15 March marked the one-year anniversary of the murder of Bernardo Vásquez Sánchez, spokesperson of the Coordination of United Peoples in Defense of the Ocotlan Valley (CPUVO) and opponent of the “Trinidad” mine owned by the Cuzcatlán firm, which is a subsidiary of Fortuna Silver Mines Inc, located in the municipality of San José del Progreso. During 2010 and 2011 Bernardo and members of the CPUVO received death-threats for which they responded with 20 juridical demands, none of which was processed.
Commemorating the one-year anniversary of Bernardo Vázquez’s murder, on March 15 a group of 200 people carried out a ceremony to remember this social activist, before the very site of the Cuzcatlán mine in San José del Progreso. In accordance with the Miguel Agustín Pro Juárez Center for Human Rights (Centro Prodh), the entire group was arrested following their public act. These events took place when members of a group supportive of the mine (transported in 5 trucks) blockaded access, including federal highways, to inhibit the free movement of the protesters, who were also fired upon so as to intimidate them. There were no reports of injured persons, but among those arrested are found members of the Oaxacan Collective in Defense of Territory, of the CPUVO, residents of San José del Progreso, and members of the Miguel Agustín Pro Juárez Center for Human Rights, including its director, José Rosario Marroquín Farrera.
“A year after his murder, the violations of the collective rights of the people continue to be prosecuted by the mining firm, and there has been no institutional means by which to resolve this conflict. This date leads us to recall the level of impunity with which the mining firms are operating; it also recalls the complicity of municipal, state, and federal governments with the implementation of these projects,” as is noted in the communique by REMA (Mexican Network of those Affected by Mining) that was published for the one-year anniversary.
For more information (in Spanish):
Bernardo VIVE en la lucha de los pueblos de Oaxaca (EDUCA, 15 de marzo de 2013)
A un año del asesinato de Bernardo Vásquez Sánchez se continúan violando los derechos humanos en San José del Progreso (Colectivo Oaxaqueño en Defensa de los Territorios, 14 de marzo de 2013)
Situación de emergencia en San José del Progreso (CodigoDH, 15 de marzo de 2013)
A un año del asesinato de Bernardo Vásquez Sánchez, REMA exige justicia para San José del Progreso, Oaxaca, México (Otros Mundos Chiapas, 15 de marzo de 2013)
Activistas hacen toma simbólica de mina en El Progreso, Oaxaca(Milenio, 15 de marzo de 2013)
Retiene grupo armado a 200 activistas opositores a una mina en Oaxaca (WRadio, 15 de marzo de 2013)
Opositores a minera y defensores de DH bien tras hostigamiento(Centro Prodh, 15 de marzo de 2013)
For more information from SIPAZ (in English):
Oaxaca: Opponents to mining in San José del Progreso are attacked (25 June 2012)
Oaxaca: access to the Cuzcatlán mine is blocked in San José el Progreso (16 May 2012)
Oaxaca: Actions, denunciations, and mobilizations in the case of San José del Progreso (3 April 2012)
Oaxaca: Murder of the spokesperson of the Coordination of the United Peoples of the Ocotlán Valley (25 March 2012)
Oaxaca: Two opponents of mining in San José del Progreso are fired on (8 February 2012)
Mexico: “Mined land, the defense of the rights of communities and of the environment” (14 December 2011)