Thursday, August 29, 2013

Urgent Communique: Detention of Leaders from Santa Cruz Barillas

On Tuesday, August 27, Saúl Aurelio Méndez Muñoz and Antonio Rogelio Velásquez López, community leaders opposed to the imposition of the Cambalam hydroelectric project, operated by Hidro Santa Cruz, property of Spanish company Hidralia S.A., were arrested outside of a Guatemala City courthouse. Saúl and Antonio had traveled to the capital from Santa Cruz Barillas for a hearing regarding the permanent closure of a previous legal process against them, for which they were arbitrarily detained in May 2012 and unjustly imprisoned for eight months.

Their detention is the continuation of the systematic persecution and criminalization of community leaders defending their right to consultation and self determination. Earlier this year we reported on the unjust detention and imprisonment of Rubén Herrera, another Barillas leader criminalized due to his opposition to the hydroelectric project. Thanks in part to your support, Rubén was released and his case was provisionally closed in May. Today NISGUA stands in solidarity with Saúl and Antonio, and join partner organizations and communities in demanding their immediate release!

Read the NISGUA translation of the urgent communique below. See the original Spanish version here.


Despite repression and human rights violations, the Q'anjobal people of Santa Cruz Barillas have defended their territory through community consultations on the installation of a hydroelectric dam, property of the Spanish company Hidralia S.A.

However, the state does not respect community consultations. As a result, the community has lived through diverse moments of struggle, among those the murder of Barillas resident, Andrés Pedro Miguel, on May 1, 2012, the same day the local population generated a series of disturbances.

The next day, the following people were captured: Antonio Rogelio Velásquez López, Saúl Aurelio Méndez Muñoz, Marcos Mateo Miguel, Ventura Juan, Amado Pedro Miguel, Pedro Nuñez, Joel Gaspar Mateo, Diego Juan Sebastián, Andrés León Andrés.

The nine leaders were illegally detained, an act that has been sufficiently proven in the press, as well as in an international complaint presented in Geneva to the working group on illegal detention, case number 46/2012, which called on the state to liberate the detained. The case also called for the  documentation of all the human rights abuses to which the detained were subjected. As a result the  Human Rights Ombudsman emitted the resolution Ref. Exp. Ord. Gua. 7245-2012/DCP. On January 9, the legal process was provisionally closed and the men were released from prison.

On August 27, the nine men were to appear in front of High Risk Crimes Court A to close the process. While entering the courthouse, Saúl Aurelio Méndez Muñoz and Antonio Rogelio Velásquez López were detained by people dressed as civilians who identified themselves as agents of the Specialized Division for Criminal Investigation (DEIC) of the National Civil Police. The detained were moved outside of the courthouse and sent to the offices of the DEIC where they were photographed, supposedly for the press. However, these actions do not address the situation of their illegal detention.

This act forms part of a constant persecution against the leaders of the resistance in Barillas, Huehuetenango. At its heart, the persecution is the result of political opinions regarding development in the municipality where the population has opposed the extractive model imposed by the state and transnational companies.


The capture of Saúl Aurelio Méndez Muñoz and Antonio Rogelio Velásquez López on August 27, 2013 when they entered the High Risk Crimes Court A in order to conclude their legal process.

The human rights violations against the leaders of Barillas for their legitimate opposition to the installation of the hydroelectric project.

The granting by the Ministry of Energy and Mines of the license for the installation of the hydroelectric dam without the consent of communities that have the legitimate right to determine their own development.


The immediate liberation of Saúl Aurelio Méndez and Antonio Rogelio Velásquez.

An end to the repression against the population of Barillas who are struggling to defend their territory.

The cancellation of the license granted to Hidro Santa Cruz S.A. for the repression that they have carried out against the communities.


Guatemala, August 28, 2013

Comunicado urgente por detención a lideres de Santa Cruz Barillas


El pueblo Q'anjobal de Santa Cruz Barillas a pesar de la represión y violación a sus derechos humanos a defendido su territorio a través de las consultas comunitarias ante la instalación de la hidroeléctrica propiedad de la empresa española Hidralia S.A.

