Crime and Violence · Human Rights and Civil Society

Agricultural debtor activist and son critically wounded in attack

MaximianoBarbosa, founder of El Barzón, an agricultural debtors advocacy organization, was critically injured in an attack in the state of Jalisco in late August. Barbosa’s son was also injured in the attack, which occurred at a family party in the town of Casimiro Castillo. The two attackers, described as dressed in black, escaped in a car with Mexico (Edomex) plates.

El Barzón was founded in 1993 in Jalisco in response to farmers’ protests over the lack of regulatory support in repaying bank debts. The protests culminated in a movement that challenged agricultural corporations, which were at the time allied with the then-ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI). El Barzón created the first national organization for debtors, which garnered increased national attention to the plight of agricultural workers.

Jalisco Attorney General Tomás Coronado Olmos said shortly after the shooting that initial lines of investigation were pointing to Barbosa’s role as a social activist as a likely motive in the attacks. Barbosa has since told investigators that he did not recognize the men who shot him and his son.

In March 2008, another rural protest leader, Armando Villareal Martha, was shot and killed outside his home in Nuevo CasasGrandes, Chihuahua. His murder sparked nationwide protests and demands for justice in the killing. To date, Villareal’s murder remains unsolved.


LópezAranda, Mae. “Fundador de El Barzón sufre atentado en Jalisco.” La Jornada. August 27, 2009.

“Venmóvil social en ataque a Barbosa.” El Universal. August 28, 2009.

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