Chiapas: 5 years since the murder of mining critic Mariano Abarca

December 15, 2014

Mariano Abarca (@Frontline Defenders)

Mariano Abarca (@Frontline Defenders)

In a communique published on 27 November, 5 years since the murder of the anti-mining activist from Chicomuselo, Mariano Abarca Roblero, his family, organizations, and networks such as the Mexican Network of Those Affected by Mining (REMA) and the Mesoamerican Movement against the Mining Extractive Model (M4) once again demanded justice.  They affirmed again that Abarca’s “murder was motivated by his struggle against the Canadian mining firm Blackfire due to its extraction of barite, and the social and environmental consequences this has had in the Chicomuselo municipality.”

The groups reported that they had sent a letter to Mexican and Canadian authorities, which has been supported by 266 persons and organizations from 27 countries calling for justice.

They denounced that “those who had been imprisoned for Mariano’s murder have been released from prison, while the responsibilities of others linked to the firm and state who may have been involved were never seriously investigated.”

In light of this situation, they call for “a response from the Mexican and Canadian authorities to exercise justice for the murder of Mr. Mariano Abarca Roblero, and to deal with the corruption of the Chicomuselo mayor”; and that “the Canadian government abandon its policy of ‘economic diplomacy’ which leads 100% of the Canadian diplomatic corps to promote private interests.  Instead, we favor the adoption of policies based in respect for indigenous and human rights, and protection of human-rights defenders and the environment.”

They reported lastly that they will take the case before the Inter-American Court on Human Rights (IACHR).

For more information (in Spanish):

A 5 años del asesinato de Mariano Abarca Roblero por su resistencia contra la minería  canadiense en Chiapas (Familia Abarca Montejo, Fundación Ambientalista Mariano Abarca Roblero (FAMA), Red Mexicana de Afectados por la Minería (REMA), Otros Mundos A.C. y el Movimiento Mesoamericano contra el Modelo extractivo Minero (M4), 27 de noviembre de 2014)

Exigen justicia a cinco años del asesinato de activista en Chiapas(Proceso, 27 de noviembre de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Denunciation of renewal of mining activities in Chicomuselo (21 August 2013)

Chiapas: Self-defense brigades against looting by mining corporations (5 March 2013)

Chiapas: two thousand march at the close of the “Chiapan Meeting of Unity against the Extractive Mining Model” in Frontera Comalapa (7 December 2012)

Chiapas: Second Forum “For the Defense of Our Mother Earth and Land; Yes to Life, No to Mining Devastation” (21 September 2012)

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

Chiapas: two thousand march at the close of the “Chiapan Meeting of Unity against the Extractive Mining Model” in Frontera Comalapa (7 December 2012)

Chiapas: Canadian delegation investigates mining abuses (2 April 2010)

Chiapas: Anti-mining activist Mariano Abarca killed (1 December 2009)


Chiapas: Denunciation of illegal reactivation of mining operations in Chicomuselo

February 5, 2014


Foro antiminería en Chicomuselo, sept 2012 @ Foto de archivo (SIPAZ)

Civil organizations denounced that on 19 January six heavy-machinery trucks arrived to Chicomuselo and then headed to the Santa María ejido, where the barite mine La Pera is located, having been closed months ago by the Federal Prosecutorial Office for Environmental Protection (PROFEPA) for having violated environmental standards.  The organizations added that to date, six trucks have left the mining site full of barite, despite the fact that they are “working the mine illegally.”  For this reason they call on state and federal authorities to suspend the work, affirming that “the companies which exploit minerals in the zone have delineated a new strategy: to foment mining cooperatives” and to convince ejidatarios to take on this form, so as to authorize the entry into the communities of their exploration and exploitation operations.

To avoid the possibility that the residents perceive the presence of the vehicles and come to protest the mines, the trucks are not passing through the main street of Chicomuselo itself, which was closed by the anti-mining movement led by Mariano Abarca, assassinated in November 2009 during his struggle against the Canadian mining firm Blackfire.

