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During his visit to the “Shuck Toak” Visitors Center of the Pinacate Biosphere Reserve on Earth Day, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto extended an invitation for all Mexicans to care for and conserve the environment. There, after flying over the volcanic zone of the Pinacate, Peña Nieto acknowledged all of the departments and individuals who have worked collectively to preserve the land.
Accompanied by Sonora Governor Guillermo Padrés, as well as officials from the three levels of government, staff from CONANP (National Commission on Natural Protected Areas), the Pinacate Biosphere Reserve, and representatives of the Tohono O’odham nation, the President stated he was proud to celebrate this day at the Pinacate Biosphere Reserve which was recently named a Natural World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
The event also served as a platform to present records concerning the regularization of 150,000 hectares as natural protected areas, as well as 70 vehicles for firefighting brigades, and checks from the comprehensive restoration and reforestation program.
The President interrupted his speech to cede the stage to Federal Representative Manlio Fabio Beltrones, who recalled when the Pinacate was first named a Natural Reserve to ensure its preservation. He spoke to the role of the late Luis Donaldo Colosio in this process.
“I owed this visit to Sonora, Mr. Governor; we had postponed this trip since last year. However I now have the opportunity to be here and not only celebrate Earth Day, but also to present important projects that will benefit those in Sonora. It is an opportunity to vindicate myself with Sonora,” stated Peña Nieto.
Governor Guillermo Padrés stressed the importance of gathering at the Pinacate Reserve as it is also a site of pride for Sonora. In addition, he expressed gratitude for the support of Enrique Peña Nieto and the federal government in seeing that projects such as the Home Port and Puerto Peñasco Convention Center are carried out to help boost tourism.
At the end of the President’s speech, those in attendance were surprised by a woman who took advantage of the silence to repeatedly shout, “I am hungry and thirsty for justice!” Though various security elements first tried to calm her, the President himself made his way to speak with her. The concerns were those of Mrs. Leticia Montes, leader of the Aquilas Serdan Association of Communal Landowners (ejidatarios), who demanded to be heard concerning the lack of support for landowners in the area that forms part of the buffer zone of the Pinacate Biosphere Reserve.