No obstante el Estado no respeta la consulta comunitaria, y a raíz de ello han vivido diversos momentos de lucha, entre los cuales han pasado por el asesinato de uno de los pobladores de Barillas, Andrés Pedro Miguel el día 1 mayo del 2012 ese mismo día se dieron una serie de disturbios generados por la población.

Al día siguiente, fueron capturados: Antonio Rogelio Velásquez López, Saúl Aurelio Méndez Muñoz, Marcos Mateo Miguel, Ventura Juan, Amado Pedro Miguel, Pedro Nuñez, Joel Gaspar Mateo, Diego Juan Sebastián, Andrés León Andrés.

Luego que los 9 líderes fueron detenidos ilegalmente, de lo cual ha quedado suficiente constancia en los medios de comunicación e incluso en una denuncia internacional en Ginebra ante el Grupo de trabajo de detenciones ilegales, opinión 46/2012 en la cual se instaba al Estado a liberar a los detenidos, asimismo se documentó todas las violaciones de Derechos Humanos de los que fueron objetos los detenidos, por lo que el Procurador de Derechos Humanos emitió su resolución Ref. Exp. Ord. Gua. 7245-2012/DCP. El pasado 09 de enero fueron dejados en libertad al clausurar el proceso.

Hoy se presentaron hoy ante el Juzgado de Mayor Riesgo A, para concluir el proceso, al ingresar a la torre de tribunales fueron detenidos dos de ellos: Saúl Aurelio Méndez Muñoz y Antonio Rogelio Velásquez López, por personas vestidas de civil que se identificaron como agentes del DEIC de la Policía Nacional Civil, quienes los trasladaron fuera de la torre de tribunales y luego a las oficinas del DEIC, donde fueron fotografiados supuestamente por prensa. Pero a través de esta acción no lograron solventar su situación por su detención ilegal.

Este hecho se inscribe como una persecución constante en contra de los líderes de la resistencia de Barillas, Huehuetenango; siendo el fondo, una persecusión por sus opiniones políticas acerca del desarrollo en su municipio en la que la población se ha opuesto al modelo extractivo impuesto por el Estado y las empresas transnacionales.


La captura de los compañeros Saúl Aurelio Méndez Muñoz y Antonio Rogelio Velásquez López. El día 27 de agosto de 2013 cuando ingresaban al tribunal de Mayor Riesgo A, para concluir el proceso.

Las violaciones a los derechos humanos de líderes y lideresas del pueblo de Barillas al oponerse legítimamente a la instalación de la hidroeléctrica.

El otorgamiento de la licencia por parte del Ministerio de Energía y Minas para la instalación de la hidroeléctrica sin el consentimiento de las comunidades que tienen el legítimo derecho a decidir por su desarrollo.


La inmediata liberación de los compañeros Saúl Aurelio Méndez y Antonio Rogelio Velásquez.

El cese de la represión en contra de la población Barrillense que lucha en defensa de su territorio.

La cancelación de la licencia otorgada a la empresa Hidro Santa Cruz S. A. por la represión que han ejercido en contra de las comunidades.


Guatemala, 28 de agosto de 2013

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Declaration of the Second Gathering of the Q'anjob'al Nationalities

On August 21 – 23, leaders and representatives of twenty Maya Q'anjob'al communities in northern Huehuetenango and Chiapas, Mexico, gathered in San Juan Ixcoy, Huehuetenango to discuss the ongoing imposition of large-scale development projects on their territory and to continue generating strategies for unified resistance moving forward. The three day, cross-border event focused on the reconstitution and autonomy of the Q'anjob'al peoples through the strengthening of the cultural, social, economic and political ties that have historically linked indigenous communities in the border zone between Guatemala and Mexico.

In welcoming the community representatives Francisco Mateo Morales of the Departmental Assembly of Huehuetenango (ADH) explained the essence of the cross-border gathering: “Before we were divided and dispersed in towns, municipalities and countries, we were one, united people. Now our border communities are threatened by the same mega-projects – a new invasion armed with the discourse of false development. We are gathered here to continue the dialogue in order to construct new initiatives, new paths and alternatives for development.”

