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CEIBA-Friends of the Earth Guatemala shared testimonies of the consultation that
rejected megaprojects in Malacatancito, Huehuetenango, being the 29th
municipality in saying no to hydroelectrics and extractivism, in a total of 32 municipalities.
Ten years passed since the first community consultation regarding megaprojects in
Guatemala was conducted as a right of indigenous peoples to consult freely, in an
informed manner, ahead any situation or project that threatens their territory and community life.
This historical practice has been inherited by grandmothers and grandfathers of the Mayan people, embodied in the sacred book Popol Vuh: “They sat down, they got together, joined their thoughts, their words and agreed; one, two and three times.”
The government of Guatemala must recognize and respect the right to community
consultation, recognized in domestic laws such as the municipal code, and international
laws like the Convention 169 of the International Labor Organization (ILO) and the United
Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, as it is one of the principles and
foundations of the Mayan legal system to specify a position on a problem or a reality,
looking for a consensus for the good life of peoples.
They are carried out in the language of the community, under its values and principles.
Based on this common law, on July 28th at a press conference, the Asamblea
Departamental de Pueblos de Huehuetenango, or ADH, and the Junta Coordinadora de la Consulta Comunitaria de Buena Fé de Malacatancito, reported on a new query in the
municipality to be carried out on August 2nd of this year.
Despite the moratorium on mining at the national level, the inhabitants of the communities
fear that exploitation licenses could be granted in this territory, as this town is located a
few kilometers from the Marlin mine. Hence, the community consultation and its result was a legitimate form of participation to decide on their territories.
During the process it was found that many of the communities near the Marlin mine, a
subsidiary of GoldCorp Canada, were afraid to participate in the consultation, since many
people were threatened days earlier.
On August 4th, the ADH and the Junta Coordinadora de la Consulta Comunitaria de Santa
Ana Malacatán (Malacatancito), unveiled at a press conference the final results: a
resounding NO with 3 votes in favor and 8059 votes against mining projects and other
megaprojects that could affect their lives and territory.
This is the consultation in good faith number 29 of 32 municipalities celebrated in
the department of Huehuetenango.
This collective decision joins the decision of more than one million Guatemalans who
reject megaprojects, which have caused much damage in the territories: community
division, persecution, intimidation, arrest warrants, murder, attempted murder, pollution,
Besides contributing to the climate change and scarcity of natural resources for living,
these megaprojects have caused several conflicts at the Guatemalan territory.
José Luis Abarca, hijo de un luchador ambiental asesinado en noviembre de 2009 por encabezar la resistencia a un proyecto minero en el municipio mexicano de Chicomuselo, estado de Chiapas, interpuso el 5 de febrero una denuncia administrativa ante el Comisionado para la Integridad de la Administración Pública de Canadá.
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