On Feb. 28, 2011, communities took action to pressure the government of Guatemala to carry out the Precautionary Measures MC-260-07 granted by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, which included the temporary suspension of the Marlin mine. The action consisted of peacefully blocking the main roads used by the company* in a way that respects the Constitution of our country (Guatemala). We have the right to protest.
When the blockade began, a group of approximately 20 people assaulted Miguel Bamaca, despite the fact that the Presidential Human Rights Commission has granted him protective measures. Miguel Bamaca was beaten mercilessly by a family known as the Mejia family, together with neighbours who work for the company. These people have strong ties to the company and also to illegal business activities. This incident occurred at 4:30pm in a location known as Siete Platos.
On the way back, near the community of San Jose Ixcaniche, approximately 70 members of this community intercepted the bus and began to assault various people who were travelling in the bus. Among them, our comrade Aniseto Lopez and others were beaten without being able to defend themselves. The attackers came armed with guns, stones, knives, sticks, and other weapons. Right now, approximately 50 people are kidnapped and being threatened by the community of San Jose Ixcaniche and the Mejia family.
For all the above:
* We demand that Guatemala vigorously ensure respect for the physical integrity and security of these people;
* We ask the International Community for timely support in the face of this terrible violation of human rights;
* We denounce the horrible practice of the mining company* that manipulates its workers and places them in confrontation with the communities legally defending a right;
* We reject this practice created by the company by ordering its workers to take 60 people hostage;
* We ask the IACHR to maintain its vigilance and to request of the State of Guatemala the strict respect of human rights, and particularly those of Peoples and communities.
San Miguel Ixtahuacan, San Marcos, Guatemala, February 28, 2011.
* Translator’s Note: This is an unofficial translation of the original communique in Spanish. The mining company to which the communique refers is a Guatemalan subsidiary of the Canadian corporation Goldcorp, based in Vancouver, BC.
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