This morning, at 2:00 am, three large trucks and a machine that would serve to wash gold arrived at the El Tambor gold mine. Members of La Puya have once again moved to peacefully protest the entry of heavy machinery into the mine.
Those present at La Puya, working in shifts, managed to prevent entry of the machinery for at least an hour. However, unable to resist against the large number of police officers present, protesters eventually made way for the trucks to come through. As they entered, the four trucks destroyed the canvas tarp that served as a makeshift roof for members of La Puya.
Dr. Robert Moran, a respected water quality, geochemical, and hydro-ecological specialist, reviewed the Progreso VII Environmental Impact Study for the El Tambor mining project and found it full of misleading information, faulty or absent data, and concerning omissions and ambiguities. Dr. Moran was interviewed by journalist Carolina Gamazo from Plaza Pública and has also written a report summarizing his findings. He warns that the mining project will likely cause a decrease in the local water supply as well as the contamination of ground and surface water. His conclusions support the gravity of concerns raised by local leaders, as well as members of the resistance movement La Puya, regarding the serious environmental and public health impact that the mining project will have on their communities.
According to Dr. Moran’s report:
“The Progreso VII EIA is the worst quality EIA / EIS I have reviewed in more than42 years of professional hydrogeology / geochemistry experience, involvinghundreds of mines, worldwide.”
“[The study] would not be acceptable in developed countries, i.e. Canada, USA,EU, Australia, etc.”
As an alternative to Columbus day, throughout Guatemala, various indigenous groups and organizations marched to demand that the government respect their rights in relation to mining, hydroelectric dams, and agricultural reform, once again expressing opposition to resource extraction development projects that only benefit a small sector of society. An article from La Hora highlights the inequalities indigenous peoples still suffer in Guatemala.
Juan José Reyes Carrera and retired military lieutenant Pablo Silas Orozco Cifuentes were sentenced to two years in prison for threatening five reporters in 2012. Both men are former employees of the Tambor mine owned by EXMINGUA, the Guatemalan subsidiary of U.S. company Kappes, Cassiday & Associates. The jail time will be suspended on the condition that both men pay a fine of about $2,000.
10 women died in three separate violent attacks last Saturday, making it arguably the most violent day against women this year. So far nearly 600 women have been killed this year, a 16% increase since this time last year. Of these murders, 68.75% have been with a firearm. Since January 2012 the Public Prosecutor’s office has heard 493 cases of femicide and issued 109 sentences.