Employees of EXMINGUA-KCA plead guilty to threats against journalists

Yesterday, in a ground breaking court case, Juan José Reyes Carrera y retired Guatemalan Army Lt. Pablo Silas Orozco Cifuentes were sentenced to two years in prison for “threats and coercion” against independent journalists reporting on local resistance to a U.S.-owned gold mine.

Reyes and Orozco are both employees of Exmingua, the Guatemalan subsidiary of Nevada-based mining company Kappes, Casssiday & Associates (KCA).

The guilty verdict could set an important precedent in Guatemala where transnational corporations across the country have engaged in similar tactics, hiring locals (often former military officials) and using intimidation to attempt to break grassroots opposition to mines, hydroelectric dams and mega projects.

Since March of 2011, community members from San José del Golfo and San Pedro Ayampuc have maintained a peaceful roadblock near the entrance to KCA’s “Progreso VII Derivada” gold mine, not allowing any heavy mining machinery to pass. This nonviolent resistance, known as “La Puya,” has faced constant threats and attacks.

On November 22, 2012 Carrera and Orozco arrived at La Puya accompanied by pro-mining shock troops dressed as miners. They began threatening, harassing, and verbally attacking the men, women and children of the resistance. They then turned their verbal assault on the journalists covering the confrontation, calling them“long-haired hippies,” “filthy bastards” and threatening to “cut off their hands” if they kept taking photographs.

As a condition of the plea-bargain that lead to the guilty verdict, both men can avoid serving jail time by paying a fee of Q15,000 (US$1,875) each, which amounts to roughly $3 per day, for the length of their sentence.

Judge Carlos Aguilar rejected a motion by the defense lawyer, Francisco Beltranena, requesting that the daily fine be reduced to one Quetzal (13 US cents).

In his verdict, the judge affirmed that the communities have the right to protest against projects that could negatively impact their health and the environment. He also stated that journalists have the right to gather and transmit information, and that no one can limit the right of any reporter, whether of the mainstream media or not, to carry out their work.

You can read more about the ongoing community resistance at “La Puya” on the GHRC website.

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Condena por agresiones en contra de comunicadores independientes por parte de trabajadores de Exmigua

El día de ayer 17 de octubre, el Juzgado Segundo de Primera Instancia Penal Narcoactividad y Delitos Contra el Ambiente condenó a dos años de cárcel conmutables por los delitos de coacción y amenazas en contra de periodistas independientes, a Juan José Reyes Carrera y al teniente retirado Pablo Silas Orozco Cifuentes, trabajadores de EXMINGUA–KCA,  empresa que pretende construir la mina El Tambor Progreso VII Derivada, en San José de Golfo.

Las penas:

Por el delito de coacción: 1 año de cárcel, conmutable a Q20.00 diarios

Por el delito de amenazas: 1 año de cárcel, conmutable a Q5.00 diarios.

La solicitud del abogado Francisco Beltranena, de considerar conmutables por Q1.00 diario los delitos fue rechazada por el juez.

Las amenazas en contra de los comunicadores se realizaron el 22 de noviembre de 2012, mientras cubrían un intento de desalojo de la resistencia pacífica en La Puya, San José del Golfo.

El juez a cargo del caso, expresó que la población tiene el derecho a protestar sobre las acciones que considere le pueden afectar a su salud, a su medio ambiente y tienen el derecho también de que los medios informen, trasladen la información sobre sus demandas, por lo que no se puede vedar a ningún medio ya sea corporativo o no, realizar su trabajo.

El próximo 24 de octubre, se dará la lectura de la sentencia y el 29 de octubre se realizará la audiencia para conocer la acción reparadora. En la audiencia estuvo presente el coronel retirado Mario Ricardo Figueroa Archila gerente de Exmingua.

La audiencia fue cubierta por medios de comunicación de radio, prensa y televisión.

Algunas notas en los medios sobre la audiencia:

http://noticias.emisorasunidas.com/noticias/nacionales/condenan-dos-hombres-amenazas-periodistas

tp://www.prensalibre.com/noticias/comunitario/trabajadores_de_mina-amenaza_a_periodistas-sentencia_0_1012698849.html

http://www.lahora.com.gt/index.php/nacional/guatemala/actualidad/185403-condenan-a-extrabajadores-de-minera-por-agresion-Image

One thought on “Employees of EXMINGUA-KCA plead guilty to threats against journalists

  1. Pingback: La Puya – Employees of EXMINGUA-KCA plead guilty to threats against journalists | Guatemala Facts

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