An attacker on a motorcycle shot and killed indigenous leader and anti-mining activist Mariano Abarca outside his home in Chicomuselo, a town in the mountains of southern Mexico’s Chiapas state Nov. 27. Abarca “was assassinated in a cowardly fashion outside his home,” said Gustavo Castro of the Mexican Network of Communities Affected by Mining (REMA), adding that another member of the group was seriously wounded in the attack.
In August 2009, Abarca was arrested and held for a week after he led highway blockades to prevent Canadian-owned Blackfire Exploration Ltd. from transporting minerals from a local barite mine to processing facilities. In September, Mexico’s Congress demanded that the Chiapas state government suspend arrest warrants for five anti-mining activists in the area.
Chiapas community leaders have protested the mining operations led by 54 mostly foreign companies, saying they have not been properly informed about the impact they may have on their health, land, and environment. (Press TV, Nov. 28)