Source: Toronto Media Co-op
On April 30, 2015, the Mining Injustice Solidarity Network and the Maritimes-Guatemala Breaking the Silence Network joined with over 50 marchers in Toronto’s Financial District to greet Goldcorp head executives and shareholders outside of Goldcorp Inc’s Shareholders Meeting held at the Sheraton Hotel on Queen Street West. The marchers held up photos of the devastating impacts on community members and the environment of Goldcorp’s Marlin mine in Guatemala and highlighted Goldcorp’s failure to listen to local communities, the increased social unrest that has existed since the mine’s inception, and ongoing human rights abuses and environmental devastation.
The communities surrounding the 10 year old Marlin mine have experienced ongoing human rights violations for the last decade, a pattern repeated at Goldcorp’s other mines across the Americas. Sergio Campusano Villches, President of the Comunidad Agricola Diaguita Los Huasco Altinos, an Indigenous community in Chile resisting another Goldcorp’s mine, attended the Goldcorp AGM. Upon leaving, he addressed the crowd outside and explained: “Today was the third AGM in three days that I have attended where I spoke about the El Morro mine jointly owned by Goldcorp and Barrick Gold and consistently, the executives of these mining companies tell me that they want to help my community by bringing development. But we do not want them in our territory. We never asked them to come and help us.” Sergio’s community recently took Goldcorp to the Supreme Court of Chile and won, forcing Goldcorp to recognize the Diaguita Huasco Altinos as the true owners of the land.
The march began with the crowd gathering at Goldcorp’s Toronto office on 130 Adelaide Street for a memorial for Topacio Reynoso Pacheco. This 16 year old activist was murdered a year ago for her resistance to the Escobal mining project, jointly owned by Goldcorp and Tahoe Resources, a company founded by Goldcorp’s former CEO and 40% owned by Goldcorp.
Topacio was assassinated by unknown gunmen on April 13th, 2014 in Mataquescuintla, Jalapa, Guatemala. Her father, Edwin Alexander Reynoso who accompanied her at the time, was also shot and suffered serious injuries. Both Topacio and her father were active in the resistance against Canadian company Tahoe Resources’ Escobal mine, in San Rafael las Flores, Santa Rosa. Topacio, along with her work as the Youth Coordinator of the Resistance in Mataquescuintla, was also a poet and musician. The memorial was held to honour the life of this youth leader and artist, and to denounce the violent and cowardly act that killed her.
Following the memorial, to commemorate 10 years of resistance to the Marlin Mine in San Miguel Ixtahuacán and Sipakapa in the Western Highlands of Guatemala, and to express disgust and sadness at the ongoing repression, violence, and environmental destruction that is taking place at this mine as well as Goldcorp and Tahoe’s joint Escobal mine, the group marched with red carnations from Goldcorp’s headquarters at 130 Adelaide street to the location of Goldcorp’s Shareholder Meeting at the Sheraton hotel at 123 Queen Street West.
As shareholders left the meeting, the group heard from many speakers, and denounced Goldcorp, for criminalizing and intimidating communities when they stand up for their rights and for their countless acts of human rights violations and lack of concern for the communities and people impacted by their mines.
The Mining Injustice Solidarity Network (MISN) is a Toronto-based activist group that organizes to draw attention to and resist the negligent practices of Canadian mining companies, who comprise over 75% of mining businesses worldwide. In solidarity with affected communities and in response to their calls for support.
Breaking the Silence (BTS) is a voluntary network of people in the Maritimes who began to organize in 1988 to support the efforts of Guatemalans struggling for political, social, and economic justice. BTS has accompanied the communities of San Miguel Ixtahuacán since the Marlin Mine’s inception. Visit http://www.breakingthesilenceblog.com/ for more information.