On July 23rd, 2019, several Zapotec communities of the Central Valleys, members of the “Non-Mining Front, for a Future of All”, organized an alternative Guelaguetza in San Martin de los Cansecos, Oaxaca. This was the first Guelaguetza of the Peoples of Oaxaca against mining that began with a traditional ritual of gratitude to Mother Earth.
“What they are looking for in this event is to recover the essence of the Cerro Mondays Festival, where with cooperation, love of neighbor and an attitude of sharing nature and life, they seek to reinforce the social fabric that unite us as indigenous communities.”
Marcos Leyva Madrid of the organization Services for Alternative Education (Educa in its Spanish acronym) mentioned that during the event “the towns and communities affected by mining projects and concessions celebrate life, autonomy, resistance processes and community alternatives that they are exercising within their territories.”
Photo @ SIPAZ
People and agricultural authorities from nine municipalities participated in the alternative Guelaguetza. The program included a forum, spaces for reflection for the communities about the defense of their lands against extractivism, and there were also cultural spaces.
It should be remembered that there are more than three hundred mining concessions in Oaxaca, which represent five percent of the state territory. Communities and civil organizations attribute damage to the environment and the social fabric of the communities to the extractivist model, among other consequences. In addition, they highlight the criminalization of defenders of the land, by extractive companies and the government, with the aim of protecting their economic interests.
According to the magazine Proceso, the Cuzcatlan mining company which is three kilometers away in San Jose del Progreso, also organized a Guelaguetza to “justify that it promotes traditions, gives employment and generates development.” The company is related to the Canadian company Fortuna Silver Mines.
For more information in Spanish:
Celebran comunidades indígenas la Guelaguetza antiminera en Oaxaca (EDUCA, 23 de julio de 2019)
Realizan en Valles Centrales la primera Guelaguetza de los Pueblos de Oaxaca contra la Minería (Proceso, 22 de julio de 2019)
Con Guelaguetza alternativa, protestan en Oaxaca contra mineras (La Jornada, 22 de julio de 2019)
For more information from SIPAZ: