“Even before the military state of siege was imposed on municipalities, military presence and repressive tactics were ramped up, in part due to a so-called ‘development’ office in San Rafael Las Flores with backing from Tahoe and oversight from a military colonel. It is encouraging that the Norwegian Council on Ethics recognizes that what has been growing in the area is fear, not support for this project,” comments Ellen Moore from the Network for Solidarity with the People of Guatemala (NISGUA).
Before the state of siege, communities in the area held fourteen referenda, in which tens of thousands of people in the six municipalities closest to the project voted against the Escobal mine given their concerns over current and potential environmental and social impacts. A pilot project in San Rafael Las Flores overseen by the National Security Commission and referred to as the “Inter-institutional Group on Mining Affairs
” was initiated in March 2013. As well, since the siege, a permanent military presence has been established in the area.
The Council also found that Tahoe failed to take adequate steps to prevent further abuses after private security guards shot at peaceful protesters outside the mine gate on April 27, 2013. Two separate lawsuits against Tahoe’s then head of security
and the company
in connection with this incident are ongoing in Guatemala and Canada respectively. Overall, the Council finds that Tahoe’s policies and training standards are not enough to guarantee that the company will not continue contributing to human rights violations.
The Canadian Pension Plan most recently reported that as of March 31, 2014 it holds $49 million CAD worth of shares in Tahoe Resources. As of 2013, U.S. based TIAA-CREF, considered to be a socially responsible financial services company specializing in the needs of the non-profit and education sector, held some $5 million USD worth of shares.
Online letters can be sent calling on the CPPIB to divest here and to the TIAA-CREF here. A new map illustrates the relationship between company holdings and affected communities.
Jen Moore, MiningWatch Canada, jen(at)miningwatch.ca, (613) 569-3439
Ellen Moore, Network in Solidarity with the People of Guatemala (NISGUA), ellen(at)nisgua.org, (510) 763-1403