Oaxaca: Murder of the spokesperson of the Coordination of the United Peoples of the Ocotlán Valley

Bernardo Vásquez Sánchez (@zapateando.wordpress.com)

At 8pm on 15 March, Bernardo Vásquez Sánchez, spokesperson for the Coordination of the United Peoples of the Ocotlán Valley (COPUVO), was ambushed and murdered on federal highway 175, after having been at a meeting with state government officials to analyze the conflict that exists in the San José del Progreso municipality due to the presence there of the Cuzcatlán mine.  During the attack his brother, Andrés Vásquez Sánchez, and Rosalinda Dionisio Sánchez, member of COPUVO, were injured by gunshot wounds.

Bernardo Vásquez Sánches was one of the leaders of COPUVO who had since 2008 rejected the mining project of the Cuzcatlán firm, which is associated with the Canadian company Fortuna Silver INC.

In a joint communiqué, Oaxacan civil organizations rejected these new violent acts in the municipality, denouncing that “Vásquez Sánchez and the CPUVO had warned state and federal authorities since 2008 of the possible confrontations in the San José del Progreso community resulting from the entrance of the Cuzcatlán S.A. de C.V. mining company, which is associated with the Canadian Fortuna Silver Mines firm, given that it initiated its operations without the consent of the community.  On repeated occasions members of CPUVO have denounced that the mining firm has been financing armed groups in the community with the support of the mayor of San José del Progreso (Alberto Mauro Sánchez).  The state authorities ignored these denunciations, instead affirming that the dissident group sought only to destabilize the community, when reality is quite distinct.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Matan a opositor de minera canadiense en Oaxaca (El Universal, 16 de marzo de 2012)

Asesinan al vocero de la Coordinadora de los Pueblos Unidos del Valle de Ocotlán (Proceso, 16 de marzo)

Ligan a munícipe en muerte de líder agrario (La Jornada, 17 de marzo de 2012)

Piden justicia ante el asesinato del defensor Bernardo Vásquez Sánchez opositor al proyecto minero en San José del Progreso Comunicado de la Asamblea Nacional de Afectados Ambientales (15 de marzo de 2012)

Boletín de OSC de Oaxaca ante el asesinato de Bernardo Vásquez Sánchez (16 de marzo de 2012).

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Oaxaca: Two opponents of mining in San José del Progreso are fired on (8 February 2012)

Mexico: “Mined land, the defense of the rights of communities and of the environment” (14 December 2011)

Oaxaca: Coordination of United People of the Ocotlán Valley close entrance to silver mine in San José del Progreso (14 March 2011)

Oaxaca: Civil Mission of Observation “Water is Life; Let us Defend its Existence” (8 September 2010)

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