Chiapas: mining reactivation is reported in the state

March 3, 2015
Demonstration against mining activities, Pantelho, February 2015 (@Espoir Chiapas)

Demonstration against mining activities, Pantelho, February 2015 (@Espoir Chiapas)

In a statement released on February 14, the Human Rights Committee Digna Ochoa in Chiapas affirmed that it had received a copy of a letter addressed to the priest of Simojovel, Marcelo Perez Perez, which was signed by Dr. Juan Carlos Salinas Prieto representative of the Mexican Geological Service and of the firm Geochemistry and Drilling Company SA de CV (GYMSA). In this letter, the priest was asked to intercede with the representations of the indigenous communities “to access their private and communal territories, and where, in a period of time of three months, he “has programmed to carry out geological mapping of the region comprised of the municipalities of Jitotol de Zaragoza, Pueblo Nuevo Solistahuacán, Bochil, San Andrés Duraznal, El Bosque, Simojovel, Huitipán, Tapilula, Rayon, Pantepec, Allende Esquipulas, Las Maravillas, Union Zaragoza, Carmen Zacatal,Álvaro Obregón, Rincon Chamula, Competition, El Bosque, Sabanilla, Tila, Tumbalá, Yajalón, Sitalá, San Juan Cancuc, Pantelhó and Chalchihuitán”.

The Committee Digna Ochoa expressed that it “confirms that the government of Chiapas and mining companies are going for more territories and municipalities in the Northern region and Highlands of Chiapas and that the threat of looting and plunder is at the door of peasants and indigenous territories’ lands. (…) A door is opened to legalize the dispossession of land and resources belonging to hundreds of communities and indigenous and peasants peoples without an effective tool of legal defense such as the community consultation supported by ILO Convention 169”.

On February 11, the Believing People of the parish of Santa Catarina Pantelho organized a demonstration in the county seat of this municipality to announce its total rejection of the company GYMSA arrival.

In the last three governments in Chiapas, 144 mining concessions for exploration or exploitation have been granted (some of them for up to 50 years). Recently, in the natural reserve “El Triunfo”, municipality, and after months of opposition, the landowners gave up some plots to a Chinese company it is said for three million pesos per hectare.

For more information (in Spanish):

Se reactiva amenaza minera en municipios del norte de Chiapas, denuncian (Chiapas Paralelo, 16 de febrero de 2015)

Pantelho se moviliza en contra de los proyectos de minas (Espoir Chiapas, 12 de febrero de 2015)

Amenaza la minería a Chiapas; más de un millón hectáreas concesionadas (Reporte Ciudadano, 10 de febrero de 2015)

Tras meses de oposición labriegos de Chiapas aceptan vender parcelas a una minera china (La Jornada, 8 de febrero de 2015)

Carlos Slim, empresarios extranjeros y presta nombres, los dueños de concesiones mineras en Chiapas (Chiapas Paralelo, 5 de febrero de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English)

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: elections in Chiapas; PRI-Green Alliance wins

July 10, 2012

1 July 2012 in SCLC (@SIPAZ)

On 1 July, beyond the presidential elections, the citizens of Chiapas also voted to elect a new governor, 122 mayors, and 41 local deputies.  Perhaps for the same reason that the local elections to choose mayors are the most popular, these elections saw a participation rate of 63%, an unprecedented percentage for the state.  Nonetheless, nearly 5% of the total were null votes.

Manuel Velasco Coello, candidate for the coalition Chiapas Unites Us (PRI-Green-PANAL), won the gubernatorial elections with a clear majority, giving the Green Ecological Party of Mexico its first governorship in history.  Some 58% of voters went for Velasco Coello, 23% for the PRD candidate María Elena Orantes, 12% for the PAN candidate Emmanuel Nivón, and 7% for Marcela Bonilla (POCh).  The statistics may not be final yet, given that the votes continue to be processed; regardless, the victory for Velasco Coello is clear.

The PRI-Green coalition, beyond winning the governorship, also obtained two offices of the Senate (Roberto Albores Gleason and Luis Armando Melgar), 12 federal deputy-ships, 24 offices in the local congress, and 90 of 122 municipalities.  The forces of the PRI and the PVEM will dominate the Chiapas congress, followed then by the PRD-PT-Progressive Movement alliance, with the PAN in third place.

In the presidential election, 11 of the 12 federal electoral districts went to the PRI in alliance with the PVEM, such that the alliance comprised of the PRD, PT, and the Citizens’ Movement won only district IX in Tuxtla Gutiérrez, the state capital.

These elections saw several incidents that made the state one of the most conflictive at the national level.  In Rincón Chamula, in Pueblo Nuevo Solistahuacán, PRI and PVEM sympathizers (in the municipal elections the two parties were separate) engaged in confrontations with firearms, leaving 3 dead, 3 injured, and several electoral booths burned to the ground.  In San Andrés Duraznal, three ballot packets were burned.  José Luis Zebadúa Maza, leader of the IEPC (the General Council of the Institute on Elections and Citizen Participation), minimized these electoral happenings.  Regardless, workers in the same organism denounced several other irregularities to the press.  Members of #IAm132 also have reported on several irregularities since the beginning of election day.

Beyond this, Rafael Hernández Soriano, representative of the PRD before the IEPC, challenged the functioning of the firm Proisi Group, as contracted by the PREP.  He indicated that the “failures” of the system that were registered by the end of the night on Sunday generated uncertainty and lack of confidence toward the local electoral process.  He noted that the firm in the north of the country and the program have not produced the wanted results; he calls on the IEPC and its advisors to be transparent in their contract with the company that could imply the spending of more than 100 million pesos.

For more information (in Spanish):

Programa de Resultados Electorales Preliminares (PREP)-Resultados completos (gobernador, diputados y ayuntamientos)

Obtiene PRI gubernatura y nueve diputaciones en Chiapas (Proceso, 2 de julio de 2012)

Por primera vez, aspirante del Verde obtiene Chiapas (El Universal, 2 de julio de 2012)

Reportan quema de papelería electoral en Mazatán, Chiapas (La Jornada, 2 de julio de 2012)