Maya People of Sipacapa Issue International Call for Solidarity

11th Dec The Maya People of Sipacapa issued an international appeal for solidarity this past weekend, in the midst of ongoing protests against Goldcorp Inc.’s mining activities in San Marcos, Guatemala.

The Maya began protesting with campesino communities on December 4,2013, setting up two separate blockades on the Inter-American Highway — at Kilometer 170 in Santa Catarina Ixtahuacán, Sololá and Kilometer 242 near Pajapita, San Marcos.

According to the appeal, issued by The Mayan Council Of Sipacapa on December 7, Goldcorp and its subsidiary EntreMares de Guatemala are violating a community decision to reject any mining exploitation in Sipacapa.

The Maya are now demanding the withdrawal of both the company’s personnel and its machinery from Sipacapa, and requesting ”that central government authorities respect the community consultation carried out in 2005.”

They are further demanding an end to any ongoing efforts to force them to accept the new mine as well as the presence of various government officials “To resolve this issue, since the only thing we seek is peace”, state the Maya People of Sipacapa, adding, “The presence of the mine is causing social conflict, on a family level and on a community level, and it is destroying our social harmony.”

In addition to their demands, the Maya People Of Sipacapa are asking “our sisters and brothers from other nations to accompany us in this struggle which [is] in benefit of all.”

Below, please find the December 7 Appeal from the The People Of Sipacapa, in English and Spanish. English translation by Rights Action.

The People Of Sipacapa, Via The Mayan Council Of Sipacapa, Informs:

  • To all sisterly and brotherly peoples, national and international authorities, national and international social and human rights organizations;
  • To the Ministry of Energy and Mines, the Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources, the Ministry of the Interior; and
  • To EntreMares (Goldcorp Inc.):

Sipacapa Already Said No To Mining Exploitation.

“Sipacapa Is Not For Sale”

In 2005, the population firmly rejected mining exploration and exploitation in its territory, as was documented in the acts of the community consultation carried out in good faith on June 18, 2005 in each community of the municipality.

Since that time, the community has continued to defend that position. The population does not want its land destroyed by metallic mining, which only leads to social contamination (conflict), environmental contamination, health problems, deterioration of wildlife and economic injustice, as we see in the sister municipality of San Miguel Ixtahuacán, department of San Marcos.

Nevertheless, on April 30, 2012, the Ministry of Energy and Mines – through its general director of mining – issued a mining exploration license to the company EntreMares de Guatemala (owned by Goldcorp Inc.), called the “Chocoyos” license, to exploit gold, silver, nickel, cobalt, chromium, copper, lead, zinc antimony and rare earth elements in an area of 23 square kilometers.

For these reasons, we have been protesting peacefully since December 4, 2013, to reject the presence of exploration machinery and personnel from EntreMares/ Goldcorp. We demand the withdrawal of this machinery and the company personnel from the territory of Sipacapa, and request that central government authorities respect the community consultation carried out in 2005.

We request and demand that they cease to force us to accept the presence of the EntreMares/ Goldcorp mine in Sipacapa. We continue to be intimidated by the presence of the National Civilian Police.

We also demand the presence of the departmental governor, the director of Energy and Mines, the Minister of Energy and Mines and the Human Rights Prosecutor. We request their presence in our municipality to resolve this issue, since the only thing we seek is peace. The presence of the mine is causing social conflict, on a family level and on a community level, and it is destroying our social harmony.

We ask our sisters and brothers from other nations to accompany us in this struggle which in benefit of all. Municipal authorities should not be promoting destructive projects.

Municipality of Sipacapa, San Marcos

December 7, 2013