Divide and Rule in the Land of Gold

Published on ZNet, by Frauke Decoodt, July 27, 2012.

In San Miguel Ixtahaucán, Guatemala, the Mina Marlin gold mine, operated by Goldcorp, has divided indigenous communities through gifts, benefits, and violence. The mine has caused a lot of damage. It has not only had a profound impact on the environment but also on the social cohesion of communities and families in the area, and on their cultural ties with the land.  

Doña Deodora has only one eye. She lost her other one night in 2010 when locals, employees from a mining company, came to her house and shot her. This was not the first time she had seen violence. Some years ago a local official authority held a machete to her neck. He did not hurt her because Doña Deodora was holding her little girl in her arms.

Doña Deodora tells her story in broken Spanish interwoven with her native Mam language. She is 58 years old, and appears humble and poor. Deodora survives by running her livestock on the lands of her community in the municipality of San Miguel Ixtahaucán, which is in the San Marcos department of Guatemala, near the Mexican border. San Miguel has always been an isolated mountainous region where the indigenous inhabitants mainly live from subsistence agriculture and migrate for temporary work to the coffee plantations on the coast. Things began to change in 1996, when the Canadian mining company Goldcorp started to eye up the land. Coincidentally, it was that very year when the civil war ended and the Peace Agreements were signed. 1 By 2005 Goldcorp, through its national subsidiary, started to dig up gold and silver in what it called the Marlin Mine.

Attacks from our own brothers: … (full text).

Links:

Marlin mine … is a gold mine in Guatemala owned by Montana Exploradora de Guatemala, S.A (Montana), which is a subsidiary of Canadian company Goldcorp …

Goldcorp: Goldcorp TSX: G, NYSE: GGis one of the world’s fastest growing senior gold producers with operations and development projects located in politically stable jurisdictions throughout the Americas …

Marlin Mine, Guatemala: Protests, Death, and The Search for the Truth, on I Think Mining, by Jack Caldwell, March 15, 2011.

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