The gathering reiterated the legitimacy of the community consultation as an expression of cultural and political identity, and as an important tool by which indigenous peoples exercise their nationally and intentionally recognized right to free, prior and informed consent. In 2006 the Huehuetenango communities of Concepción Huista and Santa Eulalia were the first to carry out community consultations. In 2009, eight municipalities located in northern Huehuetenango, together with the Departmental Assembly of Huehuetenango and the Western Peoples' Council (CPO), were the first to declare their territory “free of mining and mega-projects”.


We are decedents of the Maya Civilization, gathered together at the start of the New Era Jun Tun, Jun Katún, Jun B’aktunes, on the days Oxlajon Watan, Jun K'ana' y Kab' Ab'ak, in the place known as Oyeb’ Tx’o’ Konob’, at the foot of the Sacred Place Kab'tz’in, in Q'anjob'al territory, known today as the Municipality of San Juan Ixcoy. The leaders of Yalimox, Jolom konob', Oyeb Tx’o’ Konob’, Tz'unun Ha', Wajxaklajunh, Yaxb'atz', Hakatan, Tajlaq, Xajlaj, Concepción Huista, San Atonio Huista, Santa Ana Huista, Tila, San Juan Cancuc, Ixtapa Nibak, Las Margaritas, La Trinitaria, Ch'enalvo, San Cristóbal Jovel, Chanja' nationalities of the Q'anjob'al, Chuj, Akateka, Popti', Chol, Tojolab'al, Tzeltal y Tzotzil nation, come together at the Second Gathering of the Mayab' Q'anjob'al Nationalities to share our smiles, happiness and congratulations, and to unite our thoughts, ideas and words with strength and cosmic energy.

Despite the force with which the new invasion attempts to once again plunder our territory, our peoples have jointly worked to strengthen our political, social, economic, cultural and environmental struggles in order to continue our path toward the reconstitution of our nationality according to our cosmovision inherited from our ancestors.

Conscious of the role we play today before our families, our communities, our peoples, and the world, in this Second Encounter of the Mayab' Q'anjob'al Nationalities:


Since the date of the First Gathering until today, the Nation States have increased the handing over of the natural resources of our territories to transnational companies and corporations. At the same time, the States have increased their servility in favor of the above-mentioned companies and corporations by militarizing communities. The justice system functions in support of mega-projects and the the States' public policies work in collaboration with business interests, resulting in the flagrant violation of our nationally and internationally recognized individual and collective rights.

The elements, natural resources and assets that exist in our territories are our treasure, our wealth and our invaluable ancestral inheritance, and it is up to us to administer these resources according to our cosmovision. Decisions regarding the administration of these resources belong to the original peoples, and not the government nor the companies. The governments and the companies only provoke conflict, pain, fear, anguish, persecution, imprisonment, abduction, torture and assassinations in our territories.

We reiterate our commitment to continue defending our mother earth, the sacred corn, the water, the forests, the mountains, our families, our communities and our people, making use of our own values, principles and ancestral practices with the firm conviction to maintain governability, strengthen democracy and to continue strengthening the unity of the Q'anjob'al nationalities. We will also base this effort on national and international legislation.

The Patq'um, the Q'umlb'ail, the Lajti', among others, are our peoples' social political systems based on our own consmovision through which we continue to practice the construction of consensus, agreements and actions in order to strengthen the Q'anjob'al nationalities.

We resume and strengthen political, economic, social and cultural exchange between our peoples, overcoming the obstacles of the administrative and political limits imposed by the States. We commit to continue working to re-establish the ancestral autonomy of our Q'anjob'al nationalities and not allow our small differences to convert into obstacles, but rather to recognize our diversity as our cultural wealth.

The Nationalities of the Q'anjob'al People are not represented by the Guatemalan or Mexican states; that is to say, we are a Nation without a State. Therefore, we will tirelessly fight with other nationalities of Maya descent for the construction of Plurinational States in order to no longer be a Q'anjob'al Nation without a State.

