PBI-Guatemala accompanies BDH lawyers at hearing for Maya Q’eqchi’ journalist and three fishers in Fenix mine case
On December 7, PBI-Guatemala posted:
“PBI accompanies the Human Rights Law Firm at the interim hearing in which they were going to decide whether to close the criminalization case against 3 organized fishermen from El Estor and the journalist Carlos Ernesto Choc. The 4 accused were linked to criminal proceedings by four Russian workers of the Fenix project in 2017, owned by CGN – Pronico and Solway.
The hearing was adjourned because Solway’s attorney didn’t show up on time. Although she has already expressed her willingness to step down the criminal process, the hearing was rescheduled for January 31.”
Background on the case
In November 2022, Prensa Comunitaria reported:
“On April 1, 2017, when Cristóbal Pop went fishing at dawn, he found a thick red spot covering the shore of Lake Izabal.
The fisherman knew very well that the contamination could only be the responsibility of the CGN-Pronico mine and so he denounced it.
Representatives of the CGN-Pronico mining company accused him of illegal detention of people, for a demonstration held by the Artisanal Fishermen’s Union in the vicinity of the colony of Russian officials, to denounce the contamination of Lake Izabal.
Since then, the criminalization against him has not stopped and now the threats and intimidation against him are added.
Both Pop and the rest of the fishermen and the journalist [Carlos Ernesto Choc] accused in this same case have not stopped attending the hearings in all these years, some have kept prison, others have given up the struggle and have withdrawn, but others, like Cristóbal Pop, continue in resistance against mining in their territories.”
PBI-Canada met with Choc in Guatemala City in May 2023 and organized this webinar with him in August 2023.
The Canadian connection
The Fenix mine was originally owned by several Canadian companies in succession (INCO Ltd., Skye Resources, Hudbay Minerals Inc.), is now owned by a Swiss-based Russian company (Solway Investment Group).
In April 2023, Newsweek reported that Montreal-based Central America Nickel (CAN) could purchase the mine with the support of the U.S. (and presumably Canadian) embassies in Guatemala.
PBI-Guatemala has accompanied the Bufete Jurídico de Derechos Humanos/ Human Rights Law Firm (BDH) since 2013.