Since March 2012, community members of San José del Golfo and San Pedro Ayampuc have sustained a blockade of El Tambor gold mine in Guatemala. Known as “La Puya,” they have successfully blocked development of the mine despite repeated harassment, eviction attempts and even violence.
In May 2014, Guatemalan police officers laid siege to La Puya, standing guard as contractors of Kappes, Cassidy & Associates, the US company that currently holds the concession to the mine, brought in mining equipment.
Last week Global Witness released the report, A Hidden Crisis?, documenting the murders of environmental activists around the world. The report examines reported killings of journalist, activists, and community members that have been killed because of their involvement in the defense of the environment. Spanning back to 2002, the report finds that 711 people have been killed in the last decade, or more than one person a week. The report paints a stark picture of the threats community members are facing as the mining industry, logging, and cattle ranching look to develop new lands. Killings have skyrocketed in the past years. Global Witness reports that there were over 106 murders in 2011 alone.