José Antonio Montes Enríquez was a member of the indigenous Rarámuri community, Bosques San Elías Repechique, in the municipality of Bocoyna, Chihuahua.
He was a recognised leader of the community in the fight against the local authorities’ plans to build a new airport in indigenous territory.
On 6th June 2020, he was beaten to death in a fight.
National organisations have called for the thorough investigation of this case and have linked the killing to his activism against the construction of the airport and his defense of Rarámuri territory.
Montes had been shot at the beginning of 2020 and his home in the village of Creel had been burned down. He had protested against the building of the airport in Creel and had also campaigned against illegal logging in the area, which is largely controlled by organised crime.
Mónica Gretel Ruiz Anchondo the legal representative of the community, has alleged that this was a “state crime” as Montes had announced his intention to stage a protest at Barrancas de Cobre airport to highlight what he alleged was the misuse of the funds which had been allocated to compensate the indigenous people displaced following the construction of the first runway.
The committee set up by the state congress to administer the funds decided that compensation would only be given to those Rarámuri who had signed the original protest, thus excluding other members of the community.
The killer has since been sentenced to twelve years in prison.