Goldcorp 7 verdict is in…Justice in Guatemala?

Goldcorp 7 verdict is in…Justice in Guatemala?

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John Ahni Schertow
December 17, 2007
 

photo courtesy of www.paqg.org/

On Tuesday, December 12, the three judge tribunal in San Marcos released the sentence of the 7 seven Mayan farmers who were charged with a barrage of criminal offenses by GoldCorp earlier this year. To my surprise, the judgment was pretty much in favour of the Goldcorp 7! Five were acquitted of all charges, and the other two were put on two years probation and given a 3650 Quetzal fine (around $500).

Courtesy of the Fredericton Peace Coalition, Jackie McVicar explains the details:

Just wanted to give an update about the trial of the “Goldcorp 7″, the seven campesinos charged by Goldcorp of: minor injuries, accused of hitting a security guard with a rock, threats, accused of making a death threat against a mine worker, coercion, accused of forcing mine workers to remain inside the Goldcorp mine installations during the 12 peaceful protest, January 2007, instigation to delinquency, accused of instigating his neighbors to protest against the mine and block the road into the mine, On Tuesday, December 12, with a full court room and 20 military officials and 10 police offers standing outside, the three judge tribunal in San Marcos released their sentence:

Five of the seven, Antonio Felipe Bamaca Hernández, René Pérez Velázquez, Cristóbal Eduardo Pérez Hernández, Pedro Alejandro de León Castañón and Patrocinio Vicente López Hernández have been acquitted of all charges and Fernando Basilio Perez and Francisco Salomon Bamaca were given two years probation and a 3650 Quetzal fine (around $500): a far cry from the 4-11 years of jail time that Goldcorp asked for and the 2 million Quetzal compensation for damages also charged. In addition, the Rigoberta Menchu Legal Foundation that is representing Fernando and Francisco have vowed to appeal the case, confident that the appeal will prove the two innocent of all charges. John William Noyse, the Canadian man who is head of security for the Marlin Mine, and star witness for Goldcorp, left the room emotionless and not willing to comment.

Tomorrow, I will attend the press conference and send more details of how we can continue to support communities in resistence and espcially Francisco and Fernando as their case goes forward, and be sure to communicate this with you all. They all wanted me to express their sincere thanks for your support, especially the notes that were sent of encouragement and the people and organizations that signed on to the Urgent Action. I definitely think it had an impact at a number of levels. One of the accused, Pedro, said to me, “All of these people signed on…to support us?” . He was beaming ear to ear when I confirmed that there are hundreds of people, and national and international organisations that are behind them in this great struggle for justice. In an attempt to silence community leaders and squash the mining resistence movement in the Guatemalan highlands, even a powerful mining company couldn’t buy the truth. Guatemala never seems to surprise me…”

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