The long and short of it is this: a Calgary based company, Blackfire Exploration Ltd, is responsible for the death of Mariano Abarca; and the Calgary Herald won't publish an obituary commemorating his death.
Mariano Abarca was killed over a barite mine one year ago today.
I've been to Mariano's gravesite in Chicomuselo, Chiapas. Pretty much everyone in his community testifies that the man didn't have an enemy, not until the mining company came to town. After maintaining a blockade for months, sometimes even holding it down by himself, Mariano was shot in the back while sitting in his open top jeep in front of the hardware store in downtown Chicomuselo.
Before he was killed, Mariano was detained and beaten by company employees wearing their company uniforms. He told an attaché to the Canadian Ambassador to Mexico that he needed protection, and that if he was killed the blood would be on Canada's hands.
Now Mariano is dead.
He is remembered as an excellent speaker and an honest man, who wasn't going to let the company get away with cheating his town and damaging the valuable, communally held lands that villagers use to grow sustenance crops. After his assassination, Bety Cariño, an anti-mining activist, spoke at a demo at the Canadian embassy in protest.
Now Bety is dead. She was killed by paramilitaries in April.
The war in Mexico advances, and it's a war for territory. The drugs are there, but they're a pretext for a war designed to displace people and open up new territories for mining, oil & gas, hydroelectric projects, and false solutions to climate change (UN REDD program, etc).
While all this goes on, the corporate douchebags behind Blackfire and many other equally vile entities live in impunity in Vancouver, in Calgary, in Toronto, in Ottawa and Halifax and elsewhere, and the Status QUo Media (SQUM) kills a dead man's obituary.
Pathetic, pathetic system we're living in here peeps. That said, I hope folks will take a moment in memory of Mariano and Bety today, and remember to support your friends who are going to COP-16 in Cancún. We need to start weaving our struggles way tighter.
Background information on the case of Mariano Abarca.
Here's the release from Common Frontiers:
For Immediate Release
November 26, 2010
‘In Memoriam’ for murdered Mexican anti-mining activist refused by Calgary Herald
An ‘In Memoriam’ classified ad to be run on November 27th on behalf of the family of murdered anti-mining activist Mariano Abarca R. has been called 'unsuitable' by the Calgary Herald, though several other Canadian newspapers, including the Globe and Mail and the Edmonton Journal, have agreed to print it.
'We are confused about why the Calgary Herald would refuse a paid ‘In Memoriam’ on the anniversary of the death of Mariano Abarca. Former employees of Blackfire Exploration, a Calgary-based firm, are in jail in Chiapas, Mexico awaiting court appearances related to his murder. We sincerely hope the Herald is not simply trying to avoid controversy from a local company,' says Rick Arnold, coordinator of Common Frontiers.
Abarca, a leading anti-mining activist in the community of Chicomuselo, in the State of Chiapas, Mexico, was gunned down outside his house on November 27, 2009. The Blackfire barite mining operation near the town of Chicomuselo, which Abarca and his community were opposing, was closed by state environmental authorities a week later, on December 7, 2009. A Canadian delegation to Chiapas in April this year found a community devastated by environmental destruction, intimidation, violence, and bad mining practices.
While in Canada in September of this year, Jose Luis Abarca Montejo, the youngest son of the murdered mining activist, spoke publicly about how he holds Blackfire responsible for the death of his father, who had complained to local authorities about receiving death threats from Blackfire employees before he was killed.
'Intimidation, violence and even murder are not unusual occurrences around the world where mining companies, many of them based in Canada, sometimes operate with impunity,' says Stuart Trew, trade campaigner with the Council of Canadians, one of 36 civil society organizations which signed a letter November 22 condemning the Canadian government’s failure to pass Bill C-300. The act would have held Canadian mining companies accountable for overseas violations of human rights and environmental standards. A report commissioned by Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada also pointed to Canadian companies as some of the worst offenders.
This Saturday, to mark the one-year anniversary of Mariano Abarca’s death, residents of Chicomuselo are holding a mass, a mid-day public information session on the legal status of the case, and an evening vigil at the Mariano Abarca family home. Several churches in Calgary are now considering reading out or posting the ‘In Memoriam’ in response to the Herald’s denial.