From February 22-29th, a Canadian delegation visited communities and organizations resisting the Escobal mine in Guatemala. The delegation was organized by BTS and Mining Watch. Charlotte Connolly writes about the experience.
The week-long delegation to the Escobal Mine, facilitated by Breaking the Silence’s amazing Lisa Rankin, was an opportunity to listen, learn and build North-South solidarity in the struggle for Indigenous rights to land, water, territory and life.
The Escobal Mine has changed hands several times, from Canadian multinational companies Goldcorp Inc. to Tahoe Resources and now Pan-American Silver. The shape-shifting power of the corporate form is contrasted with the steadfast resistance and presence of the Xinka people, who have remained clear in their opposition to the mine since 2011. The company and government officials repeatedly denied the very existence of the Xinka, to justify their failure to consult local communities.
In response, the Xinka launched a campaign of cultural re-vitalization and ‘re-visibilization.’ In the 2018 National Census, a staggering 264,167 individuals self-identified as Xinka, up from 12,000 individuals in 2002. The Xinka occupy vast territories spanning the Departments of Santa Rosa, Jutiapa and Jalapa, and are proudly seeking to defend their ways of life in the face of a racist state.
You can read the full piece and photographs, from Charlotte, here on the BTS website.