Monday, May 18, 2015

A corruption scandal, a new Vice President and the largest mass mobilization in Guatemala’s recent history

Tens of thousands gather in Guatemala's central park to demand an end to impunity
and corruption. Photo credit: SkyCam Guatemala
A crime ring that defrauded the Guatemalan national tax collection agency (SAT) and customs office, and implicated high-level authorities in different government institutions all the way up to Vice President Roxana Baldetti’s private secretary, was dismantled on April 16th with the arrests of 22 people. Guatemala’s Public Prosecutor’s Office and the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) carried out the joint investigation, which immediately sparked massive and ongoing public protest and political crisis. The VP’s private secretary, Juan Carlos Monzón Rojas, is still at large.

While the investigation into the criminal network known as “La Linea”, has yet to explicitly name Vice President Baldetti, suspicions of her involvement in criminal activity were immediately raised after the arrest warrant for Monzón was issued while he was traveling with the VP in South Korea. Baldetti lied publically about her return to Guatemala from said trip and Monzón has been on the run ever since. On May 8th, after popular protests the size of which had not been seen in recent Guatemalan history and pressure from the powerful economic sector CACIF, Vice President Baldetti resigned. With resignation also comes the end of immunity for Baldetti, opening the doors to a full investigation into her involvement in the corruption case. 

The layers of corruption exposed by this investigation continue to unfold and have resulted in the arrest of three lawyers representing members of “La Linea” who are accused of influencing judicial authorities in order to guarantee impunity for their clients. For more information and analysis, see InSight Crime article “Guatemala Corruption Scandal Leads Investigators to Judicial Corruption” or from The Guardian, “Guatemala on brink of crisis after vice-president falls to corruption scandal”.

Reverberations of the “La Linea” corruption scandal have also been felt in other cases, including the April 30th request by the CICIG and Guatemalan Public Prosecutor’s office to withdraw Judge Carol Patricia Flores’ immunity from prosecution. Flores, whose rulings led to the current quagmire of Guatemala’s genocide case against Efraín Ríos Montt and José Mauricio Rodríguez Sánchez, is being investigated for money laundering, illicit enrichment and other crimes. Also caught up in the fallout of the current political crisis is head of the Ministry of Energy and Mines, Erick Archila, who resigned on May 15th. Archila is facing allegations of corruption, money laundering and anomalies in the granting of government contracts and is under investigation for his handling of contracts for the proposed Xalalá dam project

Guatemala's new Vice President: An old face from the extreme right

A little over a month after the scandal broke, Guatemala now has a new Vice President. President Pérez Molina, tasked with submitting a slate of three candidates to Congress, struggled to put together his list after two proposed candidates withdrew. In the end, Héctor Alejandro Baltazar Maldonado Aguirre was the last candidate to be added to the list and was approved by Congress. Maldonado Aguirre is not a new figure in Guatemalan politics, rather has a long history of representing the extreme right – a founder of the Movimiento de Liberación Nacional or the National Liberation Movement (MLN), a political party known for promoting organized violence and death squadrons during the 1960s-70s.

From there, Maldonado Aguirre went on to serve as the Guatemalan representative to the United Nations during the military government of Romeo Lucas García during which time the Guatemalan government worked hard to convince the international community that it was not participating in massive human rights violations. Maldonado Aguirre was later the Minister of Education during the military government of Carlos Arana Osorio and ran for president in 1982 as a candidate for the National Renewal Party, a slightly less extreme version of the MLN. He was finally elected as a member of the Constitutional Court in 1986-1991, returning again to the position in 2006 and reelected to the Court by Congress once more in 2011. 

According to Gustavo Illescas of Guatemalan Independent Media (CMI-G), “Thanks to his discursive capacity to present the ideas of the extreme right in a moderate way, Maldonado Aguirre has been called upon in various moments of his life to deflect the tensions that have been provoked by the violent actions of the State and during the political crises that develop as a result.” 

