July 3, 2008


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

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 area.

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 region.

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.


- 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 Mine.

- 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 out.


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
Email: Directors@Goldcorp.com

Montana Exploradora
20 calle 24-60 zona 10,
Ofibodegas Pradera oficina #20
Ciudad de Guatemala, Guatemala
Telephone: 2385-6647
Facsimile: 2385-6651
Email marlin01@internett.com

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
Email: fdguatemala@mp.lex.gob.gt
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, PublicProsecutor'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 SanMiguel 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 mine.

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 communities.


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.

Lara Barth
Grassroots Network Liaison, NISGUA
The Network in Solidarity with the People of Guatemala
436 14th St., Suite 409, Oakland, CA 94612
tel. (510) 238-8400
fax (510) 238-8444

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