Mexico: Protect the Purépecha from criminal loggers
Eight indigenous rangers were brutally murdered, simply because they wanted to protect their forest – two were shot, six burnt. But so far the police has failed to engage in serious investigations.
The Purépecha have lived in fear of criminal loggers who threaten their life for years. Desperate for protection they held 16 police officers in an office for a day to effect an investigation into the crimes that have been committed.
80 percent of forest cut down by illegal loggers
About two years ago, armed illegal loggers showed up, quickly clearing 80 percent of the Purépecha forest. According to the indigenous, organised crime is shielding the activites of the loggers in Mexico.
Last year 17,000 indigenous barricaded their town using sandbags and tyres to stop illegal loggers coming in after two Purépecha had been murdered.
The Purépecha demand better protection against criminals and an adequate investigation of the recent homicide cases.
The Purépecha live in the Sierra Madre Mountains of the western mexican state Michoacan. They still speak their own language and continue to hold on to a variety of traditional customs.
They are especially renowned for their arts and crafts and their colourfully painted clay sculptures.
The Purépecha traditionally live in harmony with the forest, which they depend upon for traditional medicine and resin collection.
Nowadays, as a result of the loss of forests and ensuing migration, many of the Purépecha live an impoverished and marginalized life working under harsh conditions, for example on toxic landfills.
Please write to the governor of the Mexican state Michoacán and demand the protection of the Purépecha and their forest. Start of campaign: Apr 23, 2012