MAC: Mines and Communities

Mexico: acts of aggression against members of FAO in Cerro de San Pedro - Agresión a miembros de FAO en Cerro San Pedro

Published by MAC on 2008-07-28


Statement from Cerro de San Pedro, Mexico

17th July 2008

Fuera Minera San Xavier


On July 16th 2008, protesters who had gathered in the town of Cerro de San Pedro, Mexico, to oppose the visit of the CEO of Canadian mining corporation New Gold (formerly Metallica Resources), were attacked by the town mayor's husband. The mayor's husband, Santos Nava Arista, was driving a municipal police van when he tried to run over activists who oppose the mine.

At around 10:00 in the morning, Nava Arista was traveling towards Cerro de San Pedro when he stopped at the speed bumps in front of the mine's offices and steered the car towards protesters who were right in front of the mine's office. One woman was forced to jump on a hill beside the road to avoid being run over by the van. Arista proceeded to spin the car while speeding. Ana Maria Alvarado, who is the head of the Cerro de San Pedro Ejido (Mexican communal land), fell to the ground as she tried to escape the moving vehicle.

The demonstration informed New Gold CEO Robert Gallagher and the international media that accompanied him that the mining project in Cerro de San Pedro has been illegally operating due to the collusion of Federal, State and Municipal authorities in Mexico.

Nava Arista threatened the physical integrity of Cerro de San Pedro citizens who were demonstrating peacefully. Protesters suffered scrapes and minor injuries, but were concerned about the possibility of future violence.

Forty five people participated in the demonstration, which included members of the collectives Matriz de las Cenizas, Ramonas, Huachichil, Patricio Alanís, Azul, and the Agrarian group of Cerro de San Pedro. Other representatives included delegates from the Magistrate, the Patronage Pro-Defense Cerro San Pedro, the State Front of Social Movements and Organizations, and the Pueblo Libre Movement. Observers included Public Notary Leonel Serrato Sanchez, Marie-Dominik Langlois, director of the Latin American Human Rights Committee from Montreal, a representative of the State Human Rights Commission and Respuesta Alternativa.


20th July 2008

In the face of acts of aggression committed against Sr. Mario Martínez, Ms. Ana María Alvarado and Monserrat Rodríguez, members of the Broad Opposition Front to mining in Cerro San Pedro, the Observatory of Mining Conflicts in Latin America, OCMAL, declares the following:

1. We completely reject the aggressive actions against people who are struggling for the rights of communities facing the impacts of mining activities.

2. We hold the San Xavier mining company and government authorities responsible for any act which puts in risk the security the members of the Broad Opposition Front (FAO) as well as any person exercising their democratic rights. We call attention to, denounce and condemn these aggressions carried out by mining activities against persons and environment.

3. We back the actions of the FAO as they defend the natural, historical and cultural heritage of Cerro San Pedro, facing the destruction caused by the San Xavier mining company.

4. We publicly denounce the strategies of the mining company as they try to discredit and do away with critics and questions about their destructive activity.

5. We accompany in a spirit of solidarity the FAO in their legal, juridical and administrative actions to protect the rights of their members and of the communities threatened today by agents of mining interests.

6. We urge local, regional and national authorities to guarantee the integrity and rights of the persons and organizations of Cerro San Pedro who are defending the environment and health of the population in the face of threats and criminal actions caused by persons at the service of mining interests, in particular the mining company Minera San Xavier.

Emergency Action: Protect Environmental Activists / Mexico

Global Response joins Amnesty International in calling for police investigations into acts of intimidation and violence against citizens who oppose mining in Cerro San Pedro, Mexico. Please read the Amnesty Urgent Action Appeal below, and write letters to Mexican authorities.

It is very important for Mexican authorities to know that the world is watching the situation in Cerro San Pedro and that we hold the Mexican government accountable for protecting the rights and safety of dissenters, in accord with the UN Declaration on the Rights and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.

URGENT ACTION APPEAL - From Amnesty International USA

22nd July 2008

Further Information on UA 217/07 (22 August 2007)


Fear for the safety of:

Jair Pineda (m), lawyer with Frente Amplio Opositor (FAO), Broad Opposition Front
Armando Mendoza Ponce (m), FAO member
Mario Martinez Ramos (m), FAO member

And other activists opposing a mining project in Cerro San Pedro, San Luis Potosi state

Environmental activists and members of a coalition protesting against the activities of a mining company in the municipality of Cerro San Pedro, San Luis Potosi state, have been threatened and attacked.

On 16 July a group of activists and members of Frente Amplio Opositor (FAO), Broad
Opposition Front, an umbrella organization opposing a mining project in Cerro San Pedro, demonstrated and briefly blocked the access road to the mine's office on the occasion of the visit of the company's new director. According to demonstrators, a municipal police van attempted to run over two protesters who were blocking the road.

