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The violence is not just about drugs, as the Reuters report (23 April 2017) implies: “The region, especially Guerrero state, is the site of the worst violence in Mexico as gangs battle over fields of opium poppies, which are used to make heroin. A surge in U.S. demand for heroin has fed the violence,” but also is related to the mining sector.

Don’t wonder anymore where all of the Mexican and Central American refugees are coming from or why. If someone’s life is in danger they have little to lose climbing a wall. The solution needs to be making it possible for people to stay safely at home and not make them low-wage, often unwanted, immigrants in a foreign land. Most people want to stay home with their families, at least in the long-term. Don’t invest in mining companies; avoid buying metal; recycle. A major shift has occurred and a lot of plastics are now vegetable based.

At least 35 killed in drug violence across Mexico: officials
Posted:Sun, 23 Apr 2017 23:55:19 -0400
MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – At least 35 people were killed over the weekend in Mexico, according to local officials, amid a widespread surge in drug gang violence that has driven murders to a level not seen since 2011
“. http://feeds.reuters.com/~r/Reuters/worldNews/~3/VbV-MN-ybg0/us-mexico-violence-idUSKBN17P0UG

As seen in the image above, much contemporary mining is strip-surface mining. Acid mine drainage makes it almost impossible for most plants to grow in a mined area after deforestation. Although old underground mines are subject to subsidence and there are still problems of mining waste, the surface can be forested or used for grazing of animals. Not so for surface mining.

Do you want gold jewelry that badly? Most gold mining is still for unneeded jewelry and bullion. Uranium mining is not needed either because nuclear power isn’t needed. Despite lack of sufficient investment in innovation, innovation still occurs, though it is sometimes locked out of the market by monopolies. Nonetheless, plant based conductive plastics and recycling should reduce and eventually eliminate any need for mining.

Not all Canadian mining companies are owned or run by Canadians, although those discussed below appear to be. Uranium One, for instance, is a Canadian miner bought out by the Russian government. Russia used Canada as a back-door to buy US uranium mines. Although the article, below, was written during a previous Prime Minister, the current PM of Canada has family-ancestral ties to both mining and the opium trade: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Justin_Trudeau. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Farquhar

From Mining Watch Canada:
13 October 2015, 2.47pm EDT
Ottawa, we have a problem By Jen Moore
Latin America Program Coordinator Jennifer Moore works to support communities, organizations, and networks in the region struggling with mining conflicts.

The Canadian Ambassador to Mexico is apparently not worried about violence, kidnapping and extortion at Canadian mine sites.

This despite a Canadian mining executive having admitted this year to the Business News Network to having a good working relationship with organized crime groups in Sinaloa, workers being kidnapped and killed at a Canadian mine site in Guerrero, and half a community fleeing from their homes because of threats and violence around yet another Canadian mine in Guerrero.

Speaking to the press in Guerrero, Mexico on Friday during an annual mining fair that took place in Acapulco, Ambassador Pierre Alarie is quoted as saying, “It is important, but it is not a critical problem for Canadian investment.”[i]

“We don’t see insecurity as a big problem, it is a problem that should be addressed, but it is not an important problem,” he continued when pressed.[ii]

Is that because Canadian mining companies have been able to continue their business pretty much as usual, despite the suffering that local populations and workers have been living through? Is that because Canadian mining company executives can afford private security to protect them when they visit their mine sites, but not for workers or communities? Or is it because the Mexican government has reinforced federal police protection of their interests, leaving local people to fend for themselves? Mexican reporters pressed the Ambassador about cases in which mining workers have been kidnapped and extorted, such as was reported this year in connection with Torex Gold’s Media Luna project in Guerrero,[iii] the Ambassador reportedly said that these are generalized problems of insecurity and that a direct connection cannot be made with Canadian mining companies.[iv]

Earlier this year, however, three workers from Goldcorp’s Los Filos mine were killed,[v] and La Jornada reported that over half of the community of Carrizalillo, where the Los Filos mine is located, had fled their homes because of out-of-control violence.[vi] The press in Guerrero has also reported that workers and community members around Los Filos are being extorted.[vii]

When millions of dollars of gold concentrate were robbed from McEwen Mining’s El Gallo 1 mine in Sinaloa in April of this year, Rob McEwen stated to the press that the company gets along fine with organized crime groups that operate in their area, sparking a scandal in the Mexican press.[viii] He later backed away from the comments, calling his remarks “careless”.[ix]

Did the Ambassador miss this news?

