‘On the Road for Justice’ speaking tour to bring attention on Guatemala mining conflict and need for remedy in Canada
Monday, March 24 at 6:30pm
the Lecture Hall, Sadleir House
751 George St. North
(PETERBOROUGH) How is it that when community leaders, wrongfully targeted in the aftermath of violence connected with Tahoe Resources’Escobal mine in Guatemala, spend months in jail, the company’s former head of security, accused of ordering guards to open fire on protesters last April is first given house arrest and then allowed to avoid prison by arguing that he is sick?
This is just one of the stark asymmetries in the current conflict between the Toronto-listed mining firm and communities in southeastern Guatemala, where repression and violence have been the outcome of efforts to install the project without social support.
More than half of the communities in the municipality of San Rafael las Flores, where the Escobal project is located, have declared opposition to the mine. In five neighbouring municipalities, in the departments of Santa Rosa and Jalapa, the majority of the population, which numbers in the tens of thousands, has voted against the mine in municipal referenda.
Nonetheless, in January, Tahoe Resources reported that the Escobal mine is operational, claiming that: “unanticipated social issues have been addressed”.According to local reports, the only thing that Tahoe Resources seems to have resolved is how to mine despite ongoing conflict in Guatemala where the company and its principal investor, Goldcorp, wield considerable political and economic influence.
This conflict brings to the forefront the need for the Canadian government to facilitate access to justice for abuses committed abroad. The tour of a group of Guatemalans to include stops in Ontario, Quebec, the Maritimes and Vancouver will link to the Canadian Network for Corporate Accountability’s Open for Justice campaign. The CNCA campaign calls for legislated access to Canadian courts for people who have been harmed by the international operations of Canadian companies. It also calls for the creationof an extractive-sector Ombuds officein Canada mandated to investigate accusations of abuses and make recommendations to the government and the companies involved.
To provide a first hand community account of the situation around Tahoe’s Escobal mine, on March 24, Oscar Moraleswill be in Peterboroughto talk about this current chapter regarding Canadian conflicts in Guatemala’s mining sector.
Oscar Moralesis an agronomist, deeply concerned about the environmental and social impacts of mining, and is the coordinator of the Committee in Defense of Life and Peace in San Rafael Las Flores, Santa Rosa, Guatemala. He is an advocate for the community consultations that have taken place throughout the province of Santa Rosa, as a response to the arrival of mining companies. He has also worked to support the six men shot by the mine security in April 2013. He is also a legal petitioner against another mine being proposed by Tahoe Resources in the same area.
On the Road for Justice:Canada Tour – Peterborough Stop
Monday, March 24, 2014 at 6:30 pm
the Lecture Hall, Sadleir House, 751 George St. North
For more information please contact:
Canadian Mining Awareness: firstname.lastname@example.org
Natalie Guttormsson: 705-760-1229