Guatemala News Update: July 28-August 1

Another threat to the peaceful resistance of La Puya

At 2 a.m. on July 31 in San José del Golfo, employees of Kappes, Cassiday & Associates (KCA) and Mining Explorations of Guatemala (EXMINGUA) tried to enter the El Tambor mining site, destroying spaces the San José del Golfo community had been using for cooking, meetings, and celebrations in the process. The workers were trying to move three vans and heavy equipment used for washing minerals onto the site, and at 8:24 am were joined by 200 police officers who threatened the residents of San José del Golfo with eviction if they did not allow the workers to enter the site. The peaceful resistance of La Puya eventually withdrew without using force around 11 a.m. and let the machinery pass onto the site to avoid violence.

Guatemalan Court rules in favor of Sipacapa residents against Goldcorp subsidiary

On March 24 the Mayan Council of Sipacapa demanded that the “Los Chocoyos” mining permit, which was granted to the Goldcorp Inc. subsidiary Entre Mares de Guatemala S.A. by the General Director of the Ministry of Energy and Mines, be canceled. Last Friday, July 18, a Guatemalan court ruled in favor of the residents of Sipacapa and declared that the Guatemalan government must consult with the local population before granting any kind of mining permits, in accordance with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People and ILO 169.

GHRC participates in rally to call for protections for migrant minors

While the presidents of El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and the US met on July 25 to discuss the issue of child migrants, GHRC and partner organizations staged a rally outside the White House calling on President Obama to uphold and defend the legal rights of children and to ensure that families can be reunited and protected here in the U.S. Speakers at the rally also called on the US to take responsibility for its role in economic and military policies in Mexico and Central America that helped create the migrant crisis in the first place.

In a related article, GHRC’s assistant director, Kathryn Johnson, discusses the child migrant crisis and explains why more US security funding to the region is not the answer.

Presidents of Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador and the US discuss child migrant issue

In a meeting between the presidents of El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and the US, President Obama stated that detained children will be treated better and will be reunified with US family members faster, but also stressed that children who have no legal claim to residency in the US will be deported. Obama also discussed his hopes for approving funds to the Northern Triangle and called on presidents from Central America to promote safe and legal immigration. When President Pérez Molina asked President Obama to enact Temporary Protected Status for Guatemalans in the US, Obama only responded that he recognizes inequality in the way this status has been granted to certain countries and not others.

Meanwhile, congressmen from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador also met on Friday to discuss support for stricter immigration controls. Representatives of the three governments also met with the Inter-American Development Bank to discuss financing plans to address the migration crisis.

In a related article, Lauren Carasik explores the US political debate surrounding the child migrant issue and cautions against proposals like the HUMANE Act that would remove protections for detained children.

Inter-American Court of Human Rights condemns Guatemala on femicide case

The Inter-American Court of Human Rights condemned Guatemala for irresponsibility in safeguarding the rights to life and personal integrity of 15-year-old María Isabel Veliz Franco. Veliz Franco was murdered in 2001 and her case is emblematic of the impunity that surrounds femicide in Guatemala. Neither her initial disappearance nor her murder case were adequately investigated and her family was stigmatized by authorities. The court highlighted the failure to follow protocols and due diligence in the investigation as well as the sexist prejudices held by some of the authorities in charge of the case.

Linda Vista residents peacefully leave the area

The 200 families that are being evicted from Linda Vista, located in Zone 7 of Guatemala City, are peacefully dismantling their homes and moving while under surveillance by 800 police officers. Earlier in the week, dozens of the residents burned tires and blocked traffic to protest the eviction. Many of the evicted have nowhere to go. In a Plaza Pública article, Carolina Gamazo explores the eviction in greater depth and draws particular attention to the irony that while the Guatemalan Electricity Company was happy to charge residents for setting up electricity in their community, it then informed residents that they were on land owned by the company and had to leave.

The remains of 31 Ixil victims of 1982 massacre are buried

The remains of 31 Ixil Mayans, of which only eight could be identified, were buried on Wednesday. Among the remains were those belonging to Pedro Brito, father of Vicente Brito, now 70 years old, who also lost his mother and daughter in the massacre. Many of the villagers openly blame the Guatemalan army for the massacre that occurred in 1982.

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