[From the article:]
The violence came as no surprise to many observers of the situation. Last September there was a major conflict when hundreds of demonstrators tried to stop the company from putting in power lines. After that encounter, in which three protestors were shot and wounded by security forces, the mayor of San Rafael Las Flores, Lionel Morales, stated that the demonstrators were not from local communities.
The company then said that “A small group of local opponents has refused to engage in meaningful discussions on the project’s effects in the communities, and has resorted to soliciting outsiders who have used violent tactics on several occasions to intimidate employees, contractors and local supporters of the project.”
In fact, Tahoe Resources and the Guatemalan government have been more specific in naming the enemy. In a press release, the company stated that Guatemalan authorities “identified them as individuals transported into the area from outside regions, organized and funded by local and international NGOs.”
Nowhere was there mention of the refusal of authorities in San Rafael Las Flores to hold a referendum to gauge support. That, it would seem, would be a sure way to prove that all the resistance is from outsiders, and that local support for the mine is strong, as the company suggests. But, strangely, there is no movement in this area.
After the murder of Exaltación Marcos Ucelo, Alberto Brunori, a representative with the United Nations High Commission for Human Rights, said “We knew something was going to happen…We had warned of this.” Read the full article.