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Alfredo Cisneros: Fifth Mexican Environmentalist Assassinated in 2023

Alfredo Cisneros Madrigal, indigenous leader and forest defender in Michoacán, Mexico was murdered on February 23. He is the fifth environmental defender to be murdered in the country so far this year.

Axomalli Villanueva

March 13, 2023
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Alfredo Cisneros, Mexican land defender from Michoacán, stands in a forest. He is the fifth land defender to be murdered in the country in 2023.

Alfredo Cisneros Madrigal, indigenous leader and defender of the Purepecha forests, was murdered in the Mexican state of Michoacán on the night of February 21 by an alleged armed commando who arrived at his home.

The Supreme Indigenous Council of Michoacán (CSIM), stated that the community leader was a tireless defender of the Purepecha forests. He had recently denounced the illegal logging of its pine forest areas for the change of land use and planting of avocado trees before the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources.

According to the CSIM, in the last two decades in Michoacán, there have been around 60 murders or disappearances of social activists, forest defenders, indigenous authorities, and environmentalists.

On Monday, communal authorities from 70 towns blocked six highways in the Purepecha region to demand justice for the disappeared and murdered forest defenders and for the establishment of a P’urhépecha Justice Plan.

So far, the State Prosecutor’s Office has not determined the motive for the crime, nor the identity of the perpetrators, and is keeping several lines of investigation open.

This is the fifth murder of a land and environmental defender in Mexico in 2023 and comes less than a week after the death of Abisaí Pérez, who was a graduate of Universidad Autónoma de la Ciudad de México and who denounced the ecocide of the Emisor Oriente Tunnel project in the Valley of Mexico. Meanwhile, environmental defenders Ricardo Lagunes and the community leader Antonio Díaz, also from the state of Michoacán, are still missing.

Originally published in Spanish on February 23 in La Izquierda Diario México.

Translation by Kimberly Ann 

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