For more information (in Spanish):

Reinician actividades en las minas de Chicomuselo (Otros Mundos Chiapas, 24 de enero de 2014)

Empresas mineras reanudaron ilegalmente trabajos en Chiapas (La Jornada, 24 de enero de 2014)

Reactivan, de manera ilegal, extracción minera en Chiapas (Chiapas Paralelo, 25 de enero de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Denunciation of renewal of mining activities in Chicomuselo (21 August 2013)

Chiapas: Self-defense brigades against looting by mining corporations (5 March 2013)

Chiapas: two thousand march at the close of the “Chiapan Meeting of Unity against the Extractive Mining Model” in Frontera Comalapa (7 December 2012)

Chiapas: Second Forum “For the Defense of Our Mother Earth and Land; Yes to Life, No to Mining Devastation” (21 September 2012)

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


Chiapas: judiciary demands that mine exploited by Blackfire remain closed

October 27, 2010

Protest against mining-company Blackfire Exporation Ltd. (@Common Frontiers Canada)

 

On Tuesday 19 October the judiciary power of the federal declared that the barite mine located in the ejido of Grecia, municipality of Chicomuselo, Chiapas, should remain closed until the Canadian companhy Blackfire, concessionary of the mine, comply with the environmental regulations demanded by the Secretary of Environment, Living, and Natural History (Semavihn) of Chiapas.  This decision is the result of an appeal advanced by Semavihn against a decision granted to Blackfire on 30 April that authorized the re-opening of the mine that was closed following the killing of Mariano Abarca, leader of local opposition to mining-exploitation, on 27 November 2009.

This latest decision by the judiciary was welcomed by the bishop of the diocese of San Cristóbal, Felipe Arizmendi Esquivel, who stressed that “as long as there is evidence for the environmental degradation caused by [the mine], such a mine that hurts society and only benefits a few managers cannot continue working.”  He added that he thought that the decision to keep the mine closed would lower the tensions and worries of the people of the area affected by Blackfire’s mine.

The judicial decision comes a week after a march held in Chicomuselo by the Emiliano Zapata Campesino Organization-National Coordination for the Ayala Plan (OCEZ-CNPA), the Coordination of Autonomous Organizations of the State of Chiapas (COAECH), and the Movement for National Liberation (MLN) in which it is estimated that participated some 2000 protestors.  The march, which sought to reject the previous decision authorizing the re-opening of the mine exploited by Blackfire, denounced that the mining operations bring no benefits for local people.  Protestors also expressed their solidarity with the priest Eleazar Juárez Flores, who has been threatened with death for having accompanied groups opposed to the mine.

For more information (in Spanish):

Barite mine in Chiapas will continue closed until it follows regulations (La Jornada, 20 October)

It is important that the mine continue to be closed (Cuarto Poder, 25 October)

Conflict against firm continues (Cuarto Poder, 18 October)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Death-threats directed against the Chicomuselo parish (13 October 2010)

Chiapas: the Peace Network presents report on Chiapas’ border zone (13 October 2010)

Chiapas: Canadian delegation investigates mining abuses (2 April 2010)

Chiapas: Anti-mining activist Mariano Abarca killed (1 December 2009)


Oaxaca: Sixth National Assembly of the Environmentally Affected

September 30, 2010

Petroleum installations, Veracruz (@AP)

The Sixth Assembly of the Environmentally Affected took place on 11 and 12 September in the municipality of Magdalena Ocotlán, Oaxaca, with the participation of more than 1100 people representing some 90 civil organizations.

