Oaxaca: Verdict of the Popular Community Trial against the Mexican State and the mining companies

January 4, 2019

47680585_2501266456556941_201512559788949504_n

On December 10th, on the International Human Rights Day as part of a political act in front of the Government Palace villages in Oaxaca-City, communities and organizations that participated in the “Popular Community Trial against the State and Mining Companies in Oaxaca” last October publicly presented the final verdict.

It should be remembered that in the Popular Community Trial participated 52 communities who presented 22 cases of affectations caused by mining in 5 of the state’s regions including – says the verdict- “irreversible affectations to the ecosystem, river contamination, fractures in the social structure and generalized insecurity in the regions, where those mining projects operate through mining companies, shock groups and state authorities”.

The verdict put forward the necessity to rescind the 322 concessions and the 41 valid mining projects within the State “as those were imposed without previous, free and informed consent by the communities and while violating our right to self-determination and autonomy to our cultural integrity, to administrate and control our territories and to maintain the collective property of our lands and communal natural goods”.

Equally, it demanded the immediate suspension of the issue of quarrying rights “until a new legal framework has been elaborated that fully and effectively respects the indigenous people’s rights as they were established in international treaties and the Constitution, until the repeal of the current mining law and others that protect the relations with that industry”. Likewise, it urged the authorities to pass laws and public policies which protect the indigenous people’s rights, which recognize them as subjects to public rights and include the in effective mechanisms of integral reparations for the caused damage.

The legal judgment also put forward the necessity to protect those who defend their territories so that they can do so in “conditions of liberty and security” and it demanded that “the politics of criminalization against the social protest are stopped, that the people responsible for assassinations are punished and that the disappeared territorial activists are presented alive immediately as well as the suspension of arrest warrants issued for the same reasons, individual and collective threats”.

The political act ended proclaiming “Yes to life, no to mining!” and “Neither gold nor silver, mining kills!”.

The report about the civil trial details that until 2017 there haven been registered 42 mining projects by 38 companies from Canada, the United States, Peru, Australia and Mexico. 36 of them in stage of exploration, 2 in development, one was postponed and 2 are already in the phase of commercial exploitation.

For more information in Spanish:

Oaxaca territorio prohibido para la minería”: exigencia de pueblos, comunidades y organizaciones frente al nuevo gobierno federal (Pronunciamiento e Informe, 10 de diciembre de 2018)

Juicio Popular Comunitario contra el Estado y las Empresas Mineras (Vídeo, 10 de diciembre de 2018)

Comunidades indígenas de Oaxaca exigen la prohibición total de la minería en el estado (Animal Político, 10 de diciembre de 2018)

Demandan pueblos que Oaxaca sea territorio libre de minería (NVI Noticias, 12 de diciembre de 2018)

Oaxaca, territorio prohibido para la minería”: exigencia de comunidades al nuevo gobierno (Desinformémonos, 10 de diciembre de 2018)

Repudian proyectos de mineras en Oaxaca (La Jornada, 11 de diciembre de 2018)

For more information from SIPAZ :

Oaxaca: Popular Community Trial against the State and the Mining Companies Held (October 16th, 2018)

Oaxaca: Popular Community Trial against the State and the Mining Companies Held

Oaxaca: Anuncian juicio popular contra empresas mineras. (9 de agosto de 2018)


Oaxaca: Here we say “Yes to Life, No to Mining” – Magdalena Teitipac is still fighting for its territory

April 7, 2018
img_2776

Photo @SIPAZ


On February 23 and 24, SIPAZ was present at the Second State Meeting of Peoples, Communities and Organizations, “Here we say Yes to Life, No to Mining”, which took place in the Magdalena Teitipac community, Tlacolula, Oaxaca. The event involved 60 communities of the state of Oaxaca, 33 community authorities, and 36 organizations, who according to their declaration are “fighting for the defense of land and territory and against the imposition of the Extractive Model and of different megaprojects that violate the rights of the indigenous peoples and communities under the protection of Mexican laws”.

