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Canadian Mining, the Mayan-Q'ecqhi' People and the Cycles of Landlessness, Poverty and Repression

Author: Grahame Russell, Upside Down World [USA], Published on: 6 December 2006

...Jose Chocoj Pan...was severely beaten by the Guatemalan National Police (PNC) and left for dead in a forest near the Skye Resources mining company...Over 90% of the population of El Estor are Q’eqchi’...On September 19, 2006, Jose went with his family, and dozens of landless Q’eqchi’ families, to peacefully occupy a piece of land...by the old landing strip of the Canadian Skye Resources nickel mining company. In this region, the Q’eqchi’ majority lives in conditions of poverty and landlessness...[and] feel threatened by the renewal of nickel mining...The largest landowners in this region are two...companies: Skye Resources and INCO...[which was] recently bought by CVRD of Brazil [and] owns 12% of Skye...The claim that Jose Chocoj Pan and thousands of Q’eqchi’ people are making to a piece of land is based firstly on the most obvious and imperative need for survival...Skye Resources, for now, is refusing to negotiate with the communities...Skye Resources must take immediate actions to prevent this bad situation from getting worse...must publicly denounce and disassociate itself with the decision of the El Estor "civil society" to form Civil Patrols...must publicly denounce the illegal, violent evictions. While Skye did not carry out these evictions, it is the only direct beneficiary of these abusive policies and actions...Skye did not create the underlying exploitations, landlessness, racism and repression, yet Skye has chosen to do business in a complex and unjust situation. [also refers to United Fruit Company (now Chiquita)]

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Related companies: Companhia Vale do Rio Doce (now Vale) Inco (part of Companhia Vale do Rio Doce) Skye Resources (part of HudBay)