Press release: ‘Wanted’ posters featuring photos of Tahoe Resources’ executives and managers posted in Toronto, Nevada, and Vancouver

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, May 4th, 2016

Toronto, Canada: Over four hundred ‘wanted’ posters affixed to walls, posts, and newspaper boxes greeted Tahoe Resources shareholders on their way into the mining company’s 2016 shareholder meeting this morning. The posters highlight charges against various Tahoe employees, ranging from ordering the shooting of residents to industrial contamination, as well as human rights and environmental abuses alleged by communities surrounding Tahoe’s flagship mine in Guatemala. Identical posters were also plastered across downtown Vancouver and Reno, the locations of Tahoe Resources’ Canadian and American headquarters.

Above: Hundreds of posters covered the streets surrounding the  Toronto Four Seasons where Tahoe Resources’ AGM was held this morning.

“We wanted to make sure that the executives and shareholders entering Tahoe Resources’ annual general meeting were forced to confront their company’s crimes and the violence that communities around Tahoe’s Guatemalan mine have been subjected to in the name of their corporate profits,” says Rachel Small, a member of the Mining Injustice Solidarity Network (MISN), a Toronto based group.

On April 27th, 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 while attempting to flee, filed a lawsuit in June 2014 in Canadian courts against Tahoe for its role in the violence. The company requested that the court decline jurisdiction, arguing that paying for translators and the international shipment of evidence would be too costly and ‘inconvenient’. B.C. Supreme Court Justice Laura Gerow agreed and stayed the lawsuit in November 2015, encouraging the plaintiffs to instead file in Guatemala, despite well-documented evidence of corruption, and widespread impunity for violent offenses in Guatemalan courts. This judgment is currently being appealed.

Above: Posters plastered throughout Vancouver’s financial district

Alberto Rotondo, former military officer from Peru and security manager for Tahoe at the time of the shooting, escaped police custody by fleeing house arrest in late 2015 while awaiting trial in Guatemala for allegedly ordering security to open fire on protesters and then covering up the evidence. After approximately one month as an international fugitive from justice, Rotondo was detained in January by INTERPOL in Peru and is currently awaiting extradition back to Guatemala.

These lawsuits in Guatemala and Canada are only a small part of the bigger controversy surrounding Tahoe Resources’ Guatemalan mine. Since Tahoe Resources arrived in the region, Guatemalan 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, reaching commercial production in January 2014. Through 14 community-led consultations in six jurisdictions, over 50,000 people have voted against Tahoe’s mine and its expansion in the area.

Below: Posters mounted in Reno, Nevada, near Tahoe’s US headquarters.

The ‘wanted’ posters describe human rights and environmental abuses linked to this company including murder, criminalization of land defenders, and industrial water contamination. In addition to Kevin McArthur, Tahoe’s founder and CEO, and Alberto Rotondo, the posters feature Carlos Roberto Morales Monzón, facing trial for water contamination endangering the lives of residents near the Escobal mine; the unknown assailants who killed 16 year old youth leader Topacio Reynoso and severely injured her father; and Tahoe employees and associates for targeted criminalization and stigmatization of community leaders opposing the Escobal mine. Out of 90 baseless accusations filed against mining impacted community members between 2011-2015, only one case ever went to trial.

“While the Mining Injustice Solidarity Network dreams of a world where jails are not the main way we promote accountability and justice,” says MISN member Kate Klein, “Tahoe Resources and other Canadian mining companies are operating in a context where corporate impunity reigns. Their lawlessness is especially galling when compared with the intense criminalization and repression human rights and environmental leaders face. This cannot continue.”

____________________________________________________________

The Mining Injustice Solidarity Network (MISN) is a Toronto-based volunteer group that works closely with communities impacted by Canadian extractive industries globally in order to support their self-determination, educate the Canadian public, and bring companies to justice.

Media contact: Rachel Small, Mining Injustice Solidarity Network, 647-769-2472,mininginjustice@gmail.com.

High resolution versions of the wanted posters:
Wanted – Kevin McArthur, Tahoe CEO
Wanted – Alberto Rotondo, Head of Security
Wanted – Carlos Roberto Morales Monzón, mine manager
Wanted – Attackers of Topacio and Alex Reynoso
Wanted – Tahoe, criminalization

High-resolution photos available upon request.

