- In Capulálpam, indigenous people from Central America and Canada share experiences from their struggles.
- Mesoamerican organizations define joint actions against mining.
During the second day of the Forum of Mesoamerican Peoples “Yes to Life, No to Mining”, held in the municipality of Capulálpam de Méndez, participants emphasized the need to “articulate and globalize the struggles and hopes of people against mining projects” facing the countries of Mesoamerica.
In a panel called “Grassroots actions against mining”, David Pereyra, a delegate from El Salvador, described the harm done to his country as a result of modifications that were made to the mining legislation. He explained that his government has shown interest in “creating norms that promote mineral exploitation, such as favoring investors in order to promote a social market economy in El Salvador.”
Participating in this same panel was Canadian activist John Cutfeet, a representative from the indigenous movement “Idle No More.” Cutfeet outlined the successes of his movement in forcing mining companies off their lands as well as demanding that the government consult the indigenous people of Ontario about any mining activity that would affect their territories. He noted that one of their principal demands to the Canadian government is that it “create legislation that recognizes the rights of indigenous nations to uphold their own laws, systems of government, traditions, and territory.”
This international panel also featured Francisco Rocael and Pascual Martín, two Guatemalan delegates who described the process of community consultation for those affected by mining activity in their country. Rocael mentioned that “the consultations are an ancestral right of the indigenous people to define their ways of life and sustainable living.” Martín later emphasized the need to “humanize the peoples’ struggles and globalize their hopes” at all times.
The Forum of Mesoamerican Peoples continues this afternoon with workshops and working groups. It will conclude this evening with a series of agreements and strategies for what is to come.
Capulálpam de Méndez, Ixtlán, Oaxaca.
January 19, 2013.