Translation by NISGUA. For the original post in Spanish, see here.
March 24, 2017
Attn: President of the Republic of Guatemala, Jimmy Morales; Minister of Energy and Mines (MEM); Minister of the Environment and Natural Resources (MARN); Presidential Commission for Coordinating Executive Policy in the Field of Human Rights (COPREDEH); Governing Authorities of the Department of San Marcos; Municipal Mayors of San Miguel Ixtahuacán and Sipacapa.
Since the arrival of the Marlin Mine (property of Goldcorp/Montana Exploradora) in 1996, the right to free, prior and informed consent has been violated based on the need to carry out a consultation with the people according to Convention 169 of the International Labour Organization (ILO). No consultation was ever carried out and has since resulted in social conflict. After that violation of the right to consultation there have been various recorded negative social and environmental impacts that have greatly damaged the families in the community of San Miguel Ixtahuacán San Marcos, which we describe below.
More than ten water springs have disappeared due to open pit and underground mining operations. More than 500 family houses have been cracked as a result of the mine. Many children suffer skin disease from bathing in stream waters surrounding the mine that are contaminated with heavy metals such as aluminum, cadmium, arsenic, lead, sulfates, and nitrates, according to the Environmental Impact Studies and the Mine Closure Plans. All of the metals found surpass the permitted limits, according to the Commission of Guatemalan Norms (COGUANOR). Social conflict in the municipality has resulted in violence and death since the opening of the mine. The lack of fulfillment of commitments assumed by the inter-institutional cooperation agreements in the communities of El Salitre, San Miguel Ixtahuacán Drinking Water Projects were poorly executed based on the framework for the precautionary measures of the IACHR.
In light of these negative impacts, the communities organized in resistance in the municipality of San Miguel Ixtahuacán, San Marcos do not accept these damages. We hold Montana Exploradora de Guatemala S.A.’s Marlin mine and Goldcorp Inc. of Canada responsible for the damages, and therefore they should pay for them. WE DEMAND immediate intervention by the responsible authorities of these issues, and for them to accept responsibility, promote dialogue and start administrative processes for the population to be compensated for the damages. If there is not an immediate response by the authorities, this protest will continue until agreements are made.
To the Goldcorp/Montaña Exploradora company, we demand the suspension of operations in the Marlin Mine because you have already provoked many social and environmental abuses. Pay your damages and leave this territory.
San Miguel Ixtahuacan y Sipacapa, San Marcos. March 2017