Magdalena Ocotlán, Oaxaca, September 12, 2010
The Sixth National Assembly of People Affected by the Environment, meeting September 11th and 12th, 2010, in the municipality of Magdalena Ocotlán, Oaxaca, with the participation of 90 organizations and 1,135 representatives of distinct socioenvironmental struggles in the country, declares:
One year since the 5th National Assembly of People Affected by the Environment, which took place in Chichicuautla, Puebla, the grave environmental situation in which this country finds itself has neither improved nor merely stagnated, but rather has gravely worsened. The Assembly has discovered in the last year, with great indignation, dozens of scandals tied to environmental and climate injustice across the majority of the country. Environmental devastation that adds on to the policies of national destruction of the internal market and sovereign industry and agriculture, the helplessness of millions of Mexican and Central American migrants, the butchering of the youth that the supposed war on narcotrafficking has unleashed, the assassinations of journalists, the sex trade of people and minors and many other crimes and injustices that during this bicentennial highlight the situation of extreme danger that this country finds itself in.
Environmental deregulation abounds as a result of a coldly adopted policy of free trade, however the problem is worse because the depth of the environmental disarray has led to violations of the majority of norms and laws, or rather, has permitted that this occur corrupting or dismantling the systems of toxicological, epidemiological and environmental oversight, or passing directly to corrupt the national judicial system. The People Affected by the Environment in Mexico not only confront growing deaths, repression, illnesses, displacements of entire populations, dispossession, induced internal division, lack of precaution and greater uncertainty, information blockades, defamation campaigns, etc., but they also suffer, along with all Mexicans, the diversion of power and the general decadence that the Mexican State has submitted to.
Throughout the last year, we have suffered the atrocious assassinations of various environmental activists, such as Mariano Abarca, en Chicomuselo, Chiapas, killed for opposing the Canadian company Blackfire’s mining project; Miguel Ángel Pérez Cazales, in the municipality of Tepoztlán, Morelos, from Santa Catarina, Morelos; and Beatriz Cariño and Jiri Jaakola, in San Juan Copala, Oaxaca, for whom we demand justice. We condemn the series of assassinations, the situation of paramilitary siege and the lack of guarantees that prevails in the autonomous municipality of San Juan Copala.
We condemn the silent deaths of dozens of people from kidney failure that continues occurring on the banks of the Atoyac River in Tlaxcala, the Santiago River in Jalisco and the Blanco and Coatzacoalcos Rivers in Veracruz, due to the uncontrolled industrial waste in their channels.
We condemn the provocations and violence executed by the Canadian company Fortuna Silver Mines against the communities of San José del Progreso, Magdalena Ocotlán, El Cuajilote and Maguey Largo in Oaxaca. We demand the definite closure of the mine in San José del Progreso, the removal of Fortuna Silver Mines from the country and the immediate liberation of the compañero Silvino Macrino Vázquez Sánchez. At the same time, we stand against the decision to disappear the municipal powers and impose a municipal administrator allied with Ulises Ruiz Ortiz in San José del Progreso. We stand against the militarization of communities in the Central Valley of Oaxaca and we hold responsible the government of Ulises Ruiz for the threats and harassment that the mayor of Magdalena Ocotlán has suffered under pressure to introduce the exclusive water line for mining from Ocotlán to San José del Progreso.
No to gauges
We condemn the repeated legal violations and the disrespect for the definitive sentences issued by judges in favor of the Broad Opposition Front against the San Xavier Mining Company, property of the Canadian transnational Goldcorp, in San Luis Potosí and we demand that the environmental authorities stop delaying the implementation of the Law and impose the definitive closure of this illegal mining operation.
We condemn the closure of the Company Luz y Fuerza del Centro and the firing of 44 thousand workers, not only for being an unconstitutional act and obvious social injustice, but also for the pernicious environmental consequences that it brings for Mexico City and the central zone of the country. We also condemn the unjust aggression and apprehension suffered by the mining workers of Cananea in Sonora, at the hands of paramilitary groups, from the PFP as well as the company Grupo Industrial Minera Mexico, this past 6th and 7th of September.
We condemn the way in which the national territory is itching from smallpox with hundreds of open-air mining projects in many states throughout the country, in all of these regions without environmental regulations or the minimal implementation of the Law to stop these projects.
More than a year after the outbreak of paranoia from the Mexican State, unleashed by swine flu, none of the demands of the 26 communities affected by mega-farms of pigs, which are part of the company Granjas Carroll de Mexico, property of the United States transnational Smithfield Foods, has been addressed. No legal action has been taken to investigate the contamination and exploitation of the waters in the Perote valley, nor to carry out autonomous epidemiological studies, and much less to cancel this type of mega-project.
We condemn the irresponsibility of the company Dragon and the conspiracy between the state of Puebla and Semarnat (the Environmental and Natural Resource Ministry), for the way in which the explosion of a warehouse filled with toxic substances affected the health of 20 thousand inhabitants of the city of Izúcar de Matamoros, without any toxicological or epidemiological follow up and including the pretension to reopen the plant. We join the clamor of the inhabitants of Izúcar demanding the total closure of the Dragon factory.
