For the original press release in Spanish, click here.

It’s been nine years since the municipality of Nueva Santa Rosa carried out its first Municipal Consultation at the request of its residents. On July 3, 2011, community members went to the polls where they made it clear, through a democratic and free process, that they are not in agreement with the installation and operation of metal mining projects in their territory.

From that moment on, a new chapter began in the northern region, where several municipalities expressed their disagreement with this type of [industrial] activity, which to this day – based on what can be observed and on studies that have been carried out – has not proven to be a contributing factor to the development of our communities.

The consultation processes should serve as a mechanism for citizen participation, allowing State authorities to seek consent prior to imposing projects in our territories that may affect our ways of life, the environment, and other aspects.

As we do every year, we remind authorities to respect the will of the people and not authorize any exploration or exploitation licenses within the boundaries of the municipality of Nueva Santa Rosa.

It is also worth noting that more than a year ago, the Constitutional Court issued a ruling on the right of Indigenous Peoples to be consulted under the International Labour Organization’s Convention 169, and suspended Minera San Rafael’s operations in the area. To the Guatemalan government, we reiterate that as a municipality that has an Indigenous Xinka population, and being within the area of impact of Minera San Rafael’s Escobal mine, we are going to demand our participation in that consultation process.

We send a message to all the communities in peaceful resistance to not falter during these times of crisis. We wish to make it clear that although the permanent resistance encampment [in Casillas] has been lifted in order to respect the health measures dictated by the government and to mitigate the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, we continue to be vigilant so that human rights and the legal process are respected.

For the respect of life and the rights of the people.

New Santa Rosa

July 3, 2020