Tahoe Resources executive in Guatemala orders killing of protestorsPublished by MAC on 2013-05-13
Source: The Guatemala Times, statement (2013-05-09)
Previous article on MAC: Guatemala has imposed a state of emergency
Tahoe Resources Mining executive in Guatemala gives direct orders to kill protestors
The Guatemala Times
9 May 2013
Alberto Rotondo, executive of Tahoe Mine, San Rafael in Guatemala, gave direct orders to assassinate members of the community San Rafael Las Flores.
The investigation of the mining conflicts in San Rafael Las Flores, Santa Rosa, took a 180 degrees turn, after the Public Ministry submitted audio from wiretapping as evidence. In the audio it can be clearly heard how Alberto Rotondo, head of the San Rafael Mining Security outfit ordered to assassinate opponents of the mine.
The newspaper Siglo.21 published today a report titled "Rotondo ordered: Kill those sons of B..", the report documents how the Security Chief gave direct orders to assassinate mining protesters and opponents of the mining project.
"The preliminary investigations found that Rotondo gave the order to attack the community, he also ordered the crime scene to be cleaned up and change the police report."
The information reveals Rotondo making several statements: "God dam dogs, they do not understand that the mine generates jobs". "We must eliminate these animals' pieces of shit". "We can not allow people to establish resistance, another Puya no". "Kill house sons of Bitches"
Despite this situation, Rotondo is benefited by a benevolent surrogate measure of only house arrest by officials of the justice department of Guatemala. The prosecution has asked to revoke that proxy measure.
On the other hand, opponents of the mine are still detained without being brought before a judge, because their warranties were restricted by a state of siege.
Rortondo was apprehended at the airport La Aurora, when he trying to flee the country. Wire tapping of conversations between him and his son reveal that he planned to leave Guatemala for a while, because "I ordered to kill some of these sons of Bitches."
Sources: La Hora Guatemala, Siglo XXI.
Tahoe Resources Investor Alert calls Guatemala project a Dangerous Investment
Network in Solidarity with the People of Guatemala (NISGUA) - MiningWatch Canada
8 May 2013
(Ottawa/Guatemala City) - Today, the Network in Solidarity with the People of Guatemala (NISGUA) and MiningWatch Canada warned Tahoe Resources investors against further investment in the Escobal silver project, given lack of community support and increasing violence and repression in the area.
Risks identified include:
- Tahoe Resources does not have the social license to operate the Escobal project;
- It is likely that conflict and violence will persist if the mining project continues to be imposed without community consent, given recent violence attributed to public armed forces, an illegal armed group and the company's private security;
- Implication of company private security in recent acts of violence could lead to civil lawsuits as has taken place in relation to other mining conflicts in which Canadian companies are involved;
- Tahoe Resources is already under investigation in Guatemala for industrial contamination of water supplies near the Escobal mine site;
- Failure of Guatemalan regulators to address residents' complaints prior to granting company's exploitation license is under appeal, which could put Tahoe's exploitation license in jeopardy;
- By repeating patterns seen in Guatemala's mining sector in connection with Goldcorp's Marlin mine, including lack of respect for prior community consultation, targeting of peaceful protesters through the judicial system and putting the project into production in the midst of violence and repression, the company is likely to be the object of further protests.
The project is located in the municipality of San Rafael Las Flores in the department of Santa Rosa where for over three years local communities have been peacefully demonstrating their opposition to the mining project given concerns over potential social and environmental impacts. Twelve municipal and community level plebiscites have been carried out in which over 90% of participants voted against the mine.
Tahoe Resources' received its license to put the Escobal silver mine project into operation in early April despite widespread social opposition to the project and unaddressed complaints against the granting of the permit.
Tahoe's project has provoked an increase in conflict in the region, which recently escalated on April 27 when the company's private security shot at community members, injuring six men, two of them seriously. Contrary to company statements, a spokesperson for the Roosevelt Hospital in Guatemala City said live ammunition was used. Alberto Rotondo, security manager for Minera San Rafael, Tahoe Resources' wholly owned Guatemalan subsidiary, has been arrested and charged with with causing mild and serious bodily harm, and for obstructing the investigation by tampering with the crime scene. Two more supposed mine employees have been arrested in connection with the recent violence, including the killing of a police officer.
On May 2, the Guatemalan government declared a state of siege in San Rafael Las Flores, where Tahoe's Escobal project is located effectively making public protest and further community consultations illegal as long as the measure remains in place. Local activists have been among those targeted in raids and detentions.
NISGUA and MiningWatch Canada will be sending their report to key analysts and shareholders in Tahoe Resources Ltd. including the Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board, which holds 439 thousand shares in Tahoe worth approximately $9 million CAD.
Alert available for download here.
Jen Moore, MiningWatch Canada, (613) 569-3439, jen(at)miningwatch.ca
Bridget Brehen, NISGUA, (510) 868 0612, bridget(at)nisgua.org