Oaxaca: AMLO Inaugurates Trans-Isthmus Corridor; Civil Organizations Say “He’s Taking Advantage of Pandemic”

June 11, 2020



From June 5th to 7th, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) made a visit to the south of Veracruz to inaugurate the works of the Trans-Isthmus Corridor in the midst of the health emergency due to the pandemic.

Prior to this, more than 100 civil organizations from Oaxaca and Veracruz released a statement in which they expressed their rejection of the modernization works of the Trans-Isthmus Train tracks and the other projects that the federal government is proposing with the megaproject. Its plans include wind and hydroelectric parks, mining and fracking activities, as well as the installation of ten industrial complexes.

The organizations of the Isthmus emphasized what they have been saying since the announcement of the project in the summer of 2018: “We consider that this project of the interoceanic corridor […] will be the destruction of the great diversity of the original cultures and Afro-descendants that coexist in the region of the Isthmus and that represent a true treasure for the peoples and for all humanity.”

They highlighted that the consultations made in March 2019 did not comply with the international standards established in ILO Convention 169 and therefore cannot be considered valid. In addition, they mentioned that new indigenous consultations had been announced, which were suspended due to the spread of coronavirus in Mexico.

Despite strong criticism, the President of the Republic inaugurated the Trans-Isthmus Corridor on the 7th. “The intention is to contain migration in these communities so that people do not abandon them in search of work in the north. That there is a job offer – I stress – so that whoever wants to leave does so for pleasure”, he said.

The AMLO government is not the first government to propose the industrialization of the Tehuantepec Isthmus area. Alejandro Murat, governor of the state of Oaxaca, stated during the event that “the great difference of this project that the president is leading today is that it goes from the bottom up, and comes from consensus with the indigenous peoples.”

For more information in Spanish:

Generará cortina de empleos el tren transístmico: AMLO (La Jornada el 8 de junio de 2020)

Cierra filas Murat con AMLO en banderazo del Transístmico; no es momento de mezquindades, dice (El Universal el 7 de junio de 2020)

AMLO aprovecha confinamiento para imponer de manera “autoritaria” el corredor interoceánico: ONG (El Proceso el 4 de junio de 2020)

Comunicado de denuncia sobre el proyecto del Corredor Transístmico (el 3 de junio de 2020)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Oaxaca/Nacional: Más de 100 OSC rechazan proyecto del Corredor Transístmico a unos día de visita de AMLO (June 5th, 2020)

Oaxaca: “The Isthmus is Ours” Campaign Rejects Integration of “Tehuantepec Isthmus Interoceanic Corridor Regional Committee for Social Attention” (May 19, 2020)

Oaxaca: Organizations, Communities and Movements Demand Suspension of Trans-Isthmus Project (May 2, 2020)

Oaxaca: Illegal Start on Trans-Isthmus Corridor without EIR Denounced (April 28, 2020)


National: Claims Fracking Continues in 4T; AMLO Denies it

May 20, 2020


On May 19th, the Mexican Alliance against Fracking denounced that this extraction method, recognized for its multiple dangers to the environment, is still present in Mexico, despite the commitment of the Government of Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) to ban it: “We have seen new signs, and already with decisions taken without a doubt by the current administration, that ‘fracking’ continues,” it assured in a conference detailing that the National Hydrocarbons Commission (CNH) approved six exploration plans related to this technique in 2019, in addition to giving the green light to another that also includes it. It also reported that the state-owned oil company Petroleos Mexicanos (PEMEX) would implement six of these seven exploration contracts.

The Mexican Alliance against Fracking concluded, based on its investigations, that “all the aforementioned shows that it is necessary for the government and the Legislative Branch to take immediate measures to make the 4T commitments reality in acts that prevent fracking from being used and, consequently protect the population, the environment and the climate from this harmful technique, the damages of which cannot be avoided as they are inherent to it, as has been demonstrated by its use elsewhere.”

In his morning conference this same day, Lopez Obrador rejected the accusations stating: “Today I saw a note that permits for fracking were authorized in 2019. It is not true and I am going to investigate it. We said no to fracking, no to mining left and right, we have not awarded a single mining concession, among other things because there are millions of hectares under concession from the neoliberal period that are not even being exploited.”

