Bishop Vera Lopez: Natural Resources are Being Snatched from Indigenous Mexicans
The voice of the Dominican friar Raúl Vera López seemed to break while his car careened along the tight curves of the Pico de Orizaba, Mexico’s tallest mountain, on the border between the states of Puebla and Veracruz. “Mexico is destroyed. Right now it is the most destroyed country on earth,” said the 69-year-old bishop of Saltillo, shaking. He paused to take in the foliage, darkened by the clouds at dawn. “Look at how much beauty there is, for God’s sake. These natural resources are being snatched from this country’s poor, its indigenous people.”
Mexico has racked up more than 130,000 murders since 2006, when President Felipe Calderón announced the beginning of the war against organized crime. Since then an unknown number of people, possibly tens of thousands, have disappeared. According to the government, these figures are the result of a long and cruel war among rival cartels for the control of drug trafficking corridors. The places that turned into the center of terror — Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo León, Tamaulipas, Veracruz, Sinaloa, Michoacán, Guerrero, Tabasco and Chiapas — are rich in gas, petroleum, metals, coal and water, all of which can now be exploited with private Mexican or foreign capital.
Vera, working with another group of prominent human rights defenders, unionists, artists and intellectuals, is convinced business and individual interests lie behind this policy of terror, the goal of which is to make the natural reserves their own.
Read the rest at Al Jazeera
Translated from the Spanish by Patrick Timmons
Photo: Jesus Caudillo/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
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