Friday, July 4, 2008

URGENT ACTION: Goldcorp's Marlin Mine (San Marcos, Guatemala)

Crackdown on Local Citizens Opposing Goldcorp's "Marlin" Mine
Escalates in San Marcos, Guatemala

Nine New Arrest Warrants Issued Against Eight Women and One Man;
Community Leaders Receive Death Threats

Urgent Action

LAST WEEK nine arrest warrants were issued for community members in
the municipality of San Miguel Ixtahuacán, department of San Marcos,
Guatemala in an attempt to criminalize and eliminate local resistance
to the Marlin mine, a gold and silver extraction operation in the

The arrest warrants charge eight women and one man with "aggravated
usurpation" for damage done to an electric line feeding into the mine,
which runs through the properties of various community members. On
June 13th, one community member and mother of six blocked the electric
line running through her property after months of attempting to
convince the company remove the electric post from her land. The post
and the electric line were believed to present a threat to the safety
of her home and demonstrate the arrogance with which the mining
company continues to invade territory against the wishes of the
population. Within days, this act of resistance was used by the
company to seek the arrests of eight other community members who have
been involved in denouncing of Canadian mining company Goldcorp Inc.
and its 100% foreign- owned Guatemalan subsidiary Montana Exploradora
for damages and human rights violations caused by the Marlin mine.

These arrest warrants follow the pattern set during an incident in
2007, when 7 men from San Miguel Ixtahuacán — demanding accountability
and compensation from the mining company for acts of coercive land
appropriation in their communities — were targeted and arrested. Five
of the men were ultimately acquitted, while 2 were sentenced to a
Guatemalan form of "house arrest."

Threats Against Local Leaders

Tensions have increased in recent days in the municipalities of San
Miguel Ixthauacán and Sipakapa as a result of these events. Rumors
have spread throughout the communities that allegedly originated from
the local offices of Montana Exploradora and the company's social
programming organization "Sierra Madre," stating that the mine will
have to halt operations for two to three months due to lack of
electricity. These rumors are contributing to an escalating climate of
tension for human rights defenders and community organizers in the

Mario Tema Bautista, a community leader in Sipakapa who opposes the
mine, has received concerning indirect death threats, whereby he has
been told that some mine workers from the community are planning
attacks against him because of the rumored suspension of mining
operations. Community leaders and human rights defenders in San
Miguel Ixtahuacán have received direct threats from groups of
employees of Montana Exploradora as well.

In addition, organizations of affected community members from San
Miguel Ixtahuacán have recently accepted an invitation from the
company to dialogue; however, only under certain conditions. The
conditions demanded by the local organizations included the suspension
of the nine arrest warrants against their fellow community members,
and the suspension of mining operations in order to create the
necessary conditions for true dialogue. At the time of writing this
urgent action, the company still has not responded. Please join us in
demanding from Goldcorp Inc. and Montana Exploradora that they accept
the communities' conditions and enter into dialogue with community
organizers. (See below for complete conditions.)


The Marlin Mine is a project of Canadian mining giant Goldcorp, which
became the 3rd largest mining company in the world after merging with
U.S.-owned Glamis Gold in recent years. Glamis began constructing the
mine in 2004 with a $45 million loan from the World Bank.

The open-pit, cyanide-leaching gold and silver mine guzzles over
250,000 liters of water an hour- comparable to the amount an average
family in the region uses over the course of 22 years.

The mine is located in Mayan Mam and Mayan Sipakapense territory.

Communities in the area have begun to suffer the adverse consequences
of the mine, which, according to local organizations such as ADISMI
(The Association for Integral Development in San Miguel Ixtahuacán)
and the representative governing body of the communities include:

- loss of water sources (over 40 wells have dried up)

- skin diseases, especially amongst children and the elderly

- death of animals and an increase in miscarriages

- Large cracks in homes creating unsafe living conditions

- Increased militarization, the presence of private security,
and social conflict between communities

- Insufficient compensation for land sold to the company by
community members as well as pressure, threats, and coercion by the
company in the acquisition of this land

In addition to threatening the health and wellbeing of surrounding
communities, the mining company and the Guatemalan government have
violated the rights of indigenous peoples, as declared in the
International Labor Organization Covenant 169, the United Nations
Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the Guatemalan
Constitution, and Municipal Law. These statutes are meant to secure
the rights of indigenous communities to grant or withhold their free
prior and informed consent for mega-projects on their lands.

