MEXICO CITY – Prosecutors in the border state of Sonora, northern Mexico, said on Monday that tests confirmed that a severely decomposed corpse is that of an indigenous rights leader who went missing nearly four years ago. weeks.
The office said DNA tests and fingerprints were used to identify Tomás Rojo Valencia, a leader of the indigenous Yaqui community. His body was found last week near the Yaqui town of Vicam, Sonora.
Rojo Valencia disappeared on May 27 following tensions over Yaqui roadblocks protesting against gas pipes, water pipes and railway lines that passed through their territory without consulting them or giving them much information. ‘benefits. Rojo Valencia has been the spokesperson for the Yaquis in past conflicts over land and water rights.
Confirmation came the same day that a 25-year-old Yaqui woman was reported missing after leaving her home in Vicam to go to work, but never arrived. She was last seen on June 17th.
President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has made it his special project to bring justice to the Yaquis, whom he described as the most persecuted indigenous group in Mexico.
In February, the conflict over roadblocks came to a head with the death of an Indigenous man killed when a truck driver passed through a Yaqui roadblock, striking a member of the group.
Businessmen and truckers in Sonora state complain that roadblocks seriously affect the flow of raw materials and export goods, and said protesters are sometimes abusive or demand money for allow them to pass.
Perhaps best known abroad for the mystical and visionary powers attributed to them by writer Carlos Castaneda, the Yaquis stubbornly fought the Mexican government’s brutal campaign to eliminate the tribe in the late 1800s and early 1900s. 1900.
But they were largely defeated by 1900, and dictator Porfirio Diaz began to move them from their fertile farmlands to less valuable land or near slavery on haciendas as far away as the Far Eastern state of Yucatan.
In 2020, López Obrador visited Yaqui territory for the establishment of the Yaqui People’s Justice Commission, and he said he plans to apologize on behalf of the government for the genocidal war waged against them. .
The commission has promised housing, development projects and a greater voice for impoverished Yaqui communities, but some Yaquis are not participating in the talks and the deal has failed to quell protests, which sometimes demand large compensation.
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