During the two days of the meeting, several testimonies of peoples in struggle for their territory were shared in order to “continue to strengthen our organizational processes in communities, ejidos, communal lands and municipalities.” Pronouncing themselves in favour of life”, they also inform of “harassments, persecution and murder of human rights defenders, as well as the strategies of violence that companies and the government have used to generate a climate of terror and fear to reduce the struggle of the communities and to control the territory where mining deposits exist through organized crime”. In addition, great concern was expressed about the recent approval of the Internal Security Law, which “clearly seeks to criminalize social protest to control the territory”, according to their final declaration.

The meeting, apart from the forum convened with its analysis panel and spaces of debate, was a commemoration of the fifth anniversary of the fight against mining by the community of Magdalena Teitipac, whose hopeful story goes hand in hand with the organization of the women of the town. Avispa Midia reports that after the decision of the assembly in 2013 to expel the mining company from its territory, it was “the determination of the women”, which “strengthened the community organization of Teitipac.” Lately it was the unity of the community that led to the success of their efforts and the withdrawal of the mining company.

For more information (in Spanish):

México: Magdalena Teitipac, un territorio donde las mujeres sostienen su lucha haciendo tortillas (Avispa Midia, 2 de marzo de 2018)

DECLARATORIA DEL SEGUNDO ENCUENTRO ESTATAL DE PUEBLOS, COMUNIDADES, Y ORGANIZACIONES, “AQUÍ DECIMOS SI A LA VIDA, NO A LA MINERIA” (EDUCA, 25 de febrero de 2018)

Denuncian que proyectos mineros traen violencia, despojos y desplazamientos forzados (Desinformémonos, 26 de febrero de 2018)

For more information from SIPAZ:

National/International: REMA Questions Report of UN Working Group on Corporations and Human Rights in Mexico June 28, 2017

National/International: Organizations and Defenders Take Urgent Action June 14, 2017

Oaxaca: COPUVO Denounces Harassment by Municipal Authorities and Mining Company May 15, 2017


Oaxaca: Ejidos and communities from the Central Valleys declare their territories free of mining operations

December 26, 2015

Conferencia de prensa declarando territorios libres de minería Foto: @EDUCA

Press-conference declaring territories liberated from mining
Photo: @EDUCA

On 8 November, 9 ejidos and communities from the Central Valley region of Oaxaca declared ta ban on mining operations in their territories. These communities and ejidos of the Ejutla, Ocotlán, and Tlacolula communities committed themselves to “organized regional defense of our lands using peaceful legal means from our ejidal lands and communities, declaring it prohibited in this land conduct mining operations.”

Through this declaration, they demanded that the state and federal government cancel the 18 mining projects, because, as they claimed these projects pollute their cultivated lands. The same document estimates that 90% of the concessions that the government has given to mining companies in the last 10 years have been “conducted without any consultative process incorporate free prior and informed consent in good faith with us peoples who live here.” To support this declaration the peoples called on Convention 169 of the ILO, the UN Declaration on Indigenous Rights, the Mexican Constitution, and communal assemblies, exercising their right to autonomy.

The communities agreed to promote peaceful actions to respect the accord to free their lands of mining operations. The undersigning authorities rejected the violence which took place in San José del Progreso between 2010 and 2012, in which 4 people were killed, 8 injured, and 5 others facing arrest-orders.

For more information (in Spanish):

9 ejidos y comunidades de Ejutla, Ocotlán y Tlacolula declaran su territorio prohibido para la minería (EDUCA, 30 de noviembre de 2015)

Emiten declaratoria sobre “territorios libres de minería” en Oaxaca (Proceso, 30 de noviembre de 2015)

Comunidades del los Valles Centrales de Oaxaca no dejarán entrar a mineras (DesInformémonos, 1 de diciembre de 2015)

DECLARACIÓN DE TERRITORIO PROHIBIDO PARA LA MINERÍA (Radioteca, 30 de noviembre de 2015)

Comunidades exigen parar la minería en sus territorios (Despertar de Oaxaca, 1 de diciembre de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Oaxaca: Declaration of rejection of hydroelectric and mining projects in the Coastal region (21 November 2015)

Oaxaca/National: Peaceful protest by COPUDEVER to mark “International Day of Action against Dams and for Rivers, Water, and Life” (28 March 2014)

Mexico: Murder of MAPDER member in Veracruz (20 August 2013)

Oaxaca: COPUDEVER and EDUCA present report on “Paso de la Reina” (19 July 2013)


