On Sunday, 1st March, La Comunidad de Resistencia celebrated their third anniversary in their struggle against the imposition of a gold mine in their community. Known as La Puya, the community is situated in the area around San Pedro Ayampuc, El Carrizal and San José Del Golfo, some 25km north of Guatemala City.
The day of celebration started with a march of solidarity from San José Del Golfo to La Puya and culminated with music and song. During the day, speeches were intermingled with a Mass and a prize giving for participants in a celebratory run.
The community had been buoyed by the news, the previous Friday, that four of its members were absolved of any of the criminal charges that the Ministerio Público had brought against them. The Tribunal had declared that the four men, Fransisco Carrillo Catalán, Gregorio de Jesús Catalán Morales, Fernando Castro Carrillo and Eusebio Morales Díaz had no charge to answer to, and that the charges themselves laid lacked any basis in fact.
That the charges had been made and that the four came under judicial scrutiny is a further example of the strategy of criminality used against communities seeking to maintain their rights to a life of dignity. These include the communities of San Juan Sacatepequez, San Juan Del Flores, and Santa Cruz Barillas.
As is normal for La Puya, the participants spanned the generations, and the struggle strengthens the bonds between them.
It is this kind of engagement that true democracy demands yet is absent wherever ‘democracy’ promotes itself but where governments have no wish to promote citizen engagement.
New to the site since last year is the imposition of a ‘temporary’ police station attended by members of the PNC. This force is there to protect the mining company from a non-violent community but also to provide a layer of threat over the community by the State. This, and the failure of the court case taken against the four men, is testament to the continued abuse directed towards La Puya by the vested interests of State and trans-national capital.
Let the following year bring continued success in La Puya’s struggle for dignity.
¡Que viva La Puya! – ¡Viva!