James Vorhees, President and CEO, Tahoe Resources, Reno, NV
Kevin McArthur, Executive Chair, Tahoe Resources, Reno, NV
August 23, 2018
Dear Mr. Vorhees and Mr. McArthur:
We are extremely saddened and concerned at the murder of Ángel Estuardo Quevado on July 12 in the municipality of Santa Rosa de Lima, Santa Rosa Department, Guatemala. He resided in the municipality of Casillas and was a member of the Peaceful Resistance movement of Santa Rosa, Jalapa, and Jutiapa that is demanding the permanent closure of the Escobal silver mine, owned by your company and operated by your subsidiary, Minera San Rafael, S.A.
Ángel Estuardo Quevado was a leader in raising awareness about the ways in which the operators of the Escobal silver mine have violated the human rights of the communities living in the shadow of the mine. Several other opponents of the mine have also been attacked and even killed in the past three years (cf our letters of July 1 2017, Dec 16 2015, Nov 22 2015, Sept 23 2015). Ángel Estuardo Quevado had received threats in the days before his murder.
Ángel Estuardo Quevado was an active participant in the peaceful protest in front of the Constitutional Court in Guatemala City that has been ongoing since November 2017. The organized opposition has made a strong case that the government of Guatemala did not uphold its international human rights obligation to consult (and obtain consent from) local Xinka indigenous communities that would be impacted by the mine. They are protesting the court’s failure to issue a ruling within the designated time frame to suspend the mining operation based on this failure of prior consultation.
We have been informed that on August 14 members of the Peaceful Resistance of Santa Rosa, Jalapa, and Jutiapa, together with the Xinka People’s Parliament of Guatemala, delivered a letter to you demanding that Tahoe Resources permanently close the mine and end the environmental damages, community division, militarization, and repression that the project has brought. We echo those demands.
To end the repression against indigenous and environmental defenders, and to protect their water sources and agricultural livelihoods, we strongly urge that you
- close the Escobal mine
- call for an immediate, thorough and impartial investigation into the assassination of Ángel Estuardo Quevedo, that the results be made public, and that those responsible be brought to justice
- insist that attacks, stigmatization, abuse, discrimination, or the killing of environmental defenders anywhere in Guatemala should not be tolerated
Brian J. Stefan Szittai
Christine L. Stonebraker Martínez
Sr. Enrique Antonio Degenhart Asturias, Minister of the Interior of Guatemala ~ via email
Lic. María Consuelo Porras Argueta,Attorney General of Guatemala ~ via email
Manuel Espina, Ambassador of Guatemala to the US ~ via website and email
Luis E. Arreaga, US Ambassador to Guatemala, in care of human rights officer Rain Bian ~ via email
Stefanie Fabrico, Guatemala Desk, US State Department ~ via email
Esmeralda Arosemena de Troitiño, Rapporteur for Guatemala, Inter-American Commission on Human Rights ~ via email
Antonia Urrejola, Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Inter-American Commission on Human Rights ~ via email
US Senators Brown & Portman and US Representatives Beatty, Fudge, Gibbs, Johnson, Jordan, Joyce, Kaptur, Latta, Renacci, Ryan ~ via email
NISGUA, RightsAction, PBI_08/18