Mexico: Concessions Continue in Wirikuta, Despite Government Ruse

Source: Cultural Survival

In what is deemed an extensive media ruse, the government of Mexico announced in July that they would be extending a total of 75,000 hectares to what they’ve called a National Mining Reserve for the benefit of the Wixráica (Huichol) people.

The idea first came in May, with the designation of 45,000 hectares to “protect and preserve sacred sites” of the Wixárica people.  The Wixárica have been conducting a massive campaign against plans for silver mining in their site of their ancient pilgrimage to where they believe the sun was born- within the Real de Catorce Mountains in San Luis Potosí, known as Wirikuta.

Announced just hours days before a start giant benefit concert for the protection of the sacred zone of Wirikuta, the government’s plans first seemed like a major victory.  But upon further inspection, the Wixárica people decided to reject the government’s offer as a ploy to pacify the demands of activists, but without capitulating the silver mining project

Now, they have returned to offer a more extensive space, along with the cancelation of 5 concessions.  The federal government  “guarantees that no mining concessions with be authorized” within the mining reserve,” according to their press release.

However, the Wixárika remain unconvinced, stating unequivocally, “The creation of the NMR [national mining reserve] does not represent in any way an adequate path and solution for the protection and recognition of the sacred territory of Wirikuta.”

Upon close inspection, it is evident that the area proposed only constitutes 60,543 hectares that lie within the protected natural area that defines the Wirikuta reserve, and no resolutions have been made to indicate the cancellation of mining concession.  The area proposed for the National Mining Reserve adds up to 71,148 hectares, and of these only 60,543 hectares are within the Wirikuta Natural Protected Area. The remaining 10,605 hectares are outside its perimeter. To date, the resolutions do indicate any cancellations of mining concessions.  The 79 mining concessions that existed before are still valid, occupying the same 98,000 hectares, which constitute 70% of the Protected Natural Area. On their site, the Wixárica commented, “The Federal Government’s actions are strategic media events to ensure the functioning of the destructive agribusiness and mining projects in the area so as to make it appear that the mining threats in Wirikuta have been taken care of, which is far from the reality.  The federal government announcements do not constitute a serious and responsible action in fulfilling the obligations of the Mexican State to ensure the effective protection of natural and cultural heritage of the Wixárika People and of Humanity.”

See the Wirikuta Defense Front for more information.

See our Action Alert, to Save Wirikuta, here.