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)


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: Actions, denunciations, and mobilizations in the case of San José del Progreso

April 3, 2012

Bernardo Vásquez Sánchez @ Informador.com.mx

Different communal, civil, and social organizations protested on 21 March in front of the Canadian embassy to demand that the governments of Felipe Calderón and Gabino Cué clarify the murder of Bernardo Vázquez Sánchez, which occurred on 15 March near San José del Progreso, Oaxaca.

Just before the death of Vásquez Sánchez, he had spoken with the independent Canadian journalist Dawn Paley.  He spoke of the rise of the opposition to the Cuzcatlán mine, which is associated with Fortuna Silver, in the communities, and how it is that the company came to enter the community, negotiating in isolation with the ejidatarios instead of in assembly.  He indicated that the ejidatarios lacked information regarding the plans of the company before they began operations.

The members of the organizations Services for an Alternative Education (Educa), as well as Flor y Canto, have demanded the suspension of work in said mine, which is located in San José del Progreso, Ocotlán.

In other news, the State Attorney General’s Office of Oaxaca (PGJE) detained Carlos Sánchez Muñoz on 20 March for the crime of homicide of Bernardo Méndez Vásquez, who was killed on 18 January of this year, when supposed members of the municipal police of San José el Progreso opened fire against him, taking his life away from him.

For more information (in Spanish):

Asesinato de indígena oponente a minera canadiense provoca protesta en la embajada de Canadá en la Ciudad de México (Cencos, 21 de marzo de 2012)

En fotos: Protestan organizaciones por asesinato de activista Bernardo Vásquez Sánchez (Oaxaca en pie de lucha, 21 de marzo de 2012)

Protestan ante Consulado de Canadá por muerte de activista(Proceso, 21 de marzo de 2012)

Exigen organizaciones esclarecer homicidio de activista oaxaqueño(Proceso, 21 de marzo de 2012)

Por asesinato de activista, protestan frente al consulado de Canadá(Noticiasnet, 21 de marzo de 2012)

Minera Cuzcatlán sólo ha dejado encono y muerte a Ocotlán, y 36 mdd anuales a dueños (Pagina 3, 22 de marzo de 2012)

Detienen a presunto asesino de tío de activista de San José del Progreso (Oaxaca en pie de lucha, 21 de marzo de 2012)

Cae presunto asesino de Bernardo Méndez (Noticiasnet.mx, 21 de marzo de 2012)

¡No más ataques ni amenazas contra los pobladores del Valle de Ocotlán! (Red Nacional de Organismos Civiles de Derechos Humanos-Todos los Derechos para Todas y Todos, 21 de marzo de 2012)

Convocatoria: toma del consulado de Canadá en Oaxaca (EDUCA)

Sangre por Plata y Oro: El Asesinato de Bernardo Vásquez por su lucha contra la Mina Fortuna Silver en Oaxaca, México (EDUCA, 18 de marzo de 2012)

Bloquean Consulado canadiense en Oaxaca: ‎Fotoreportaje (EDUCA, 22 de marzo de 2012)

Colectivo Contra la Tortura y la Impunidad AU: Asesinato de Bernardo Sánchez en Oaxaca (Enlace Zapatista, 22 de marzo de 2012)

AU: Ataque y amenazas contra miembros de un pueblo indígena – Amnistía Internacional (Cencos, 21 de marzo de 2012)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

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)

Oaxaca: arrest of cleric following killings of PRI functionaries in San José el Progreso

June 30, 2010

On 19 June, a confrontation occurred between the municipal authorities and residents of the communities of San José el Progreso, El Cuajilote, and Maguey Largo, in the municipality of San Jose del Progreso, Ocotlán, that resulted in the death of two people, incluying the mayor, Óscar Venancio Martínez (PRI), and the health-minister, Félix Misael Hernández, in addition to two injured and twelve detained.  Martín Octavio García Ortiz, priest of the region, was also detained while en route to hold mass in San José el Progreso and was transferred to the State Attorney General’s Office (PGJE), which charged him with instigating the murders committed on the 19th.

Residents of San José el Progreso have organized themselves in the People United for the Defense of Nature and Popular Autonomy in the Valley of Ocotlán and have been demonstrating to defend their land and natural resources.  They have been especially critical of the exploitation of the mine La Trinidad, property of the Mexican-Canadian firm Cuzcatlán.

