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: Self-defense brigades against looting by mining corporations

March 5, 2013


On 26 February, campesinos and indigenous persons pertaining to 78 ejidos from 11 municipalities of the Sierra and Coast of Chiapas founded a “Civil Guard for Self-Defense” toward the end of putting a halt to the looting undertaken by mining firms in the state.  During a meeting celebrated in the El Carrizal community (Motozintla municipality), at which participated more than 2000 campesinos, it was agreed that the Civil Guards will be comprised by groups of 20 persons who will patrol zones to prevent the operation of mining firms and to arrest any transport vehicle in said zone.  They indicated that they saw themselves as obligated to opt for this route in light of the indifference of the local and federal authorities and their outright collaboration with the companies that loot and pollute the state.

The 78 communities that participated are located in the Bella Vista, Bejucal de Ocampo, La Grandeza, Mazapa de Madero, Escuintla, Acacoyagua, Siltepec, Frontera Comalapa, El Porvenir, and Chicomuselo municipalities.

The next day, the Chiapas state-government expressed its rejection of the operation of armed self-defense groups in the state, clarifying that the development has to do with civil ecologists who have been protesting mineral exploitation for more than five years in municipalities such as Chicomuselo: “They have nothing to do with the civil armed groups that have arisen in other states, because in Chiapas security and social peace are guaranteed by the institutions of local public security and the federal security forces present in the state.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Campesinos crean en Chiapas ‘guardias civiles’ para frenar a mineras (Proceso, 26 de febrero de 2013)

Amagan con más autodefensas, ahora en Chiapas (El Universal, 26 de febrero de 2013)

Chiapas descarta presencia de autodefensa armada (El Universal, 27 de febrero de 2013)

Aparecen grupos de autodefensa en Chiapas (Animal Político, 27 de febrero de 2013)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

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: 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)