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Mexico: Wirikuta Still Threatened Despite Government Announcement

It sounded too good to be true – and, indeed, it was. The mining company First Majestic Silver was handing over its mining concessions in the sacred lands of Wirikuta, and the government was declaring 45,000 hectares a National Mining Reserve, which would be protected from exploitation. In a ceremony held Thursday at the National Museum of Anthropology, Bruno Ferrari, Secretary of the Economy, and Juan Rafael Elvira Quesada, Secretary of the Environment, announced the news in the company of a group of Wixarika people. The announcement came as the movement to protect Wirikuta geared up for its biggest event since the campaign for the sacred site’s defense began: Wirikuta Fest, where a star-spangled cast of Mexico’s most beloved recording artists will raise funds for sustainable development projects for the residents of Wirikuta.

The news went out in the international media on Friday: Mexico promises to protect Huichol indian lands,” reported the Washington Post, Associated Press and ABC News, among others. “Minera cede concesiones en el territorio protegido de Wirikuta” (Mining company cedes concessions in the protected territory of Wirikuta), proclaimed CNN Mexico.

The social media were on fire; messages circulated on Twitter and Facebook faster than you could refesh your screen: “Aho! Ganamos!” (Yes! We won!) and “Felicidades a los Huicholes!” By the afternoon, however, a different sort of tweet was flying about: “Wirikuta NO HA GANADO! (Wirikuta has not won!)

On Friday, in a hastily organized press conference, leaders of the Wirikuta Defense Front called the government announcement a fraud, designed to confuse the public and undermine the momentum and public support created by Wirikuta Fest. Besides the Wixarika authorities and experts from the Wirikuta Defense Front, Rubén Albarrán and Roco Pachuchote, two of Mexico’s most popular recording artists who are helping to organize Wirikuta Fest, spoke at the press conference.

FULL ARTICLE HERE: Mexico: Wirikuta Still Threatened Despite Government Announcement.

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