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16 Aug 2021

Green Left

Mexico: Indigenous communities take over Bonafont water-bottling plant against the abuse of land and water in the region

“Mexico: Indigenous communities take over water-bottling plant to use as a social centre”, 09 August 2021

...For four months, Indigenous and local communities in Mexico have managed to blockade and shut down the Bonafont plant in Cuanala in Puebla state. Bonafont is a bottled water brand owned by Danone, a Paris-based food corporation…[O]n Sunday, August 1, they decided it was time to take over the plant and put it to better use. They called a public meeting with state authorities and Bonafont owners for Sunday, August 8. No officials showed up. After putting the government and corporations on trial, with members of each community testifying to the abuse of land and water in their area, the 21 communities then entered the huge water-bottling plant and took it over on Sunday. Activists immediately disabled and destroyed security cameras within the plant and moved large structures to block other entrances. They shut down one of the wells within the plant that was used to extract water from the nearby Iztaccíhuatl volcanic springs, in the east of Puebla state. Bonafont had been extracting 1.4 million litres of water a day, in order to sell them for profit, while leaving locals without...“We are open to dialogue, but not to negotiation. Our communities declare this looting company closed,” said one representative, who spoke anonymously. Activists fear criminalisation, imprisonment and murder for actions like the one taken Sunday...People from Almoloya, Tlautla, Colonia José Ángeles, Ometoxtla, Zacatepec, Cuanalá, Nextetelco, Coronango, Tepalcatepec, Cuachayotla, Cuapan, Xoxtla and Cuautlancingo say that while Bonafont has been taking their water and selling it in 19-litre bottles, they have been forced to buy their water from water trucks...