July 20, 2019

Newsy Today

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Ecocidios, another great test for López Obrador | International

The first thing we have to ask is how many of the ecocides caused by Grupo México have remained silent. And it is that the accidents of which we find out are just a minority, a minority of which we have knowledge, to top it off, by mere imponderables: for example, a worker who films a spill of 3,000 liters of acid.

If it were for them, Germán Larrea's company would never make public its poisonings, even though it is bound by law, for basic ethical and moral issues and for elementary humanity. His action after the last spill confirms it: the worker who filmed the disaster was fired hours after publishing the video.

The second thing we have to ask ourselves is, then, how many of the seemingly inexplicable events – the death of a group of whales, the appearance of hundreds of fish floating in a dam, the explosion of cancer cases in a specific region of our country or the disappearance of hundreds of thousands of bees – are a mere consequence of the criminal, voracious, unconscious and unpunished act of Grupo México.

And it is that despite all their efforts, the accidents that we found out about are so many – no mining, transportation or infrastructure development company on the planet has an ecocide rate as high as that of Larrea – we can infer that of silenced accidents – whether as a result of corruption, of the incapacity of the authorities or of the hundreds of thousands of kilometers where the State is absent – is even higher.

If it were for them, Grupo México -whose subsidiaries Ferromex, Ferrosur, Intermodal Mexico and Texas Pacifico sound in all corridors of the government, again and again, to participate in the development, construction and usufruct of the greatest ecological crime that will take place during the present sexennium: the construction of the Mayan Train – would deny even what the images and studies show: poisoned rivers of acidulated copper, hundreds of thousands of hectares killed by mealy waste – debris from ground crushed and washed with arsenic – and underground mantles destroyed for mercury and lead.

But Germán Larrea's company, if by its main shareholder, would not only deny its obvious ecocides and those it hides, it would also deny the illegal work it keeps secret and the slave but legal conditions in which its workers work: you surely remember how they lived, how they carried out their tasks and how the 65 miners of Pasta de Conchos ended, whose bodies were not worth, neither dead nor alive, the investment that was required to rescue them.

What you, however, do not remember, is the child exploitation that I have witnessed in three different states of the Republic. That is why I tell it here and now, so that from this moment I remember it forever: the extraction process I speak of is called pozitos and consists of the following: digging, with a borehole, a deep hole, very, very deep but very, very narrow, so narrow that an adult man can not descend into the baskets that are introduced there: that is why children, children between seven and fourteen years old, whose childhoods and life expectancies are destroyed, are used.

The third thing we have to ask ourselves is, now, why a conglomerate of companies -Grupo México- and a family -the Larrea family- enjoy the privilege and the impunity not only to exploit at will the workers of our country and destroy the only thing that still belongs to us all: the environment, but also never face the consequences that should have meant the multiple rail accidents that have caused, as well as the innumerable failures, delays and even non-delivery of various infrastructure projects. The answer to this question, however, is the simplest of all.

And the lack of transparency is the DNA of Grupo México, just as compadrazgo is its biggest hallmark: through these two ways of acting, which in our country have sadly turned into true business strategies, Larrea's company made most of its assets, during the hand-to-hand sales, toasts and scarecrows of the neoliberal period: without major competitions, the Salinas gave them the subsoil, while Zedillo, some time later, gave them the ways of communication so that they could freely transport their raw materials throughout the republic.

But during the period of neoliberal bargains, Grupo Mexico, which until then had basically limited itself to working for Pemex, not only received, in a way that was opaque, mining and railroad tracks, but also connections. with the main port terminals in our country, as well as the five border points with the greatest historical traffic, present and future. Of course, one would think that with this he would not need, to Grupo México, any more help.

Impunity, however, calls for impunity: during the six years of Vicente Fox and Felipe Calderón-the man whose closet is so full of corpses that he has been forced, out of personal fear, to ostracize and invent a new political project, which would be better called Calderón libre? – Grupo México incomparably multiplied its exploitation concessions.

Of course, during the periods indicated here and before, many of the companies that make up the Larrea conglomerate were also cleaned up by the government itself, at zero cost for Grupo México and, of course, at full cost for taxes and money of all Mexicans.

The same Mexicans that today are poisoned by the ecocides of Grupo México, the same Mexicans that we see today as our deep mantles, our rivers, our lakes and our oceans die. The same Mexicans that we see our flora and fauna die, without governments, whatever their initials, doing anything.

Once again, the new government, the government of AMLO, has an opportunity to show that it is what it promised to be: the spill of the Sea of ​​Cortez – whose first victims lie shells on the beaches – can not go unpunished. Nor can the daily, illegal and voracious practices of one of the most harmful companies in Mexico's history go unpunished: will this new government be another one that looks the other way in the face of child labor and the murderous exploitation of Mexican miners?

According to Grupo México itself, each year it dedicates 4 thousand 200 million pesos to matters of an environmental nature. This is 2.2% of your annual profit. According to the government itself, however, mining companies should devote between 25 and 30 percent of their profits to clean up their impact.

This is, then, the fourth and last question that is worth doing in the face of this reality of devastation and death: why does not the new government begin by forcing Grupo México to comply with this percentage?