On June 13th of last year, Yolanda Oquelí was shot on her way home to her two young children. She was shot because she has led her community in peaceful resistance to a mine which an American company is trying to build in their midst. Fortunately, Yolanda survived, but she has lived with the pain of the bullet, still lodged next to her spine since that day.
Despite the attack, as well with verbal and physical abuse at the hands of mine employees and police, members of the communities of San Pedro Ayampuc and San José del Golfo have joined Yolanda in blocking the entrance to the mine for the last fourteen months. They looked at the joke of an Environmental Impact Assessment used to justify the license the Guatemalan Government gave for the mining operations, and saw no assurance that their scant water resources wouldn't be contaminated or their soils ruined by pollution. So they've put their bodies on the line, physically blocking the company's machinery from entering the mine site.
Now, Yolanda and her community are under threat again. Since the beginning of the year, there has been a massive rise in the number of attacks against environmental activists like them. On May 2, the Government declared martial law in another community resisting a mine in order to round up community leaders, suspend constitutional rights, and sow terror.
If there is another attack on Yolanda and her community, we want to make sure that the international community is mobilized to protect them. We want to make sure that you know what you can do to help, such as calling on the Guatemalan government to stop the repression, or your own Embassy to denounce the violence. We want to make sure that funds are available if someone like Yolanda needs a safe house to recover or prevent more attacks.
Can you help us
protect Yolanda and the communities of San José del Golfo and San Pedro
Ayampuc? If we raise 500 dollars we'll be able to offer food to a family for
three months if they have to go into a safe house to keep them out of harm. If
we raise 1,000 dollars we'll be able to launch an international campaign to
mobilize thousands of activists to pressure the Guatemalan government to leave
these communities alone. Even a 10 donation will help move us toward our goal. Thank
you for your support!