Just days after being released from jail for alleged anti-mining activity, Mariano Abarca Roblero is as resolved as ever to fight against mining activity in Chicomuselo. He and 240 people from as far away as San Luis Potosi and Guatemala gathered in Chicomuselo, Chiapas on August 29th and 30th to share in their struggle against mining in their communities. The conference was the second meeting in Chiapas organized by the Mexican Network of those Affected by Mining (REMA) and tackled themes such as legal means of resistance and the effects of mining on health and the environment.
Canadian mining company Blackfire Exploration Ltd., whose website states it is “aggressively exploring and developing Chiapas”, is operating in the municipality of Chicomuselo. Community members say there has been little or no public consultation and that promises made to improve the lives of residents have not been carried out. According to an investigation by Human Rights Center Oralia Morales Frontera Comalapa, the people of Nueva Morelia cannot bathe or use water from a river because of Blackfire activity. The people of Nueva Morelia also report skin irritations if they bathe in the river.
On the final day of the conference an agreement was signed by representatives of 27 different social organizations that demands, among other things, the cancellation of all mining projects in Chicomuselo, especially those of Canadian company Blackfire, as well as all mining concessions in Chiapas, Mexico and Guatemala. The agreement also demands the respect of the voices of the people, taking into account their human rights, especially the right to public consultation.
The conference was deemed a success by the organizers and it is hoped that more and more people from the affected communities will rise up in the coming months and join the movement against the destructive practice of mining. Unfortunately there continues to be repression and intimidation against people involved in the anti-mining movement, as seen in the recent arrest of Mariano Abarca and even at the conference in Chicomuselo, where suspected police officers posed as journalists and took videos and photos of conference participants.
For more information (in English and Spanish):
-Blackfire Exploration Ltd. WebsiteENCUENTRO REMA CHIAPAS
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