PBI-Guatemala accompanies the Peaceful Resistance of La Puya at a monthly mass at mine protest

Published by Brent Patterson on

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On August 8, PBI-Guatemala posted: “Last Sunday PBI accompanied the Peaceful Resistance of La Puya in the celebration of the monthly mass at their sit-in.”

In March 2012 residents from San José del Golfo and San Pedro Ayampuc – an area known as La Puya, just north of Guatemala City – set up a 24-hour a day blockade at the entrance of the Vancouver-based Radius Gold Inc. El Tambor mine.

By August 2012, the Canadian company sold El Tambor to US-based Kappes, Cassiday & Associates, but retained an economic interest in the mine (including quarterly royalty payments on the gold production from the mine).

On May 23, 2014, after two years of peaceful struggle, the communities in resistance to the mine were violently evicted by the police.

By February 2016, the Peaceful Resistance of La Puya won a Guatemalan Supreme Court ruling that provisionally suspended the mining licence because there had not been prior consultation with affected communities, as is required under Guatemalan and international law, in particular the International Labour Organization’s Convention 169.

Even after their eviction in 2014 and the court ruling in 2016, members of La Puya continued a 24-hour presence in opposition to the mine.

Then in December 2018, Kappes, Cassiday & Associates filed a $300 million claim with the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), a World Bank arbitration mechanism, claiming its investor rights under the Dominican Republic–Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR) had been violated.

On May 21, 2021, the court suspension on the mine imposed in 2016 was lifted, but authorization for the mine to begin operation has not been granted. The police were present at the site to enforce the court ruling, while the Resistance reaffirmed its commitment to the peaceful fight for the defence of life, natural property and territory.

On June 21, 2021, according to the World Bank ICSID website, “The Tribunal [hearing the claim] issued Procedural Order No. 7 concerning confidentiality matters.” PBI-Guatemala has previously noted: “The Peaceful Resistance is forming legal alliances and solidarity across national and international organizations and groups [to] make their voices heard in this exclusionary procedure.”

On July 16, 2021, PBI-Guatemala accompanied the Resistance at the site of the blockade/sit-in for a dialogue with state institutions in the framework of international arbitration process driven by the company Kappes, Cassiday & Associates.

We continue to follow this situation closely.

The Peace Brigades International-Guatemala Project has accompanied the Peaceful Resistance of La Puya since November 2012.

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