In Guatemala, these violent actions and political crises have often revolved around crimes committed during the internal armed conflict and the unwavering effort to bring those responsible to justice. Examples of Maldonado Aguirre's role as a “Fire extinguisher of Justice” are outlined in an article by CMI-G and include: delaying investigations for one year in the case for the 1998 murder of Archbishop Gerardi in order to protect Byron Lima Oliva, a member of the Presidential General Staff (EMP, Estado Mayor Presidential) and authoring the judicial resolution that allowed former General Efraín Ríos Montt to avoid extradition to Spain where he would have been tried for genocide and terrorism. 

After being reelected to the Constitutional Court again in 2011, Maldonado Aguirre played a key role in yet three more extremely controversial decisions, decisions that have had very real consequences on access to justice and the future of judicial independence in the country. First, voting to annul the historic genocide sentence in May 2013 and one year later, voting for the early removal of Attorney General Claudia Paz y Paz from her position. Finally in November 2014, Maldonado Aguirre voted to approve a judicial nomination process that was plagued with anomalies, in which both the CICIG and the US Embassy expressed serious concern about the trafficking of influences and the impartiality of the process. 

“Maldonado resolves crisis for the right. This is his trump card. In order to have been chosen [as Vice President] he had to have the approval of the US Embassy and of CACIF, and even though it means conservative groups are left without an important player inside the Constitutional Court, he will play an important role in the coming months of this crisis. It is doubtful, however, that this decision will be enough to deflate the protests programmed in various parts of the country for Saturday the 16th or to diminish the feeling of indignation that is blooming toward #OtraGuatemalaYa - #AnotherGuatemalaNow.” Gustavo Illescas, CMI-G.

A new Guatemalan Spring?

The series of protests sparked by the corruption scandal have been a spontaneous and massive expression of frustration in the capital and other parts of the country. Prior to the #RenunciaYa (Resignation Now) protests, the largest scale protests in recent years have been undertaken by indigenous and campesino groups and have lacked participation from the urban population. The first protest on April 25th took place in Guatemala City immediately following the announcement of the “La Linea” arrests, and it was estimated that between 15-25,000 people participated. This action was quickly followed by #RenunciaYa demands added to the traditional May Day marches, with another protest following on May 2nd. 

The protest on Saturday, May 16th, was the largest popular protest in recent Guatemala history, with estimates ranging between 30-50,000 people in the capital alone. Protests also took place in at least 15 other Guatemalan cities, with reports of numerous international protests by the Guatemalan diaspora. These leaderless, popular protests have been compared to those of the “Guatemalan Spring”; massive popular mobilizations that took place during the resignations of military dictator Jorge Ubico and the subsequent de facto military government, and led to Guatemala’s first democratically elected governments of Juan José Arevalo and Jacobo Guzman Arbenz. 

It remains to be seen where the current wave of mobilization will land given the diversity of participation and demands, which range from accountability for corruption to total transformation of the political system of the country. What we know is that for the first in recent history, a wide swath of sectors that include business, academic and student, indigenous and campesino, human rights groups, as well as unaffiliated urban youth and citizenry, have come together to express outrage and desire for change. With information from Gustavo Illescas and Guatemala Independent Media (CMI-G)

Click here for more photos or here for a video from the May 16th protest.


May 20: Former private secretary to President Molina arrested in separate corruption scandal
In another joint CICIG/Public Prosecutor corruption investigation unveiled another scandal involving the national health system (IGSS in Spanish). So far, 17 high level functionaries, including the President of IGSS Juan de Dios Rodríguez, have been arrested. Rodríguez was Otto Peréz Molina's private secretary until the President nominated him to the IGSS position in 2013. 

Also arrested was the President of Guatemala's National Bank, Julio Roberto Suárez Guerra. Those implicated are believed to have defrauded the national health system of 116 million Quetzals, or roughly 15 million dollars through the granting of illegal contracts for treatments related to liver failure. The fraud ring is accused of negligence in the death of at least seven patients, according to complaints filed by Guatemala's Human Rights Ombudsman. 

May 21: Minister of the Interior, Mauricio López Bonilla resigns
One of President Otto Peréz Molina's most trusted cabinet members, Minister of the Interior, Mauricio López Bonilla, resigned this morning. Four additional members of the President's cabinet have also resigned, including Vice Minister of the Interior, Edy Juárez; the Minister of the Environment, Michelle Martínez; and the head of the Strategic Intelligence office, Ulises Anzueto (previously Peréz Molina's Minister of Defense), and the recently named Minister of Energy and Mines.

