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Blackfire: Translation, eh?

14 December 2009

The defenses excuses given by Blackfire Exploration, a Canadian mining operation in Chiapas, for their employee’s role in the murder of local environmental activist Mariano Abarca Roblero are stretching the limits of credibility, as well as English comprehension.   Andy Hoffman, of the Toronto Globe and Mail had the unenviable task of presenting the company’s story.  I have the perverse pleasure of providing the translation.

First, Andy’s admirably comprehensible backgrounder:

[Canadian] Governor-General Michaëlle Jean encountered protesters chanting, “Canada get out,” while on a visit to Chiapas this week. Ms. Jean called Mr. Abarca’s murder “deplorable” and “inexcusable.”

Three men with links to Blackfire have been arrested by Mexican police in connection with the slaying. One of the men arrested is a Blackfire employee and the two others have worked for the company in the past.

Blackfire has condemned Mr. Abarca’s murder and denied any involvement. Its mine was shut down this week by Mexican authorities for alleged environmental violations.

And, now… a plunge into corporatese —

BLACKFIRE SPEAK:

“We have been extorted by the mayor of Chicomuselo, who since we began operations has asked us for the amount of 10,000 pesos per month to prevent the Mexican co-operative farm near where we mine from taking up arms.”

ENGLISH TRANSLATION:

We paid about 750 US Dollars a month protection money in return for the mayor sending out goons to harass the local ejidatarios.

BLACKFIRE SPEAK:

… the mayor asked for 100,000 pesos for the village fair. The documents indicate that 75,000 pesos were to be deposited into the mayor’s personal account at the Bancomer bank.

ENGLISH TRANSLATION:

The largest employer and business in the community was asked to contribute 8000 US Dollars to the annual festival.  Instead, the company deposited 5,000 US Dollars in the mayor’s personal bank account.

BLACKFIRE SPEAK:

“We decided not to meet [a request that the company hire pop star Niuka, described by the Globe and Mail as a “nude model”, to perform at the event], and for this reason the mayor started a smear campaign, making allegations to the priest of the region against the company, and we know that this incited the people who violently took the facilities of our company on June 10, 2009.”

ENGLISH TRANSLATION:

Those injuns were pissed off about ruining their land and water… it was all the evil influence of Romish priests.

BLACKFIRE SPEAK:

As far as Blackfire is concerned, we were sponsoring the town of Chicomuselo, and we felt that the mayor was abusing and taking the money for his own personal needs, and that is why we reported him to congress to overturn his immunity so that we could press criminal charges against him [filing a complaint with the State of Chiapas on 15 June, 2009 — five days after protests against Blackfire’s barite mine erupted).

ENGLISH TRANSLATION:

We expect bought politicians to stay bought.

BLACKFIRE SPEAK:

This isn’t bribery. We were taken advantage of. We are fighting against it.

ENGLISH TRANSLATION:

We’re lying.

The Canadian Parliament is considering a new mining law.  Andy Hoffman writes about the Blackfire affair:

Representatives of the Canadian mining industry concede the Blackfire case is threatening to tarnish its reputation at a sensitive time, as Parliament considers the proposed mining law.

I have no idea what the Canadian parliament should do, or will do.  And, it’s not really Mexico’s concern.  But, the Canadian mining industry can’t do much more to tarnish its reputation down here than they already have.  Another Canadian owned mining operation–  Mineria San Xavier in San Luis Potosi (owned by  New Gold, Inc.)   — is  accused of unleasing a hundred of its employees to attack local anti-mining protesters and members of ejidal Cerro de San Pedro.

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