“We are afraid of running out of water to irrigate our fields”

Antonio Villalobos is a farmer who has witnessed the clashes.

We went to the dam because we had the information that law enforcement came to monitor it, so that the water could be sent to the United States. To do this, it is planned to open the dam’s valves so that the water flows to the Río Grande, where it can be collected by the United States at two international dams. [appelés Falcón et Amistad, et dont l’eau est utilisée par les deux pays, NDLR]. Suddenly, several hundred people moved from neighboring cities to prevent this. When we reached the roadblock, there were members of the National Guard and the military police. They prevented us from accessing it, while normally access is free. We just wanted to verify that they had not started opening the floodgates.

Collisions then broke out, and the police fired at farmers with rubber bullets and tear gas, as can be seen from several videos published on social networks. There were no serious injuries, but vehicles were damaged.


In this video, the police start firing at the peasants from 1 16, when we see a man with a child in his arms (the one with a white hat). People then flee. We also see tear gas, people coughing and then farmers throwing stones at the police at the end of the video.

This video also shows when law enforcement starts firing on farmers, from a different perspective.

Broken windows in a media-owned vehicle.

The day after the clashes, law enforcement agencies arrived to monitor the roadblock. For their part, the peasants blocked parts of the road to continue protesting.

A treaty that binds the United States and Mexico since 1944

According to the federal government, some of the water from the Francisco I. Madero Dam must be sent to the United States to comply international water treaty which has linked the two countries since 1944.

According to this text, the United States must provide 1,850 million m3 of water to Mexico each year from the Colorado River (whose source is in the United States and which flows into the Gulf of California, Mexico).

Mexico, for its part, has to send an average of 431.7 million m3 of water to the United States each year from its Río Grande rivers. A report is conducted every five years to verify that Mexico has actually sent 2,158.5 million m3 to its neighbor during this period.

Problem: At the end of the 2015-2020 cycle, Mexico is “behind” with 511.9 million m3, which must therefore be sent to the United States to comply with the treaty, according to President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.