Some media highlight that this discussion is taking place in a troubled energy sector after several changes in recent weeks: in April, the National Center for Energy Control (CENACE) published an agreement that prevents operational tests in clean energy plants that were about to open; and just a few days ago, a new regulation was presented that has also been strongly criticized by private initiative when it “contemplates changes in criteria, since now the regulator will choose by means of a ‘reliability’ criterion, without privileging the lower economic cost of the energy, which could favor state-owned PEMEX and the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE) to the detriment of renewables”, EFE notes.

For more information in Spanish:

Información oficial confirma que el fracking sigue avanzando en México (Alianza mexicana contra el fracking, 19 de mayo de 2020)

Pese a promesas, 4T aprueba siete propuestas de fracking (El Universal, 19 de mayo de 2020)

Pemex continúa perforando con fracking, denuncia red de ONG (El Economista, 19 de mayo de 2020)

Asegura AMLO que investigará si CNH autorizó 19 permisos para el fracking (El Universal, 19 de mayo de 2020)

AMLO niega que haya dado permisos para ‘fracking’ (Vanguardia, 19 de mayo de 2020)

For more information from SIPAZ: 

National: Concrete Measures Needed to Stop Fracking Despite Government Promises. Foreign Company Drills Oil in Mexico for First Time in 80 Years. (September 2, 2019)

National: Fracking or not in Mexico? (February 13, 2019)

National: Mexican Alliance against Fracking Urges President Elect to Legally Stop the Activity (August 19, 2018)


Guerrero: Mining Leader of Opposition to Media Luna Company Murdered in Cocula

May 19, 2020

Oscar-OntiverosOscar Ontiveros Martínez (@Proceso)

On May 12th, the mining leader in opposition to the Media Luna company, Oscar Ontiveros Martinez, was murdered by an armed group in the town of Real de Limon, municipality of Cocula.

Relatives of the victim denounced that “the murder of Oscar Ontiveros was for political-labor reasons and in repression for his activism in the Media Luna mining company, as he was a key worker in the work stoppage in November 2017.” They recalled that for the same reason he was one of the workers fired by the managers of the mining company after the strike movement that ended in early 2018.

They stated that the same paramilitary group allegedly hired by the mining company based in Cocula, was the one which murdered Quintin Salgado in January 2018, another activist opposed to the mining company who led a work stoppage to demand union independence and respect for the rights of tenant farmers . “This armed group has positioned itself in the Rio Balsas area, in favor of the Media Luna mining company because they receive monetary benefits to control the stoppages and any sign of community organization to denounce what is happening within the company,” they stated.

It should be remembered that, in January 2018, the brothers Victor and Marcelino Sahuanitla Peña, both workers of the Media Luna company, who were participating in the work stoppage, were also killed.

This week, Media Luna, a subsidiary of Torex Gold Resources led by Canadian Fred Staford, announced that it was about to resume activities after stopping due to the health emergency that is caused by the Coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) since April 2nd. It added that from May 18th operations will be resumed immediately and by June the mine will already be in “routine production.”

For more information in Spanish: 

Ejecutan a opositor a la minera Media Luna en Cocula, Guerrero (Proceso, 16 de mayo de 2020)

Inseguridad y pandemia factores de riesgo para operar en Guerrero: minera Torex Gold (El Sur, 15 de mayo de 2020)

Astudillo “actuó para remover bloqueos ilegales” del sindicato minero en 2018: Media Luna(Proceso, 14 de mayo de 2020)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Guerrero: Desapareció líder comunitario de Cocula, Sindicato de EU pide a México su localización (October 2, 2019)

Guerrero: Conflict at Mine of Canadian Company Torex Gold Resources (February 17, 2018)

Guerrero: NGO releases Urgent Action to protect Evelia Bahena García, Diana Coralina Brito, and Félix Rodríguez Navarrete (September 10, 2015)


Oaxaca: Tenth Anniversary of Murder of Defenders Bety Cariño and Jyri Jaakkola in Triqui Territory

May 2, 2020


April 27th marked the 10th anniversary of the murder of Bety Cariño Trujillo and Jyri Antero Jaakkola (Finland) when they participated in a humanitarian caravan that was headed to the Triqui community of San Juan Copala.

