For the original statement in Spanish, click here.
As authorities and representatives of Xinka communities from the departments of Santa Rosa, Jalapa and Jutiapa, we publicly state our position concerning the Escobal mining project and the company Pan American Silver. [Pan American Silver] is well aware that this project is responsible for conflict and human rights violations, and yet it still decided to acquire Tahoe Resources and the Escobal mine, one of the most significant conflicts in Latin America.
The conflict that the Escobal mine has generated and the impact [the mining project] has had on the Xinka People is so great that our cultural, spiritual and physical survival is at risk. [The mining project] has greatly affected our ways of life and the company’s actions in recent months have only increased and worsened the conflict in our region. The Escobal mining project represents a threat to the life of Xinka communities in the region.
During nine years of resistance to this project, we have been victims of kidnapping, assassinations, criminalization, destruction of our ways of life, as well as the destruction of archaeological sites and sacred places. As a result, the restart of this project is untenable, since it would mean deciding between the project and our survival.
The world knows that the Escobal mining project not only lacks the social license to operate, but also endangers our survival as Xinka people.
We are currently engaged in a CONSULTATION PROCESS as ordered by the Constitutional Court in sentence 4785-2017 issued on September 3, 2018. More than six months later, this process is stalled due to intervention and illegal interference on the part of the mining company with the Ministry of Energy and Mines and the Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources, deliberately undermining international standards related to Consultation with Indigenous Peoples.
It is important that the shareholders and the general public are fully aware that the consultation ordered by the Constitutional Court is not a simple administrative process as the mining company has presented it. The continuation or not of the Escobal mining project depends on the consultation, given the size of the project and its impact on the Xinka People. The purpose of the consultation is not to come to an agreement, but to obtain our consent.
Pan American Silver has said it will respect the consultation process on the future of the Escobal mine as ordered by the Constitutional Court. And while Xinka People’s right to prior consultation has already been violated and cannot be rectified, it is imperative that the process going forward be “free”, without coercion, threats or intimidation.
The Xinka People oppose Pan American Silver’s continued or increased interference in communities and demand that the company suspend all social and economic programs, as well as publicity, given that they are a threat to the consultation process. Finally, we emphasize that the legal and social struggle that we have been carrying out to recover our territory is not over. We are not willing to allow the continual violation of our rights, and we will not rest until our territory is completely free of mining.