Guatemalan delegation travelling to Canada to challenge corporate impunity
But there’s no celebration here. Instead, Choc sits on a plastic chair, sipping sweet coffee, talking through the logistics of an upcoming trip to Toronto with her sister-in-law, Maria Cuc Choc and their friend German Chub. All three are worried about how German, who is paralyzed from the waist down, will manage on the flight. What if he has to go to the bathroom on the plane, they wonder. They discuss what kind of clothes they might need for the cold. There are another two women accompanying them on the trip, and none of them own suitcases. The conversation slips back and forth between Spanish and Q’eqchi’, punctuated by laughter.
On the wall near the front door of Choc’s small wooden house is a simple altar in memory of her late husband. Two framed photos of Ich hang on the wall, his gaze straight and serious. His guitar hangs on the wall, gathering dust. A longtime Q’eqchi’ activist involved in various land struggles, Ich was murdered in September 2009 by private security guards in the employ of Hudbay Minerals.
“We’re going to travel [to Canada] because we want to demand justice,” Choc told The Dominion. “I have faith and hope that we’ll be successful. That’s what we want.” Choc, Chub, Cuc, and two others will travel to Canada for cross-examination by Hudbay’s legal team during the last week in November.
“This will be the first time, as far as I know, that individuals harmed by Canadian mining projects in other countries will have travelled to Canada to provide evidence for use in Canadian courts,” according to Grahame Russell of Rights Action, a solidarity organization involved in supporting community members resisting nickel mining in the El Estor region. “The questioning, under oath, will take place out of court and may be used in court.”
Toronto’s Klippensteins, Barristers & Solicitors, is representing the plaintiffs, whose claims against the Guatemala operations of Toronto-based Hudbay Minerals are serious.
“The evidence that both sides are collecting right now (including the November cross-examinations) will be used at a March hearing which will determine whether the lawsuit should be heard in Canada or in Guatemala,” Cory Wanless, a lawyer at Klippensteins, told The Dominion via email from Toronto. “This is obviously a very important question with potentially very significant ramifications for the rest of the Canadian mining industry.”
“The brutal and arbitrary shooting of Adolfo Ich was caused by the negligent management of Hudbay Minerals both in Canada and in Guatemala,” reads the Statement of Claim filed by Angelica Choc in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice. Ich and Choc had five children. Their son José, who witnessed the killing, says the security guards hacked at Adolfo with a machete before shooting him in the head.
Angelica Choc is confident that her case is solid. “We know very well who those responsible are, they can’t tell us otherwise,” she said. “We lived it, we’re the ones who have suffered, here, in the flesh.”
ENTIRE ARTICLE HERE: Guatemalan delegation travelling to Canada to challenge corporate impunity.
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