Residents of San José del Progreso, a municipality in the Ocotlán district of the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca, say they are continuing their three-year struggle against a mine operated by Toronto-based Fortuna Silver Mines Inc. They blocked the entrance to the company’s San José mine for 40 days in the spring of 2009, charging that there had already been environmental damage even though the mine wasn’t yet in operation; they also said the authorities had licensed the project without community consultation. The protest was ended abruptly when some 700 police agents, armed with assault rifles and backed up by a helicopter, stormed the community on May 6 of that year.
The mine is now operating, and residents report that it has depleted the area’s scarce water resources and has contaminated the subsoil with sulphuric acid. The community is currently fighting the project by using a 30-minute documentary to call national and international attention to the damage caused by mining in Oaxaca, where mining concessions take up 742,791 hectares, 7.78% of the state’s surface. The documentary, Minas y Mentiras (“Mines and Lies”), was produced by the Miguel Agustín Pro Juárez Human Rights Center and the Oaxacan Center in Defense of the Territories; it can be viewed on the internet at http://vimeo.com/27948780. (La Jornada, Mexico, Nov. 5)
From Weekly News Update on the Americas, Nov. 6.
“Mines and Lies”