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: Presentation of report “Justice for San José del Progreso”

April 26, 2014

Presentación del informe en san Cristóbal de las Casas. Foto (@Sipaz)

Presentation of report in San Cristóbal de las Casas. Photo(@Sipaz)

Between 11 and 13 April was presented in San Cristóbal de las Casas and the Chicomuselo municipality the report “Justice for San José del Progreso,” the fruit of a Civil Mission of Observation held in November 2012 according to the call of the Oaxacan Collective in Defense of Land.

In the press-conference and activities of presentation for the report, organized by the International Service for Peace (SIPAZ), were present Neftalí Reyes, member of the Oaxacan organization Services for an Alternative Education (EDUCA), which forms part of the Collective; Gustavo Castro, member of the Chiapas-based group Other Worlds A.C., and Roberto Ortiz, from the “Samuel Ruiz” Committee for the Promotion and Defense of Life in Chicomuselo.

In the presentation, beyond presenting the results of the report and the specific case of San José del Progreso, a Oaxacan community that has suffered numerous rights-violations as a consequence of the imposition in the community of the mining project owned by Canadian firm Fortune Silver Mines, the case of Chicomuselo, Chiapas, was also raised, this being a site since 2008 where communities have been organizing against mining exploitation as overseen by the Canadian company Blackfire Exploration.

For more information (in Spanish):

Informe sobre afectaciones mineras en Oaxaca se presenta en San Cristóbal (Radio Zapatista, 12 de abril de 2014)

Minera canadiense y gobierno violan DH de habitantes en San José del Progreso, Oaxaca (Chiapas Paralelo, 12 de abril de 2014)

Justicia para San José del Progreso; Informe de la Misión Civil de Observación (Koman Ilel, 14 de abril de 2014)

Audios (Radio Zapatista):

Gustavo Castro (Otros Mundos Chiapas) – Contexto de la minería en México

Neftalí Reyes (Servicios para una Educación Alternativa – EDUCA) – Sobre el caso de San José del Progreso, Oaxaca

Roberto Ortiz (Comité para la Promoción y Defensa de la Vida en Chicomuselo “Samuel Ruiz”) – Sobre el caso de Chicomuselo, Chiapas

Informe: Misión Civil de Observación: Justicia para San José del Progreso

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Presentation in San Cristóbal de Las Casas of report “Justice for San José del Progreso” (23 April 2014)

Oaxaca: presentation of report “Justice for San José del Progreso” (16 March 2014)

Oaxaca: Organizational call to the presentation of the Report of the Civil Mission of Observation: Justice para San José del Progreso (18 March 2014)

Oaxaca: Civil Observation Mission to San José del Progreso (30 November 2012)


Chiapas: Presentatation in San Cristóbal de Las Casas of the report “Justice for San José del Progreso”

April 23, 2014

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In observance of the second anniversary of the murder of Bernardo Vásquez Sánchez, the Oaxacan Collective in Defense of Land will present its report “Justice for San José del Progreso,” the result of a Civil Observation Mission held in November 2012, in San Cristóbal de Las Casas.  The event is to take place in CEDUI on Friday 11 April at 12:00, with the participation of the Oaxacan Collective, Other Worlds Chiapas, and the Committee for the Promotion and Defense of Life Samuel Ruiz García from Chicomuselo. There will be another presentation at El Paliacate Cultural Space at 7pm.

The report gives evidence to the systematic violations of human rights produced by the imposition of the mining project developed by the Fortune Silver Mines firm since 2006.  It indicates that since this time, the firm has violated the right to life; to free, prior, and informed consent; to public information; to respect for collective property and integrity of land; to free self-determination; to a clean environment; to communal health; to the rights of children, adolescents, and women; to association and meeting; to freedom and personal integrity; and to the right to the administration of justice and to the work of human-rights violations.  All of these rights are recognizes legally at the national and international level.

The document includes recommendations for the federal, state, and municipal governments, including the observation of the rights of citizens over those of the rights of mining firms, in addition to the guarantee to the right to life and physical and psychological integrity of the people of San José del Progreso.  It also calls on the Canadian government to ensure that Canadian mining firms be called to justice before the judicial system over human-rights violations committed outside the national territory.

