Blog Entry

Declaration by the Coordinadora Nacional de Organizaciones Campesinas (CNOC)

Jamie Kneen

National Program Co-Lead


5ª Street 1-61 Zone 1
Tel.: 2202957 Fax: 2303196
email: [email protected]

(unofficial translation)

To national and international attention:

We denounce the death of two peasants in Los Encuentros, Sololá, and we support the Indigenous peoples' rejection of mining operations in the west of the country.

The CNOC as an organisation representing the interests of the Indigenous peoples and farmers of Guatemala, laments the death of Raul Castro Bocel and Miguel Tzorín Tuy, farmers who were killed today by the Guatemalan authorities while protesting the transportation of a piece of machinery that the company Cropa Panalpina will use in the operation of mines in the West of the country.

The trickery of the transnational companies who, using stunning pretexts, want to destroy a community footbridge to transport their equipment provoked the rejection and wrath of the communities, which was countered by agents of the National Civil Police and elements of the Army at Los Encuentros, Sololá, resulting in the death of two people.

The organization of the population in Los Encuentros to reject the exploitation of their natural resources operation has as its foundations:
1. The mining concession in Sololá or other departments of the West will not benefit the Indigenous peoples in any respect.
2. That community works, like the footbridge of Los Encuentros, Sololá, should not be destroyed for the benefit of economic interests.
3. The central government never consulted with the rural communities regarding mining operations in Guatemala.

In view of this, the transport of this machinery to the Department of San Marcos will serve to pillage natural wealth without the consent of the inhabitants, and for this reason, the National Coordinator of Farmers Organizations (CNOC), joins the rejection of the mining operation that the government of Oscar Berger has promoted during the 12 months of his mandate, considering that this political decision will not benefit the rural communities in any respect, but will only further enrich national and transnational companies to the detriment of the communities.

The destruction of the natural wealth of Guatemala has not been respected by the governmental authorities, as demonstrated by the breach of national laws and international treaties like ILO Convention 169 that protects Indigenous and Tribal Peoples world-wide. At the same time, the authorities of Energy and Mines have not achieved consensus on the viability or otherwise of mining, making it clear that certain economic interests favour interested sectors in the country.