August 13, 2022

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Guatemalan Congress approves state of siege at El Estor, Izabal

Guatemalan Congress approves state of siege at El Estor, Izabal

This action is the government’s response to the mining conflict in that region. Photo: PL.

On Monday, the Guatemalan Congress approved by 85 votes the state of siege imposed in El Estor, Isabal, as a government response to a mining dispute in that area.

With a heavy security apparatus on the periphery and a two-hour delay, the legislature had the only point on its agenda examining the emergency measure imposed by President Alejandro Giamatti last Sunday, Under the pretext of restoring control of the municipality in the face of unrest attributed to the resistance Qiqji communities.

For 14 days, protesters went part of the way to demand its inclusion in the ongoing prior consultation process on the licensing rights granted to Project Fenix, He was arrested in April of this year by a decision of the Constitutional Court.

In Monday’s vote, the absence of 50 members of Congress and 25 who did so against; However, it was not enough to conquer the majority of the official bench with their new allies and other already traditional allies.

As part of the discussion, it was further agreed Include an article to create a national dialogue table in El Estor with the participation of the Ministry of Energy and MineralsIndigenous representatives, the Human Rights Ombudsman’s office, and leaders who participated in the protest in recent weeks.

Giamatti’s government justified its decision to dissolve the demonstrators by force last Friday (use of tear gas) because it prevented vehicles loaded with coal from passing to a factory located in the conflict zone, a response that indigenous organizations deemed excessive and exacerbated tensions.

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After posting yesterday Decree 9-2021, about 500 soldiers and 350 police arrived in El Estor In trucks, patrol cars and even armored vehicles to enforce calm and curfews 12 hours for every 30 days.

Rejecting the state of siege, the indigenous chiefs and the mayors of Izabal, Alta Verapaz and the 48th canton of Totonicapan On Monday, they walked from Constitution Square to the Public Prosecution, where they brought legal cases against Giamatti and the Minister of the Interior Gendry Reyes.

In the suburbs of Congress they have already managed to enter to document their opposition to the violent way the Executive has acted, fixed for various reasons of the conflict without solving the region historical problems such as severe pubertyThe media pointed to the indiscriminate use of its resources and drug trafficking.

(with information from Prensa Latina)