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struggle4progress Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 03:07 AM
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Guatemalans Resist Mega-Mines, Hydropower Dams
By Nathan Einbinder
GUATEMALA CITY, Guatemala, March 5, 2009 (ENS) - Amidst the growing controversy surrounding foreign-controlled resource extraction and mega-development projects in Guatemala, populist leader Bishop Alvaro Ramazzini, together with a group of community leaders, is demanding a two-year moratorium on the granting of mining concessions by the Guatemalan government.

In the municipal capital of San Marcos in northwest Guatemala, Ramazzini, with several hundred of his supporters, took to the streets last Tuesday to call on Congress for a two-year halt to the sale of mineral rights to international companies. This pause would give the current government enough time to review a petition to reform the existing mining code.

"A moratorium would be most sensible, given all the conflict generated by the subject of mining," the Bishop told "Prensa Libre," a national daily newspaper.

Ramazzini and numerous local and international organizations contend that the current mining law does not properly consult local communities as defined by the International Labour Organization's Convention 169, which guarantees the right of indigenous people to exercise control over the form of development that occurs in their traditional territory ...
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Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 06:08 AM
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1. Hope they will be able to stand firm against the destructive forces this time.
Guatemala should belong to its citizens, not some pasty-faced, doughy fleshed multinational officials, and their paid politicians in the U.S. who are hot to finance some more death squads to kill off enough protesters to silence the country again, and steal more of their resources.

From the excellent original article posted above:
Guatemalans believe they have good reason to resist the prospect of more hydroelectric dams.

Over 30 years ago, when the INDE started the initial construction on the Chixoy hydroelectric dam in Baja Verapaz, about 90 miles north of the capital, it was hailed by the World Bank, one of its principal lenders, as an engineering miracle.

Since then Chixoy has nearly tripled its initial estimated cost, and now accounts for roughly 50 percent of the country's national debt.

Despite the economic mishaps, and the fact that the dam may have to be completely dismantled in the near future due to structural problems and the lack of a proper environmental impact statement, Chixoy remains a symbol of a turbulent era in Guatemala's history.

When the Maya-Achi people of Ro Negro, one of the main villages affected, decided they would resist their forced displacement to make way for construction of the reservoir, they were labeled "subversives" by the military, and systematically massacred by paramilitary groups.

According to official reports, 444 men, woman and children were killed, and many others lived in hiding for years in the wooded gulches above the flooded basin.

In all, at least 3,400 people were displaced in the region, and many are still waiting for promised reparations from INDE and the World Bank.
Thanks for this good information. So glad to read it.

Hope the people won't be forced to suffer again for standing up for their homes, and families, unlike the times before.

I'm glad to add this article to my files for future reference.
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