FREDEMI Denounces Intimidation
FREDEMI: Public denunciation of the persecution against defenders of land and collective rights: the persecution of Gregoria Crisanta Pérez
On Wednesday August 31st at approximately 3:30 pm in San Miguel Ixtahuacán, Ms. Gregoria Crisanta Pérez was leaving the village of Máquivil on her way to her home in the village of Ágel. On her way, she observed a car from the official political party, UNE, as well as a dark green car with stripes following closely behind as part of the party caravan. This car is well known as belonging to the Mejia family.
The car appeared to be headed to the car workshop “General Mechanics and Maintenance of All Types” located on the side of the road that connects the village of Máquivil to that of San Miguel Ixtahuacán. In that moment, Gregoria Crisanta Pérez entered the Aguilar Transport bus headed to the San Antonio intersection. Once there, Ms. Perez waited for a taxi to go to the village of Ágel where she resides. While she waited for the taxi, the same dark green car belonging to the Mejia family reappeared. Ms. Crisanta then continued to her cousin’s house that is located just south of this intersection. When Crisanta turned to look to see if the car had left, she saw that the car continued in her direction. Gregoria Cisanta then headed towards nearby cornfields to hide herself until the car had left. She remained hidden in the cornfield for approximately 20 minutes. When she left the corn field she saw that the car was still there. Ms. Pérez then walked towards her friend Maria Yoc’s house, approximately 1 kilometer away. Once there, she stayed at the house for about half an hour to ensure her own safety. The fact that this car was following her is evidence of persecution.
This incident also reflects a current context of violence and political intimidation against individuals engaged in the defense of the territory of San Miguel Ixtahuacán as they denounce the ongoing human rights violations committed by Goldcorp’s subsidiary Montana Exploradora, in spite of the ongoing Precautionary Measures issued by the Inter American Commission on Human Rights of the Organization of the American States. Further, this occurrence is worrying given that the elections of September 11th are fast approaching, in which a key debate among political parties will relate to whether Goldcorp’s and Montana’s operations should continue in San Miguel Ixtahuacán or not.
In light of this, we urge regional and national authorities as well as the international community to observe and demand that the state of Guatemala put a stop to the impunity of human rights violators and the intimidation and violence against human rights defenders en San Miguel Ixtahuacán.
Frente de Defensa Miguelense, San Miguel Ixtahuacán – FREDEMI
(Front in Defense of San Miguel Ixtahuacán)
Latin American and Caribbean Solidarity Network
Mining Injustice Solidarity Network
For more information, please read Rights Action’s “Guatemala: Democracy v. Gold mining” here