Target: President Otto Peréz Molina
Goal: To support the protesters of Guatemala’s San José de Golfo community and shut down a harmful and unlawful mining project.
Less than 20 miles outside Guatemala’s capital, the community of San José del Golfo has united together to protest the unlawful mining project of a transnational corporation. Community members have blocked off the road leading to the proposed area of the gold mine. The protesters have put up a makeshift gate to block off the road and they have teams which camp out at the blockade in 24 hour shifts. Since beginning to protest, these residents have only been met with violence and harassment from the mining company and the police.
While the community members have made a point of staying peaceful and nonviolent, they have not been treated with the same respect. On May 8, a police convoy escorting mining machinery tried to break the blockade. All of the community members rushed to the blockade and the police eventually left. A month later on June 13, one of the movement’s leaders, Yolanda Oquelí Veliz, was driving to the blockade when she was cut off by two men on a motorcycle and shot three times. Veliz survived the attack and although the shooters have not been identified she is convinced they have connections to the mining company. At the time of the shooting the mining project was owned by Canadian based Radius Gold. In August, they sold it to US based Kappes, Cassiday & Associates.
The community members are angry because the mining project started illegally without consultation of the community and without any information provided to the community. They are worried about the contamination the mine will cause. The mine could have harmful effects on the community’s drinking water and arable land. Stand with the people of San José del Golfo and denounce the violent attacks against them. Tell the government of Guatemala to close down the mining project and put their citizen’s interests before those of transnational corporations.
Dear President Peréz Molina,
I am writing in regards to the mining project in San José del Golfo. Since March, community members have been camping out in peaceful protest of the mine. The mine would have harmful effects on the community’s drinking water, farmland and environment. I am asking you to put your citizen’s interests before an international corporation’s and shut down the mining project.
I am also writing to denounce the violence used towards the peaceful protesters, including the police ambush in March and the assassination attempt of Yolanda Oquelí Veliz in June. I demand that your government ensure the safety of the protesters and bring to justice the shooters of the Veliz attack.
I am asking you to listen to your citizen’s and put a stop to this mining project. Protect the community of San José del Golfo and capture their attackers.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Amanda Kistler via ciel.org