Eight Mayan Women is a story of continued resistance to the Canadian mining company Goldcorp.
For the past three years the company has been extracting gold and silver in the municipality of San Miguel Ixtahuacan, Guatemala. The people of San Miguel have been opposed the operation, primarily out of a concern that it is destroying the environment and draining the region of its water. Many also say they were deceived and forced into selling their lands, and that they were never told about the negative impacts of mining. “They told us that everything is marvelous and the operations will be carried out as you wish and with top-notch technology,” says a March 2007 statement from the community.
Goldcorp, on the other hand, has been trying to silence the people of San Miguel – through the use of repression, militarization and the criminalization of their struggle – least of all, by using the Guatemalan legal system.
In 2007, the company filed a barrage of criminal charges against seven local Mayan campesinos, who came to be known as the Goldcorp 7. The charges included: causing minor injuries, attacking a security guard, making death threats, coercion, and instigating protests.
Fortunately, in what seemed like a rare moment of justice in Guatemala, the court acquitted five of the campesinos of all charges, while the remaining two were put on probation and given a small fine.
Of course, this was not the end of the struggle… In fact, today Goldcorp is once again trying to use the Guatemalan legal system to silence the people of San Miguel.
They have filed charges against Eight Mayan Women.
Indigenous Peoples are putting their bodies on the line and it's our responsibility to make sure you know why. That takes time, expertise and resources - and we're up against a constant tide of misinformation and distorted coverage. By supporting IC you're empowering the kind of journalism we need, at the moment we need it most.