Oaxaca: Indigenous Communities Celebrate “Guelaguetza” against Extractivism

July 29, 2019

Guela1

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.”

Guela2Photo @ 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:

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 22nd, 2019)

Oaxaca: Cabildo municipal anuncia el territorio de Magdalena Ocotlán prohibido para minería (April 11th, 2019)

National: No Cancellations but No More Mining Concessions in Mexico – AMLO (March 24, 2019)

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National/International: “Government Should Halt Abuses of Public and Private Companies”: Civil Society Focal Group on Companies and Human Rights

July 12, 2019

CompaniesPhoto @ Animal Politico

On July 4th, 2019, the Civil Society Focal Group of on Companies and Human Rights, which is made up of different national and international organizations, among others, Oxfam Mexico and Services and Consultancy for Peace (SERAPAZ in its Spanish acronym), published a statement in which it demands that the government of Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) “attends to human rights violations committed by companies” in Mexico.

It specifies that given the human rights crisis and omnipresent impunity in the country, the government has the obligation to “act with consistency and ensure respect for individual and collective guarantees also in their commitment to megaprojects and all collaboration agreements it makes with large Mexican and foreign companies.”

The Group identifies as a fundamental point that the recommendations of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights are respected, in addition to international agreements, such as the Escuazu Agreement on Access to Information, Public Participation and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters, be ratified and put into action. Manifesting that “the balance between development projects and respect for the environment, the rights of indigenous peoples over their territories and natural commons is necessary, particularly as regards megaprojects such as the Dos Bocas Refinery, the Maya Train and the Trans-isthmus corridor, roads and dams, among others, without neglecting campesino communities and respect for labor and union rights.”

They conclude that government strategies, such as the National Human Rights Program, should contemplate “a discussion on the responsibility of companies in the matter”, in addition to promoting solid public policies incorporating a human rights approach. This is necessary so that the ten billion dollars of foreign direct investment entering the country are applied coherently between economic interests and the aforementioned rights.

For more information in Spanish:

México: Grupo Focal de Empresas y Derechos Humanos recuerda al gobierno que está pendiente atender a violaciones de derechos humanos cometidos por empresas (Business & Human Rights Resource Centre, 4 de julio de 2019)

Atender violaciones a derechos humanos cometidas por empresas, otra tarea pendiente de la 4T (Comunicado del Grupo Focal en CEMDA, 4 de julio de 2019)

Gurría pide congruencia a AMLO en megaproyectos; “no tiene autoridad moral”, le responde (El Sol de México, 3 de mayo de 2019)

Ante los megaproyectos, el mega-reproche: AMLO no cumple (Proceso, 9 de marzo de 2019)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Chiapas: Cuarto aniversario del Frente Popular en Defensa del Soconusno en Acacoyagua (June 24th, 2019)

Oaxaca: Es publicado el decreto del decreto del Corredor Corredor Interoceánico del Istmo de Tehuantepec; se movilizan para detener su instrumentación (June 15th, 2019)

Mexico: Consultations on Maya Train and Nine “Priority” Projects of New Government (December 13, 2018)


Chiapas/International: Urgent Action – Canadian Embassy before Courts for Undue Intervention in Chicomuselo Mining Conflict

March 27, 2019

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On March 25th, a hearing will be held in Ottawa, Canada as representatives of the Canadian Embassy in Mexico were sued in an administrative complaint before the Federal Court of Canada “for their dangerous negotiations in a mining conflict,” related to the criminalization and the murder of Mariano Abarca in Chicomuselo, Chiapas in 2009.

It should be remembered that the local leader of the Mexican Network of People Affected by Mining (REMA in its Spanish acronym) was murdered “after an active and peaceful resistance that the villagers carried out against this company that extracted barite ore. All the suspects in the case had links to the mining company Blackfire Exploration, but no one was convicted of the murder. The investigation is still open.” In addition, “until the day of his murder, Mariano suffered threats, intimidation, beatings, arbitrary detention under false accusations made by the mining company, among other abuses.”

In the framework of the hearing, the website #Justicia for Mariano Abarca published an Urgent Action in which it stressed that “documentation obtained through the transparency law of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Canada, shows that, despite the significant knowledge that the Canadian embassy had on the facts between the company Blackfire and Mr. Abarca -including the death threats that he faced- it went to the state government of Chiapas to ask it to control the protests against the Canadian company in the community.”

It also denounced that, “there is no will or legal frameworks, regulations or binding protocols for the personnel of the Canadian embassies in order to ensure human rights.” Therefore the Urgent Action raises the demand for “a full and impartial investigation into the case of Mariano Abarca Roblero, and ensure legal measures to prevent embassies from continuing to intervene to overlap the abuse and violation of human rights that Canadian mining companies commit in other countries.”

