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Last weekend’s massacre in Guatemala and anti-mining protests

In this post, Mike over at Central American Politics floats the potential connection about the massacre in Guatemala last weekend that saw 11 dead and 17 other injured by a wild hail of bullets in a small, relatively crime free town.

“None (?) of the initial reports on Saturday night’s massacre in Guatemala speculated that mining or anti-mining protests might have been the motivation before the shootings that killed eleven people in San Jose Nacahuil. …However, yesterday some began to connect the massacre to ongoing conflicts in the country over mining, natural resources, and indigenous rights. The attack was carried out to justify the militarization of the community.”

A couple of other things about the town of San José Nacahuil:

  • In 2005 it kicked out the police force due to complaints of its corruption and since then has done its own civic patrolling. Up to last weekend the town was reknowned as enyoing one of the lowest crime rates in Guatemala.
  • According to eyewitness reports, that same evenings the national police force arrived at the town unannounced (and unwanted), tried to shake down the owner of the bar that was subsequently shot up (the owner one of the fatal victims) and left just before the shooting started.
  • It sits next to the controversial El Tambor gold project that been a test case for anti-mining protests in Guatrmala in recent times.
  • The national government quickly laid all blame on “narco gangs” and the Guatemala media swallowed the line whole, no questions asked.

As for coincidences, anyone remember what happened around the Tahoe Resources (TAHO) (THO.to) Escobal project in Guatemala earlier this year?
1) Violence erupted, killings and kidnappings ensued
2) Locals blamed violence of incitement by the mining company and overhwhelming rejection of the project, whereas the government quickly blamed “narco gangs”.
3) The area was militarized and put under a State of Emergency.
4) Locals are now too shit scared to say what they really feel about the Escobal mine project sat on their doorstep, while the company now claims that a majority of locals support their presence.
But like I say, purely coincidental for sure.

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