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Luis Guribe, who is participating in the International Verification Mission on the effects of Mining in Guatemala told Real World Radio some of the conclusions that can be gathered from the work in the countryside in the north-east of Guatemala.
Guribe highlighted the arrogance of the private companies linked to mining, which is complemented with the permissiveness of the public authorities in terms of repressing the resistance of the communities who oppose these processes.
The European observer also highlighted the strength of the communities when it comes to defending their territories, habitat and their own worldview.
It is worth mentioning that the process of granting new licenses has been preceded by several community consultations in the most isolated regions of Guatemala, which in addition of being participatory have a strong emotional feature.
Community consultations are a traditional and ancestral process for the indigenous communities, on internal or external issues that affect them, but they have been disqualified and stigmatized by the current legislation and by the western mechanisms of “citizen participation”.
In many cases, the discussion carried out by Guatemalan authorities has been reduced to a negotiation on the royalties generated by the open-pit extraction particularly of gold. This mining industry, in addition to destroying the mineral richness of the Guatemalan soil, implies the pouring of tones of toxic products, especially cyanide, into water sources which are essential for the life of the rural communities.
The communities state “Even if we get 100 per cent of the royalties, our answer is still NO”.
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