[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!
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!
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!
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.