Fidencio is an indigenous political prisoner of the Yaqui Tribe, from the town of Loma de Bácum, Sonora. He is serving 15 years and 6 months after being wrongfully convicted of homicide. It is believed that he was targeted due to his support for the indigenous community's opposition to a gas pipeline.
"The people of Loma de Bácum, are opposed to a gas pipeline that the government of the State of Sonora—the government of Claudia Pavlovich Arellano—wants to build. On October 21st, Yaquis from the eight Yaqui towns arrived in our community. These Yaquis receive money and new cars from the government and from the pipeline company, Sempra Energy. These Yaquis came to attack our traditional guard, and to attack our community, as a means to impose their authority and move forward with the gas pipeline project. For unknown reasons, we as Yaquis and as Catholics, we say it is metaphysical; that day October 21st, armed people entered Loma de Bácum and attacked the assembly. They tried to pass this off as a 'confrontation between communities,' between those who are in favor and those who are against the gas pipeline, those 'in favor or against progress.' In interviews, some of the people brought to Loma de Bácum that day made their reasons known: the state and federal governments threatened to suspend all social programs directed towards them.
In addition, the Yaqui tribe has ancestral customs to resolve their differences. In the law, consecrated in the constitution SINCE 1917, the Yaquis have a government named by the community. They elect their traditional authorities, name their guardians and establish the sanctions for those who violate community rules. Each and every one of their important decisions is made after a long process of internal consultation and only when all of the communities are in agreement are things decided. In other words, the gas pipeline would not advance even if only one of the communities remained against it. The aggression against Loma de Bácum resulted in the death of Cruz Huitimea Piña, victim of a 22-caliber bullet. As the result of bad luck, or due to destiny, Fidencio Aldama Pérez was accused of the murder. That day Fidencio Aldama Pérez was working as part of the traditional guard. He had a 45-caliber weapon. Cruz was assassinated with a 22-caliber weapon. You all can see the difference there. Fidencio had a 45-caliber weapon and Cruz was killed with a 22-caliber weapon.
Six days later, on October 27th, 2016, the prosecutor’s office asked our Indigenous authorities permission to interview or take statements from the people that were there part of the traditional guard the day of the conflict. They asked to speak with Fidencio. At the moment Fidencio got into the automobile, darkness took over. They took Fidencio, alongside the compañera, Anabella Carlon, and a lawyer named Merardo, to Obregon. There he was taken to the attorney general’s office, where they made him sign papers and where he was given an arrest warrant. At that moment, Fidencio said he wondered why his arrest warrant wasn’t given to him in front of the traditional guard, in front of the traditional authorities and the people of the community. He asked why he had to sign the papers. The investigating state police told him that everything would be fine. He thus signed because he didn’t have any other option.
After Fidencio signed the paperwork, he was taken to prison in Ciudad Obregon. Since October 27th, he has been there, deprived of his freedom, innocent. After four months, Fidencio had a hearing. There, witnesses were present who said he is guilty. A year later, the trial was held. During the trial, the witnesses they brought forward were people they had paid off. They were the same people who arrived and attacked our town on October 21st. They brought these witnesses as a means to keep Fidencio in prison. This would help to pressure the authorities to sign the passage of the gas pipeline. Fidencio was eventually sentenced to fifteen years and six months in prison.
He tells the community to stay together, to continue fighting for our territory. He says if he has to be there imprisoned, that is not important. What is important is that we continue the struggle. However, there are days that he says that he can’t continue there, that he doesn’t want to be there. 'I want to leave, I want to be with my children. I want to be in my home,' he says."
The lawyer, David Guadalupe Valenzuela, submitted an appeal in the Court of Hermosillo, Sonora but his sentence was upheld. Supposedly the lawyer also went to talk with the federal government—with the secretary of government—because there was the possibility of the Senator Nestora Salgado helping release political prisoners. However, it turned out that the case of Fidencio is in the hands of the Ministry of Interior Affairs. Now the case of Fidencio will advance to the next legal stage, to the writ of amparo. The judges who will decide on the writ of amparo have already taken account of the fact that there are anomalies, there are injustices in Fidencio’s case. That is why they had returned the appeal.
There is no mail service to the prison, but letters (in Spanish or English) can be emailed to fidenciolibre[at]protonmail.com and they will be passed on to him.