Tuesday, August 18, 2009

To: secparticular@chiapas.gob.mx; secretario@segob.gob.mx; cdh@cdh-chiapas.org.mx; presidencia@cndh.org.mx; correo@cndh.org.mx

cc: civilsocietyunit@ohchr.org; oacnudh@ohchr.org; cidhoea@oas.org; mxico@international.gc.ca; info@blackfireexploration.com; info@fronteergroup.com; info@radiusgold.com; info@lineargoldcorp.com; info@newgold.com

Dear Gobernador Constitucional del Estado de Chiapas,

I am deeply concerned for the safety of Sr. Mariano Abarca and other members of communities opposing Canadian mines in Chiapas. I was just made aware that Sr. Abarca was kidnapped by armed individuals in unmarked cars as he left a Primary Public School at the municipal capital of Chicomuselo on August 17, 2009. Mr. Abarca is an outspoken critic of destructive mines in Chiapas, and was preparing to organize a regional gathering of communities affected by mining corporations. Please launch an immediate investigation into the kidnapping of Mr. Arbaca. Please take the all means and measures necessary to ensure the safe return of Mr. Abarca to his family. It is high time that you take action to halt the operations of Blackfire and suspend further developments and the sale of concessions held by Radius Gold, Linear Gold Corp, Fronteer Development Group, New Gold Inc., and any other Canadian mining corporations in Chiapas until an impartial investigation is completed.

Communities in Mexico hold the right to free, prior, and informed consent for any and all mining operations on their territories. Mine opponents have the right to carry out their activities without any restrictions or fear of reprisals, as set out in the UN Declaration on the Rights and Responsibilities of Individuals, Groups and Institutions to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.

In any case, please do whatever you can to protect the human rights of communities facing Canadian mining projects and the human rights defenders working on mining issues in Mexico.

Sincerely and Respectfully,

Friday, August 14, 2009

Natives blockade northern Manitoba dam project

[I have stolen this story from CBC. I'm posting it in part to continue the Wuskwatim label posted earlier. I encourage those of you in Quebec to sign up for the upcoming marathon being organized by Alliance Romaine http://allianceromaine.org/.]

Members of an Indian band are blocking access to a $1.3-billion hydroelectric development project in northern Manitoba.

Some members of the Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation near Nelson House, Man., have blocked construction access to the Wuskwatim Dam project, a 200-megawatt generating station that is being built by Manitoba Hydro at Taskinigup Falls on the Burntwood River.

A spokesperson for Manitoba Hydro says the group is allowing people to walk through the barricade, but stopping vehicles from passing.

The protesters claim Manitoba Hydro is not living up to an agreement to provide jobs to members of the local band, claiming at least one-third of workers should be from the local area. Manitoba Hydro said there are about 300 aboriginal workers at Wuskwatim, of which about 44 are from Nisichawayasihk.

Hydro said it does not believe the protest is sanctioned by the chief and council of the Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation. The dam is being developed as a joint venture between Manitoba Hydro and the Nisichawayasihk band. The project is the first time the Crown-owned power utility has entered into an equity partnership with a First Nations community on a generating station project.

Construction of the dam and generating station, about 800 kilometres north of Winnipeg, is due to be completed in 2011.

Friday, August 07, 2009

New Evidence Confirms the Nutritional Superiority of Plant-Based Organic Foods

Someone said to me recently that organic food is not about nutritional superiority, it's about living with the land in a way that's possible in the long-term. However: