[I thought I had posted this some time last week but just realized with dismay that it was still in my draft queue. So here it is—better late than never—good thing I don’t work on deadlines anymore!]
There were some protesters in front of the Mexican Consulate yesterday, and the striking appearance of the person on the loudspeaker prompted me to take pics with my iPhone. Most of the signs and speeches were in Spanish—not a strong suit of mine—but I figured out they were holding Canadian mining companies (who apparently represent 60% of the world’s mining industry) responsible for incidents in Mexico. Leslie Ning, one of the friendly organizers asked me whether I was a journalist and when I told her I was a blogger, she took the time to explained what they were doing there, gave me a press release and shyly smiled for the camera. Not at all the brooding, angry militant stereotype. She asked questions about my blog, showed interest about createthreesixty5.com, and she even suggested I check out another blog celebrating creativity called Learning to Love You More which has currently operating though one can still visit to see works and assignments posted in the many archives from the project’s seven-year lifespan. All in all, a pretty interesting encounter.
The Comité pour les droits humains en Amérique latine (CDHAL), or Committee for Human Rights in South America, were holding a vigil and protest that day to denounce the assassination of two civil rights defenders in the state of Oaxaca, Mexico. A caravan of international observers was attacked on April 27 2010 as it was making it’s way to San Juan Copola in Oaxaca. There were about 15 injured and two people perished: Beatriz Alberta Cariño, the coordinator of CACTUS and an activist defending the rights of socio-environmental rights who was particularly opposed to the presence of Canadian mining companies in Mexico, and an observer by the name of Tyri Antero Jaakkola, a young man from Finland. The attack was carried out by a paramilitary group “Unidad y bienestar social de la región Triqui” (UBISORT). The activists are demanding a thorough investigation of this incident and the adoption of Law C-300, currently being debated in the Canadian Parliament. This law would force Canadian mining companies to be accountable for their actions and entail financial sanctions for companies operating in developing countries to ensure decent standards of living for the workers and communities they exploit.