The night of November 27th, Mariano Abarca Roblero, an activist against mining in Chicomuselo, Chiapas, was murdered. Mr. Abarca was an important member of the community who had suffered threats, prison and violence due to his opposition to the mining activities of Calgary-based Blackfire Exploration.
At 10 am EST on Thursday December 3, four busloads of community members from Chiapas will arrive at the Canadian Embassy in Mexico City to protest the murder of the local activist. The 130 people will travel more than 1000 km overnight from Chiapas to protest the Canadian government's failure to regulate the international operations Canadian-based mining companies. The protest is being endorsed by the Council of Canadians and MiningWatch.
"We know that it is truly necessary to do something. If it is possible to give our life, we must. We must demonstrate we are willing to defend our mother earth with our actions and we will continue to do it," said Abarca before his death. "If anything happens to me I blame the Canadian mining company Blackfire."
The protesters and supporting organizations are calling on the governments of Chiapas and Mexico to take urgent measures to investigate this assassination, protect the rights of all other community activists who have opposed the mining practices of Blackfire Exploration, and suspend the company's mining permits in Chiapas. The protest and supporting organizations are also calling on the Canadian government to enact legislation to hold Canadian extractive companies accountable for human rights and environmental impacts of their mining practices around the world.
Abarca, a member of the Mexican Network of People Affected by Mining (REMA) maintained a constant struggle against the Canadian transnational Blackfire Exploration, which focuses on mining barite, gold and antimony. From June, Abarca had an encampment in the municipal capital with other members of REMA demanding the departure of the Canadian mining company.
"A man deeply involved in the protest against the Canadian mining company Blackfire has been murdered outside his home," said Maude Barlow, national chairperson of the Council of Canadians. "This tragic outcome can be traced directly to the Harper government's refusal to end the impunity currently enjoyed by Canadian mining companies."
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