La Búsqueda de Justicia en Guatemala

La Búsqueda de Justicia en Guatemala

Las dictaduras militares y la guerra civil que asoló Guatemala durante 36 años se tradujo para Canadá en la llegada de miles de refugiados en la década de los 80 y principios de los años 90 Hasta el 2001, unos 16.000 guatemaltecos encontraron refugio en este país.

De acuerdo a la Comisión para el Esclarecimiento Histórico, una comisión de la verdad y reconciliación creada en Guatemala a partir de la suscripción del Acuerdo sobre el establecimiento de la Comisión para el Esclarecimiento Histórico de las violaciones a los derechos humanos y los hechos de violencia, para 1999 el ejército guatemalteco era responsable del 93 por ciento de las muertes y violaciones de los derechos humanos. La guerrilla fue hallada responsable del 3 por ciento de esos actos.

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‘They burned everything’: Guatemalan women press Hudbay on human rights claims in closely watched case

Two indigenous Guatemalan women stood quietly in front of a Toronto courthouse on Tuesday morning, surrounded by a scrum that included a filmmaking crew, lawyers, media and a gaggle of other people.

On a crowded city street during rush hour, the women drew little notice from passersby but their case is being closely followed by the mining sector and beyond.

Both women, Irma Yolanda Choc Cac and Angelica Choc, had travelled from a remote part of eastern Guatemala, to continue pressing legal claims that Hudbay Minerals Inc., one of Canada’s oldest mining companies, bears liability for rape, violence and other human rights abuses that took place more than a decade ago when their village was razed to make way for the Fenix nickel mine.

Their lawsuit, originally filed in 2011, ties into a trend of increasing scrutiny of Canadian mining and exploration companies’ overseas activity. In its wake, other plaintiffs sued at least two other mining companies under the same novel legal theory, which accuses the mining companies of negligence.

“I’m assuming any chance of resolving anything between these parties has long since left the building,” the presiding case management master, Michael McGraw, who functions like a judge, said near the start of the hearing on Tuesday.

In a courtroom packed with journalists and supporters of the women, the lawyers had planned to argue about whether the plaintiffs could amend their complaint against Hudbay to include new details about the alleged human rights abuses. But that never happened and instead, the parties pushed the hearing back until November while they discuss a compromise.

The suit claims security personnel for Skye Resources — which Hudbay bought in 2008 for US$451 million to acquire the Fenix mine project — worked with Guatemalan military and police to clear the land and raze the Mayan Q’echi community of Lote Ocho for the mining project.

Several of the plaintiffs in the case, including one present Monday, in documents filed in the case, describe the trauma — being tied, beaten and gang-raped in front of their children — in excruciating detail while under examination by Hudbay’s lawyers at Fasken, Tracy Pratt and Robert Harrison.

“It was these men just like this that raped me when I was three months’ pregnant,” one of the plaintiffs said, adding, “And it’s men just like this that are the ones that burned my house, and they burned my clothing and they burned everything I had in my house.”

The other plaintiff claims the head of mining security killed her husband for protesting against the mining company.

The plaintiffs’ lawyers say they have gained new details from documents and emails that Hudbay produced during the litigation to substantiate the alleged human rights abuses. Already, they have filed documents in court that contain new details related to payments Skye made to military and police, and to the arrangements between Skye’s security force and local police and military.

At the hearing, lawyers for Hudbay said they would consider agreeing to allow the plaintiffs amended complaint, although they may file a new motion challenging whether Ontario is the proper jurisdiction to hear the claims. They had filed a motion to move the case to Guatemala earlier in the case, but Hudbay withdraw it before a ruling was ever handed down.

Meanwhile, in a separate case using the same legal theory filed against Tahoe Resources, a B.C. judge ruled that the negligence case could be heard in Canada. Earlier this year, Pan American Resources Inc., which purchased Tahoe, publicly apologized to the plaintiffs and reached a confidential settlement.

