November 17, 2019
By Ahmed Nassrat
“My beautiful piece of peace Mataquesquintla will continue to flower when no hero who defends the earth has to die.” Topacio Reynoso
It was quite touching to show up at the mural to find a group of youth working to refresh the mural which was previously painted by Topacio Reynoso as their last act before their youth group ceases to operate. We were proud today to stand in solidarity with this youth group and be part of their final act. We all contributed in ways we can whether it was painting or putting together flower arrangements. The final outcome was bringing back to life a beautiful mural of an incredible girl that died four years ago.
Topacio Reynoso was killed four years ago at the age of 16 for speaking up against the Escobal Mine and her father faced several murder attempts. The quote she had written with the mural speaks for itself and gave us all goosebumps when we heard the translation into English. How can companies operate this way and order the killing of a child simply because they oppose them? It brings us even more sadness that this mine is operated by a Canadian company.
It was truly a deep day to start it off with this youth group and then visit Topacio’s family at their coffee farm. We saw how they continue to resist the mine through coffee. From almost shutting down the farm and selling part of their land to settle debt, their coffee is now sold in Canada bringing together 52 farmers who are all resisting the mine. What a success story that shows how strong this family is even after losing their angel.
We are all proud to be able to meet and spend time with these amazing people. It was truly a great day that brings this whole trip together.