The opening of the trial against Ríos Montt and Rodríguez Sánchez is still set to open on March 19th despite Guatemalan media reports claiming on March 9th that a legal procedure would suspend the opening of the public oral debate. The witnesses on the case, the AJR, and their legal team, CALDH, issued a statement on March 11th clarifying that, while the appeals court did accept an injunction filed by the defense, the decision does not suspend the debate. Read NISGUA'stranslation of the statement, or the original statement in Spanish.
March 19th marks the first time in the Americas that a trial for genocide will be heard against a former head of state in the Americas. Look out for continued NISGUA coverage of this historic trial via our Facebook, Twitter, and Blog!
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Trade & Globalization
Community Referenda Say NO to Chemical Mineral Mining in San Rafael Las Flores
On March 3 the community of Los Planes, San Rafael Los Flores rejected chemical mineral mining on their territory in the second of 26 good-faith referenda planned for the municipality. The first referendum, held February 17th in San Juan Bosco, also soundly rejected the project, with 99% of the population voting NO to mining and YES to life.
Read NISGUA's full report on the referenda here.
For the past two years, community members and local human rights organizations have been peacefully resisting the Escobal project in the face of increasing violence, intimidation and criminalization. The Escobal mine is operated by Minería San Rafael S.A., a Guatemalan subsidiary of Canada’s Tahoe Resources, which acquired the Escobal project from Goldcorp in 2010.
La Puya Encampment Celebrates First Anniversary of Peaceful Resistance
On Sunday, March 3rd, the communities of La Puya celebrated the one-year anniversary of their non-violent resistance to the Tambor (Progreso VII) mining project, owned by US company Kappes, Cassiday & Associates (KCA).
This celebration comes just weeks after mining and environmental engineer, Robert Robinson, in collaboration with the Madre Selva Collective, presented a scathing analysis of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).Robinson commented, “As a firm with operations all over the word, KCA should be aware of the levels of engineering, analysis and documentation typically required for responsible EIAs... Radius Gold, a Canadian mining company... is also undoubtedly aware of the requirements of an adequate EIA.”
Robinson's report concludes the mining license should be suspended until an adequate EIA is performed. Read more on Robinson's report here.