The Mexican press has observed how industrial mines have become a target for extortion, often operating in collusion with state authorities. If companies are directly being extorted, making pacts with organized crime in order to operate, or their activities are otherwise directly or indirectly benefiting organized crime in these areas, this is a problem, no matter whether the companies or the Canadian Ambassador would like to admit it.

The Mexican press has reported: “In private meetings, mining company representatives have complained to state and federal authorities about murders, kidnappings and extorsion committed by organized criminal groups that control entire territories and who act in collusion with state authorities at all three levels.”[x]

For the Canadian Ambassador to continue promoting Canadian mining interests -including announcing last week that two more Canadian mining companies plan to make major investments in Guerrero this year, when it is more than likely that their mines will be a target for extortion, bring more violence, and leave communities without any say over what’s best for them and their land – it is not acceptable for anyone to shrug off the violent disposession taking place.

The Ambassador’s weak assurance that “[t]here are problems with insecurity in a few states in the country and those states and the federal government have taken measures to improve this”[xi] is no assurance at all.

The Mexican government did step up protection for mining companies in late 2014.[xii] But it has not addressed the chronic and horrendous war on people occuring right now in Mexico, where over the last 9 years nearly 30,000 people have been disappeared and 150,000 murdered, according to official figures.

In fact, the Mexican government has just been taken to task by an independent investigation team from the Interamerican Commission on Human Rights for not having addressed the highly publicized forced disappearance of 43 young men from the rural teachers’ college in Ayotzinapa, and the murder of 6, on September 26, 2014 in Guerrero,[xiii] a short distance from the Guerrero Gold Belt where Goldcorp, Torex Gold, and other Canadian and foreign mining companies hope to make more millions.

Finally, it is difficult to believe that the Ambassador is really convinced that the relationship between Canadian mining companies and affected communities in Mexico “is excellent” or “very, very good”, as he also said last week.[xiv] Precisely as a result of the longterm environmental and social impacts of industrial mining, including the likelihood of terrifying security problems, numerous projects and mining concessions with Canadian interests have been stalled by local communities in no less than ten states: Chiapas, Colima, Puebla, Morelos, Guerrero, Oaxaca, San Luis Potosí, Veracruz, Baja California Sur, and Chihuahua. In a communiqué directed to companies and Mexican authorities last week, the Council of Agrarian Authorities from the La Montaña/Costa Chica region of Guerrero invited representatives of mining companies to visit the so-called Guerrero Gold Belt for a reality check – without bodyguards, military or a federal police escort – in order to see the violent reality that communities are really living and that makes the idea that their mining operations lead to “development and social responsibility” a terrible joke.

It seems, however, like we have yet another Ambassador[xv] who is implementing the federal government’s wrong-headed ‘economic diplomacy’ policy[xvi] to give 100% support to Canadian economic interests to the detriment of the lives and livelihoods of workers and affected communities.

Through its omission of any form of prevention or accountability as much as its active promotion of mining, the Canadian government implicates itself in the violence taking place. By brushing over reality both in terms of significant violence and significant community resistance to Canadian mining operations in Mexico and elsewhere, the Canadian government is effectively giving its blessing to the impunity that blankets most of these crimes and to the disrespect that so many ‘reputable’ companies demonstrate for community decisions over their own lives and lands.It is time for such brazen pandering to the industry to stop and for the lives and wellbeing of communities and workers to take first place.“. Emphasis our own. CC-BY-SA-3.0: http://miningwatch.ca/blog/2015/10/13/ottawa-we-have-problem https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/ [References from the Mining Watch article after the Insight Crime excerpts below.]

