On April 23, the Peace Brigades International-Mexico Project tweeted: “PBI accompanies the end of the Caravan for Water and Life in the Nahuatl community of Cuentepec in the state of Morelos. It is the outcome of a month of articulation of struggles in defense of land, territory, and the environment in 9 states of the country.”
Now, Lillian Perlmutter further reports in The Guardian on the water crisis in Monterrey, Nuevo León, and across Mexico.
She notes: “More than half of Mexico is suffering from drought, and the national water authority, Conagua, declared a state of emergency in four northern states [Sonora, Baja California, Coahuila, and Chihuahua].”
“Nowhere is the crisis felt more acutely than in Monterrey’s poorest areas. Several brewers and soft drinks companies have factories in the city, and these use about 60 times the amount consumed by the city’s population, nearly 90bn liters a year in total, and over half of that – nearly 50bn liters a year (or 50m cubic meters) – is water from public reservoirs.”
“The drought has not halted their water use; companies including Coca-Cola and Heineken use private wells to continue extracting groundwater for their production lines.”
Her article also highlights: “In recent weeks, activists have popularised the phrase: “No es sequía, es saqueo” (“It’s not drought, it’s plunder”).”
The full article can be read in ‘It’s plunder’: Mexico desperate for water while drinks companies use billions of liters.
Caravan for Water and Life
On January 15 and 16 of this year, PBI-Mexico accompanied the National Meeting of Struggles Against Gas Pipelines and Death Projects in the municipality of Juan C. Bonilla in the state of Puebla in south-eastern Mexico.
The meeting took place at the Bonafont bottled water plant reclaimed by Indigenous and local communities in August 2021. La Jornada has reported that Bonafont has taken more than 1,400,000 liters of water a day over the past 25 years.
The National Meeting expressed opposition to the Canadian company TC Energy’s Tuxpan-Tula gas pipeline, the Morelos gas pipeline (part of the Morelos Integral Project/PIM). Latino Rebels has reported: “To cool the turbines at the [thermoelectric] plant, the adjoining aqueduct must draw 50 million liters of water daily from the Cuautla River.”
Pie de Pagina noted: “The final result of the Meeting was the announcement of the Caravan for Life that will depart on March 22.”
Tamara Pearson reported in Truthout: “For the launch, the caravan held a press conference and marched outside Bonafont, a water bottling plant that is owned by Danone. Local Nahua peoples had taken over the plant last year but were evicted by the military in February. The bottling plant is now guarded by security forces in full battle gear, with a wall of 20-liter water bottles and two steel fences to prevent Indigenous locals from returning.”
Pearson also wrote: “It’s not a drought, it’s looting” has been one of the main chants of the month-long caravan.”
The full article by Tamara Pearson in Truthout can be read in “It’s Not a Drought, It’s Looting”: Water Rights Activists Organize in Mexico.
On July 28, 2010, through Resolution 64/292, the United Nations General Assembly explicitly recognized the human right to water and sanitation and acknowledged that clean drinking water and sanitation are essential to the realization of all human rights.
We celebrate this recognition and continue to follow the ongoing struggle for the implementation of this human right.
On December 15, 2021, PBI-Mexico participated in the International Observation Mission on Human Rights at the occupied Bonafont plant that had been renamed La Casa de los Pueblos, Altepelmacalli.