Due to the pandemic context, an in-person commemorative event could not be held. We opted for a network transmission of the documentary “Death in Mexico”, produced by Deutsche Welle, a German state television channel, an approach to the fight for justice of the two human rights defenders. After that, a discussion was also held with the participation of Omar Esparza and Eve Jaakkola, Jyri’s mother, among others. “Despite the time and the political agreements that keep the case in impunity, we continue to work to achieve justice,” said the organizers of the event.

For its part, the Mexican Network of People Affected by Mining (REMA), to which Bety Cariño belonged, issued a statement in which it emphasized: “Those cowardly murderers thought that you would soon be forgotten, that in a few months nobody would remember you, but they were wrong, because your sisters and brothers with the same yearning for justice that you championed, we continue here walking with you, honoring that strength, that anger, that spirit of change: We continue “sowing dreams to reap hopes.””

In a joint statement, the European Union (EU) delegation to Mexico and the embassies of Norway and Switzerland also criticized that the case continues with impunity and called on the authorities to ensure that there is justice for these crimes and generally to “Provide justice in all cases against defenders, as well as prosecute the intellectual and material authors responsible so that there are no areas of silence where activists do not dare to work.”

For more information in Spanish:

UE critica impunidad en asesinatos de los activistas Bety Cariño y Jyri Jaakkola (La Jornada, 28 de abril de 2020)

Demandan justicia por asesinato de ambientalistas (El Occidental, 28 de abril de 2020)

Mediante homenaje digital recordarán a Bety Cariño (NVI Noticias,  27 de abril de 2020)

Exigen justicia a diez años del asesinato de Bety Cariño (MVS Noticias, 27 de abril de 2020)


For more information from SIPAZ:

Oaxaca: Ninth Anniversary of Murder of Bety Cariño y Jyri Jaakkola in San Juan Copala (May 11, 2019)

Oaxaca: Suspect in Murder of Human Rights Defenders in San Juan Copola in 2010 Arrested (January 31, 2019)

Oaxaca: MEPs Highlight Lack of Political Will Regarding Murder of Jyri Jaakkola and Bety Cariño (February 26, 2018)

Chiapas: “Let’s Talk about Government Programs, Megaprojects and the Effects they Have on the Lives of Indigenous Campesina Women and Communities” Forum Held

February 28, 2020

IMG-20200224-WA0020@Centro de Derechos de la Mujer de Chiapas

On February 20th and 21st, the “Let’s Talk about Government Programs, Megaprojects and the Effects they have on the Lives of Indigenous Campesina Women and Communities” Forum was held at the CIDECI-Unitierra facilities in San Cristobal de Las Casas. More than 120 people from the Highlands, Plains, Jungle and North of Chiapas regions participated

In a final pronouncement, the participants commented that during the Forum they analyzed “the situation that we live in our territories against the implementation of megaprojects undertaken by the government of Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, in complicity with the large transnational companies.” They expressed that they managed to “map the military presence in the territories, the social programs present, the arrival of officials in search of information about our families: number of children, amount of land, number of young people in our homes, among others; which puts us in a situation of uncertainty because we don’t know the purpose of that data.”

They expressed their “total rejection of the megaprojects of destruction and death such as the San Cristobal-Palenque super highway, the privatization of water, mining, as well as the hydroelectric plant, the Maya Train, agricultural programs such as Sembrado Vida that combined with other social programs and the militarization of Chiapas, aim to break the social fabric, divide communities, families and weaken social movements that fight and resist in defense of life, land and territory.”

Women denounced that “assistance programs and projects are reaching our communities, specifically agroindustrial projects aimed mostly at men, excluding us for the simple fact of being women,” in particular the Sembrando Vida Program and other programs aimed at the countryside. “They grant financial support only to men and do not solve family needs; On the contrary, they strengthen male chauvinism, the consumption of alcohol and drugs, generating a significant increase in violence against women and the abandonment of family plots. By prioritizing the programs of the countryside that submit, control, manipulate and decide for the lives of the people, the government manipulates the situation of poverty experienced by hundreds of indigenous and campesino families, turning them into slaves and waiters of the capitalist government. In this way we see how neoliberalism is disrupting community structures, breaking the processes of self-determination and autonomy of the original peoples,” they declared.

