In Chicomuselo, they march against armed groups that impose mining

The march in Chicomuselo, in the Sierra Madre of Chiapas.

Hundreds of people marched in Chicomuselo to demand an end to the violence and a halt to paramilitary groups that seek to impose mining in the region.

By: Isaín Mandujano

TUXTLA GUTIÉRREZ, Chiapas (apro)

Hundreds of men, women and children came out to march in Chicomuselo, in the Sierra Madre of Chiapas, to demand a stop to the insecurity and violence, a stop to the organized crime groups that operate in the region, their paramilitary groups and a stop to the extractive mining that breaks the social fabric.

In the municipality of Chicomuselo, the campesinos and the faithful of that border town’s parish, walked through the streets peacefully “to demand an end to the violence unleashed by organized crime that seeks to impose mining on the region with the complicit silence of the authorities.”

In their message, ejido and community representatives denounced that since the middle of 2022, a barite mine began to operate illegally in the Santa María ejido. [1]

In what was called the “March for Life,” they recalled that this mine has its antecedent in the concession to the Canadian company BlackFire, which tried to settle in the Grecia ejido in 2009, and that stopped its operations after the murder of Mariano Abarca, a defender of the territory.

Another view of the march in Chicomuselo Municipality.

They denounced that, for this, “they have used the violence exercised on behalf of this mining company by an organized crime group called MAIZ, which has toured the communities with long weapons to intimidate the population and warn them that, if they oppose mining, they will harm them and, incidentally, have begun the collection of “floor rights” (protection payments) from commerce and transportation in the municipality.”

“It is worrisome that mining activity takes place under the protection of organized crime, and in a context of militarization with Chicomuselo being the headquarters of the Army’s 101st Infantry Battalion, which suggests that a counterinsurgency strategy is being applied to impose mining,” the demonstrators’ spokesmen said.

They pointed out that one of the most serious events was the recent kidnapping, torture and attempted murder against the Defender of Mother Earth and leader of the Social Movement for Land (MST, Movimiento Social por la Tierra), Isabel Recinos Trigueros, last December 30, to intimidate this mobilization under threat of violence against the population if it demonstrated this January 5, an issue that was rejected with the massive call of thousands of women and men to this mobilization.

Mariano Abarca Roblero.

Al final del meeting, the spokespersons called for unity of all the people over political, economic and religious interests, to ensure peace and the common good and in turn demand that the federal, state and municipal governments cease toxic mining and death projects, and the closure of the Santa María mine and the cancellation of the mining concessions of “Barita de Chiapas” and / or BlackFire.

They demanded an end to the violence and the disarticulation of MAIZ, a criminal group, and a stop to their actions of intimidation and collection of protection money from business and transport, and demanded the protection of the life and integrity of the defenders of Mother Earth, in particular Isabel Recinos Trigueros, who was attacked on December 30.

[1] The Santa María ejido is the municipal seat of one of the new autonomous municipalities the EZLN announced in August 2019.

For more info on Chicomuselo: https://chiapas-support.org/2022/09/28/threat-of-mining-activities-without-prior-consultation-in-chicomuselo-chiapas/

Originally Published in Spanish by Proceso, Friday, January 6, 2023, https://www.proceso.com.mx/nacional/estados/2023/1/6/marchan-en-chicomuselo-contra-grupos-armados-que-imponen-la-mineria-en-chiapas-299891.html and Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee

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