Indigenous Huicholes Community Leader Slain with Brother in Jalisco
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May 23, 2017
Indigenous Wixarika people march for land rights in the Mexican city of Guadalajara
An Indigenous community leader in Mexico has been assassinated alongside his brother, as the country’s human rights situation continues to spark national and international alarm just days after the murder of a renowned veteran journalist.
Miguel Vazquez Flores, president of the communal lands commission representing the Wixarika Indigenous community of San Sebastian Teponahuaxtlan in the western Mexican state of Jalisco, was murdered with his brother Saturday around 6:00 p.m. local time in Tuxpan de Bolaños, another Wixarika community.
The murders come just days after Mexican journalist and author Javier Valdez — a prominent drug crime reporter with La Jornada in Sinaloa, founder of the magazine Riodoce and author of several books — was shot dead in broad daylight in the city of Culiacan. The high-profile assassination came on the heels of a new report that dubbed Mexico the world’s second most deadly conflict zone, next only to Syria.
According to Front Line Defenders, 26 human rights defenders were killed in Mexico in 2016 alone, while Article 19 documented 11 murders of journalists in the same year amid soaring levels of impunity for politically-motivated killings.
While the details of Vazquez Flores’ activism as a community leader and president of a local communal lands commission have not been reported, the Wixarika people, also known as Huicholes — and known as Wuaut+a by the local Indigenous population — in Mexico's Western Madre Sierra mountain range have fought for decades to reclaim some 10,000 hectares of ancestral land that the group argues is under “irregular possession.”
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