Violence at Escobal Silver mine
Mining Watch Canada has recently reported that the Network in Solidarity with the People of Guatemala (NISGUA) and MiningWatch Canada has warned Tahoe Resources investors against further investment in the Escobal silver project in Guatemala.
The recommendation comes against a background of a lack of community support and increasing violence and repression in the Guatemala.
For the past three years local communities in Guatemala have been peacefully demonstrated their opposition to the Escobal mining project, located in the municipality of San Rafael Las Flores, over the potential social and environmental impacts. However, despite strong opposition to the mine in the region, Tahoe Resources' received its license to put the Escobal silver mine project into operation in early April 2013.
The project has provoked an increase in conflict in the region, which recently escalated on April 27 when the company’s private security shot at community members, injuring six men, two of them seriously. Contrary to company statements, a spokesperson for the Roosevelt Hospital in Guatemala City said live ammunition was used. Alberto Rotondo, security manager for Minera San Rafael, Tahoe Resources’ wholly owned Guatemalan subsidiary, was arrested and charged with with causing mild and serious bodily harm, and for obstructing the investigation by tampering with the crime scene. Two more mine employees were arrested in connection with the recent violence, including the killing of a police officer.
On May 2 2013, the Guatemalan government declared a state of emergency in San Rafael Las Flores, where Tahoe’s Escobal project is located effectively making public protest and further community consultations illegal as long as the measure remains in place. Local activists have been among those targeted in raids and detentions.
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