On July 5th, 2017 the Guatemalan Supreme Court ordered the provisional suspension of Tahoe Resources’ Escobal silver mine over failure to consult with indigenous Xinka people.
Later that same month, Tahoe began a lobbying campaign to pressure Guatemalan authorities, including the country’s highest courts, to reinstate its operating license. The U.S. Government responded to Tahoe’s lobbying by taking extraordinary action on Tahoe’s behalf, and at the expense of judicial independence.
On Monday, over 50 Guatemalan and international organizations sent a letter to the U.S. Ambassador to Guatemala denouncing U.S. intervention on behalf of Tahoe and the negative impacts that U.S. actions have on the deteriorating situation for environmental and human rights defenders in Guatemala.
The Escobal project, one the largest silver mines in the world, is furiously opposed by impacted communities in southeastern Guatemala since 2011. Before the mine went into production in early 2014, residents held more than a dozen municipal and community-level referenda, all of which overwhelmingly rejected mining as an appropriate form of development in the region. One month before the Supreme Court’s decision to suspend operations at Escobal, a community-led protest over water and infrastructure impacts, and lack of respect for the referenda, effectively suspended Tahoe’s operations by shutting down the main road.
Find more information on community opposition and Tahoe lobby efforts here.