Agrarian Authorities from Guerrero, Mexico, say Canadian Mining Companies Need a Reality Check
Open Letter from the Council of Agrarian Authorities of the Montaña/Costa Chica region of Guerrero in Defence of Territory and against Mining and the Biosphere Reserve and the Mexican Network of Mining Affected Peoples (REMA)
President of the Republic of Mexico, Mr. Enrique Peña Nieto; Mr./Ms. Minister of Energy and Secretary of Agrarian, Territorial and Urban Development (SEDATU); National and Foreign Mining Companies; The Mexican People:
The Council of Agrarian Authorities from the Montaña/Costa Chica region of Guerrero in Defence of Territory and against Mining and the Biosphere Reserve together with the Mexican Network of Mining Affected Peoples (REMA its initials in Spanish) express our energetic and absolute opposition to the political, financial and regulatory agreements that the Mexican government, led by President Enrique Peña Nieto, is making with mining executives during the 31st International Mining Convention from October 7-10 [in Acapulco, Guerrero], which is shamefully being held under the slogan “Mining, Development and Social Responsibility”.
This declaration is based on what we have suffered and are suffering given the way that federal and state authorities have handed over the natural commons to the benefit of domestic and foreign private companies. These companies make use of the most devastating technologies to destroy our territories, causing irreversible harms to health and the environment, promoting social division and confrontation, and fostering or creating the ideal conditions for heightened insecurity, impunity and lack of justice in our territories.
We would like to express to the Mexican people that the type of practices commonly used for mineral extraction, such as open-pit mining and block caving, among other deleterious and destructive practices, are possible thanks to the regulatory framework that authorities have created to facilitate and legalize the dispossession of the lands and territories of communities and peoples. This legal framework violates individual and collective human rights, as we have been saying for years. Just to give one example, mining concessions are being granted using the most simplistic and egregious means possible.
We are tired of how the authorities wish to continue taking away everything that belongs to us, even our lives. We will continue to demonstrate that our movement is growing ever stronger and bigger, and that, peacefully and well-informed, we are gaining ground using information, legal action and social organizing that cannot be taken away, except if the authorities choose to use brute force as is taking place in Peru, continuing to foster collusion with organized crime that is used to kill and intimidate us in order to demobilize our persistent complaints.
To the hundreds of mining companies who are present in Guerrero for the mining convention, we urge you to modify your plans a bit in order to make time to visit the area pompously described as “The Guerrero Gold Belt”. The challenge is to see if you are capable of entering this area without bodyguards, without the army and without the federal police. There you will see that the slogan “Mining, Development and Social Responsibility” is a lie and realize that it is an insult and a mockery of the population in a vast region in which every day more communities are being dispossessed of their territory and hundreds of families are starting to be displaced. Visit and pay your dues given the extorsion and kidnapping taking place ever more frequently, which is of course occurring in silence as a result of our corrupt justice and national security system. See for yourselves how the disappeared and the murdered are not being accounted for because it is happening with such regularity that no one could previously imagine. Take the time during your visit to breathe in some of the heavy metal-laden dust that is being kicked up by the operations of companies like Goldcorp, Torex Gold, Newstrike, Nyrstar or Minaurum Gold. See for yourselves if there is a community that, before a mining concession was granted, was consulted or was asked for their free, prior and informed consent, as the Constitution and international treaties that the government has signed say they should, or if important laws to protect monuments and arqueological areas, and artistic and historic sites are being respsected. These were supposedly designed to protect our national heritage, but at the Los Filos project in the community of Carrrizalillo, Goldcorp has literally dynamited them away in its inexhaustable thirst for mineral wealth. Bear witness to whether or not the agrarian law is being respected, the same law that supposedly guarantees our land rights and the use of the natural commons that is our due.
If you get up the courage to go and manage to return without a scratch, you’ll realize how offensive it is to promote the idea that the Modern Extractive Model of Mining leads to “Development and Social Responsibility”. For us, it is a shame that Mexican politicians continue to undermine what Mexicans fought for with blood and fire during the Mexican Revolution. It is an embarrassment that they have betrayed the social and governance pact arising from this revolutionary process and that now, in such a clumsly and insolent manner, continue to entrench a sold-out legal framework that favours dispossession and eviction and that is a threat to life itself.
We will continue to struggle to declare our territories free of mining while we continue to organize and speak out against such atrocities against life that open-pit mining is generating.
“For Territories Free of Mining”
Council of Agrarian Authorities from the Montaña/Costa Chica region of Guerrero for the Defence of Territory and against Mining and the Biosphere Reserve
Mexican Network of Mining Affected Peoples (REMA)