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They ask Pope Francis to be a spokesperson for the peoples affected by mining

They ask Pope Francis to be a spokesperson for the peoples affected by mining

Likewise, the organization requested that the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and the Pope himself become spokespersons for the struggles and resistance of the peoples that already suffer or will suffer the consequences of the mining extractive model and that they join the growing demand and establishment of mining-free territories.

Through a letter delivered within the framework of the recent "Meeting of Representatives of Communities Affected by the Mining Industry", held at the Vatican with the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, the Rema proposed that the full potential of the Catholic Church be deployed in favor of the struggles, resistance and peoples affected by mining.

Representing the Mexican Network of People Affected by Mining, Yazmín Celso Peña, from Ejido Carrizalillo, Guerrero, and Carmen Guzmán Zamora, from the Indigenous Council for the Defense of the Territory of Zacualpan, Colima attended the meeting.

In their interventions during the meeting, the Mexican activists presented an overview of the impacts caused to the country's communities by the mining companies, and presented Rema's letter to Pope Francis.

The document warned the pontiff that in Mexico the threat of the current mining extractive model on communities, ejidos, towns and millions of hectares of territory is "imminent and immeasurable."

The damages associated with it are notable, warned the Rema: militarization of the territory, human rights violations, division of communities, attacks against physical and emotional integrity as well as criminalization of defenders and social activists.

In addition, “the terrible and irreversible contamination of the land, water and air, the devastation of vegetation that accelerates erosion and desertification, loss of food sovereignty and biodiversity, precarious jobs, loss of identity, culture and spirituality, as well as very high contributions to climate change, which together have a terrible impact on health ”, warned the organization.

La Rema considered that "due to its extraordinary predatory capacity, mining constitutes one of the most significant axes of social conflict to take into account in the coming years in our country."

In its letter to Pope Francis, the organization pointed out that for social activists mining does not begin with some phase of work by extractive companies, but with the “excessive delivery” of mining concessions throughout the national territory by the Mexican government.

He reported that in the country about 32 thousand concessions have been delivered, which means the occupation of between 17 and 19% of the surface of Mexico.

Each of these concessions, he added, was handed over without the peoples even being aware and duly informed about it, within the framework of a law that allows overriding the decision of the peoples, with the possibility that the mining companies pay for rights of each concession between half a euro and up to three euros per hectare.

Likewise, companies such as Goldcorp carry out actions for the "fraudulent purchase of land and act with fraud over and over again without being called to account," while their actions are aimed at creating conflicts and community divisions .

Under this logic, Rema explained, “we wonder how feasible is the dialogue and participation of the communities with the mining companies; How viable is it to start a dialogue in a process where large capitals act in complicity with governments to make laws and regulations so that companies can use our natural assets for their own enrichment, while destroying life ; we wonder if dialogue with a hegemonic and therefore dominant extractive model is feasible, which goes beyond the rights of the peoples ”.

The Mexican organization informed the Pope that in the face of this "harsh reality" it has worked in collective actions aimed at preventing the installation of works or projects contrary to the interests of the peoples and building local autonomies that favor the satisfaction of the vital needs of the communities. , ratifying day by day its commitment to the defense of human rights, the territory and the environment, in short, to the defense of human dignity.

In addition, the Rema informed the Pope that the Bishop of Saltillo, Raúl Vera, has participated in regional and national meetings on this problem and "has stood out as a critical voice against mining."

Finally, the Rema recognized the commitment that the Pope has shown to his cause through the publication of the ecological encyclical Laudato Sii.

“We wholeheartedly hope that this historic document will generate profound changes in social thought and practice, changes in moral ideas and human values ​​that we consider necessary for governments, which continue to be insensitive to the needs of the majority and disproportionately are recipients of the risks and damages generated by the mining industry, sufficiently assume the fact that inequality and power imbalances in any society are the fundamental cause of the destruction of the territory, the overexploitation of natural common goods and the violations of human rights ”, he concluded.

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