Equinox Gold uses violence against the people in Guerrero

Red Mexicana de Afectadas/os por la Minería (REMA)

The owners of the company ignore them, Canada’s government hides, and Mexico’s government is silent. 

The Canadian mining company Equinox Gold, in a display of arrogance, illegality and impunity, has violated distinct clauses of the Convention of Collaboration and Compensation agreement signed in 2019 with the members of the Ejido of Carrizalillo, in the state of Guerrero. In addition to non-compliance, the company has launched a campaign that reinforces its illegality, by attempting  to criminalize the owners of the lands where the mine is situated, for using their convention rights and closing access to the mine.  At the same time that the company minimizes the participation of the owners of the lands, it draws attention to specific people, hinders dialogue as well as negotiation, and closes down dialogue that it isn’t able to control. 

It also maintains a negligent attitude in which racism, discrimination, intransigence, intolerance and arrogance, typical of neocolonial politics, are evident. All of this increases the risks for the population which exists in a State well-known for violence. 

Today marks 60 days since the members of the Ejido of Carrizalillo closed the business of the Canadian company engaged in the extraction of gold and other metals in exchange for the destruction of more than a thousand hectares of the territory of the Ejido and other neighbouring communities. Furthermore, everything indicates that the Ejido will continue the closure until the company complies with a new agreement that guarantees to never again fall into noncompliance with the Ejido in matters so critical as clean water, medicine, employment, equipment and machines, among others. We note that shortly after 2007, when the Canadian mining company Goldcorp set up on the Ejido’s lands, they also breached a contract to such a degree that the mine was closed for 83 days. 

Equinox Gold refuses to engage in a respectful dialogue, considering and incorporating the experiences and problems suffered by the population, and we believe they operate illegally in relation to their investors, by hiding and distorting the reality of the conflict. This comes alongside the Canadian government’s  failure, through its Embassy, to not ensure that Canadian companies and investors comply with the laws of a foreign country and respect the human rights of the population. On the other hand, neither does the Mexican government pressure the company to protect Mexican society against the looting, the violation of human rights and the illegal actions that the company commits in the lands of this nation.

Stopping the mine’s activities is only possible thanks to the decision made by the entire community which relies on the highest-authority, the Ejidal Assembly and the General Assembly. 

For many years the struggle of Carrizalillo Ejido has served as an educational example for many towns in resistance against the extractive model of mining.  For this reason, we are grateful for the lessons generated and shared about the reality of the damage caused by the extraction of minerals in Mexico. Once again, in these critical moments for the population of Carrizalillo, they forcefully reveal the greed of mining companies that prioritize their economic interests, but never take into consideration the social and economic costs of the destruction of the lands, water sources and the health of the community, confirming that they don’t value the lives of the people, nor their decision-making processes and collective organization.

The community of Carrizalillo has said it is stronger in the camp than in its own village as a result of rediscovering and celebrating its self-determination, solidarity and mutual care. The REMA send greetings and strong embraces of solidarity in their dignified fight before a model that steals, removes and destroys everything in its path. 

[translation provided by Leslie Dolman]