Communique from communities and collectives of Oaxaca denouncing the state-organized “Indigenous Encounters Canada-Oaxaca 2021,” and calling for the construction of affinity and reciprocity between Indigenous peoples of so-called Mexico and Canada through solidarity and resistance
To the Media
To the General Public
To our Brothers and Sisters of Turtle Island
Within the context of the “Indigenous Encounters Canada-Oaxaca 2021,” a celebration organized by the Canadian and Mexican states taking place from September 20 to October 8 in Oaxaca City, we have decided share some relevant information that has been omitted and misrepresented in the official announcements and press conferences for the event.
What they call the “state of Oaxaca” is one of the most culturally and linguistically diverse places in the world, thanks to the ongoing Indigenous resistance against extermination, which began with European expansion into the territory now known as Mexico. It is this very diversity which the governments of Oaxaca and Canada figure as the principal motivation to carry out this event.
However, what they call diversity is much closer to Mexican nationalism, constructed with the blood and bones of our ancestors. The reason for this is that the governments see the Indigenous and the Afro as a profitable cultural expression, as a discourse, as an image, etc.
We, those who for generations have resisted their necropolitics, racism, classism, and sexism, not only refuse to nurture that nationalism, but we also repudiate the commodification of our life forms. We want all those who prefer to ignore reality to know that for generations we have witnessed the expulsion and marginalization of Indigenous people in the territory invaded and now called Oaxaca. We have been subject to the dispossession of our lands, which we watch with sadness and rage as they are converted into objects of financial speculation.
If we have anything to share with our brothers and sisters from Turtle Island, it is this history of pain and colonial violence. They too were dispossessed, massacred, and forced to live on reservations. What they call “Canada” hides under its soil thousands of bodies of Indigenous children, men and women, assassinated for the misfortune of not being white and not thinking like whites. Although the state tries to hide it, this violence endures and manifests in different ways.
This shared history of dispossession invites us on this occasion to say in unison, to those whose laws justify or facilitate Indigenous extermination, to those who confuse our history of resistance with folklore, and to those who hide their business interests behind the expression of “cultural fraternity,” WE WILL NOT ALLOW IT, NEITHER MATERIALLY NOR SYMBOLICALLY.
WE DENOUNCE that these same people have been the masterminds of the worst environmental and social tragedies that we have seen in recent times. An example of which is the installation of mines for mass mineral extraction, through the exploration and implementation of mining concessions and mining projects.
Canadian companies have installed hundreds of mining projects throughout Latin America, many of them in Indigenous communities; communities who have been treated with racism, and the continuing legacy of colonialism.
According to data from the Observatory of Mining Conflicts in Latin America, 50% of the mining conflicts in Mexico are directly linked to Canadian companies. According to information contained in the Integral System on Mining Economy, of the 242 foreign companies with mining projects in Mexico, 160 are Canadian. Furthermore, 74% of the concessions for mining exploration are granted to Canadian companies.
With respect to the state of Oaxaca, today the location of the terribly named “Cultural Fraternity,” there exists a total of 47 foreign capital mining projects, of which 33 are Canadian businesses and three more a Canada-Australia partnership.
In the community of San José del Progreso, Ocotlán, the criminal company Fortuna Silver Mines—operating beneath the name of Compañia Minera Cuzcatlán—imposed itself in 2009 through a police operation with more than 2000 officers. The result of their presence in the community has thus far been five people assassinated, two of them anti-mining leaders and three members of the municipal authority; the spill of 1,516,000 liters of toxic waste, occurring on October 8, 2018, continuing in impunity; the contamination of the Rio Coyote in Magdalena Ocotlán which currently holds five chemical elements with concentrations making the water unviable for agricultural or human use. It is important to mention that in nine years of production, Fortuna Silver Mines has extracted from the subsoil a wealth equivalent of $1,487,778,000 dollars through the exploitation of gold and silver, while simultaneously dividing and misinforming the community, and exacerbating conflicts.
