Media Advisory: New violence related to Vancouver-based Tahoe Resources’ El Escobal mine leaves one dead, several wounded (MJA)

Media Advisory

Vancouver Mining Justice Alliance

– For Immediate Release –

New violence related to Vancouver-based Tahoe Resources’ El Escobal mine leaves one dead, several wounded

New violence this week has brought Tahoe Resources El Escobal Silver project in Guatemala back into the international spotlight. The renewal of violence around the Vancouver company’s controversial mine coincides with an Amnesty International-sponsored visit to Vancouver by the director of CEIBA, a Guatemalan organization that provides support to indigenous communities affected by mining.

The violence related Tahoe’s mine in Santa Rosa province began April 27 when security guards allegedly opened fire on protestors outside the mine, wounding six, including one youth who was shot in the face. According to local media reports, Guatemalan authorities detained yesterday Tahoe’s Chief of Security for the Escobal Mine at the Guatemala City Airport as he attempted to flee the country.

The attack comes only a month after the kidnapping of four indigenous community leaders while they were observing referenda on the mine held in neighbouring communities.

Tensions escalated April 29, following the detention of the mayor of the village of Casillas who refused to sign onto a pact between the mining company and mayors of nearby communities that had been brokered by Guatemalan Mines and Energy Minister Erick Archila, and Canadian Ambassador Huges Rosseau.

Crowds swelled outside the mine site and, the Guatemalan daily La Hora reports, the morning of April 30 one police officer was killed in clashes when national police attempted to drive protestors away from the mine entrance. Guatemalan President Otto Perez Molina declared today that he is considering declaring a state of emergency in the area.

Tahoe is one of several Canadian mining companies whose security forces have been involved in clashes with local residents in Guatemala. In January this year, Vancouver-based GOLDCORP’s security guards opened fire on protesting workers, while HudBay Resources is currently facing civil charges in a Toronto court for the alleged rapes by its security forces of indigenous women in communities on land claimed by the company, and the murder of a community leader.

CEIBA director Juan Carlos Contreras works closely with communities neighbouring the El Escobal mine. He will be in Vancouver until May 4 and is available for interviews about the crisis in the area.

To arrange an interview with Mr. Contreras, please contact Fiona Koza at 604 294 5160, or by e-mail at fkoza@amnesty.ca

For more information in English on the conflict with Canadian mining companies in Guatemala, please visit the Mining Justice Alliance Facebook page at: Mining Justice Alliance, or contact Steve Stewart at 604 220 4009 (Cell) or 604 708 1495, ext 116.

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