On 17 July, Mario Martinez Ramos, a member of FAO, was attacked by a group of armed people while he was in the village of Cerro San Pedro accompanying a couple of foreign
journalists. He said that about 10 people, some armed with machetes and handguns, started chasing him. He managed to lock himself in his car and escaped, though the attackers badly damaged the vehicle. He contacted the municipal police immediately after the attack, but they did not investigate the incident. He filed a complaint for attempted murder with the local prosecutor's office, identifying among the attackers some local residents who are believed to work for the mining company as security guards.

On the same day, FAO activist Armando Mendoza Ponce reported being threatened with death by the same man who allegedly tried to run over FAO members on 16 July. According to Armando Mendoza Ponce's testimony, the man threw a large stone at him and said, ‘‘You will not live till the end of the week,'‘ (‘‘no pasas de esta semana'‘).

Last year, Armando Mendoza Ponce's van was shot at while it was empty, and another FAO
activist, Jair Pineda, claimed that he was followed and intimidated by men believed to be employees of the mining company. There have been no further reports of threats or
intimidation of Jair Pineda and no investigation has apparently been carried into the
attacks nor has protection been offered to the activists.


The village of Cerro San Pedro is on a mountain that has been mined for gold and silver for centuries. Local activists claim that mining in the area is damaging the environment and water system. Residents and activists opposed to the mining operations have organized in several environmental defense groups, one of them being the umbrella organization FAO. The conflict has intensified since mining operations were allowed to resume in 2006.


Please send appeals to arrive as quickly as possible:

- expressing concern that Mario Martinez Ramos and Armando Mendoza Ponce have been
threatened and attacked because of their environmental campaigning work in Cerro San Pedro, San Luis Potosi state, and calling for a full, prompt and impartial investigation into the threats and attacks, with the results made public and those responsible brought to justice;

- calling on the authorities to ensure that they receive protection, in accordance with their wishes;

- expressing concern for the safety of members of the Frente Amplio Opositor and others opposing the mining operations in Cerro San Pedro;

- reminding the authorities that the UN Declaration on the Rights and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms recognizes the legitimacy of the activities of human rights defenders and their right to carry them out.


Governor of San Luis Potosi
Marcelo de los Santos Fraga
Gobernador del Estado de San Luis Potosi
Palacio de Gobierno
Carranza y Jardin Hidalgo No. 11
San Luis Potosi, 78000, SLP
Fax: 011 52 444 8 12 2707

Attorney General of San Luis Potosi State
Lic. Francisco Martin Camberos Hernandez
Procurador del Estado de San Luis Potosi
Eje Vial 100, 1er Piso
San Luis Potosi, 78000
Estado de San Luis Potosi
Fax: 011 52 444 8 12 5364

Minister of Interior
Lic. Juan Camilo Mourino Terrazo
Secretaria de Gobernacion
Bucareli 99, 1er. piso, Col. Juarez, Del. Cuauhtemoc, Mexico D.F., C.P.06600
Fax: 011 52 55 5093 3414


President of the National Human Rights Commission
Dr. Jose Luis Soberanes Fernandez
Presidente de la Comision Nacional de los Derechos Humanos (CNDH)
Edificio ‘‘Hector Fix Zamudio'‘, 6° piso
Blvd. Adolfo Lopez Mateos n° 1922
Col. Tlacopac San Angel, Del. Alvaro Obregon
Mexico D.F., C.P. 01040
Fax: 011 52 55 56 81 81 25, then dial 9

Ambassador Arturo Sarukhan Casamitjana
Embassy of Mexico
1911 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
Washington DC 20006
Fax: 1 202 728 1698

Esposo de alcaldesa de Cerro de San Pedro agrede a manifestantes contra MSX

Por Estela Ambríz Delgado

17 de Julio del 2008

La alcaldesa Rosaura Loredo y activistas opositores a la Minera San Xavier se enfrentaron en Cerro de San Pedro. En una manifestación de diversos colectivos contra el presidente de la transnacional canadiense New Gold propietaria del proyecto del Minera San Xavier, Robert Gallagher, dos mujeres fueron agredidas por Santos Nava Arista, esposo de la alcaldesa del municipio, una de ellas sufrió lesiones.

Este miércoles, manifestantes del Núcleo Agrario Ejidal, Frente Estatal de Movimientos y Organizaciones Sociales, Movimiento Pueblo Libre, los Colectivos Azul, Ramonas, Huachichil, Patricio Alanís, profesores disidentes, pobladores de Cerro de San Pedro, el Comité por los Derechos Humanos en America Latina con cede en Montreal, Canadá, el Notario Público Leonel Serrato Sánchez y el Movimiento No a la Mina de la provincia de Esquel, Argentina, acudieron a dicho municipio con el fin de manifestarse contra Robert Gallagher, presidente de la compañía New Gold, a excepción de los dos últimos que acudieron para dar fe de los hechos y en calidad de observadores respectivamente.

