Slain activist’s son brings anti-mining campaign to Canada
The Canadian Press. Saturday Sep. 25, 2010
TORONTO — His father’s voice was silenced when he was killed in a bloody shooting last year, but Mexican anti-mining activist Jose Luis Abarca Montejo refuses to back down over the activities of Canadian mining companies in his state.
The son of Mariano Abarca Roblero, the community leader who spoke out against Calgary-based mining company Blackfire Exploration Ltd. and was gunned down in front of his home in Chicomuselo, Chiapas, is in Canada with a message.
“Canadian trans-national companies are corrupting Mexican authorities and contaminating the environment,” Abarca Montejo said in an interview in Toronto on Saturday.
Since his father’s murder, the younger Abarca has taken on a leadership role in his community’s fight against a Canadian mine he said is destroying the environment and creating divisions between neighbours.
Now embarking on a six-day Canadian tour, the 28-year-old law graduate is to make an appearance at a human rights conference organized by NDP MP Peter Julian, as well as meet with Canadian lawyers and anti-mining activists.
The trip was organized by Julian and some Canadian non-governmental organizations.
It’s Abarca Montejo’s first trip this far from home but one he felt compelled to do in his father’s memory.
“He continues to be a very special person for me,” Abarca Montejo said. “Very honest, loyal and more than anything a fighter… he taught me respect and to keep fighting.”
Part of Abarca Montejo’s visit is to show support for two Private Member Bills — Bill C-300 introduced by Liberal MP John McKay, and Bill C-354 introduced by NDP MP Peter Julian. Both have to do with enforcing accountability for Canadian companies overseas.