Bonilla, unike President Molina, has not been the specific target of calls for resignation, nor has he been so far connected to the numerous corruption scandals uncovered by the joint CICIG/Public Prosecutor investigations. His abrupt departure raises questions about the reasons behind the decision and what his future role may be in an increasingly uncertain political context moving toward national elections later this year.  

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Take action to support political prisoners from Barillas!

UPDATE: On May 15 a court in Huehuetenango unanimously resolved not to ratify the 33-years and 4-month sentence against Saúl Méndez and Rogelio Velásquez. The decision is the result of a special appealed filed on behalf of the community leaders from Santa Cruz Barillas. Their case will be re-tried in a Quetzaltenango court. The decision is seen as the first step in correcting a legal process filled with errors and irregularities.

Saúl and Rogelio still need your support! Click here to sign the online petition demanding their freedom!

An English translation of the petition text is below.

Photo credit: Gustavo Illescas (CMI-Guatemala)
In the northern region of Guatemala, the Spanish transnational company HIDRALIA has dug its claws into the department of Huehuetenango. Exercising internationally and nationally guaranteed rights, the populations of the three municipalities in the north of Huehuetenango have carried out massive consultas (consultations) in which the citizens have have expressed their rejection of the exploitation of their natural resources by foreign companies. 

Saúl Méndez and Rogelio Velásquez of Santa Cruz Barillas are prisoners unjustly. They have been persecuted by the company for years: In 2012, before being freed for lack of evidence, they spent eight months in preventative prison despite the fact the the legal maximum is three months. In a new case plagued with irregularities, they are currently in prison and sentenced to more than 33 years. 

Led by ex-military Otto Pérez Molina, the Guatemalan government has ordered a multitude of detentions and arrest warrants that have been declared arbitrary by the UN, and has used all of its state power to the favor of transnational companies, using judicial and police power to incarcerate and persecute community leaders, reopening military bases, and ordering states of siege. 

On April 29, 2015, another public hearing was held to resolve the appeals issued by the defense of Saúl and Rogelio. The result should be nothing less than complete absolution and reparations for damages suffered. We likewise demand that all prisoners who are unjustly held in preventive prison as a consequence of their opposition to the company's planned projects be granted freedom.

Today more than ever, solidarity between peoples should be more than endearment. It should be consciousness, commitment, and struggle. 

Sign in solidarity with the political prisoners of Barillas. In solidarity with their families. In solidarity with the people that raise their voices to say "ENOUGH."


We demand freedom for Saúl Méndez and Rogelio Velazques, political prisoners from Santa Cruz Barillas, Huehuetenango, Guatemala, community leaders in the defense of land and territory. In a case plagued with irregularities, Mendez y Velázques have been condemned to 33 years and four months in prison for opposing the projects of the hydroelectric company Hidro Santa Cruz S.A., subsidiary of the Spanish Hidralia Energía S.A. 

We likewise demand that all prisoners who are unjustly held in preventive prison as a consequence of their opposition to the company's planned projects be granted freedom. Guatemalan state institutions are acting in favor of Hidro Santa Cruz S.A.

*National ID number (Passport, SSN, etc):
Locale: (City, State, United States)
Signature: Just your name again

*ID number not required

Community leader from Huehuetenango testifies at the World Bank

Last month, Cecilia Mérida testified at the World Bank Spring Meetings in Washington, D.C. about the damage being inflicted by the Bank's financing of the Cambalam hydroelectric dam in the municipality of Barillas, Huehuetenango. She testified to the strategies of criminalization being employed by the Guatemalan government and the dam's Spanish owner - Hidro Santa Cruz - in an attempt to silence local opposition. She spoke first hand about the impacts on families and communities when leaders are illegally detained and imprisoned for months, or even years on end.

The World Bank continues to be a major funder of resource extraction companies around the world, loaning hundreds of millions of dollars each year to companies working in the global South who are unable to guarantee that these investments are not contributing to human rights violations. A recent investigation by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists revealed the hypocrisy of the World Bank's motto to "do no harm." The investigation showed that mega-development projects financed by the World Bank have pushed at least 3.4 million people out of their homes around the world. The tragic situation in Santa Cruz Barillas is an example of this systemic problem: the Inter-American Infrastructure Finance Corporation (CIFI), a US-based private sector lender funded in part by the World Bank, loaned Hidro Santa Cruz more than $8 million for the construction of dam.

