Message of solidarity on the murder of Bernardo Sanchez Vasquez of Mexico

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Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN Philippines)

The Bagong Alyansang Makabayan condemns in the strongest words possible the murder of Bernardo Sanchez Vasquez, an anti-plunderous mining leader in Mexico, including the serious wounding of his companions Andres Vazquez and Rosalinda Dionisio.

Bayan conveys its heartfelt condolences to the family, friends, relatives of Bernardo Sanchez Vasquez for the loss of their loved one, and to the mass organizations in Mexico which are grieving the loss of a fallen comrade.

Bayan vigorously condemns the mining operations of the Minera Cuzcatlan, a subsidiary of the Canadian Vancouver-based Fortuna Silver Mines Inc, with its open pit mining operations in the community of San Jose del Progreso, Ocotlan, Oaxaca, Mexico. The Fortuna Silver Mines Inc. concentrates in mining areas of gold and silver in Latin America.

Groups supporting the communities charged that” 26% of the country ‘is already in the hands of mining companies, and of the 757 projects, 73% are Canadian’.”

On Jan. 18, 2012 Bernardo Mendez Vasquez, a member of the United Peoples of the Ocotlan Valley Coordinating Committee ( COPUVO ) which has been engaged in a three-year struggle against the Compania Minera Cuzcatlan, was killed when the supporters of a pro-mining Mayor opened fire on the protesters who were holding a peaceful rally.

The people objected to the mining company’s diversion of the water for the community to the mining company.

In 2009, community members, mostly Indigenous People, of San Jose del Progres blocked the main entrance to the mining project of Cuztcalan for three months until they were violently dispersed by the Mexican state and federal police forces. The community members wanted to stop altogether the plunderous and destructive mining operations of the Minera Cuzcatlan which is a subsidiary of the Canadian Fortuna Silver Inc. which covers a vast area of 58, 000 hectares.

Although their blockade was dispersed, the people San Jose de Progres did not cease to organize and to call on groups in Mexico to the destruction to their lives and their jobs. Bernardo Vasquez was one of their leaders.

For the people in Oacatlan, there was no other way they could stop the mining operations but to fight back and to blockade the mining projects.

Their heroic struggle to put an end to the open pit mining operations was in defense of the land, jobs, and rights of all the people living in this mineral-rich land deserves our support worldwide.

The impunity of the killing of Bernardo Sanchez Vasquez and Bernardo Mendez Sanchez by state and federal police forces in Mexico calls attention to the innumerable violations of human rights of the indigenous people and other sectors in Mexico resisting the continued operations of these monopoly capitalist mining companies.

In the Philippines, Bayan and the anti-largescale foreign mining communities and groups have been waging a campaign against the onerous Mining Act of  1995.

Under the liberalization policy of the Philippine government which is one of the rabid followers of imperialist globalization, the Mining Act of 1995 allows 100% repatriation of profit by monopoly mining companies, including rights to water and forests owned by communities.

Furthermore, Bayan calls on all peoples and mass organizations to emulate the example of the people and communities of San Jose de Progreso and in many parts of the world to continue to resist  imperialist globalization perpetrated by international monopoly capital, and abetted by allied national and local officials in host countries.

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