We share an update about the increase in threats and intimidations against the Peaceful Resistance of La Puya, San José del Golfo and San Pedro Ayampuc, in the Department of Guatemala.
On the 15th of July 2015, the First Instance Civil Court of Guatemala ruled in favor of members of the Peaceful Resistance of La Puya ordering the municipality to suspend the construction activity of the “El Tambor” Progreso VII Derivada mine within 15 days so that a community consultation can be held. On the 23rd of July, the municipal council agreed to stop the mining project's construction works until the legal issue has been solved.
On the 25th of July, employees of the mining company tried to enter the mine with 3 trucks loaded with construction materials. This caused tension amongst the Resistance, as its members felt that it was a provocation.
On July 29th, PBI observed a verification mission consisting of representatives of La Puya and delegates of the San Pedro Ayampuc municipality, which had as its objective to gather photographic evidence to see whether the mine was respecting the court's ruling or, as was the case, whether it continued the construction works.
In the early morning of the 3rd of August, stating that the court's ruling was not enforceable and thus disobeying the municipal agreement based on the court's ruling, the mining company entered the mining site with trucks containing building materials. They were escorted by the National Civil Police riot squad. The Director of Kappes, Cassiday and Associates in the United States claimed that the construction has been completed and the mine is operating. According to reports from members of the Resistance, the special police forces threatened, surrounded and detained several members as the trucks passed. One of La Puya's members reported to the Human Rights Ombudsman (PDH) that agents of the National Police force were limiting his freedom of action and movement, prohibiting him from answering a call he received on his mobile phone, threatening to take his phone from him and not allowing him to accompany his son the bathroom.
Ever since, there continues to be a heavy police presence in La Puya. Members of the Resistance have also reported having suffered various forms of intimidation by employees of the mining company. One member has denounced at the Unit for Protection of Human Rights Defenders in Guatemala (UDEFEGUA), that on August 5th when driving his vehicle, his passage was blocked by a truck with contruction equipment. The truck driver was an employee of the mine, who got our of his truck, shouting at him and insultin him, while trying to grab him by his shirt to forece him out of his car.
Communities and members of the Peaceful Resistance of La Puya demand that the company respects the court's ruling, as well as the order of the San Pedro Ayampuc municipality to suspend construction.
For more information see the page of the Peaceful Resistance La Puya.