Click here to read more about the struggle to defend territory in the department of Huehuetenango, and the leaders who have been criminalized while speaking out against hydroelectric dams being imposed without their consent. 

Below is Cecilia's statement before the World Bank. To read the original statement in Spanish, click here.

Cecilia Mérida: Statement before the World Bank

I am Cecilia Mérida. I come from the department of Huehuetenango in Guatemala, from the municipality of Santa Cruz Barillas, which is where the Spanish company Hidralia Ecoener has been operating without consent since 2008. Their goal is to construct a hydroelectric dam on the Cambalan River, situated on the periphery of the urban center of the municipality. This company has received financing that flows from the World Bank to the International Finance Corporation (IFC), and its Inter-American Infrastructure Finance Corporation (CIFI).

I come in the name of each person affected by this hydroelectric project, to answer many of the questions put forward by OXFAM. What are the consequences for the people who are affected by the projects financed with money that comes from so far away?

Hidralia Ecoener, registered in Guatemala as Hidro Santa Cruz, Sociedad Anónima, insisted on the development of this project despite the fact that in 2007, the people of Barillas held a community consultation to protect their natural resources, under the framework of the Collective Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

The company hired local people as technicians gaining political control over community organizing. In November 2009, the company pressed charges against eight community leaders, among who was my life partner - Rubén Herrera - along with Pablo Antonio Pablo and Saúl Mendez. Thus began the practice of charging community leaders in the municipality with crimes of breaking and entering, coercion, threats, aggravated arson, activity against the security of the nation, detention, kidnapping, and terrorism.

This led to the beginning of the social conflict in the municipality, and the permanent violation of the human rights of the population. What transpired were incidents of intimidation, persecution and criminalization against all of those who spoke out against the interests of Hidro Santa Cruz. In 2011, Rúben Herrera was forced to leave the municipality, abandoning his work providing social support to youth.

Towards the end of 2011 and the beginning of 2012, social tension worsened to such a level that the Guatemalan government declared a State of Siege in the municipality of Santa Cruz Barillas, repressing the opposition to the hydroelectric project and allowing Hidro Santa Cruz to continue its operations. On May 1, 2012, campesino leader Andrés Francisco Miguel was killed during an assassination attempt against Pablo Antonio Pablo, who was left seriously injured in the attack. One year later, company private security guards who participated in this armed attack, were absolved of all crimes by the Guatemalan justice system.

Based on what transpired on May 1, 2012, 17 community leaders were illegally detained, including Saúl Méndez and Rogelio Velásquez. Nine were unjustly imprisoned for nine months, and were never found guilty of any crime. On March 15, 2013, Rubén Herrera was arrested at the request of Hidro Santa Cruz. After spending three months in prison, he finally had all charges dropped on February 26, 2014, after a judge ruled that there was not sufficient evidence to keep the investigation open.

In August 2013, Saúl Méndez and Rogelio Velásquez were arrested again, and accused of murder, feminicide and lynching. Those of us who are at their defense are convinced that this case was brought forward by employees of Hidro Santa Cruz as a part of their strategy to criminalize community leadership. After a flawed trial, they were convicted of 33 years in prison. Today, they are going through a Special Appeals process.

In September 2013, another community member, Mynor López was illegally arrested. At the end of the month, the Guatemalan Army and National Civil Police practically launched a military offensive against the civilian population of Santa Cruz Barillas, the likes of which have never been seen before in this municipality - not even during the armed conflict.

In February 2015, three more community leaders were detained and illegally imprisoned. Adalberto Villatoro, Francisco Juan and Arturo Pablo (Pablo Antonio Pablo's son). They, like all of the others previously mentioned, believed that the presence of Hidro Santa Cruz seriously impacts the natural, environmental and cultural aspects of the municipality.

