Un funcionario canadiense declaró ante medios “Amamos a nuestros amigos mexicanos, pero nuestros intereses nacionales están primero y la amistad viene después“, al hablar sobre la renegociación del Tratado de Libre Comercio de América del Norte.

Aunque Justin Trudeau, primer ministro canadiense no sea el responsable directo de las acciones de la minería fuera de territorio canadiense, no es ajeno a estas prácticas destructivas.

Unas 180 organizaciones escribieron al gobierno canadiense en abril de 2016 para que fijara una postura.  Desde antes, ya han relatado hasta instancias internacionales como la ONU y la Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos los abusos contra la población, la economía y el medio ambiente.

Contaminación del agua en los alrededores de la mina La Platosa. Ejido La Sierrita, Durango
Contaminación del agua en los alrededores de la mina La Platosa. Ejido La Sierrita, Durango

El Consejo de Asuntos Hemisféricos (COHA por sus siglas en inglés) dio a conocer en 2014 que las compañías de minería a larga escala de origen canadiense tienen del 50 al 70% de sus proyectos en América Latina.
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En esta entrevista con la red Periodistas de a Pie, que ya cumple 10 años, cuento algunos entresijos que no se conocen sobre el reportaje “Los olvidados de Manuel” y cómo empezó este proyecto interactivo publicado en Pie de Página. No están todos los detalles que hacen falta, pero si algunas ideas que quizá sirvan a otros para futuros proyectos.

-> San Miguel Amoltepec: los olvidados de Manuel

Mario Vergara empezó a buscar públicamente a su hermano Tommy 7 años después de su secuestro. La desaparición forzada de los 43 estudiantes de Ayotzinapa en Iguala, Guerrero, le enseñó que su hermano no era el único desaparecido al que las autoridades no buscaban. Dejó su trabajo para volverse un excavador, un sabueso que busca muertos propios y ajenos.

Cada dos horas una persona es desaparecida en México. En los últimos 10 años suman más de 30 mil quienes faltan en casa.


Para traerlos de vuelta cientos de familiares han salido a hacer lo que el estado no: buscar. Buscar vida, buscar cuerpos, buscar justicia.

Buscadores es una serie documental que retrata la conversión de madres, padres, hermanos, hijos y parejas de personas desaparecidas, en antropólogos forenses, gestores, abogados, investigadores y peritos, asumiendo funciones que son obligación del estado.

Ver micrositio BUSCADORES en Pie de Página

Chilapa, Guerrero
Chilapa, Guerrero

Son el rostro más crudo del abandono del Estado: mujeres indígenas y pobres, que buscan los restos de sus esposos, hermanos e hijos, con ramas y bolsas para el pan. Y los huesos salen de una tierra donde la impunidad rebasa cualquier límite. Porque en Chilapa nada detiene el espanto: ni los federales, ni el Ejército, ni la ONU. El desafío criminal es tan grande, que hasta las fosas ya descubiertas se vuelven a usar

CHILAPA DE ALVAREZ, GUERRERO.- “¡No chingues, vaca!”, gritó Bernardo Carreto cuando reconoció al hombre armado que estaba apostado en el camino de terracería. El tirador atinó el disparo en la cabeza de Carreto, quien perdió el control de su camioneta y terminó por volcarse en un desnivel. El cadáver del hombre regordete, moreno, casi lampiño, de mirada bizca, quedó sangrante en la pequeña milpa de maíz junto al camino.

José Díaz Navarro, líder del grupo de búsqueda de desaparecidos en Chilapa, narra esta historia en el mismo lugar donde ocurrió el asesinato hace apenas cinco meses, en diciembre de 2015. Una veintena de mujeres indígenas escucha atenta el relato, antes de depositar un ramo de gerberas blancas en el cenotafio de Bernardo Carreto.

-> Pie de Página: La cara miserable de la muerte.

Texto: José Ignacio De Alba. Fotos: Arturo De Dios Palma. Video: Prometeo Lucero.

SAN MIGUEL AMOLTEPEC VIEJO.- Del pueblo, lo único que sobrevivió en pie es la vieja iglesia.

La comunidad está a 2,200 metros sobre el nivel del mar, en medio de la Montaña guerrerense. El paisaje se difumina en una capa espesa y blanca que apenas permite ver siluetas opacas. A esta altura, literalmente, se camina entre nubes.

San Miguel Amoltepec Viejo, comunidad de 211 habitantes, quedó sepultada tras el paso de ‘Manuel’ e ‘Ingrid’ en 2013. El pueblo es formado en su mayoría por indígenas tu’un savi (mixtecos) y está ubicado en el municipio de Cochoapa el Grande, que tiene el primer lugar en marginación y el menor Índice de Desarrollo Humano en el país.

