Take Action! Call on Tahoe Resources to refrain from supporting the use of legal persecution and other forms of repression against environmental defenders in Guatemala
On Wednesday July 5, the Guatemalan Supreme Court of Justice announced the temporary suspension of two Tahoe Resources mining licenses pending the resolution of a suit against the Ministry of Energy and Mines involving alleged discrimination and lack of prior consultation with Indigenous Xinka communities in the area of the company’s Escobal silver mine. The legal action was filed by the Center for Environmental, Social and Legal Action (CALAS) in consultation with Xinka communities. Tahoe has consistently denied that Xinka people live in the immediate area surrounding the Escobal project and failed to report on the strength of opposition of both Xinka and non-Indigenous communities affected by its mining operations.
During a conference call the next day, one analyst asked Tahoe Resources if its employees, suppliers or anyone connected to the company might have status in Guatemala to bring a lawsuit against CALAS, its supporters or any members of the Xinka community. President and CEO Ron Clayton responded that, according to his understanding, suppliers are filing a lawsuit to appeal the decision and that: “Our suppliers, vendors, contractors and employees are all aggressively involved in fighting this.” Clayton also commented that company suppliers through the powerful Guatemalan Chamber of Industry (CACIF) were already preparing a legal action to counter the mine suspension, which was presented on Monday July 9. Since then, Tahoe Resources’ suppliers, workers and the Guatemalan Industrial Association have also engaged in a smear campaign in the press.
This is not the time for more aggression or another counterattack.
To date, approximately a hundred people have faced repression, violence and legal persecution for their peaceful opposition to the mine. This must stop. It is past time for Tahoe Resources to halt the pattern of open disdain and aggression that it has consistently demonstrated toward the farmers, students, mothers, fathers and children, Indigenous and non-Indigenous, living around the Escobal project, in San Rafael Las Flores and surrounding municipalities.
It has been well documented that Tahoe Resources brought the mine into operation using an aggressive, militarized security strategy to try to quash community opposition. This included hiring a US security and defense contractor with experience working in war zones like Iraq and Afghanistan to help develop its security plan.
Demand that Tahoe abide by due process in the current case before the Supreme Court, and stop promoting or using legal persecution, repression or any other means of backlash against the Xinka people and the population of Santa Rosa, Jalapa, Jutiapa and their network of national supporters, especially CALAS.
- Call Tahoe Resources’ Reno-based office and ask them to speak out against any defamation, legal persecution or other acts of aggression against CALAS and community members protesting their Escobal mine. (775) 448-5800
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