For more information:
www.mininginjustice.org
www.tahoeontrial.net
#tahoeontrial
A timeline of Tahoe’s Escobal mine: http://bit.ly/1I2l3XZ

Comunicado de Prensa: Toronto, Nevada y Vancouver empapeladas con afiches que indican que “se busca” a los ejecutivos y gerentes de Tahoe Resources

PARA DIFUSIÓN INMEDIATA

miércoles, 4 de mayo de 2016

Comunicado de Prensa: Toronto, Nevada y Vancouver empapeladas con afiches que indican que “se busca” a los ejecutivos y gerentes de Tahoe Resources.

Toronto, Canadá: Inversionistas de Tahoe Resources se toparon esta mañana con más de 400 afiches de “se busca” por las calles que llevan a la asamblea general de la empresa este año. Los afiches resaltan los cargos contra varios empleados de Tahoe, que van desde ordenar que se abra fuego ante pobladores hasta contaminación industrial, al igual que los abusos a los derechos humanos y el medio ambiente que alegan las comunidades cercanas a la mina más importante de Tahoe, en Guatemala. Los mismos afiches aparecieron por las calles del centro de Vancouver y Reno donde se ubican las sedes canadiense y estadounidense de Tahoe Resources.

“Queríamos corroborar que los ejecutivos e inversionistas que asistieran a la asamblea general de Tahoe Resources se vieran obligados a afrontar los crímenes de su empresa y la violencia que han vivido las comunidades cercanas a la mina de Tahoe en Guatemala en nombre de las ganancias empresariales”, indica Rachel Small, miembro de la Red contra la Minería Injusta (Mining Injustice Solidarity Network – MISN) de Toronto.

El 27 de abril del 2013, el personal de seguridad de Tahoe Resources abrió fuego ante un grupo que se manifestaba pacíficamente enfrente de la mina de plata Escobal, en el municipio de San Rafael las Flores, en el suroriente de Guatemala. Las siete víctimas, que supuestamente fueron agredidas con armas de fuego al intentar huir, presentaron en junio del 2014 una demanda contra Tahoe en los tribunales de Canadá por su rol en la violencia. La empresa solicitó se desestime la demanda amparándose en la doctrina de fórum non conveniens, alegando que los gastos de traducción y envío internacional de pruebas serían demasiado costosos y “engorrosos”. La jueza Laura Gerow, magistrada del Tribunal Supremo de Columbia Británica se mostró de acuerdo con la empresa y suspendió la demanda en noviembre del 2015, sugiriéndoles a los querellantes que presentaran la demanda en Guatemala, a pesar de la evidencia de corrupción claramente documentada, y la impunidad generalizada en los tribunales de ese país en relación a crímenes violentos. Los querellantes apelaron la decisión.


[Afiches aparecieron por las calles del centro de Vancouver]

Alberto Rotondo, ex militar de Perú y jefe de seguridad de Tahoe cuando ocurrió el tiroteo, se encontraba bajo custodia policial en arresto domiciliario, pero escapó hacia finales del 2015, mientras esperaba el juicio en Guatemala por haber supuestamente ordenado que el personal de seguridad abriera fuego ante los manifestantes y luego encubrir la evidencia. Al cabo de alrededor de un mes de estar en fuga internacional, INTERPOL lo detuvo en Perú en enero. En la actualidad se encuentra a la espera de su extradición a Guatemala.

Estas demandas en Guatemala y Canadá no son sino una muestra de la controversia más generalizada que representa la mina de Tahoe Resources en Guatemala. Desde que la empresa llegó a la región, las y los líderes comunitarias/os que se oponen a la mina han debido afrontar represión, criminalización y violencia. A pesar del conflicto – o quizás debido a él – Tahoe se apresuró a iniciar operaciones en la mina antes de establecer la existencia confiable de reservas minerales, llegando a la producción comercial en enero del 2014. Más de 50,000 personas han votado en contra de la mina de Tahoe y su expansión en el área mediante 14 consultas comunitarias en seis jurisdicciones.

[Abajo: Afiches en Reno donde se ubica las sede estadounidense de Tahoe Resources.] 

