Official complaint filed with Mexican government

Attached a document containing a complaint against the irrational exploitation of forests in the Sierra Tarahumara. So that you can make it known to the groups of people where you work . Pastoral agents want to make the voice, of the communities we serve, public and for centuries has remained silent.

Miguel Quintanilla S.J.
  Director General
Complejo Asistencial Clínica Santa Teresita AC (CACSTAC)

Complaint about the irrational exploitation of the forest in the Sierra Tarahumara.

May 22, 2016 Sisoguichi, Chih.

To the President of the Republic, Lic. Enrique Peña Nieto
To the current governor of the State of Chihuahua, Lic. Cesar Duarte
To the civil society and the media.

At the recent gathering of our Diocesan Assembly, the priests, religious, and lay people who work in the Diocese of Tarahumara decided to make the following public denouncement: over 16 years ago, we clearly expressed our disagreement with the lack of respect for the life and suffering of all the inhabitants the Sierra Tarahumara; a concern that is still current due to the irrational exploitation of the forest. At that time we said that it has reached the point of no return, that is, if we take a step further, in this ecological deterioration, the very survival of the indigenous people will be put at further risk, according to what we are in fact witnessing (cfr. Statement about logging. Diocese of the Tarahumara, March 29, 2000). Today, more than in all previous years, we see an irrational exploitation of the forest. It is mindless, criminal and probably irreversible in much of the Sierra Tarahumara with disasterous consequences for the environment, especially with regard to the streams and rivers which supply water for much of the states of Chihuahua, Sinaloa, Sonora and the Conchos River in the Gulf of Mexico. The exploitation of the forest has increased in an intense way, so easily seen while traveling the roads of the Sierra: all shame and discretion has been lost by making the illicit permissable. Now we see, with great pain, that this shameless exploitation happens without any control over or survailance of our natural resources; circumventing all legal measures that once regulated chopping down the pine trees, to avoid the devastation of the forest. To top it off, there have been fires caused by criminal hands to hide their plunder. In addition to this reality of environmental devastation which we have discussed, the ejido system offers little protection to ancestral territories and natural resources, forests, plants, wildlife and water which  are home for the Tarahumaras (rarámuri) and Tepehuán (ODAME) peoples.


The greed of a few beneficiaries as well as environmental impunity have added to the above situation. More and more every day, organized crime is taking over over farms and sawmills, harvesting wood with illegitimate permits. Faced with these facts, as the Roman Catholic Diocese of Tarahumara alongside of the indigenous and mestizo peoples, we have sought ways to generate sustainability of our forests. However, the global economic system does not repect this option and continues to impose outside investment projects that harm our ecosystem. In face of this situation, indigenous peoples, who have learned from history to avoid confrontation and politely respond to the attacks of the government and foreign employers, are considered indifferent. The system has  capitalized on this in order to continue to exploit the region. However, indigenous peoples live a mystical harmony with life and their natural surroundings, in an intimate relationship with nature. According to their worldview, everything has conscious life: the water feels, pine trees suffer, animals dialogue, the stars look at us, while so many others of us have only a partial understanding of life. We have threatened to kill mother earth who gives us life, with our western dualism which tries to separate things without understanding that we are all one unit. This situation reminds us that we must be aware that life is a gift that all of us have to care for. Therefore, we invite all to use any means at our disposal to take care of the forest of the Sierra Tarahumara, so that it will last for many generations to come. Let’s join in drawing up proposals for the responsible care of our ecosystem, which is the common heritage of those who want to live with meaning and hope,  because we know that God has entrusted us with this world in order to care for the life of all.


Therefore, we demand that the authorities:

• Put a stop to illegal logging and environmental impunity.

• To investigate and punish those responsible.



Signatures that support and endorse this complaint

by the Diocese of the Tarahumara

________________________________     _________________________________

   Pbro. Celestino Villa Ayala                        Javier Campos Morales

       Diocesan Delegate                                Vicar of the pastoral commission   

________________________________      _________________________________

Juan Manuel González Sandoval                Benjamín Romo Martín  

     Vicar of the north zone                           Vicar of the south zone   

________________________________        _______________________________

      Enrique Urzúa Romero                                Jesús Reyes Muñoz

     Vicar of the central zone                           Vicar of the west zone  

___________________________________      __________________________________

Héctor Fernando Martínez Espinoza               Gabriel Parga Terrazas

      Coordinator of the presbytery                 Vicar of the pastoral indigenous