Sunday, April 15, 2007

Made in Canada Violence: Mining in Mexico

Made in Canada Violence: Mining in Mexico Written by Mandeep Dhillon. Thursday, 12 April 2007

The history of mining in Mexico is a long one. The riches of the Mexican sub-soil were a major motivation for Spanish colonizers and the mining industry is often accorded an important place in events leading to the Mexican Revolution; the 1906 bloody repression of striking miners working for U.S. Cananean Consolidated Copper in Sonora is often cited as a precursor to current labor struggles in Mexico. The authors of the Mexican Revolution sought to make a reality of the ideal that those who work the land should have control over it. In order to protect its land from foreign interests, Article 27 of the 1917 Mexican Constitution dictated that the land, the subsoil and its riches were all property of the Mexican State. More importantly, Article 27 recognized the lasting collective right of communities to land through the “ejido” system and limited private land ownership.

As in the colonization of Indigenous lands elsewhere, mining was an activity of primary economic importance to colonizing forces and a major cause of injury, death, land destruction and impoverishment for Indigenous communities. Not much has changed in this imbalance today. And Canadian mining corporations – with wealth created from the historic (and ongoing) take-over and exploitation of Indigenous territory in Canada – are at the lead of these colonizing forces in present day Mexico.

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