Tuesday, June 2, 2015

The Marlin mine and Women’s Resistance



By: Nancy Sabas

Marlin Mine in San Miguel Ixtahuacán, Guatemala. Photo taken by Matthew Kok

A few weeks ago, I organized a learning tour for North American participants to discuss the mining industry in Guatemala, On the tour, we visited the department of San Marcos and surrounding communities that deal with this problem. 

Mining operations in Guatemala are not a recent issue. In 1998, two years after the signing of the peace agreement following a harsh civil war, the Foreign Investment Law removed the restrictions on trade with Guatemala, which attracted transnational companies to enter the country. Among the various companies, Goldcorp, a Canadian extractive company with high interest in exploiting gold, stands out.  

After a license granted by the Guatemalan government, the Marlin mine, operated by Montana Exploradora, a subsidiary of Goldcorp, began its operations in the community of San Miguel in western Guatemala. This was done without prior community consultation, even though it isan obligatory requirement of various international and national laws. In 2009, Goldcorp stopped appearing in the Canadian Jantzi Social Index for ethical investment due to the controversial use of cyanide in their operations. Currently the Marlin mine is considered the most lucrative mine that Goldcorp owns worldwide.

During our trip, we visited the community and interviewed community members to hear their side of the story.

MCC Thrift store group listening to Crisanta´s story about resistance. Photo taken by Matthew Kok.
I met Crisanta Pérez, a Mayan Mam woman with 6 children who lives with determination her philosophy of caring for Mother Earth and defending her territory. Crisanta resists and denounces Goldcorp’s environmental and community violations. . Despite facing intimidation, 14 arrest warrants and criminalizations  for her work in defense of her territory and human rights, Crisanta stands firm. When we asked a how the resistance movement in San Miguel was born, she explained,There are many men who work as miners in the company. Our community is divided in opinions, and although some of the men disagree with the mining operations in the community, they do not take a position because they are working there. It is for this reason that the resistance movement in San Miguel against mining started from the women.¨

As an indigenous woman, Crisanta faces various levels of oppression., however, she resists the roles imposed by a patriarchal hegemonic system, and has become a public figure, with a voice, empowered with knowledge about her rights and equipped to assertively demand the vindication of environmentally sustainable traditional practices, in line with the Mayan worldview. In addition, Crisanta tirelessly denounces the massive exploitation of resources.
 
Crisanta Pérez and her daughter. Photo taken by Matthew Kok.
¨Transnational companies are destroying the most valuable thing we have, Mother Earth.¨ Crisanta explained during our visit.

With her focus from the periphery, Crisanta defies the ruling capitalist logic that sacrifices the sacred elements (Mother Earth) and whose goal is the strict accumulation of wealth. The position of inequality that Crisanta has, along with other Mam women, enables her to integrate a more holistic perspective in line with her worldview and allows her to critique the mining operations from  a Maya Mam light. These women, based on their condition of oppression, have the ability to see with clarity from the base. This viewpoint enables them to understand the world from their ancestral worldview, as well as the reality of the mestizo (the Guatemalan State), and the dominant white (Goldcorp).This understanding contrasts the power groups’ viewpoint who understand and legitimize their knowledge as the only valid form of knowing. The women have become privileged epistemic subjects, for not being ¨contaminated¨ with only one way of knowledge that comes from an advantageous social position.
 

The case of mining in San Miguel Ixtahuacán, its environmental impact and the criminalization of women activists, can be understand from an ecofeminist perspective. As Vandana Shiva, in her book Stolen Harvest states: ¨For more than two centuries, patriarchal, eurocentric, and anthropocentric scientific discourse has treated women, other cultures, and other species as objects. Experts have been treated as the only legitimate knowers. For more than two decades, feminist movements, Third World and indigenous people’s movements, and ecological and animal-rights movements have questioned this objectification and denial of subjecthood.¨ The Guatemalan state and the mining company, driven by their focus on production, consumption and accumulation of wealth fail to respect the sovereignty and spirituality of indigenous peoples. The Mayan worldview is trampled by a mercantilist system that does not recognize the land as sacred, positioning  man/production over woman /nature. 

Crisanta and the anti-mining resistance group of San Miguel are reluctant to embrace the imposition of a clearly western and patriarchal “development” that despises life and legitimizes abuse from its position of power. On the contrary, the women demand ¨the good life¨, which according to their worldview and ancestral knowledge, consists in the search for harmony and balance with Mother Earth and all forms of existence. This philosophy of living naturally disapproves all forms of accumulation and exploitation that would alter the harmonious coexistence and quality of life of other beings.

In 2008, the Pastoral Commission of Peace and Ecology (COPAE) of San Marcos along with other organizations doing independent studies presented their detections of  arsenic, aluminum, copper, manganese, and other metals in some water sources near the Marlin mine. The poor management of the mine waste and their presence in natural sources of water is a good explanation for the increase in gastrointestinal and skin diseases among the neighbors of the nearby communities.

MCC Thrift store group with members of the Catholic Parish of San Miguel Ixtahuacán. Photo taken by Matthew Kok.

During my visit, as we were interviewing members of the Parish of the San Miguel community, we talked about how racism was politically used to justify these atrocities. A Parishioner tearfully explained, abuse is legitimized under the premise that ¨the Indians are dirty and unhygienic¨. The hierarchy of race or gender is illogical and cannot be interpreted if it does not fall within a base structure with political interest. This is a clear example, where the discrediting and discrimination of a population is aligned with neoliberalist interest. 

