John Moreno Rutowski Environmental lawyer and human rights defender -Mexico

In 2013, the Mexican government approved the construction of a hotel in Punta Lobos beach. The real estate agency Black Creek developed a large tourist project near the town of Todos Santos.

The beach has been the workplace of local fishermen for over 100 years. There, Black Creek plans to build 4,472 houses in 25 years and two boutique hotel on a tourist project named 'Tres Santos'. If built the project, it will lead to significant environmental damage.

The Punta Lobos fishing cooperative decided to fight for their right to access the land, coastal areas and fisheries with the help of lawyer John Moreno. After two years of legal dispute, loss of natural resources, protest and displacements, John Moreno was arrested in Todos Santos upon leaving his office and was jailed in La Paz. He was accused of 'dispossession' for his work in defending another client Joella Corado who sought to recover a piece of land inherited from her parents.

John Moreno is a lawyer in Todos Santos and maintains the rank of chief within the Lakota Sioux tribe. He has broad experience opposing projects that threaten the environment.

Five days after Moreno was detained, a federal judge confirmed the right of the Punta Lobos Fishing Cooperative 'to protect their traditional beach against the threat of displacement brought about by Tres Santos'.
Over 80 organizations sent a letter to the governor of Baja, California, Carlos Mendoza Davis, stating their concern regarding the imprisonment of John Moreno. He is liberated 95 days after he was detained.
Moreno is part of the Protection Mechanism for Human Rights Defenders and Journalists, due to the risk implied in his work.
Due to his work, Moreno is constantly facing legal battles against corrupt officials and powerful private interests.


1. Jen Hunter; Tulum-61; March 28, 2019; (CC BY 2.0). 2. Google maps. 3. Rafael Saldaña; albatross footprints; December 29, 2017; (CC BY 2.0). 4. Waterlat Gobacit; producto del día / catch of the day; June 21, 2013; (CC BY-NC 2.0). 5. Tomado de: diarioelindependiente.mx