PBI-Guatemala expresses concern about the security situation of Ubaldino Garcia Canan
On August 12, the Peace Brigades International-Guatemala Project posted on its Facebook page: “We stand in solidarity with the defender Ubaldino Garcia Canan and join the concern about his security situation.”
Front Line Defenders explains: “On the night of 5 August 2020, unknown persons raided the home of indigenous rights defender Ubaldino García Canan in the municipality of Olopa, Chiquimula, stealing a number of belongings.”
“Indigenous authorities concluded that the theft of personal documents suggests that the incident was motivated by more than economic interest.”
Front Line Defenders adds that it “is deeply concerned by the multiple threats, raids and acts of intimidation against human rights defender Ubaldino García Canan and believes that he is being targeted solely as a result of his peaceful activities in defense of the rights of indigenous peoples.”
Those activities include participation in the peaceful resistance against the mining company Cantera Los Manantiales in Olopa.
A blockade of the Cantera Los Manantiales mine was established in February 2019 because of concerns that the mine violated the Indigenous right to free, prior and informed consent and that its operations were polluting local water sources.
The mine was “provisionally suspended” in late November 2019 by the Supreme Court of Justice because the Guatemalan Ministry of Energy and Mines had granted a 30-year mining licence to the company in 2015, without consultation (free, prior and informed consent) with the Ch’orti‘ Indigenous communities of Olopa.
Nuevo Dia, which is accompanied by PBI-Guatemala and in turn accompanies the Peaceful Resistance of Olopa, says that the mine “illegally extracts antimony, contaminating water, cutting down forests, causing strange diseases that especially affect children and removing tranquility, the peace and joy of the communities.”
Nuevo Dia adds: “Leaders and authorities have suffered criminalization, persecution, slander and defamation for opposing the company Cantera Los Manantiales.”
To watch a 5-minute video produced by PBI-Guatemala (and released this past February) about the struggle against the mine, please click here.