The Sixth Assembly of the Environmentally Affected took place on 11 and 12 September in the municipality of Magdalena Ocotlán, Oaxaca, with the participation of more than 1100 people representing some 90 civil organizations.
In the declaration released at the close of the meeting on 12 September, those who participated in the assembly warn that, since the previous assembly held a year ago in Chichicuautla, Puebla, “the grave environmental situation lived in the country not only has not improved or stagnated; it has, rather, seriously worsened.” The communiqué mentions “the silent death of dozens of people” that results from the kidney failure that follows from “the uncontrolled discharge of industrial waste” in the Atoyac River in Tlaxcala, the Santiago River in Jalisco, and the Blanco and Coatzacoalcos rivers in Veracruz. The assembly also denounces “the over-explotation of aquifer reserves” that is seen in the states of Tlaxcala, Puebla, Morelos, Michoacán, Jalisco, Veracruz, and Mexico City due to “the numerous private-road and highway projects, airport expansion, and the unregulated sprawl of unsustainable housing units and thousands of commercial centers.” Furthermore, the communiqué condemns “the setting-aside of experimental lands for transgenic corn” in the northern states of Sinaloa, Sonora, Tamaulipas, and Chihuahua, together with the plans made by the transnational corporation Monsanto to cultivate 30,000 hectares of transgenic corn in the region. The assembly once again pronounces itself in favor of the “total prohibition of transgenic corn in Mexico.”
In addition, the assembly denounces the plan to begin operating “thousands of new petroleum-drilling sites” in the region of Chicontepec, Veracruz, a project that, according to the assembly, has the support of the U.S. corporation Halliburton and of the Canadian Blackfire. In general terms the assembly’s communique condemns the fact that “the national territory is being pockmarked by hundreds of open-air mining projects in several states of the country,” and it calls for the cessation of mining operations in San José el Progreso, Oaxaca, and for the closing of the San Xavier mine in San Luis Potosí. Similarly, it denounces the recent attempts to reinitiate the construction of the La Parota dam in the state of Guerrero and the progress made toward constructing the El Zapotillo dam in Jalisco and the Paso de la Reina dam in Oaxaca. It demands “the definitive cancellation of each one of these projects.”
At the close of the communiqué, the assembly’s participants express their “desire for life and […] for struggle” and their commitment to “explore through self-management the construction of alternatives and collective, sensible forms of using and metabolizing our material conditions of existence.” They also declared their wish to participate in the protest-movement against the Conference of Parties 16 (COP16) regarding the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change that will be held in Cancún from 29 November to 10 December. With these commitments the assembly’s participants hope to resist “the situation of extreme danger in which [Mexico] finds itself,” together with the “deviations of power and general decadence into which the Mexican State has fallen.”
For more information (in Spanish):
Blog of the Assembly of the Environmentally Affected
The true environmental and climatic policy of Mexico (La Jornada, 25 September)