Oaxaca: One-year anniversary of the murder of Bernardo Vásquez

March 26, 2013


15 March marked the one-year anniversary of the murder of Bernardo Vásquez Sánchez, spokesperson of the Coordination of United Peoples in Defense of the Ocotlan Valley (CPUVO) and opponent of the “Trinidad” mine owned by the Cuzcatlán firm, which is a subsidiary of Fortuna Silver Mines Inc, located in the municipality of San José del Progreso.  During 2010 and 2011 Bernardo and members of the CPUVO received death-threats for which they responded with 20 juridical demands, none of which was processed.

Commemorating the one-year anniversary of Bernardo Vázquez’s murder, on March 15 a group of 200 people carried out a ceremony to remember this social activist, before the very site of the Cuzcatlán mine in San José del Progreso.   In accordance with the Miguel Agustín Pro Juárez Center for Human Rights (Centro Prodh), the entire group was arrested following their public act.  These events took place when members of a group supportive of the mine (transported in 5 trucks) blockaded access, including federal highways, to inhibit the free movement of the protesters, who were also fired upon so as to intimidate them.  There were no reports of injured persons, but among those arrested are found members of the Oaxacan Collective in Defense of Territory, of the CPUVO, residents of San José del Progreso, and members of the Miguel Agustín Pro Juárez Center for Human Rights, including its director, José Rosario Marroquín Farrera.

“A year after his murder, the violations of the collective rights of the people continue to be prosecuted by the mining firm, and there has been no institutional means by which to resolve this conflict.  This date leads us to recall the level of impunity with which the mining firms are operating; it also recalls the complicity of municipal, state, and federal governments with the implementation of these projects,” as is noted in the communique by REMA (Mexican Network of those Affected by Mining) that was published for the one-year anniversary.

For more information (in Spanish):

Bernardo VIVE en la lucha de los pueblos de Oaxaca (EDUCA, 15 de marzo de 2013)

A un año del asesinato de Bernardo Vásquez Sánchez se continúan violando los derechos humanos en San José del Progreso (Colectivo Oaxaqueño en Defensa de los Territorios, 14 de marzo de 2013)

Situación de emergencia en San José del Progreso (CodigoDH, 15 de marzo de 2013)

A un año del asesinato de Bernardo Vásquez Sánchez, REMA exige justicia para San José del Progreso, Oaxaca, México (Otros Mundos Chiapas, 15 de marzo de 2013)

Activistas hacen toma simbólica de mina en El Progreso, Oaxaca(Milenio, 15 de marzo de 2013)

Retiene grupo armado a 200 activistas opositores a una mina en Oaxaca (WRadio, 15 de marzo de 2013)

Opositores a minera y defensores de DH bien tras hostigamiento(Centro Prodh, 15 de marzo de 2013)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Oaxaca: Opponents to mining in San José del Progreso are attacked (25 June 2012)

Oaxaca: access to the Cuzcatlán mine is blocked in San José el Progreso (16 May 2012)

Oaxaca: Actions, denunciations, and mobilizations in the case of San José del Progreso (3 April 2012)

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)


CHIAPAS: People affected by mining gather in Chicomuselo for the 2nd Meeting of REMA

August 31, 2009

Encuentro REMA (@Dominique Jarry-Shore)Encuentro REMA (@Dominique Jarry-Shore)

Just days after being released from jail for alleged anti-mining activity, Mariano Abarca Roblero is as resolved as ever to fight against mining activity in Chicomuselo. He and 240 people from as far away as San Luis Potosi and Guatemala gathered in Chicomuselo, Chiapas on August 29th and 30th to share in their struggle against mining in their communities. The conference was the second meeting in Chiapas organized by the Mexican Network of those Affected by Mining (REMA) and tackled themes such as legal means of resistance and the effects of mining on health and the environment.

Canadian mining company Blackfire Exploration Ltd., whose website states it is “aggressively exploring and developing Chiapas”, is operating in the municipality of Chicomuselo. Community members say there has been little or no public consultation and that promises made to improve the lives of residents have not been carried out. According to an investigation by Human Rights Center Oralia Morales Frontera Comalapa, the people of Nueva Morelia cannot bathe or use water from a river because of Blackfire activity. The people of Nueva Morelia also report skin irritations if they bathe in the river.

On the final day of the conference an agreement was signed by representatives of 27 different social organizations that demands, among other things, the cancellation of all mining projects in Chicomuselo, especially those of Canadian company Blackfire, as well as all mining concessions in Chiapas, Mexico and Guatemala. The agreement also demands the respect of the voices of the people, taking into account their human rights, especially the right to public consultation.

The conference was deemed a success by the organizers and it is hoped that more and more people from the affected communities will rise up in the coming months and join the movement against the destructive practice of mining. Unfortunately there continues to be repression and intimidation against people involved in the anti-mining movement, as seen in the recent arrest of Mariano Abarca and even at the conference in Chicomuselo, where suspected police officers posed as journalists and took videos and photos of conference participants.

