Speaking out against Pan American Silver’s Escobal mine has always been dangerous, but we are in the midst of a spike in violence. Over the past two months, six members of the peaceful resistance to Pan American Silver’s Escobal mine have suffered attacks and death threats. In January, Julio David González Arango was shot at his home by armed assailants.
It was not the first time Julio has been targeted. In 2013, he was forced to flee his home and spent months in hiding as criminalization and violence escalated in the lead up to the start of mining operations.
This is a dangerous time for Guatemalans like Julio who oppose the Escobal mine, and Pan American Silver’s continued interference in communities is making it worse.
In 2017, mine operations were suspended - first through the direct action of two peaceful encampments which stopped all mine-related traffic to the mine, and then by the courts, which ordered the suspension until the Xinka people could be consulted. Years later, the consultation process is finally advancing, but the decade-long violent conflict is only getting worse.
Pan American Silver is adding fuel to the fire by refusing to suspend local programs, which communities say heightens tensions and is a form of coercion in the ongoing consultation process. Their ongoing interference violates the court-ordered suspension and puts Xinka land defenders at greater risk.
Add your name to call on Pan American Silver to respect the Xinka people’s right to be freely consulted without violence and threats, and immediately cease its interference in Xinka communities.
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