(version en castellano aqui)
Tatamagouche, NS, Canada
Sunday, June 14, 2015
Greetings from the Maritimes Guatemala Breaking the Silence Solidarity Network. BTS is a network that has been working for the past twenty five years to bring awareness in Canada about issues facing Guatemalans who are courageously working for justice.
From June 12-14, 2015, 40 members of our network gathered in Tatamagouche, Nova Scotia, Canada for our annual assembly. It was an opportunity for us to learn about the work of the network in the past year and to plan for upcoming actions within the network.
As you know Gregoria Crisanta Perez Bamaca de Gonzalez was invited by BTS to participate in a two week speaking tour, where she spoke to dozens of Canadians about the issues she and others in San Miguel Ixtahuacan face in light of the Marlin mine and other Goldcorp Inc. projects in the area. In addition, Crisanta joined us for our assembly and we were honored to hear from her about the challenging situations in your communities. She also met with indigenous leaders in Canada who are struggling for justice and communities in resistance to gas and oil projects in their communities.
Her stories reminded us of the impacts that the Marlin Mine, which has been operating illegally in your territory for the past 10 years. Crisanta shared with us the social, environmental and health effects of the mining activities within your communities and your struggle to make the company accountable for these actions. She detailed how local, municipal and State authorities, along with the company, have consistently denied the responsibility to supply potable water to 18 communities surrounding the mine, as outlined by the precautionary measures ordered by the Inter American Commission on Human Rights.
Crisanta also spoke about the importance of FREDEMI and its work as a coalition to bring together the voices of men and women impacted who have faced similar situations. She gave thanks to the legal support that FREDEMI and petitioners of the complaint filed to the Inter American Commission for Human Rights have received. She spoke of her own criminalization and that of other men and women who bravely stand up and speak out to defend their territory and life.
Because of what has happened in San Miguel Ixtahuacan, and other communities across Guatemala, and the fact that no consultation, let alone free, prior and informed consent about the mine took place, Crisanta spoke about the need to make political changes. We commend the work of FREDEMI and the Civil Committee for their work to educate the people about the impacts of the mine and also the responsibility of elected officials to work on behalf of the community. We wish you success as you continue your work in the weeks and months to come.
We have been working on mining justice and holding Goldcorp and other Canadian mining companies accountable for their actions for almost 10 years and Crisanta presence and your courageous struggle reminds of the importance of continuing and strengthening these efforts.
Crisanta was a wonderful speaker who helped us not only learn about the issues but also the reasons why she and others are motivated to do this work for their communities, families and future generations and Mother Earth. We respect your decision to say “NO!” to mining in your territory and support your work to defend that decision.
Your struggle is just, important and right and we send you strength and solidarity. We also look forward to continuing to strengthen our relationship as we work together.
Maritimes Guatemala Breaking the Silence Solidarity Network