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)


Mexico/Latin America: The TPP prosecutes Canadian mining companies

June 12, 2014

tpp-canadaFrom May 29 to June 1, the first meeting of the Peoples’ Permanent Tribunal (TPP) on the Canadian mining industry was held in Montreal (Canada). The TPP is a mechanism that was created in Italy in 1979. In the light of international laws on human rights violations, it examines cases that have exhausted traditional and national mechanisms.

In Latin America, more than 200 social conflicts can be attributed to mining industry. 75% of the mining companies in the world are Canadians. At the hearing, these companies were “accused of violating the fundamental rights of peoples in Latin America.” The Canadian government was criticized for “contributing (…) to the violation of indigenous peoples’ human rights in Latin America, by supporting the mining industry and favoring those companies in a context of impunity.” The TPP stressed that the Canadian government “tolerates or covers up violations of human rights perpetrated by these companies. “

In particular, five companies operating in Latin America, including Blackfire Exploration and Excellon Resources, have been prosecuted for their activities in Mexico.

The Tribunal found that the expansion of Canadian mining in Latin America has been favored both by Canada (using diplomatic pressure on the countries whose resources are exploited), as well as by the governments of those same countries (that facilitate investment and allow corruption and violations of human and environmental rights). Local authorities are accused of being accomplices “when they grant concessions and operating licenses without taking into account the impact that these activities may have on human rights,” and “when they increase the flexibility of their labor, environmental and tax regulations to promote the interests of mining companies,” responding to the “undue influence on the reform of the mining and environmental legislation” by the Canadian state.

The Tribunal noted that among the rights violated almost systematically by Canadian mining companies are found the following: the right to water, health, a healthy environment, the right to security and physical integrity, the right to self-determination, the right to participation, consultation and prior consent, the right to expression and protest, the right to fair and just working conditions, and freedom of association.

The TPP’s preliminary verdict stressed the responsibility of mining companies “for human rights violations (…), as well as the responsibility of the Canadian State and of countries where the natural resources are exploited by these companies because they haven’t prevented or have facilitated, tolerated and covered up such violations.  In practice, too, they have prevented victims’ access to justice for such violations. “

For more information (in Spanish):

Veredicto preliminar del TPP (1er de junio de 2014)

Piden justicia en Canadá por asesinato de Mariano Abarca (Chiapas Paralelo, 4 de junio de 2014)

Del total de conflictos mineros en América Latina, 90% son con empresas canadienses (La Jornada, 24 de mayo de 2014)

Empresas mineras al banquillo de los acusados por generar 200 conflictos sociales (Chiapas Paralelo, 23 de mayo de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English)

Guerrero/Mexico/Latin America: Grave challenges to Goldcorp and other Canadian mining firms (May 3, 2014)

Guerrero: Ejidatarios from Carrizalillo to sue mining company before the Agrarian Tribunal (29 April 2014)


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: Committee for the Promotion and Defense of Life Samuel Ruiz García denounces that mining firms seek to reactivate mineral exploitation in the “La Revancha” territory, Chicomuselo

November 13, 2013

No a la minería (@Zapateando)

In a communique published on 31 October 2013, the Committee for the Promotion and Defense of Life Samuel Ruiz García, located in Chicomuselo, denounced that mining firms seek to reactivate the La Revancha mine belonging to the Nueva Morelia ejido, which previously had been shuttered in 2009 after the murder of anti-mining leader Mariano Abarco.  This development comes after the arrival to the locale of mining workers the previous day.

Upon being questioned, said workers claimed to belong to the mining firm Zacatecas Mining Operations, adding that a neighbor, the presumed director of the El Surco organization, had authorized their arrival to the mine.

As the denunciation explains, residents “are opposed to the mining project, as no outsider to the ejido has the right to grant permits to any other outsider, much less to mining firms, especially given that these companies are in conflict with us since the public recognition of the environmental consequences of mining, in addition to the health and community side-effects which mining in Chicomuselo resulted in.  We can think particularly of the death of Mr. Mariano Abarca Roblero.”  It should be remembered that, just in this one municipality, 16 concessions have been granted for the exploration and exploitation of mineral resources, some of them with a 50-year lifespan.

For more information (in Spanish):

Empresarios quieren reactivar industria minera en Chicomuselo, son rechazados por la población (Chiapas Paralelo, 2 de noviembre de 2013)

Comunicado completo del Comité para la Promoción y Defensa de la vida Samuel Ruiz García (Radio Pozol, 31 de octubre de 2013)

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: 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: Death-threat directed against the Chicomuselo parish

October 13, 2010

The bishop of the diocese of San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Felipe Arizmendi Esquivel, has confirmed that the parishioner of the municipality of Chicomuselo, Eleazar Juárez Flores, has been threatened with death, as had previously been reported by the ‘Ecclesiastic Base Communities’ of this location, for having “accompanied” the communities that oppose the exploitation of barite carried out by the Canadian firm Blackfire.

In November of last year, Mariano Abarca Roblero, leader of opposition to barite-mining operations, was killed.  Following the murder, state authorities temporarily closed the mine, but Blackfire advanced a legal case before the federal government.  In April of this year the fifth judge of the district, with headquarters in Tuxtlá Gutierrez, decided in its favor, so that soon these operations will be able to resume.

For more information (in Spanish):

Bishop Arizmendi expresses his “total support” for the parishioner of Chicomuselo, threatened with death (La Jornada, 11 October 2010)

Death-threats against parishioner of Chiapas are denounced (Milenio, 11 October 2010)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

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

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

Chiapas: demonstration during the visit of Canada’s Governor General (10 December 2009)

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


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