Increase of Violence in San Miguel Ixtahuacán


In San Miguel Ixtahuacán, in the last two weeks, we reported two armed attacks on two known people of the resistance against mining in that municipality. This is an apparent increase in the level of violence in a municipality that has been marked by social conflict as of the introduction of the Marlin mine of the company Montana exploradora, a subsidiary of Goldcorp, six years ago. These events are in contradiction with the supposed commitment of the government of Guatemala to "guarantee the life and physical integrity of the neighbors of the mine."

On July 7th, at 7 pm, in the hamlet of San José Nueva Esperanza, of the village Ágel , San Miguel Ixtahuacán, Mrs. Theodora Antonia Hernandez Cinto was shot. Two unknown men, young and tall, entered her home, asking for a cup of coffee. When Mrs. Teodora was to deliver the glass, she was shot at head level in the right eye. Then the two young men ran towards the village of San José Ixcaniche. The facts were reported by the victim's daughter, Maria Hernandez, at the office of the public prosecutor.

Mrs. Antonia Hernández Teodora Cinto is part of the resistance movement in defense of the indigenous and human rights and against violations of these rights, committed by the Montana company that operates Goldcorp's Marlin mining project. She already had been threatened several times for participating in this movement. (Excerpts from the statement from the Defense Front Miguelense FREDEMI )

What is known today is that the lady is in a hospital in Guatemala City and that according to her daughter, the shooting caused the loss of her right eye, fortunately without causing lethal damage.

Shooting against another community leader
On the night of July 14th , another community leader known for his resistance against the Marlin mine was the victim of a gun attack in the village of Siete Platos, San Miguel Ixtahuacán. For security reasons, so far we refrain from mentioning the name of the subject of aggression. Again, the attackers failed to steal the victim's life.

"... He fired about a dozen shots at my house ... He said he would kill me because I'm talking badly and against the Montana company which is the company that employs him ... I want to mention that this case can be related with Mrs. María Hernadez because of our opposition to the mining project .... "( listen to the interview or, o read the testimony of the complaint at the public prosecutor’s office in Spanish.)

Government´s responsability
These atrocities happened shortly after the government of Guatemala has committed itself to comply with the five protective measures recommended by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR).

Now, let us have a closer look at two of these measures:

1) Suspend the Marlin Mine I Project
2) Take other necessary steps to safeguard the lives and physical integrity of the neighbors of the mine.

So far we have seen nothing of the alleged suspension of the Marlin mine. The request to suspend the mine was granted by the IACHR to protect the human rights of the residents and to prevent further damage to the environment. We repeat our demand to the government of Guatemala to go further than mere discourse, and for once to show real political will to fulfill their promises.

As for the second injunction, we can already see the overwhelming failure of the government of Guatemala. The increase in conflict is evidenced by the facts. For this reason we ask the government to recognize their responsibility in these events and to let peace and justice rule in the municipality of San Miguel Ixtahuacán.

Watch this video in which Mrs. Theodora Antonia Hernandez Cinto appears