Los afiches de “se busca” describen los abusos a los derechos humanos y al medio ambiente vinculados a la empresa que incluyen asesinatos, criminalización de defensoras y defensores de la tierra, y contaminación industrial del agua. Además de Kevin McArthur, fundador y director ejecutivo de Tahoe, y Alberto Rotondo, en los afiches figuran Carlos Roberto Morales Monzón, demandado por contaminación de agua poniendo en riesgo las vidas de quienes viven en proximidad a la mina Escobal; los agresores desconocidos que asesinaron a Topacio Reynoso, lideresa de jóvenes, de 16 años, e hirieron de gravedad a su padre; y el personal y socios de Tahoe por la criminalización y estigmatización de líderes comunitarios en contra de la mina Escobal. De las 90 acusaciones infundadas que se presentaron entre el 2011 y el 2015 en contra de pobladores que sufren impactos de la minería, sólo una llegó a juicio.

“Si bien la la Red contra la Minería Injusta espera el día que las prisiones no representen el mayor método para responsabilizar y hacer justicia, Tahoe Resources y otras mineras canadienses operan en un contexto donde impera la impunidad empresarial”, indica Kate Klein, miembro de MISN. “Sus operaciones tan al margen de la ley enfurecen aún más cuando las comparamos a la impresionante criminalización y represión que viven defensoras y defensores de derechos humanos y el medio ambiente. Esto no puede seguir así”.


La Red contra la Minería Injusta (MISN) es un grupo de voluntarias y voluntarios basado en Toronto que colabora estrechamente con comunidades afectadas por la industria extractiva canadiense en todo el mundo con objeto de apoyar la autodeterminación de las comunidades, sensibilizar a la población canadiense, y responsabilizar a las empresas.

Contacto: Rachel Small, la Red contra la Minería Injusta 647-769-2472mininginjustice@gmail.com

Versión de alta resolución de los afiches de “se busca”:
SE BUSCA – Kevin McArthur
SE BUSCA – Alberto Rotondo
SE BUSCA – Atacantes de Topacio y Alex Reynoso
SE BUSCA – Tahoe, criminalización 

Fotografías de alta resolución disponibles.

Para mayor información:
www.mininginjustice.org | www.tahoeontrial.net
Cronología de la mina Escobal de Tahoe en inglés:
http://bit.ly/1I2l3XZ

#TahoeEnLaMira

Traducido por Olimpia Boido. 

Shooting attack in Mataquescuintla, Jalapa, against opponents of Tahoe Resources’ Escobal mine

Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL) – Maritimes-Guatemala Breaking the Silence Network (BTS) – MiningWatch Canada – Network in Solidarity with the People of Guatemala (NISGUA) – Projet Accompagnement Québec Guatemala (PAQG)

(Guatemala/Ottawa/Washington/Tatamagouche) Forty-eight international organizations are calling for an investigation into the second armed attack in as many years against a well-known activist who is part of the peaceful resistance to Tahoe Resources’ Escobal silver mine in southeastern Guatemala.

On Saturday, October 17, Alex Reynoso – a human rights and environmental activist – was shot by unknown assailants while traveling with five others in Mataquescuintla, Jalapa, Guatemala. Two other men, Marlon Loy Dominguez and Estuardo Bran Clavel, were also injured in the attack.

Reynoso was first shot and injured in April 2014 in an assault that killed his 16-year old daughter, Topacio, a well-known youth activist. Both Alex and Topacio were active in the peaceful resistance against US-Canadian company Tahoe Resources, which announced commercial production at its controversial silver mine in 2014. Alex is currently in stable condition, recuperating from a gunshot wound in his lower back.

There has been constant opposition to the Tahoe Resources project since it was proposed in this largely agricultural area. Before the mine went into operation, tens of thousands of people in the area had voted in community and municipal plebiscites against any mining. In Mataquescuintla alone, in 2012, over 23,000 people participated in a local plebiscite, and 98.3% voted against mining. Reynoso played a key role in organizing the vote. During Guatemala’s elections in September 2015, local mayors, including the two-term mayor from Mataquescuintla, and councilors won running on anti-mining platforms.

