letter in response to murder of Jesuit run Radio Progreso staff member in Honduras

April 19th, 2014  / Author: underminingsustainability

April 19, 2014

Dear Minister Baird,

We are outraged and deeply saddened by the news of the murder of Carlos Mejía Orellana on April 11, 2014, a journalist and marketing director of Radio Progreso, a Jesuit community-based radio station in El Progreso, Honduras. We would like to express our deepest condolences to Carlos’ family members, friends and colleagues. Our thoughts and prayers are with all who are mourning this senseless death.  Read the rest of this entry »

Merilyn Topacio Reynoso, activist resisting against Tahoe Resources murdered

April 16th, 2014  / Author: mininginjustice

Poster produced by a youth journal to commemorate Merilyn Topacio Reynoso.


Late on the night of Sunday the 13th of April, Alex Reynoso and Merilyn Topacio Reynoso – father and daughter activists involved in the resistance against Canadian company Tahoe Resources’ Escobal Mine in Guatemala – were attacked by unknown suspects. Alex and Merilyn were on their way home to Matequescuintla after attending an activity in a nearby community. Merilyn, who was sixteen years old, was shot and killed; Alex was severely wounded and remains in intensive care.

More information will be shared as it becomes available. For details please visit Rachel Small’s blog. Rachel has recently returned to Toronto after a visit to the Escobal mine amongst other Guatemalan communities affected by foreign-owned mining projects. (http://rachelblumesmall.wordpress.com/2014/04/16/with-rage-love-and-solidarity-after-the-murder-of-merilyn-topacio-reynoso-and-the-attack-on-her-father/)

Urgent Action from La Puya, Guatemala: Call for an End to Police Intimidation and Eviction Threats

April 16th, 2014  / Author: mininginjustice


Photo Courtesy of: Rachel Small
The National Police, at the service of US mining company Kappes Cassiday and Associates (KCA), have been carrying out acts of intimidation and threatening eviction against communities in resistance at La Puya, just north of Guatemala City. Early April 9, a local company contracted by KCA, Transmac S.A., arrived at the mine site with heavy machinery, and with a National Civil Police (PNC) escort as ordered by the Ministry of the Interior. By mid-day, Transmac was forced to remove the machinery from the area. However, two representatives of KCA’s local subsidiary, EXMINGUA, remained throughout the day. The police presence also stayed and increased. By 2 pm, there were roughly 300 agents, many of whom were women dressed in full riot gear, lined up outside the entrance to the peaceful encampment.
The massive police presence, particularly the presence of female agents, gave the impression that an eviction attempt was imminent. Hundreds of people gathered at La Puya spent the afternoon under intense pressure and fear. While an arrest warrant was never emitted and the PNC made no attempt to remove the encampment, there is a clear intent to intimidate and provoke confrontation with the population in peaceful resistance.
The communities opposing KCA’s El Tambor gold mine have made clear that their actions are focused on stopping a project that will destroy their lives and livelihoods. They are not blocking the public road or impeding free transit. The communities maintain their willingness to dialogue with the government.
Excessive police presence continues in areas surrounding La Puya and there is concern that a violent eviction will be attempted in the near future.

Take Action!

Call and email Kappes Cassiday and Associates CEO, Dan Kappes, and the Ministry of the Interior in Guatemala now:

  • Express your concern for the safety of the men, women and children in peaceful resistance;
  • Demand an end to intimidation and harassment by police and private security, and respect for human rights;
  • Urge respect for the ongoing dialogue and No to eviction of La Puya.

Kappes Cassiday and Associates
Dan Kappes - dkappes@kcareno.com
Ryan Adams – radams@kcareno.com
US Phone (775) 972-7575

Ministry of the Interior
Minister Mauricio López Bonilla - fdeleon@mingob.gob.gt
Guatemala Phone (011) 502-2413-8888

URGENT ACTION: Call on Goldcorp to Negotiate in Good Faith with the Ejido Carrizalillo or to Initiate Mine Closure Plan

April 8th, 2014  / Author: underminingsustainability

Join the Ejido’s call for good faith negotiations without repression

Since the morning of Tuesday April 1, the Ejido Carrizalillo in Guerrero, Mexico has blocked operations at Goldcorp’s Los Filos mine in revindication of their territorial rights following expiration of the company’s land use contract with the community and its failure to negotiate a new one on time.

