The CBC Radio program Dispatches says, “When he was alive, environmental activist Mariano Abarca was a problem for a Canadian mining company with an interest in Mexico. But now that he’s turned up dead with three bullets in him, he’s causing even bigger problems. Abarca was a critic of the Payback mine in the southern state of Chiapas, rich in a mineral known as barite. It’s an open-pit mine, run by Blackfire Exploration, a joint Canadian-Mexican operation. And before he died, Mariano Abarca led a campaign accusing Blackfire’s mine of fouling the environment around it. A number of people have since been arrested in connection with his murder. But as we heard from Dominique Jarry-Shore, questions remain in Canada, and in the community where he lived. …The RCMP meanwhile, confirms it’s received the request to investigate the company under the Corruption of Foreign Officials Act. It says it’s looking into ‘the merits of the complaint’, to determine if it falls under the mandate of its International Anti-Corruption Unit.”
To listen to Dominique Jarry-Shore’s radio-documentary on this, go to http://www.cbc.ca/dispatches/2010season/americas/2011/04/20/april-21-24-from/.
In March 2010, the Toronto Star reported that, “Canadian mining watchdog groups want the RCMP to investigate Blackfire Exploration Ltd., the Calgary mining company with operations in Mexico. The United Steelworkers and three Canadian watchdog groups (Common Frontiers-Canada, the Council of Canadians and Mining Watch Canada) planned to file an official complaint Wednesday with the RCMP under the Corruption of Foreign Public Officials Act over allegations that Blackfire was paying the mayor of a small Mexican town in return for the mayor’s favour.”
In December 2009, the Canadian Press reported that, “(2,500) people toting signs that read ‘No to Mining’ and ‘Respect Mother Earth’ took to the streets Tuesday in just the latest – and largest – of a series of protests aimed at an embattled Canadian mining company. The march was held in Chicomuselo, a small community near the Guatemalan border where anti-mining activist Mariano Abarca Roblero was shot and killed last month outside his home. Abarca Roblero was a vocal opponent of a barite mine operated near his home by Calgary-based Blackfire Exploration Ltd., and had repeatedly accused the company of damaging the water supply and acting without consulting the local population.”
In early-December 2009, the Canadian Press reported that, “About 250 flag-waving protesters lit candles and chanted slogans Thursday in a show of support for a slain anti-mining activist (Abarca) known for sharply criticizing the environmental practices of Canadian companies working in Mexico. Mariano Abarca Roblero was killed last Friday when a man on a motorcycle opened fire on him outside his home in the town of Chicomuselo, near Mexico’s border with Guatemala. Thursday’s protest, which took place outside the Canadian Embassy in Mexico City, served as both a memorial to the activist and an opportunity to take up his cause, said protester (and Blue Planet Project activist) Claudia Campero.”
As noted on the website of the CBC Radio program The Current, “Claudia Campero was among those protesting at the Canadian Embassy. She’s an environmental activist with the Coalition of Mexican Organizations for the Right to Water and an organizer with the Council of Canadian’s Blue Planet Project. She was in Mexico City this morning.” To hear the interview with her, go to http://www.cbc.ca/thecurrent/2009/200912/20091208.html.