How a Canadian Mining Company Infiltrated the Guatemalan State
Max Binks-Collier has written a powerful piece in The Intercept about the corporate and state violence visited on the poor community of Lote Ocho.
It was often when Rosa Elbira Coc Ich was cooking lunch in the communal outdoor kitchen of Lote Ocho, a village in Guatemala, that the helicopters would fly overhead, the gusts of air from their deafening rotor blades scattering her tomatoes, beans, herbs, and tortillas over the reddish-brown soil. The helicopters would hover just above the village huts, billowing up clouds of dust and dirt and blowing some of the iron sheets and palm-leaf thatching that served as roofs onto the ground.
Ich remembers these helicopter flyovers taking place daily, sometimes even twice daily, beginning around the end of 2006 and continuing until 2008. Ich, who is now 35, told The Intercept that she would run into her hut, terrified that she and the other villagers were about to be forcibly expelled from their land by Compañía Guatemalteca de Niquel, or CGN: a Guatemalan mining company with which Lote Ocho and at least 18 other Indigenous communities had been embroiled in a dispute over land since early 2005. The helicopters also reminded her of the military helicopters that she saw as a little girl toward the end of the 36-year civil war in Guatemala, during which the military committed genocide against several Indigenous groups.
Making Ich recall her country’s genocidal past and fear the use of force in the future seems to have been the point.
You can read the full piece, including photos and links, here, in The Intercept.
To track the legal process in Canada, go to the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre, here.
Rights Action have been covering this case, and others relating to Hudbay in Guatemala, for many years and their archive can be found here.
The latest, 30th September, is that an Ontario court has rejected Hudbay Minerals appeal in Lote Ocho sexual violence lawsuit. You can read more here, from Rights Action.