Dying for water?
Supposedly, recently-elected Sonoran State Legislator Eduardo Castro Luque (PRI) was murdered by by hitmen paid by 25-year old Manuel Fernandez Felix. In most Mexican elections, there is a “B-team” candidate listed for each candidate — the “supliente” — who takes office should the candidate be unable to hold his or her seat for some reason… normally because one cannot be a candidate for federal office while holding elective office, and office-holders resign en masse six months to the day before the next general election, and the “supliente” fills in for the remainder of the term. Being killed, though, is another very good reason one might not be able to serve.
The 25-year old Fernandez was supposedly looking for a short-cut to a political career, was the “intellectual author” behind the hit, but political ambition may not be the motive behind the crime.
Follow the money — or rather the water. State Prosecutor Carlos Navarro has refused to consider Castro and Fernandez’s winning campaign issue. The PRI candidates (both from the smaller, “reformist” wing of the party) promised to fight a proposed transfer of billions of gallons of water from the own district in the agricultural region of Ciudad Obregón to state capital Hermosillo. The water transfer was backed by PAN (which presently controls the state government). Fernandez, according to his supporters, was a reluctant candidate, and only ran because — as a young (25 year old) hydraulic engineer, running as a supliente gave him a platform to discuss an issue of importance to him.
The PRI is asking for a federal prosecutor to take over the case, and Fernandez is presently a fugitive. And his constituents have no representative to speak for them at a time when the state legislature takes up considering a project that PAN Governor Guillermo Padrés Elías has been pushing, despite judicial orders to halt the project.
I haven’t followed this story (my source was AP coverage, which naturally crow-barred in some reference to narcotics) but this isn’t the first time environmental activists have been accused of murder (or, had hitmen “confess” to being paid by environmentalists), nor would it be the first time people have been killed in fights over water rights.