Esteemed members of the Ejido of Carrizalillo, Guerrero, Mexico:
Greetings from the below-signed Canadian and US organizations. We would like to extend our solidarity in response to your brave decision to halt operations at the Los Filos mine and demand a more just negotiation for the use of your lands and territory given the enormous social and environmental impacts, current and future, as a result of Goldcorp’s operations in Guerrero.
For several years, our organizations have been following socio-environmental conflicts related to this Canadian mining company, especially in the context of Guatemala and Honduras. We have seen that the company does not respect local communities’ processes of self-determination, nor has it been held accountable for the longterm social and environmental impacts caused by its operations. Instead, the company has enjoyed impunity and seemingly unconditional support from the local and Canadian governments, while the wellbeing of affected communities are undermined. Community members have faced threats, criminalization and, on several occasions, physical violence for standing up for their rights.
We heard about the increase in health problems among community members of the Ejido Carrizalillo during the International Health Tribunal in July 2012 in San Marcos, Guatemala. The report “The New Gold Fever: Health Harms Linked to Open Pit Mineral Extraction,” which was presented, outlines archaeological and natural losses as a result of Goldcorp’s occupation of some 83% of the Ejido Carrizalillo’s territory where the company mines gold and silver from two open pits, including impacts on an area of importance for the conservation of migratory birds. It also describes increasing evidence of illnesses in the population affecting the skin, eyes, respiratory tract and ears, and an increase in premature births. This situation seems similar to what communities have observed in the Siria Valley in Honduras, where Goldcorp operated the San Martín mine. The report also mentions a scarcity of water given the destruction and alteration of the sub-watershed on which the population depends.
We are deeply moved by the declarations made by commissioners of the Ejido Carrizalillo in the Mexican press, stating that “Once the mine is finished, there will be nothing left here,” knowing that eventually you will have to leave your community. We recognize the sad and unjust legacy that predatory mining expansion is leaving in the region and are outraged that these mines function with strong government backing, especially Canadian, in service of the narrow interests of the few. We are not in agreement with this and are also working to end this destructive model of development.
Finally, we recall the violence and criminalization that has taken place in other parts of Mexico in recent months and years against mining-affected communities and their allies, including in Zacualpan, Colima; in San José de Progreso, Oaxaca; in Chicomuselo, Chiapas; in Benito Juarez, Chihuahua; and in Ejido La Sierrita, Durango. We express our solidarity with you and our commitment to be on alert in order to denounce any acts of intimidation, repression or violence undertaken against your efforts in defence of your rights.
Atlantic Regional Solidarity Network – Atlantic Canada
Café Rebelde Collective – Vancouver, Canada
Center for International Environmental Law – Washington, D.C., U.S.
Coalition Québécoise Sur les impacts Socio-environnmentaux des transnationales en Amérique latine (QUISETAL) – Montreal, Québec
Comité pour les droits humains en Amérique latine – Montreal, Québec
Common Frontiers – Toronto, Canada
Council of Canadians/Blue Planet Project – Ottawa, Canada
Maritimes-Guatemala Breaking the Silence Network – Atlantic Canada
Mining Injustice Solidarity Network – Toronto, Canada
Mining Justice Alliance – Vancouver, Canada
Mining Justice Action Committee – Victoria, Canada
MiningWatch Canada – Ottawa, Canada
Network in Solidarity with the People of Guatemala – Oakland, California, U.S.
People’s Health Movement – Canada
United Steelworkers – Canada