PBI-Guatemala accompanies the mass for the Peaceful Resistance of La Puya at their ongoing El Tambor mine protest
On February 6, PBI-Guatemala posted:
“Yesterday, #PBI accompanied the Peaceful Resistance of La Puya at mass at the encampment.”
On March 2, 2012, residents from San José del Golfo and San Pedro Ayampuc – an area known as La Puya, about 30 kilometres north of Guatemala City – set up a 24-hour a day blockade at the entrance of the Vancouver-based Radius Gold Inc. owned El Tambor mine also known as the Progreso VII Derivada 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, the communities in resistance to the mine were violently evicted by the police. Despite this, they resumed a 24-hour presence at the entrance to the mine.
In February 2016, the Peaceful Resistance of La Puya won a Guatemalan Supreme Court ruling that provisionally suspended the mining license 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.
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.
In June 2022, Prensa Latina reported: “The Minister of Energy and Mines, Alberto Pimentel … stated that the Government will soon issue regulations for carrying out community consultations stipulated in Convention 169 of the International Labor Organization (ILO) on indigenous and tribal peoples.”
“In addition, the pre-consultation stage is being prepared for the Progreso VII Derivada Mining project, also known as El Tambor or La Puya.”
The article also noted: “[Pimentel] also announced that the National Mining Policy is being prepared [and] would be finished in 2023, since he wants to finish it before the change of government.”
In July 2022, a group of Congressmen wrote U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and highlighted: “Like the land defenders in El Estor, members of the Peaceful Resistance La Puya have suffered intimidation, criminalization, and aggression for years. Being aware that the U.S. Embassy in Guatemala is paying close attention to this and other mining projects in the country, we call on the State Department to ensure that the Embassy advocates for communities’ free participation in the consultation process and speaks out against any aggression or repression targeting land defenders.”
On December 21, 2022, PBI-Guatemala posted on Facebook: “Yesterday, #PBI accompanied the La Puya Peaceful Resistance to the Ministry of Energy and Mines to present the delegates for the pre-consultation stage on the El Tambor mining project.”
General elections will be held on June 25 this year.
The Peace Brigades International-Guatemala Project has accompanied the Peaceful Resistance of La Puya since November 2012.
PBI-Guatemala has regularly accompanied mass at the resistance site including on this occasion in November 2021.