#CambiémoslaYa calls for profound reforms to the Mining Law in Mexico
Short video on the #CambiémoslaYa website.
On August 18, the Mexican newspaper La Jornada reported: “Mining in the country has left at least 374 socio-environmental conflicts, derived from the fact that more than 19 thousand localities of the Mexican Republic are settled in territories concessioned to extractive companies.”
“This was denounced yesterday in a virtual national forum by the promoters of the national movement #CambiémoslaYa [#Lets change it now] made up of members of various social organizations, representatives of affected villages, as well as researchers and academics from different universities in the country.”
That article highlights: “Currently, it was reported, there are about a thousand projects in different stages of development in about one thousand 600 mines, and among the consequences are the persecution and murder of opposition inhabitants, who defend their territories and water against foreign companies.”
Significantly, Canada represents about 75 per cent of the total foreign investment related to the mining sector in Mexico. Put another way, roughly 70 per cent of foreign-owned mining companies operating in Mexico are based in Canada.
San José del Progreso
The La Jornada article further notes that there are 13 mining communities that “suffer from poverty levels above the national average, among them there are seven in extreme poverty, as is the case of San José del Progreso, Oaxaca.”
This is where the Vancouver-based Fortuna Silver Inc. mine is located.
NACLA reports: “In March 2009, a group of residents protested this violation of [their right to free, prior and informed consent by] setting up an encampment at the entrance to the mine. In May, 1,000 state and federal police—acting at the request of the mining company and its local political allies—evicted protesters using helicopters, tear gas, and dogs.”
And El Universal has reported that there have been four deaths and eight people shot in direct relation to the mine between 2010 and 2012.
Those deaths included community defenders Bernardo Méndez who was killed on January 18, 2012, after he and others confronted a municipal crew working on a water pipeline they suspected would divert water for use at the mine and Bernardo Vásquez who was killed on March 15, 2012 as he travelled back home from the Oaxaca airport.
The website for this campaign notes: “#CambiémoslaYa brings together peoples, communities, civil organizations, movements, academics, land and territory defenders seeking profound reforms to the Mining Law.”
Their six non-negotiable demands are:
- Remove the quality of public utility from mining projects
- Create consultation and analysis mechanisms that guarantee the collective well-being and self-determination of indigenous peoples
- Modify the concession regime towards a more social objective and interest
- Remove water and land privileges for businesses
- Strengthen care for the environment, sacred sites and human rights
- Transparent information and stop corporate capture.
Peace Brigades International-Canada is following this new campaign and continues to amplify the instances in which Canadian capital leads to human rights violations and threats against human rights defenders.
On March 11, PBI-Canada and Amnesty International organized this webinar in which Educa Oaxaca and community leaders highlighted concerns related to the Fortuna Silver mine. To watch the video of the webinar, click here.