Photo: Angelica Choc and German Chub

On January 6, 2020 a judge in Puerto Barrios, in Eastern Guatemala accepted the guilty plea of Mynor Padilla for the murder of community leader Adolfo Ich Chaman and injury to German Chub Caal, Haroldo Cucul and Alejandro Acte. Padilla was the head of security for the Fenix Nickel Mine when the shootings occurred on September 27, 2009. The project was owned by Canadian mining company Hudbay Minerals at the time. 

When asked about the case, Angelica Choc, widow of Chaman, stated, “With the sentence here in Guatemala, maybe it’s not 100% what one would want; but this is an important achievement. It is a great achievement as a woman, as a community defender, where we don’t get a salary, where we don’t have an office. Maybe sometimes our struggle is invisible. No one knows how many of the things that have happened have affected us. But I am here. And I think this is an achievement. Thanks to the accompaniment of many people in solidarity, we have this result. And I hope we feel happy.”

This process was a retrial after an earlier decision by a judge of the same court found Padilla not guilty of the charges. However, after an appeal and an investigation into possible corruption of the judge, the case was restarted. 

The case in Canada against Hudbay Minerals for the murder of Adolfo Ich Chaman, shooting of German Chub and the sexual violence committed against 11 Q’eqchi women in 2008 by mine security is ongoing. While the decision in the Mynor Padilla case is limited to the criminal proceedings in Guatemala, the guilty plea no doubt will be an important piece of the civil proceedings in Canada, to further show the company’s knowledge and consent to violence against the community of El Estor. 

For more information you can read:

Guatemala mine’s ex-security chief convicted of Indigenous leader’s murder by Sandra Cuffe

Ex-security chief for subsidiary of Hudbay Minerals pleads guilty to killing, paralyzing Indigenous Guatemalans by Max Binks-Collier