In 2005 the municipality of Sipakapa held a community referendum, the
results of which overwhelmingly rejected mining activity on their
territory. The Guatemalan Constitutional Court declared this
referendum valid, but non-binding. The residents of San Miguel
Ixtahuacán were never properly informed or consulted before mining
operations began.

PLEASE SEND APPEALS (faxes, letters, phone calls) as soon as possible
(sample letters below):

- Calling for the government of Guatemala to suspend the arrest
warrants for the nine community defenders from San Miguel Ixtahuacán
and stop the criminalization of protest in the area around the Marlin

- Urging the Guatemalan government to protect threatened
community leaders and human rights defenders in San Miguel Ixtahuacán
and Sipakapa.

- Demanding that Goldcorp Inc. and its subsidiary Montana
Exploradora clarify their plans for operations in the coming months,
in order to quash the rumors that are fueling conflict between
community members, which could lead to violence in the coming days.

- Urging Goldcorp Inc. and Montana Exploradora to accept the San
Miguel Ixtahuacán affected communities' conditions for negotiations
and enter into dialogue with them on the terms they so clearly lay


Ian Telfer, Chairman of Goldcorp Inc., Kevin MacArthur CEO of Goldcorp
Inc., all directors of Goldcorp Inc.
Goldcorp Inc. Head Office:
Park Place
Suite 3400-666 Burrard Street
Vancouver, B.C. V6C 2X8
Telephone: (604) 696-3000
Facsimile: (604) 696-3001

Montana Exploradora
20 calle 24-60 zona 10,
Ofibodegas Pradera oficina #20
Ciudad de Guatemala, Guatemala
Telephone: 2385-6647
Facsimile: 2385-6651

Attorney General
Lic. Juan Luis Florido
Fiscal General de la República y Jefe del Ministerio Público
8ª Avenida 10-67, Antiguo Edificio del Banco de los Trabajadores, Zona 1
Ciudad de Guatemala, Guatemala
Fax: +502 2411 9124; +502 2411 9326
Salutation: Estimado Fiscal/Dear Sir

Human Rights Ombudsman for department of San Marcos, Guatemala
Rudy Castillo
Telephone: 7760-8087
Facsimile: 7760-8087

Head of the Special Prosecutor's Office on Human Rights, Public
Prosecutor's Office
Rosa María Salazar Marroquín
Jefa de la Sección de Derechos Humanos, Ministerio Público
10ª Calle 10-14, Zona 1, Edificio UP, 5º nivel
Ciudad de Guatemala, Guatemala
Fax: +502 2230 6033 (say "por favor, tono de fax" – business hours only,GMT+7)
Salutation: Estimada Fiscal/Dear Madam

Sample Letter for Guatemalan government institutions:

Dear _____________,

I am deeply concerned for the safety of Mario Tema Bautista of
Sipakapa and prominent community leaders in the municipality of San
Miguel Ixtahuacán. I am aware that these leaders have experienced
various levels of intimidation, including direct and indirect threats,
due to a rising climate of conflict around the Marlin mine. I am
extremely concerned that these threats are in response to their work
for justice and their efforts to organize for the rights of their

I urge you today to take immediate action to ensure effective
protection for human rights defenders and, in particular, members of
ADISMI and civic leaders in Sipakapa including Mario Tema Bautista.

Human rights defenders have the right to carry out their activities
without any restrictions or fear of reprisals, as set out in the UN
Declaration on the Rights and Responsibilities of Individuals, Groups
and Institutions to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human
Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.

