Guatemala – Massacre in San Jose Nacahuil: Whoever is Responsible, Minister López Bonilla Should be Removed


Massacre in San Jose Nacahuil: Whoever is responsible, Minister López Bonilla should be removed.

Enough of the total inability to ensure security! After months of threats against community members of San Jose Nacahuil and police intimidation, the massacre in San Jose Nacahuil on September 7 is the direct responsibility of the Interior Ministry, by default, complicity or action. The 10 lives lost and the at least 15 wounded, add to the thousands of victims under the term of Minister Mauricio Lopez Bonilla.

According to reliable information, shortly after a National Civil Police (PNC ) patrol car visited one of the businesses where the massacered occurred, individuals with ski masks arrived at three food stores in town and fired indiscriminately with high powered, automatic weapons. As a result 10 people were killed: Aurelio Surte Pixtún, Carlos Xocoxit Salala, Pixtún Santos Garcia, Rolando Pixtún Monroy, Leonardo Agustín González Hernández, Vicente Tepen Xuya Santos, Javier Tepen Soyoz, Surte Pixtún Santos, Ines Ortiz and Rigoberto Noj Hairstyle Tepen.

While the mass media spread the irresponsible version of Minister López Bonilla that it was a gang attack – because the population does not have a PNC substation, having been destroyed in a protest by villagers several years ago – local social movement actors, in its denunciation of the massacre state:

San Jose Nacahuil is one of the communities in the municipality of San Pedro Ayampuc in the department of Guatemala. In this community there are Kaqchikel people and the territory is shared with mestizo residents. San Jose Nacahuil, similar to other communities in the municipality as well as that of San José del Golfo, have been characterized by its strong resistance to the construction of the “El Tambor” mine. The mine is a Seven Derivative Progress project, owned by the U.S. company Kappes Kassiday & Asocciates KCA and EXMINGUA.

The organized opposition to the mine has, for over a year, maintained a peaceful blockade on a communty road that leads from San José del Golfo to the entrance of the mining project. The point on the road where this peaceful resistance is taking place, is known as “La Puya”. It is geographically located just 20 kilometers from Guatemala City.

Representatives of the peaceful resistance alerted that since August 31 the National Civil Police had been intimiating them. They would arrive in patrol cars and a minibus that were not from the municipality’s jurisidiction, and not from the area police stations of No. 13, 14, 15 and 16. These were not isolated incidents, but rather occurred many times throughout that month. When the resistance held a press conference on the situation, the police patrols stopped. Representatives went to the Attorney General’s Human Rights Office along with the secretary of the director of PNC to have those offices explain the reason for the police presence. However, officials were unable to justify the unlawful presence.

The RPDG believes the victim’s version of events, rather than the official line supported by some media. In either case, neglecting the population and permitting PNC units to intimidate those who oppose the mining project, demonstrates tolerance, complicity or involvement by security forces in the violence. Anywhere else in the world, an event of this nature would lead to the immediate removal of the Interior Minister. Given that this is another in a long series of acts of violence against civilians who defend their land, territory and rights, the RPDG demands that:

  1. President Otto Perez, immediatly removes Minister Mauricio Lopez Bonilla.

  2. Congress issues a national emergency law to suspend all mining and hydropower construction in areas of socio-political conflict. It is not acceptable that the use of water and mineral resources be used at the expense of the blood of our people.

  3. The Public Prosecutor investigates, with the support of CICIG, the events of September 7 in San Jose Nacahuil, the entire police chain of command to the Interior Minister, and the causes of the attack.

Finally, the RPDG requests international accompaniment and expresses its condolences to the families and community of San José Nacahuil. It also shares its total solidarity with all people in struggle in Guatemala. Thus, we join in with all actions of a social movement that seeks to defend life and the rights of the population and in particular indigenous peoples.

Guatemala and the United States, September 10, 2013
Executive Committee of the RPDG