After seven years of persecution, the ways the Spanish company Hidro Santa Cruz operates provide some answers to the questions posed by OXFAM's recent report. What are the human costs of the loans, given the social and environmental safeguards are not working? The human costs are extremely high and very harmful. They translate into persecution, killings, imprisonment, and criminalization. During this time, the communities have not seen any benefits. Instead, they have gone from living in tranquility to living in a state of fear and terror. Our human potential and energy has not been dedicated towards local development from our own perspectives and aspirations, but instead, has been spent defending ourselves against the abuses of Hidro Santa Cruz.

The human costs [of these loans for mega-development projects] translate into the suffering of families, wives, sons and daughters, into illnesses and precariousness. We are prevented from being with our husbands. Instead, we spend our lives and the little we have traveling to the prison that is located more than 400 kilometers away. In this conflict, every community member [incarcerated] is innocent. We are the people who are suffering the consequences of bank loans that are thought to be "producing development." The pain and suffering for us "is the human face of these projects." Day to day, we live out these tangible consequences, in addition to being (as OXFAM's report indicates) "the most poor and vulnerable people of the developing countries."

We, too, have questions. Who is going to pay for all of the costs that we have had to suffer from "development," for a project that we never asked for in our community? Is it the World Bank? The International Finance Corporation? The CIFI? Or is it Hidro Santa Cruz that is going to pay for all of the economic, social and organizational harms they have caused in our community? Who will return to the families all the years taken from the men who have been incarcerated? We know that no one will give back to us those who have been killed.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Something big was missing from Goldcorp and Tahoe Resources' shareholder meetings: the voices of communities impacted by their mines

On April 30th and May 8th respectively, Goldcorp and Tahoe Resources held their Annual General Meetings (AGM) in Canada to discuss their FY2014 accomplishments and future expansion plans at their mine sites in Guatemala.

What was missing, however, were the many voices of those impacted by Goldcorp and Tahoe's operations around the world - voices of communities whose water sources are becoming increasingly contaminated and drying up; voices of community leaders who are being criminalized for speaking out against the mining companies, and the voices of peaceful Guatemalans who are witnessing the military occupy their communities once more in order to protect private corporate interests.

Members of the Maritimes-Guatemala Breaking the Silence
Network (BTS), the Mining Injustice Solidarity Network (MISN)
and other allies demonstrate in front of Goldcorp's office.
Photo credit: NISGUA
Organizers, activists and others in solidarity with mining-impacted communities gathered on April 30th outside Goldcorp's Toronto office to commemorate the life of 16-year-old Topacio Reynoso. Topacio was the Youth Coordinator of the Resistance in Mataquescuintla, near the Escobal mine, and was shot and killed in April 2014. Although the Escobal mine is owned by Tahoe Resources, Goldcorp retains a 29% controlling share in the company. 

"Rest in Power, Topacio!" Photo credit: NISGUA
Those present laid red carnations on the steps of Goldcorp's office in an act of solidarity with Topacio's family and friends as well as with communities who continue to face violence from mining operations. The flowers also symbolize the ongoing resistance to the Escobal project. In 2011, communities from San Rafael las Flores - which borders the Escobal mine - marched to the company's headquarters in Guatemala City and to the Canadian embassy to leave red carnations in an act of protest against the mining project.

Photo credit: NISGUA
Activists marched down Toronto's financial district to Goldcorp's shareholder AGM, carrying banners to denounce the violence suffered around the Marlin mine during its ten years of operation in Guatemala.

Photo credit: NISGUA
Photo credit: NISGUA
Community voices aren't being heard where the decisions are being made, and so demonstrators wheat-pasted some of the messages impacted communities wanted to tell investors outside Goldcorp's office and around Toronto's financial district.

Photo credit: Sarita Galvez
In a similar action on May 8th, members of the Mining Justice Alliance and Amnesty International gathered to bring some of these same messages to Tahoe Resources' shareholder AGM in Vancouver, Canada.

U.S. and Canadian-owned mining companies like Tahoe Resources and Goldcorp operate without the free, prior and informed consent of those most impacted by their operations. Instead of listening to the concerns of community members, these companies engage in practices of criminalization of local leaders, while promoting the implementation of militarized security strategies at their mine sites in an attempt to quell local opposition. 

Despite this violence, communities continue to stand up and say: "We're still here. We're still in resistance." 

