Zapotec protesters shot on behalf of Canadian mining company
water Story 388

Zapotec protesters shot on behalf of Canadian mining company

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John Ahni Schertow
January 23, 2012
 

Correction: It has come to the author’s attention that this article may contain misinformation. The Los Angeles Press originally reported that FPR ‘militants’ could be involved in the shootings. In fact, the FPR, a communist subgroup within the Seccion 22 teacher’s union in Oaxaca, strongly supports the efforts of the anti-mining activists. As such, they have repeatedly condemned the shootings. The Los Angeles Press has since removed the offending accusation from their website. This article has been edited accordingly.

One Zapotec has died and another is in recovery after a group of municipal police officers and other armed men opened fire on a crowd of protesters in the municipality of San José del Progreso, Ocotlán, Oaxaca, Mexico.

On 18 January, members from the community of San José del Progreso had gathered to speak out against a pipeline that the mining company Cuzcatlán wants so it can exploit the community’s water resources.

Cuzcatlán, a subsidiary of the Canadian mining company Fortuna Silver has already received a permit to build the pipeline. Opponents of the mine maintain that the permit should not have been issued because the municipal government failed to obtain the community’s free, prior and informed consent.

According to an initial report by El Colectivo Oaxaqueño en Defensa de los Territorios, there was a bitter confrontation during the protest between community members who oppose the mine and others who support it (Ever since Fortuna Silver arrived on the scene, there has been a great deal of tension in the community.)

During the confrontation, a group of police and plain-clothed men suddenly and unexpectedly opened fire on the protesters, seriously injuring two people: Bernardo Mendez Vazquez and Abigail Vasquez Sanchez. Abigail Vazquez is in stable condition and is now recovering from an injury to one leg; however, Bernardo Mendez Vazquez has since passed away as a result of multiple injuries to the stomach, chest and leg.

Thus far, no arrests have been made; however, the accusations are flying. Opponents of the mine insist that the mayor of San José del Progreso gave the order to open fire; while others have claimed that he was one of the gunmen.

In any case one thing is clear: Bernardo Mendez Vazquez and Abigail Vasquez Sanchez were ultimately shot on behalf a Canadian mining company.

El Colectivo Oaxaqueño en Defensa de los Territorios is calling for:

What You Can Do

Please send appeals to the following officials. A Sample letter (in Spanish) which you can sign is available here: http://www.educaoaxaca.org/images/120118_au_san_jose_del_progreso%20final.doc

Contacts
1) Lic. Manuel de Jesús López López, Procuraduría General de Justicia del Estado de Oaxaca.
Official Address: Centro Administrativo del Poder Ejecutivo y Judicial _Gral. Porfirio Díaz, Soldado de la Patria_.
Colonia : Edificio Jesús _Chu_ Rasgado. Segundo Nivel. Reyes Mantecón, San Bartolo Coyotepec Oaxaca.
Official Phone: (951) 501 69 00 ext. 20769 / 20602
Official Email: contacto@pgjoaxaca.gob.mx

2) Lic. Oscar Cruz López, subsecretario de gobierno y desarrollo político.
Official Phone: 5015000 EXT. 13889
Official Email: oscarcruz@oaxaca.gob.mx
Official Address: Carret. Int. Oaxaca-Istmo Km. 11.5, Cd. Administrativa, Edificios 4 y 8
Colonia : Tlalixtac de Cabrera
C.P : 68270

3) Lic. Manuel de Jesús López López, Procuraduría General de Justicia del Estado de Oaxaca.
Official Address: Centro Administrativo del Poder Ejecutivo y Judicial _Gral. Porfirio Díaz, Soldado de la Patria_.
Colonia : Edificio Jesús _Chu_ Rasgado. Segundo Nivel. Reyes Mantecón, San Bartolo Coyotepec Oaxaca.
Official Phone: (951) 501 69 00 ext. 20769 / 20602
Official Email: contacto@pgjoaxaca.gob.mx

4) Lic. Emanuel Castillo Ruiz. Coordinador General de Asuntos jurídicos
Official Phone: 951 5020800
Official Email: enlace.seguridadpublica@gmail.com
Official Address: Heroico Colegio Militar No. 317
Colonia : Reforma
C.P : 68050

5) Mtra. Eréndira Cruzvillegas, Comisionada para los Derechos Humanos del Poder Ejecutivo del Estado de Oaxaca.
Official Phone: (951) 501 5000 Ext. 40056
Official Email: erendiracruz@oaxaca.gob.mx
Official Address: Palacio de Gobierno, Bustamante esquina con Guerrero S/N, Colonia Centro.

6) Dr. Heriberto Antonio García, Defensor de los Derechos Humanos del Pueblo de Oaxaca.
Calle de los Derechos Humanos No 210, Col América
C.P.68050
Oaxaca Oax
Official Phone: (951) 50 30 52 00
Official Email: correo@derechoshumanosoaxaca.org

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