Threat of mining activities without prior consultation in Chicomuselo, Chiapas

Modevite: “No to re-municipalization, No to looting mines.”

By: Chiapas Paralelo

The Movement in Defense of Life and Territory (Modevite), expresses its concern faced with the context of insecurity and violence given the latent threat of reactivating mining activities in the municipality of Chicomuselo, Chiapas, originating from the lack of intervention from the three levels of government.

In recent months, we have learned of the presence of companies and people interested in restarting mining exploitation in the following locations of this municipality: El Naranjo, Nueva Morelia, Santa María, Ricardo Flores Magón, Grecia and Benito Juárez. They are promoting mining activities without prior and informed consultation, without the consent of the ejidos and communities that will be affected by these activities.

“This situation puts at risk the stability of the communities that have decided to reject these extractive projects and have been in resistance by maintaining peace and harmony from the defense of human and collective rights.” The response of these groups with personal, economic and political interests has been intimidation, harassment and death threats against our compañera and compañero human rights defenders as a resource for stopping the struggle in defense of life and territory, that’s why we worry about the integrity and life of each one of those who daily confront different situations for denouncing these actions.

In 2009, residents of Chicomuselo municipality were witness to the environmental effects, damage to health, community division and social conflicts, among others, caused by the Canadian mining company Blackfire Exploration Ltd in the Grecia ejido of Chicomuselo municipality, mainly affecting groundwater, rivers, streams, forests, the health of the population and the community fabric that characterizes the communities of our region, situation that culminated in the murder of Mariano Abarca Roblero.

Mariano Abarca Roblero.

Mining and illegal activities

Since November 2021, members of this movement have presented the current municipal president, Jorge Martin Sepúlveda Morales, with the municipality’s social situation and the struggles and resistances against mining exploitation, the MOSCAMED project, the re-municipalization project, the illegal sale of alcoholic beverages, which are a mass problem, as they all violate the human rights and collective rights of communities. They take into consideration that in his campaign the stated that he was against the mining project and would support the people in their struggles and resistances, we see no results during the time of his administration.

The Government Delegation in this municipality has minimized this social problem by not attending to them with responsibility and commitment, since on several occasions people have been arrested who were carrying out mining activity illegally in the municipality and where they have committed not to continue carrying out these activities by presenting the resistance of the people, the government delegate of this municipality has not taken any action taking into account that at the state and municipal level there is no permit for mining activity in Chicomuselo.

Environmental complaints have been formally presented to the Federal Prosecutor for Environmental Protection (PROFEPA) about the Chicomuselo case. However, the response has been a lack of interest wounding the legal foundations spelled out in the national and international legal framework.

Currently, we’re still waiting for a dialogue table with state and federal government officials to address this social problem without any response to date.

Chicomuselo (red dot) is near Fontera Comalapa and the border with Guatemala.

Re-municipalization under threat

With respect to the re-municipalization project in the Unión Buena Vista and Pablo L. Sidar ejidos, the conditions don’t exist and don’t meet the legal requirements for becoming a municipality; however, those who have their interests in this project are pressuring neighboring ejidos to accept the project, violating their ejido rights.

The MOSCAMED program in our municipality is becoming an imposed program, although the ejidos have not accepted it, the insistence to enter remains against the people and fracturing the social fabric.

We realize that those who have their interests in our territory are combining these three projects and insisting on deception, intimidation and threats in order to pressure the communities and accept out of fear.

The lack of timely response from the state puts at risk those of us who defend life and territory with peaceful actions within the legal framework.

Therefore, we call on the different levels of government to fulfill their duty to promote, respect, protect and guarantee the individual and collective human rights of the population in general that seeks by peaceful means to generate spaces of unity to build peace among peoples and communities in an environment of respect and harmony.

We hold the Mexican state responsible for any act that puts at risk the integrity and very life of those who defend the territory and human rights that are currently threatened by the economic and political interests of a few people.

Finally, we invite the different social movements of the state and the country, as well as the population in general to strengthen unity and remain attentive to the new social events that violate our rights in order to respond in an articulate, organized conscious way, in adherence to the legal framework.

Originally Published in Spanish by Chiapas Paralelo, Monday, September 26, 2022, and Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee

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