La protesta tuvo lugar a la entrada de la empresa, dos kilómetros antes de la cabecera municipal. Un grupo de periodistas extranjeros permanecieron afuera de la transnacional. En el mismo sentido, una mujer de procedencia canadiense y un abogado de la empresa buscaron a algún representante de los grupos de oposición como Juan Carlos Ruiz Guadalajara, miembro del Frente Amplio Opositor (FAO) para proponer de parte de la empresa un encuentro a puerta cerrada, mismo que los activistas desestimaron por parecerles desventajoso, a lo que hicieron la contrapropuesta de dialogar públicamente. Tras la negativa a dicho diálogo, los activistas iniciaron un bloqueo a vehículos de la empresa, en tanto no se diera alguna posibilidad de comunicación con los directivos. Hasta ese momento, los hechos se desarrollaron en medio de la calma, hasta que el esposo de la alcaldesa Rosaura Loredo, Santos Nava Arista, a bordo de una camioneta de la policía municipal intentó atropellar a los manifestantes, acto seguido Luisa Montserrat Rodríguez, tuvo que subir a un montículo a un costado del camino a Cerro de San Pedro para evitar ser atropellada, cuando el esposo de la alcaldesa empezó a girar su camioneta sobre el camino acelerando con fuerza. De igual Manera, Ana María Alvarado, representante del Núcleo Agrario Ejidal, sufrió lesiones en una mano dado que cayó al suelo al tratar de huir del alcance de las maniobras que realizaba Nava Arista.

El plantón cumplió con el objetivo de darle a conocer al funcionario de dicha empresa y a los medios internacionales que lo acompañaron, que preside un proyecto ilegal desde su origen que se mantiene hasta hoy gracias a la complicidad con autoridades federales, estatales y municipales y la violación de las leyes mexicanas.

Por su parte el Colectivo Azul señaló: "Informamos que de manera irracional y cobarde Nava Arista puso en riesgo la integridad de ciudadanos que nos manifestabamos de manera pacífica, hechos por los que tendrá que responder, además de responsabilizarlo de cualquier nueva agresión ya que sabemos que es una persona violenta".

Los hechos fueron testificados en su totalidad por el notario público No 32 Leonel Serrato Sánchez y más tarde fueron notificados a un representante de la Comisión Estatal de Derechos Humanos. También testigos de calidad fueron Marie-Dominik Langlois, directora del Comité por los Derechos Humanos en América Latina.


Proyecto minero "Cerro de San Pedro"

Empresa transnacional New Gold (
Empresa local: Minera San Xavier (
Inicio de operaciones abril 2007
Ubicación: 20 km N/E San Luis, Potosí, México

20 de julio de 2008

Observatorio de Conflictos de América Latina, OCMAL

Frente a las informaciones sobre los intentos de agresión al Sr. Mario Martínez, a las señoras Ana María Alvarado y Monserrat Rodríguez, miembros de Frente Amplio Opositor a la minería en Cerro San Pedro, el Observatorio de Conflictos Mineros de América Latina, OCMAL declara lo siguiente:

1. Rechazamos terminantemente las acciones de agresión a nuestros compañeros y compañeras que luchan por el derecho de las comunidades frente a los impactos de las actividades mineras.

2. Responsabilizamos a la empresa San Xavier y a las autoridades competentes de cualquier hecho que ponga en riesgo la seguridad de los compañeros y compañeras del Frente Amplio Opositor (FAO) así como de cualquier persona que ejerciendo sus derechos democráticos, señalen, denuncien y condenen las agresiones a las personas y al ambiente provocadas por la actividad minera.

3. Respaldamos las acciones del FAO tendientes a defender el patrimonio histórico, natural y cultural de Cerro San Pedro frente a la destrucción que provoca la empresa minera San Xavier.

4. Denunciamos públicamente la estrategia de las empresas mineras que no escatiman esfuerzos principalmente ilegítimos para deshacerse de las críticas y cuestionamientos a su destructiva actividad.

5. Acompañamos solidariamente al FAO en sus acciones jurídicas, legales y administrativas que tengan por objeto resguardar los derechos de sus miembros y de la comunidad amenazada hoy por agentes de los intereses mineros.

6. Exigimos a las autoridades locales, regionales y nacionales, garantizar la integridad y derecho de las organizaciones y personas de Cerro San Pedro que defienden el ambiente y la salud de la población frente a las amenazas y acciones delictivas, provocadas por personas al servicio de los intereses mineros, particularmente de la empresa minera San Xavier.


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