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Mexico, the deadliest place for land defenders

SHOTLIST: RESTRICTION SUMMARY:ASSOCIATED PRESSPotam - 27 September 20221. Various of Guillermo Rojo, father of the late water-defense leader Tomás Rojo, visiting his son's grave2. Various of Guillermo Rojo watching pictures and tokens of his late son ANNOTATION: The Yaqui indigenous people of Northern Mexico are still mourning the killing of water-defense leader Tomás Rojo in 2021.3. Close picture of Tomás Rojo UPSOUND (Spanish) "Here's her engineer, her 'Negrito', as his mother would call him."3. SOUNDBITE (Spanish) Guillermo Rojo, Tomás Rojo's father:"There are very difficult moments. I now understand why someone could take their own life. This is something I don't desire to no one, even to my worst enemy. It's bad, very sad. I compare it to clowns. How they go on with the show without even knowing the pain he bears inside."ASSOCIATED PRESSVicam - 26 September 20224. Aerials of the dry Yaqui river ANNOTATION: The Tribe are the legal owners of at least half of the water in the Yaqui river basin, but their share has been diverted by industry and agriculture.ASSOCIATED PRESSCajeme - 26 September 20225. Cactus and land 6. Various of the late land and water activist Luis Urbano and his wife Marta Estrella 7. Hats that belonged to Urbano8. Altar to UrbanoANNOTATION: Environmentalist Luis Urbano fought alongside Tomás Rojo to revive the now dry Yaqui river. He was gunned down in June 2021.9. Picture of Luis Urbano++PARTIALLY COVERED BY SHOT 11++10. SOUNDBITE (Spanish) Marta Estrella, Luis Urbano's wife:"He was passionate. He loved being in the struggle. He went places, gave conferences. He was always moving, active. He never left anybody alone, neither Tomas nor the Yaqui authorities. He was there until he could, doing what he had to do by helping."11. Various of Marta Estrella washing dishes ASSOCIATED PRESSOviachic Dam, Cajeme - 27 September 202212. Various of an empty part of the Oviachic dam (which should bring the water to the Yaqui river)13. Various of César Cota watching the almost empty Oviachic dam ANNOTATION: The Yaqui believe Rojo and Urbano were killed by the powerful interests that stand to profit from the Tribe's invaluable land and water rights.14. SOUNDBITE (Spanish) César Cota, land and water activist:"The Yaqui tribe was never defeated and isn't going to be defeated now. Tomas and Luis are an example to follow. They taught us not to abandon the struggle, our land our water, and our mountains which can't speak. The water doesn't speak, the rock doesn't speak, the mountains don't speak, the sea doesn't speak. But we do speak and we want to keep speaking for them."15. Various of Cota watching reservoirANNOTATION: The lack of water threatens the very survival of the Yaqui people and their culture, which they have fought to protect for centuries.STORYLINE: Mexico became the deadliest place in the world for environmental and land defense activists in 2021, and the Yaqui indigenous people of northern Mexico have been hit hard by the murders.According to a report by the nongovernmental group Global Witness, Mexico saw 54 activists killed in 2021, compared to 33 in Colombia and 26 in Brazil. Yaqui leaders Tomás Rojo and Luis Urbano were among the land defenders killed in Mexico last year, according to the watchdog group.The Tribe are the legal owners of at least half of the water in the Yaqui river basin, but their share has been diverted by industry and agriculture.While authorities believe Rojo was killed by a local drug gang that wanted the money the Yaquis sometimes earn by collecting tolls at informal highway checkpoints, they also say Urbano was shot after confronting coworkers on stealing construction goods. Between 2010 _ when state authorities built a pipeline to siphon off the Yaquis' water for use in the state capital, Hermosillo _ to 2020, Rojo led a series of demonstrations and acts of civil disobedience, including a months-long intermittent blockade of the state's main highway, which caused millions in losses for businesses and industry. People who knew Rojo and Urbano don't believe the toll money nor the work conflict theory. They say the activists were killed by the powerful interests that stand to profit from the Yaquis' land and water rights in the northern border state of Sonora, across the border from Arizona.Rojo's body was found half-buried near Vicam, nearly three weeks after he disappeared. He was initially identified by a red neckerchief he had been wearing when he left home.AP video by Fernanda PesceProduced by Teresa de Miguel----Associated Press climate and environmental coverage receives support from several private foundations. 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