GUATEMALAPublished by MAC on 2007-07-19
Demanding rural development without mining - The people of Santa Cruz de Barillas speak out
By Alberto Ramírez, http://www.prensalibre.com
19th July 2007
Guatemala - Citizens of Santa Cruz Barillas, Huehuetenango, reiterated their rejection of metal mining and asked authorities to respect the result of the community consultation.
Rubén Herrera, the president of Coordination of the Consultation, stated that the results of the vote, in which 46,490 people took part in were nine votes in favour of mining and 46,481 against. The community consultation took place on June 23, 2007, and the results were delivered to the Congress and other federal institutions yesterday.
Herrera explained that Huehuetenango is the province with the most coffee exports and the highest level of remittances, and thus they don't need mining but a rural and integral development plan to improve the conditions of the communities. Hermelinda Simón, a citizen of the municipality, said that she is worried about losing water in
Luis Fernando Pérez, president of the Congressional Energy Commission, explained that the important thing is that there be community development, and not just corporate benefit. Pérez added that their working group is looking at reforming the Mining Law.
Carlos Salvatierra, from MadreSelva, asserted that more people participate in the community consultations than in the elections for public office, because they are scared of losing their natural resources.
Photo-essay about community consultations in Guatemala:
Turning Down a Gold Mine
By Dawn Paley
Published: February 7, 2007