To see more messages from those impacted by Tahoe's Escobal mine, click here

Surgen preguntas preocupantes sobre el equipo de seguridad militarizada de Tahoe Resources en base de transcripciones de escuchas telefónicas

Fuente: Amnistía Internacional Canadá – AlertaMinera Canadá – Red en Solidaridad con el Pueblo de Guatemala (NISGUA)

7 de abril, 2015

(Ciudad de Guatemala/Ottawa/Vancouver) Han salido a la luz pública las transcripciones de las escuchas telefónicas del exjefe de la seguridad de la empresa minera Tahoe Resources, Alberto Rodondo, derivado de una demanda civil en Canadá por víctimas sobrevivientes al tiroteo ocurrido el 27 de abril de 2013, afuera de la entrada del proyecto Escobal. Las transcripciones brindan evidencias contundentes sobre que Rotondo dirigió un ataque armado en contra de manifestante pacíficos, realizando acciones de encubrimiento de evidencias de dicho crimen, para posteriormente intentar huir del país. Las escuchas telefónicas salieron a la luz pública gracias a una investigación realizada por el Ministerio Público de Guatemala dos semanas antes de los hechos ocurridos, aparentemente relacionado hechos violentos anteriores. Las mismas que fueron originalmente presentadas ante una audiencia pública en mayo 2013 en Guatemala, cuando se levantaron cargos de asalto y encubrimiento en contra de Rotondo.

Siete guatemaltecos lesionados durante el ataque presentaron una demanda civil en contra de Tahoe Resources, con sede en Vancouver, Canadá, alegando que tiene responsabilidad por negligencia y agresiones en torno al ataque. Las primeras audiencias en la Corte Suprema de Columbia Británica, Canadá iniciaron el 8 de abril de 2015. Según la demanda presentada, Tahoe está acusado de haber autorizado expresamente el uso de fuerza excesiva por Rotondo y su personal de seguridad en contra de las personas heridas. Así mismo la Empresa fue negligente por haber fallado en prevenir el uso de la fuerza excesiva. Las transcripciones de las escuchas telefónicas han sido entregados como prueba en el caso.

En la transcripción número 4010, como parte de una conversación con el asesor de comunicaciones y seguridad, Alberto Rotondo explica que se pretende acabar las manifestaciones en contra de la mina con violencia: “Los corrí a balazos […] Traigan al cura Melgar pues, o a mujeres y niños para que se defiendan, ¿no eras el mero brincón? Así les dije a todos. Bueno hijue putas! […] Y les metí pero así […] En ningún momento yo voy a permitir, no voy a permitir que estos agarren confianza…”

En la transcripción número 4052, aparentemente hablando con uno de las guardias bajo su mando, Rotondo continúa: “Dicen que uno, tiene una, un balazo en la cara y… si le estalló en la cara, a balazos es que aprenden.”

En la misma transcripción, Rotondo ordena alterar la evidencia, mientras inventa otra versión de los eventos: “Limpien las armas pues […] Límpienlas bien, decimos ‘aquí no pasó nada.’ Grabaciones no hay ¿me entiendes? […] La versión es: que entraron y ellos nos atacaron. Y los hemos repelido no. […] Hay que decirle a la gente, es de que no se preocupe, que ellos vienen todos los días a agredirnos, con machetes y con piedras y la gente se ha defendido pues. Ahí están, allí están los escudos rotos. Pero quiebren dos más, para que vean de que nos atacaron.”

También parece que Rotondo coordinó con un oficial de la policía, con el nombre ‘Adilio’, conocido así por los vecinos de la zona, para asegurar que los guardias de seguridad y la policía contaran la misma versión de los eventos del 27 de abril. Activistas locales también sospechan que un individuo actuando bajo la dirección de Rotondo, referido en las escuchas como ‘El Moreno’, se había infiltrado en sus reuniones.

Finalmente, durante una llamada con su hijo en Lima, Pedro, Rotondo informa sobre sus planes para escapar: “Han habido problemas aquí en Guatemala y es mejor que me ausente un tiempo. ¿Si? […] Le saque la mierda a varios huevones aquí. Que se vayan al carajo. Entonces para evitarme un tema legal y esa onda.”

