MiningWatch in the News

Canada mining murder in Mexico

A petition filed with public sector integrity commissioner alleges diplomats at the Canadian embassy in Mexico City intervened on behalf of Calgary mining company implicated in the murder of activist Mariano Abarca


Mariano Abarca for Web.jpg

Ben Powless photo of José Luis Abarca in Ottawa with Charis Enns behind him.

More than eight years after the murder of Mariano Abarca, a founding member of the Mexican Network of Mining Affected People (REMA in Spanish), in Chiapas, Mexico, the role of Canadian diplomats at the embassy in Mexico City – and their lobbying efforts on behalf of the Calgary-based mining company implicated in Abarca’s death – is now being questioned.

Abarca was shot outside his home in 2009, allegedly over his opposition to a barite mine operated by Blackfire Exploration in Chicomuselo. Two Blackfire employees and a contractor for the company were arrested in connection with his murder, but never tried. 

Last month, a delegation from Mexico, including Abarca’s son José Luis Abarca, filed a complaint with the Office of the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner of Canada calling for an investigation into the actions – and omissions – of diplomats who intervened on behalf of Blackfire with Mexican officials, despite chronic pollution problems at its mine and accusations of human rights abuses against the company.

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