¨On the threshold of the third millennium, liberation strategies must ensure that human freedom is not achieved at the expense of other species, that freedom of one race or gender is not based on the increasing subjugation of other races and genders. In each of these struggles for freedom, the challenge is to include the other¨. Vandana Shiva.


Crisanta signing for me her book ¨The struggle of Ms. Crisanta against Goldcorp¨. Photo taken by Matthew Kok.

For me, Crisanta´s resistance is a miracle born from an oppressed community. The same system that abused and excluded Mam women, now is the same that caused the conditions for them to become creators of new knowledge outside of a dominant perspective . The heart and unbreakable spirit of these women defending their territory and returning to their ancestral knowledge, translates their struggles against the violation of the land to their female bodies and vice versa. They are women who cling to their indigenous philosophy of the ¨Good Life¨, seeking harmony and sustainable living between people and nature peacefully. Under that view, Crisanta and the women of San Miguel Ixtahuacán rethink, deconstruct and reconstruct themselves.




Father Erick from the Parish of San Miguel Ixtahuacán. Photo taken by: Matthew Kok

Photo taken by Matthew Kok

Photo taken by: Matthew Kok

Maudilia López from the San Miguel Ixtahuacán parish. Photo taken by: Matthew Kok

Crisanta, member of the Parish. Photo taken by : Matthew Kok















5 comments:

ninest123 said...

christian louboutin outlet, prada handbags, air jordan pas cher, louis vuitton outlet, uggs on sale, nike free, chanel handbags, ugg boots, prada outlet, longchamp outlet, replica watches, nike air max, ugg boots, tory burch outlet, longchamp, louboutin pas cher, tiffany jewelry, ralph lauren pas cher, gucci outlet, air max, louis vuitton outlet, polo ralph lauren outlet, nike air max, nike outlet, louis vuitton, longchamp outlet, jordan shoes, oakley sunglasses, burberry, oakley sunglasses, ray ban sunglasses, cheap oakley sunglasses, replica watches, louboutin, longchamp pas cher, ray ban sunglasses, nike free, michael kors, tiffany and co, louboutin outlet, ray ban sunglasses, nike roshe run, louis vuitton, oakley sunglasses, kate spade outlet, polo ralph lauren outlet, louboutin shoes, sac longchamp, louis vuitton, oakley sunglasses

ninest123 said...

nike roshe, ray ban pas cher, michael kors outlet, north face, ralph lauren uk, timberland, burberry outlet online, mulberry, true religion outlet, lacoste pas cher, michael kors, kate spade handbags, true religion jeans, nike free run uk, air force, tn pas cher, new balance pas cher, nike blazer, michael kors outlet, vanessa bruno, sac guess, oakley pas cher, coach purses, coach outlet, ray ban uk, nike air max, michael kors outlet, vans pas cher, lululemon, michael kors, hollister pas cher, hogan, converse pas cher, hollister, true religion jeans, abercrombie and fitch, coach outlet, ugg boots, true religion jeans, replica handbags, nike air max, michael kors, michael kors, burberry, nike air max, north face, michael kors outlet, hermes, michael kors outlet, ugg boots

ninest123 said...

vans, mcm handbags, asics running shoes, ferragamo shoes, iphone cases, lululemon, timberland boots, longchamp, converse, mont blanc, abercrombie and fitch, gucci, chi flat iron, converse outlet, nike roshe, ralph lauren, oakley, soccer jerseys, north face outlet, p90x workout, baseball bats, nike air max, reebok shoes, nike trainers, bottega veneta, valentino shoes, birkin bag, instyler, beats by dre, herve leger, giuseppe zanotti, jimmy choo shoes, nike huarache, nike air max, soccer shoes, babyliss, nfl jerseys, hollister, louboutin, hollister, north face outlet, ghd, vans shoes, hollister, wedding dresses, celine handbags, mac cosmetics, new balance, insanity workout, ray ban

ninest123 said...

replica watches, canada goose outlet, doudoune canada goose, pandora charms, moncler, canada goose, marc jacobs, montre pas cher, links of london, louis vuitton, swarovski, ugg boots uk, toms shoes, thomas sabo, moncler, canada goose, louis vuitton, ugg,ugg australia,ugg italia, supra shoes, pandora charms, lancel, hollister, moncler, juicy couture outlet, bottes ugg, louis vuitton, coach outlet, canada goose uk, pandora jewelry, canada goose, moncler, karen millen, moncler outlet, wedding dresses, canada goose outlet, sac louis vuitton pas cher, barbour jackets, ugg pas cher, canada goose, barbour, moncler, ugg,uggs,uggs canada, swarovski crystal, moncler, juicy couture outlet, moncler, louis vuitton, pandora jewelry

Fangyaya said...

christian louboutin outlet
ray ban sunglasses
celine outlet
ray ban sunglasses outlet
gucci outlet
jordan concords
burberry outlet
michael kors outlet
toms wedges
michael kors outlet online
coach outlet online
nfl jerseys wholesale
louis vuitton handbags
louis vuitton handbags
christian louboutin wedges
louis vuitton
coach outlet online
toms shoes
cheap oakley sunglasses
ralph lauren clearance outlet
ray ban sunglasses
ralph lauren polo
coach outlet store online clearances
cheap oakley sunglasses
gucci bags
cheap oakley sunglasses
ray ban sunglasses wholesale
louis vuitton outlet
cheap nfl jerseys
lebron 12
20167.27chenjinyan