Some of the 800 federal and state police in action during the violent removal of the community's
blockade of the mine in San José del Progreso, Oaxaca in 2009. (Source: La Jornada)
Resistance to the mining industry in Mexico (Part 2)
By Andrea Caraballo*
August 15, 2011
Translated by Scott Campbell
“…It’s very painful to say it to you, but it’s reached the point to examine and to decide that the earth is worth giving your life for.”
These are the words of Carmen Santiago Alonso, better known as Carmelina in the towns in her area and amongst social organizations. She identifies as a Zapotec from the central valleys of Oaxaca, Mexico, and for fifteen years has been part of the founding team of the Flor y Canto Indigenous Rights Center, an organization that works in resistance to the mine located in the municipality of San José del Progreso, belonging to the district of Ocotlán, in the state of Oaxaca.
This is a mine that has been prospected for many years, from which gold and silver have been extracted. This began more than 40 years ago, but prospecting was started again in 2009 by the Canadian company Continuum Resources, which has thirty concessions in just this region alone.
What risks does mining in the region bring with it?
It fills us with deep concern, because we well know that these mining companies, in order to obtain purified metal, clean and ready for sale, require millions of cubic meters of water, with the result of leaving the poor farmers in the region without water, without being able to obtain water for their harvests.
What happened is that the authorities – civil as well as agricultural – got involved in this matter of mining.
How did the authorities get involved?
Through buying off their consciences, through bribing them with economic resources to gain their trust, through perks, through deception they purchased lands here; this was through bribery, deception and manipulating the authorities.
A little later on they also poured in resources in order to pave the roads, to provide attention to the housewives, to the single mothers, and through the creation of leaflets they made the community believe that what this company brings is progress and it is going to give them work.