For more information in Spanish:

Acción Urgente en línea: Embajada Canadiense a los tribunales por su intervención indebida en conflicto minero en México (#Justicia para Mariano, 19 de marzo de 2019)

“En México, los intereses de Canadá son los de las empresas mineras” (Observatorio de Conflictos Mineros en América Latina, 15 de marzo de 2019)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Internacional/Chiapas : Interponen solicitud formal ante gobierno de Canadá para investigar a los diplomáticos en este país ante caso de ambientalista asesinado (7 de febrero de 2018)

Chiapas: 5 years since the murder of mining critic Mariano Abarca (December 15, 2014)

Chiapas: 5,000 Men and Women on Pilgrimage against Mining in Chicomuselo (October 17, 2017)

Chiapas: Anti-Mining Activist Mariano Abarca Killed (December 1, 2009)


National: No Cancellations but No More Mining Concessions in Mexico – AMLO

March 24, 2019

Mining.pngPhoto @ Desinformemonos

In a press conference, the president of the republic Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said “that the Federal Government will respect all the mining concessions in the country and the permits will not be revoked.” He announced that during his government no more agreements of this type will be signed, since more than 25% of the national territory has been given over in the past 36 years. He said that since his campaign he had made the commitment that the concessions would not be revoked. AMLO guaranteed however that the communities where mining is carried out will benefit from the taxes paid by the mining companies.

He also mentioned that “it will seek that mining companies, particularly those of Canadian origin, carry out clean exploitation and act as they are obliged to do in their country.” “That the miner is paid well, that they pay the amount of taxes they pay there, and that they do not pollute.”

The statements contradict others issued by AMLO, in the municipality of Minatitlan, state of Colima, in 2014, which were published through the official website of the president through which he said that when the National Regeneration Movement triumphed, the concessions would be thoroughly reviewed for the mining exploitation that had been given to foreign companies. That wasbecause, he said, the riches of Mexico would have to be for the benefit of Mexicans, not foreigners.

Several newspapers also stressed that in February, during the Mexico Mining Forum 2019, the Undersecretary of Mining of the Ministry of Economy reported that “the cancellation of more than five thousand mining concessions in the country is being analyzed.”

Meanwhile, Miguel Mijangos Martínez, spokesman for Mexican Network of Those Affected by Mining (REMA in its Spanish acronym) stated that “the policy of the federal government has very mild nuances. If we see the problem of the extractive model as a whole, mining, water, biodiversity, fracking (hydraulic fracturing), gas … there are no significant changes. In REMA we think that the positions of power were reinforced, because now there are former entrepreneurs in public positions, (and that is) a position of advantage against the communities”, according to La Jornada. It stated that more than teo thousand rural communities in about 50 municipalities of Chiapas, Oaxaca, Veracruz, Puebla, Guerrero, Chihuahua and San Luis Potosi have declared themselves free of mining through legal actions.

Many of these communities continue with their demands for the cancellation of concessions in their territories, among them the Zapotec peoples of the Central Valleys of Oaxaca and the Wixarikas of San Luis Potosi. The latter hope to be able to engage in dialogue with the president on a final judgment given the injunctions that were processed in 2012 against the 78 concessions granted to two Canadian mining companies during the Felipe Calderon administration, which cover 70% of the 140,000 hectares of the protected natural area of Wirikuta.

For more information in Spanish:

Prevén otra ola de despojos de mineras y petroleras en México (La Jornada, 18 de marzo de 2019)

Al triunfo de MORENA, se revisarán las concesiones de explotación minera en México, asegura AMLO (Lopez Obrador, 21 de marzo de 2014)

No se otorgarán nuevas concesiones mineras: AMLO (La Jornada, 18 de marzo de 2019)

Impuestos por extracción minera llegarán a comunidades, asegura AMLO (La Jornada, 20 de marzo de 2019)

Wixárikas esperan diálogo con AMLO para proteger su territorio de mineras (Vanguardia, 19 de marzo de 2019)

Exigen a AMLO la cancelación inmediata y definitiva de las concesiones mineras en Oaxaca (El Proceso, 19 de marzo de 2019)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Chiapas : Frente Popular en Defensa del Soconusco “20 de junio” (FPDS) exige que se decalre el municipio de Acacoyagua “Territorio Libre de Minería” (26 de enero de 2019)

Chiapas: Zoque People’s Assembly against extractivism (September 20, 2018)

