Mexican motorway blockaded

IssueSeptember 2013
News by Denise Drake

On 9 July, the Mexican indigenous national congress, in conjunction with the Zapatistas, issued a statement of solidarity and support for the people of the Yaqui nation, who have been blockading an international motorway to Arizona in the US. 

The Yaqui River valley, in Sonora, northern Mexico, is the ancestral home of the indigenous Yaqui tribe, and their ancestral source of water. In 2010, the state governor launched the ‘Independence Aqueduct’ project, designed to extract 75 million cubic metres of water per year from the Yaqui river and carry it 108 miles to the capital of the state, Hermosillo.

The Yaquis, as the stewards and guardians of the river, were not consulted, clearly a violation of their rights. The tribe went to court and gained an injunction in the Mexican supreme court saying the Sonoran government must stop the extraction of water. 

However, the injunction has been ignored, and the extraction continues.

There is now no water flowing in the river. The Yaqui have no water for human consumption or irrigating crops. Sea water is entering the river, causing salinisation of farming lands and water supplies, and people are becoming ill.