On 24 May was announced in several national communication media that the Canadian firm First Majestic which operates as part of Minera Real Bonanza will not carry out mineral exploitation in the sacred territory of Wirikuta in San Luis Potosí, and that the firm had suspended its 22 concessions in the territory of the Wixárika people.
These declarations provoked a press-conference the next day by the Regional Wixárika Council for the Defense of Wirikuta that claimed that the concession of a mining operation of 761 hectares from the firm to the federal government “does not represent a solution in any sense,” as it would not preserve the sacred Huichol territory, given that “in reality the project of exploitation by the company continues intact in the government’s scheme.” They qualified this act as a “farce” and a “lie” taken by federal authorities as regards the protection of the sacred lands of the region, with the cancellation of mining exploitation and the decree that declares a National Mining Reserve in 45,000 hectares of this region. In this way, “mining in the totality of the sacred territory of the Wirikuta has not been suspended.”
The announcement, “incomplete and full of false data that distorts the reality of the sacred land, is only a strategy to better take advantage of the media coverage of the Wirikuta Fest [a concert held in Mexico City on 26 May, with the participation of a number of bands to raise funds for the legal defense of the land] and to present an image of its purported social responsibility.” Furthermore, they denounced that the government did not have the consensus of the Wixárika people, given that authorities consulted only 27 representatives of the Huichol people.
Rubén Albarrán, member of the Aho Collective and an organizer of the festival, qualified the news as a “news mascarade.” In the 45,000 hectares that the reserve will comprise, “there still are mining projects,” noted Tunuari Chávez, from the environmental table of the Front in Defense of Wirikuta. The sacred land of the Wixaritari include 14,000 hectares that are principally located in the state of San Luis Potosí. Close to 70 percent is threatened by mining concessions and agroindustrial projects. The concession of 761 hectares represents about 0.5 percent of Wirikuta, stressed Santos de la Cruz, member of the Wixárika Regional Council.
Maximino Muñoz, representative of the Regional Council of Nayarit and the Front in Defense of Wirikuta, indicated that “the sacred land is indivisible.” The government’s announcement, he says, “is an insult and an offense, pretense to make us believe that Wirikuta is now freed from mining, but that is not true.” He warns that this act, carried out without previously consulting the people it affects, “worsens the relationship we have with the government.” If Wirikuta is lost, he warned, “a culture is lost, as is a reason to exist. Indigenous peoples have thousands of years surviving and struggling against injustice. One generation would be lost; our children and descendants would not have a place to go pray and deposit offerings; it would be a total loss of our culture and our race.”
For more information (in Spanish):
First Majestic no explotará mina en tierras sagradas de Wirikuta (La Jornada, 25 de mayo de 2012)
Falso, que gobierno protegerá Wirikuta: consejo regional (La Jornada, 26 de mayo de 2012)
Ajagi: Denuncia del Consejo Regional Wixárika para la Defensa de Wirikuta, el gobierno engaña con el decreto de protección (Enlace Zapatista, 25 de mayo de 2012)
Es falsa la protección del Estado a Wirikuta: wixaritari (La Jornada Jalisco, 26 de mayo de 2012)
Wirikuta: más que una “Reserva Minera Nacional” (REMA, 27 de mayo de 2012)
Minera cedió sólo .5% de extensión total Wirikuta. Con Ricardo Rocha (Grupo Fórmula, 28 de mayo de 2012)
For more information from SIPAZ (in English):