In their statement announcing the mine shut down, the Ejido’s negotiating team stated that they would “suspend mine operations until the company demonstrates greater disposition to negotiate or – failing that – demand that it begin to close the mine according to Mexican law to reduce the environmental and health damages that have occurred.” They requested the presence of Mr. Horacio Bruna, Vice President of Goldcorp’s Mexican Operations, at the blockade in order to proceed with talks. Read the rest of this entry »

International Solidarity with Victims of Hudbay Minerals-CGN as Criminal Trial Against Former Head of Security is Delayed

April 3rd, 2014  / Author: underminingsustainability

Puerto Barrios, Guatemala – Indigenous Maya Q’eqchi’ victims of a September 2009 violent attack outside a then-Canadian owned nickel mine were once again disheartened when it was announced today that the criminal trial of Mynor Padilla, former head of security for the Compañía Guatemalteco de Níquel (CGN), was postponed. Padilla’s trial for the murder of Aldofo Ich Chamán and the shooting of seven others on September 27, 2009 was set to open on April 4th but has been postponed until April 24th. An administrative error was cited as the reason for postponing the opening of the trial. Victims and family members point out that the legal process to bring Padilla to justice has already been prolonged and impeded extensively. “They are misleading us and trying to exhaust us in our pursuit of justice,” stated Angelica Choc, the wife of Adolfo Ich. Read the rest of this entry »

Honouring our Waters: Friday April 4th – Saturday April 5th

March 29th, 2014  / Author: mininginjustice

water flyer copy

Water is increasingly becoming commodified, corporations seek to privatize water, extractive industries exploit      water in their pursuit of profit, and governments actively sell the rights to water. Communities are seeing the  devastating effects of the commodification of water. As we see these effects, we recognize the need to organize ourselves, to vision an alternative communal way of life.

Please join us for
Honouring Our Waters (A 2 day event)

Community Sharing Circle
Traditional Indigenous Teachings focusing on our relationship to water.
Friday, April 4 @ 6:30 pm
Beit Zatoun- 612 Markham Ave.

Water Struggles Across the Americas
Creative workshops and panel discussions
Saturday, April 5 @ 10 am
Sidney Smith- 100 St George St

MiningInjustice Solidarity
Lacsn Red
Council of Canadians – Toronto Chapter

for more information:

On the Road to Justice – Videos Online!

March 25th, 2014  / Author: mininginjustice

As part of a cross-Canada speaking tour, community leaders from Guatemala provided a first-hand account of the situation around Tahoe’s Escobal mine, located in southeastern Guatemala.

Watch their powerful teastimonies here:

Part 1
Oscar Morales – Representative of the Committee of Life and Peace of San Rafael Las Flores

Part 2
Celeste Gutierrez – Representative of the Catholic Church Committee in Defence of Nature

Part 3
Rafael Maldonado – Environmental, HUman Rights and Social Lawyer, representative of the Center for Environmental Legal and Social Action in Guatemala

Part 4

This is a true story of Canadian-sponsored abuses; Guatemalans and Canadians are seeking a way forward to achieve justice and respect for communities.

Tens of thousands of people living near the Escobal mine project have participated in 14 referenda and voted against mining. More than half of the communities in the municipality of San Rafael Las Flores, where the project is located, have also declared their opposition. Meanwhile, the company’s former head of security is under arrest awaiting trial for allegedly having ordered security guards to fire on protesters, while many community members and leaders have faced unfounded criminal charges.

This tour is an initiative of the Coalition Against Unjust Mining in Guatemala in support of the Canadian Network for Corporate Accountability’s “Open for Justice” campaign. The campaign calls for legislated access to Canadian courts for people who have been harmed by the international operations of Canadian companies and for the creation of an extractive-sector Ombuds office in Canada mandated to investigate accusations of abuses and make recommendations to the government and the companies involved.

See our press release regarding the tour HERE

Endorsed by: MiningWatch Canada, Mining Injustice Solidarity Network, Maritimes-Guatemala Breaking the Silence Network, Amnesty International Business and Human Rights Group

‘Open for Justice’ Tour Press Release

March 25th, 2014  / Author: mininginjustice

‘On the Road for Justice’ Speaking Tour to Bring Attention to Guatemala Mining Conflict, Need for Remedy in Canada
Wednesday, March 12, 2014

(Ottawa) How is it that when community leaders wrongfully targeted in the wake of violence connected with Tahoe Resources’ Escobal silver mine in Guatemala they spend months in jail, while the company’s former head of security, accused of ordering guards to open fire on protesters last April, is first given house arrest and then allowed to avoid prison by arguing that he is sick?

This is just one of the stark asymmetries in the current conflict between the Toronto-listed mining firm and communities in southeastern Guatemala, where repression and violence have been the outcome of efforts to install the project without social support.

More than half of the communities in the municipality of San Rafael las Flores, where the Escobal project is located, have declared opposition to the mine. In neighbouring municipalities, in the departments of Santa Rosa and Jalapa, the majority of the population has voted against the mine in municipal referenda.

