[From the article by John Ahni Schertow:]
The International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) is being urged carry out a full and impartial investigation into recurring violence against Xinca communities in the area of the Escobal silver mine project in the department of Santa Rosa, Guatemala.
The latest spate of violence took place on 17 March 2013, when group of heavily armed masked men abducted the President of the Xinca Indigenous Parliament and three other Xinca leaders as they returned home from a public referendum on the Escobal mine, a project jointly owned by the Canadian mining companies Tahoe Resources and Goldcorp.
Two of the abducted Xinca leaders, Rigoberto Aguilar and Rodolfo López, managed to escape from their abductors and place their communities on alert.
The following day, “The President of the Xinca Parliament’s vehicle was found with multiple bullet holes and Exaltación Marcos Ucelo, one of the four who were kidnapped, was found dead,” reports the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL). “About four hundred people peacefully gathered in the immediate area in order to protect the scene of the crime while demanding that authorities initiate a proper and full investigation. That evening, President Roberto González Ucelo was found alive. ”
Tahoe Resources and Goldcorp are not believed to be directly involved in the attack; however, the the Escobal silver mine is being operated without the support of affected Xinca communities in the municipalities of San Rafael Las Flores and Mataquescuintla.
The absence of a social license has generated a climate of criminalization, persecution and violence targeting the Xinca as well as priests, environmentalists and anyone else who opposes the mine.
The Xinca themselves have been peacefully resisting the development of the Escobal mine for more than two years. Late last year, the affected Xinca communities started organizing community consultations in order to finally have their say on the mining project…. Read the full article here.