Oyeb Tx’o’ Konob’, Kab’ Ab’ak.
San Juan Ixcoy, August 23, 2013

Declaración del segundo encuentro de las nacionalidades Q'anjob'al

Durante el 21 - 23 de agosto, representantes de 20 comunidades Maya Q'anjob'al del norte de Huehuetenango y Chiapas, México se reunieron en San Juan Ixcoy, Huehuetenango para el Segundo Encuentro de las Nacionalidades Q'anjob'al. Los participantes discutieron la imposición de proyectos de desarrollo en sus territorios y estrategias para seguir adelante con una resistencia unida. El encuentro resaltó las consultas comunitarias como una expresión legitima de su identidad cultural y política.

En 2006, las comunidades de Concepción Huista y Santa Eulalia en el departamento de Huehuetenango se realizaron unos de los primeras consultas comunitarios. En 2009, 8 municipios en el norte de Huehuetenango, junto con la Asamblea de Pueblos de Huehuetenango por la Defensa del Territorio y el Consejo de Pueblos de Occidente, se declararon "libres de minería y de megaproyectos".


Nosotras y nosotros descendientes de la Civilización Maya, en el inicio de la Nueva Era Jun Tun, Jun Katún, Jun B’aktunes, reunidos los días Oxlajon Watan, Jun K'ana' y Kab' Ab'ak, en el lugar denominado Oyeb’ Tx’o’ Konob’, al pie del Lugar Sagrado Kab'tz’in, del territorio Q'anjob'al, conocido hoy como Municipio de San Juan Ixcoy, lideresas y líderes de Yalimox, Jolom konob', Oyeb Tx’o’ Konob’, Tz'unun Ha', Wajxaklajunh, Yaxb'atz', Hakatan, Tajlaq, Xajlaj, Concepción Huista, San Atonio Huista, Santa Ana Huista, Tila, San Juan Cancuc, Ixtapa Nibak, Las Margaritas, La Trinitaria, Ch'enalvo, San Cristóbal Jovel, Chanja'; de las nacionalidades Q'anjob'al, Chuj, Akateka, Popti', Chol, Tojolab'al, Tzeltal y Tzotzil, de la Nación Q'anjob'al, venimos a compartir, nuestras sonrisas, alegrías y felicidades; a unir nuestros pensamientos ideas y palabras, con la fuerza y energía cósmica en el Segundo Encuentro de las Nacionalidades del Mayab’ Q'anjob'al.

A pesar de la fuerza con que la nueva invasión pretende saquear otra vez nuestro territorio, nuestros pueblos, de manera conjunta hemos fortalecido nuestras luchas en lo político, social, económico, cultural y ambiental, para seguir caminando hacia la reconstitución de nuestra nacionalidad conforme a nuestra Cosmovisión, heredada de nuestros ancestros.

Conscientes del rol que hoy jugamos ante nuestras familias, nuestras comunidades, nuestros pueblos, y ante el mundo, en este Segundo Encuentro de las Nacionalidades del Mayab’ Q'anjob'al:

Que del Primer Encuentro a la fecha, los Estados Nacionales han incrementado la entrega de los bienes de nuestro territorio a las empresas y corporaciones transnacionales. A su vez, los Estados han incrementado el servilismo a favor de las mencionadas empresas y corporaciones, militarizando las comunidades; el sistema de justicia actúa en apoya a los megaproyectos, las políticas públicas de los Estados se elaboran en congruencia con los intereses empresariales, violando de esta manera flagrantemente nuestros derechos individuales y colectivos, reconocidos por las legislaciones nacionales e internacionales.

Los elementos, recursos y bienes naturales existentes en nuestros territorios, son nuestro tesoro, nuestra riqueza y herencia ancestral invaluable y nos corresponde administrarlos de acuerdo a nuestra cosmovisión. Las decisiones para su administración corresponden a los pueblos originarios y no de los gobiernos ni las empresas. Los gobiernos y las empresas solamente han provocado conflictividades, dolor, miedo, angustia, persecución, encarcelamiento, secuestro, tortura y asesinato en nuestros territorios.