Oaxaca: Declaration of rejection of hydroelectric and mining projects in the Coastal region

November 21, 2015

Durante el Foro @ SIPAZ

During the Forum @ SIPAZ

On 14 November, some 400 people representing 51 communities of the coastal and southern mountainous regions of Oaxaca as well as civil organizations met for the regional forum “Imperiled Rivers and Mountains” – Peoples and their Right to Land, held in Tataltepec de Valdés, Juquila. During the Forum, a declaration was developed that denounces the existence of “at least 14 hydroelectric projects in the coastal region of Oaxaca, as well as several mining projects. Many of these we reject in unison, but now they have been relaunched by federal authorities together with the Oaxacan state government.” Beyond this, they indicated “in a unanimous voice” their repudiation of the “projects of hydroelectric dams and mines that threaten our indigenous lands,” given that “new risks have been reactivated” following the “energy reform approved by the local and federal governments.”

Lastly, they concluded that “the dam- and mining-projects create great damages in our territories and environments by devastating the water supplies and thus putting at risk the continued existence of our lives as peoples. They also create social and cultural problems by dividing us over the question of whether to invite transnational corporations in. They further destroy the environment as they seek to flood our lands, and they use chemicals that contaminate the water, the land, the soils, and even the very air we breathe.”

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Declaratoria del Foro Regional “Ríos y Montañas en Peligro” – Los Pueblos y su Derecho al Territorio (Educa, 14 de noviembre de 2015)

Nuevos proyectos mineros e hidroeléctricos amenazan la Costa de Oaxaca (Educa, 10 de noviembre de 2015)

Al menos 14 proyectos hidroeléctricos en la Costa oaxaqueña; ONGs se oponen (NSS Oaxaca, 16 de noviembre de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Oaxaca/National: Peaceful protest by COPUDEVER to mark “International Day of Action against Dams and for Rivers, Water, and Life” (28 March 2014)

Mexico: Murder of MAPDER member in Veracruz (20 August 2013)

Oaxaca: COPUDEVER and EDUCA present report on “Paso de la Reina” (19 July 2013)

National: IX National Intercultural Meeting of MAPDER in Presidio de los Reyes (15 October 2013)


Guerrero: Representatives of municipalities in the Mountain and Costa Chica regions reject mining exploitation

September 10, 2015

2862421_n_vir1Photo @WRadio

The representatives of the Regional Council of Agrarian Authorities in Defense of Land (CRAADT) of the Mountain and Costa Chica regions of Guerrero have mobilized themselves for the definitive cancellation of the exploration and exploitation of mineral resources by transnational corporations, considering that instead of benefiting local communities, they damage the latter’s health. Beyond this, mining presents serious threats of pollution by cyanide to the Balsas and Papagayo rivers. In a press-conference on 22 July at the offices of the Prodh Center in Mexico City, attended by more than 15 commissioners from communities in the Mountain and Costa Chica Region, the region was declared as being free of mineral exploitation, and those present stressed that, if the planned project would be carried out, it would affect more than 187,000 hectares and more than 100,000 people.

They explained that, this same day, they would submit a manifesto to President Enrique Peña Nieto and the national congress that requests the cancellation of the mining project, beyond demanding respect for the human rights of the peoples who have historically cared for and preserved nature. They express that the struggle will continue, and they denounced that the National Agrarian Registry denies having recognizing the representative nuclei that by law correspond to it, according to the Constitution.

For more information (in Spanish):

Declaran comisariados La Montaña y la Costa Chica territorio libre de minería (La Jornada de Guerrero, 23 de julio de 2015)

Carta abierta a Jaime Martínez Veloz (22 de julio de 2015)

Rechazan trabajos de minería en Guerrero (WRadio, 22 de julio de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

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)


Oaxaca: 3 years after the murder of Bernardo Vásquez, Fortune Silver forecasts large profits

April 21, 2015

INFOGRAFIA_-03

3rd Infographic regarding mineral extraction @ Educa

Three years after the murder of Bernardo Vásquez Sánchez, spokesperson for the Coordination of the United Peoples of the Ocotlán Valley (COPUVO), who was ambushsed on 15 March 2012, COPUVO members held a peaceful protest outside the Cuzcatlán mine in San José del Progreso for the anniversary of the attack, demanding that the intellectual author of the murder be revealed.  “There is still no justice for those who have been attacked.  On the contrary,  Fortune Silver Mines has announced its expansion.  This is the result of the authorities ignoring the case, which has significantly affected the human rights of the community,”  said a relative of the slain activist.

