October 27 marks six years since our compañero Fidencio Aldama was kidnapped by the state and locked in prison in Ciudad Obregón, Sonora. Like so many other cases in so-called Mexico and throughout the world, Fidencio Aldama is imprisoned for being Indigenous, for defending his territory, customs, and traditions in a world dominated by nation-states and capitalism.
We remember that Fidencio’s arrest and continued imprisonment is the result of a coordinated effort between the Mexican State and SEMPRA Energy (via its affiliate in Mexico, IEnova) to impose a natural gas pipeline through Yaqui territory. When the Yaqui town of Loma de Bácum got organized and refused to accept the “Gasoducto Sonora” pipeline project on their traditional lands, the corporation-state nexus resorted to violent repression, orchestrating an attack on Loma de Bácum on October 21, 2016, and ultimately arresting Fidencio Aldama a week later on trumped up charges.
After a legal process filled with irregularities and the anti-Indigenous racism inherent to the Mexican state, in April of 2018 Fidencio was sentenced to fifteen years and six months for the death of Cruz Buitimea Piña, which took place the day of the attack on Loma de Bácum. After a drawn-out appeal process, the courts recently confirmed Fidencio’s conviction, but reduced his sentence from fifteen years and six months to fourteen years in prison.
Since Fidencio has been locked up, the situation in Loma de Bácum has only worsened. On July 14, 2021, ten people were disappeared from Loma de Bácum—seven of them Indigenous Yaquis—while organizing for the traditional festivities of Virgen del Carmen in their pueblo. After a months long search effort led principally by Yaqui women and family members of the disappeared, seven of their remains were found and identified. These disappearances exemplify how organized crime, the state, and corporations mutually benefit from one another, planting terror in Indigenous communities to disarticulate community organization and consolidate projects of capital accumulation and state control.
Meanwhile, the Mexican state has continued promoting the politics of clientelism through their so-called “Plan de Justicia” for the Yaqui tribe, reinforcing the colonial mission to make the Yaqui people and Yaqui lands productive for global capitalism. As part of the so-called “Plan de Justicia,” the governor of Sonora, Alfonso Durazo, has even recently proposed the designation of a special economic zone in Yaqui territory, to facilitate manufacturing industries with cheap Yaqui labor.
Considering all of the above, we hold responsible the CEO of Sempra Energy, Jeffrey M. Martin, the CEO of IEnova, Tania Mena Ortiz, the General Director of the CFE, Manuel Bartlett Diaz, the Governor of Sonora, Alfonso Durazo, and the President of the Republic, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, for Fidencio Aldama’s continued imprisonment and the ongoing repression/cooptation being carried out in Yaqui territory. We also hold responsible the different judges, magistrates, secretaries, judicial officials, etc. who have maintained this legal charade against Fidencio Aldama.
As the legal pathway for Fidencio Aldama’s freedom narrows, we want to reinforce the point that Fidencio Aldama’s freedom is in our hands. We must get organized, carry out actions, make noise, show solidarity in whatever way we can, to get Fidencio Aldama free and end the attacks on the Yaqui tribe. For every night Fidencio spends in a prison cell, let’s make those responsible suffer with nightmares for the harm they have caused.
Free Fidencio Aldama!
Free all prisoners!
Solidarity with Miguel Peralta!
Grupo de Apoyo a Fidencio Aldama
Current Legal Situation of Fidencio Aldama
As we shared in a previous statement, on June 17, 2022, the Third Collegiate Court of Sonora ruled on the appeal in the case of our compañero Fidencio Aldama (one year and nine months after the appeal was filed). The ruling was not favorable. The court stated that Fidencio is guilty of the intentional homicide of which he has been falsely accused. However, the resolution ruled that the degree of culpability in the commission of the crime had to be reviewed. That is, the case was sent back to the criminal court which had to decide whether to reduce Fidencio’s sentence possibly to the minimum of eight years, or confirm the sentence of fifteen years and six months that was already in place.
On August 24, 2022, the criminal court complied with the upper court’s ruling on the appeal, reducing Fidencio’s sentence by one year and six months to a total of fourteen years. Faced with this new situation, we cannot remain immobile waiting for Fidencio to serve out his unjust fourteen-year sentence. We must continue insisting and resisting until we can snatch back his freedom.
Legally, the new sentence will have to be fought with another direct appeal. Our intention is that the Supreme Court takes up the case. The case is important because it involves an Indigenous person belonging to the Yaqui Tribe who is being criminalized and punished, sentenced to prison for defending his territory by opposing the construction of a natural gas pipeline by an international company. This pipeline project puts at risk the lives of the inhabitants of Loma de Bácum, the pueblo where Fidencio lived with his family when he was detained.
Undoubtedly, we will continue to face the discrimination of the judicial authorities, who have up until this moment punished the struggle and resistance of a land defender. We will not rest until Fidencio is free, to hug his children and mother who impatiently wait for him.
Free Fidencio Aldama!
Free all political prisoners who resist from below!
Los Otros Abagadoz