Send messages of solidarity to members of
La Puya

Dear Rochester Committee on Latin America,

It’s hard to believe that nearly three years have passed since residents from San Pedro Ayampuc and San Jose del Golfo first joined together in peaceful opposition to a gold mining operation near their homes. From a single act of civil disobedience emerged the world-renowned environmental justice movement known as “La Puya.”

La Puya began on March 2, 2012, when community members joined together to form a human blockade, preventing mining machinery from entering the site. Despite their dedication to nonviolent resistance, participants in the roadblock endured extreme repression — including threats, arrests, and violence — from both employees of the U.S.-owned mining company and the Guatemalan government. Yet, even after the blockade was violently broken up by riot police last May and machinery was escorted onto the mine site, members of La Puya continue to maintain a 24-hour presence in moral opposition to the project.

Members of La Puya celebrate their 2nd anniversary

As the movement approaches its third anniversary this March, GHRC wishes to honor the members of La Puya for their commitment, discipline, and remarkable resilience in defense of the environment and their human rights.

We’re planning to participate in a day of celebration at La Puya to commemorate three years of peaceful struggle, but we need your help to make this day as powerful and encouraging as possible. In addition to sharing a message from GHRC, we would also like to deliver your messages — from far and wide — of hope and solidarity.

Whether you’ve visited La Puya in person, heard from a member of the movement along a GHRC Speaker’s Tour, followed our updates about the resistance, or are hearing about it for the first time:
Please take a moment now to offer a short message of solidarity for community members defending their right to protect our planet from destructive mining practices.

Messages can be written in English or in Spanish (if written in English, we’ll translate them to Spanish prior to the event). Not sure what to write? Here are some ideas to get started:

  • How has the La Puya movement inspired you?
  • What examples have you learned, or can we learn, from La Puya?
  • Why do you stand in solidarity with the movement?
We want to share as many messages as possible at the celebration of the third anniversary of the movement on March 1, and ask that you send your responses by February 25. The families of La Puya are fighting for clean air and unpolluted water, not only for their communities but also for all of us. Now, more than ever, they need to know we’re still standing beside them.In solidarity,
Rob Mercatante, GHRC/USAP.S. Follow #3rdAnniversaryPuya for live updates from the anniversary celebration on March 1!

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