World Rainforest Movement

Opposition to mining in Guatemala leads to repression and death

On March 17, several indigenous community leaders from the village of Montaña de Santa María Xalapán, located in southeastern Guatemala in the municipality of San Rafael Las Flores, were kidnapped. The following morning, it was reported that one of them, Exactación Marcos Ucelohabía, had been murdered. According to one of the survivors, “They accused him of opposing the mining company, and said they would kill him.”

This situation has further aggravated an already extremely tense situation in the community, which has been waging a hard-fought battle for five years in defence of its territory and against mining operations. This battle was initiated by local women’s organizations to raise awareness about the impacts of mining in the department of Jalapa, and as part of the historic struggle to recover their territory (see the video “Martes Negro en San Rafael” [Black Tuesday in San Rafael] at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=je9XLpbvbDY)

The Latin American Network of Women Defenders of Social and Environmental Rights (http://www.redlatinoamericanademujeres.org/) stands in solidarity with the Xinca indigenous women of the Association of Indigenous Women of Santa María Xalapán and calls on other national and international organizations to support their struggle.

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