To this same end, I express my deepest concern for the arrest warrants
in effect for eight women and one man in San Miguel Ixtahuacan:
Gregoria Crisanta Perez Bamaca, Oliga Bamaca, Crisanta Hernandez,
Patrocinia Mateo Mejia, Crisanta Yoc, Marta Perez, Maria Diaz,
Catalina Perez, and Fernando Bacilio Perez Bamaca. I am concerned that
these arrest warrants have been issued in response to the individuals'
participation in community organizations opposing the Marlin mine and
defending community rights in the face of damages caused by the mine,
and not any real criminal act. I ask that you work to put an end to
the criminalization of protest in the areas surrounding the Marlin

I thank you in advance for your attention and action to protect the
important work of community organizations in San Marcos and all human
rights defenders in Guatemala.


Sample Letter for Goldcorp Inc. and Montana Exploradora (Guatemalan subsidiary)

Dear _______________________

I send this letter expressing my grave concerns for the situation
currently unfolding in San Marcos, Guatemala, where your gold and
silver "Marlin" mine is located.

I understand that 9 community members opposed to your mine have been
criminalized in recent weeks, though they are innocent of any crime.
On June 13th, one community member, a mother of six, blocked the
electric line running through her property. This act followed months
of her attempting to convince your company to remove the electric post
from her land, which she believed presented a danger to her and her
family. Within days, this act was used by Montana Exporadora to
pursue her arrest and the arrests of eight other community members who
have been involved in the denouncing your company for damages and
human rights violations caused by the Marlin mine. This is
unacceptable business behavior.

In addition, rumors have been flying in recent weeks about the
possible suspension of mining operations. These rumors have created
escalating community tensions leading to an increase in death threats
against community leaders who oppose your mine. It is absolutely
irresponsible for your company to let these rumors fester without
clarifying whether mining operations will or will not be suspended, as
unverified rumors could realistically lead to violence in the coming

I urge that you:

* Call for a suspension of the arrest warrants of the 9 community
defenders and a stop to all criminalization of protest in the area
around the Marlin Mine;

* Clarify your plans for operations in the coming months to your
workers and the communities surrounding the Marlin Mine as soon as
possible, thus squelching the rumors that are currently fueling
conflict and could lead to violence in the coming days;

* Accept the San Miguel Ixtachuacán affected communities'
conditions for negotiations that were recently submitted to you and
enter into dialogue with them on these terms.

A failure to act now to stop the criminalization of community members
who oppose your mine and to squelch rumors leading to potential
violence would only serve to bring strongly into question your
company's commitment to human rights and respect for local


Letter From Communities of San Miguel Ixtahuacan Outlining Conditions
for Dialogue:

Sr. Procurador Auxiliatura Departamental de Derechos Humanos del
Departamento de San Marcos:

La población de San Miguel Ixtahuacan afectada por la minería sabemos
de la propuesta planteada por la Procuraduría de Derechos Humanos para
entrar en una mesa de dialogo. Lo hemos analizado y ante esta
propuesta nuestra respuesta es lo siguiente:

Aceptamos la propuesta de instalar una mesa de diálogo con las
siguientes condiciones:

1) Suspendan las órdenes de captura que la empresa ha presentado
contra ocho mujeres y un hombre de nuestras comunidades. Lo que
estamos haciendo es nada más que un reclamo de los daños que esta
haciendo la empresa, y no son actos criminales.

2) Suspendan sus operaciones mineras de forma inmediata para
propiciar las condiciones de dialogo.

3) Contaremos con la presencia de testigos de honor. Estos testigos
de honor serán de organizaciones e instituciones nacionales e
internacionales en materia de derechos humanos, específicamente de los
pueblos indígenas, tales como: El Movimiento de Trabajadores
Campesinos, Comisión Pastoral Paz y Ecología, La Fundación Rigoberta
Menchú, Asociación de Desarrollo Integral San Miguelense, el Consejo
Municipal de Alcaldes Comunales de San Miguel Ixtahuacan (Alcaldía del
Pueblo) Acompañamiento Internacional de Derechos Humanos (Aco-Guate),
NISGUA, Derechos en Acción, entre otras.

4) Además de los testigos de honor, tendremos como mediadores a las
siguientes personas: la Dra. Rigoberta Menchú Premio Nóbel de la Paz,
El Monseñor Álvaro Ramazzini, y el Dr. Sergio Morales Procurador de
los Derechos Humanos.

5) El lugar para las reuniones de diálogos será la cabecera
departamental de San Marcos.