This declaration makes reference to the fact that Fortune Silver has reported that, for 2016, the Cuzcatlán mine will become one of the 15 most productive mines of Latin America, due to the investment of $30 million that will be made in 2015 to improve infrastructure and equipment, so as to increase daily production by 50%.  The firm indicated that it presently produces about 2,000 tons of silver and gold daily, placing it among the 20 most exploited regions in the country.  For 2016, the vision is that this number rise to 3,000 daily tons.

Nonetheless, Services for an Alternative Education (EDUCA) has published three infographics regarding the establishment of mineral firms in Mexico, toward the end of sharing data about the problem that leads to mineral extraction in the country.  EDUCA documents that the governments of Vicente Fox and Felipe Calderón sold off 52 million hectares to mining firms, corresponding to 26% of the national territory.  According to the General Coordination on Mining, a branch of the Economy Ministry, 870 mining projects are currently registered.  Oaxaca finds itself in 8th place.  The top three slots are for Sonora, Chihuahua, and Guanajuato states, which have 210, 113, and 95 mining projects, respectively.  Beyond this, EDUCA indicates that the profits seen by the San José del Progreso municipality amount to 1% of the 1.7 billion pesos that the Canadian firm Fortune Silver Mines expects to gain through its exploitation of silver and gold.  The conditions under which such concessions have been granted have involved the death of 4 individuals and the degradation of the social fabric of the local community.

For more information (in Spanish):

Ver la infográfica 1 (Educa)

Ver infografía 2 (Educa)

Datos de extracción minera alertan sobre pérdida de territorio nacional(Educa, 12 de marzo de 2015)

Oaxaca, en el top 15 de productores de oro y plata en AL; meta para el 2016 (Noticias Net, 13 de marzo de 2015)

Pedirán antimineros de Ocotlán diálogo con el gobierno local (Noticias Net, 16 de marzo de 2015)

Marchan por líder antiminero asesinado (Noticias Net, 14 de marzo de 2015)

Para más información de SIPAZ:

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

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)

Oaxaca: Coordination of United People of the Ocotlán Valley close entrance to silver mine in San José del Progreso (14 March 2011)

Oaxaca: Civil Mission of Observation “Water is Life; Let us Defend its Existence” (8 September 2010)


Chiapas: popular rejection of dams and mining projects in the Tapachula, Motozintla, Huixtla, and Huehuetán region

December 17, 2014


Marcha en Tapachula (@Observatorio de Conflictos Mineros de América Latina)

March in Tapachula (@Observatory on Mining Conflicts in Latin America)

On 8 December 2014, representatives from 39 ejidos, communal land-holdings, communities, and social, indigenous, and campesino organizations from the Tapachula, Motozintla, Huixtla, Huehuetán, and San Cristóbal de las Casas municipalities held a march to express their rejection of planned dam and mining projects in the region.

Protestors affirmed that their lands and territories “ARE FREE OF HYDROELECTRIC DAMS AND MINERAL EXPLOITATION.”  In the same way as 10 December 2013, they agreed that to “continue demanding that the federal, state, and municipal authorities heed and respect the decision of the ejidos, communal land-holdings, organizations, and peoples, and cancel all types of contracts, agreements, concessions, or permits to build these megaprojects that they have awarded on our lands and territories.”

Presenting the Second Declaration of Tapachula, the communal representatives claimed that “the three levels of government [will be responsible for] any conflict that is generated toward the end of sowing divisions and imposing projects of plunder at the cost of violating our human rights.”

For more information (in Spanish):

II Declaración de Tapachula (Observatorio de Conflictos Mineros de América Latina)

Emiten declaratoria por territorios libres de represas y minerías en Tapachula (Diario Contrapoder en Chiapas, 9 de diciembre de 2014)

Se manifiestan contra hidroeléctricas y mineras, en Tapachula (Chiapas Paralelo, 9 de diciembre de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Mobilization of 56 communities in Tapachula against mines and dams (17 December 2013)

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