Take action! Anti-mining activist shot for the second time

On Saturday evening, armed assailants shot at six people in Mataquescuintla, Jalapa, Guatemala, where communities have organized in peaceful resistance to Tahoe Resources’ Escobal mine project.

Among those injured was Alex Reynoso, an environmental defender and member of the Mataquescuintla mining resistance movement in southeastern Guatemala. Alex remains in stable condition, recuperating from a bullet shot into his lower back.

This attack follows a pattern of violence against land and environmental defenders who oppose Tahoe’s mine. Just last year, Alex was shot and injured in another attack – one that killed his 16 year old daughter, Merilyn Topacio, herself a leader of the Mataquescuintla youth movement against mining. A year before that in April 2013, private security guards opened fire on a peaceful protest against the mine wounding seven men who are now suing Tahoe for negligence and battery in a British Columbia court.

This violence against environmental defenders must end, and these crimes must not be allowed to remain in impunity. Add your name to condemn this violence and demand that authorities undertake a full and impartial investigation into this attack and all prior incidents of violence in connection with Tahoe Resources’ Escobal project. This petition will be delivered to the office of Guatemala’s Attorney General and the U.S. and Canadian Embassies in Guatemala.

Click here to sign the petition.

Three steps you can take to halt Tahoe Resources’ expansion in Guatemala!

For the past five years, communities impacted by Tahoe Resources’ Escobal mine in southeastern Guatemala have stood up to peacefully defend their lands and livelihoods. The Diocesan Committee in the Defense of Nature (CODIDENA) has led this movement – organizing and carrying out community referenda in which more than 55,000 people in seven municipalities voted against the silver mine. Despite this clear message, Tahoe and the Guatemalan government have pushed the project forward, using violent repression, criminalization and militarization in an attempt silence the resistance.

But the resistance didn’t go away. Today, thousands of brave women and men continue to seek out new, creative and resilient ways to express their opposition to Tahoe’s Escobal project and to halt the company’s plans to develop more mines in the region.

At the end of October, CODIDENA will meet with the US Embassy in Guatemala to demand accountability for US – Canadian based companies operating in Guatemala with impunity but without the consent of impacted communities.

Here are three things you can do to support communities in resistance to Tahoe Resources:

Step 1: Call and Email Your Elected Representatives

Tell the US government: Tahoe Resources contributes to human rights violations in Guatemala!

*Find contact information for your representative by visiting opencongress.org

Hello, my name is ____________________, and I am deeply concerned that North American mining companies are contributing to human rights violations in Guatemala. There is mounting evidence that Tahoe Resources, a company operating in Guatemala with headquarters in Nevada and Vancouver, collaborated with the Guatemalan military and a US private security company to suppress local opposition to their Escobal silver mine through the criminalization of protest and violent repression. Today, military outposts line the highway on either side of the mine, intimidating communities who have consistently and democratically voted against mining in their territory.

The abusive actions of US companies abroad is a US problem and requires US government response. I ask that you share this information and concern with Roberta Jacobson, head of the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs at the US State Department and Todd Robinson, US Ambassador to Guatemala.

Step 2: Join our Thunderclap

Show that you stand with CODIDENA in opposing Tahoe Resources in Guatemala by adding your voice to our Thunderclap. The day before the meeting at the US Embassy, this messages will be posted from your Twitter, Facebook, or Tumblr account along with messages from hundreds of others!

Click here to join our Thunderclap.

Continue the conversation! During the month of October, directly ask the US Embassy some hard questions about Tahoe’s operations in Guatemala. Here are some samples:

• #TahoeResources boasts popular support. So why hire a US company with operations in Iraq to develop its security strategy? @usembassyguate
• How can #TahoeResources be allowed to ignore 55,000+ votes against mining by communities neighboring the #Escobal mine? @usembassyguate

Step 3: Show Your Solidarity – a picture is worth 1000 words

Mine-impacted communities want us to know that despite repression and militarization, they are still resisting Tahoe’s operations and expansion. Let them know that you stand with them by taking a picture of yourself with a sign expressing your solidarity. Use the hashtag #StillHereWithYou or #SeguimosConUstedes and #TahoeOnTrial. Tag NISGUA_Guate on Twitter!

Guatemalan communities are saying no to Tahoe Resources — It’s time for U.S. and Canadian investors to say NO too! 

U.S. and Canadian listed mining company Tahoe Resources has one mine operation, the Escobal silver mine in southeastern Guatemala. It is widely opposed by local communities and there has been serious violence and repression in connection with its operations, which are now the subject of pending legal actions.

Norway’s Council on Ethics for the Government Pension Fund Global (GPFG) recently confirmed many of these concerns in a report that urges the exclusion of Tahoe Resources from the fund’s portfolio. The Council cited “unacceptable risk of the company contributing to serious human rights violations through its operation” in southeastern Guatemala.

Goldcorp, known for ongoing human rights violations at the Marlin mine in Guatemala, holds 40% of Tahoe Resources’ shares.

Tahoe Resources is a dangerous investment. Here’s why:

  • Tens of thousands of people have voted against mining in the area around Tahoe’s project, where prominent opponents have been met with deadly violence. In an April 2014 attack seven kilometers from the mine, youth resistance leader, Topacio Reynoso, was shot and killed. Her father was seriously injured. In just one of fourteen local referenda to date – in Topacio Reynoso’s hometown of Mataquesquintla – over half of eligible voters participated and 96% said no to mining.
  • The company and former employees are facing lawsuits for their role in violence at the mine site. In 2013, mine private security shot and injured seven men, including two minors. Alberto Rotondo is scheduled to stand trial in Guatemala for his alleged role in violence at the Escobal mine when he was head of security for Tahoe. Also, a civil lawsuit filed in Canada against the company for negligence and battery in connection with April 2013 shooting is proceeding to its first hearing this spring about where the case should be heard.
  • Government military tactics are used to repress local dissent. A pilot project aimed at suppressing mining opposition was initiated in San Rafael Las Flores with the support of Tahoe Resources. The “Inter-institutional Group on Mining Affairs,” frames opposition to mining as a national security threat and is overseen by Coronel Ricardo Bustamante, Technical Secretary for the National Security Commission. There has been heightened military presence in the area ever since a state of siege was ordered in May 2013 in three of the municipalities that had voted against the mine.
  • Criminalization increased as Tahoe ramped up toward production in early 2014. Since 2012, nearly 90 legal cases have been filed against people opposed to the project. Tahoe CEO Kevin McArthur has now been summoned twice to testify in Guatemalan courts about Tahoe’s criminalization practices.
  • Tahoe’s mining concessions – where it hopes to continue expanding its project – pose a threat to Indigenous communities, communities in resistance and protected areas. A new map shows that almost half of Tahoe’s exploration and reconnaissance concessions directly impact or border Indigenous communities. Exploration licenses also directly affect communities that have demonstrated overwhelming opposition to Tahoe’s operations, such as San Juan Bosco and Mataquescuintla.
Call on U.S. based TIAA-CREF and the Canada Pension Plan to divest from Tahoe Resources! 
U.S. residents click here
Canadian residents click here