On May 6, community members who had been blocking the entrance to the mining project Cuzctalán in the municipality of San José del Progreso since March 16, were evicted by the State and Federal Police forces. Social movements and organization of Oaxaca, such as Oaxacan Voices Building Autonomy and Liberty (VOCAL), the Regional Human Rights Center “Bartolomé Carrasco Briseño” A.C. (BARCA-DH), and the Diocesan Commission for Peace and Justice, denounced the excessive use of force against the citizens demanding their right to the land, as well as the abuse and violation of the human rights of the indigenous communities.
Twelve members of the community were detained during the eviction and there was one injured policeman according to various sources. VOCAL stated in their denunciation that “according to information from those in the community, approximately 1,500 police evicted the roadblock which was demanding the definite closure of the mine, 12 people were detained (their names are not known), 4 people have arrest warrants, and 5 communities are surrounded by police at the moment.”
It is important to remember that on March 14, 600 people affected by the Canadian mining companies Fortuna Silver Inc. and Continuum Resources Ltd. by way of their Mexican subsidiary Compañía Minera Cuzcatlán, decided to organize themselves to stop the advance of these mining projects. These companies cover 54,000 hectares in the town of San Jerónimo Taviche, municipality of Ocotlán. In an assembly they asked for the support of their representatives “to protect their territory”, a request which was denied by the municipal president. Faced with this, the decision to close “the mine, in an orderly and peaceful manner” was taken and carried out by 600 people by way of a roadblock, begun on March 16. Since March 20, they denounced that the roadblock has been constantly threatened by members of the Secretary of Public Security, the Secretary of National Defense, and the State Police in various police and military operations.
El exceso de la fuerza
Cientos de camionetas y camiones de policía, con policías fuertemente armados fueron movilizados para “recuperar” la mina cuando en la mina no habia más que gente que sin armas exige que la mina ya no contamine su agua los enferme y mate a sus animales que son muchas veces lo unico que tienen para sobrevivir en este Oaxaca de injusticia y contrarstes, por un lado un pueblo que sólo exige que ya no se le afecte y por el otro la respuesta del estado exagerada, desproporcionada, ventajosa como ha sido.
Policía reprimendo en Magdalena Ocotlán
la policía ingresó a Magdalena Ocotlán, Oaxaca donde allanaron domicilios y golpearon brutalmente a los pobladores en sus propios domicilios, dando como resltado al menos 29 detenidos muchos de ellos sacados de sus casas.
entraron al pueblo
Los pobladores intentaron por todos los medios impedir el arribo de los policias federales preventivos, estatales preventivos y policias ministeriales que en un contingente de al menos 1500 deslojaron reprimiendo y encarcelando a los que se oponen a la operación de esta mina en San José el Progreso Ocotlán Oaxaca.
Below is a statement from a Canadian human rights group and a call to action from several groups on the ground in Oaxaca, with a sample letter and email addresses to send it to.
May 6, 2009
To Whom it May Concern:
We have learned that the governments of Felipe Calderón and Ulises Ruiz Ortiz have unleashed a violent repression against the indigenous communities of San José del Progreso and Magdalena Ocotlán, for their defense of the environment and their natural resources. They are opposing the establishment of the FORTUNA SILVER MINES and CUZCATLÁN, which in addition to being highly contaminating and destructive of the environment, we have been informed have begun their work without permits and papers established by laws (regarding mining).
It worries us that the Mexican government represses its people and violates human rights to benefit companies which in no way follow national laws.
For these reasons, we demand:
- The immediate stop to repression and violation of human rights of the indigenous people of The Valleys of Ocotlán for the “crime” of defending the environment and their natural resources, which should be a priority for all the governments of the world.
- The immediate and unconditional release of persons unjustly detained, since we know the skill of the Mexican government in fabricating crimes to repress social activists.
- The fulfillment of the petition of the towns that call for the departure of the mining companies of Valle de Ocotlán, because of contaminating the water and the environment.
