Under the Volcano Mining Conflicts in Guatemala are Erupting in Violence

By Giles Clarke, Vice, 

An anti-mining banner at the roadblock reads: “Defend our Mother Earth from the rats.”

In 2000, engineers from Radius Gold, a Vancouver-based mining company, discovered a belt of gold deep inside the Tambor mountains in southern Guatemala. The Guatemalan government promptly issued the company an exploratory license, and for more than a decade, Radius studied the region as a possible base of operations. The proposed mine lies just a few miles from the village of San José del Golfo and from San Pedro Ayampuc, a small city. Few locals, most of whom are of indigenous Mayan descent, were consulted before Radius moved in. Few of them knew anything was happening at all. They certainly didn’t know they were living atop what would become a literal gold mine.