- communities harmed by Canadian mining in Izabal, Guatemala
A Call for Solidarity with Q'eqchi' Communities in their Struggle Against Canadian Mining Companies / Un llamado para la solidaridad con las comunidades Q'eqchi's que buscan la justicia
[la carta está disponible en español abajo]
Murders. Violent forced evictions. Rapes. Land thefts. Shootings. Criminalization of dissent.
Q'eqchi' communities in the Izabal region of Guatemala have faced an onslaught of these and other abuses over the past five decades at the hands of a series of Canadian mining companies who have owned the Fenix Nickel Project.
On April 4th 2014 a criminal trial will begin in Guatemala to seek justice for some of the countless acts of violence communities have faced – and continue to face – at the hands of these mining companies. On this day, Mynor Padilla, the former Head of Security for the mine, under the ownership of Canadian company Hudbay Minerals and local subsidiary CGN, will be tried for the murder of Aldofo Ich Chamán. Ich Chamán was a respected Maya Q’eqchi’ community leader, father of six, and an open critic of human rights violations and environmental damage caused by corporate mining activities. Padilla will also be tried for the shooting of seven others on the same date, September 27, 2009 near El Estor, Izabal: Haroldo Cucul Cucul, German Chub Coc, Alejandro Chuc, Ricardo Acte Coc, Samuel Coc Chub, Alfredo Tzi Ich, and Luciano Choc. One man, German Chub, lives with a number of grave medical conditions as a result of this shooting, including a collapsed lung and a spinal cord injury that has left him paraplegic.
In a series of separate civil cases being heard in Canada, Hudbay Minerals and CGN are being tried for these shootings and the murder of Ich Chamán, while Hudbay Minerals is additionally being tried for gang-rapes committed in a nearby community during an eviction.
Despite grave and ongoing violence, Indigenous communities in the region have been resisting encroachment on their territory by a series of mining companies for over 50 years. The commencement of the criminal case against former head of mine security, Mynor Padilla, is an important step towards justice for the the communities who have been actively defending their territory, their lives and their communities through their resistance against the mining project.
In the four and a half years since the violent events of September 2009 took place, victims, witnesses, and family members have struggled through a long and frustrating series of legal processes in order to have justice served. They are calling upon allies to join them in solidarity as the criminal trial begins on April 4th. Angelica Choc, the wife of Adolfo Ich, makes the request clear: “Let all of us who are fighting in defense of our territories unite to demand that justice be served.”
We want to make sure everyone involved in this struggle knows that they are not alone.Please sign and endorse this letter as a statement of your solidarity and concern with those harmed during the events of September 27, 2009, and with all other victims of violence carried out by mining companies in the region, the Maya Q’eqchi’ community of El Estor, and all those who defend their land, communities, and the rights of Indigenous Peoples.
The statement of solidarity as well as all signatures and endorsements will be brought to the courthouse as the trial begins on April 4th, 2014.
- communities harmed by Canadian mining in Izabal, Guatemala
[Mensaje en español abajo]
As the trial begins concerning the murder of Adolfo Ich Chamán and the wounding of Haroldo Cucul Cucul, German Chub Coc, Alejandro Chuc, Ricardo Acte Coc, Samuel Coc Chub, Alfredo Tzi Ich, and Luciano Choc at the hands of a Canadian mining company, we want you to know that you are not alone.
Unfortunately, we know that the struggles of your communities against this new era of colonization carried out by the extractive industry are not new. We have witnessed that over the past 50 years you have faced innumerable acts of horrific violence and that continuing to resist has brought suffering and required immense sacrifice.
We want to express our solidarity and concern with all those harmed during the events of September 27, 2009, and to denounce the murder of Adolfo Ich as a targeted act of violence against a respected Maya Q’eqchi’ community leader and an open critic of human rights violations and environmental damage caused by corporate mining activities.
We also stand in solidarity alongside all other victims of violence carried out by mining companies in the region, the Maya Q’eqchi’ community of El Estor, and all those who defend their land, communities, and the rights of Indigenous Peoples.
We know that today is but one step in the long journey towards justice, towards the reclaiming of your territory, towards safety, peace and self-determination for your communities.
Know that we stand with you today, tomorrow, and in the struggles to come.
In remembrance of all of those who have fallen, and with admiration for the strength and dignity of all of the women and men who have participated in this struggle.
Declaración a las comunidades damnificadas por la minería Canadiense en Izabal, Guatemala:
Mientras que se da apertura al juicio penal por el asesinato de Adolfo Ich Chamán, y las lesiones en contra de Haroldo Cucul Cucul, German Chub Coc, Alejandro Chuc, Ricardo Acte Coc, Samuel Coc Chub, Alfredo Tzi Ich y Luciano Choc, acciones causadas por la empresa de minería canadiense, queremos que sepan que no están solos.
Sabemos que la lucha de sus comunidades ante esta nueva era de colonización llevada a cabo por industrias extractivas es una lucha que inicio hace mucho tiempo y que continúa el día de hoy. Hemos visto que ustedes han enfrentado innumerables actos de violencia y que el continuar resistiendo también ha traído sufrimiento y muchísimo sacrificio por los últimos 50 años.
Queremos expresar nuestra solidaridad y preocupación por todos los heridos y damnificados por los eventos del 27 de septiembre del 2009, y así mismo queremos denunciar el asesinato de Adolfo Ich como un acto de violencia dirigido a un líder de la comunidad Maya Q'eqchi' altamente respetado y que denunciaba las violaciones de derechos humanos y daños medioambientales causados por actividades mineras de la empresa.
También estamos en solidaridad con todas las otras víctimas de violencia llevada a cabo por compañías mineras en la región, en las comunidades Maya Q'eqchi' de El Estor, y todos los defensores de sus tierras, comunidades y derechos de los pueblos indígenas.
Sabemos que hoy inicia un paso importante en el largo camino hacia la justicia, hacia el reclamo digno de sus territorios, hacia la seguridad, paz y autonomía de sus comunidades.
Sepan que estamos de pie a su lado, hoy, y mañana, y en las luchas que traiga el futuro.
Recordamos a todos los que han perdido su vida en la lucha, y admiramos la fuerza, poder y dignidad de todos los hombres y mujeres que han participado en esta lucha.
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