Guatemala’s metal mining sector has grown seven-fold since 2006, and the administration of President Otto Pérez Molina has granted more than 100 mining licenses during its first 18 months in power. There are also more than 50 hydroelectric projects at various phases.
Since 2005, more than one million people in more than 75 community referenda have voted overwhelmingly to reject mega projects in their territory, but the results have been ignored by the government and companies alike.
Nationally, violence against indigenous communities has been accompanied by a dual strategy aimed at dividing communities by offering some families jobs and money, and implementing arbitrary criminal charges on others.
One year on from the verdict against Ríos Montt, indigenous Guatemalans, who account for 40 percent of the population, are still bearing the brunt of the state’s oppressive policies as most mega projects are earmarked for their territory.
This article by Nina Lakhani provides a good overview of the continuing violence against indigenous communities struggling against global mining interests.
You can read the full article here on the GlobalPost RIGHTS blog.