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: 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)

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: 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)

Chiapas: protests in several municipalities against the taking of office by new commissioners

October 12, 2012

Motozintla (

On Sunday 30 September, the mayors who were elected on 1 July were to take office, though this transition did not occur without incident in Motozintla, Chicomuselo, Bejucal de Ocampo, Frontera Comalapa, Mazapa de Madero, Villacorzo, Cintalapa, Tila, and Las Rosas.

The situation of violence took place in the Motozintla municipality where sympathizers of the PRD-PT-Citizens Movement coalition set fire to public buildings (including the City Hall and prison), beyond attacking patrols to protest the failure of the Electoral Tribunal of Judicial Power, which ruled in favor of Oscar Galindo (PVEM).  They also released 80 prisoners from the jail, although 40 of these were subsequently recaptured, many of them of their own volition.  The Chiapas state-government detained 31 persons after the disturbances.  Milenio journalists denounced on their part that they were attacked by 10 state police after taking photos of the burning city hall in Motozintla, as of other buildings.

In the nearby municipality of Chicomuselo, where the Trife handed victory to the PVEM candidate when the Institute for Elections and Citizen Participation in Chiapas had already recognized the victory of the PRD candidate, another patrol was set alight.  The mayor was kidnapped by sympathizers of the PRD candidate.  In Frontera Comalapa and Bejucal de Ocampo the mayors were also taken forcibly by left-wing militants.

In San Fernando, PRI militants kidnapped the mayor to protest against the mayor-elect (PVEM), whom they accuse of pertaining to a family that has been in power from one election to the next.  These militants were met with tear gas.

On the Petalcingo highway, a roadblock was maintained, and PRI members set fire to the home of Limberg Gutiérrez, the father of the mayor-elect of Tila, Limberg Gregorio Gutiérrez Gómez (PVEM), who is to take power from his wife, Sandra Luz Cruz Espinosa.

Another series of conflicts and blockaders occurred to protest the exiting administrations.  In Villacorzo, the mayor was taken in a home together with some of her assistants by municipal workers who demand that their wages and benefits be paid.  In Tapachula, the PAN official Karla Selene de la Cruz denounced that she was assaulted by the secretary of city hall, following her demand that her salaries in arrears be paid.  On 28 September, indigenous persons from San Juan Chamula blockaded the highway between San Cristóbal de las Casas and Tuxtla Gutiérrez to demand the payment of debt in their municipality, as well as the ending of different work-projects.  Municipal and transit police as well the Civil Protection force of Teopisca went on strike, blockading the highway between San Cristóbal de las Casas and Comitán for eight hours, to protest their not being paid.

For more information (in Spanish):

Opositores a edil electo de Motozintla provocan incendios y liberan presos (La Jornada, 2 de octubre de 2012)

Presidencia en ruinas (Cuarto Poder, 2 de octubre de 2012)
Chiapas: queman alcaldía y 2 patrullas por conflicto electoral en Motozintla (la Jornada, 1ero de octubre de 2012)

Conflicto poselectoral en Chiapas: toman alcaldías, queman patrullas y liberan a reos (Proceso, 1ero de octubre de 2012)

Recapturan a 40 reos liberados en Motozintla (El Universal, 1ero de octubre de 2012)

Al menos 31 detenidos por disturbios: secretario de Gobierno de Chiapas (Milenio, 1ero de octubre de 2012)

Chiapas: incendian casa del padre de edil electo (La Jornada, 30 de septiembre de 2012)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: elections in Chiapas; PRI-Green Alliance wins (10 July 2012)

Chiapas: March against mining

September 19, 2009

On September 16th, 2009 – the 199th anniversary of the independence of Mexico – more than 1000 members of the National Socialist Front (FNLS) marched from Mazapa de Madero to Motozintla in the Sierra of Chiapas. The marchers demanded respect for their position of “strong rejection to mining activity” in the region.

In a press release the FNLS pointed out that international companies operate mines in various municipalities in the Sierra. In the past few months opposition from the people has increased, especially in the municipalities of Chicomuselo, Mazapa de Madero, Motozintla and Siltepec.

A call was made for unity “because only in unity can we face the dark future brought on by the looting of our mineral resources and the complete destruction of our forests, rivers and ecosystems.”

The FNLS also denounced the harassment and threats against their members and leaders like Yolanda Castro and Daniel Luna, as well as harassment and threats against communities who are organized in opposition to mining.

For more information (in Spanish):

“Chiapas: repudian a mineras y al gobierno”, La Jornada (17/09/09)

More information from SIPAZ:

Mining in Chiapas: A New threat for the survival of indigenous peoples (december 2008)