For more information (in Spanish):

Demandarán a minera Cuzcatlán ante gobierno de Canadá (Página 3, 11 de marzo de 2014)

Minera canadiense y gobierno violan DH de habitantes en San José del Progreso, Oaxaca (PRODH, 13 de marzo de 2014)

Denuncian a minera canadiense por violar derechos en San José del Progreso, Oaxaca (La Jornada, 13 de marzo de 2014)

Audio: Presentación del Informe en el IAGO, Oaxaca (Internet Archive, 10 de marzo de 2014)

Video: Exigen organizaciones cancelación de mina en San José del Progreso (Noticias, 10 de marzo de 2014)

Descarga el Informe de la Misión Civil de Observación: Justicia para San José del Progreso

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Oaxaca: presentation of report “Justice for San José del Progreso” (16 March 2014)

Oaxaca: Organizational call to the presentation of the Report of the Civil Mission of Observation: Justice para San José del Progreso (18 March 2014)

Oaxaca: Civil Observation Mission to San José del Progreso (30 November 2012)


Chiapas: Search by police of the offices of the mining firm Blackfire in Canada

September 22, 2011

Manifestation against mining activities by Blackfire in Chicomuselo, 2009. Photo @Reuters

The November 2009 murder of Mariano Abarca Roblero, leader of the anti-mining movement in Chicomuselo, Chiapas, once again came up in the news recently.  On 20 July, the Royal Mounted Police searched the central offices of the Blackfire Exploration Ltd., following investigations regarding a denunciation that revealed that this mining firm regularly paid the mayor of Chicomuselo, Julio César Velázquez Calderón (PRD), in exchange for his guaranteeing security and the control of residents critical of the presence of the firm.

The organizations Mining Alert Canada, Common Frontiers, the United Steelworkers, and the Council of Canadians welcomed the news.  “We are glad to see that the operations of Blackfire are being investigated, in accordance with the Law of Corruption of Foreign Public Officials,” said Jamie Kneen, spokesperson for mining Alert Canada.  “This is the only law that holds Canadian companies accountable for their actions outside the country.  We hope that it will bring some sort of justice for this case.”  Mark Rowlinson, lawyer for the United Steelworkers, said that “Blackfire should leave Chiapas altogether and publicly apologize to the communities.  We ourselves [during an investigative delegation] have seen the impacts of the company on human life and the environment in Chicomuselo.  The costs for the community have been excessively high.”

For more information (in Spanish and English):

RCMP raid Calgary miner over bribery allegations (The Globe and Mail, 29 August)

Policía Montada de Canadá persigue a la Blackfire (Red Mexicana de Afectados por la Minería, 29 August)

La sociedad civil canadiense expresa su agrado ante el allanamiento de las oficinas de Blackfire Exploration(Cencos, 30 August)

Stop Canadian mining companies’ rights abuses (Embassy, 29 September 2010)

Delegación investigadora canadiense descubre comunidad mexicana devastada por las actividades mineras de Blackfire Exploración (21 April 2010)

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)


The II Hemispheric Meeting Against Militarization takes place in La Esperanza, Honduras

October 16, 2008
II ENCUENTRO HEMISFÉRICO FRENTE A LA MILITARIZACIÓN

Slideshow of the II Hemispheric Meeting Against Militarization

The II Hemispheric Meeting Against Militarization took place between 3 and 6 October, 2008 in La Esperanza, Intibucá, Honduras. The meeting saw the participation of some 800 individuals and 175 organizations from 27 different countries including: Colombia, Ecuador, Bolivia, Paraguay, Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, Brazil, Peru, Venezuela, Cuba, Haiti, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Costa Rica, the United States, Canada and five European countries.

During the 4 day gathering 19 regional based cases of “solidarity/urgent actions” were presented in which participants denounced the current militarization status of Haiti, Colombia, The United States, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Chile, Mexico, El Salvador, Argentina, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, the Triple Border (between Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay), Honduras, Brazil, Cuba, Bolivia, Uruguay, Guatemala y Paraguay.

On October 3 and 4 workshops were presented on several diverse theme including: Indigenous Peoples, Afro-Americans and Campesinos; Immigration; Social Movements; the Criminalization of Social Struggle; the Fourth Fleet; the Triple Border; Military Bases; the Military Industrial Complex; the SPP (Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America); Free Trade Agreements; the Mesoamerican Project (formerly the PPP, Plan Puebla Panama); IIRSA (Integration of Regional Infrastructure in South America), the Merida Initiative and Plan Colombia. The reflection on possible plans of action was divided into regions: South America, Mesoamerica (including southern Mexico), the Caribbean and the North (including northern Mexico).

At the closing of the meeting the Final Declaration was read to the participants and later made public (in Spanish, see below). On the morning of the 6th, the gathering was concluded with a march and subsequent demonstration held in front of the United States military base located in Palmerola, Comayagua, Honduras.

Final Declaration of the II Hemispheric Forum Against Militarization (Spanish)

More information:

Hundreds Gather to Confront Militarization of the Americas (Americas Policy Program, 05/10/08)

More Information (in Spanish):

Sitio del II Encuentro Hemisférico contra la Militarización

Campesinos e indígenas protestan en base de Palmerola y exigen su cierre (Proceso, 06/10/08)

Campaña por la Desmilitarización de las Américas