Hoping that you respond positively to this petition, we remain attentive to the events in San José del Progreso Ocotlán, Oaxaca.
BUILDING BRIDGES HUMAN RIGHTS- VANCOUVER
MAY 6, 2009 VANCOUVER, B.C.
May 6, 2009
THE GOVERNMENTS OF FELIPE CALDERON AND ULISES RUIZ REPRESS THE PEOPLES OF OAXACA WHO DEFEND THE ENVIRONMENT AND THEIR NATURAL RESOURCES
Today, Wednesday, May 6, 2009 around 8:30 in the morning, with excessive force, using tear gas, shooting various firearms, police dogs, savagely beating the compañeros and invading homes, more than 2,500 policemen of the FEDERAL, AFI, JUDICIAL, FIRE DEPARTMENT attacked those who were peacefully guarding access to the mine. Also beaten were media people who were present and whose access was blocked. From the early hours a helicopter was circling overhead at fifteen or twenty meters up, terrorizing the population.
Twenty compañeros have been detained: Ignacio Vásquez Gómez, Hilario Vásquez, Joaquín López, Víctor Sánchez Martínez, Juan García, Elías López, Bernardo Vásquez Gómez, Silvino Vásquez Mérida, Alfonso Ruiz, Alfonso Rodrigo López, Luis Ruiz Martínez, Víctor Ruiz Martínez, Juan Carlos López, Agripina Vásquez Sánchez, Bernardo Vásquez Sánchez, Víctor Ortiz Hernández, Apolinar García, Carmela González, Ubaldo González,all of them from San José del Progreso and Alejandro Aquino Cosme from Magdalena Ocotlán.
Between 12:00 and12:30 o’clock the police circles were reinforced from all the units to break into (homes) house by house in the town of Magdalena Ocotlán and they even arrested whoever walked in the street, a situation which resulted in more than 20 detained.
During this operation the police maintained a cordon around the community of San José del Progreso, as well as around the communities of Magdalena Ocotlán and Santa Lucia, El Maguey Largo. They are reorganizing to free San José del Progreso, Ocotlán from the police circle, as well as carry out actions to free the detained.
The attempts at dialogue have been nil with the Secrtary of the Environment (Secretaria del Medio Ambiente, SEMARNAT) and the Secretary of the Economy (SECRETARIA DE ECONOMIA), PROFEPA, National Water Commission (COMISION NACIONAL DEL AGUA), and with the Secretary of Government (SECRETARIA DE GOBERNACION), institutions which are the ones that issue permits of agreement to an environmental impact study which the mine CUZCATLAN offers, and which should be made known to the original owners of the lands.
But there have been many deceits, lies by the company CUZCATLAN, since one sees today the federal and state government are giving total backing to the mining investments without considering the opinion of the peoples, who will be affected by the consequences of poisoning the water, soil, and atmosphere, by the noise, the destruction of the cement of the houses as a consequence of the dynamite explosions which the mining company carried out during nights. None of the actions we have pacifically carried out has been able to sensitize the authorities so that the petition of the peoples be heard. That is demonstrated by the backing that Felipe Calderón on April 21 issued on national networks and in newspapers, regarding the mining investments in México, which shows that the spurious government of Felipe Calderón has put himself on his knees before the foreign investors.
Faced with this situation we demand:
- Halt to the brutal repression and violation of human rights which the national and state government are committing
- Immediate freedom for the political prisoners of the communities of the Valle de Ocotlán and of the state of Oaxaca.
- Immediate and unconditional departure of the mines which poisons the water and destroy the environment .
- That the National Commission for Human Rights (Comisión Nacional de Derechos Humanos, CNDH), guarantee the physical and psychological integrity of the detained and that it pronounce itself against the violation of human rights committed in the dislodgement
- Out of Oaxaca for the criminal Ulises Ruiz Ortiz.
