You are hereGuatemalan opponent to Vancouver-based Radius Gold gunned down June 13

Guatemalan opponent to Vancouver-based Radius Gold gunned down June 13

By admin - Posted on 14 June 2012

Telma Yolanda Oqueli Veliz, 33 years old, leader in San José del Golfo, Guatemala, was shot and injured last night when she was ambushed by unknown men 500 metres from the entrance to the Derivado 7 project, of the Vancouver-based Radius Gold mining company, located in this municipality. According to Oqueli’s family members, she was leaving the community blockade set up by citizens outside the mine entrance and was heading home to the town of San José del Golfo when a car and a motorcycle cut her off, and an individual aboard one of the vehicles shot at her a number of times.  One of the bullets entered her abdomen, and as a result she was rushed in serious condition to the San Juan de Dios Hospital in the capital city.  The vehicle in which Oqueli was traveling, shows evidence of three bullet holes from a 38 calibre gun, according to the Public Prosecutor’s Office. Thisattack occurred around 7 in the evening, June 13, of this year. Family members and close friends of Oqueli explained that about a month ago she had begun to receive threats that she was going to be attacked for her support of the anti-mining struggle. There is a hypothesis that security guards from the same mining company were responsible for this attempt on Oqueli’s life, or hired hit men contracted by the company or pro-mining forces. Oqueli was in the operating room by about 9 at night, where she is under protective guard of National Civil Police´s special task force on crimes against life.  As well public prosecutors from the Public Prosecutor’s Office are present to take her declaration, and to order the security measures. The Campesino Unity Committee (CUC) energetically condemns this assault, and demands that the Public Prosecutor’s Office investigate this case and punish those responsible. To the company owners and their private security groups or criminal groups that made this attempt on our friend Oqueli’s life, we demand that they cease threatening the lives of the inhabitants of San José del Golfo, who are opposed to the mine, who have a legitimate right to decide if they chose to have, or not to have, mineral exploitation in their region. We emphasize that this act shows the heavy handedness, the invasion, the generation of social conflicts that extractive industries generate in the regions in which they impose themselves. To national and international Human Rights organizations, we make the call for them to speak out, and to accompany us, not only Oqueli, but the whole San José del Golfo population who are opposed to the mine, and who risk injury or assassination for their commitment to the struggle to defend their territories and their natural environment.RADIUS GOLD, whose head offices are at Suite 650, 200 Burrard Street, Vancouver, BC, Tel: (604) 801-5432 ,is one of sseveral Canadian mining companies involved in violent confrontations with locla residents in Guatemala in the past few years. Other include Vancouver's Goldcorp, Tahoe Resources and Toronto's Hudby resources. Most enjoy large investments from the Canadian Pension Funds a(CPP) nd union-employer funds such as Ontario's Teachers and the BC Investment Management Corporation (manages pensiosn for memebrs of the BCTF, CUPE and the BCGEU).

Report adapted form a news release form the Committee of Campesino Unity - CUC for more information and photos of Yoli, visit:

Yolanda Oqueli Veliz - photo by James Rodriguez