Declaration in Defence of Wirikuta

Jamie Kneen Communications and Outreach Coordinator responsible for: strategic research, social media, and public engagement; our Africa program, environmental assessment, and uranium mining.

by Noticias Yurata

Issued by the Wikárika People from the three states of Jalisco, Nayarit and Durango represented by the Waut+a community -- San Sebastián Teponahuaxtlán and its annexed community of Tutsipa – of the municipalities of Mezquitic and Bolaños Jalisco; Tuapurie – Santa Catarina Cuexcomatitlán municipalities of Mezquitic, Tatei Kie – San Andrés Cohamiata municipality of Mezquitic, Jalisco Jalisco; Uweni Muyewe – Bancos de San Hipólita municipality of Mezquital, Durango and the Wixárika Union from the States of Jalisco, Nayarit and Durango.

RECOGNIZING that the Wixárika People since time immemorial have made the pilgrimage to the sacred land of the Wirikuta, recreating the long journey that our ancestors made during the creation of the world to arrive at the place where the sun was born in the semi-desert area of the Real de Catorce.

CONSIDERING that our prayer in Wirikuta is that all and every living being on this planet maintains life, and that our ancient Wixárika culture is maintained and does not disappear, in order that the key elements of knowledge and the candles of life that give meaning to our identity as Wixárika People are renewed.

ANALYZING the fact that the North American Free Trade Agreement and regulatory laws that have been derived in order to favour the operation of this neoliberal agreement between Mexico, the United States and Canada, have only accomplished the deepening of the war of extermination against our native peoples, by way of legal statutes such as the Mining Law that has lead to the situation in which our sacred land in the Real de Catorce desert is now is the object of 22 concessions granted by the transnational First Majestic Silver mining company based in Canada, which makes a total of 6,326 hectares of that has been conceded which include our sacred land.

OBSERVING that the sacred springs where we collect our blessed water are found within the basins of the silver veins to be exploited, running an eminent risk of cyanide poisoning and the drying up of large quantities of water that would be used by the mining industry, in other words the water supply, in agreement with the National Water Commission, will find itself in a level of overexploitation and the capacity for recuperating the water is very low.

CONSIDERING that the damage will irreversibly affect 16 population centres that are found inside the concession area belonging to 6 Ejidos in the zone, as well as numerous localities in low-lying areas that will suffer the negative effects imposed on the water sources (drying up and contamination), such as is the case of El Mastranto, San José de Milpitas, Estación Catorce, Santa Cruz de Carretas, Los Catorce, Las Relaciones, El Barranco, El Garabato, Vigas de Coronado, San Juan de Matanzas, among others, making a total of approximately 3500 people who would be affected. .

EVALUATING that the mining project of First Majestic Silver: violates the rights that we have as a recognized people under ILO Convention 169 and violates the rights established by the Program for the Management of the Wirikuta Nature Preserve that encompasses almost 70% of the mining concessions and for which the Wixárika form part of the Administration Council; fails to adhere to the laws established by the General Law for the Prevention and Handling of Dangerous Waste; does not respect the statutes of the General Law for Ecological Balance and Protection of the Environment, the Environmental Law of the State of San Luis Potosí, and the Law for Consulting with Native Peoples of the State of San Luis Potosí; as well as an important number of applicable official Mexican regulations.

REACHING A CONSENSUS on a generalized position by the Wixárika through analyzing the problem during the General Regular Assembly of the Community of San Sebastián Teponahuaxtlán and its annex of Tuxpan of the municipalities of Mezquitic and Bolaños carried out on September 3rd, 4th, and 5th of the present year; the Extraordinary Assembly of Bancos de San Hipólito Mezquital, Durango which took place on September 4th and 5th of the current year; the Elders Council Meetings of the community of Santa Catarina Cuexcomatitlán which took place on September 5th in the locality of Las Latas and on September 11th and 12th of the year 2010, carried out in the locality of Pueblo Nuevo1; the meeting of the Interstate Union of Ceremony Centres which took place in the community of Uweni Muyewe on September 11th and 12th of the present year; the First Forum for Dialogue about Mining in Wirikuta with the network in defence of Wirikuta Tamatsima wa’há carried out in Real de Catorce on September 18th of the present year; and the meeting to ensure the respect of the PACTO DE HAUXA MANAKÁ carried out today at the municipal headquarters of Mezquitic, Jalisco.

