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Anti-Mining Activist Mariano Abarca Assassinated in Chiapas ( 0) Printer friendly page Print This
By Elio Henriquez
The Dominion & Media Co-op
Tuesday, Dec 1, 2009

November 28, 2009

Mariano Abarca, a community activist known for his opposition to mining was assassinated last night in Chicomuselo, a town in Chiapas, Mexico.

Abarca was shot in the head and chest by a man on a motorcycle. He had been abducted in August, and again received death threats in the week prior to his death.

In a November 28 email to supporters, Gustavo Castro, an organizer with Otros Mundos AC in Chiapas, wrote:

[Mariano was] a dear friend, admired for his struggle against the Canadian mining company Blackfire, and a member of the Mexican Network of People Affected by Mining (REMA-Chiapas). Yesterday we spoke to him on the phone and he told us he had filed a complaint against the company. Today he's dead.

It is with great sadness that I write these words. I will continue to update here as more news becomes available.

Update: Here is the English translation of an article about the assassination from La Jornada:

---------------------------------

On Friday night, 27th , Mariano Abarca Roblero was assassinated by gunshot. Mariano was one of the strongest opposition leaders against mining exploitation by the Canadian mining company Blackfire in the hills of Chiapas, Mexico.

Gustavo Castro, of the Network of Mexicans Affected by Mining (REMA for its initials in Spanish), said that according to those close to Mariano he was assassinated around  8:30 PM in the main part of Chicomuselo, close to the border with Guatemala, by a motorcyclist carrying a high-caliber weapon.

They explained that Abarca Roblero was talking outside of his house with Orlando Velásquez, also a member of REMA-Chipaas, when an unidentified person shot Abarca in the head and the chest. Velásquez was also was wounded and was transported immediately to a hospital en the city of Comitán.

Last August 17th, Mariano Abarca was arraigned by the Prosecutor General of State Justice after he was accused by Blackfire of various charges including organized crime.  Due to a national and international outcry against this injustice, he was freed on the 24th of the same month, where he immediately joined the sit-in with his fellows in the municipal seat of Chicomuselo to press for the immediate removal of the company. At the end of August, the participants in a second meeting of Chiapas members of REMA in Chicomuselo, celebrated his release.

Castro said that the opposition leader in the exploitation of mines had filed a criminal complaint against a man (whose name was not provided) who was supposedly used by Blackfire to incarcerate Mariano in August.  He said that this person had been summoned to appear before the proper authorities yesterday, but the case was postponed until next Thursday.

Gustavo Castro put forth his theory that the murder of Mariano Abarca is related to his years of campaigning against mining exploitation.

According to data from REMA, the federal authorities have authorized 54 permissions for mining exploitation to Canadian Companies in their municipalities: to Blackfire extract barite, gold and antimony en more than 10 concessions; Linear Gold Corp, with 24 concessions, mostly gold and some of them granted for 50 years; Frontier Dev. Group with 12 projects, and also with New Gold Inc. with three concessions and Radius Gold with 7, although apparently these last ones have been withdrawn.

Originally published in La Jornada. Translated by Megan Cotton-Kinch.

The Dominion
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