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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.
Milton Carrera, a community leader, said the communities realized that the company was planning to come to their territories and started to demand clear answers. “They lied to us, the gold man and the ministry of energy and mines lied to us about the project. They said we were crazy, that nothing was going to happen but we just found out about one year and a half ago that they would come here, but also we found out that there are 14 projects around”.
The community has blocked and prevented the entry of the company for the last 9 months since March of this year. They organized to defend water, land and life against the mining project. “If we don’t produce agriculture since the water is going to be contaminated, what are we going to do? We are going to die”, said the leader.
After 9 months of resistance, he said that they never know how long the struggle is going to last. They continue resisting and demanding the company to leave. To confront and intimidate them, the company is misinforming people and causing divide among them. It pays people to pretend to be mining workers and confront their own families to allow the entrance of the company. At the same time, the government has supported the company not only by providing the license, but also through military presence to protect the corporation and secure its profits.
On Tuesday 12 of November, “they started to send workers from the mine, we’ve been fighting here for almost four days now, sleeping almost here. The people haven’t worked for four days, but that’s all what we can do now to survive, they are bringing their own homes here to the resistance”.
The solidarity mission was in San Jose del Golfo to bring the message of support and solidarity with this struggle in defense of life, the same struggle that communities and organizations are fighting around the world. “We have dignity and we have shown our kids what it is to fight with dignity, that’s what we can show, if we want to gain something, we can do it”.
By Lyda Forero, from Trasnational Institute (TNI)
La oposición a la minería debe entenderse como la lucha por los derechos que esa actividad no respeta, pues “cada derecho que se le otorga a una empresa, es un derecho que se le resta a una comunidad”, asegura el coordinador del Observatorio de Conflictos Mineros de América Latina (OCMAL), César Padilla.
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