Angelica & German: Seeking justice in Guatemala for Canadian mining repression, 7 years and counting
(Angelica & German) (German, getting in and out of court.)
Angelica Choc and German Chub are seen on December 1, 2016 at the court house in Puerto Barrios, Guatemala, during closing arguments in the criminal trial against Mynor Padilla, a former officer in the Guatemalan Army and head of security for Hudbay Minerals and its Guatemalan subsidiary company CGN.
January 10-11, 2017
Along with their lawyers and lawyers for the Attorney General and CICIG (International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala), German and Angelica are in courts again today and tomorrow, as the defense lawyers continue to drag out their closing arguments.
September 27, 2009
On this day, Padilla – working for Hudbay – shot German, a young Mayan Q’eqchi campesino, in the back and left him for dead near Hudbay’s then owned nickel mine. German survived, paralyzed from the waist down. He lost the use of one lung, and the bullet remains lodged next to his spinal column. That same day, Padilla and the Hudbay guards he was in charge of, singled out, illegally detained and then murdered well known land, Indigenous rights and environmental defender Adolfo Ich, husband of Angelica Choc and father of their five children.
Since then, Angelica and German have been spear-heading work and struggle for truth and justice, both in Guatemala and Canada.
Fugitive from justice, on the Hudbay payroll
For three years after September 27, 2009, Padilla was a fugitive from justice in the El Estor region. Though there was a capture order outstanding, he continued to work openly for Hudbay for part of this time before going into hiding; he was not captured until late 2012. To date, Hudbay has not clarified how long they kept Padilla on their payroll after the assassination of Adolfo Ich and shooting of German Chub.
Thus, the criminal trial against Padilla only began in March 2015 … and has been dragging on since then by Padilla’s team of well connected lawyers who are likely financed by Hudbay.
Precedent setting civil lawsuits in Canada
Meanwhile, Angelica and German and 11 women from the Lote 8 community – gang-raped in 2007 by mining security guards, soldiers and police, as part of the illegal eviction of their community – are spearheading, with Klippensteins Barristers and Solicitors, the precedent setting civil lawsuits initiated in 2010 in Canadian courts against Hudbay and CGN, for the mining related repression they suffered.
Canadian debt of thanks and respect
Angelica, German and the Lote 8 women deserve Canadians’ highest recognition, thanks and support. They, along with the Klippensteins lawyers, are spearheading efforts to hold the Canadian mining industry accountable, even as Canadian politicians and mining and investor elites continue to block efforts to put in place the minimal political and legal reforms necessary to begin to hold our companies and investors criminally and civilly accountable if and when they use repression and/or violate human rights and the environment at mining operations around the world.
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Grahame Russell, Rights Action