ASMAC director Isela Gonzalez to speak on Indigenous rights and Canadian mining in Chihuahua, Mexico on March 11

Published by Brent Patterson on

Photo: Isela Gonzalez, director of the Sierra Madre Alliance (ASMAC). Photo by PBI-Mexico.

This upcoming webinar jointly organized by Peace Brigades International and Amnesty International Canada will feature Isela Gonzalez, a nurse turned activist and director of the Sierra Madre Alliance (ASMAC).

PBI-Mexico has accompanied ASMAC since 2018 and in turn ASMAC accompanies Indigenous communities such as Coloradas de la Virgen in the Sierra Tarahumara region in the northwestern state of Chihuahua.

The Guardian has reported: “Isela Gonzalez has been threatened more times than she can remember by university-educated men in suits, whose business interests – in logging, mining, agriculture and narcotics – are challenged by her work as director of Alianza Sierra Madre to protect indigenous land rights in Mexico’s western Sierra Madre.”

“Armed guards have been deployed by the state to provide Gonzalez with 24-hour protection, panic-buttons have been installed in her office, locks have been upgraded in her home, and she and her staff have received crisis training.”

That article adds: “To defend the Tarahumara’s rights, Gonzalez has organized protests, led occupations of government offices, filed lawsuits and compiled dossiers for the national government, the Inter-American Court for Human Rights and the United Nations. Part of her motivation is to ensure the deaths of her friends is not for nothing.”

Canadian mining in Chihuahua

The Mexican Network of Mining Affected People has highlighted: “65 per cent of foreign mining companies in Mexico are listed in Canada.”

In December 2019, this civil society statement highlighted:

“In Chihuahua, in the Ráramuri community of Coloradas de La Virgen, located in the Sierra Tarahumara, four mining concessions were granted without guaranteeing the people’s right to their ancestral lands and consultation: three to individuals and the fourth to the mining company Evrim SA de CV, which belongs to the Canadian group [Vancouver-based] Evrim Resources Corp.”

In June 2020, Evrim Resources Corp. merged with Renaissance Gold, Inc. to form a new royalty business named Orogen Royalties Inc. based in Vancouver.

The civil society statement adds:

“Resisting death plans in this region where extreme violence reigns has a cost: comrade Julián Carrillo, from the Network in Defense of the Indigenous Territories of the Sierra Tarahumara, was assassinated on October 24, 2018, shortly after the community denounced the existence of these concessions.”

Two suspects in the murder of Julian Carrillo were arrested in January 2019. On February 13, 2021, one of those two suspects was convicted in court and sentenced to three years in jail. The trial of the second person accused continues.

Other Canadian mining concessions in Chihuahua include: Magna Gold Corp. and the Margarita Silver project in Satevo; Monarca Minerals and the San José project; and Silver Spruce Resources Inc. and the Pino de Plata Ag project. There is also Evrim Resources/Orogen Royalties and the Cerro Cascaron project.

To register for this webinar — ASMAC & Educa Oaxaca on Indigenous rights and Canadian mining in Mexico — on March 11, please click here.

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