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Parteras en Guerrero
Isabel Vicario Natividad, partera indígena na´savi (a la izquierda) revisa a una jóven embarazada en la Casa de la Mujer Indígena Nellys Palomo Sánchez, una organización local indígena independiente en San Luis Acatlán, Guerrero, el 10 de septiembre de 2014. La pobreza extrema y la carencia de servicios públicos en Guerrero, al sur de México, particularmente en las regiones indígenas, son causa de numerosas muertes. La morbilidad materna en Guerrero es de más de 91 muertes por cada 100 mil nacimientos, mientras que la medida media nacional es de 43.

SAN LUIS ACATLÁN, GUERRERO.— Ella posa sus manos sobre ese vientre voluptuoso y lo toca apenas. Palpa esa redondez y le traza una cruz que lo divide en cuatro, mientras murmura estas palabras: “Protégelos. Dales fuerza para su camino, que lleguen bien en su parto. Niño dame permiso de revisarte que todo esté bien”.

Ella, Hermelinda Roque García, reza y posa sus manos como mariposas sobre el vientre de Sonia que espera a su segundo hijo. Sonia, acostada en una cama de la Casa de la Mujer Indígena Neli Palomo Sánchez, en San Luis Acatlán, en la costa chica de Guerrero, mira al techo y se deja tocar. Sus puños se aprietan a los lados. Este segundo embarazo inició con una amenaza de aborto y esta mañana de agosto, un dolor agudo en el abdomen la trajo aquí.

-> Domingo La lucha por ser dueñas de su cuerpo | Por Daniela Rea / Fotos: Prometeo Lucero

(Este trabajo se realizó con el apoyo de la Red de Periodistas de a Pie, en colaboración con la Comisión Mexicana de Defensa y Promoción de los Derecho Humanos A.C. (CMDPDH), como parte del proyecto de protección de los defensores de derechos humanos financiado por la Comisión Europea. El contenido no refleja la posición de la UE.)

Iguala, Guerrero
Iguala, Guerrero

In the hills surrounding the city where 43 Mexican students were kidnapped and likely killed last year, the search for the missing continues.

Ten months since their disappearance, none of the students’ remains have been found in the 60 clandestine graves that have so far been uncovered around the city of Iguala, Guerrero. And authorities do not believe any will be.

The young men’s suspected assassins told interrogators they carried the students andincinerated them in a trash dump in a neighboring town the same night they were kidnapped. The students’ survivors reject the government’s claim.

But the disappearance of the 43 Ayotzinapa Normal School students has also sparked a movement to find other victims of the ongoing drug-related violence in the state of Guerrero. Warring gangs battle for control of the state’s remote mountains, where poppy and cannabis are grown for drugs meant for export to the United States.

 


 

Published in Vice News on July 27th, 2015

by Chantal Flores; photos Prometeo Lucero and Marco Ugarte /AP

Maurilia wasn’t strong enough to walk. When she spoke it was in a disjointed combination of Spanish and Tu’un Savi, one of the languages of the indigenous Mixtec people. She bit constantly at her fingers and seemed to have lost all sense of time and space.

But it wasn’t always like this. Maurilia had been born on November 12, 1982, and had studied until middle school. After that she had helped her mother and brother on the land.

Then, in 2002, at the age of 19, she began experiencing severe headaches and started to cough up blood. The hallucinations and loss of appetite came a little later. The following year, her health deteriorated further still. But with the nearest hospital at least a four-hour drive away, and no health services available within her community, Maurilia didn’t see a doctor.

Her village, Costilla del Cerro, is located between mountain ranges in the southern state of Guerrero. The region, known as ‘La Montaña’, is home to some of the poorest municipalities in all of Mexico and, according to a Human Development Index issued by the United Nations in 2009, the living conditions there are comparable to those in some sub-Saharan African nations. Most residents live off a harvest of beans, corn, chili and quelite, plants that are eaten for their leaves. Others emigrate to work in the fertile fields of the north or to try their luck in the US.

Maurilia’s mother tried all she could to help her daughter, even selling a plot of land in the hope of raising some money for medicine, while her brother, a migrant day labourer in the north of the country, made barely enough to survive.

But, with no money to pay for healthcare, Maurilia’s mental state deteriorated. She grew so aggressive that her family reluctantly began restraining her with a rope tied around her neck. Like this, she would spend her days walking around a tree or sitting on the floor. By night or when it rained, she would shelter beneath a loft made from branches.

