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