Communities affected by mining in Mexico call for alternatives

Previously posted on MCC Latin America’s advocacy blog

Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras are prominent in the international news about mining issues in Latin America. However, there are extensive mining operations and concessions for exploitation in Mexico as well, by both national and international corporations.

opponents of Fortuna Silver’s Cuzcátlan mine
Opponents of Fortuna Silver’s Cuzcátlan mine.

In January, a gathering of people from communities in Mexico, Central America, and Canada that are impacted by mining operations gathered in the State of Oaxaca, Mexico to share experiences and discuss responses to these mega-projects. There were several speakers from the current “Idle No More” Aboriginal movement in Canada.

The following photo essay from The Guardian newspaper, shows highlights of the event.

The Model is Unsustainable

“‘We don’t want this type of development, period. We want something else. This model of extractive mining is unsustainable,’ declared Gustavo Castro Soto of the Mexican Network of People Affected by Mining (REMA, using its Spanish initials). Many of the people at the Yes to life! No to mining! event challenged the notions of development used to justify the growth of the mining industry, reclaiming a range of customs and practices used by indigenous communities around the region to live a more autonomous and sustainable life”

Gustavo Castro works with Otros Mundos, an MCC Mexico partner organization in the State of Chiapas.

Defending Our Land

opponents of Fortuna Silver’s Cuzcátlan mine
John Cutfeet (front right) of the KI First Nation in Northern Ontario, Canada presents a gift.

“At the conference, Noé Amezcua from Mexico City paid tribute to ‘each and every person who is at this moment crossing the border between Mexico and the US. Last year, more than 400 people died at the border. Mexicans, El Salvadorans, Guatemalans, Hondurans and other people from Mesoamerica … They were brothers and sisters that were displaced from their lands, because of war and now because of the mines. I ask of everyone to hold in our memory these brothers and sisters who have lost their lives in the desert, searching for a better life. And so our struggles, our hearts, our spirits and our minds are focused on fighting to defend our land.’”

Noé Amezcua works with CEE – Centro de Estudios Ecumenicos [the Centre for Ecumenical Studies] – another MCC Mexico partner organization.

By Adrienne Wiebe, MCC Latin America Policy Analyst

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