Reiteramos nuestro compromiso en seguir defendiendo nuestra madre tierra, el sagrado maíz, el agua, los bosques, las montañas, nuestras familias, nuestras comunidades, nuestros pueblos, haciendo uso de nuestros propios valores, principios y prácticas ancestrales, con la firme convicción de mantener la gobernabilidad, fortalecimiento de la democracia y seguir fortaleciendo la unidad de las nacionalidades Q'anjob'al, basándonos también en las legislaciones nacionales e internacionales.

El Patq'um, el Q'umlb'ail, el Lajti', entre otros, son sistemas sociopolíticos propios de nuestros pueblos desde nuestra propia cosmovisión, los que seguiremos practicando, construyendo consensos, acuerdos y acciones en el fortalecimiento de las nacionalidades Q'anjob'al.

Retomar y fortalecer el intercambio político, económico, social y cultural entre nuestros pueblos, sin que sean un obstáculo los límites administrativos y políticos impuestos por los Estados. Por lo que nos comprometemos a seguir trabajando para restablecer la autonomía ancestral de nuestras nacionalidades Q'anjob'al, sin que se constituyan como obstáculo nuestras pequeñas diferencias, por el contrario, nuestra diversidad es nuestra riqueza cultural.

Las Nacionalidades del Pueblo Q’anjob’al no están representadas ni en el Estado guatemalteco ni en el Estado mexicano, es decir, somos una Nación sin Estado, por lo tanto, lucharemos incansablemente con las otras nacionalidades de ascendencia Maya para la construcción de Estados Plurinacionales para dejar de ser Nación Q’anjob’al sin Estado.

Oyeb Tx’o’ Konob’, Kab’ Ab’ak
San Juan Ixcoy, 23 de agosto de 2013

Monday, August 26, 2013

Three years since the kidnapping and murder of Tat Lisandro Guarcax González

Lisandro Guarcax González, a visionary artist, teacher and founding member of Grupo Sotz'il, was kidnapped and murdered three years ago on August 25, 2010. NISGUA, along with dozens of international and national organizations, denounced Lisandro's murder, demanding a full investigation of his death. In 2012, we accompanied his case which resulted in a positive verdict, finding the accused guilty for the murder of Lisandro and 32 other victims.

We join the Movement of Artists Ri Akux in remembering Lisandro Guarcax, three years after his death. Below is our translation of the Movement's statement in honor of Lisandro. Read it in Spanish here.

May your heart flourish on the journey of art and in the creation of our expressions. While the Saqb'e has yet to finish, a new B'ak'tun has begun, marking the full recognition of our history and memory of resistance. We sing and dance our eternal existence before the world and continue sharing wisdom with humanity, from our essence and culture as ancient Peoples.

Three years ago, assassins took your physical existence, but not your essence and now your executioners pay their "Itzelal" (evil) with much remorse. They have left permanent tracks against their own histories and those of their descendants, just as the intellectual authors are judged by their own conscience.

Here we continue and walk together with the swaying of the pines, the howls of mountain dogs, the Nawales of justice. We walk toward the gaze of the hills and volcanoes, the light of our grandfather Sun and our grandmother Moon, in search of a more human society through music, dance and sculpture... "Your heart flourishes".

Ri Ak’u’x Nikotz’ijan
Your heart flourishes

Tz’olojya’ Kaji Kej/Sololá August 25, 2013

A tres años del secuestro y asesinato de Tat Lisandro Guarcax González

Florece tu corazón en el caminar del arte y la creación de nuestras expresiones, el Saqb’e aún no termina, inicia un nuevo B’ak’tun que marca pleno reconocimiento de la nuestra historia y memoria de resistencia, cantamos y danzamos ante el mundo nuestra eterna existencia y seguir aportando sabiduría a la humanidad, desde nuestra esencia y cultura como Pueblo milenario.

Hace tres años que los asesinos arrebataron tu existencia física, pero no tu esencia, ahora tus verdugos con remordimiento sufragan su “Itzelal” (maldad), han dejado huellas imborrables contra sus mismas historias y sus descendencias, al igual que los autores intelectuales son juzgados por sus propias conciencias.