They concluded by telling the government that “we are not afraid of their military, that we declare our territories free of megaprojects and military. Despite the criminalization of our partners and social advocates, we will not abandon our struggle, quite the opposite, we will unite our voice, our resistance and rebellion, our anger and our hearts in our struggle that is for life.”

For more information in Spanish:

PRONUNCIAMIENTO EN EL MARCO DEL FORO: “Hablemos sobre los programas de gobierno, megaproyectos y los efectos que tienen en la vida de las mujeres campesinas indígenas y en las comunidades” (23 de febrero de 2020)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Nacional : se lleva a cabo la asamblea Nacional en Defensa de la Madre Tierra y el Territorio, en la comunidad de Amilcingo, Morelos (February 24, 2020)

National: EZLN and CNI Hold Events on the First Anniversary of the Murder Samir Flores (February 25, 2020)

Chiapas/Mexico: EZLN, CNI and CIG Convene Actions in Defense of Territory and Mother Earth “We Are All Samir” (January 14, 2020)

Chiapas/National: Fourth Assembly of CNI-CIG Held in San Cristobal de Las Casas (January 13, 2020)

Chiapas: First State Assembly in Support of AMLO’s National Project Held in San Cristobal de Las Casas

February 28, 2020

image_largeElio@Elio Enriquez

On February 22nd, more than 700 people gathered in what they called the First State Assembly in support of the nation and state project headed by President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador at the Casa Mazariegos convention center in San Cristobal de Las Casas. As reported, the participants included “representatives of all indigenous ethnic groups (Tzeltal, Tzotzil, Tojolabal, Chol and Lacandon, among others) and Afro-Mexicans from Chiapas, religions, campesinos, social leaders of the different ideological currents of the state, entrepreneurs, free thinkers and citizens.”

The act began with an indigenous ceremony led by a speaker of the Mam language and then a statement signed by the group “Chiapanecos for Peace and Development” was read, first in Spanish and then in the indigenous languages ​​represented in the meeting.

They expressed their “total and unconditional support for all social programs and projects such as the Dos Bocas refinery, the Trans-Isthmus Corridor, the Maya Train and the long-awaited Pijijiapan-Palenque road section, which as a whole will, without a doubt, achieve the development that our state longs for and deserves so much, since, as it has always said, for the good of all, first for those who have less through the construction of the Palenque-San Cristobal-Pijijiapan highway.”

Finally, they invited the President to “on the date he decides be an honorary witness of a work group in which all those convinced in Chiapas will smoke the pipe of peace and sign the social reconciliation and pacification of our beloved state.”

For more information in Spanish:

Expresan en Chiapas apoyo incondicional a proyectos de AMLO (La Jornada, 24 de febrero de 2020)

Chiapanecos, a favor de programas sociales y proyectos de AMLO (La Voz del Sureste, 24 de febrero de 2020)

Realizan Primera Asamblea Estatal en apoyo al proyecto de nación que encabeza López Obrador (Prensa Libre, 25 de febrero de 2020)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Nacional : se lleva a cabo la asamblea Nacional en Defensa de la Madre Tierra y el Territorio, en la comunidad de Amilcingo, Morelos (February 24, 2020)

National: EZLN and CNI Hold Events on the First Anniversary of the Murder Samir Flores (February 25, 2020)

Chiapas/Mexico: EZLN, CNI and CIG Convene Actions in Defense of Territory and Mother Earth “We Are All Samir” (January 14, 2020)

Chiapas/National: Fourth Assembly of CNI-CIG Held in San Cristobal de Las Casas (January 13, 2020)

Oaxaca: Indigenous Zapotecs from San Pedro Quiatoni also Win Injunction against Mining Project

February 18, 2020

claim-map-2014-02-520Photo @Gold Resource Corp

Indigenous Zapotec people from San Pedro Quiatoni won an injunction that they brought in defense of their territory against mining companies. This occurred when “the First District Court in the state granted a flat suspension to the indigenous community of San Pedro Quiatoni against the companies Don David Gold, Minerales El Prado and Desarrollos Mineros San Luis, subsidiaries of the US mining company Gold Resource Corp (GRC).”

