HISTORY: Nestled in the hills near the Guatemalan town of San Rafael Las Flores is the Escobal Mine.
It has not been operating since 2017, but residents say they are still dealing with its impact.
They claim that the blasting of the mine damaged their homes and damaged their crops.
Blanca Oliva is a member of the Xinka Indigenous Parliament.
“The damage is due to the vibrations of the earthquakes. Gradually, we began to see more. When the mining company started full mining, working with dynamite, we had earthquakes from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day at the same time. The cracks were the result. Because of all the earthquakes, the houses have cracked.
The mine is owned by the Canadian company Pan American Silver.
Residents installed a non-violent blockade in 2017 to prevent its workers from reaching the mine.
A year later, a Guatemalan court ordered that communities living near the mine be consulted first…
What the company claims to do now.
But local farmer and environmentalist Juan Antonino Rodriguez remains skeptical.
“The only things that keep these communities and this region alive are growing coffee, growing corn and beans, and growing vegetables. But we can never say that the mining companies will benefit us because we haven’t seen that in the seven years of operation.
Community members recently met with Argentinian activists to discuss the impact of the mine.
Some have no choice but to leave.
XINKA PARLIAMENT MEMBER CELSO CASUN SAYS:
“It’s a cultivated area. We grow onions, tomatoes, chilli. If you see the area you will see many Mayan houses where these crops are grown. But lately, tomatoes have grown with spots called “gold”, and many plagues pass through the company. Many families had no choice but to migrate.