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, shot at close range and while attempting to flee, 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.
Security footage taken from cameras at the Escobal mine was used as evidence in the civil case in Canada and the criminal case in Guatemala; this video shows a peaceful demonstration taking place outside the mine on April 27, 2013, and the subsequent shooting of protestors by private security.
In March 2014, human rights lawyer and activist, Rafael Maldonaldo, travelled to Canada to speak about the human rights violations and injustice taking place in San Rafael de Las Flores – a region that is home to farmers and the country’s Xinka community. “I want Canadians to know that the silver, and possibly the gold, that is being extracted from Guatemala – is bloodstained” he said. He also spoke about the lack of consultation between the country’s government &Tahoe Resources Inc. (a Canada-based mining company), and the local communities in the region.
I travelled there last month, to explore the allegations, and to document the voices of the communities impacted by Tahoe’s Escobal Mine in San Rafael and surrounding areas.
This is their story….
– Maggie Padlewska
President of the indigenous community of Santa Maria Xalapan and President of the Xinca Parliament
Member of the Santa Rosa Diocese Council for the Defense of Nature