The Oaxacan Zapotecs celebrated the decision and “marked that day as a historic date because, they stressed, the people of Pedro Quiatoni woke up to start a fight against the giant and in defense of their rights as native peoples and their natural resources.”

According to the newspaper NVI news, neither “the right to the territory, nor the right to free and informed prior consent and consent” of the affected Zapotecs were respected.

With the suspension granted by the Federal Judicial Power, the mining companies will not be able to carry out works of “excavation, drilling, opening of tunnels and exploitation of mineral resources on the surface and subsoil (…) of El Aguila or El Aguila III mine.”

For more information in Spanish:

Comunidad de Oaxaca gana suspensión contra subsidiarias de minera estadunidense (El Proceso, 17 de febrero de 2020)

Cancela juzgado operación de mina de San Pedro Quiatoni (NVI Noticias, 17 de febrero de 2020)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Oaxaca : Semarnat niega la autorización de la Manifestación de Impacto Ambiental (MIA) a la compañía minera Cuzcatlán (February 13, 2020)

Oaxaca: Zapotecs from Capulalpam de Mendez Win Injunction against Two Mining Projects in their Territory (February 15, 2020)

Oaxaca: “Negamos el desarrollo que nos niega a nosotros”: Concluye Tercer Encuentro Estatal de Pueblos, Comunidades y Organizaciones “Aquí Decidimos Sí a la Vida No a la Minería” (May 22, 2019)

Oaxaca: Close of Meeting “Yes to Life, No to Mining” with declaration (January 24, 2013)

Oaxaca: Zapotecs from Capulalpam de Mendez Win Injunction against Two Mining Projects in their Territory

February 15, 2020


Authorities from the Zapotec municipality of Capulalpam de Mendez announced At a press conference that took place on February 12th that they won an injunction filed in February 2015 against the Canadian mining company Continuum Resources LTD and the Mexican mining company Minera Natividad y Anexas, which suspended their respective concessions to operate in their territory.

They had denounced that “the General Directorate of Mining Regulation of the Ministry of Economy assigned these concessions to the miners mentioned for the exploration and exploitation of gold, silver and other minerals without consulting the indigenous agrarian community of Capulalpam de Mendez.”

After a long litigation of almost five years, the Third Court in the state of Oaxaca issued a ruling in October 2019 canceling “all the mining concessions that were granted to the mining companies mentioned in the ancestral territory of the indigenous agrarian community of Capulalpam as it was granted without the Free and Informed Prior Consultation established by ILO Convention 169” and doing “justice to the indigenous communities and peoples of Oaxaca who have historically suffered discrimination and racism in the delivery of justice.”

However, the authorities remain concerned as “the Ministry of Economy filed a challenge with the objective of reversing the injunction, while Continuum Resources LTD initiated a separate legal process.”

For more information in Spanish:

Frenan zapotecos dos proyectos de mineras en Capulálpam de Méndez (La Jornada, 12 de febrero de 2020)

Gana Capulálpam de Méndez juicio para expulsar a mineras (SDP Noticias, 12 de febrero de 2020)

Tras 5 años de litigio, Capulálpam gana batalla para expulsar a mineras (El Universal, 12 de febrero de 2020)

Triunfa Capulálpam de Méndez en la defensa de su territorio ancestral: Juez ordena cancelar concesiones mineras (Autoridades de Capulálpam, 11 de febrero de 2020)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Oaxaca: “Negamos el desarrollo que nos niega a nosotros”: Concluye Tercer Encuentro Estatal de Pueblos, Comunidades y Organizaciones “Aquí Decidimos Sí a la Vida No a la Minería” (22 de mayo de 2019)

Oaxaca: Close of Meeting “Yes to Life, No to Mining” with declaration (January 24, 2013)

Chiapas: Bishop of San Cristobal Proposes Need to Stop Dispossession and Continue “Weaving Together” to Build a “New Life”

February 4, 2020

obisporecibepcDon Rodrigo Aguilar Martínez, Bishop of San Cristobal de Las Casas (@SIPAZ)

On February 2nd, in a pastoral letter entitled “Let us walk together in the light of the Lord,” the bishop of the diocese of San Cristobal de las Casas, Rodrigo Aguilar Martinez, stated that in Chiapas there are megaprojects “some already in progress and others in program, such as the San Cristobal-Palenque highway, the Maya Train, mining, hydroelectric dams, wind farms, ecological-tourist reserves, the exploitation of sandbanks, springs and wetlands, which are affecting the indigenous and urban peoples.”

