On 04 May 2019, indigenous rights defenders José Lucio Bartolo Faustino and Modesto Verales Sebastián attended a meeting with other members of the Consejo Indígena y Popular de Guerrero-Emiliano Zapata (CIPOG-EZ) / The Popular Indigenous Council of Guerrero-Emiliano Zapata in Chilpancingo, Guerrero, Mexico. On the return journey to their communities they were ambushed, kidnapped and murdered by nacro-paramilitaries operating in the municipality of Chilapa de Álvarez .
José Lucio Bartolo Faustino was an Indigenous Governing Council (CIG) member from the Nahua indigenous community of Xicotlán and Modesto Verales Sebastián was a delegate of the National Indigenous Congress (CNI) from the Nahua indigenous community of Buenavista. Both were part of the Emiliano Zapata Popular Indigenous Council of Guerrero [CIPOG-EZ], which is a member organisation of the CNI-CIG.
According to a joint communication by the National Indigenous Congress [CNI], the Indigenous Governing Council [CIG], and the Zapatista Army for National Liberation [EZLN], for many years these indigenous rights defenders and their communities have been organising their own Community Police in order to resist the violence, extortion, and poppy cultivation imposed by two criminal groups in the area. The communication alleges that these two groups, Los Ardillos and Los Rojos, control municipal presidencies across the region and are protected by the Mexican army and the municipal and state police.
The communication goes on to say… “We send our collective embrace and solidarity to the family members and compañeros of José Lucio Bartolo Faustino and Modesto Verales Sebastián, and we share with them our commitment to continue this path of autonomy and dignity for which our fallen compañeros provide a light and an example.
We denounce the intensification of neo-liberal repression against the indigenous peoples, nations, and tribes who do not consent to these projects of death in Guerrero and in all of Mexico, nor to the violence which is used to impose these projects and to repress, kidnap, disappear, and murder those of us who have decided to sow a new world from the indigenous geographies that we are.”
This attack and killing of indigenous rights defenders on 04 May 2019 in the state of Guerrero, Mexico, was followed just 20 days later (24 May 2019) by the disappearance and murder of indigenous rights defenders Bartolo Hilario Morales and Isaías Xanteco Ahuejote, indigenous Nahua, members of the Guerrero community police and local promoters of the Indigenous and Popular Council of Guerrero – Emiliano Zapata (CIPOG-EZ), bringing to four the number of indigenous rights defenders murdered in the area in the month of May 2019.