Excerpts from InsightCrime.org’s article:
Mining Company Admits to Relationship with Mexico Organized Crime
Written by Michael Lohmuller Monday, 13 April 2015
Discussing how violence and criminal groups affect his company’s work in Mexico, McEwen said, “If we want to go explore somewhere you ask [the cartels] and they tell you, ‘No.’ But then they’ll say ‘Come back,’ in a couple of weeks; ‘We’ve finished what we’re doing.’… Manuel Reyes — president of the Mexican Association of Mining, Metallurgical, and Geological Engineers (AIMMGM) — echoed McEwen’s statements, acknowledging that, “We ask the mafia for permission, the organized crime groups, and we are able to [operate]. Things get resolved because there are negotiations by the companies… Although McEwen did not admit to paying extortion fees to criminal groups, his acknowledgement that his company coordinates with organized crime is unusual. While major companies throughout Latin America pay extortion fees in order to protect their employees and operations, few readily admit to doing so. Nonetheless, evidence of such behavior has been witnessed in Colombia, where mining operations and oil companies are major targets for extortion carried out by illegal armed groups. / In Mexico, the extortion of mining companies has become a common practice as criminal groups diversify their revenue streams, resulting in massive losses for the country’s mining industry. According to The Wall Street Journal, there has been a recent spike in security problems for mining companies and their employees in Mexico in the form of kidnappings and extortion, which the Canadian Chamber of Commerce said was making Mexico less attractive for investors.” Emphasis our own. Read the entire article here: Mining Company Admits to Relationship with Mexico Organized Crime, Written by Michael Lohmuller Monday, 13 April 2015, CC-BY-NC-3.0: http://www.insightcrime.org/news-briefs/mining-company-admits-relationship-mexico-organized-crime

Rob McEwen, CC (born April 15, 1950) is a Canadian businessman. He is the chairman and CEO of McEwen Mining Inc., Chairman of Lexam VG Gold Inc. and was the founder and former chairman and CEO of Goldcorp Inc., which is the world’s largest gold producer based on market capitalization. McEwen followed his father into the investment industry and also developed a passion for gold.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rob_McEwen

References from the Mining Watch article:
[i] El Sur, “La inseguridad ‘no es un problema importante’ para las empresas mineras, dice el embajador de Canadá,” October 9, 2015; http://suracapulco.mx/archivos/311432
[ii] Ibid.
[iii] Proceso, “Comando secuestra a 12 trabajadores de una minera en Cocula,” February 7, 2015; http://www.proceso.com.mx/?p=395290
[iv] El Sur, October 9, 2015.
[v] El Sur, “Levantan hombres armados a un ejidatario de Carrizalillo; es para extorsionarlo, denuncian,” April 8, 2015; http://suracapulco.mx/archivos/264832
[vi] La Jornada, “Huyen habitantes de Carrizalillo por la violencia desatada entre narcotraficantes,” April 5, 2015; http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2015/04/05/politica/008n1pol
[vii] El Sur, “Cobran entre 20 y 50 mil pesos de extorsión a mineros y ejidatarios de Carrizalillo, denuncian,” May 9, 2015; http://suracapulco.mx/archivos/272207
[viii] La Jornada, “Revela empresario canadiense ‘buena relación con ‘narcos’ mexicanos,” April 10, 2015; http://www.jornada.unam.mx/ultimas/2015/04/10/revela-directivo-minero-que-narcos-deciden-cuando-explorar-1243.html
[ix] Business News Network, “Rob McEwen: We don’t make deals with drug cartels,” April 14, 2015; http://www.bnn.ca/News/2015/4/14/McEwen-Mining-CEO.aspx
[x] Proceso, “Asesinan en Iguala a socio de minera canadiense,” April 29, 2015; http://www.periodicocentral.mx/2014/nacional-seccion/asesinan-en-iguala-a-socio-de-minera-canadiense
[xi] El Sur, October 9, 2015.
[xii] KPMR News, “Mineros de México confirman contactos entre empresas y cárteles para operar,” April 11, 2015; http://www.kpmrtv.com/2015/04/11/mineros-de-mexico-confirman-contactos-entre-empresas-y-carteles-para-operar/
[xiii] CIP Americas, “CIP Americas Program Statement on the Experts’ Ayotzinapa Report,” September 11, 2015; http://www.cipamericas.org/archives/16244
[xiv] El Sur, October 9, 2015.
[xv] MiningWatch Canada, “Backgrounder: A Dozen Examples of Canadian Mining Diplomacy,” October 8 ,2013; http://miningwatch.ca/blog/2013/10/8/backgrounder-dozen-examples-canadian-mining-diplomacy
[xvi] Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada, “Global Markets Action Plan”; http://international.gc.ca/global-markets-marches-mondiaux/plan.aspx?lang=eng, Accessed October 10, 2015.
” CC-BY-SA-3.0: http://miningwatch.ca/blog/2015/10/13/ottawa-we-have-problem https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/ [References from the Mining Watch article]