The Media Co-op

Local Independent News

More independent news:
Do you want free independent news delivered weekly? sign up now
Can you support independent journalists with $5? donate today!

Assassination of a Leader Opposed to Mining Exploitation in Chiapas

by Elio Henriquez

On Friday night, 27th , Mariano Abarca Roblero was assassinated by gunshot. Mariano was one of the strongest opposition leaders against mining exploitation by the Canadian mining company Blackfire in the hills of Chiapas, Mexico.

Gustavo Castro, of the Network of Mexicans Affected by Mining (REMA for its initials in Spanish), said that according to those close to Mariano he was assassinated around  8:30 PM in the main part of Chicomuselo, close to the border with Guatemala, by a motorcyclist carrying a high-caliber weapon.

They explained that Abarca Roblero was talking outside of his house with Orlando Velásquez, also a member of REMA-Chipaas, when an unidentified person shot Abarca in the head and the chest. Velásquez was also was wounded and was transported immediately to a hospital en the city of Comitán.

Last August 17th, Mariano Abarca was arraigned by the Prosecutor General of State Justice after he was accused by Blackfire of various charges including organized crime.  Due to a national and international outcry against this injustice, he was freed on the 24th of the same month, where he immediately joined the sit-in with his fellows in the municipal seat of Chicomuselo to press for the immediate removal of the company. At the end of August, the participants in a second meeting of Chiapas members of REMA in Chicomuselo, celebrated his release.

Castro said that the opposition leader in the exploitation of mines had filed a criminal complaint against a man (whose name was not provided) who was supposedly used by Blackfire to incarcerate Mariano in August.  He said that this person had been summoned to appear before the proper authorities yesterday, but the case was postponed until next Thursday.

Gustavo Castro put forth his theory that the murder of Mariano Abarca is related to his years of campaigning against mining exploitation.

According to data from REMA, the federal authorities have authorized 54 permissions for mining exploitation to Canadian Companies in their municipalities: to Blackfire extract barite, gold and antimony en more than 10 concessions; Linear Gold Corp, with 24 concessions, mostly gold and some of them granted for 50 years; Frontier Dev. Group with 12 projects, and also with New Gold Inc. with three concessions and Radius Gold with 7, although apparently these last ones have been withdrawn.

Originally published in La Jornada. Translated by Megan Cotton-Kinch.

Want more grassroots coverage?
Join the Media Co-op today.
Topics: Solidarity

About the poster

Trusted by 27 other users.
Has posted 345 times.
View dawn's profile »

Recent Posts:

picture of dawn

dawn (dawn paley)
Member since August 2008


Journalist, co-founder VMC, ex-editor & board member with Media Co-op. Author, Drug War Capitalism.

384 words


Anti-Mining Leader?

To call Mr. Abarca a leader in anti-mining protest is a disservice to all legitmate protesters. He was simply an extortionist, using the anti-mining protest as a cover. The mining company refused to pay his price, this is what led to the protests. Legal means were used to stop roadblocks. This is why he was arrested, not kidnapped as reported by some.

Having said this, and not liking the man, his death was completely unnecessary, and certainly a tragedy for his family.

Trolls on the Comments Board

I find it frightening that someone would come on here and post something like that, though I am not surprised at all they don't have the balls to put their name with the comment.

Ken: I made the original post

Ken: I made the original post on this thread, and did it anonymously for my own safety. I live in Chicomuselo where this murder happened. Over the last few days there has been a witch hunt going on with the police arresting and torturing innocent people. Guess what? I do not want to be one of those people tortured!

You may disagree with what I have said, and that is fine. It is merely a point of view from someone who knows the parties involved and lives in the community.

Just because you disagree

Just because you disagree with someone doesn't mean thier protest is not legitimate.

Clearly the mining companies will not take "no" for an answer: where people who object to mining are harrased and killed, there can be no meaninful consultation, there can be no consent.  Killing people who disagree with you is always unacceptable, as is creating fear by having them arrested in a manner that kidnappers usually use, not police.  Defending these actions is part of a system that supports them.


Morgen: I completely agree


I completely agree with this statement of yours:  "Killing people who disagree with you is always unacceptable, as is creating fear by having them arrested in a manner that kidnappers usually use, not police.  Defending these actions is part of a system that supports them."

I sincerely hope that the police drop their current witch hunt and conduct a credible investigation into this murder. The mining company had absolutely no involvement in this killing. Having the truth about this incident would clearly be the best thing.

I realize my point of view may be unpopular on this board, so be it.  I get the impression that you believe the mining company is guilty of a murder simply because they are a mining company. Facts are apparently irrelevant.


I think that the mining

I think that the mining company is probably guilty not because they are a mining company, but because they have publically threatened Mariano in the past.  Which I would say are pretty good grounds to suspect someone.

Blame the US!

But this is okay because it's canada. it's okay that canadians are in Haiti training police how to kill protestors. It's ok that canada is doing to the phillippines what it's doing to Mexico. This is all ok. They're Canadian!! the only issues worth pursuing are when one can blame the Great Satan USA!

It's America's fault!

It's all America's fault!

Re: Blame the US

Not many people that read and post here would say that "its ok because its Canada" 

Maybe the United States is the Great Satan of our time as you put it, and I would say that it diserves most and much more of the criticisms it has received over the years.  However the world is full of greedy, evil people, and unfortunately, greed is a trait that isn't racist, sexist or even religious.  You will find it in every part of the world, in every community, in any person, in one sence or another.  The only difference is scale, and it usually parallels power and influence.

The US holds the most power and influence and seems to be the greediest.  Hence it should receive its equal share of the criticism.

Not to say that others do not diserve the same criticisms.  ie. Canada.



Join the media co-op today
Things the Media Co-op does: Support
Things the Media Co-op does: Report
Things the Media Co-op does: Network
Things the Media Co-op does: Educate
Things the Media Co-op does: Discover
Things the Media Co-op does: Cooperate
Things the Media Co-op does: Build
Things the Media Co-op does: Amplify

User login

Subscribe to the Dominion $25/year

The Media Co-op's flagship publication features in-depth reporting, original art, and the best grassroots news from across Canada and beyond. Sign up now!