In the image there is a board that has written with red color "Xinka" and says "peaceful resistance" "xinka people" and a drawing of heart. In the background there are some tables and sheets.

Photograph by: NISGUA. Board inside the Peaceful Resistance of Casillas, May 2024.

This June 7 marked the 7th anniversary of the “Casillas Resistance” that the Xinka people have been maintaining to defend their territory against the Escobal mine, which since 2011 has been illegally installed in their territory and has generated multiple damages. Since, the Xinka people began a path of struggle and resistance, and as a result, the mine is suspended and now they are in the process of conducting a Community Consultation, through which it will be decided whether the mine reopens its operations or leaves permanently.

The Resistance in Casillas arose because in the region there were many quakes because the company was exploiting the subsoil, making tunnels and thus affecting the population, that is why they organized themselves. A member of the Xinka resistance from San Rafael las Flores told us how it was before the mine, once it was installed, and how it is now:

“Before this company came, we were very happy, there were no divisions between families, between neighbors, between people who have money. It was something of quality because we all strove to make profit by cultivating the land, sowing it and some other businesses, as always with coffee, so it was a peaceful time.

Then the company came and began to offer a lot of work, work that is not sustainable but is harmful because the drilling touched our water springs, which here in this community where we live there was enough water, there was no need for mechanical wells.

All of this that I’ve seen up til now keeps me in the struggle because it is something that is worthwhile and they have destroyed it but we have the hope of recovering at least the tranquility because these seven years that the company has been suspended, there has been a lot of work in agriculture, there has been a little more peace, unity, because there are people who raise consciousness that the fact that there is a lot of money does not bring any benefit other than the destruction of homes, there are canteens, there are all the disasters. On the other hand, these years there has been a normality, even the weather is more favorable. Everything, there are many things that make me stay in the struggle.”

Member of the Xinka resistance

The Xinka people were forced to set up a permanent encampment in Casillas to ensure that the mine owned by Panamerican Silver respected the cessation of its activities. To do this, the Xinka people organized themselves, a member recalls that:

“The most difficult thing was to start the shifts, there was a lot of repression from the police, a lot of repression from the company, where they wanted to run over us if possible, but thanks to God and to the many fellow Xinka defenders from all the areas of Mataquescuintla, from all of Casillas, from Nueva, from Lima, from all those places, order was achieved.”

Member of the Xinka resistance

And since then, the shifts at the encampment continue to be covered by members of the Xinka people, there is not a single minute that is left alone and maintaining a space like this requires a lot of community and family organization. The member who shared with us his reflections on this struggle remains strong and very grateful to his fellow Xinka people, because they have been organized for so many years in peaceful resistance. Despite the repression they have experienced, they are very strong and very organized. There are also several organizations that accompany them, and together as the comrade says “they are always watching over the rights of the Indigenous peoples and all of us who have conscience and want to defend our mother earth and fight for water and air.”


Congratulations to the Peaceful Resistance of the Xinka people of Casillas!

For the defense of life and territory, the struggle continues!