WE DECLARE THE FOLLOWING.

We manifest our profound rejection of the mining project of the transnational company First Majestic Silver in the Real de Catorce desert, given that our sacred sites are an invaluable patrimony and of incalculable value to us, our children, grandchildren and all of the descendents of the Wixárika.

We demand the immediate cancellation of the 22 mining concessions currently held by the transnational and the application of an immediate moratorium so that no new permission is given for the exploitation or exploration in the Real de Catorce desert or in any location that circumvents our sacred sites.

We communicate our profound preoccupation for the inhabitants of Wirikuta concerning the contamination and drying up of their drinking water, the increase in repertory and gastronomical illnesses and even cancer given the poisons used in mining and the effects of chemical residues, we invite them to inform and organize themselves so that they will not have to accept the unlawful imposition that will bring about the destruction of their land that was left for them by their grandparents and that they will leave for their children.

We demand that the country of Mexico immediately implement effective strategies that bring a better quality of life to the inhabitants of Wirikuta, that the be proposals be in harmony with the environment, and not destructive as is mining in which the humble laborers are put between a rock and a hard place by offering them work in exchange for the destruction of their patrimony.

We respectfully ask the municipal authorities of the Municipal Government of Real de Catorce not to expedite any municipal permits for the construction or the use of land, as the General Secretary of the Municipal Government of Real de Catorce drew attention to during the forum for dialogue which took place on September 18th in Real de Catorce, the Wixárika People and an important number of municipal people that no not want the mine.

We clarify that we will use all the resources necessary to stop this devastating mining project, making use of national and international legal resources that are in our favor as well as non-violent actions of civil protest that are necessary.

SINCERELY

“For the Comprehensive Meeting of the Demands of our Communities of the Wixárika People.”

Given at the Municipal Headquarters of Mezquitic, Jalisco

On September 23, 2010
Traditional and Agrarian Authorities of the Wixárika People

On behalf of the indigenous community of San Sebastián Teponahuaxtlán and its annex Tuxpan of the municipalities of Mezquitic and Bolaños, Jalisco.

Santiago López Díaz
Traditional Governor of the Waut+a

Mauricio Hernández Castañeda
Traditional Governor of Tutsipa

Ramón González López
President of the Office of the Commisioner

José Ángel Díaz Serio
President of the Security Council

On behalf of the Indigenous community of Santa Catarina Cuexcomatitlán, municipality of Mezquitic, Jalisco.

Jaime Carillo Carrillo
Traditional Governor

Juan Ávila De la Cruz
President of the Office of the Commisioner

On behalf of the Indigenous community of Bancos de San Hipólito municipality of Mezquital, Durango.

Santos De la Cruz Carrillo
President of the Office of the Commisioner

On behalf of the Indigenous community of San Andrés Cohamiata municipality of Mezquitic, Jalisco.

Mauricio Montellano De la Cruz
Traditional Governor

On behalf of the Wixárika Union of Jalisco, Nayarit and Durango.

Eleuterio De la Cruz Ramírez
Union President

Jaime Carrillo López
President of the Security Council

Witnesses

Ramón Bañuelos Bonilla
Municipal President of Mezquitic, Jal.

Fredy Medina Sánchez
Municipal President of Huejuquilla, el Alto Jal.

Ing. Guadalupe Flores Flores
State Delegate of the CDI Jalisco and Colima.
José de Jesús Navarro Cárdenas
Inspector of the CEDHJ

Tirzo Navarrete Rodríguez
Director of the CCDI Mezquitic

Roberto López López
Regional Coordinator of the CEI.