Justo después de esta última llamada, Alberto Rotondo fue capturado en el aeropuerto internacional de Guatemala y ligado a proceso por asalto y obstrucción de justicia. Seis campesinos y un estudiante fueron lesionados en el ataque. Todos son residentes de la municipalidad de San Rafael Las Flores donde está ubicada la mina Escobal.

Al mismo tiempo existe un proceso penal en contra de Alberto Rotondo en Guatemala, pero este ha sido demorado varias veces por diferentes estrategias jurídicas desde el 2013 a la fecha.

El 1 de mayo de 2013, Tahoe Resources publicó un comunicado con el propósito de echar la culpa a otros, declarando que la violencia proviene de “actores ajenos” y son responsables de aumentar las tensiones alrededor de la mina, con “una manifestación de aproximadamente 20 personas armados con machetes se volvió hostil”.

En una entrevista realizada por la agencia de noticias canadiense ‘iPolitics’ con el Representante de Relaciones con Inversionistas de Tahoe Resources, Ira Gostin, después de la publicación de las escuchas telefónicas presentadas como evidencia durante la audiencia pública el 6 de mayo de 2013 en Guatemala, Gostin afirmó que las escuchas eran falsas y que las acusaciones contra Rotondo eran inventos, mientras que dichas pruebas indican lo contrario.

La empresa no publicó otra declaración pública sobre el hecho hasta el 10 de julio cuando reportó haber terminado su contrato con la firma de Rotondo. En comunicaciones posteriores el Consejo Ético del Fondo de Pensiones Noruego publicó en su informe anual de 2014 que Tahoe Resources “[negó] que Señor Rotondo ordenó el asesinato de manifestantes pero no quiso dar más información sobre este punto dado a que hay un proceso abierto.” El Fondo de Pensión Noruego concluyó su investigación con la recomendación de no invertir más en Tahoe Resources.

Según una declaración presentada por el Vice Presidente de Operaciones, Donald Paul Gray, Tahoe Resources originalmente contrató a Rotondo a través de un acuerdo con International Security and Defense Management, LLC (ISDM), una empresa estadounidense con sede en California y liderado por ex-militares con experiencia en Afganistán y Iraq.

Después, aconsejado por ISDM, Rotondo fue contratado directamente por la subsidiaria de Tahoe Resources, Minera San Rafael. Anteriormente, Rotondo sirvió con la Marina del Perú y, según su página personal de LinkedIn, ha recibido entrenamiento militar en Fort Bragg, Carolina del Norte, EEUU, sobre la guerra psicológica y el contra-terrorismo en conflictos de baja intensidad.

La demanda civil presentada en Canadá por los siete agraviados en contra de Tahoe Resources por sus acciones en el extranjero es la primera en su tipo de ser escuchado en la provincia de Columbia Británica (B.C.). Las transcripciones de las escuchas telefónicas fueron entregadas como parte del proceso. Las audiencias de esta semana giran en torno a una solicitud de Tahoe Resources para desestimar el caso, que debe ser escuchado en B.C. o en Guatemala.

Se incorporó Tahoe Resources bajo el Acta de Corporaciones del B.C. y tiene sus oficinas centrales en Vancouver.Goldcorp, dueño de la Mina Marlin en el noroeste de Guatemala lo cual ha sido un fuente de conflicto con las comunidades indígenas afectadas por más de 10 años, tiene 40% de las acciones de Tahoe Resources y anualmente nombran 3 directores a su junta directiva.

Amnistía Internacional Canadá, Alerta Minera Canadá y la Red en Solidaridad con el Pueblo de Guatemala (NISGUA) han monitoreado y reportado sobre este caso durante los últimos años.

Copias de las transcripciones de las escuchas telefónicas y la otra declaración mencionado en este boletín están disponibles aquí: evidencia de escuchas y declaración de Donald Paul Gray.


Jen Moore, Alerta Minera Canadá , (613) 569-3439, jen(at)

Megan Whelan, Red en Solidaridad con el Pueblo de Guatemala (NISGUA), (011)-502–2288-9504, Megan(at)

Tara Scurr, Amnistía Internacional Canadá, (604 )294-5160 x102, TScurr(at)