On April 27, 2013, Tahoe Resources’ private security opened fire on peaceful protesters outside the Escobal silver mine, in the municipality of San Rafael las Flores in southeastern Guatemala. The seven victims, allegedly shot at close range and while attempting to flee, have filed a lawsuit in Canadian courts against the company for its role in the violence.
Alberto Rotondo, former military officer from Peru and head of security for Tahoe at the time of the incident, is currently under arrest in Guatemala awaiting trial for allegedly ordering security guards to fire at protesters and then covering up the evidence.
But the lawsuits in Guatemala and Canada are only a small part of the bigger picture.
With its flagship operation in Guatemala, Tahoe Resources Inc. is a silver exploration and development company that lists on the Toronto, New York and Lima stock exchanges, with offices in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada and Reno, Nevada, USA. Since it arrived in the region, community leaders opposing the mine have faced repression, criminalization and violence. Despite the conflict – or perhaps because of it – Tahoe rushed to put the mine into operation before establishing reliable mineral reserves, bringing its underground mine into operation in January 2014.