PBI-Guatemala accompanies Peaceful Resistance of San Pedro Ayampuc as 10th anniversary of mine blockade nears

Published by Brent Patterson on

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On January 15, the Peace Brigades International-Guatemala Project posted: “On Thursday [January 13] PBI accompanied the Peaceful Resistance of San Pedro Ayampuc and we introduced ourselves to the municipal authorities.”

San Pedro Ayampuc is located about 20 kilometres north of Guatemala City.

On March 2, 2012, residents from San Pedro Ayampuc and San José del Golfo – an area known as La Puya – 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.

(Two PBI-Guatemala volunteers who witnessed the May 2014 eviction were informed by the Guatemalan government of the cancellation of their temporary residence in the country, although the executive eventually reversed the decision.)

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.

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.

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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