“The attack wasn’t only against me, but also the local community development councils. We were at a meeting with the mayor to hear about the latest steps in the consultation process over mining and to thank the community for their work during the elections. On our way back home, the gunmen opened fire,” said Reynoso from the hospital.

Despite widespread public opposition to the project, however, Tahoe Resources maintains that it has had “great success” in educating local residents about the benefits of the project.

“Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time that people who oppose the Escobal mine have been attacked,” said Ellen Moore, Programs Coordinator with the Network in Solidarity with the People of Guatemala (NISGUA). “There is a clear and documented pattern of violence and persecution of environment defenders and community leaders who oppose Tahoe’s mine project. Also consistent is the impunity that surrounds those crimes.”

In 2013, private security guards shot seven men who were part of a peaceful protest outside the mine site. The former head of security for the company was charged in connection with the shooting after wire-tap evidence indicated that he targeted peaceful protesters, then tried to cover up the crime and flee the country. In June 2014, the seven men filed a civil suit against Tahoe Resources in the British Columbia Supreme Court for negligence and battery in connection with the violence.

Alex Reynoso blames impunity for last Saturday’s attack: “There was already an attack in which Topacio was killed, and there was no investigation. That’s why they keep attacking.”

The letter sent from international organizations to Guatemala’s Attorney General calls for a full and impartial investigation, and for protection for Reynoso and others whose lives are at risk for defending their land, water and peace in their communities. The international organizations also called on Canadian and US Embassies in Guatemala to be attentive to the situation as it develops. They concluded by expressing their solidarity with the affected communities.

Despite repeat requests, the Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board has refused to divest from Tahoe Resources. The CPPIB holds a $26 million investment in the company. In January 2015, Norway’s Council on Ethics recommended against investment in Tahoe Resources due to “unacceptable risk of the company contributing to serious human rights violations through its operation.”

Click here to add your name to the call for a full and impartial investigation.

Contacts:

  • Amanda Kistler, Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL), 202-742-5832, akistler(at)ciel.org
  • Lisa Rankin, Maritimes-Guatemala Breaking the Silence Network, btscoordinator(at)gmail.com
  • Jen Moore, MiningWatch Canada, (613) 569-3439, jen(at)miningwatch.ca
  • Megan Whelan, Network in Solidarity with the Peoples of Guatemala (NISGUA), (510)763-1403, megan(at)nisgua.org
  • Laurence Guénette, Projet Accompagnement Québec-Guatemala, (514) 495-3131, paqg(at)paqg.org

Attachment:
Click here to read the full letter in English.
Click here to read the full letter in Spanish.

Crumbling political support for Tahoe Resources in Guatemala

Article co-written by the Network in Solidarity with the People of Guatemala (NISGUA), MiningWatch Canada and the Maritimes-Guatemala Breaking the Silence Network (BTS). 

If the militarized security strategy that Tahoe Resources has used to put its Escobal silver mine into operation isn’t enough to raise questions about the ethics of the company’s operations in Guatemala, the recent resignation of Guatemalan President Otto Pérez Molina should be. Pérez Molina stepped down on September 2 after Congress voted to strip him of his political immunity. A week later, he was indicted on charges of illicit association, customs fraud, and bribery for his involvement in a customs network that robbed tens of millions of dollars of taxpayer money.

Rewind to July 2013, when former President Otto Pérez Molina made a personal site visit to the Escobal mine located in San Rafael las Flores in the department of Santa Rosa. The visit took place just a few months after Tahoe’s head of security was arrested for his role in the shooting of seven peaceful protesters and a subsequent month-long military state of siege was imposed on four municipalities in the area. While at the mine, Pérez Molina mingled with workers and filmed a national television address affirming support for the project.

For the full article, click here.

Tahoe Resources’ Administrative Manager detained on charges of industrial contamination

BTS-NISGUA-MiningWatchLogo

 

 

 

April 15, 2015

(Guatemala City/Ottawa) Monday, a Guatemalan judge denied bail to the Administrative Manager and Legal Representative, Carlos Roberto Morales Monzón, of Tahoe Resources’ subsidiary, Minera San Rafael S.A., and ordered him to pre-trial detention on charges of industrial contamination. The Guatemala’s Public Prosecutors’ Office for Crimes Against the Environment launched an investigation in 2012 into the company’s contamination of water sources near its Escobal silver mine. The trial date is set for June 12.

