Chiapas: nine municipalities declare their lands free of mining and dams

December 26, 2015

Lectura del pronunciamiento. Foto: @DesInformémonos

Public reading of the declaration
Photo: @DesInformémonos

Nine municipalities of the Sierra Madre and the Soconusco in Chiapas state have ratified the declaration that their lands have been freed of mining operations and dams. Using the III Declaration of Tapachula for Lands Freed of Dams and Mining in the Sierra Madre and Llanura Costera of Chiapas, some 40 indigenous and campesino ejidos, communities, and social organizations reaffirmed their commitment (adopted in 2013) to the defense of their territories against plundering as carried out by transnational corporations. The municipalities of Tuzantan, Huehuetan, Motozintla, Tapachula, Escuintla, Acacoyagua, Chicomuselo, and Comalapa denounced the collusion of municipal and state governments with the firms to obtain permits for the exploitation of lands and rivers. They also rejected the models of development, water management, and energy policy that have been imposed in Mexico by structural reforms, particularly the energy reform.

“In light of the opposition against extractive projects on our lands, we propose to organize and link ourselves with other struggles that seek to defend their rights and the natural resources of water and land.” In this way, the representatives of the municipalities affirmed that they have ties with other movements, especially in Jalisco, Nayarit, Puebla, Oaxaca, Guerrero, and Veracruz. These are alliances with other struggles over the right to decide what happens on their lands, in favor of living well and strengthening oneself amidst the repression meted out toward defenders of the Earth.

It bears recalling that on 30 November the Union of Campesinos and Fisherfolk of the Sierra and Coast of Chiapas also declared their municipalities free of dams and mining operations.

For more information (in Spanish):

Declaran libre de minería y represas a nueve municipios de la Sierra , Costa y Soconusco (Chiapas Paralelo, 9 de diciembre de 2015)


40 ejidos de Chiapas se declaran libres de minería e hidroeléctricas (DesInformémonos, 11 de diciembre de 2015)

Chiapas: Movilización 30 de Noviembre por la defensa de la tierra y el territorio (Otros Mundos, 29 de noviembre de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Mining reactivation is denounced in the state (3 March 2015)

Chiapas: popular rejection of dams and mining projects in the Tapachula, Motozintla, Huixtla, and Huehuetán region (December 17, 2014)

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

Chiapas: Third Forum for the Defense and Care of Mother Earth in Chicomuselo (December 6, 2014)

Chiapas: Mobilization of 56 communities in Tapachula against mines and dams

December 17, 2013


On 10 December, 56 communities, ejidos, and organizations from the Tapachula, Motozintla, Huehuetán, Cacahoatán, Mazapa, Comalapa, Chicomuselo, and Tuzantán municipalities marched in Tapachula to declare their lands free of mining and dam megaprojects.  They demanded that the three levels of government respect their decision and demanded that they be provided with information regarding the advances and intentions on the part of any firm or governmental institution to intervene in the region to begin mining operations.

Through the Declaration on Rivers and Lands Free of Dams and Mining Exploitation in the Southern Madre Sierra and Coastal Plan of Chiapas, the groups affirmed that “we declare our rivers and lands free of mining exploitation and hydroelectric dams, and we declare the corresponding authorities responsible for whatever conflict arises due to the continuation of intentions to impose these looting projects.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Declaración de ríos y territorios libres de represas y explotación minera de la sierra madre y llanura costera de Chiapas (10 de diciembre de 2013)

Municipios de Chiapas se manifiestan contra represas y mineras (Chiapas Paralelo, 11 de diciembre de 2013)

56 comunidades de 17 municipios de Chiapas se declaran libres de minería y represas (Centro de Medios Libres, 10 de diciembre de 2013)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: International socio-environmental seminar, the Open Veins of Contemporary Chiapas (12 November 2013)

Chiapas: Regional Forum in Defense of the Land, the Territory and Natural Resources held in Ejido Costa Rica, frontier municipality of Comalapa

March 9, 2011

On Saturday 5 March, women and men from different communities and organizations of the mountain border region of Chiapas met at the Regional Forum in Defense of the Land, Territory, and Natural Resources, held in the “Costa Rica” ejido, municipality of Comalapa.  The objectives of the meeting had to do with “carrying out an exchange of experience and information with respect to the defend of the natural resources that we have undertaken from different places, as communities, organizations, and parishes that have committed themselves to the defense of life,” as well as to “strengthen the struggles both local and national, building networks and alliances that allow for solidarity before urgent situations.”

The meeting’s participants denounces to this end that “We who meet here today have seen that the life of our Mother Earth is threatened by particular interests who are uninterested in the life of the beings who on it reside; they see only economic interests [in Earth].  Within these projects of so-called development we find highways, hydroelectric dams, eco-tourist centers, mining projects, sowing of monocultures (pine, African palm, among others) that create divisions, confrontations, diseases, environmental pollution, death-threats, deaths, criminalization of social protest.”

In spite of the high costs that their struggle has suffered (they remembered in particular the murder of Mariano Abarca), they affirmed that “With this Forum we confirm that we will continue working, as we have done for many years, to promote and defend the human rights of those who have been born here, next to our people, given that we are and will be the ones who live here as long as we disallow the looting of the Earth and the land.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Boletín de prensa emitido en el marco del Foro (Comalapa, 5 March)

Se aglutinan en Foro Regional por la Tierra (Cuarto Poder, 6 March)

Determinan amenaza hacia la Madre Tierra debido a intereses (Cuarto Poder, 7 March)

En Comalapa, inicia Foro de Defensa de la Tierra (Expreso de Chiapas, 6 March)

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)

Chiapas: the Peace Network presents report on Chiapas’ border zone

October 13, 2010

In light of the deterioration of the human-rights situation lived in Chiapas, the civil organizations that comprise the Peace Network agreed in early 2010 to carry out documentation-visits in distinct regions of the state of Chiapas from which have originated testimony regarding problems that disrupt the international protection and guarantee of human rights, thus putting at risk conditions of social peace.

The organizations that constitute the Peace Network organized a “Civil Mission of Observation of Human Rights and Social Conflictivity,” which began its work of observation and documentation in four municipalities of the border zone of Chiapas: Comitán, Trinitaria, Comalapa, and Chicomuselo.

The Civil Mission visited these municipalities during the days 16, 17, and 18 March 2010.  In each of the municipalities were held interviews with actors who agreed to share their testimony on various issues regarding human rights.  The questions that received the most emphasis during the interviews were organized around the following themes: migration; militarization; land and territory; economic, social, cultural, and environmental rights; rights of women; and criminalization of social protest.  The results of these interviews can be found in a published report that was presented during the 7 October press-conference.

On 6 August, there was held a space among interviewed individuals and organizations during the March civil mission to assess the information that went into the report, which allowed for the report that was presented at the press-conference to be finalized.  This report presents an evaluation of the tendencies and principal problems documented during the mission as well as possible moves toward the construction of peace that, despite everything, were seen as present in the visited municipalities.

For more information (in Spanish):

Peace Network press-release (7 October 2010)

Report of the Peace Network’s Civil Mission of Observation-Border Zone (October 2010)