San Rafael Las Flores. Santa Rosa, Guatemala.
Thousands of neighbors from San Rafael Las Flores and nearby communities in solidarity gathered on July 20th in the central park to protest the industrial mining project of El Escobal, operated by Canadian-US Tahoe Resources. In addition, locals demand that a neighbors’ consultation, or plebiscite, be carried out in order to truly establish the people’s will regarding the project. Only days prior to the event, the local mayor unilaterally dropped numerous members of the Special Commission in Charge of the Consultation regarding Mining Activities. Dismissed members from the Commission denounce the mayor’s acts as clear signs of a lack of will to carry out the democratic event. Background information on the conflict brewing in San Rafael Las Flores can be found here.
The mining concession directly threatens the territories of the Xinka community of Guatemala.
Locals hold signs that read: “In San Rafael Las Flores and my house, the mine does not pass!”
A man holds a sign that reads: “No to mining, Yes to life!”
A group of women wear shirts that read: “Guatemala, Free of Mining.”
Roberto Pivaral, former member of the Special Commission in Charge of the Consultation regarding Mining Activities, speaks during the event. Originally, the event was organized as a space for dialogue between local authorities, the mining company, and locals who oppose the project. Only those who oppose the project and those who support the consultation showed up to the event.
Yuri Melini, director of the Guatemalan Center for Legal, Social and Environmental Action (CALAS), holds a sign that reads: “In San Rafael Las Flores and my house, the mine does not pass!”
A man holds a sign that reads: “We demand respect for nature. The government dos NOT decide for us. Miners Out!”
Riot police setup nearby as hundreds gather in the main square of San Rafael Las Flores, Guatemala, to demand that a community plebiscite on industrial mining be carried out in the municipality.
“I defend my Land.”
This photo essay was made possible with the logistical support of Rights Action.
Versión en español aquí.