Chiapas: Meeting of those affected by dams and mining

On January 21 and 22, more than 70 delegates from 20 municipalities, representatives of 12 organizations, movements and parishes of the state met in Boca del Cielo, Tonala, Chiapas, at the seat of the Regional Autonomous Council of the Coastal Zone of Chiapas to share experiences in the “Chiapas Meeting of the Affected by Dams and Mines.” At the meeting, called by the Mexican Movement of the Affected by Dams and in Defense of Rivers (Movimiento Mexicano de Afectados por las Presas y en Defensa de los Ríos – MAPDER) and the Mexican Network of the Affected by Mining (Red Mexicana de Afectados por la Minería – REMA), they defined a strategy of common defense in the face of the multiplication of mining projects, dams and other infrastructure projects imposed in the state “without consulting the people.”

In the declaration that the participants produced, they voiced their analysis of the “grave situation that the country and the campesino communities, fishermen and indigenous of Chiapas are passing through due to the imposition of a development model and projects that threaten land and territory.” They denounced, “the advance of mining projects, with irreversible costs to the environment and the health of the people, imposed by cheating, buying out authorities, community division, among other tactics.” On another note, they condemned “the imposition of green capitalism which is reflected in wind farm projects, projects of Reduction of Emissions caused by Deforestation and Destruction of Forests (REDD) and payment for environmental services.” They assured the strengthening of “the organization and resistance proposing alternatives to the model of commercialization of life and corporate appropriation, despite the criminalization and persecution experienced by the defenders of land, territory and human rights” of the peoples, ejidos, organizations and movements who were present.

They called on the people to participate in a state-wide campaign in defense of water, against the privatization of water and dams, and for free rivers which will be held from March 14 to 22 under the banner “Rivers for life, not for companies.” They also invited people to “continue to create local and regional organization processes to confront the imposed projects, inform about the consequences of the model, protect land and territory, and defend all those forms of life which continue to give us sustenance and permanence on Mother Earth.” According to Otros Mundos A.C., “the role which violence plays is fundamental to understanding the imposition of mining projects and the control of territory.” In an interview, Gustavo Castro, a member of Otros Mundos, explained the complexity of extensive mining in Chiapas, saying that, “violence increases in the measure that communities decide to defend their territories […] movements in defense of territory not only have to confront the state or the companies, but they also have to deal with drug traffickers. It appears that we are in an armed dispute for territory.”  

For more information in Spanish:

Declaratoria del Encuentro Chiapaneco de Afectad@s por Represas y Minería (Otros Mundos Chiapas, 25 de enero de 2016)

Declaratoria del Encuentro Chiapaneco de Afectados y Afectadas por Represas y Minería (Centro de Medios Libres, 26 de enero de 2016)

“En minería, la utilidad pública es un título perverso porque esconde la utilidad privada” (Otros Mundos Chiapas, 27 de enero de 2016)

Declaratoria del Encuentro Chiapaneco de Afectad@s por Represas y Minería (MAPDER, 28 de enero de 2016)

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