Rolando Crispín López

Rolando Crispín López was a member of the Assembly of the Indigenous Peoples of the Isthmus in Defense of Land and Territory, of the People’s Assembly of the Juchiteco People (APPJ) and of the People’s Assembly of Álvaro Obregón.

For five years he served as a member of the alternative police force of Álvaro Obregón, a community that created its own cadre of guards for protection in the context of a struggle to defend its territory against the Mareña Renovables wind power company, now called Eólica del Sur, which is financed by Spanish capital. The guards are referred to as the community police force.

In a statement, the Assembly of the Indigenous Peoples of the Isthmus in Defense of the Land and the APPJ reported that at eight o’clock in the morning of July 22, 2018, when his shift as a community police officer ended, Rolando went to a store located in Benito Juárez to make some purchases. Almost immediately, a masked man arrived on a motorcycle and repeatedly fired at Rolando, murdering him and wounding an 8-year-old girl who was walking down the street. According to these organisations, several neighbours identified the perpetrator as Alejandro Matus Chávez, an active municipal police officer assigned to the municipality of Juchitán.

State terrorism

The APPJ and the members of the Totopo community radio condemned the murder of Rolando Crispín López and demanded justice from the state government. They warned that the violence that is brewing in the region against land rights defenders falls within what they called state terrorism, since it is caused by different levels of government.

In 2012, a group of citizens, including women, farmers and fishermen, decided to fight against the Mareña Renovables project because it required use of a lagoon considered sacred by local families. This led to the creation of the People’s Assembly of Álvaro Obregón. A year later, in 2013, they founded their community police force, with which they defend their land and territory.

In its statement on the murder, the Assembly declared that “we fight for life, and the life of our partner was worth more than all the money used in all the mega death projects that are being developed in our territories.”

Based on the original report by La Jornada

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Date of Killing:22/07/2018

Previous Threats:Yes

Type of Work:Community leader

Organisation:Asamblea Popular de Pueblo Juchiteco| Popular Assembly of the Juchiteco People; policia comunitaria | community police force

Sector or Type of Rights the HRD Worked On:Civil and Political Rights, ESC Rights

Sector Detail:Abuse of power/corruption, Extractive industries/Mega projects, Indigenous Peoples' Rights

More information:Front Line Defenders

1This database records an individual's chosen gender identity. If they do not self-identify as male or female they can use the option of recording other/neither or use the term NBGI (non binary gender identity).