Nonetheless, Tahoe Resources reported in January that the Escobal mine is operational, claiming that “unanticipated social issues have been addressed.” According to local reports, the only thing that Tahoe Resources seems to have resolved is how to mine despite ongoing conflict in Guatemala, where the company and its principal investor, Goldcorp, wield considerable political and economic influence.

This conflict brings to the forefront the need for the Canadian government to facilitate access to justice for abuses committed abroad. The tour of a group of Guatemalans to include stops in Ontario, Quebec, and British Columbia will link to the Canadian Network for Corporate Accountability’s Open for Justice campaign. The CNCA campaign calls for laws to allow access to Canadian courts for people who have been harmed by the international operations of Canadian companies. It also calls for the creation of an extractive-sector Ombuds office in Canada mandated to investigate accusations of abuses and make recommendations to the government and the companies involved.

To provide a first hand community account of the situation around the Escobal mine, lawyer Rafael Maldonado from the Guatemalan Centre for Environmental, Social, and Legal Action (CALAS) will visit Ottawa, Toronto and Montreal to talk about the current state of Canadian mining conflicts in Guatemala.

Mr. Maldonado has defended numerous community members who have been criminalized for their opposition to the Tahoe project and represents plaintiffs in the case against Alberto Rotondo, who is facing charges for aggravated assault against six community members. Mr. Maldonado also represents communities in a case of industrial contamination against the mine.

Mr. Oscar Morales will join Mr. Maldonado in Toronto and then travel to Kingston, Peterborough and Vancouver. Mr. Morales is Coordinator of the Committee in Defense of Life and Peace in San Rafael Las Flores, as well as a community advocate and agronomist who is deeply concerned about the environmental and social impacts of Tahoe’s mine. He has worked to support the six men shot by mine security in April 2013 and has been an advocate for the community consultations that have taken place throughout Santa Rosa.

Endorsed by: MiningWatch Canada, Mining Injustice Solidarity Network, Maritimes-Guatemala Breaking the Silence Network, Amnesty International Business and Human Rights Group

Take Action! Please consider signing our solidarity statement at the link below!

March 20th, 2014  / Author: mininginjustice


We’ve launched a call for solidarity with Q’eqchi’ communities in Guatemala who have been resisting violence from Canadian mining companies (most recently Hudbay Minerals) for over 50 years. On April 4th they’ll be bringing a landmark criminal case to court in Guatemala and MISN will show up to bring the statement of solidarity as well as all signatures and endorsements we’ve gathered to the courthouse!

Please help us to reach 1000 signatures and to let these communities know that people around the world are paying attention, and are standing in solidarity with them in their long journey towards justice, towards the reclaiming of their territory, towards safety, peace and self-determination for their communities.

Sign here: https://www.change.org/en-CA/petitions/solidarity-with-q-eqchi-communities-in-their-struggle-against-canadian-mining-companies

For More information, please visit Rachel Small’s Under-Mining Guate blog:

Building solidarity with Hondurans – Exposing Oppressive Canadian Investment

February 13th, 2014  / Author: mininginjustice


Feb 21, 2014 – 7 – 9pm
Beit Zatoun – 612 Markham St
Light refreshments served

Join us for a night of discussion, reflection and video screening  about Canada’s role in the current social, political and human rights crisis facing Hondurans. Elections observers who witnessed the recent presidential elections will share their experiences and findings and report back on the messages heard by impacted communities they visited.  Join us and join the call for solidarity with Honduras!

A raffle will be held in support of MISN and sales of BeeHive collective posters will go towards Bertha Oliva of the Committee of Relatives of the Detained and Disappeared in Honduras (COFADEH) and their upcoming Canadian tour.

Raul Burbano, Common Frontiers Program Director

Guest speakers (members of delegation):
Bob Lovelace – Member or the delegation, and former chief of the Ardoch Algonquin First Nations.
Monica Gutierrez, community organizer with Mining Injustice Solidarity Network
and more mining solidarity special guests to be confirmed shortly!

More information:
The Canada-Handuras FTA was signed on Nov 5, 2013 “amid political repression, increasing militarization, and controversial Canadian investment in the Central American nation… Controversial Canadian mining, sweatshop, and tourism sectors also stand to benefit from investment protection measures” (Sandra Cuffe, Upside Down World)

In Nov, 2013, a Canadian-based delegation of elections observers met with communities and groups impacted by Canadian investment in mining, maquiladoras and the mega tourism sector. Organized communities and human rights defenders have sent a clear message that the current situation in Honduras is one of increasing oppression, impunity and human rights violations. Many face perilous conditions, such as Bertha Oliva, General Coordinator of COFADEH who has said: “I think we live in a dictatorship without precedents, worse than in the 80′s”.