Another case of invasion and dispossession is in the Chimalapas zone, one of the grand lunges of the world. The Canadian company, Minaurum Gold S.A. has been granted mining concessions with titles 22 5472 and 24 6936, through which it seeks to expropriate more than 6,400 hectares of land for the exploitation of gold and copper. This jungle territory has been home to the Angpøn and Zoque people for centuries. Today a Canadian mining project puts their life, ancestral culture, and a vital ecosystem for climate regulation at risk.
Ixtepec is another case, where a Canadian mining company seeks to expropriate 8,150 hectares for the opening of an open pit mine. It is important to mention that they seek to do so without the slightest concern for the life and health of the Indigenous communities which will inevitably be affected. This project is temporarily on hold due to the cancellation of the concession.
For their part, Capulálpam de Méndez, an Indigenous community in the Sierra Juarez, has since 2005 constantly denounced the grave environmental damage caused by the Compañia Minera de Natividad y Anexas to their communal territory and natural resources. It is well known that this company functions as a loan name for Canadian companies, first serving Continuum Resource and afterwards serving the company Sundance. Their activities, carried out against the will of the people of Capulálpam, have caused serious environmental damage, principally the disappearance of thirteen fresh-water springs due to tunnels excavated in the subsoil. Likewise, the contamination with toxic residues and mining tailings that are dumped with impunity into the Rio Grande, the main tributary of the Rio Papaloapa. This affects a large number of communities who can no longer use the water, thus violating their universal right of access to water. For the aforementioned case, we want to DENOUNCE that in 2015, an injunction was filed against the mining concession which the Secretariat of Economy authorized without the consent of the community and without a prior, free, and informed consultation to which we are entitled. However, the ruing of the Secretariat of Economy was challenged and overturned in favor of the community. Regardless of that, the Compañia Minera de Natividad y Anexas continues working without complying with the ruling, without permission from the community, and without authorization from an Environmental Impact Report. All of this is taking place in coordination with the authorities in charge of supposedly enforcing the environmental laws like PROFEPA and CONAGUA.
It is a lie that they seek reconciliation with Indigenous peoples!
With this event, the Canadian and Mexican states, via the government of Oaxaca, seek to clean their image regarding the colonial relationship they maintain with Indigenous and Afro communities. However, they will not be able to divert our attention from the structural problems and the situation of dispossession and plunder to which they seek to subjugate us.
Lastly, WE MAKE CLEAR that we are in MAXIMUM ALERT and on standby for this simulation of fraternity. We know what their interests are and ours will always be different. The bonds of affinity and reciprocity with the Indigenous peoples of Turtle Island, we weave together ourselves, with the objective of extending our resistance until the prairies, mountains, rivers, and animals are free once again. Until our resistance permits us to live with dignity and not in the shadow of a duty imposed and constructed by those who double their investments thanks to our extermination.
THERE CAN BE NO FRATERNITY WHERE THERE IS DISPOSSESSION AND PLUNDER!
DEATH TO COLONIALISM!
OUT WITH MINING COMPANIES!
WITHOUT GOLD AND SILVER, LIFE CONTINUES! WITHOUT WATER, IT DOESN’T!
AUTORIDAD MUNICIPIAL DE SAN PEDRO APÓSTOL, OCOTLÁN
AUTORIDAD MUNICIPIAL DE SAN PEDRO MÁRTIR, OCOTLÁN
COMISARIADO DE BIENES COMUNALES DE CAPULÁLPAM DE MÉNDEZ
COMUNIDADES EL REBOLLERO, RÍO MINAS Y LOS ARQUITOS, SAN PABLO CUATRO VENADOS, ZAACHILA
COMITÉ IXTEPECANO EN DEFENSA DE LA VIDA Y EL TERRITORIO
ESPACIO DE MUJERES EN DEFENSA DE LA MADRE TIERRA “LAS MEÑAS”
COLECTIVO MATZA, SAN MIGUEL CHIMALAPAS
ARTICULACIÓN POR LA VIDA, CONTRA LA MINERÍA EN EL VALLE DE OCOTLÁN