Aquí seguimos y caminamos junto al vaivén de los pinos, los alaridos de los perros de montaña Nawales de la justicia, caminamos a la mirada de los cerros y volcanes, a la luz del abuelo Sol y la abuela Luna en busca de una sociedad más humana a través de la música, la danza, la escultura,… “Tu corazón florece”.

Ri Ak’u’x Nikotz’ijan
Tu corazón florece

Tz’olojya’ Kaji Kej/Sololá 25 de agosto de 2013

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Gains for communities defending life and territory as mining takes a hit in Guatemala

On July 22, a Canadian court ruled that Hudbay Minerals will stand trial in Canada for violence, including murder and rape, carried out by employees of its former Guatemalan subsidiary, Compañía Guatemalteca de Níquel S.A. (CGN). The struggle to hold this Canadian mining company responsible for human rights abuses committed abroad began in 2010 when Angelica Choc initiated a lawsuit for the murder of her husband, community leader Adolfo Ich Chamán, by private security guards contracted by CGN.

Today, Hudbay is set to stand trial not only for the murder of Ich Chamán, but also in the shooting of German Chub, and the 2007 gang rape of 11 women by mining security personnel. Angelica Choc, widow of Adolfo Ich, reacted to the court's decision saying, “Today is a great day for me and all others who brought this lawsuit…. It means everything to us that we can now stand up to Hudbay in Canadian courts to seek justice for what happened to us.”[1]

Angelica Choc filed her case against HudbayMinerals Inc. in December 2010
for the murder of her husband Adolfo Ich Chamán. Photo: Graham Hunt

This historic decision marks the first time a Canadian court will hear a case against a Canadian company for human rights abuses committed at a foreign mine site. It undoubtedly sets a strong precedent for future cases of abuses committed by North American companies operating abroad. In the words of Murray Klippenstein, lawyer for the 13 plaintiffs; “As a result of this ruling, Canadian mining corporations can no longer hide behind their legal corporate structure to abdicate responsibility for human rights abuses that take place at foreign mines under their control at various locations throughout the world.”[2] Read the full press release here or visit the Choc v. Hudbay website for more information.

On the heels of the effective suspension of Tahoe Resources' exploitation license for the Escobal silver mine, Canadian mining giant, Goldcorp, which is also a 40% shareholder in Tahoe's project, announced the indefinite suspension of its Cerro Blanco gold mine located close to the Guatemala, El Salvador border in the department of Jutiapa. Goldcorp contends that the project was put on hold due to falling metal prices, but that the company is not contemplating its permanent closure.[3]

Earlier this year, members of Breaking the Silence, MiningWatch, the Center for International Environmental Law and other North American organizations traveled to Asunción Mitla, the site of the Cerro Blanco mine, as part of a delegation to investigate the impacts of gold mining on water sources in El Salvador. The delegation reported on their visit to Asunción Mita where they heard firsthand from community representatives about nearby hot springs threatening the project and also community concerns related to the possible environmental impacts of the mine, especially on El Salvadoran water sources. 

The Cerro Blanco mine has been the subject of international controversy due to its
potential negative environmental impact on both Guatemalan and El Salvadoran territories.

During an August 6 press conference the MadreSelva Collective responded to Goldcorp's announcement stating that closure of Cerro Blanco was the result of “poor planning since the project's beginning, the bravado of mining companies, and the negligence, incapacity and corruption of a docile Guatemalan government...”[4] It goes on to point out numerous deficiencies in the environmental impact assessment, including a lack of analysis and oversight by the Ministry of Energy and Mines and Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources of the likely impacts of subterranean water high in temperature and arsenic. MadreSelva joins Guatemalan and Salvadoran communities and organizations in calling for the permanent suspension of the mine that includes a detailed and fully funded closure plan in place to address the outstanding negative environmental impacts of the project. 

While we have yet to see the outcome of the forthcoming trials against Hudbay Minerals Inc., the  announcement that the company will stand trial in Canada along with the effective suspension of Tahoe Resources' Escobal silver mine and Goldcorp's Cerro Blanco gold mine are huge gains for communities defending their life and territory. Furthermore, it is certain these historic advances will serve as examples for future struggles in defense of life and against the extractive mining industry in Guatemala.