In the declaration released at the close of the meeting on 12 September, those who participated in the assembly warn that, since the previous assembly held a year ago in Chichicuautla, Puebla, “the grave environmental situation lived in the country not only has not improved or stagnated; it has, rather, seriously worsened.” The communiqué mentions “the silent death of dozens of people” that results from the kidney failure that follows from “the uncontrolled discharge of industrial waste” in the Atoyac River in Tlaxcala, the Santiago River in Jalisco, and the Blanco and Coatzacoalcos rivers in Veracruz.  The assembly also denounces “the over-explotation of aquifer reserves” that is seen in the states of Tlaxcala, Puebla, Morelos, Michoacán, Jalisco, Veracruz, and Mexico City due to “the numerous private-road and highway projects, airport expansion, and the unregulated sprawl of unsustainable housing units and thousands of commercial centers.” Furthermore, the communiqué condemns “the setting-aside of experimental lands for transgenic corn” in the northern states of Sinaloa, Sonora, Tamaulipas, and Chihuahua, together with the plans made by the transnational corporation Monsanto to cultivate 30,000 hectares of transgenic corn in the region.  The assembly once again pronounces itself in favor of the “total prohibition of transgenic corn in Mexico.”

In addition, the assembly denounces the plan to begin operating “thousands of new petroleum-drilling sites” in the region of Chicontepec, Veracruz, a project that, according to the assembly, has the support of the U.S. corporation Halliburton and of the Canadian Blackfire.  In general terms the assembly’s communique condemns the fact that “the national territory is being pockmarked by hundreds of open-air mining projects in several states of the country,” and it calls for the cessation of mining operations in San José el Progreso, Oaxaca, and for the closing of the San Xavier mine in San Luis Potosí.  Similarly, it denounces the recent attempts to reinitiate the construction of the La Parota dam in the state of Guerrero and the progress made toward constructing the El Zapotillo dam in Jalisco and the Paso de la Reina dam in Oaxaca.  It demands “the definitive cancellation of each one of these projects.”

At the close of the communiqué, the assembly’s participants express their “desire for life and […] for struggle” and their commitment to “explore through self-management the construction of alternatives and collective, sensible forms of using and metabolizing our material conditions of existence.” They also declared their wish to participate in the protest-movement against the Conference of Parties 16 (COP16) regarding the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change that will be held in Cancún from 29 November to 10 December.  With these commitments the assembly’s participants hope to resist “the situation of extreme danger in which [Mexico] finds itself,” together with the “deviations of power and general decadence into which the Mexican State has fallen.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Full communiqué of the Sixth National Assembly of the Environmentally Affected (.doc)

Blog of the Assembly of the Environmentally Affected

The true environmental and climatic policy of Mexico (La Jornada, 25 September)


Chiapas: demonstration during the visit of Canada’s Governor General

December 10, 2009


About 50 protesters wearing masks and carrying photos of slain activist Mariano Abarca Roblero greeted Canada’s Governor General Wednesday in San Cristobal de Las Casas, on the last day of her state visit to Mexico.

The protesters were kept about 200 meters from FOMMA, a Mayan women’s collective where Gov. Gen. Michaelle Jean watched a play and participated in a roundtable discussion.

There were no clashes between the protestors and the dozen or so riot police guarding the barricade.

The protestors carried signs accusing Canadian company Blackfire of murder and chanted “If Abarca were alive, he’s be here with us” and “Canadian mines get out.”

Afterward, in a statement to media, Jean condemned the assassination of Abarca Roblero, calling the murder unacceptable, inexcusable and deplorable.

“We believe that the justice system here in Mexico will proceed with the enquiry in that case,” Jean said. “We will be following this situation closely with the firm hope and conviction that justice will be served.”

At a press conference held that morning at local NGO Otros Mundos Chiapas, organizers and residents of Chicomuselo called for a complete withdrawal by the Canadian company, which has a barite mine near Chicomuselo that was temporarily shut down on Monday.

Two residents of Chicomuselo said they have received threats since Abarca Roblero’s death and do not feel safe in their community.

For more information (in Spanish):

– Condena gobernadora de Canadá asesinato de activista en Chiapas (Jornada, 10 de diciembre de 2009)

– De visista en Chiapas gobernadora general (Cuarto Poder, 10 de diciembre de 2009)

– Página Web de Otros Mundos

More information from SIPAZ:

Chiapas: Anti-mining Activist Mariano Abarca killed