Canada might be opening up investigation of Mexican Activist that was shot and killed in 2009 at a mine in Chiapas

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Canada might be opening up investigation of Mexican Activist that was shot and killed in 2009 at a mine in Chiapas

canadiana
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Ottawa pledges co-operation in mining complaint over Mexican activist’s slaying

 CP, The Canadian PressCP, THE CANADIAN PRESS
Published on: February 6, 2018 | Last Updated: February 6, 2018 6:14 PM MST

Mariano Abarca Roblero is shown in this still image taken from video Aug., 2009 in Chicomuselo, Chiapas. The federal government is pledging its full co-operation with a possible investigation into the role of Canadian diplomats and a former Calgary mining company in the shooting death of Mexican activist. Family and supporters of the slain Mexican activist Mariano Abarca this week asked the Public Service Integrity Commissioner to investigate his death, filing a notice that accuses Canadian diplomats of turning a blind eye to the human rights violations that ultimately cost him his life. DOMINIQUE JARRY-SHORE / THE CANADIAN PRESS
 The federal government pledged Tuesday to fully co-operate with any investigation into the possible role of Canadian diplomats and a former Calgary mining company in the shooting death of a Mexican activist.

 Family and supporters of slain activist Mariano Abarca this week asked the Public Service Integrity Commissioner to investigate his death, filing a notice that accuses Canadian diplomats of turning a blind eye to the human-rights violations that ultimately cost him his life.

 But it could be months before any investigation begins.

Abarca a father of four who was gunned down in November 2009, opposed the Canadian mining project, saying it harmed the environment and was bad for his community in the Mexican state of Chiapas.

 The complaint, by a group calling itself the Justice and Corporate Accountability Project, alleges Canadian diplomats in Mexico City were more interested in helping the now-defunct Blackfire Exploration overcome local protests than in upholding the values of human rights and good corporate behaviour.

 “We believe that the acts and omissions of Canadian diplomats put the life and well-being of Mariano Abarca — who had gone to the (Canadian) embassy for support — and other people at risk,” Miguel Angel de los Santos, the Abarca’s family lawyer, told a news conference on Parliament Hill through a translator.

 Blackfire ran an open-pit barite mine near the border with Guatemala. Abarca helped organize a three-month blockade of the project one year before his death — in a shooting in front of his house that remains unsolved despite several arrests.

 Less than two months before his death, diplomats from the Canadian Embassy travelled to Chiapas to meet local Mexican officials to help Blackfire overcome opposition.

 “The embassy’s goal was to advocate for greater attention by Chiapas to try to resolve the challenges that Blackfire is facing,” a trade official at the embassy wrote in an Oct. 13, 2009, email.

 “Embassy made the point that Blackfire is a significant Canadian investment in Chiapas and its treatment will send a signal to other foreign investors, both Canadian and non-Canadian, as to the attractiveness of Chiapas as an investment location.”

 The email also said that the embassy had “intervened at senior levels to troubleshoot for four Canadian mining investments in Mexico” and was “successful in obtaining progress in all four cases.”

 The email was part of a 982-page collection of documents released to MiningWatch Canada under an access to information request that underpins this week’s complaint.

 De los Santos said the intervention of Canadian diplomats would have likely been viewed as “out of proportion” by the Mexican state officials and would have prompted them to act against the company.

 In early December 2009, 10 days after Abarca was fatally shot, Mexico’s environment ministry shut down the Blackfire mine, citing several factors, including pollution and the spread of toxic emissions.

 A spokesman for International Trade Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne said the government will fully co-operate with any investigation by the integrity commissioner, and is committed to supporting the work of human-rights defenders.

 Joseph Pickerill noted the department’s announcement last month of the creation of a new ombudsperson to force companies to adhere to better corporate social responsibility.

 “Also, to ensure our entire network can support defenders, the trade commissioner service will receive enhanced training on Canada’s new approach in line with the government of Canada’s expectations for responsible business conduct abroad and Canada’s new guidelines on supporting human-rights defenders,” Pickerill said Tuesday.

 A spokeswoman for integrity commissioner Joe Friday said he would take up to 90 days to decide whether to start an investigation.

 Abarca’s death sparked large protests. One march three weeks after his death attracted more than 1,500 people in Chiapas.

http://calgaryherald.com/news/local-news/ottawa-pledges-co-operation-in-mining-complaint-over-mexican-activists-slaying
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Re: Canada might be opening up investigation of Mexican Activist that was shot and killed in 2009 at a mine in Chiapas

canadiana
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I just don't think Embassy staff should be involved in stuff like this,putting pressure on the Mexican Government to get rid of the protesters.Maybe the company going to the authorities I could see but not Embassy staff going to Chiapas.They should be neutral or helping people in trouble not companies.my dos centavos.
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Re: Canada might be opening up investigation of Mexican Activist that was shot and killed in 2009 at a mine in Chiapas

Podrido
I can certainly agree there, but I think it may also be that a Mexican citizen being killed on the site of a Canadian mine is a potentially diplomatic issue. Also perhaps that a diplomat's purpose is to work for the benefit of their home country, no? At which point I'd imagine it is wholly within their interests to help a Canadian company achieve their goals despite whatever issues it may cause for the people of Chiapas.

That being said, aren't the Zapatistas still alive and well in Chiapas? That sort of a protest sounds like it'd be right up their alley.
Just a lurker.