Oaxaca: Here we say “Yes to Life, No to Mining” – Magdalena Teitipac is still fighting for its territory (April 7, 2018)

Chiapas: No to Mining Press Conference (September 30, 2017)

 


National: Map of over 800 Environmental Conflicts Caused by Megaprojects in 12 Years

March 12, 2019

map.png(@Heinrich Böll Foundation)

On February 27th, the academics Gisela Zaremberg (FLACSO Mexico) and Valeria Guarneros-Meza (De Montfort University), as members of the project “Speaking with Goliath: Participation, Mobilization y Repression Regarding Neo-extractivists and Environmental Conflicts”, presented a map of 879 conflicts that resulted from the implementation of 304 megaprojects, during the administrations of presidents Felipe Calderon Hinojosa (2006-2012) and Enrique Peña Nieto (2012-2018). The 304 works identified were related to mining, wind, hydroelectric, oil and gas pipeline infrastructure industries.

Their main findings, based on journalistic notes, reveal that the states with the most violent acts associated with mining are Chiapas, Oaxaca, Guerrero, Zacatecas, Puebla, Coahuila, Sonora, Durango and Michoacan; while oil fields have caused conflicts in Tabasco, Chiapas and Veracruz. Regarding gas pipelines, the sections with the most reported violent events are Puebla-Tlaxcala-Morelos, Sonora-Sinaloa and Chihuahua-Sinaloa. Hydroelectric installations generated violence in Puebla, Veracruz, Oaxaca and Guerrero; and wind projects, in Oaxaca and Yucatan.

Gisela Zaremberg explained that in “absolute terms”, the data analyzed show that mining is the activity that causes the greatest number of conflicts, followed by the extraction of hydrocarbons (oil fields and gas pipelines), hydroelectric projects and finally wind.

The data collected show that, contrary to what is usually thought, the communities that oppose a megaproject resort mainly to “institutionalized” action (such as injunction and law suits). However, those that combine this type of actions with other “non-institutionalized” ones (taking over facilities, public offices or companies, retention of officials) are the communities that seek to negotiate benefits. For their part, government players, in combination with companies, are those that are most frequently mentioned in relation to informal and illegal actions.

The journalistic notes compiled in the database were written by a total of 373 journalists. 18% of them have received threats or attacks. However, it is not possible to establish if the threats had to do with their coverage of socio-environmental conflicts or other matters. The main states where threats or aggressions were reported to communicators in the investigation were Puebla, Guerrero, Oaxaca, Mexico City, Chiapas and Veracruz.

For more information in Spanish:

Minería y energía detonan 879 conflictos en México; los ligan al crimen, empresas y gobiernos (Sin Embargo, 2 de marzo de 2019)

Oaxaca, entre los estados con más violencia por conflictos medioambientales (El Universal, 2 de marzo de 2019)

Más de 800 conflictos socioambientales por megaproyectos mineros y energéticos (Contralínea, 27 de febrero de 2019)

Identifican más de 800 conflictos socioambientales generados por proyectos mineros y energéticos en los últimos 12 años (Fundación Heinrich Böll, 27 de febrero de 2019)

Presentación Powerpoint (FLACSO México, 27 de febrero de 2019)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Oaxaca: Verdict of the Popular Community Trial against the Mexican State and the mining companies (January 4th, 2019)

Guerrero/National: 13th Meeting of MAPDER in Cacahuatepec (December 12th, 2018)

National/International: Global Witness Publishes “At What Price? Irresponsible Business and the Murder of Land and Environment Defenders 2017”
(August 6th, 2018)

National: CEMDA 2017 Report Shows Increase in Vulnerability of Environmental Defenders (March 26th, 2018)

 


National: Fracking or not in Mexico?

February 13, 2019

FrackingOn February 4th, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador reiterated at a press conference that in his government there will be no hydraulic fracturing, better known as fracking, for the extraction of hydrocarbons: “No to fracking, that is the commitment. Perhaps due to inertia, the use of this technology for the extraction of oil or gas was established, but it will not be used. It’s a promise. We are authentic environmentalists,” he said, in keeping with his campaign promises.

This statement contrasts with what was said in previous days by the Secretary of Energy, Rocio Nahle, who during her participation in the Energy Forum 2019 organized by the consulting firms EnergeA and HCX, and E.J. Krause Tarsus, stressed that Mexico will use the technique of fracking to enable or increase the extraction of gas and oil, but announced that the most advanced and lower environmental impact technology will be used.

