Si a La Vida, No a la Mineria / Yes to Life, No to Mining

El Encuentro de Pueblos de Mesoamérica “Si a la Vida, No a la Minería: Tejiendo la Resistencia por la Defensa de Nuestros Territorios”, se llevó a cabo del 17 al 20 de Enero del 2013 en Calpulalpam de Méndez, México. Aproximadamente 500 participantes de diferentes países, al igual que de toda la república de México, asistieron a este evento.

El objetivo del encuentro era analizar las consecuencias de la minería en los territorios de Mesoamérica para generar alternativas de defensa, organización y articulación desde los Pueblos.

Durante el encuentro se discutieron temas como el modelo extractivista de bienes comunes (mal llamados recursos naturales), el panorama general de la minería en México y otros países Americanos, los impactos de la minería a nivel ambiental, social y en la salud humana, la legislación minera y sus impactos, y la resistencia de los pueblos.

Para leer la declaratoria publicada por los participantes de este encuentro, haga click aquí: /declaratoria-enc…


The Gathering of Mesoamerican Peoples, “Say yes to Life, Say no to Mining: Weaving Resistance for the Defense of our Territory”, took place on January 17th through the 20th, 2013, in Calpulalpam de Mendez, Oaxaca, Mexico. Approximately 500 people from all across Mexico and different countries attended the event.

The objective of this gathering was to analyze the consequences of mining in Mesoamerica in order to come up with ways to resist, organize, and communicate amongst the different groups.

Different themes were discussed throughout the gathering: the extraction model of common goods (natural resources); the general overview of mining in Mexico and in other countries of the Americas; the environmental, social, and health impacts of mining; and resistance by the people.

The event’s participants released the following statement (translated into English):

FORMAL WRITTEN STATEMENT: Gathering of the Peoples of Mesoamerica: Yes to life, No to Mining.

The people, communities, collectives and networks, representative of the diversity that characterizes the Mesoamerican region, have gathered on January 17th – 20th of 2013, in the Zapotec community of Calpulalpam de Mendez in order to analyze the issues related to mining in our territories, and we have shared our experiences defending and resisting the mining mega-projects set in motion by transnational capital. The voices of the participants would like to pronounce: We currently live under a political and economic model based on the plunder and the rapid extraction of our common goods -such as minerals, water, forests, petroleum, air, gas, carbon, knowledge -through the pillage and marketing of our ancestral lands.

Under the imposition of this model of extraction, the people of Mesoamerica fight against a hegemonic transnational process that destroys our own social, economic, political and cultural structures.

In order to implement this model the governments have signed a series of multilateral agreements -such as Plan Merida, the Trans Pacific Partnership, the Mesoamerican Project, the North American Free Trade Agreement amongst others- that result in agrarian, energy, labor, education, budgetary, security and judicial structural reforms; which take place with the support of the government, the military and the capital sector represented by businesses, the State and the multilateral financial institutions. In this sense, when the governments choose to side with the plundering capitalism, or when they associate with the international corporations, they become the enemies of our people.

Under this model of extraction, we have decided to weave our resistance through the strengthening of our community structures, such as assemblies (community authorities), keeping control of the communal territory and strengthening our historic memory.

The time when the government represented an absolute power is a thing of the past; it is necessary to have a new relationship with the government, where the indigenous people can decide the destiny of their territory.

Under the huge threat that the mining industry represents for our Mesoamerican region, we call for the people and the communities of Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, Puerto Rico, Argentina, Canada and Mexico to strengthen our networks of resistance in order to create alliances based in our knowledge, where the defense of the territory is the base of our communication.

In order to defend life, our sacred spaces, our forests and rivers, mountains, springs and our sons and daughters we DEMAND:

•A change of the current economic and political model that allows the plundering of our territories, as well as a change in the authoritarian, colonialist, militarized, patriarchal politics exercised by the governments. The respect of the people’s decisions must be a fundamental part of a new relationship with the state-governments. This means the implementation of the right for self-determination of the indigenous, farm worker and rural communities.

•The cancelation of all the mining projects, in the Mesoamerican region, where the communities are in disagreement with the model of extraction used.

•For the procedures of community consultation to be respected, because they are an ancestral tradition of participation and decision making of the people. We demand that the results to be considered binding; these consultations represent a substantive right of protection to the fundamental rights of indigenous people.

