PBI-Guatemala notes attack on Xinca defender Julio David González who opposes Canadian Escobal mine
On January 16, the Peace Brigades International-Guatemala Project posted this article from Prensa Comunitaria about the attack on Julio David González.
The Maritimes-Guatemala Breaking the Silence Network had also tweeted: “Xinka leader & human rights defender Julio David Gonzalez Arango was just attacked in his home. We stand in solidarity w/ the Xinka People & echo [the Xinka Parliament]’s calls for an investigation + an end to criminalization & violence.”
Guatemalan journalist Jody Garcia adds: “The Xinka Parliament denounces that this morning one of its leaders, Julio David González, suffered an attack. According to information from [the Xinka Parliament], a man arrived at González’s premises, pretended to be a client, and shot him. He is stable, but the community is alert.”
The Escobal mine is located about 75 kilometres southeast of Guatemala City in the rural municipality of San Rafael Las Flores in Santa Rosa Department.
The mine went into operation in early 2014, but after community protests a Constitutional Court ruling stopped production at the mine in 2017.
MiningWatch Canada has explained: “Operations at the mine have been suspended since June 2017 as a result of direct community action and court decisions finding that the Ministry of Energy and Mines (MEM) discriminated against the Xinka and violated their Indigenous rights when it failed to consult with them.”
Al Jazeera has noted: “The language of the [Constitutional Court ruling in 2017] suggests that the mine may resume operation following the consultation regardless of the outcome. Xinka residents are pushing for a free and fair consultation process but have no plans to consent to the mine or allow production to resume.”
In November 2018, Vancouver-based Pan American Silver announced it was purchasing Tahoe Resources for $1.07 billion in cash and stock.
MiningWatch Canada has noted: “Since Escobal was acquired by Pan American Silver in early 2019, criminalization of Xinka leaders and defamation of members of the peaceful resistance has risen, as have organizing efforts of parallel groups determined to undermine the Xinka Parliament and the broader movement organized in two resistance camps.”
In July 2019, NISGUA reported on threatening incidents against Julio David Gonzalez.
MiningWatch Canada has also reported on this breakthrough: “On October 15, 2020, the Xinka Parliament announced that Guatemalan authorities have finally recognized their representatives elected to participate in a consultation on the Escobal silver mine.”
That article adds: “Along with other agreements, this breakthrough could allow the court-ordered process over the future of the mine to advance after being stalled for over two years.”
Now comes the news of the attack against Julio David Gonzalez.
PBI-Canada joins with the Maritimes-Guatemala Breaking the Silence Network and many others in expressing concern about this attack.