November 16, 2019
By Rosie Sylliboy
We started our day by marching down a path with our luggage in hand. I imagined that we were loading onto Noah’s ark because it poured rain all night. We were informed that today was going to be a travel day and that most of our time would be spent in the van. We drove down the southern part of Guatemala through the villages and towns and observed the beautiful landscape of the territory of the Xinka people.
There were people working in the fields, on the roads and in their shops. When traffic stopped for construction, sellers took the opportunity to sell their goods to stopped traffic.
Through the many twists and turns and up and down the many beautiful mountains, we arrived at our first stop. We had a sit down lunch to whatever you wanted on the menu.
As we got closer to our destination, there was a sign posted on the side of the mountain. Pueblo Xinka ejerzamos nuestro derecho fundamental a la Consulta! Which means that We(Xinka) exercise our fundamental right to consultation!
We visited the peaceful resistance encampment in Mataquescuintla and met with Tito and his comrades. They told us about their struggles with the Escobal mine and how the mine had an immediate negative impact on their watershed. On September 3, 2018, there was a court ruling which recognized that the rights of the Xinka people had been violated when the Escobal mine was granted a license without the proper consultation of affected communities. The courts ordered that the mine be suspended until the government could carry out such a consultation with affected Xinka people. They talked about the organized efforts of their people and how they are committed to protecting their livelihood for their children.
We enjoyed a friendly game of soccer with the encampment crew against the BTS crew. We stand in solidarity with our indigenous brothers and sisters. Water is sacred! Msit No’kmaq!