This past month, over 3,700 individuals took action in support of Guatemalan communities right to say “No” to Tahoe Resources’ Escobal mine. The action re-sent a letter delivered to Tahoe Resources’ offices in Reno, NV and Guatemala City by allies at the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada (PLAN) and representatives of Peaceful Resistance of Santa Rosa, Jalapa and Jutiapa and the Xinka Parliament respectively. The letter demands permanent closure of the mine given the environmental harms, community division, militarization and repression that the project has brought into their lives. It reiterates the fact that communities have already carried out referenda processes that overwhelmingly rejected the project.
The online action supported by Earthworks, Maritimes-Guatemala Breaking the Silence Network, MiningWatch Canada and Network in Solidarity with the People of Guatemala was circulated to various international allies, organizations and individuals. It included a translated copy of the original statement which communities had presented to the company, and a clear statement of solidarity, which read:
I stand with the Peaceful Resistance of Santa Rosa, Jalapa and Jutiapa and the Xinka People’s Parliament of Guatemala and call on Tahoe to respect what communities have been saying since 2011: Tahoe does not have social license to mine. Avoid future human rights abuses, criminalization, and violence, by closing the Escobal mine.
The letter was emailed to company executives Kevin McArthur (Executive Chair), James S. Voorhees (President and C.E.O), and John Serna (Director of Sustainability). Having thousands of voices supporting the Guatemalan resistance sends a strong message to the company that people around the world are watching their actions in Guatemala very closely.
Note: On September 4th, 2018, the Constitutional Court of Guatemala ruled to continue the suspension of the Escobal mine until a consultation process was completed with the Indigenous Xinka Peoples. This decision fails to recognize the autonomous consultation processes which the affected communities completed on their own terms over the past years. You can read more about these consults and their overwhelming rejection of the company, here. On September 6th, 2018 the Xinka People’s Parliament of Guatemala responded to the court’s decision noting that while the decision was not the one they had hoped for, they are positive that it opens spaces to voice their concerns.