We ask the organizations and national and international persons to speak out against the repression and violation of human rights which are being committed against the indigenous people who defend the environment and their natural resources, by sending letters of repudiation to the governments of México and the state of Oaxaca, to the Mexican embassies in your respective countries, and where you have conditions to do so, demonstrating in repudiation of these actions by the spurious governments of Felipe Calderón and Ulises Ruiz Ortiz.
“FOR LIFE, WE DEFEND OUR MOTHER EARTH” WORLD SOCIAL FORUM
COUNCIL OF POPULAR MUNICIPAL GOVERNMENT OF DE SAN JOSÉ DEL PROGRESO OCOTLÁN
COMMITTEE FOR DEFENSE OF HUMAN RIGHTS OF THE PEOPLE (CODEP)
COORDINATOR IN DEFENSE OF THE NATURAL RSOURCES AND OUR MOTHER EARTH OF THE VALLE DE OCOTLÁN – EJUTLA
A QUIEN CORRESPONDA:
Nos hemos enterado, que los gobiernos de Felipe Calderón y Ulises Ruiz Ortiz, han desatado una violenta represión en contra de las comunidades indígenas de San José del Progreso y Magdalena Ocotlán, por el hecho de defender el medio ambiente y sus recursos naturales, al oponerse al establecimiento de las minas FORTUNA SILVER MINES Y CUZCATLÁN, quienes además de ser altamente contaminantes y depredadoras del medioambiente, se nos ha informado que han iniciado sus trabajos sin contar con los permisos y trámites establecidos en las leyes correspondientes.
Nos preocupa que el gobierno mexicano reprima a su pueblo y violen los derechos humanos en beneficio de empresas que ni siquiera acatan las leyes nacionales.
Por lo anterior, le demandamos:
• La suspensión inmediata de la represión y la violación de los derechos humanos de los indígenas de Los Valles de Ocotlán, por el “delito” de defender el medioambiente y sus recursos naturales, lo que debería ser prioridad de todos los gobiernos del mundo.
• La libertad inmediata e incondicional de las personas detenidas injustamente, pues sabemos de la habilidad del gobierno mexicano para fabricar delitos en contra de los activistas sociales.
• El cumplimiento de la petición de los pueblos de la salida de las mineras del Valle de Ocotlán, por contaminar el agua y el medio ambiente.
Esperando que se responda positivamente a esta petición, nos mantenemos atentos de los acontecimientos en San José del Progreso Ocotlán, Oaxaca.
LIC. FELIPE CALDERON HINOJOSA
PRESIDENTE CONSTITUCIONAL DE MÉXICO
FAX (55) 52 77 23 76
Ministro Presidente Guillermo I. Ortiz Mayagoitia
Suprema Corte de Justicia de la Nación
FERNANDO FRANCISCO GÓMEZ MONT
SECRETARIO DE GOBERNACIÓN
DIRECCIÓN: BUCARELI 99 EDIFICIO COBIAN PISO 1 JUÁREZ
CUAUHTÉMOC, DISTRITO FEDERAL, 06600
LIC. EDUARDO MEDINA MORA ICAZA
PROCURADOR GENERAL DE LA REPÚBLICA
TEL. (55) 53 46 09 08 MAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org
DR. JOSÉ LUIS SOBERANES
PDTE. DE LA COMISIÓN NACIONAL DE DERECHOS HUMANOS
FAX (55) 56 81 71 99, email@example.com
RPTE. DE LA OFICINA DEL ALTO COMISIONADO PARA LOS DERECHOS HUMANOS EN MEXICO
FAX: (55) 52812409
LIC. ULISES RUIZ ORTIZ
GOBERNADOR DEL ESTADO DE OAXACA
CARRETERA OAXACA-PUERTO ÁNGEL, KM. 9.5,
SANTA MARÍA COYOTEPEC, OAXACA C.P. 71254,
OAXACA MÉXICO EMAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org
Fax: (+52) 951 502 0530
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