In Guatemala, Indigenous and campesino people face threats, violence and criminalization for opposing mining projects that would impact their land, water and livelihoods. Despite huge odds, over the last two decades, impacted communities have stood up to U.S. and Canadian mining companies and won. Community-led organizing and legal action resulted in the suspension of two of the three active mines in Guatemala over the government’s failure to consult with Indigenous People.
Guatemalan communities are leading the fight for the right to self-determination and free, prior, and informed consent, an effort that could set the stage for similar struggles throughout the region. Earthworks supports these efforts through international advocacy to elevate the voices of frontline communities and fight for corporate accountability.
We collaborate with the Peaceful Resistance of La Puya, made up of communities opposed to Nevada-based Kappes, Cassiday & Associates’ El Tambor gold mine. La Puya has maintained a permanent encampment outside the mine site for 10 years in order to stop a project that will impact their water and health. The project is suspended pending a government-led consultation with Indigenous People, and despite a multi-million dollar international arbitration suit filed by KCA against the Guatemalan government, La Puya remains firm in its opposition to gold mining in their territory.
We also work with communities in resistance to the Escobal silver mine, owned by Pan American Silver since it acquired Tahoe Resources in 2019. Since 2011, residents throughout the region have organized to stop the Escobal mine through community and municipal referendums, marches, protest camps and legal action. The Escobal mine is also suspended pending government consultation with the Xinka Indigenous People.