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NEWS: Areas of the sacred Wirikuta lands to be protected from mining

L - Jesus Lara Chivarra

L – Jesus Lara Chivarra

Four Spanish language news reports late this afternoon tell us about a significant development in the campaign to defend the sacred lands of the Wirikuta and the water in the Real de Catorce desert in Mexico from the operations of the Vancouver-based mining company First Majestic Silver. Jesus Lara Chivarra of the Wixakari (Huichol) tribe who serves as a member of the coordinating board of the Wirikuta Defense Front will be in Vancouver on June 1-2 for ‘Shout Out Against Mining Injustice’ to tell us more.

News reports
La Jornada reports, “The Canadian company First Majestic will not perform the mining in the sacred territory of Wirikuta, in San Luis Potosi, and gave its 22 concessions that are in that area to the Huichol people, through the federal government. The 45 hectares of the concession will be part of the national mining reserves, which will prevent re-concession, announced Interior Minister, Alejandro Poire. Prior to the musical festival with support groups and Mexican rock singers will take place next weekend, the secretaries of Interior, Economy, Environment, Land Reform, among other officials, announced the presentation and protection of sacred sites the people of Wirikuta.”

Lainformacion.com notes, “The Mexican government announced today that the Canadian firm First Majestic Silver yielded the 22 mining concessions in the area is sacred Wirikuta, where authorities have granted a total of 72 operating permits. In addition, ‘(the company) has decided not to perform any work on the Huichol sacred places of the people that exist within its concession,’ (instead) the company will give the area the federal government to be protected, said Minister of Economy, Bruno Ferrari.”

Some caution
El Universal adds, “On behalf of the Indians spoke Eleuterio Ramírez de la Cruz, president of the Union Wixárika Ceremonial Centers of Jalisco, Durango and Nayarit, who in their native language explained the process followed to reach this agreement. He said the federal government listened to the Indians, but warned that the agreements announced today will be analyzed by the original people in their local assembly.”

And CNN Mexico notes, “The mining company had 35 permits issued between 1983 and 2009 to exploit the state reserve Wirikuta cultural landscape, of which 22 were to exploit the protected area of Wirikuta, the official said, according to a report from Notimex. …The announcement comes a day before to be held in Mexico City Wirikuta Fest, a cultural festival designed to support the movement initiated by the Huichol people Wixárika or to defend the territory and raise money for the legal defense of that cause. Festival organizers who have joined artists such as Cafe Tacuba, Ely Guerra, Enrique Iglesias and Julieta Venegas, made the announcement with caution Wednesday. ‘You have to know what documents really mean this,’ he said in an interview with Ivan Guzman CNNMéxico, one of the organizers of the festival for which they expect the attendance of 55,000 people.”

Learn more at Shout Out Against Mining Injustice!
To hear Jesus Lara Chivarra speak and learn the latest about this situation, please register for the ‘Shout Out Against Mining Injustice’ conference at http://canadians.org/shoutout. Additionally, the Council of Canadians/ Blue Planet Project has made arrangements to have a large ‘Shout Out Against Mining Injustice’ banner (in Spanish) at the Wirikuta Fest in Mexico City noted in the news reports above. Blue Planet Project organizer Claudia Campero Arena will be at this festival. In May 2011, the Council of Canadians/ Blue Planet Project helped support the travel costs of Jesus Lara Chivarra so that he could travel to Vancouver to intervene at First Majestic Silver’s annual shareholders meeting. For five previous campaign blogs about the Wirikuta, please see http://canadians.org/blog/?s=wirikuta.