Phone call to Kappes Cassidy regarding violence and invasion of heavy machinery at La Puya, Guatemala

Women of La Puya face off against riot police. 
We need your help! Early this morning a convoy of heavy machinery showed up at La Puya and tried to enter the site of the “El Tambor” Mine in San José del Golfo. As over 100 riot police and four trucks arrived, community members rushed to mobilize support to resist the aggression. The arrival of 100 additional riot police, the majority of whom are women, suggests that another eviction attempt may be imminent. Residents around the proposed site of the El Tambor Mine, owned by a subsidiary of Reno based Kappes, Cassiday & Associates, have been blocking the entrance of mining equipment to the site for over two years.
 
Please call Kappes, Cassiday & Associates right now at (775) 972-7575 and ask them to stop intimidating peaceful protesters and trying to force their way into the mine site. 
 
Recent attempts at negotiation were made this week, but ultimately stalled when the government refused to allow the negotiations to be recorded. The Vice-Minister of the Interior insinuated that the government had agreed to accompany the mine equipment because the dialogue was effectively “broken.” Community members at La Puya reiterate that they want to complete the negotiation process with the government, but with transparency.
  
On previous occasions, the Interior Ministry has sent hundreds of police officers including riot police from to accompany and protect the mine company’s machinery and try to force La Puya to allow the equipment into the site. In addition, four people were arrested and a forcible eviction was attempted without an order from an appropriate judge in December of 2012. In other conflicts, the Guatemalan police have used extreme force when evicting environmental activists, leading to grave injuries and even deaths. We fear that that this could happen again despite the protesters deep commitment to non-violence.
 
Please call Kappes, Cassiday & Associates at (775) 972-7575 now!
  • Express your concern for the safety of the men, women and children in peaceful resistance;
  • Demand an end to intimidation and harassment by police and private security, and respect for human rights;
  • Urge respect for the ongoing dialogue and No to eviction of La Puya.
Thank you!
 
In Peace and Solidarity,
 
Kathryn Johnson
GHRC/USA
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Townspeople being attacked in La Puya versus Vancouver/US owned mine right now

La Puya resistance to USA-Canadian mine in San Jose del Golfo, Guatemala, under attack by security forces right now. Numerous injuries, but most recent reports say people still holding the line against riot police trying to force heavy equipment into the mine site. Mine is currently owned by US-based KCA resources, but Vancouver-based Radius Gold (Suite 650, 200 Burrard Street, Vancouver, BC, Canada, Tel: 604 801-5432), the mine site’s original “owner” still holds significant shares.
Alerte, difunda: Un gobierno dispuesto a todo para defender a una empresa minera

“Nos siguen tirando bombas lacrimógenas. Hay heridos y heridas. Los antimotines no respetan edad ni género. Niños y niñas están en medio. No hay ambulancias ni ninguna ayuda médica. Están lastimando a los ancianos.” – Prensa Comunitaria. (5 photos)

Prensa Comunitaria's photo.
Prensa Comunitaria's photo.
Prensa Comunitaria's photo.
Prensa Comunitaria's photo.
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Photo Essay: Ceremony In Honor Of The Lote 8 (El Estor) Struggle and Solidarity Visit (Rights Action)

[Part of a photo essay by Grahame Russell of Rights Action, who is currently leading a delegation of North Americans to Guatemala in partnership with the University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC). The group has been visiting communities resisting violent repression and environmental damage caused by multinational corporations, including a number of global mining companies.]

May 18

A Mayan Priest Celebrates A Ceremony In Honor Of The Lote 8 (El Estor) Struggle For Land And Justice, And For The Visit Of Rights Action / UNBC In Solidarity With The Q’eqchi’ People Of Lote 8

From the town of El EStor, we drove 2 hours in 4×4 pickups, to the top of the mountain range to the north of Lake Izabal, where, since the 1960s, a string of Canadian companies (INCO, Skye Resources, Hudbay Minerals) and now a Russian company (Solway Group) have used lies, corruption and repression to try and forcibly remove the Q’eqchi’ people from their historic lands, to get access to a vaste deposit of nickel ore.

From the end of the brutally rough road, we walk a further hour to arrive at the new community of Lote 8.  In 2007, 100s of small homes in Lote 8 were burned to the ground twice, by private security guards hired by Skye Resources (later bought out by Hudbay Minerals), and by police and soldiers.  11 women were gang-raped, during the second illegal eviction ~ a brutal tactic of community terrorization.

