that had been carried out so far this year. The meeting was calm, participatory and inclusive, but residents noticed that some strangers were filming the meeting from afar.

2. Afterwards, Jade Ramirez Cuevas and Marcus von Borstel went to the local business of Manuel de Jesús Carvajal Jiménez to share the outcomes of the meeting with local youth.

3. At 10:15 PM three strangers entered the community, approached Juan Agustín Jiménez Carvajal and said "you, your brother (Manuel de Jesús Carvajal Jiménez), the woman (referring to Jade Ramirez) and the guy in the hat (referring to Marco von Borstel), you four are screwed and will die soon for stirring up trouble."

4. The strangers then entered Manuel's business. In front of Juan, the tallest of the strangers beckoned Jade Ramirez to come close but she was afraid and so did not. He and a second, sickly-looking stranger approached her while the third stranger stayed seated and watched. The tall one said condescendingly to Jade "why are you misbehaving like this"; she said nothing. He asked her if she was working and was from Guadalajara, to which she replied "yes." He then asked her name and she responded by asking for his, and he responded "Angel." He then added "We are federal employees. Are you involved in the dam issue?" She replied "yes." Then the other guy said, "You're also involved with the dam issue? Well it's going to flood the town, no matter . . . the town will be flooded, the water will be higher than the houses and the statue [of Miguel Hidalgo] in the plaza."

5. Marco and some residents helped Jade move away from the strangers, but stayed attentive. The sickly one approached Marco and threatened him saying "the dam will go ahead, what you guys do isn't important"; "remember that Jalisco is united"; "we are Jalisco and we cut corners"; "it is safer to travel in hiding than out in the open"; "I'm going to kick your butt right now"; "everybody dies eventually";" sooner or later you're screwed and we're going to have a run in."

6. Finally, Manuel intervened telling the guys "This is my business, she's my sister, he's my cousin. Please leave." At 11 PM the three men walked outside, got in a beige pickup truck, hit a parked truck, and drove off. Everyone in the room went outside to try to stop them but they fled.