[1] Press Advisory: Ontario court rules that lawsuits against Hudbay Minerals regarding shootings, murder and gang-rape at its former mine in Guatemala can proceed to trial in Canada.
[2] idem
 Read the full press release here or visit the Choc v. Hudbay website. 
[3] “Goldcorp takes $1.8bn hit on Mexican Peñasquito mine.”
[4] “La Mina Cerro Blanco no se suspende por la baja del precio del oro". Comunicado, Colectivo MadreSelva.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Querellantes guatemaltecos celebran la efectiva suspensión de la licencia otorgada a Tahoe Resources

(Ottawa/Ciudad de Guatemala) El martes pasado, la Sala Primera de la Corte de Apelaciones del Ramo Civil y Mercantil notificó al Centro de Acción Legal Ambiental y Social (calas) su aceptación del recurso relacionado con la licencia de producción de Tahoe Resources para el proyecto Escobal de esta empresa.

El pasado mes de mayo, Quelvin Jiménez, del Parlamento Xinka, presentó una apelación con el apoyo legal de calas, en la que alegaba la falta de proceso debido en torno a una queja que había interpuesto en contra de la licencia de la empresa, antes de que la misma fuese concedida el 3 de abril de 2013. El Parlamento xinca, el Comité en Defensa de la Vida y la Paz San Rafael Las Flores y el Consejo Diocesano para la Defensa de la Naturaleza de Santa Rosa respaldaron el proceso de apelación.

La Corte de Apelaciones dictaminó a favor de Jiménez, ordenando al Ministerio de Energía y Minas que atendiera adecuadamente su queja, basada en la preocupación existente respecto a los impactos negativos que la mina de plata de Tahoe, actualmente en construcción, tendría en los recursos de agua del área de Escobal, cercana a este proyecto.

Rafael Maldonado, abogado de calas, comentó: “Es una sentencia histórica a favor de los derechos de los guatemaltecos. Esta decisión significa la suspensión de la licencia de explotación de Tahoe Resources, lo cual evitará que la empresa ponga la mina en operación.”

Desde noviembre de 2011, Jiménez y más de 200 habitantes de las comunidades afectadas presentaron objeciones formales frente a la solicitud de licencia que Tahoe realizara al Ministerio de Energía y Minas. Menos de una hora antes de que el Ministerio anunciara que había otorgado la licencia a Tahoe, Jiménez y las demás personas fueron notificados de que sus objeciones habían sido desestimadas.

Jiménez considera que la decisión más reciente constituye una señal de esperanza para las comunidades afectadas, en las que las tensiones se habían agudizado durante los últimos  meses. Durante una conferencia de prensa llevada a cabo el pasado miércoles, Jiménez comentó, “Lo único que la mina de Escobal está produciendo actualmente es conflicto en el área.”

La mina Escobal de Tahoe Resources ha estado sumergida en controversias, debido a la significativa oposición comunitaria y al surgimiento de brotes de violencia, el más reciente de los cuales fue vinculado a personal de la empresa. El gerente de Seguridad de la mina, Alberto Rotondo, se encuentra bajo arresto domiciliario hasta la realización del juicio en torno a su supuesta participación en los tiroteos del 27 de abril contra las personas que protestaban en las afueras de la mina, los cuales dejaron a seis personas heridas.

Hasta 2010, Goldcorp era propietaria de la mina de plata Escobal y, actualmente, retiene 40% de las acciones comunes de Tahoe Resources. La mayoría de los directivos de Tahoe tiene vínculos actuales o anteriores con la productora de oro Goldcorp, cuya mina Marlin, localizada en el noroeste de Guatemala, ha sido el motivo de constantes conflictos en base de su falta de respeto para el consentimiento libre, previo e informado de las comunidades indígenas, así como por las continuas preocupaciones en relación a los impactos negativos de la mina sobre los recursos de agua y la salud de las comunidades afectadas.

25 de julio de 2013

Traducción hecho por MiningWatch. Lea el comunicado de prensa en inglés aquí.