Juan Rodríguez Cano, the President of the Guardians of Nature of Casillas, made the following statement outside the court on January 24:
“It is deplorable that this is happening in Guatemala, even after we are seeing the problems in the municipality of San Rafael las Flores as a result of the Escobal mine. We have seen water shortages. The houses in the community of La Cuchilla are now uninhabitable. We see the polluted rivers and the conflict in communities [that has arisen as a result of mining projects]. We see that the Public Prosecutor’s office is more aligned with corporate interests than the people.
We hope that the municipality of Casillas will be free to uphold the results of the referendum in which the municipality said ‘no’ to mining activities and to the pollution of our water and earth.”
The judges did not announce a date in which they would issue a decision.
Like in many cases in Guatemala and around the world, communities were not informed nor gave their consent before the license was granted. While the Las Lajitas concession was awarded to an individual – Esperanza Elizabeth Castro Picón – communities have discovered that it may, in fact, be tied to Canadian mining company Gunpoint Exploration. No record of the Escorpión license can be found at MEM; information on the company’s website shows that it is located in the same area as Las Lajitas license and was granted on the same day, leading communities to believe if may be the same license.
Residents from Casillas and San Rafael las Flores wrote to the President of Gunpoint Exploration last July to demand more answers and ask why his company had chosen to go forward with a project despite the firm decision by communities in the area against mining. To date, there has been no response. Read the full letter sent to Randy Reifel, CEO of Gunpoint Exploration.
NISGUA has provided international accompaniment and advocacy support to communities resisting Tahoe Resources since 2011, amplifying their voices as they fight for community self-determination.