Monday, October 22, 2012


Out of sight, out of mind. We have so much to deal with at home. We are bombarded with conflicts in North Africa and the Middle East. Everyone is focused on the U.S. elections and all the talk about the economy. But who is looking at what Canadian Mining Companies are doing to people's lives abroad?
As Firm as a Tree: Portraits of Diodora

On July 7, 2010, Diodora Hernandez, a staunch anti-mining activist, was shot point-blank on the right eye outside her home in the small community of San José Nueva Esperanza – only a few meters from a fence that delimits Goldcorp's Marlin Mine. One year after her miraculous recuperation, Diodora's anti-mining stance and activism remains as steadfast as ever.

A flurry of events in mid-2010 brought international attention once again to the controversial Canadian-owned Marlin gold mine:

May 24: the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) calls on the government of Guatemala to "suspend mining activity at the Marlin mine and take steps to protect the health of the surrounding indigenous communities." (1)

June 16: James Anaya, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, visits San Miguel Ixtahuacán and eventually issues a report concluding that "Guatemala is currently experiencing a high degree of social unrest in connection with the natural resource extraction activities taking place in the traditional territories of indigenous peoples, which has serious impacts on indigenous peoples' rights, and threatens governance and economic development." (2)

July 7: Three weeks after Anaya's visit, Diodora Hernández is shot point blank in the face.

Exactly one year after the shooting, Diodora expresses her thoughts on the local radio station The Voice of the People: "They tried to kill me because I do not want to sell my plot of land!"

Diodora, who lost her right eye as a result of the attack, lives with her daughter María and granddaughter Olga in what now seems the ghost town of San José Nueva Esperanza.

"I am sad because most of my neighbors have sold out and left. But me, hmmm, don't you worry, I will continue on with the struggle! I am firm as a tree. Standing I am, and standing I will remain."

During 2011, two Goldcorp shareholders have presented a resolution asking the company to suspend operations at the Marlin mine. (3)
Meanwhile, on September 19, 2011, Goldcorp was removed from the
Dow Jones Sustainability Index due to "ongoing allegations of human rights violations and evidence of environmental contamination in communities affected by Goldcorp's mining activities." (4)

"Goldcorp's removal from the Dow Jones Sustainability Index will not make a difference in the daily lives of communities in Guatemala, Honduras and elsewhere who are living with long-term impacts from this company's operations," says Jennifer Moore, Latin America Program Coordinator for MiningWatch Canada, "but this is another indication that the company can't just paper over the damage that it's doing." (5)          

2010-12. Legal Case. Choc v. HudBay Minerals.

December 2nd, 2010

On September 27th, 2009, Adolfo Ich Chamán, a respected indigenous Q'eqchi' Mayan community leader and an outspoken critic of harms and rights violations caused by Canadian mining activities in his community, was hacked and shot to death by security forces employed at HudBay Minerals' Fenix Mining Project near the town of El Estor, Guatemala.

December 1st, 2010, Guatemala City: Angelica Choc, Adolfo Ich Chamán's widow, announces lawsuit brought in Canadian courts against HudBay Minerals Inc. to seek accountability for the murder of her husband.


2008-08. Lake Izabal: Majestic Life Source Flowing Towards its Death

Canadian Nickel mining company threatens to contaminate Guatemala's lake Izabal.


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