State of Siege: Mining Conflict Escalates in Guatemala (Upside Down World)

Article published today about the escalating violence in Guatemala, near Tahoe Resources’ Escobal mine project. The article highlights how there is great reason to fear that the suspension of constitutional  rights under the State of  Siege leaves community leaders and mining opponents vulnerable to (even more) unchecked violence and repression.

[From the article by Sandra Cuffe:]

Security at the Escobal project site, mid April 2013. Credit: Resistencia Pacifica El Escobal / Upside Down World

Security at the Escobal project site, mid April 2013. Credit: Resistencia Pacifica El Escobal / Upside Down World

…. Fifty miles southeast of the capital, private security guards working for Vancouver-based  mining firm Tahoe Resources shot and wounded several local residents on  Saturday in San Rafael Las Flores, on the road in front of Tahoe’s El  Escobal silver mine. The mining  company’s head of security was arrested while attempting to flee the  country. A police officer and a campesino were killed during conflicts  earlier this week. Through it all, demonstrations against the mining  project have continued amid conflicting reports and government  misinformation.

Following  a Cabinet meeting late last night, Guatemalan President Otto Pérez  Molina declared a 30-day State of Siege in four municipalities around  the El Escobal mining project: San Rafael Las Flores and Casillas in the  department of Santa Rosa, and Jalapa and Mataquescuintla in the  department of Jalapa. The measure is in effect as of today. Initial  reports indicated that the constitutional rights suspended include  freedom of movement, freedom of assembly and protest, and certain rights  of detainees and prisoners.

Even  before the measure was declared, communities were denouncing army  mobilization in the region last night. When he announced the State of  Siege, Pérez Molina stated that security forces reported for duty at  three military bases last night and that operatives would begin early  this morning.

“We  fear for the lives of our leaders,” stated a message circulated online  by the Xinka People’s Parliament, denouncing the mobilization of armed  forces in Jutiapa with the alleged intention of arresting Xinka leaders  in Santa María Xalapán, Jalapa. “We’re returning to the 1980s, with the  persecution of leaders, extrajudicial execution and forced  disappearance.”…..  View the full article, with photos, here.

This entry was posted in Community Resistance, Conflict and Repression, Goldcorp, Local and Indigenous Rights, Tahoe Resources and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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