It should also be mentioned that the use of fracking is contemplated in the 2019 budget with a budget of 3,350 million pesos for the application of this technique, as reported by the Mexican civil grouping CartoCritica and the international environmentalist Henrich Böll. They have also questioned the fact that the president has not announced any action tending to cancel the fracture operations in the 7,879 wells that already operate with this technique in the country, which amount to 36,159 fractures. “Until it is prohibited in the legislation, fracking will continue in force in Mexico, despite the fact that President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador pledged not to allow this technique anymore”, warned the Mexican Alliance against Fracking.

For more information in Spanish:

No habrá fracking en México, reitera López Obrador (El financiero, 4 de febrero de 2019)

AMLO niega recurrir al ‘fracking’ en su Gobierno y contradice a Nahle (Tribuna, 4 de febrero de 2019)

Pese a promesa de frenarla, gobierno de AMLO presupuestó 3 mil mdp para la técnica de fracking (Animal Político, 25 de enero de 2019)

El fracking no se ha detenido en México: hay 7,879 pozos, y se han realizado 36,159 fracturaciones (Sin Embargo, 24 de enero de 2019)

Si no se legisla, el fracking seguirá vigente en México: ONG (Proceso, 24 de enero de 2019)

¿Ya no habrá más fracking en México? (Cartocrítica 2019)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Nacional : Alianza Mexicana contra el Fracking urge al presidente electo a poner fin legalmente a esta práctica extractiva (9 de agosto de 2018)


Oaxaca: Verdict of the Popular Community Trial against the Mexican State and the mining companies

January 4, 2019

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On December 10th, on the International Human Rights Day as part of a political act in front of the Government Palace villages in Oaxaca-City, communities and organizations that participated in the “Popular Community Trial against the State and Mining Companies in Oaxaca” last October publicly presented the final verdict.

It should be remembered that in the Popular Community Trial participated 52 communities who presented 22 cases of affectations caused by mining in 5 of the state’s regions including – says the verdict- “irreversible affectations to the ecosystem, river contamination, fractures in the social structure and generalized insecurity in the regions, where those mining projects operate through mining companies, shock groups and state authorities”.

The verdict put forward the necessity to rescind the 322 concessions and the 41 valid mining projects within the State “as those were imposed without previous, free and informed consent by the communities and while violating our right to self-determination and autonomy to our cultural integrity, to administrate and control our territories and to maintain the collective property of our lands and communal natural goods”.

Equally, it demanded the immediate suspension of the issue of quarrying rights “until a new legal framework has been elaborated that fully and effectively respects the indigenous people’s rights as they were established in international treaties and the Constitution, until the repeal of the current mining law and others that protect the relations with that industry”. Likewise, it urged the authorities to pass laws and public policies which protect the indigenous people’s rights, which recognize them as subjects to public rights and include the in effective mechanisms of integral reparations for the caused damage.

The legal judgment also put forward the necessity to protect those who defend their territories so that they can do so in “conditions of liberty and security” and it demanded that “the politics of criminalization against the social protest are stopped, that the people responsible for assassinations are punished and that the disappeared territorial activists are presented alive immediately as well as the suspension of arrest warrants issued for the same reasons, individual and collective threats”.

The political act ended proclaiming “Yes to life, no to mining!” and “Neither gold nor silver, mining kills!”.

The report about the civil trial details that until 2017 there haven been registered 42 mining projects by 38 companies from Canada, the United States, Peru, Australia and Mexico. 36 of them in stage of exploration, 2 in development, one was postponed and 2 are already in the phase of commercial exploitation.

For more information in Spanish:

Oaxaca territorio prohibido para la minería”: exigencia de pueblos, comunidades y organizaciones frente al nuevo gobierno federal (Pronunciamiento e Informe, 10 de diciembre de 2018)

Juicio Popular Comunitario contra el Estado y las Empresas Mineras (Vídeo, 10 de diciembre de 2018)

Comunidades indígenas de Oaxaca exigen la prohibición total de la minería en el estado (Animal Político, 10 de diciembre de 2018)

Demandan pueblos que Oaxaca sea territorio libre de minería (NVI Noticias, 12 de diciembre de 2018)

Oaxaca, territorio prohibido para la minería”: exigencia de comunidades al nuevo gobierno (Desinformémonos, 10 de diciembre de 2018)

Repudian proyectos de mineras en Oaxaca (La Jornada, 11 de diciembre de 2018)

For more information from SIPAZ :

Oaxaca: Popular Community Trial against the State and the Mining Companies Held (October 16th, 2018)

Oaxaca: Popular Community Trial against the State and the Mining Companies Held

Oaxaca: Anuncian juicio popular contra empresas mineras. (9 de agosto de 2018)