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As part of the International Solidarity Mission organized by Friends of the Earth and the Transnational Institute in Guatemala and El Salvador, there follows an analysis of Canadian corporation Goldcorp and its record of exploitation and divide of communities where it operates.
Goldcorp is the owner of Marlin mine, which has been in San Miguel de Ixtahuacan municipality since 2005. In 2011 the mine produced over 380,000 ounces of gold with a profit of over 600 million dollars.
The Guatemalan government authorized the exploitation of an area of 20 square km for 25 years, of which it has so far exploited nearly 2 km with serious effects on the population of the region.
As a result of the installation of the company, the communities of San Miguel Ixtahuacan have suffered serious health damage, the pollution of water caused by sediments and the use of cyanide, the destruction of the territories and their homes as a result of the use of explosives to extract gold, the payment of low salaries to local workers and the need to migrate because of the danger they are exposed to.
The communities of the region have opposed the action of the mine for years. At first through community consultations, which were neither recognized by the government nor by the mine, and later by exposing the economic and ecological crimes before the local authorities, as well as national and international opinion tribunals by demanding the respect of ILO’s Convention 169.
However, the strong resistance and defense for life and nature, both for this and for future generations, has been criminalized and persecuted, with the complicity of the government of Guatemala, which signs laws in favor of transnational corporations and against the peoples’ rights.
The mining company “Montana Exploradora” (Goldcorp) has developed a series of programs of Corporate Social Responsibility that imply a minimum investment. They ignore the community process and have managed to divide the communities that used to reject them by even causing violence among the members of the community.
The Guatemalan government has been complicit of these crimes by protecting the company and ignoring the communities’ demands.
The Canadian government is also responsible of human rights violations by allowing its corporations to act above the law and to seek to operate through Bilateral Investment Treaties or Free Trade Agreements.
Photo: Víctor Barro (AT España)
“No queremos ser mártires, no queremos que hayan más mártires en este país, pero también hay una responsabilidad histórica de hacer valer la palabra y demostrar que tenemos derecho a la construcción de un mundo mejor. Y no podemos huir a esa responsabilidad”, dijo a Radio Mundo Real la dirigente garífuna Miriam Miranda, coordinadora de la Organización Fraternal Negra Hondureña (OFRANEH).
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