Tuesday, Tahoe Resources issued a press release downplaying the decision and Carlos Roberto Morales Monzón’s role in the company, referring to him as an “employee”, not the “mine manager”. Nonetheless, a February 2013 Constitutional Court decision refers to Mr. Morales Monzón as the Administrative Manager and Legal Representative for Minera San Rafael. The company also said it will appeal Monday’s decision.

“This is remarkable. Tahoe Resources now has two managers from the Escobal mine in pre-trial detention, beginning two years ago with the company’s former security manager who was detained on charges of assault and obstruction of justice. It will be even more remarkable if these cases continue to proceed,” stated Ellen Moore for the Network in Solidarity with the People of Guatemala.

The criminal case, which carries a sentence of up to eight years in prison if convicted, is the result of a complaint that the Center for Social Legal Action in Guatemala (CALAS) filed for contamination of the Escobal Creek and the El Dorado River, located near the community of Los Planes, just steps from Tahoe’s project. The alleged contamination occurred while the project was still in the exploration phase.

The Guatemalan Ministry of Health confirmed that a discharge of water from the mine installations was contaminated with suspended solids. Around this same time, local residents were reporting that contamination was affecting water used for crop irrigation. Since then, community members have been denouncing increasing scarcity of water in the area immediately surrounding the project, similarly believed to be a result of Tahoe’s mine. This latter concern is not part of the legal process.

“With several legal processes underway against the company and its affiliates, along with ongoing community resistance to the mine and its expansion plans, it should be ever more clear to investors that this company is a dangerous investment,” commented Jen Moore for MiningWatch Canada.

The extent of local concern over negative environmental and social impacts, present and future, of the mine on water supplies and community wellbeing has generated widespread community opposition to the project. As of March 2013, tens of thousands had voted against the project in local plebiscites and residents had filed more than 250 specific complaints against the granting of Tahoe’s final permitting license. The Ministry of Mines and Energy dismissed the complaints without consideration immediately before granting the company a license in April 2013. A lawsuit is pending in Guatemala’s Constitutional Court for lack of due process in this regard, which has raised questions about the legality of Tahoe’s exploitation license.

Protests that emerged in the wake of the Ministry’s hasty decision to grant Tahoe’s final permit faced police repression and an armed attack by company security guards on April 27, 2013 that left seven men injured. This latter event is the subject of a criminal case in Guatemalan courts against Alberto Rotondo, former security manager for Tahoe Resources, accused of having ordered and then attempted to cover up the attack. The seven men have also brought a civil suit against Tahoe Resources in British Columbia for negligence and battery in connection with the shooting.

In January 2015, the Norwegian Ethical Fund recommended against investing in Tahoe Resources, citing “unacceptable risk of the company contributing to serious human rights violations through its operation” at the Escobal silver mine in southeastern Guatemala.

Contacts:

  • Ellen Moore, Network in Solidarity with the People of Guatemala (NISGUA), ellen(at)nisgua.org, (510) 868-0612
  • Jackie McVicar, Maritimes-Guatemala Breaking the Silence Network, jackiebtsguatemala(at)gmail.com, (502) 4824-0637
  • Jen Moore, MiningWatch Canada, jen(at)miningwatch.ca, (613) 569-3439

For more information about this situation, follow tahoeontrial.net.

Tahoe Resources’ former security manager to be tried in Guatemalan court

Source: Center for Environmental, Social and Legal Action (CALAS) – MiningWatch Canada – Network in Solidarity with the People of Guatemala (NISGUA)

(Guatemala City/Ottawa) On Wednesday, a Guatemalan judge decided that Tahoe’s former security manager, Alberto Rotondo, should stand trial for his role in a shooting attack on peaceful protesters in April of last year.

On April 27, 2013, Tahoe Resources’ private security opened fire on peaceful protesters outside the Escobal mine, the company’s only project, in the municipality of San Rafael Las Flores in southeastern Guatemala. Rotondo, Tahoe’s then head of security and an ex-military officer from Peru, was arrested at Guatemala’s international airport and charged with allegedly having ordered the attack. Continue reading