Urgent Communique from the Municipal Commission Specific to the Consultation on Mining
The members of the Commission recognized and designated by the Municipality of Asuncion Mita, Jutiapa to organize the Municipal Consultation on Mining petitioned by citizens of our municipality, are facing the undemocratic backlash of the Ministry of Energy and Mines (MEM) through a statement dated September 19, where it took a position against the Municipal Consultation, a historic event that clearly marked the determination of the people against the installation of metallic mining operations through a consultation carried out under article 64 of the Guatemalan Municipal Code.
- That today, September 21, 2022, at 3:45 pm, we were notified about an injunction against the Commission specifically created to organize the municipal consultation filed by Juan José Monroy González, assisted by lawyer Orlando Raúl López Salguero, on behalf of the association Mita Avanza,
- That the people of Asunción Mita have already exercised their right to be consulted as per the political constitution of the republic and the municipal code, and the overwhelming results should be considered indicative for government authorities in the licensing process. Moreover, the consultation is binding for the municipality according to the municipal autonomy principle established in the political constitution of the republic.
- That we are not surprised by the statement published on September 19, because the people of Asunción Mita know which side the government is on. The government is using the law not to protect its people but to favor big business.
- The statement published by the Ministry of Energy and Mines states that the consultation, which the rejection of mining projects, "lacks a legal basis" and therefore "it lacks the authority to recognize the validity of the results". In this sense, we argue that said institution lacks the knowledge of the laws or intends to give that impression as the consultation was based on article 64 of the Municipal Code and not on the 169 convention of the ILO where the ministry has jurisdiction and advantage against indigenous communities.
The people of Asunción Mita identify themselves as mestizo or ladino. In addition, as 27% of the registered inhabitants of Asuncion Mita participated in the vote, the expectations in the consultation were exceeded, therefore, the consultation results are binding for the municipality on the issuance of construction licenses or other permits under its competency for the development of mining projects.
- We regret and publicly and fully reject the few misinformed citizens of Asuncion Mita, whose particular interest is to generate disinformation for the local population while supporting mining projects that may negatively impact the natural resources of our municipality in the future.
- That the mining companies, up to the moment, have not proven to be rational, responsible, or friendly with the environment. They have not respected article 125 of the political constitution of the republic of Guatemala, on the contrary, they used it to delegitimate the consultation process.
- Also, we reject any attempt by mining companies and the ministry of energy and mines to pressure the municipal authorities and to disregard the sovereignty of the people of Asuncion Mita.
We communicate to the people of Asunción Mita that the consultation is legal because the notification to the commission regarding the injunction was delivered three days after the consultation took place. In addition, there is relevant jurisprudence in three previous consultations in the municipalities of Mataquescuintla, San Juan Tecuaco, and Jalapa set a relevant legal precedent to declare the consultation legitimate, where the Constitutional Court dismissed injunctions presented to delegitimize the consultations and declared the results to be binding.
Asuncion Mita, September 21, 2022
Municipal Commission Specific to the Consultation in Mining