In 2011, the women filed a lawsuit in Canada with the Klippensteins law firm, one of three precedent setting lawsuits against Hudbay Minerals.

We were moved and honoured to be welcomed into Lote 8 by the community and to be invited to participate in their ceremony, led by a community elder.

Russell Photo Essay - Lote 8

See the whole photos essay here, on Rights Action’s website.

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Photo Essay: Mining, Repression, Resistance and Defense of Water and Community Well-being in “La Puya” (Rights Action)

[Part of a photo essay by Grahame Russell of Rights Action, who is currently leading a delegation of North Americans to Guatemala in partnership with the University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC). The group has been visiting communities resisting violent repression and environmental damage caused by multinational corporations, including a number of global mining companies.]

Mining and Repression Resistance and Defense of Water and Community Well-being in “La Puya”

May 14

At the “La Puya” site of peaceful resistance to the illegal and sometimes repressive mining interests of the American mining company Kappes and Cassidy Associates (KCA), formerly owned by the Canadian company Radius Gold, we eat lunch and get updated about the latest manipulations of the Guatemalan regime, headed up by former General Otto Perez Molina, to pressure the people of San Jose del Golfo and San Pedro Ayumpac to sit down and – as “stakeholders” – have discussions with KCA about how mining will be good for the community, and how all “stakeholders” will benefit.

Russell Photo Essay - La Puya

Professor Catherine Nolin and Alexandra Pedersen (PHD, Queens U.) stand with Alvaro Sandoval, a local citizen involved in the community defense struggle.  Local citizens have maintained this peaceful road occupation for over two years and are having none of the Guatemalan government’s attempted manipulations, even as they have suffered trumped up criminal charges, threats, beatings and shootings.

Alvaro reminds us, again – their position is 100% clear: they want the mining company out, and they want the illegally granted mining concessions legally and formally rescinded.

To see the whole photo essay, visit Rights Action’s webpage here.

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Photo Essay: Genocide Denial (Rights Action)

[Part of a photo essay by Grahame Russell of Rights Action, who is currently leading a delegation of North Americans to Guatemala in partnership with the University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC). The group has been visiting communities resisting violent repression and environmental damage caused by multinational corporations, including a number of global mining companies.]

Genocide Denial: Guatemalan Congress ‘Decrees’ that Genocide Never Occurred!

May 13

While we were receiving testimonies from communities in resistance to serious harms and violations caused by Tahoe Resources (Goldcorp Inc.) in San Rafael Las Flores, the corrupted Guatemalan Congress passed a “Decree” stating that there was no genocide in Guatemala!

Russell Photo Essay - Genocide

Maria Choc – holding Prensa Libre newspaper with headline “Congress says there was no genocide” – explains to Grahame Russell and the group the implications of this “decree” for the poor majority of Guatemalans, particularly the Mayan peoples, as the political, economic and military elites close ranks to try to re-write history.  From the Mayan Q’eqchi’ region of El Estor, where Maria is at the forefront of a land and environmental defense struggle, and a struggle for justice for serious violations caused by the Hudbay Minerals mining company and its Guatemalan subsidiary CGN, Maria explains that Q’eqchi’ parents and grand-parents of the people resisting nickel mining evictions and repression today, were killed in the infamous Panzos Massacre, May 27, 1978, when resisting violent evictions and repression caused by INCO and its Guatemalan military counter-parts.

From the highest levels of the government, military, judiciary and oligarchy, there is a concerted and threatening campaign of “Genocide Denial” going on, even as other governments, global companies and investors, the World Bank, etc, happily do ‘business as usual’ with the Guatemalan regime.  Guatemala’s repressive, undemocratic and complicated situation is getting harder!

Russell Photo Essay - San Rafael

In San Rafael Las Flores, Tahoe Resources (40% owned by Goldcorp Inc) silver mining operation has resulted in killings, illegal jailings, death threats, water depletion and profound community divisions, as the Guatemalan regime fully backs Tahoe’s illegal and aggressive mining push.

To see the whole photo essay, visit Rights Action’s web site.

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Take Action: Urge U.S. and Canadian investors to divest from Tahoe Resources (NISGUA)

[The Network in Solidarity with the People of Guatemala (NISGUA) urges concerned citizens to join them in a call for American and Canadian financial institutions to divest from Tahoe Resources.]

