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International help request
Posted January 9th, 2012 - 10:36 pm by from Guadalajara, Mexico (Permalink)
Hello CSers. This is a desperate help request. We got a conflict down here on Mexico, and since we cannot do it alone anymore, I make a humble appeal for support. This is the situation;

On the San Luis Potosi state there is a zone called “El Altiplano”, which covers the north part of the state -about half of its area-. This huge area is mostly flat semidesert, even though there are some mountain ranges with a little bit more and bigger vegetation, a little bit more of humidity and water; being “Sierra de Catorce” the biggest, most important and most beaufitul. “Sierra de Catorce” and a huge part of the flat section (as I said, it is not real desert, semidesert is the proper term), belongs to an area called “Wirikuta”.

“Wirikuta” is, within the indigenous cosmogony “Wixarika” (“Huichol/Huicholes”), one of the holiest sites of their culture and the world. The site is sacred since the creation of the world occurred at that site according to their beliefs. (On “Sierra de Catorce”, there is a magic mountain called “Cerro del Quemado”, which is considered the navel of the world, everything was created from/since here). All this area consists of approximately 14,000 hecatares, and since 1998 it is part of the Global Network of Sacred Natural Sites of UNESCO.

Currently, the Canadian company “First Majestic Silver Corporation” has published the plan of operation of the mine “Real de Catorce”, in the municipality of “Catorce”, in particular in the sacred area of “Wirikuta”, which covers almost the entire “Sierra de Catorce”. To carry out the execution of the said mining project, “First Majestic Silver”, through “Minera Real Bonanza” businesses and “Minera Real de Catorce” has acquired at least 22 concessions for the explotation of silver and other metals, wich were granted by the Mexican State of “Wirikuta” over the last hundred years. However, alghough some of them have been authorized in recent years, no award was subject to consultation with the People “Wixarika”, violating the laws in force in Mexico, as has been denounced by the authorities of traditional farming communities of the people “Wixarika”.

The planned development by “First Majestic Silver” is carried out through chemical processes in the minerals profit, even with the use of cyanide, according to its own exploration studies done by the consulting firm “Micon”. Today, the company speaks of a flotation method, where highly polluting chemicals are used as xanthates, affecting the aquifers that supply the communities around “Real de Catorce”, which uses about 10,000 gallons of water per ton extracted (according to the standars of water use in similar mining activity). Thus, the mining of “First Majestic Silver” threatens both the territorial rights of indigenous peoples recognized in various international conventions and by the “Inter-American System of Human Rights”, the right to indigenous cultural identity freedom of belief of the People “Wixarika”. Also undermine the right to water, health and environment of people living around “Wirikuta”, and their right to sustainable development. So far, mining is the only development option raised by authorities for the area “Wirikuta”; BUT IT IS NOT.

The conflict involves communities in the area which agree and disagree with the mining project (Note that not all of them are part of the “Wixarikas”). The ones who agree say they need work and money, and since there are not many options here, they don´t see another way out of their situation but mining. (Mexican population is mostly ignorant, not only the poor or aparted communities, but basically most of them (most of us). This is the third world, conquered, un-educated, kept un-educated so it can be kept controlled). They don´t see the future and the consequences this will bring to their lands, their sons and the sons of their sons. There is no water here, NEVER, it is extremely LIMITED, besides, there was no rain last year (it only rained 1 DAY), mainly because of the agricultural activities –also international corporations-, who keep clouds and rain away so they can do their harve$st. (There is water underneath, that’s how the mining will do its activities and how big agricultural areas work; The Mining situation is the biggest and most important right now but not the only one, there are many potential investors who wish to build plenty more greenhouses that the one that exist already around, they all know where is the water, and they can extract it, but only for their purposes; actually some communities are connected to the water system but get the resource only 3 days a month and have to save it on big recipients to distribute it among this periods of time ; there are some who do not get it). So water is incredibly limited, and there are plenty needs and lacks, which are really huge (example, food, corn –which doesn´t grow here but is one of the basis of this people feeding, is being denied to the people so they do not have other choice), I cannot write much, but people is being kind of punished, hanged, killed slowly, so they do not have another choice), People here is LITERALLY DYING. It is incredible, and I know everyone who goes inside the area and sees the reality by himself will change instantly, understanding the problem and the situation of the people and the area.

There are other options, there is many good people who are not only fighting against the concessions granted to the mines, but also working to make a sustainable development on the area. (Some mexicans, some wixarikas and some international helpers;;; an awesome permacultural argentinan friend spent the whole last year moving around the dessert implementing sustainable systems on different communities; the biggest one was a chesse farm/factory that is working pretty well)… This is what we need, this is what the world needs…

To stop the mining concessions everything has been tried, (you do not have an idea), and even we will keep trying, trying to find new ways –as we are formulating this one; I hope we get support from you-, government here is not as yours. Population here has no voice. There was said that the final decision would be given on February 17th but perforations just started last week. Awesome isn´t it?. Mining?, Metals?, This is XXI Century. Metal extractions are way behind in the colonial past. WE DO NOT NEED MORE OF THAT. We do not want pillage of our resources anymore, so then, after a few years, the big corporations will run away, lefting misery, needs and more lack than before, (death), and go for the pillage to another site.
I think this is enough writing for now. I hope you understand most of what I´ve said even though the past 3 paragraphs were pretty difficult to put down since there are many points I want to say, many information in my head and many feelings in my hearth… I hope there are some replies. I appeal, we appeal for support. I will be following the topic to put up the next stepts to the repliers.

You can see some pictures of my last trip to the zone (last week) on my profile, even though there are plenty more and better on the web. And there is also plenty more information on the web, but to visit the official front please visit: http://frenteendefensadewirikuta.org/wirikuta-en-bk/