FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, Sept. 26, 2014
Press release: Mayan Ceremony Held in Financial District to Commemorate 5th Anniversary of a Murder
Media contact - Rachel Small - (647) 769-2472 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Kiche Mayan spiritual guide Tata Bartolo Alvarez leads a memorial ceremony in front of Hudbay's headquarters . Photo by Allan Lissner.
Huron-Wendat, Anishinaabe, Haudenosaunee territory (Toronto, Canada) – Friday 26 September 2014 – A crowd of mourners gathered outside Hudbay Minerals' headquarters in the financial district to commemorate the 5th anniversary of Adolfo Ich Chamán’s murder by Hudbay Minerals security forces. The memorial demonstrated support for Indigenous Mayan Q’eqchi residents of Guatemala’s Izabal region in their ongoing legal actions against HudBay. It was organized in solidarity with a memorial held in El Estor, where Chamán lived, where he led the resistance to Hudbay's Fenix mining project, and where he was ultimately murdered.
The service was led by Tata Bartolo Alvarez, an Aj'qij (Mayan spiritual guide), and organized by the Mining Injustice Solidarity Network (MISN) and Maritimes-Guatemala Breaking the Silence (BTS) Network. The memorial was attended by over 40 people, dressed in black with candles in hand and Chamán's photos pinned over their hearts.
After meeting at HudBay Minerals' corporate headquarters (25 York Street, Toronto ON) at 6pm this Friday, attendees participated in a traditional Mayan ceremony. “We felt it was important that on both the Q'eqchi territory in Guatemala where Hudbay's mine has invaded, as well as Hudbay's corporate headquarters here in Toronto, Mayan ceremonies be held to honour Adolfo's life and demand justice,” says Caren Weisbart, one of the memorial organizers. The hour-long memorial was followed by a candlelit procession through downtown Toronto during which attendees distributed posters denouncing Hudbay.
In a statement from Guatemala, Angelica Choc, Chamán’s widow said: “If my husband were here today, he would say that our Q’eqchi’ communities are an ancient people. He would say that we reject the way the mining company has operated in our community. That we must demand justice for the harms they have caused us. He would say that we must continue the struggle.”
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Context: Since 1960, the Mayan Q’eqchi’ communities of the Izabal region have suffered at the hands of Canadian mining companies who have owned the Fenix Nickel Project—murders, violent forced evictions, rapes, shootings, and the criminalization of dissent only begin to describe the abuses. Chamán, a respected community member, outspoken critic of the mining activities, and father of six was brutally murdered on 27 September 2009 by security forces employed at HudBay’s Fenix mining project. Members of the El Estor population have filed 3 lawsuits in Ontario courts against HudBay over Chamán’s murder, the gang-rape of 11 women from the community of Lote Ocho, and the shooting and paralyzing of German Chub. The cases are setting precedents by being the first lawsuits to be heard in Canadian courts concerning crimes carried out by a Canadian mining company abroad.
MISN is a Toronto-based volunteer group that works closely with communities impacted by extractive industries in order to support their self-determination, educate the Canadian public, and bring companies to justice.
BTS is a solidarity network founded in 1989 to support the efforts of Guatemalans struggling for political, social and economic justice.
Media contact: Rachel Small, MISN member: email@example.com. 647-769-2472 High-resolution photos available upon request.
More information: www.mininginjustice.org; www.chocversushudbay.com