One Year After Violent Eviction, La Puya Under Threat Again

Members of La Puya commemorate the May 23, 2014 eviction

Members of La Puya commemorate the May 23, 2014 eviction

On May 23, members of La Puya – a peaceful resistance movement to the El Tambor gold mine owned by US company Kappes, Cassiday & Associates (KCA) – joined together to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the day that police violently broke up the blockade that the movement had maintained for over two years. Last year’s violent removal of protesters resulted in at least 27 injuries and the entry of mining equipment into the site; however, community members have maintained a presence at the mine and continue to stand in opposition to the project.

As part of the commemoration event, community members highlighted four important points:

  1. Members of La Puya call for an investigation into the serious human rights violations committed by police on the 23 of May 2014, and demand that criminal charges be filed against those deemed responsible for these abuses.
  2. Community members want to raise awareness about the fact that the mining company EXMINGUA (KCA’s subsidiary in Guatemala) operates in San Pedro Ayampuc without the required municipal construction license.
  3. Community members have again requested the renewal of dialogue with the government at the highest level, in order to jointly find an intelligent solution to the environmental issues facing residents.
  4. Members of La Puya ask that the media does not spread false rumors or misinform the public.

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Guatemala News Update: August 11-15

Agreement to construct hydroelectric project leads to violent eviction

An agreement signed between the mining company Hidro Santa Rita and President Otto Pérez Molina on July 30 resulted in a violent eviction in Monte Olivo, Cobán, Alta Verapaz. As a result of the eviction and subsequent protests, 24 people were arrested, six police officers injured, and three people died. There was reportedly no consultation with the communities that would be affected by the project’s installation.

Another Goldcorp crime is exposed

An interview with a woman by the alias of “Doña A” recounts the alleged 2009 murder of her husband by employees of the Marlin Mine in Northwest Guatemala. Her husband informed neighboring communities about the negative effects the mine would have and also helped organize a community referendum. Continue reading

More Families Violently Evicted Over Nickel Mine in Guatemala

(En español abajo)

On the morning of July 10, 2014, 400 members of the Guatemalan National Police, accompanied by private security guards from the Guatemalan Nickel Company (CGN) — a subsidiary of Canadian mining company HudBay Minerals — violently evicted at least 80 families from the community of Nabalija. CGN claims to be the owner of the land, although families have occupied the area for over a year. The eviction left several people injured.

At a press conference on July 16 in Guatemala City, Angelica Choc spoke out about past abuses committed by CGN — including the murder of her husband, Adolfo Ich, by the the company’s former head of security, as well as the rape of nine women by CGN security officers. An Ontario Court has made a ruling that will allow a case to be brought against HudBay, marking the first time a Canadian company is tried in Canada over actions committed by one of its international subsidiaries.

Angelica Choc speaks at a press conference in Guatemala City.

Angelica Choc speaks at a press conference in Guatemala City.


Las Comunidades Q’eqchi : 30 DE JUNIO SE’CHAJ, ASOCIACIÓN CAMPESINA MAYA Q’EQCHI’, SE’TAL, AGUA CALIENTE LOTE 9, COMUNIDAD 13 DE ABRIL, LOTE 8, LAS NUBES, LA CEIBA y EL ZAPOTILLO, todas del municipio de El Estor, Izaoat

Ante la opinión pública nacional e internacional, exponemos y denunciamos que el territorio del pueblo Q’eqchi’ ubicado en el municipio de El Estor, se viene librando una lucha sin descanso desde el año 1960 hasta hoy día para hacer valer nuestro derecho de acceso a la tierra, a un lugar digno donde vivir, trabajar, alimentar a la familia y fortalecer nuestra cultura e identidad. Continue reading

Guatemala News Update: November 9-15

Peasant farmers march for major reforms

On Wednesday, thousands of people from 20 departments marched for reforms concerning land and energy in Guatemala. Organized by the National Committee of Peasant Farmers, the marchers demanded land reform, nationalization of electricity, and a halt to mineral exploitation in their communities. In total, about 40,000 people participated, and the march lasted for seven hours. Smaller protests were also registered in other parts of the country.

Further delay in Ríos Montt trial

The First Board of Appeals’ Penal Branch cannot yet determine the merits of the final judgment made by the Constitutional Court regarding whether Decree Law 8-86 for amnesty applies to Efrain Ríos Montt. The Constitutional Court must send the document to the Supreme Court of Justice, which will then be sent on to the First Board. After the First Board receives the document, it will have five days to answer the Constitutional Court’s question on amnesty.

In an opinion piece for Al Jazeera, Lauren Carasik expresses concern for the likelihood that these delays will allow Montt to avoid justice and incur financial and emotional costs for the victims, witnesses, and lawyers. She also discusses the illegitimacy of possible amnesty as well as the consequences that amnesty would have on Guatemala’s fragile justice system.

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