Guatemala, El Salvador / November 2012. Real World Radio will cover this tour organized by Friends of the Earth International, whose main goal is to bring light to the social, environmental, cultural, political and economic impacts that the mining extractive industry is causing in the Central American region, especially in Guatemala and El Salvador. The tour will take place from November 13-20 and the participants will visit communities that resist mining corporations such as Goldcorp and Barrick Gold in Guatemala. The international activists will work with the local media, visit political prisoners in Barillas, focus on state cases linked with the protection of human rights and environmentalist groups involved in the building of the movement. By documenting the different cases, Friends of the Earth International and allied organizations will strengthen the denunciation and solidarity actions towards those who resist in defense of life and territories. The tour will be carried out in coordination with the Mesoamerican Movement against Metal Mining (M4) and the local groups of FoE CEIBA and CESTA.
This Thursday, the peasants of the Guatemalan municipality of Santa Cruz Barillas, in Huehuetenango department, released on January 10 after more than eight months of being arbitrarily imprisoned, will tour through the capital of the country to denounce the abuses suffered and demand Hidro Santa Cruz company, in charge of the Santa Cruz hydroelectric project, to leave their territories.
In the early morning of Thursday 6 December the Guatemalan riot police repressed, beat up and kidnapped members of the community of San Jose del Golfo and San Pedro Ayampuc near Guatemala City, who have been on a vigil for ten months to block mining equipment of company EXMINGUA aimed at gold and silver extraction.
In Cabañas department, El Salvador, resistance to open-pit mining by transnational corporation Pacific Rim has caused a terrible social damage since the 1930s, when the land owners killed the indigenous population.
People hired by EXMINGUA company in La Puya, the resistance point in San Jose del Golfo, Guatemala, were responsible for insults, racist expressions, attacks and death threats against the communities who have been blocking the transnational corporations’ machinery for over nine months.
Video produced during the International Mission that verified human rights violations and pillage of natural resources by mining transnational corporations Goldcorp, Pacific Rim and by the building of Hidralia SA’s hydroelectric dams.
There has recently been exposed that there is a discredit and intimidation campaign against the Committee of Peasant Unity (CUC) in Guatemala. The CUC is a member of La Via Campesina International, which "has been historically rejected by the economic sector and the militaries during the years of war", Rafael Gonzales, leader of the organization, told Real World Radio.
On May 2, 2012, 10 political prisoners of Barillas were separately arrested by private persons in the municipality without receiving any explanation or without charges, in a flagrant violation to civil and political rights.
The communities of San Jose del Golfo and San Pedro de Ayampuc, 30 minutes away from the capital of Guatemala, have been resisting in a peaceful and collective way for over nine months. The community is organized by shifts and is able to gather thousands of people in a few minutes when the mining company’s staff arrives to enter the land, provoking the people present.
Just 28 kilometers from Guatemala City, between the towns of San José del Golfo and San Pedro de Ayanpuc the peasant communities are resisting the actions of Canadian company Radius Gold Inc, which has operated a silver and gold mine in the area since 2000. Until now, the company has developed the exploration process. It decided to start the drilling this year, after the government approved the exploitation license, which allows activities in an area of 20 Km2 for 25 years.
San José del Golfo and San Pedro de Ayampuc are two towns near Guatemala City that have been affected by gold and silver mining. Mining activities began in the area in 2000 but the community only found out in 2010.
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“The investor-state dispute settlement puts companies’ rights ahead of human rights. Its effects are devastating for developing nations – we must abolish it”, wrote Alfred de Zayas, United Nations' Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order, in an article published by The Guardian on November 16th.
Academic Katherine Reilly, assistant professor at the Communications School of Simon Fraser University, Canada, and Master´s Degree Student Belén Febres Cordero of the same university, have just published their paper "Real World Radio (2003-2013): the role of communication in resistance in the changing geopolitical framework of Latin America" (below, in Spanish).
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