FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
April 8, 2013
Mining License Approved in Wake of Violence, Investigation into Murder Pending
(Washington, D.C.) – After more than two years of delay, the Guatemalan Minister of Energy and Mines (MEM) announced on Wednesday, April 3, that it had approved the exploitation license for Tahoe Resources’ Escobal mine in San Rafael Las Flores, Guatemala. The announcement comes less than two weeks after four indigenous Xinca leaders were abducted while returning from a community referendum in El Volcancito, in which more than 99 percent of people voted against the Escobal project. One of those abducted was found dead the next day.
“That MEM issued the license while the investigation of our friend Exaltación Marcos Ucelo’s murder is still pending is not only an affront to Exaltación’s memory, but it is also a violation of our right to consent,” said Roberto González, President of the Xinca Parliament, who was one of the four abducted, only to be released hours later. “If there is impunity for outright murder, how can we expect the Guatemalan government to protect us from harmful contamination generated by mining operations?”