•To create mechanisms to guarantee that the border territories will be free of mining projects and to prevent bi-national conflicts that threaten the harmony and good neighbor politics in the Mesoamerican region.

•Justice for all the defenders of the territory that have been criminalized, threatened, attacked and murdered in the Mesoamerican region.

•A law in Honduras that prohibits open-pit mining and underground mining, as well as the compensation and reparations for the harms caused to the environment by Gold Corp Corporation and other companies.

•A halt in the incitement, repression and legal prosecution against the non-violent struggle of Guatemala, solidarity with the people of Puya, in the East of Guatemala.

•That the constitutional court favors the recourse of unconstitutionality against the mining law that the People’s Council presented in March 2012.

•That the Guatemalan government respects the decisions manifested by the people during the community consultations already done.

Our wealth is not measured by the amount of minerals produced, but by our own organizational, political, social and cultural proposals. The aggressions against our communities wound us very deeply, so we DEMAND:

•A cancelation of the mining concessions and the acknowledgement of the NO to mining resolution of the general assembly of members of the commune and citizens of Calpulalpam de Mendez; as well as the permanent closure of the mining company Natividad and any connected companies.

•A cancelation of the mining project “San Jose”, in the municipality of San Jose del Progreso, Oaxaca, the cancelation of the mining concessions already made in the Central Valleys region, and punishment for the perpetrators of the crimes committed against the Coordinadora de Pueblos Unidos del Valle de Ocotlán since 2006.

•A halt to the human rights violations perpetrated by the Canadian mining company Excellon Resources Inc. to ejido members of La Sierrita and the mineworkers who are members of the Local 309 of the Mining Union in Durango.

•A solution to the conflict in the local government of Tlacolula. Punishment to the aggressions of the municipal president of Tlacolula against the members of the Coordinadora para la Defensa de los Recursos Naturales del Valle de Tlacolula.

•The cancelation of the hydroelectric project Paso de la Reina in the coast of Oaxaca, Mexico.

•A solution to the municipal problem of San Mateo del Mar in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec.

•Justice for the Triqui people.

•Justice for Bety Cariño and Jyri Jaakkola.

•We denounce the death threats against Carlos Beas, Bettina Cruz Velásquez, Rodrigo Flores Peñaloza, and Saúl Celaya, and we ask for an end to the permanent harassment against the communities in resistance to the eolian mega-project in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec by the state government and the Spanish company Mareña Renovables.

We are in solidarity with the “Idle no More” movement in the defense of their territories and sovereignty.

We recognize the community of Capulálpam de Méndez for being an example in their political and community organization and in their resistance against the mining projects of the Sierra Juarez.

We have the right to say NO to the imposed development and to define our economic, social, political, and cultural models.

For the defense of our territories: Yes to Life, No to Mining in the Mesoamerican Region.

Capulálpam de Méndez, Oaxaca, México. January 19th, 2013.


1. Gathering of Mesoamerican Peoples – Encuentro de Pueblos de Mesoamérica

The Gathering of Mesoamerican Peoples, “Say yes to Life, Say no to Mining: Weaving Resistance for the Defense of our Territory”, took place on January 17th through the 20th, 2013, in Calpulalpam de Mendez, Oaxaca, Mexico. *************** El Encuentro de pueblos de Mesoamérica, “Sí a la Vida, No a la Minería: Tejiendo la Resistencia por la Defensa de Nuestros Territorios”, se llevó a cabo del 17 al 20 de Enero del 2013, en Calpulalpam de Mendez, Oaxaca, México.

2. Calpulalpam de Mendez’ church – La iglesia de Calpulalpam de Mendez

Calpulalpam de Mendez is a beautiful town that was recently named a Magical Village by Mexico’s Secretariat of Tourism. ********** Calpulalpam de Mendez es un pueblo hermoso que recientemente fue nombrado Pueblo Mágico por el Secretariado de Turismo de México.

3. Calpulalpam de Mendez

Calpulapam de Mendez´ mountains have been reforested and protected by the community. **********

Las montañas de Calpulalpam de Mendez han sido reforestadas y protejidas por la comunidad.

4. Water supply – Fuentes de agua