On Tuesday, July 9, Santos Fidel Ajau Suret, a member of the ongoing peaceful resistance at La Puya, was assassinated. The MadreSelva Collective released the following communique denouncing his assassination. Translation by NISGUA, in Spanish here

Urgent Communique
We denounce the cowardly assassination of Santos Fidel Ajau Suret, activist of La Puya encampment

Santo Fidel Ajau Suret, 54 years old, member of the community of San Antonio El Ángel and activist at the La Puya encampment, was the victim of a cowardly assassination on Tuesday, July 9, while on his way home.

We reject this vile murder, carried out at 5:15 PM by two men driving motorcycles on the dirt road that connects San Jose del Golfo to the community of San Antonio El Ángel. Mr. Fidel was shot three times in the back followed by two coup de grace.

We also denounce that on the same night, July 9, unknown men fired gunshots outside the home of Yolando Oquelí in San José del Golfo.

The modus operandi of this murder is similar to the previous attempt on the life of Yolanda Oquelí in June of last year. This past Sunday, Santos Ajau received threats from people known to have participated in acts of harassment organized by the mining company. Throughout the month of June and continuing until now, the resistance at the La Puya encampment has been subject to harassments and threats, including gunshots.

The community members of San José del Golfo and San Pedro Ayampuc oppose the installation of the mining project Progreso VII Derivada, authorized by the Ministry of Energy and Mines without the consent of impacted communities. The mining project is the property of the US. company Kappes Cassiday & Associates (KCA). The investors in this project have launched a campaign of harassment and threats against the lives of members of La Puya resistance, contracting ex-military who were active during the internal armed conflict. This is the case of retired military personnel Pablo Silas Orozco who led the aggressions against activists at La Puya. Orozco has been criminally charged for threats against members of the press who were physically and verbally accosted by Orozco during November of last year.

The communities that form the resistance at La Puya are participating in preliminary meetings with the maximum authorities of the country, including President Otto Pérez Molina and the Ministry of the Interior, the Ministry of Energy and Mines and the Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources to demand the cancellation of the Progresso VII Derivada mining project. To the above-mentioned authorities: we demand the immediate cancellation of mining and hydroelectric licenses granted to companies that have carried out criminal actions against the population. An example of which are the cases of Ecoener Hidralia Energia – Hidro Santa Cruz in Huehuetenango, Mina San Rafael – Tahoe Resources in Santa Rosa and Kappes Cassiday & Associates – KCA.

Stop the assassination of those defending life and territory!

We demand a thorough investigation into the vile assassination of Santos Fidel Ajau Suret!

The government of Pérez Molina must cancel the licenses for extractive industries companies that have carried out criminal actions against the Guatemalan people!

Yes to life, No to mining!