Jul 24th, 2012
A recent article on Intercontinental Cry examines, in depth, some aspects of the ongoing stuggle of indigenous Mayas in Guatemala against big infrastructure projects in their territories, and the violence they continue to face in response. From the article:
“On the night of 12 June two men broke into the home of José Tavico Tzunun in Santa Cruz del Qiché, Western Guatemala, and murdered him. Tzunun was a member of the K’iche’ Peoples Council in Defense of Life, Mother Nature, Earth, and Indigenous Territory. He helped to organise the town’s referendum on establishing a moratorium on mining and dams. The following day anti-mining activist Yolanda Oquelí was shot while driving home from a barricade against a proposed gold mine in her community of San Jose del Golfo, north east of Guatemala City. She remains in a critical condition. …
“Conflicts related to mineral extraction and land use are turning increasingly violent on a global level. A Global Witness report shows that deaths from conflicts linked to environmental destruction have almost doubled in the last three years, to a rate of over two killings a week in 2011….
“The Maya region of Central America is particularly illustrative of such conflicts. It is home to great mineral wealth, two states with junk status bonds (Belize and Guatemala) eager for royalties, and indigenous communities often dependent on the land. In both states Mayan communities are fighting to hold onto their land and livelihoods, through exposing violations of their domestic law and the narrow application of the international declarations and treaties on indigenous rights.”
Read the article here.