A film about the harrowing tale of the Mayan Q’eqchi resistance against mining in Guatemala is coming to Nelson for a special screening next week.
Defensora is a documentary set along the shores of Lake Izabal in the community El Estor where Canadian nickel mining company Hudbay Minerals Inc. has operated for more than 50 years. Tensions run high against a backdrop of pro and anti-mining camps, violence and forced evictions.
On June 12, the Mir Centre for Peace will present the documentary Defensora at the Shambhala Music & Performance Hall on the Selkirk College Tenth Street Campus. The documentary set along the shores of Lake Izabal in the community El Estor where Canadian nickel mining company Hudbay Minerals Inc. has operated for more than 50 years. Tensions run high against a backdrop of pro and anti-mining camps, violence and forced evictions.
On May 22, 2015, Mayan activist Angelica Choc confronted shareholders of Hudbay Minerals Inc. at its annual general meeting held in Toronto. With incredible dignity and courage, she told shareholders of the brutal killing of her husband allegedly by Hudbay security personnel during a community protest near the mine site in 2009. She also told them how on the same day security personnel allegedly shot German Chub, a young man who is now paralyzed from the waist down. She also spoke of 11 Mayan women who were raped during a violent eviction from their nearby village in 2007, actions that were allegedly ordered by the mining company.
While the company denies these charges, in 2013 an Ontario court judge found sufficient evidence to send these three related cases to trial in the Canadian civil court system at yet-to-be-determined date. If Hudbay is found guilty at trial, it would be the first time a Canadian resource extraction company acting abroad would be held accountable to the rule of law on Canadian soil.
Indeed, it is a true “David and Goliath” story that has ground breaking implications for all Canadian companies acting at home and globally.
Filmmaker Coming to Nelson for Screening
This beautiful, award-winning film will be shown in Nelson at the Shambhala Performance Music & Performance Hall at the Selkirk College Tenth Street Campus on Friday, June 12 at 7 p.m. Special guests of the event include a live appearance by filmmaker, Rachel Schmidt and a “skyped” appearance by long-time human rights activist, Grahame Russell of the NGO, Rights Action.
“By attending this film, local people will have the opportunity to be part of the solution through education, solidarity and recognizing the immediate parallels between similar struggles at home and globally,” says Cara-Lee Malange, who is organizing Mir Centre for Peace event. “Moreover, local people will learn how to make a difference in their own lives as well as the lives of others.”
A suggested donation of $10 (sliding scale) will be accepted at the door and all proceeds will go to Rights Action to help support the ongoing struggles for justice for these plaintiffs and other Guatemalans and Hondurans facing similar harm from foreign corporations.