HRDs being interviewed by journalists


Celebrating 10 Years of Struggle and Resistance at La Puya

2 March 2022

To the communities of San José de Golfo and San Pedro Ayampuc,

We wish to express our congratulations this March 2 for your 10 years of brave peaceful resistance in defense of water, life, and community health and against mining and the Progreso VII Derivada project, owned by U.S. mining company Kappes, Cassiday & Associates (KCA).

We recall on March 2, 2012, how the Peaceful Resistance La Puya began with a protest camp in front of the entrance to the mine site, which you still maintain. Over the decade, you have suffered acts of intimidation, an attempted assassination of one of your members, the criminalization of various others, as well as a violent eviction in May 2014. During this time, you also undertook legal actions, which led to the November 2015 decision of the Supreme Court of Justice to order the suspension of mining activities that was upheld by the Constitutional Court in June 2020 until which time a consultation has been undertaken with the community.

It has been a long struggle with various obstacles, but also important victories in La Puya. Faced with the violence from the state and the company, the Peaceful Resistance La Puya has sustained itself through faith and the conviction that what you are defending is what you hold most valuable of all: the environment, water, and as such, life itself, including the lives of your children, grandchildren, and future generations.

We acknowledge these 10 years of resistance and express our admiration and solidarity. Your commitment to non-violence and ongoing investigation and learning to have solid arguments with which to defend your territory in La Puya and the environment has made you an example of peaceful resistance nationally and internationally.

The Peaceful Resistance has faced numerous challenges throughout its history. The company obtained permits for its project by way of irregularities and illegal acts that were denounced at the time, including falsifying a municipal construction permit. Additionally, no prior consultations regarding the project were ever carried out with the affected population, thereby violating the La Puya community’s rights to self-determination and free, prior, and informed consent in good faith. Actors involved in the project have also ignored the serious environmental impacts that mining would have in your territory – where water shortage was already an issue. Moreover, according to studies from the Ministry of Health, the water contains high levels of arsenic, which would continue to rise dangerously as a result of mineral extraction, putting the health of the population at risk. Despite KCA’s awareness of this situation, it used intimidation and aggression using official police forces against the peaceful resistance to put its gold mine in operation for two years, disregarding the environmental and human costs.

Currently, KCA is suing the state of Guatemala for 400 million dollars at the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) under the terms of the Dominican Republic-Central America Free Trade Agreement with the U.S. (DR-CAFTA). This is just further evidence of its economic ruthlessness to first dispossess the community and now swindle the Guatemalan state for millions of dollars.

Today, more than ever, the demands of the communities of San Pedro Ayampuc and San José del Golfo resonate: that their lives must be respected, along with their decision to keep their territory free of mining. So that the particular interests of transnational mining companies may never again be allowed to prevail over the well-being of La Puya communities and nature.

Long live the communities of San Pedro Ayampuc and San José del Golfo!

Long live the Peaceful Resistance La Puya!

With admiration and respect for your struggle:


1. Alianza Centroamericana Frente a la Mineria (ACAFREMIN)

2. JASS Mesoamérica

3. Protección Internacional Mesoamérica


4. Terra Justa


5. Alianza Política Sector de Mujeres (APSM)

6. AME Guatemala

7. Apostolado Social de la Compañía de Jesús

8. Colectivo Ovejas Negras Guatemala

9. Colectivo Vida Independiente de Guatemala

10. Equipo de Estudios Comunitarios (ECAP)

11. Ixmucane

12. Observatorio de Industrias Extractivas (OIE)

13. Sector Interreligioso Centinelas


14. Acción Colectiva Socioambiental, A.C.

15. Americas Program/AMERICAS.ORG

16. Articulación por la vida en contra de la minería en el Valle de Ocotlán, Oaxaca

17. Asociación Jalisciense de Apoyo a los Grupos Indígenas, A.C.

18. Bios Iguana, A.C.

19. Comité Ixtepecano en Defensa de la Vida y el Territorio

20. Frente Popular en Defensa del Soconusco, Chiapas

21. Fronteras Comunes

22. Otros Mundos Chiapas, A.C.

23. Procesos Integrales para la Autogestión de los Pueblos

24. Red Mexicana de Afectadas/os por la Minería (REMA)


25. Atlantic Regional Solidarity Network

26. CoDevelopment Canada (CoDev)

27. Comité de Derechos Humanos para America Latina

28. Maritimes-Guatemala Breaking the Silence Network (BTS)

29. Mining Injustice Solidarity Network (MISN)

30. Mining Justice Action Committee

31. MiningWatch Canada

32. Projet Accompagnement Québec-Guatemala (PAQG)


33. CNT-AIT Tarragona, Spain

34. El Comité Noruego de Solidaridad con América Latina, Norway

35. Grupo latinoamericano en Noruega (LAG), Norway

36. Project HEARD, Netherlands

37. Red de Solidaridad con Guatemala de Berna, Switzerland

38. Red Latina Sin Fronteras, Spain

39. Salva la Selva, Spain

40. Soldepaz Pachakuti, Spain


41. American Friends Service Committee (AFSC)

42. Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL)

43. Denver Justice and Peace Committee

44. Earthworks

45. Guatemala Human Rights Commission (GHRC)

46. Guatemaya L. A. Mujeres en Resistencia

47. Guatemaya Mujeres en Resistencia

48. The Human Rights Defenders Project

49. Institute for Policy Studies – Global Economy Program

50. Network in Solidarity with the People of Guatemala (NISGUA)

51. SHARE Foundation

52. Sisters of Mercy of the Americas Justice Team


Africa Garcia del Rincón, Spain

Angélica Denice Cen Ignacio, Guatemala

Begoña Navarro, Spain

César Padilla, Chile

Claudia Estrada C, Guatemala

Eduardo Delgado Duatis, Spain

Erenia Vanegas, Guatemala

David Pereira, Guatemala

Francisco Chavez C., Guatemala

Janette Murillo, Mexico

José Fernando Gómez Toro, Colombia

Leticia Hartleben, Guatemala

Margie Noonan, Canada

María Candelaria Carrera Catalán, Guatemala

Matilde Angeltveit, Norway

Nacho Hernández, Spain

Pat Davis, U.S.

Paula Flores, Mexico

Rachel Radvany, U.S.

Rebeca Zúniga-Hamlin, U.S.

Rosalinda Hidalgo, Canada

Ruth Leckie, Canada

Sara Díaz, Mexico

Valerie Croft, Canada

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