PBI accompanied defenders speak about the impacts of Canadian mining in Mexico

Published by Brent Patterson on

More than 120 people took part in a webinar today on the impacts of Canadian mining companies on Indigenous rights in Mexico. Nearly 70 percent of foreign-owned mining companies operating in Mexico are based in Canada.

To watch the video of the webinar, click here.

The webinar featured Isela Gonzalez from the Sierra Madre Alliance (ASMAC) in Chihuahua and Neftali Reyes from Services for an Alternative Education (Educa) in Oaxaca. Both organizations are accompanied by PBI-Mexico.

It also featured Otón Portillo and Celestino Carrillo from the community of Coloradas de La Virgen in Chihuahua as well as Pedro Máximo Aquino, Efrén Jacinto Sánchez, and Rubén Flores speaking from Magdalena Ocotlán in Oaxaca.

The webinar was jointly organized by Peace Brigades International and Amnesty International and was moderated by Ailish Morgan-Welden (a PBI-Canada Board member and the national action coordinator with AI-Canada). Amnesty campaigner Tara Scurr also spoke on the webinar as did PBI-Mexico advocacy coordinator Lena Weber.

The two situations highlighted in the webinar were:

Coloradas de La Virgen

ASMAC accompanies the Indigenous community of Coloradas de la Virgen in the Sierra Tarahumara region in the northwestern state of Chihuahua.

Indigenous Rarámuri defender Julián Carrillo spoke against the environmental impacts of a concession near his community granted to a Canadian mining company without free, prior and informed consent just a week before he was murdered in October 2018.

This civil society statement highlights that the concession was given to Vancouver-based Evrim Resources Corp (now named Orogen Royalties). And Proceso recently reported on concessions in the area granted to individuals that involved Canadian capital.

Celestino, who spoke on the webinar, is Julian’s son. And Isela joined the webinar after having attended a sentencing hearing of one of the perpetrators who was convicted just last week in the killing of Julian more than two years ago.

Magdalena Ocotlán

Neftali highlighted that twelve communities, including Magdalena Ocotlán and San Jose del Progreso, have rejected the San Jose mine in the southern state of Oaxaca.

That mine is owned by Vancouver-based Fortuna Silver Inc.

This mine was first developed in 2009 without free, prior and informed consent. In March of that year, residents set up an encampment at the entrance to the mine. By May, 1,000 state and federal police evicted the camp using helicopters, tear gas and dogs.

There have been four deaths in direct relation to opposition to this mine, including Bernardo Vásquez who was killed on March 15, 2012.

Now, Fortuna Silver is seeking a massive expansion of that mine. It has submitted an environmental impact assessment (MIA) for approval by the Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT).

Neftali noted on the webinar that a decision from SEMARNAT on the San Jose II mine is expected by the end of March.

Next steps

Isela highlighted the importance of continued solidarity, visibilizing and not turning our backs on the situations in Magdalena Ocotlán and Coloradas de la Virgen. She also highlighted the need to advocate with governments to stop the killing of human rights defenders (19 human rights defenders were killed in Mexico in 2020).

And Neftali noted that on July 22 there will be a day of action against toxic mega-mining as well as a day of resistance on July 23. More on these dates soon.

There will also be further discussions among the speakers in the coming week about follow-up actions and next steps.

To watch the video of the webinar, click here.

Julian Carrillo, Bernardo Vasquez

Categories: News Updates

1 Comment

Cymry Gomery · March 15, 2021 at 2:13 am

I attended this Webinar on March 11th. Since then, I have learned about Bill C-231 “An Act to amend the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board Act (investments)” which aims to prevent the CPP from investing in unethical businesses. However, this NDP bill seems to have been stalled since Feb. 2020 when it passed first reading.

I think that the activities of these mining companies are scandalous and reprehensible, and it would be interesting to look at the exact holdings of the CPP and pursue that angle since most Canadians would not like to be invested in these companies if they knew the truth.

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