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Guatemalan bishop criticizes government following suspension of constitutional rights

May 08, 2013

A Guatemalan bishop criticized the nation’s government after it suspended constitutional rights in four towns following violent protests against a Canadian-owned silver mine. Residents fear that the mine will contaminate their water supply.

While the government must combat violence, it should do so “without trampling on the rights of communities and without intimidating social and religious leaders who promote peaceful demonstrations following the requirements of the law,” said Bishop Julio Cabrera Ovalle of Jalapa.

“The origin of social conflict in the area [is the] mining projects and little or no information on them given to the population,” the diocese said in a statement. “We are confident that if the government had listened to the demands of the people, the social pressure that led to the current situation would not have developed. It seems that the interests of mining companies against the interests of the population are being protected.”


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