Regional News

The state of Siege in Izabal and Alta Verapaz: shelters, poppies, and the fear of repression

Jody García - Nómada

In the three days of the state of siege in five municipalities in the north-east of Guatemala, actions have already been filed in the Constitutional Court. The intent of these actions is to stop the state of siege due to concerns about abuses against the resisting communities. Guatemalan Governance is signaling milestones in the fight against drug trafficking.

Sunday, July 19th, Government Decree 14-2020 was published, which establishes a state of siege in the municipalities of El Estor, Morales, and Livingston, in the department of Izabal; and Panzós and Santa Catarina la Tinta, in the department of Alta Verapaz.
The government's justification for decreeing the state of Siege is that the presence of organized crime groups carrying out illicit activities such as drug trafficking, illegal migration, contraband, among others, has been detected in the aforementioned municipalities.
As expressed in the press release from the government of Alejandro Giammattei, “the actions of these organized crime groups have caused the loss of jobs, the execution of multiple crimes against people and their property. Moreover, these actions intend to turn the region into an area controlled by criminals”.

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Social organizations reject militarization in five municipalities of Guatemala


WhatsApp Image 2020 07 21 at 13.34.19125 national and international organizations rejected the state of siege imposed by the President of Guatemala, Alejandro Giammattei. Executive decree 13-2020 restricts mobility and demonstration rights. In addition, this decree allows arrests and interrogations without warrants or any sort of justification. 

The new measures will be implemented in the municipalities of El Estor, Livingston, and Morales in the municipality of Izabal, and Santa Catalina La Tinta and Panzós in the municipality of Alta Verapaz.
According to community leaders, the president's actions constitute measures of militarization, repression, and violation of human rights against the people of the aforementioned communities. The community leaders also assured that for no reason it is justifiable to establish curfews and controls restricting the constitutional rights of the population.

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Status of the National Alliance against the Privatization of Water


twitterThis Wednesday, July 1st, the organizations that make up the National Alliance against the Privatization of Water, presented a letter addressed to the deputies of the Committee on the Environment and Climate Change of the Legislative Assembly.

The objective of the letter was to remind the deputies of the Committee that, together with broad sectors of civil society and its organizations, the organizations part of the Alliance recognize water as a source of life and a public good, whose access constitutes a fundamental human right of humanity.
Secondly, the organizations part of the Alliance also recognize that without sufficient and good quality water, the current pandemic crisis due to COVID-19 impacting El Salvador and the world will not be addressed properly.

Since this natural asset is essential for the development of hygiene in homes, if one wants to effectively face the crisis generated by the current pandemic and other socio-natural phenomena water must be ensured in sufficient and good quality.

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In El Estor: a chain of breaches and contempt by CGN-PRONICO puts the lives of human rights defenders at risk

José Cruz - Prensa Comunitaria

Screen Shot 2020 08 17 at 19.17.54Failure to comply with constitutional judgments and provisions of the executive power characterize the actions of the mining company Guatemalan Nickel Company CGN-PRONICO in the exploitation of nickel that operates in El Estor, Izabal. In addition, the social leaders opposing the extremely serious contamination that impacts Lake Izabal and the hills where the mineral is massively extracted are victims of stigmatization and criminalization.The fishermen's association of the people from El Estor has filed an appeal against the mining operation of CGN-PRONICO (the Guatemalan Nickel Company) for breach of the Free, Prior, and Informed Consultation of Indigenous Peoples as stipulated by ILO Convention 169 [1]. In the middle of last year, the Constitutional Court of Guatemala granted legal protection to the fishermen and ordered the suspension of mining activities. The owners of CGN-PRONICO, a Russian-owned company based for tax reasons in the Swiss city of Zur, ignored the Constitutional Court's ruling and continued the exploitation of minerals in the area. Therefore, the mining company openly disrespects a judicial ruling of the highest constitutional body in Guatemala.

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Government declares optimism regarding demand for Eco Oro

Caracol Radio Bucamaranga

1El director de la Agencia Nacional de Defensa Jurídica del Estado, Camilo Gómez les dijo a las autoridades de Bucaramanga que es optimista frente a la suerte del proceso iniciado por Eco Oro en contra de Colombia debido a que no pudo explotar metales preciosos en el páramo de Santurbán.

“Estoy optimista, creo que ahí nos va a ir muy bien, vamos a seguir defendiendo el páramo” aseguró el funcionario durante la firma de un convenio con la alcaldía de la capital de Santander.

La demanda de la minera canadiense Eco Oro, hace trámite en el Centro Internacional de Arreglo de Diferencias Relativas a Inversiones del Banco Mundial, con sede en Washington.

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Guatemalan Water Protectors Persist, Despite Mining Company Threats

Jen Moore - Counter punch 

The hard work of protecting water and land from the long-term harms associated with gold and silver mining takes place daily on the frontlines of tenacious struggles throughout Latin America and around the world.

Indigenous people and affected communities face many reprisals for their resistance, including a mounting number of arbitration suits against their governments from mining companies suing over projects that people have managed to halt through direct action and in the courts.

This month, in Guatemala, the Peaceful Resistance “La Puya” celebrates eight years of struggle against a gold mining project that threatens to pollute or dry up already scarce water supplies in an area just north of Guatemala City.

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