Activist Adrián Tihuilit was a defender of land and natural resources in San Juan Tahictic, a community that has opposed the construction of the Gaya hydroelectric dam in the Mexican state of Puebla.
Adrián was recognized for his fight against Gaya S.A. de C.V., a company that has tried for years to build a hydroelectric plant in the community of San Juan Tahitic. According to the residents, this project would irreversibly affect the local forest and the Apulco river. Moreover, the project does not have the permission of the community in the area of Cuetzalán. Since 2013, Adrián and his community have defended their territory and on several occasions expelled Gaya S.A. de C.V.’s workers from their land.
On 1 June 2018, Adrián’s body was found one day after he disappeared. His relatives reported his disappearance to the municipal authorities, but the community also organised their own search parties. After a long search, his car and body were found. He had been shot in the head
Adrián was the second defender of human rights and environmental rights to be murdered in the space of two weeks in the north eastern mountains of the state of Puebla. Manuel Gaspar Rodríguez, who worked to integrate different branches of the human rights movement, had received threats and his body was found in a hotel in Cuetzalán.
In a march organised to protest the murders of Adrián and Manuel, an activist spoke of Adrián, saying that “we can not back down, we have to fight to defend this territory and denounce incursions, whether we are afraid or not. Our partner’s death hurts us and that is why we are obliged to continue.”
Based on original reports from El Quinto Medio and Urbano Puebla