On May 8, Tahoe Resources announced $24.8 million in first quarter net earnings since starting production at the Escobal mine in January. These gains have come at a grave cost. Ongoing violence, open criminal cases and documented environmental concerns are the dark side of these profits. Tahoe is a spin-off of Goldcorp Inc., as the latter holds 40% of Tahoe’s shares. Most of the company’s directors are current or former Goldcorp executives.

The Escobal mine, Tahoe’s only project, was approved without the free, prior and informed consent of the surrounding communities and continues to lack the social license to operate. Tens of thousands of people have voted against the mine in 14 community consultations to date. Tahoe and the Guatemalan government continue to dismiss community voices and decision-making processes.

As the project ramped up toward production so did repression, criminalization and violence against prominent leaders opposing the mine. In 2012, Tahoe sued the Guatemalan government for failing to protect its operations from social protest. A year later, a state of siege was declared in four municipalities surrounding the mine, halting ongoing community referenda, instilling fear in the population and undermining local organizing. Heightened militarization of the communities continues.

Join us in calling on U.S. and Canadian financial institutions to divest from Tahoe Resources. Our action targets two major Tahoe shareholders, TIAA-CREF and the Canada Pension Plan. Together, they provide retirement and other financial services to over 20 million U.S. and Canadian residents.

TAKE ACTION: Tell U.S. based TIAA-CREF and the Canada Pension Plan that Guatemalan communities say no to Tahoe Resources, and they should too! 

Not invested in TIAA-CREF or not paying into the Canada Pension Plan? You can still take action! Want to do more? Contactorganizer@nisgua.org to receive an information packet on how to contact other Tahoe investors.

In solidarity,

Megan Whelan & the NISGUA team

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Press release: HudBay Minerals Declared “Corporate Criminals” in People’s Trial (MISN)

[Press release and photo from Mining Injustice Solidarity Network (MISN)'s mock trial to hold Toronto's HudBay Minerals accountable for mine-related abuses.]

Inline image 1

[Members and supporters of the Mining Injustice Solidarity Network gather after the guilty verdict was declared in the Peoples Trial held outside Hudbay’s AGM.]

Toronto, Ontario – GUILTY. That was the verdict rendered by jurors this morning in a people’s trial against the Canadian mining company HudBay Minerals outside the building where their shareholders were meeting behind closed doors. The testimonies delivered in the people’s trial were verbatim statements from claimants in ongoing lawsuits against HudBay brought by Guatemalans in Ontario courts and an eviction notice issued to the company by the Mathias Colomb Cree Nation in Manitoba. The mock trial convened by the Mining Injustice Solidarity Network involved a 15-foot tall puppet representing HudBay’s CEO David Garofalo along with other larger than life props, including a 4-foot judge’s gavel.

The charges against HudBay concerning its former Fenix mine in Guatemala included the murder of community leader and school teacher Adolfo Ich, the gang rape of 11 women in Lote 8 during a forced eviction, and the shooting of German Chub Choc who was left paralyzed. One testimony the jury heard was from Angelica Choc, the widow of Adolfo Ich. Part of her statement read: “It is very painful to remember such shocking tragedy. The days since my husband was killed have been very hard. There has been no justice. The man who killed Adolfo still has not faced the courts. And the mining company, Hudbay, has not been held accountable. My five children have lost a father; I have lost my husband; and our community has lost a leader. We need justice for these losses.”

Another piece of testimony in the people’s trial was an eviction notice from the Mathias Colomb Cree Nation (MCCN) rejecting extractive activities on their traditional, treaty, and reserve territory. The MCCN has issued several stop work and eviction notices to HudBay, most recently this past February, and has offered to work together with the government of Manitoba in good faith to resolve the conflict. That offer continues to be ignored.

Jennifer Mills from the Mining Injustice Solidarity Network said, “HudBay Minerals has done everything it can to avoid its day in court here and in Guatemala. While we continue to support the communities pushing forward these processes, we felt we had to bring the charges to light here in front of their AGM where they can’t ignore us.”

The Mining Injustice Solidarity Network (MISN) is a grassroots, volunteer-run group that works to bring the voices and experiences of communities impacted by extractive industries to Toronto, Canada, a country where over 75% of global mining businesses are based. As Canada is a leader within the international mining industry, we recognize the necessity for a movement within Canada to demand accountability in this sector.

For more information:

Jennifer Mills, Mining Injustice Solidarity Network: (647) 990-7897 or mininginjustice@gmail.com

mininginjustice.org

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