Guatemala: Resistance to mining in San José del Golfo continues despite repression

Radio Mundo Real

December 11, 2012

In the early morning of Thursday, December 6, the Guatemalan riot police repressed, beat up and kidnapped members of the community of San José del Golfo and San Pedro Ayampuc near Guatemala City, who have been on a vigil for ten months to block the mining equipment of the company Exmingua.

Even though there were no formal accusations against them, the police officers ordered the community members to leave the place or they would destroy the precarious shelters placed on the side of the road where every day they produce food for nearly 200 people while they take turns to protest.

Milton Carrera, one of the community members who was arrested at the place, told Real World Radio that the police operation was illegal. They had no chance to defend themselves and said they were incommunicado for six hours, which is equivalent to kidnapping in his opinion.

“This was all based on false accusations,” said Milton. “They almost strangled me.” During the eviction, the police threw tear gas at the people, and they beat up elderly people and even children, said Milton. He added that “We are living under a repressive government, nothing is respected: there was no eviction warrant from a judge nor from President Otto Pérez Molina or from the Minister of Interior.”

He also said that the Minister of Interior of Guatemala, Mauricio López Bonilla publicly threatened to expel the foreigners who are fighting against mining with the communities because of the lack of water in the area and the large demand for the resource by the extractive industry. “We need more international human rights observers to confront the military government,” said Milton.

A month ago, an international delegation of the environmental federation Friends of the Earth visited the resistance camp and expressed its solidarity and commitment to raise international awareness about their struggle and objectives.

Carrera said that on Sunday, December 9, the community decided in an assembly to continue the protest until the very end. “The struggle continues, we will stay here and the people are willing to die for this cause. If (the government) wants to talk, they should come to Puya. We shall not move from there, not one step back.”

Original article published by Radio Mundo Real in English | Español