That was how a team from the Tlachinollan Human Rights Center found her when they arrived in the village in 2008. I had come along with them and, although I’d been warned about Maurilia’s aggression, what I saw in her was sadness, thirst and exhaustion.

I tried to talk to her as a psychologist, lawyer and translator from our team spoke to her mother. I was reminded of the anger I’d felt as a child upon witnessing images of starving, disease-ridden Somali refugees in a photographic yearbook I’d been given as a gift. I never imagined I’d see something so similar in my own country, and I felt frozen with shock.

But Maurilia wasn’t the only resident of her village who displayed the disturbing symptoms of some undiagnosed illness. Agustín was 11 but had the body of a six-year-old. He was intolerant to sunlight and could only speak in individual syllables. His cousins displayed similar symptoms and his aunt said almost all of the children in the village had the same dark spots on their faces that had preceded the onset of illness in the others. Locals referred to it as mal de ojo or mal de luna, popular ways of explaining an unknown disease.

I questioned what I was doing there and wondered whether it wasn’t disrespectful to take pictures of people in such a plight. Could my camera help them in any way, or would it merely fuel some kind of morbid curiosity? I felt conflicted. But I had to make a decision quickly. So I picked up my camera and took the photographs.

But I wanted to preserve their honour and to show their strength. I wanted their stories to serve as an example of the consequences of Mexico’s public health policies and as an illustration of the depths of discrimination. Maurilia’s tale perfectly highlights that: as an impoverished indigenous woman with mental health problems she was among the country’s most vulnerable.

Alarmed by her condition, the human rights workers arranged for Maurilia to be transported to a hospital in the nearest city. When the ambulance arrived to collect her, the local children were so amazed by the sight of the vehicle that they ran out of their school to get a better look.

I do not know what happened to her after that – and even whether she is still alive. I tried to return to the village by myself two years later, but the person who had originally guided us there had been killed. And in this lawless part of the country where kidnappings are frequent, it was too dangerous to venture there alone. I’ve heard rumours that Maurilia has died and Agustín is no longer able to walk. But I cannot confirm these.

The images I took that day were first shown to the public in November 2011, as part of an exhibition by the Mexican office of Amnesty International, with the permission of the Tlachinollan Human Rights Center. Like the photographers Ricardo Ramirez Arriola, Karla Hernández and Enrique Carrasco, whose work was also featured, I wanted to make a statement about the strength and dignity of indigenous women. And there is no other context in which I would want these images to be seen.


Photogallery


As her mental state worsened and she grew uncontrollably aggressive, Maurilia’s family began tying her to a tree [Prometeo Lucero]

Costilla del Cerro is at least a four hour drive away from the nearest city and hospital [Prometeo Lucero]

A girl peeks into the kitchen of Maurilia’s home [Prometeo Lucero]

The shelter under which Maurilia sleeps [Prometeo Lucero]

Villagers watch as an ambulance comes to take Maurilia to hospital. For some, it was the first time they’d seen such a vehicle [Prometeo Lucero]

Maurilia’s mother watches as an ambulance arrives for her daughter [Prometeo Lucero]

Maurilia is placed on a stretcher in the ambulance [Prometeo Lucero]

Maurilia’s mother looks through the window of the ambulance [Prometeo Lucero]

Eleven-year-old Agustín suffers from stunted growth [Prometeo Lucero]

Children sit on a step. Agustín, left, and his cousin, on the right, are unable to walk or talk and are highly sensitive to sunlight [Prometeo Lucero]

A woman carries her son, who has markings on his face. She is concerned that he will develop the same symptoms as other children in the village [Prometeo Lucero]

Tlapa is home to the only hospital in the region. It is not unusual for women and children to sleep on the floor as they wait to be seen, and even though it is a public hospital, patients say they are often asked to pay [Prometeo Lucero]

La publicación digital de Al Jazeera Magazine publica la historia de Maurilia en la edición “What this picture means to me (abril de 2015).

La publicación interactiva puede leerse a través de iPad [Descarga]


Actualización, 23 de octubre de 2015:

La historia puede consultarse ya directamente en el sitio web de Al Jazeera.

La inercia social tras la búsqueda de los cuerpos de los 43 estudiantes la Escuela Normal Rural Raúl Isidro Burgos, desaparecidos el 26 de septiembre de 2014, impulsó a otras familiares de víctimas a salir del silencio y comenzar sus búsquedas en Iguala, con herramientas precarias y voluntad. Se agruparon para formar el Comité de Familiares de Víctimas de Desaparición Forzada en Iguala, también conocidos como “Los Otros Desaparecidos”.

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