There remains one other suit that uses the same theory, against Nevsun Resources Inc., which was purchased by a Chinese company in 2018, accusing it of using forced labour and of committing other human rights abuses on a mining project in Eritrea.

A representative for Hudbay, who was present in the courtroom, referred questions to the company’s lawyers, who declined to comment.

Hudbay sold its interest in the Fenix mine for US$170 million in 2011, shortly after the lawsuit was filed. It retained liability, however, and continues to fight the case.

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NEXT HEARING IN TORONTO: November 8, 2019.

More information / To support Mayan Q’eqchi’ victims-plaintiffs:
Grahame Russell,;

Assassination in Guatemala of nephew of Angelica Choc, plaintiff in Hudbay Minerals lawsuits

Assassination in Guatemala of nephew of Angelica Choc, plaintiff in Hudbay Minerals lawsuits.  Indications that murderers were actually seeking to kill José Ich, son of Angélica Choc, and witness in Hudbay lawsuits

Statement by Choc and Ich families, through Rights Action, April 11, 2018


During the late evening of March 30, 2018 and early hours of Saturday, March 31, several people brought Héctor Choc to the outskirts of the El Estor community (Guatemala), and beat him to death with rocks and other objects. Héctor died while being rushed to the Puerto Barrios hospital.


·         Emergency funding appeal: See below


Witnesses (who spoke on conditions of anonymity due to fear) explained that one of the assassins said: “It’s not Ich, let’s go.” “Ich” is how José Manuel Ich Choc, Angélica’s son and Héctor’s cousin, is known in El Estor.


The Choc and Ich families demand justice for this most recent attack against them and denounce that the murder of Héctor (apparently planned ahead of time) was probably an attempt against the life of José Ich.

Jose Ich: Witness in trials against Hudbay Minerals and CGN (Guatemalan Nickel Company)

José is a witness in the criminal case against Mynor Padilla in Guatemala and in the civil lawsuits against Hudbay Minerals/CGN before Canadian courts for his father’s murder on September 27, 2009, which was committed by Mynor Padilla (a former lieutenant colonel in the Guatemalan army who then worked as head of security of Hudbay Minerals/CGN) and the security forces under his control.

Due to the accumulated sorrow from suffering so many attacks and aggressions over many years, the Choc and Ich families waited several days before publicly denouncing this most recent attack and political crime.

-In 2008, Ramiro Choc – Angélica´s brother— suffered imprisonment as a political prisoner for six years, for his work in defense of the rights and lands of the Maya Q’eqchi’ peoples

-In 2009, Mynor Padilla, then head of security of Hudbay Minerals/CGN along with security agents under his control, murdered Adolfo Ich.

-In 2016, men fired their weapons against Angélica´s home while she was inside sleeping with her two younger children.

-In 2018, María Choc – the sister of Angélica and Ramiro—was arbitrarily detained (“criminalized”) by the Guatemalan state, for her work in defense of the rights and lands of the Q’eqchi´ peoples.

-Throughout these years, members of both families have faced constant harassment and threats for their work and struggle in defense of the rights and lands of the Q’eqchi´ peoples, particularly the Choc family – Angélica and José—due to their participation in legal proceedings in Canada and Guatemala.

In addition to the pain and suffering for yet another political crime that forced them to bury another loved one, the families are now extremely concerned for the safety of José Ich.

The Choc and Ich families request national and international solidarity and support.  They continue to demand justice, and to demand an end to impunity in Guatemala (and Canada) for all the political crimes against them for their work in defense of the human rights and land rights of the Q’eqchi’ peoples.

For more information

·         In Guatemala: Victor Manuel Cuz and Sofia Cuz (parents of the deceased Hector) and Angelica Choc, Telephone/ Whatsapp (Angelica): +1 502 4487-7237

·         In Canada: Grahame Russell, Rights Action, +1 416-807-4436,