The Diocese Commission for Justice and Peace of the Archidiocese of Antequera-Oaxaca, the Bartolomé Carrasco Briseño Regional Center for Human Rights (Barca), and the Citizens’ Initiative of Oaxaca have condemned the ambush that resulted in the detention of Martín Octavio García and have denied that he is responsible for the homicides.  In a communiqué released on 19 June, Barca contextualizes the events within the conflictivity that has been seen in the region due to the divisions that have resulted from the mineral exploitation carried out by Cuzcatlán.  Barca stresses that there has been a campaign of defamation against Martín Octavio García within this context–he has been referred to as an “agitator” and has even been linked to the Popular Revolutionary Army (EPR).  José Luis Chávez Botello, archbishop of Oaxaca-Antequera, has expressed his support for Octavio García, as several representatives of the Catholic Church have done in the past amidst calls for his dismissal.  Chávez Botello has committed himself to making clear Octavio García’s innocence in the present case against him.

For more information (in Spanish):

Urgent Action Bartolomé Carrasco Briseño Regional Center for Human Rights (19 June)

Mayor of San José del Progreso dies in row with residents (La Jornada, 20 June)

PGJE: there are 10 arrested after ambush against town-councillors (Universal, 21 June)

Call to process priest identified as responsible for killing of Oaxacan councillor and minister (La Jornada, 24 June)

Oaxaca: priest rejects charge of homicide (La Jornada, 25 June)

The immediate release of Martín García Ortiz, priest of San José del Progreso, is demanded (ADN Sureste, 25 June)

Archbishop pide indagar la verdad sobre acusaciones a párroco (Crónica de Hoy, 25 de junio)

Minerïa en Oaxaca: Raíz de la violencia (Colectivo Oaxaqueño en Defensa de los Territorios)

Oaxaca: anti-mining roadblock in San José Progreso is evicted by the State and Federal Police

May 7, 2009

On May 6, community members who had been blocking the entrance to the mining project Cuzctalán in the municipality of San José Progreso since March 16, were evicted by the State and Federal Police forces. Social movements and organization of Oaxaca, such as Oaxacan Voices Building Autonomy and Liberty (VOCAL), the Regional Human Rights Center “Bartolomé Carrasco Briseño” A.C. (BARCA-DH), and the Diocesan Commission for Peace and Justice, denounced the excessive use of force against the citizens demanding their right to the land, as well as the abuse and violation of the human rights of the indigenous communities.

Twelve members of the community were detained during the eviction and there was one injured policeman according to various sources. VOCAL stated in their denunciation that “according to information from those in the community, approximately 1500 police evicted the roadblock which was demanding the definite closure of the mine, 12 people were detained (their names are not known), 4 people have arrest warrants, and 5 communities are surrounded by police at the moment.”

It is important to remember that on March 14, 600 people affected by the Canadian mining companies Fortuna Silver Inc. and Continuum Resources Ltd. by way of their Mexican subsidiary Compañía Minera Cuzcatlán, decided to organize themselves to stop the advance of these mining projects. These companies cover 54,000 hectares in the town of San Jerónimo Taviche, municipality of Ocotlán. In an assembly they asked for the support of their representatives “to protect their territory”, a request which was denied by the municipal president. Faced with this, the decision to close “the mine, in an orderly and peaceful manner” was taken and carried out by 600 people by way of a roadblock, begun on March 16. Since March 20, they denounced that the roadblock has been constantly threatened by members of the Secretary of Public Security, the Secretary of National Defense, and the State Police in various police and military operations.

For More Information (In Spanish):

Desalojan a opositores de la mina en San José del Progreso, Ocotlán, Oaxaca, denuncia, VOCAL (6/5/2009)

Boletín de prensa sobre el desalojo en San José del Progreso, BARCA-DH (6/5/2009)

Acción Urgente: Riesgo inminente de represión al movimiento de resistencia contra Empresa Minera Cuzcatlán, BARCA-DH (24/3/2009)

Desaloja policía a pobladores en una mina en Oaxaca; hay 12 detenidos, La Jornada (6/5/2009)

Policías desalojan a comuneros que se oponen a cosntrucción de mina, Olor a mi tierra (6/5/2009)

Levantan a bloqueo en Sa José del Progreso sin incidentes, Las Noticias de Tuxtepec (6/5/2009)

Preparan el operativo en cuartel de la policía; se dirígen a San José del Progreso, Ocotlán, ADN Sureste (6/5/2009)

Habitantes de Magdalena Ocotlán bloquean la carretera; demandan la liberación de detenidos en desalojo, ADN Sureste (6/5/2009)