“It’s not tiring for us to be here”: Anti-mining resistance in Guatemala

Avispa Midia published a piece on a non-violent, anti-mining resistance encampment situated in El Estor. The camp is looking to highlight violence being carried out against the local Q’eqchi’ people and has garnered support from other indigenous groups in Guatemala.


With the presence of transnational companies such as the Russian-Swiss Solway Investment Group, extractive activity in the Guatemalan Caribbean became much stronger. At the same time as operations grew, a series of violations against the Q’eqchi’ people of Izabal and Alta Verapaz were recorded.

In this context, Monday, 11th October, marks seven days since the installation of a permanent camp of peaceful anti-mining resistance in El Estor, Izabal. The encampment was set up at the main entrance to the municipality, some 10 kilometres from the processing plant of the Compañía Guatemalteca de Níquel CGN, located one kilometre away from the town.

The community dynamics in El Estor have been shaken in different ways by mining activity: violent evictions of communities settled in the company’s interest; environmental and lake contamination; criminalisation of opposition sectors; and, recently, exclusion of the right to community consultation.

The [Q’eqchí’ Ancestral] authorities decided to initiate this peaceful demonstration because the Ministry of Energy and Mines (MEM) is excluding them from participating in the preparations for the pre-consultation and community consultation.

[…]

The campaign of attacks and defamation on anonymous social networks and Facebook pages is directed against Abelino Chub, leaders of the Gremial de Pescadores and journalist Carlos Ernesto Choc, a member of Prensa Comunitaria. These pages, and the people involved in the attacks, are known for propaganda and publicity in favour of the municipality and the companies.

The permanent anti-mining sit-in has been at the entrance to the head of the municipality of El Estor since the early hours of Monday 4 October. This prevents the entry of the trucks of the nickel company CGN-Pronico de Solway. The rest of the private vehicles and pedestrians pass through normally.

[…]

The authorities of the Q’eqchi’ Mayan Ancestral Council, have received support from other communities. The support ranged from agreeing to the resistance and taking turns, to showing their solidarity with food for those participating in the sit-in.

For the authorities of the Ancestral Councils, the consultation on the Fénix mining project cannot take place until all operations of the nickel company are suspended, as ordered by the Constitutional Court in 2019.


The full piece, in Spanish, and with links and photos can be read here, “Para nosotros no es cansado estar aquí”: Resistencia antiminera en Guatemala.

Errors in translation are mine.



Categories: Corruption, Criminalisation, Environment, Evictions, Genocide, Guatemala, Human Rights, Indigenous peoples, Justice, Land, Legal, Military, Mining, Resource Extraction, Solidarity in Action, Solidarity in Action/Guatemala, Violence

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