For more information (in English and Spanish):

– Declaración del II Encuentro REMA en Chicomuselo

– Comunicado: Mariano Abarca ha sido liberado

[DETAINED] : Mariano Abarca, Mexican Community Leader organizing against Canadian Mining

-Blackfire Exploration Ltd. WebsiteENCUENTRO REMA CHIAPAS

More information from SIPAZ:

Mining in Chiapas: A New threat for the survival of indigenous peoples

Oaxaca: The Gathering of Our Voices of Struggle and Resistance

November 24, 2008

On Novermber 15 and 16, 2008, SIPAZ attended a gathering titled “Our Voices of Struggle and Resistance” at the Ecological Center in Juchitán de Zaragoza located in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, Oaxaca. The 200 participants included various organizations such as the the Tepeyac Human Rights Center of the Isthmus of Tehuantpec, the June 14 Educator and Popular Collective, the Assembly for the Defense of Land and Territory, the Solidarity Group of La Venta, the Mexican Alliance for the Self-determination of the People, the Mexican Movement of those Affected by Dams and in Defense of the Rivers (MAPDER), the Mexican Anti-mining Network (REMA), the Union of Indigenous Communities in the Northern Zone of the Isthmus (UCIZONI) and Oaxacan Voices Constructing Autonomy and Liberty (VOCAL), as well as members of various communities in the region.

The themes that were discussed in the meeting included: Struggle and Resistance in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec; The Mesoamerican Project and its components (including the Wind Energy Project and super-highway infrastructure); Agrarian Deregulation such as the Program of Certification of Ejidal Rights (PROCEDE) and the constitutional rights being violated; the Economy of Deprivation and Mega-projects; the Ecological Debt. On the second day of the meeting the participants visited the La Venta II and La Venta IV wind farms.

The meeting ended with a final declaration in which they stated “We pronounce a clear NO to the highway, dam, mine, and transnational wind energy projects, because they do not contribute to the development of our communities, instead they displace us and deprive us of our land … they only bring economic benefit for businesses and the government”.

Below is audio (in Spanish) of Teodosio Ángel Molina of UCIZONI discussing the history of resistance in the area and his analysis to date.

For More Information (In Spanish):

Declaración final del Encuentro de Nuestras Voces de Lucha y Resistencia (16/11/08)

Página web de la UCIZONI

Guerrero: The Popular Gathering “Water, Energy and Alternative Energies” Concludes in Cacahuatepec.

November 12, 2008


The Papagayo river, site of the planned La Parota hydroelectric project

November 6 through 8, national networks, social organizations and communities from the states of Guerrero, Campeche, Chiapas, Chihuahua, Distrito Federal, Estado de México, Jalisco, Nayarit, Oaxaca, San Luis Potosí and Veracruz, participated in the Popular Gathering “Water, Energy and Alternative Energies” which took place in the community of Aguacaliente, in the Communal Lands of Cacahuatepec, municipality of Acapulco, Guerrero. The gathering was organized by the Mexican Movement of People Affected by Dams and in Defense of Rivers (MAPDER, Movimiento Mexicano de Afectados por las Presas y en Defensa de los Ríos), the No to Mining Mexican Network (REMA, Red Mexicana No a la Minería) and the Mexican Alliance for the Self-Determination of the People (AMAP, Alianza Mexicana por la Autodeterminación de los Pueblos), among others.

The final declaration emphasizes the importance of the unification of distinct struggles against electricity generating mega-projects as well as mining projects throughout the country. The call for unification was made in order to halt the destructive impacts of such projects which include forced displacement of entire communities, environmental degradation and the undoing of the social fabric in those regions affected.

The declaration also highlights concrete achievements made during the gathering including participation in civil resistance by refusing to pay electricity bills, the creation of a national campaign against the privatization of water and other energy sources (such as the case of PEMEX) and the decision confront transnational mining in Mexico. In addition, it demands the cancelation of hydroelectric projects such as La Parota in Guerrero, El Zapotillo in Jalisco and Paso de la Reina in Oaxaca. It also calls for a cease to the wind energy project in the Tehuantepec Isthmus, Oaxaca and a closing of the Blackfire Exploration mines in the municipality of Chicomuselo, Chiapas as well as the San Xavier mines in the municipality of Cerro de San Pedro, in San Luis Potosí.

The last sentence of the declaration asks an important question: “What are we going to celebrate in 2010, which marks the bicentennial anniversary of national independence as well as the 100 year anniversary of the Mexican Revolution, when new forms of slavery and exclusion have grown and proliferated in the country as well as the subjugation to neo-colonial interests represented by major corporations who have looted our nation of its wealth?”

More information:

Final declaration of the Popular Gathering “Water, Energy and Alternative Energies” (In Spanish, 08/11/08)

Guerrero: SIPAZ and Tlachinollan Human Rights Center of the Montaña launch international mission to document human rights violations (SIPAZ, 08/03/08)

Guerrero: Suspension of La Parota Hydroelectric Dam Project (SIPAZ, 18/09/07)

SIPAZ Website: Civil Society – La Parota