MEXICO CITY - The Mexican government says it has reached a deal to pay an outstanding water debt to the United States, in an effort to resolve conflict in the country’s north.
The water owed is the result of a controversial treaty between the two nations, and required Mexico to transfer a staggering amount of water to the U.S. Locals on the southern side of the border were pissed, and the dispute nearly turned into an international incident when roughly 4,000 angry Mexican farmers from the border state of Chihuahua occupied an important dam and refused to allow additional water transfers to the United States.
Armed with sticks and stones, the farmers claimed that they needed the water for their own struggling crops. In the melee that followed, Mexico's national guard clashed with the protesters and one - Jessica Silva - was shot dead.
In the aftermath, the possibility of further violence and unrest loomed ominously ahead of an October 24 deadline to resolve the issue.
Just prior to the deadline, Mexico President Andrés Manuel López Obrador claimed to have solved the issue, by arranging to transfer the water from two separate dams to U.S. ownership. He also announced the arrest of six members of the national guard for their involvement in the death of Jessica Silva.
But while López Obrador claims that the issue is resolved, his political opponents disagree.
They accused him of taking the problem from one state and placing it in the others, in an attempt to divide a growing group of opposition politicians, who refer to themselves as the Federal Alliance, that have united against López Obrador and his MORENA party.
Samuel García, a Senator from the border state of Nuevo Leon, from where much of the water will now be taken, specifically claimed López Obrador's move, in reference to the new deal, was nothing more than his continued attempts to "look good to (Donald) Trump."
López Obrador, on the other hand, blamed the lack of water on wasteful big businesses in the north of the country that use too many resources and are connected to his political opponents, who have a "vested interest".
As the political mudslinging surrounding the dispute continues, the Chihuahua farmers remain unconvinced about the deal. Around 500 remain at the dam to make sure that the government doesn't come for their water again.