The Peaceful Resistance against the El Escobal.
June 17, 2021.
Today I would like to share with you an emblematic case of the various communities that we accompany in Guatemala and other countries. It is that of the Peaceful Resistance against the El Escobal mining project in the San Rafael las Flores municipality, which affects that and other municipalities and which is owned by the Canadian company Pan American Silver with general offices in Vancouver.
This company came after gold, silver, nickel, cobalt, chromium, lead, zinc, antimony, rare soil, and other minerals that are in those lands. It got the Guatemalan government to grant it exploitation permits. It lied when he entered the territory. It did not consult the Xinca indigenous population that lives there and began to extract minerals and devastate the habitat of life.
The Xincas realized that the white man was returning to expropriate them, but today different from the time of the first conquest, they organized in the Peaceful Resistance against the mining company El Escobal. 24 communities from 4 municipalities maintain 2 permanent peaceful sit-ins in the municipalities of Mataquescuintla and Casillas to prevent traffic to the mining site. Organized in the Xinca Parliament, they appealed to the Supreme Court of Justice and the Constitutional Court with international legal resources (Declaration of the United Nations on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and Convention 169 of the International Labor Organization on Indigenous and Tribal Peoples); and despite the fact that the company combined its violence with the repressive forces of the State to attack and assassinate leaders of the movement, the Xincas managed to get the Constitutional Court to order the cessation of the mining project, until the Xinca people be consulted.
That is what they up to, preparing for the free consultation and in good faith, as it stated in the legal document. However, in this context, the Xinca Parliament denounces that Pan American Silver continues to enter the mine with trucks and it is offering community projects to the impoverished population to get their sympathy to promote its devastating extractive activity and that it continues to intimidate the population with attacks and death threats. The State is still crooked, trying to dismantle the courts that fail in favor of the organized communities that protect their territory. Both the company and the government continue to perpetrate death attacks and serious threats against leaders of this Peaceful Resistance against the El Escobal mine, as was the case in January 2021.
It is time for all of us to become guardians of nature with our brothers and sisters who, organized, defend creation.
However, some of us walk like the 3 monkeys: we do not see, we do not hear, we do not speak. This is how some people walked in the times of Moses, they did not want God to speak to them directly (Deut. 18:16) and in Paul’s time, some weak (1 Cor. 8:10) were scandalized by culinary matters without paying attention to the perverse slavery and patriarchal structure. However, others, like Jesus, got into the wolf’s mouth, in the time-space where the legitimizing gaze of the oppressive structures was reproduced, for there, to expel the enslaving demon and free-save the people. God wants to raise us up as prophets, that the weak say I am strong, that you and I, be guardians of our Xinca brothers and sisters who today urge our attention in the face of the serious risk situation in which they are for peacefully manifest their defense of life.
Demands for an investigation and an end to company interference in Guatemala following assassination attempt and threats against members of the peaceful resistance to the Canadian-owned Escobal mine.