For immediate release: March 28, 2011
Toronto, Canada and El Estor, Guatemala:
Rosa Elbira Coc Ich and ten other indigenous Mayan Q'eqchi' women filed a lawsuit Monday against Canadian mining companies HMI Nickel, and its corporate owner, HudBay Minerals, regarding mining-related gang-rapes suffered by them near a Canadian-owned mining site in Guatemala.
On January 17, 2007, the eleven women were gang-raped by mining company security personnel, police and military during the forceful expulsion of Mayan Q'eqchi' families from their farms and homes in the community of "Lote Ocho". These armed evictions were sought by HMI Nickel in relation to its Fenix mining project, located on the north shores of Lake Izabal, Guatemala.
News broke last week that the U.S. government purposefully exposed hundreds of men in Guatemala to syphilis in ghoulish medical experiments conducted during the late 1940s. As soon as the story got out, President Barack Obama phoned President Alvaro Colom of Guatemala to apologize. Colom called the experiments "an incredible violation of human rights." Colom also says his government is studying whether it can bring the case to an international court.
Former Guatemalan President Efrain Rios Montt was hauled off to prison last Friday. It was a historic moment, the first time in history that a former leader of a country was tried for genocide in a national court. More than three decades after he seized power in a coup in Guatemala, unleashing a U.S.-backed campaign of slaughter against his own people, the 86-year-old stood trial, charged with genocide and crimes against humanity. He was given an 80-year prison sentence. The case was inspired and pursued by three brave Guatemalan women: the judge, the attorney general and the Nobel Peace Prize laureate.
In February, UVic’s School of Business accepted $500,000 from Goldcorp. Goldcorp is alleged to be a serious abuser of human and indigenous rights. Find out more at this panel and film screening, and help form a student/faculty/staff/community coalition to change UVic donation/investment practices.
Film: "The Business of Gold" in Guatemala (50 minutes) documents the resistance of the Mayan-Mam people of San Miguel Ixtahuacan against Canadian mining company Goldcorp Inc.
Challenging the Neoliberal Development Paradigm: Women’s Experiences and Narratives in Guyana and Guatemala
The rhetoric of development is often deployed as a means of legitimizing neoliberal projects. This event examines the ways that neoliberalism, as a set of policies and a governing logic, has differential impacts on the lives of women in the global South, examining two specific cases.
Michelle Baobala (MA Candidate Development Studies, York University) will address the disjuncture between the Millennium Development Goals’ (MDG) rhetoric of gender equality, implementation on the ground and the lived realities of urban Guyanese women. The MDG’s are significant, as the global framework by which the international donor community adheres, underpinned by a neoliberalizing logic.