News was recently released that Alberto Rotondo, Tahoe Resources’ former security manager, had escaped police custody. Rotondo is accused of having ordered private security guards to attack peaceful protestors outside the Escobal mine in southeastern Guatemala on April 27, 2013, wounding seven men.
In response to this, Rafael Maldonado noted that, “this demonstrates that the Guatemalan justice system, especially the National Civil Police, still suffers from high levels of corruption and influence peddling”. Maldonado, is the Director of the Center for Environmental, Social and Legal Action (CALAS) and is increasingly the victim of harassment and death threats, himself, for his work defending environmental and human rights in various cases across the country.
Rotondo, an ex-military officer from Peru, was arrested in April, 2013 at Guatemala’s international airport while attempting to flee the country, but was granted house arrest.
This followed on from the British Columbia Supreme Court Justice ruling that the case against Tahoe Resources should be heard in Guatemala, saying it would be inconvenient to hear the case in Canada. This ignored the fact that Tahoe Resources’ management failed to show up in court in Guatemala when summoned for another legal case.
In response to peaceful protest, the company and the Guatemalan government have used repression, criminalization, and militarization to try to silence peaceful resistance to mining activities in the area, including the violent attack in April 2013, for which Rotondo is accused.
You can read more on the Tahoe update on the TahoeonTrial website here, and more about the threats to Rafael Maldonado here on the Telesur website. More background on Tahoe can be found here on the GSN website.