We condemn the pretension to restart the construction project of La Parota Dam in the state of Guerrero, along with the intention to advance the construction of the El Zapotillo dam in Jalisco, the Paso de la Reina dam in Oaxaca and the 113 mini hydroelectric dams in the state of Veracruz. We demand the definitive cancellation of each and every one of these projects.
We condemn the way in which the company Paasa and the municipality of Cuernavaca, Morelos maintain in use the Loma de Mejía garbage dump in the outskirts of this city, contaminating the battery of wells that supply water to many communities in the municipality of Temixco.
We condemn the many privatized road and highway projects, airport expansions, the deregulated expansion of unsustainable housing units and thousands of shopping centers that encourage the overexploitation of water reserves in the states of Tlaxcala, Puebla, Morelos, Mexico City, Michoacán, Jalisco, Veracruz, etc. We especially condemn the deployment of mega-projects in Mexico City, such as the construction of mega-towers, the western superhighway, the biometropolis project, the mega-aquarium and the expansion of Santa Fe, to the detriment of the territory of Cuajimalpa.
We condemn the project to open thousands of new, low-productivity oil wells that the Mexican government is promoting in the Chicontepec region of Veracruz in conspiracy with the United States transnational Halliburton, and contracting paramilitary services from the company Blackfire.
As an Assembly, we condemn the concession of new experimental fields for GMO corn in the narco-regions of the states of Sinaloa, Sonora, Tamaulipas and Chihuahua, particularly the pretension of the transnational Monsanto to plant 30 thousand hectares of GMO corn in pilot phase, which means that Monsanto could now sell this corn for consumption by the Mexican population. We reiterate our demand for the total prohibition of GMO corn in Mexico.
We reject the commercialization taking place of our forests and peasant and indigenous territories, as well as other areas of biodiversity, through the sale of environmental services which represent a new form of dispossession by privatization of water, air and the ecosystemic functions that for thousands of years communities have managed for the common good.
For all of the above, we reject the development of transnational mega-projects (foreign or Mexican) in peoples’ territories and urban neighborhoods, violating their rights to consultation, self-determination and all that which allows them to live a dignified life.
As the National Assembly of People Affected by the Environment, we send greetings to and are in solidarity with the struggle that the Popular, Social and Citizen Congress for the Defense and Refounding of Mexico City is launching against mega-projects in the southwestern zone of the Federal District and against the profoundly undemocratic way in which the already chaotic Mexico City is being reconstructed. Therefore, we send greetings to the Exodus from Tlalpan which articulates the struggles of Cuajimalpa, Álvaro Obregón, Magdalena Contreras, Tlalpan, Xochimilco and Tláhuac.
We send greeting to all the participants, from Mexico and the rest of the world, who will participate from the 1st to the 7th of October in the Global Conference against Dams, which will take place in Temacapulín, Jalisco.
We send greetings to and join with the Insurgent Bicentennial Caravans, headed by the Mexican Electricians Union, which have left Hermosillo, Sonora, Acapulco, Guerrero, Lázaro Cárdenas, Michoacán and Juchítan, Oaxaca, heading towards the Federal District.
We send greetings to the construction efforts of the Social Congress toward a New Constituent, to be celebrated in Mexico City, this coming November 18, 19 and 20.
Facing all this we declare,
Our will for life and our will for struggle. Our will to receive among us all those who are victims of environmental and climate injustice and who have the will to organize and struggle from below. Struggles that are not only to denounce and resist the outrages of the authorities and companies, but also to affirm the diversity of just and environmentally sustainable ways of life that already exist in the country from below, and to explore in a self-directed way the construction of alternatives and collective and sensible ways to use and metabolize our material conditions of existence.
Finally, we manifest our decision to participate, with La Vía Campesina, in the protest mobilizations facing the COP 16 of the United Nations Framework on Climate Change, which will take place in Cancun from November 29th to December 10th.
The National Assembly of People Affected by and Creating Alternatives for the Environment stands in solidarity with and makes their own the proposals of La Vía Campesina against these negotiations, along with the firm rejection of carbon markets and the so-called REDD programs, which represent a new wave or privatization of forests and a new attack on the rights of peasant and indigenous peoples. We reject climatic manipulation or geoengineering and other false solutions that businesses and governments want to impose on us in the context of the climate crisis.
The National Assembly of People Affected by and Creating Alternatives for the Environment and La Vía Campesina have already begun to organize caravans to make visible the situation of environmental, climate and social injustice into which Mexico is sinking, and to which we also convoke the participation of other national and international social forces. These caravans, on the way to Cancun, will pass through various places where there are struggles and resistances by peoples and organizations of the Assembly in order to make visible these struggles, denounce the national and international situation, and stand in solidarity with them.
In this way we will construct a map of the environmental and social devastation, which we will denounce in Cancun as the real environmental and climate policy of the Mexican government.