In it, he asked “these megaprojects mean development, but I ask myself the following: what to do so that they do not alter the ecology? What to do so that they do not mean enormous benefit for some and dispossession for others? What to do to integrate development – always with human and ecological criteria – to the most disadvantaged populations?”

Aguilar Martínez said that the “rich and beautiful” land of Chiapas “has been mistreated by mining, immoderated logging and pollution of rivers, lakes and the environment.” He added that “the dispossession is also present through the loss of cultural roots that is caused by racism and discrimination, and government policies that do not take into account the word of the native peoples, nor their right to self-determination and autonomy, to live according to their own normative system.”

He said that the security project at the national level “may be very well thought out and planned, but intermediate, and especially final, instances often result in the dispossession of territories, which is achieved through various strategies such as forced displacement, threat, deception in the purchase of land, pressure with social programs, coercion through laws that favor the powerful, and violence that occurs through federal, state and municipal police, the Army, the Navy and the National Guard, as if by shock, paramilitary or drug trafficking groups.”

He added that “organized crime occupies more and more spaces in the Chiapas territory; painfully it adds to the national situation and there is a struggle between competing groups at the state and local levels.”

In this context, he said that “it is important to continue weaving together, because we cannot transform reality alone, or a single community, a single area, an organization”, but “it is our task to weave alliances with those people, communities, areas, organizations that are in a real struggle building that new life.”

For more information in Spanish:

Obispo de San Cristóbal critica impacto de obras en la región (La Jornada, 2 de febrero de 2020)

Envía obispo de San Cristóbal “Carta Pastoral” (Reporte Ciudadano, 2 de febrero de 2020)

Envía carta pastoral (Diario de Chiapas, 3 de febrero de 2020)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Chiapas: Believing People Hold Pilgrimage for Ninth Anniversary of jTatic Samuel (January 29, 2020)

Chiapas: Mons. Rodrigo Aguilar Martinez Becomes New Bishop of San Cristobal (January 22, 2018)

Chiapas: Believing People Hold Pilgrimage for Ninth Anniversary of jTatic Samuel

January 29, 2020


On January 25th, the Believing People of the Diocese of San Cristobal de Las Casas made a pilgrimage to honor jTatic Samuel Ruiz Garcia, former bishop of this diocese who died nine years ago and to commemorate the twentieth anniversary of the Third Diocesan Synod.

Thousands of Catholics from the 57 parishes of San Cristobal marched that day from outside the city to Resistance Square in the center shouting “Long live the jTatik Samuel”, “Long live the church that walks with the people” or “Long live Mother Earth”.

During the pilgrimage they distributed a statement expressing their “fraternal and sororal solidarity […] with the peoples, groups and organizations that seek life and defend it when women’s rights and gender equity are at risk”.

They also stand in solidarity “with the builders and of community reconciliation, with the families of thousands of missing persons victims of violence, with young people who risk their faith and ideals, with the pain of displaced sisters and brothers.”



The parish priest of Simojovel, Marcelo Perez Perez, reported that the pilgrimage participants spoke against the megaprojects planned by the federal government in southern Mexico and also against hydroelectric and mining projects.

To close the pilgrimage the bishop of San Cristobal de Las Casas, Rodrigo Aguilar Martinez, officiated a mass commemorating his predecessor.

For more information in Spanish:

Conmemorarán el aniversario luctuoso de Samuel Ruiz García (NVI Noticias el 21 de enero de 2020)

Conmemoran al obispo Samuel Ruiz en su noveno aniversario luctuoso (El Universal el 25 de enero de 2020)

Para más información de SIPAZ:

Chiapas: Believing People Pilgrimage on Eighth Anniversary of Jtatic Samuel Ruiz (January 31, 2019)

Chiapas: Pueblo Creyente organize a pilgrimage on the seventh anniversary of jTatik Samuel Ruiz (February 3rd, 2018)

Chiapas: Believing People Pilgrimage (February 5th, 2017)